Jessi Phillips


I am a writer and educator whose work has appeared in Pacific Standard, VICE, SF Weekly, Adventure Journal, Glimmer Train, and Mississippi Review.

Encore Magazine
Playhouse Reborn - Encore Magazine

The imposing brick edifice at 404 E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Paw Paw has housed many establishments and enterprises over the years. It was built in 1857 as First Baptist Church, and then, for 45 years, it was home to the Paw Paw Village Players, a community theater group.

'The possibilities are endless' - NowKalamazoo

An unconventional chef and restaurateur had a dream of serving meals and her community. When the banks and management company sitting on a vacant property refused to respond to her attempts to buy or lease, she set up shop anyway.

Encore Magazine
Lifting 'the Green Veil' - Encore Magazine

"Plant blindness" and "the green veil" are both terms that describe the way many people mostly ignore the botany in their own yards and neighborhoods and on public lands. But it's clear when walking with Gabrielle Cerberville through Kalamazoo's Kleinstuck Preserve that her experience of the forest is very different, that years of observation and study allow her to notice things most others don't.

Encore Magazine
Dormouse Theatre - Encore Magazine

The moment you step inside the Dormouse Theatre, at 1030 Portage St., the energy and ethos of the space assert themselves. Two naked mannequins flank the worn wooden stage of the former church. Above the dais towers a grand wooden arch. Rainbows of light filter through stained-glass windows.

'The license will open up doors' - NowKalamazoo

A typical work day for contractor Angello Cruz begins at 6 a.m. and lasts until 1 a.m. He heads to a job site to spend the day installing, repairing, or painting drywall.

Kids and adults still scream for ice cream - NowKalamazoo

It's a callback to summers of the past that Lee Patton hopes will draw customers to the vehicles of I Scream Machine Company as they make their way through the streets of Kalamazoo. "A lot of kids haven't even seen the ice cream truck before," Lee says.

Sierra Club
How to Master Pandemic Camping

The crowds. The lack of parking. The difficulty scoring a reservation. With so many people heading outdoors after months of quarantine, some of my favorite hiking trails and campgrounds are starting to feel like urban hot spots on a Friday night. It makes sense.

SF Weekly
The Great Analog Gamble

On a chilly November evening, a few hundred people mill around a warehouse in a quiet corner of Oakland. The crowd spills into the empty street, where musicians, engineers, and music fans in hoodies and flannel huddle together, sipping from tall boys in paper bags.

Pacific Standard
The City of Dentists

A trip to Los Algodones, the town just south of the border where it seems almost everybody is either a dentist or works for one. By Jessi Phillips In the southeastern corner of California, on the lands of the Quechan tribe, there is a parking lot the size of two football fields, where, for six dollars, Americans can leave their car all day to spend the day in Los Algodones, Mexico - the city of dentists.

How to Run for Office with No Money and Little Experience

Matt Hummel wasn't a complete political novice when he ran for City Council in Oakland, California this year-he's worked on a few local campaigns and serves as chair of the Oakland Cannabis Regulatory Commission. But he was far from a traditional candidate.

The Activists Behind the Crudest, Loudest Art of the Trump Era

Photo via INDECLINE The activist collective known as INDECLINE was founded in 2001 by a handful of artists barely out of high school with a penchant for defacing corporate billboards. Since then, it's expanded to 25 core members and more than 100 auxiliary filmmakers, photographers, and visual artists, and its actions have likewise grown in risk and notoriety.

Sierra Club
The Search For a More Accessible World

There is no shortage of recent articles and books urging humans to wake up to the imminent danger of climate change. But few experts have offered such an exuberant and optimistic plan for dealing with it as biologist Edward O. Wilson.

SF Weekly
Impact Theatre's The Gun Show Questions America's Gun Obsession

click to enlarge Americans love guns. Or, rather, half of Americans love guns, while the other half, characterized inas "granola-eating, Whole Foods-shopping, Rachel Maddow-listening, liberal pinko lefties", wants to ban them all forever. Like many issues of national discourse, the only audible voices are staunchly for guns or against them, with the middle ground left to shrug its shoulders in silence.

SF Weekly
Punch Drunk Lust: Red Light Lit's Intoxication Issue Out Friday

click to enlarge WhenRed Light Lit founders Veronica Christina and Jennifer Lewis chose the theme for their latest issue, "Everyone I Love is Drunk," they had in mind a broad definition of intoxication - drunk on life, drunk on love, drunk on happiness.

When Out On the Trail, Leave Your Dog Behind

No matter how sweet, our furry friends pose a significant threat to wildlife There's a reason many nature lovers own dogs. As an often-solo female hiker, I enjoy the added security, the pleasure of being alone without being totally alone, and the joy of watching my dog bound down the trail or jump into a mountain lake with an abandon I cannot usually muster.

The Green Life
Interview: Trees for the Future of Haiti

January's earthquake in Haiti forced many Port-au-Prince residents to relocate to surrounding rural areas, most of which lack the ability to sustain them. According to Ethan Budiansky of Trees for the Future, a nonprofit which plants trees for the benefit of communities worldwide, the Moringa, or Miracle Tree, might be part of the long-term solution for these devastated communities.