Category Archives: Event Listing

Tis the Season for Literary Events

Holiday Mic

Make storytelling one of your holiday traditions. It’s easy in Chicago. This week, there’s a different literary event happening every night of the week.

Monday, December 15, 2014

“An Essay Festivus For the Rest of Us,” featuring performances by Moth Grandslam champion Lily Be, Curbside Splendor managing editor Naomi Huffman, comedian Dave Stinton, This Old Neighborhood author Bill Hillmann, and writer Mike Manship. Hosted by Willy Nast and Karen Shimmen, Essay Fiesta is humor and heart—first person, nonfiction essays that benefit 826CHI by bringing together a cross section of Chicago’s art and writing communities. Bonus: it takes place in a cool independent bookstore that serves booze. Book Cellar | 4736 N Lincoln Ave | 7pm | FREE | All ages | Website

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chapter 65: “War on Xmas/Book Release-travaganza!” Celebrating the publication of Bare-Knuckled Lit: The Best of Write Club, the holiday installment promises to be extra exciting. Its line-up consists of the following “combatants”: David Isaacson (GIVE) vs. Susan Karp (RECEIVE), Dave Stinton (NAUGHTY) vs. Emily Rose (NICE), Samantha Irby (SANTA) vs. Ian Belknap (JESUS). Hosted by “overlord” Belknap, Write Club is “literature as bloodsport”—three bouts of two writers each, who get seven minutes apiece to defend one of two diametrically opposing ideas. At the end of each show, there are three victors, three charities benefited, and three “Loving Cups of Deathless Fucking Glory” awarded. The Hideout | 1354 W Wabansia Ave | 7pm | $20 in advance | 21+ | Website

“Stories About Things that May or May Not Happen in the Future.” Hosted by Dana Norris, Story Club is a nonfiction storytelling show that aims to “mix the spontaneity of an open mic with the experience of live theater.” In addition to open mic performers, this installment’s featured performers are comedian Kirsten Clifford and writers Maura Clement and Bill Drew. Co-Prosperity Sphere | 3219-21 S Morgan St | 7:30pm | $10 suggested donation | All ages | Website

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The inaugural “Curbside Yuletide Book Thing” features an all-star line-up of storytellers, including Gina Frangello, Rebecca Makkai, Kathleen Rooney, Halle Butler, Susan Hope Lanier, Ryan Kenealy, Dmitry Samarov, Ben Tanzer, James Tadd Adcox, Jac Jemc and Jessie Ann Foley. It’s also got a “holly jolly raffle” for fun surprises and a City Lit book table for seasonal shopping. Beauty Bar Chicago | 1444 W Chicago Ave | 7pm | FREE | 21+ | Website

Pivot Arts continues its Pop Up! Performance Series with its first-ever Holiday Show. Featuring holiday stories by Jeremy Owens and Alan Neff from Story Sessions, as well as Ike Holter, Sharon Lanza, Mia McCullough, Tanya Palmer, and Julie Ganey—and music by River Rising. Uncommon Ground | 1401 W Devon Ave | 8pm | $10 | 21+ | Website

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Because once during a busy holiday week is just not enough. Because they’re hyping their newly released book, Bare-Knuckled Lit: The Best of Write Club. Because they are tireless. And still they manage to pull together a killer line-up: Whit Nelson (PAGE) vs. Jessica Anne (STAGE), Robbie Telfer (READ) vs. JW Basilo (WRITE), and Patrick Carberry (PROSE) vs. Barrie Cole (POETRY). Again, hosted by “overlord” Belknap, Write Club is “literature as bloodsport”—three bouts of two writers each, who get seven minutes apiece to defend one of two diametrically opposing ideas. This time, though, the bloodsport is free of charge. Poetry Foundation | 61 W Superior St | 7pm | FREE | All Ages | Website

“More formal than an open mic and less orchestrated than a performance.” Hosted by Cara Brigandi, this series is natural storytelling—no readings, no poetry, no judging, no theme. All guests are welcomed to share a story, each getting no more than five minutes on the mic. The Silver Room | 1442 N Milwaukee Ave | 8pm | FREE | 21+ | Website

Friday, December 19, 2014 AND Saturday, December 20, 2014

“Home for the Holidays with Lakeview Orchestra.” With rotating hosts, 2nd Story is personal storytelling that is both carefully crafted and fresh and surprising. Rehearsed with directors and set to music, its performer’s piece is the “first story,” and it’s meant to inspire another from each of its listeners—the “2nd Story”—told to friends during breaks, over food and drinks. For the second year, 2nd Story and Lakeview Orchestra will team up to present a symphonic story sampler, featuring stories by Jessica Young, Julie Ganey and Vince Pagan. Rocks Lakeview | 3463 N Broadway St | 7pm | $20 at the door, $15 in advance, and free for students while inventory lasts | 21+ | Website

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Curbside Splendor Publishing continues “cutting to the bone” with its nonfiction reading series. Hosted by Naomi Huffman and Leah Pickett, this installment features storytelling by Curbside events and programming manager Catherine Eves, writer Susan Hope Lanier, comedian Tyler Snodgrass, and culture writer and Literary Chicago social media coordinator Danette Chavez. The Punch House | 1227 W 18th St | 7:30pm | FREE | 21+ | Website

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Fuck Yeah: Ray’s Tap is Back.
by Alba Machado

Oh PicklesDid you know that a number of Chicago’s foremost live lit performers are either current or former members of The No Cussing Club? That’s right. This Saturday, for one night only, playwright Chris Bower reunites this unlikely group of malediction-conflicted writers for an installment of the popular Ray’s Tap Reading Series: Ian Belknap, Daniel Shapiro, Carly Oishi, Dave Snyder, Stephanie Douglass, Mark Chrisler, Tim Racine, Alicia Swiz, Ben Harpe, Matt Test, John Cahill, and Randall Colburn. These members of the “most cyber-bullied anti-profanity club in history” will each offer a literary response to the NCC’s manifesto, as well as its alternative-to-swearing handbook, Oh Pickles, shedding some light on what it’s like to “remain PG in an X-Rated universe.” Music by Tijuana Hercules will also be featured. Author and seasoned potty mouth Mason Johnson (Sad Robot Stories) highly recommends the series, saying, “Ray’s is, without a doubt, my favorite reading series in Chicago. Now that Encyclopedia Show has ended at least! It happens rarely, it happens late, and it goes for a long time, but it’s all worth it (especially because of the “happens rarely” part). For those involved, this isn’t another reading series they have to read another goddamn piece for, this is extra special, and you can tell by the quality of the readers’ pieces. It’s fucked up and it’s amazing and everyone should go.” Bowers seems confident that this event will be as successful as the club meeting his reading series hosted four years ago for The Grand Lodge of the Steam Donkey Operators.



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Printers Row Turns 30
by Alba Machado

Birthday CakeHappy 30th birthday, Printers Row. We love you. We at Literary Chicago owe a great debt of gratitude to you, the largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest, the one that, for three decades now, has been showing us what’s possible when you get up to 200 booksellers, 200 authors, and more than 150,000 book lovers together under white tents. We’re especially happy that you once again stretch from Polk all the way to Congress, instead of just to Harrison. Means more booksellers. Along with Story Week, Printers Ball, Louder Than a Bomb, the Chicago Humanities Festival, and the live lit magic that happens in this city on most any night of the week, you, Printers Row, help to make Chicago a good place for writers and readers to call home, and you inspire us to do things like, I don’t know, publish a webzine with the tagline “The Lit Fest at Your Fingertips,” in the hopes of keeping the lit fest spirit alive year-round.

This year, the Printers Row Lit Fest falls on June 7th and 8th, and it takes place in the South Loop, on Dearborn Street between Polk and Congress. Since the Chicago Tribune has been overseeing the festival since 2002, a lengthy schedule of events is available on the Trib’s website, and it includes readings by two of our very own contributing writers: Sophie L. Nagelberg and Todd Summar. Here are some other highlights:

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The Science of Understanding
by Alba Machado

a review of Patrick Somerville’s The Universe in Miniature in Miniature

Last July, the Chicago Underground Library hosted its second annual “Science of Obsurity,” a science fair for writers, complete with dioramas, posterboards, and interactive experiments. In it, local writers found playful ways to present their works in terms of science fair projects: a story about a cantankerous crab, for example, was accompanied by an apparatus for determining one’s level of crabbiness. It was a lot of fun, and eye-opening, too. Through an experiment involving handwriting analysis, I discovered that I was in danger of developing an unpleasant foot problem that could only be prevented by reading Mrs. Dalloway and Jaws simultaneously. This is the magic of mixing imaginative writers and science. As entertaining and enlightening as this year’s “Science of Obscurity” may have been, however, something was missing.

The event was sadly lacking in Patrick Somerville.

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