Tag Archives: The Encyclopedia Show

Word Weekend

MCA Chicago presents Word Weekend, an event that showcases Chicago’s active and diverse communities of authors, hip-hop artists, spoken-word poets, songwriters, and visual artists who explore the complexities and pleasures of words, text, and language. Features over the two-day event include a small-press book fair co-presented by Printer’s Ball, as well as letterpress, zine writing, and graffiti workshops; interactive installations, hip hop music, stand-up comedy, and film screenings; and readings, storytelling, and live literature performances by Write Club, The Encyclopedia Show, Red Rover Series. Museum of Contemporary Art | 220 E Chicago Ave | 312-280-2660 | Free with museum admission | Sunday, July 27, 2014 from noon to 5pm

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Word Weekend

MCA Chicago presents Word Weekend, an event that showcases Chicago’s active and diverse communities of authors, hip-hop artists, spoken-word poets, songwriters, and visual artists who explore the complexities and pleasures of words, text, and language. Features over the two-day event include a small-press book fair co-presented by Printer’s Ball, as well as letterpress, zine writing, and graffiti workshops; interactive installations, hip hop music, stand-up comedy, and film screenings; and readings, storytelling, and live literature performances by Write Club, The Encyclopedia Show, Red Rover Series. Museum of Contemporary Art | 220 E Chicago Ave | 312-280-2660 | Free with museum admission | Sunday, July 27, 2014 from noon to 5pm

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Performing Stories, Rather Than Just Reading Them
by Alba Machado

Page and StageA lot of people who know how to write a good story don’t know how to tell a good story. If you are Toni Morrison or José Saramago, then sure, there’s a good chance your audience will hang on your every word no matter how lifeless your delivery may be, its adoration assured by your tremendous body of Nobel prize-winning work. But if you are a relatively unknown writer taking to the stage in search of a wider readership, your words alone will not be enough. Minds will wander. Smiles will be empty. Applause will be merely polite. After all, when you are reading to an audience that is physically present, you are reading with your entire body—your posture, movement, gesture, facial expression, eye contact, tone of voice, inflection—and if you are just standing there and dictating lines from a page, then on some level you are conveying boredom and lack of conviction. You are saying, “I don’t care about this. Maybe you shouldn’t care, either.”

This Sunday, June 8th, at the 30th annual Printers Row Lit Fest, you can walk from one tent where an author is reading to another tent where an author is performing and you can easily gauge each audience’s level of engagement. There’s no contest. At the former, there is silence and stillness, maybe an occasional nod. At the latter, there is gasping and laughter, cheering and chills. And at the RedEye tent, you can start to discover why. That’s where The Encyclopedia Show’s Robbie Telfer, Story Club’s Dana Norris, and Guts & Glory’s Keith Ecker are talking to RedEye, Metromix, and WGN Radio’s Amy Guth in a panel discussion entitled “Page Meets Stage: How to Use Performance to Enhance Your Writing Career.”

“People who are at live lit are not there to see a specific writer,” says Telfer. “They’re not Joyce Carol Oates-ing it.”

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Encyclopedia Show for the Metrophobic
by Alba Machado

While figuring out how best to present sixth graders with poems last year, I discovered that the fear of poetry had become so common that a medical term was coined for it by the American Psychiatric Association: metrophobia. Many people feel that you have to be highly educated to understand poetry and highly pretentious to appreciate it. Its themes seem too lofty, its language grandiose, its structure complex and confusing.

Tonight at the Vittum Theatre, it’s apparent that no one in Chicago need suffer from metrophobia any longer. It’s nothing a single treatment of The Encyclopedia Show can’t fix.

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