Where to See Live Lit This Summer

Where to See Live Lit This Summer

Photo Courtesy of 2ndStory.com

Photo: 2ndStory.com

For a truly serious MFAer, the summer is made for writing, for producing as much great stuff as possible without looming deadlines and the threat of a harsh workshop breathing down your neck.

But summers are also made for socializing. Many people assume socializing can’t happen much in the stereotypical writer world.

Except, it can. And it does, here in Chicago.

Have you ever heard of Live Lit?

What is live literature, you may be wondering? I’m glad you asked. Simply put, it’s writing that’s written to be performed in front of a live audience.

Me performing in 2nd Story's May show, Mother, Where Art Thou.

Me performing in 2nd Story’s May show, Mother, Where Art Thou.

One of the great things about Chicago is that there are so many live literature salons, performances, experiences. So many different ways to interact with words and people in a social setting. Whether you’re performing or just watching, there are plenty of ways to get involved and stay engaged with people and with writing. Below is a small sample—some I’ve tried and some I haven’t—that you should check out if you have the chance this summer.

  1. 2nd Story: Of course, it’s number one on my list. After taking Story & Performance with Bobby Biedrzycki my first semester at Columbia, I’m a fan! I also participated in my first show this past May. Dinner meets narrative as storytellers tell personal narratives. Storytellers tell their stories first so the audience members can share theirs second.
    Where: Location Varies. Cost: $18.
  2. The Paper Machete: “Part spoken-word show, part vaudeville revue, The Paper Machete features comedians, journalists, storytellers and musical guests performing in the back room of north side bar. It’s a salon in a saloon.” What I like most about this live lit program is that it merges current events with creative writing in interesting ways. It’s also free!
    Where: The Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway St. Cost: FREE
  3. Write Club: “Two opposing writers. Two opposing ideas.” Something like the literary version of Fight Club, this live lit performance is playfully competitive. Opponents are given a topic in advance to write about. The goal is to write something proving their topic is better than their opponent’s. The audience chooses the winner. The prize money goes to charity. It’s great.
    Where: The Hideout, 1354 West Wabansia Avenue. Cost: $10

As I warned, this is a super small sample of what Chicago’s live lit scene offers. More can be found here.

GIF: http://shhhhhhimlisteningtoreason.tumblr.com/