By Mike O’Mary
The Chicago Literary Alliance recently hosted a panel discussion about the "live lit" scene in Chicago. Live lit is a bit of a hybrid art form, falling somewhere between performance art and more traditional book readings. Rules vary from one organizer to another, but for the most part, the emphasis is on telling/performing your story (sometimes without notes), instead of reading it. Ideally, you are putting a lot of yourself into the telling/performance of that story.
Why should you care about live lit? As an author, you should care about it because live lit event are drawing big crowds. Bigger on average than traditional readings. And as a reader/listener/consumer of literature, you should care because these events are pretty entertaining, and have the potential to become a standalone art form.
Granted, performing at a live lit event is not for every author. But if you enjoy telling your stories as much as you enjoy writing them, and if you have a bit of stage presence and a flair for the dramatic, then performing at a live lit event might be a good option for you. And whether you want to get up on stage or not, a live lit event is a fun way to spend a little time appreciating the writing -- and storytelling -- capabilities of other authors.
Here are links to some of the organizers of live lit events in Chicago. Check 'em out!
- THIS MUCH IS TRUE (www.thismuchistruechicago.com/), 2nd Tues of each month at The Hopleaf in Andersonville
- STORY LAB CHICAGO (www.storylabchicago.com), 3rd Weds of each month at The Black Rock Pub in North Center
- GROWN FOLKS STORIES (www.facebook.com/pages/Grown-Folks-Stories/120392737992152), 3rd Thurs at The Silver Room in Wicker Park
- STORY CLUB (www.storyclubchicago.com), 1st Thurs at Uncommon Ground in Wrigleyville
- ESSAY FIESTA (www.essayfiesta.com), 3rd Monday at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square
- RUI: READING UNDER THE INFLUENCE (www.readingundertheinfluence.com), one Weds a month at Sheffield's
- THE MOTH (www.themoth.org/storyslams_chicago), last Tues of month at Martyr's
- WINDY CITY STORY SLAM (www.windycitystoryslam.com), schedule and venues vary
- HERE'S THE STORY (www.heresthestory.org), 1st Weds at Stage 773
- REAL TALK LIVE (www.facebook.com/pages/Real-Talk-Live/135852693139029), see website for dates and venues
- ILLINOIS STORYTELLING OPEN MIC (www.storytelling.org/openmic.html)
- WRITE CLUB CHICAGO, (www.writeclubrules.com)