Translating Performance to Page: An Interview with Story Club Magazine’s Dana Norris

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By Naomi Huffman

photo: Evan Hanover

photo: Evan Hanover

When Dana Norris founded Story Club five years ago, it was an open mic reading and she was “just trying to figure out how to do this thing.” In the years since then, Story Club has launched monthly shows on Chicago’s South Side, and in Minneapolis and Boston. In February, she introduced Story Club Magazine, an online journal that publishes stories performed at reading series in cities across the country.

Just before Story Club Magazine’s second issue went live in early May, I had the pleasure of talking with Dana about Story Club’s success, the struggle of translating performance stories for print, and Chicago’s dynamic storytelling scene.

Tell me about Story Club Magazine.
I’ve been running Story Club for five years, where we’ve had all of these performers going up on stage and just killing it. But sometimes readers would just vanish as soon as the show was over, and I wouldn’t get a chance to tell them how good they were. So, I started doing an audience vote at the end of every show so I could publicly reward their boldness. Winning’s nice, but I also wanted to reward performers by publishing their stories on the Story Club website. We did that for a couple of years, and then started the Story Club South Side show, then Story Club Minneapolis, Story Club Boston. I wanted to publish great stories from those shows and from shows around the country. I wanted a central resource for live lit in print, video and audio so you don’t have to be in the room when a performance is happening to reap the benefits of the story. Read the rest of this entry »

Journal-Isms: A Bright Future for “The Economy”

Literary Journal 2 Comments »

Anthony Opal (1)When literary journal The Economy  launched a year ago, editor Anthony Opal did not know what it would become, and it continues to evolve. When building the journal’s structure, Opal opted to limit the number of pieces to three works featured per issue in order to give those pieces more weight. “I find that there’s something pretty great that happens when the right piece is given ample space: it fills it,” Opal says. Other literary journals he read seemed filled with creative work, but lacked focus. Opal took the chance to experiment with The Economy to see if the journal could maintain readership with its smaller scope of published material. Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Journal Review: “Curbside Splendor” edited by Victor David Giron

Book Reviews, Chicago Authors, Chicago Publishers, Literary Journal No Comments »

Startups in the teeth of a recession are risky, and new publishing ventures especially so; hence, the premiere of the ambitious, earnest semiannual literary journal “Curbside Splendor” should be applauded. Originating online but based in Logan Square, it is a “city” magazine edited by Victor David Giron that casts a wider net, with stories ranging out into suburban and even exurban interests.

Karolina “Koko” Faber’s design creates an urban and urbane showcase for the stories and poems set beside striking, complementary photography by Garett Holden, Faber and others. It is a journal likewise proud of its writers and poets, placing brief bios in front of their works instead of relegating them to the back of the book.

Issue 1 includes winners from Curbside’s Winter 2010 short-story contest. Brandon Jennings’ first-place flash-fiction piece “Doc the Fifth” draws its power from the immediacy of its description of the Iraq War. Stories in both issues vary from generally straightforward narrative to the near surreal, like James Greer’s “Second-Hand Blue” in Issue 1, which demands and rewards close reading. Read the rest of this entry »