The Importance of Being in Conversation About Art: The Eleventh Annual Printers Ball

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Printers Ball 1

Photo: Cynthia Post

This Saturday, June 27, the Spudnik Press Cooperative will host the eleventh annual Printers Ball. In a conversation held via email, Angee Lennard, the founder and director of the Spudnik Press Cooperative, explained that this year’s festival will be unlike the ones that preceded it in two distinct ways: “First, this Printers Ball will be more hands-on and tactile than ever.” As Lennard notes, one such example of this is evident in the number of workshops that the Spudnik Press Printshop will run, allowing this year’s attendees multiple opportunities to create their own prints. Read the rest of this entry »

Lit 50 2015: Who Really Books in Chicago

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If there’s one thing that was made abundantly clear in polling the literati for this year’s Lit 50 list, it’s that the Chicago literary scene is an incredibly supportive one. It’s no Utopia, of course. We’re certain it has its jerks. But it was overwhelming to receive such an outpour of appreciation for countless behind-the-scenes folks who make the lit scene in this town such an exceedingly vibrant one. This year’s list includes indie-bookstore owners, booksellers, publishers, editors, chairs and directors of creative writing programs, literacy advocates, library leaders, execs at major literary foundations, organizers of festivals, conferences, live lit productions and salons. All of the individuals on this list contribute significantly—whether they help to get books in readers’ hands, excite the next generation in literary arts, afford writers opportunities to publish, provide storytellers a stage to share their tales, or create environments where writers can make the right connections or just talk shop. We raise a glass to all on the list, but also to those innumerable individuals who likewise help it all go ‘round. (Amy Danzer)

Lit 50 was written by Liz Baudler, Heidi Bloom, Brendan Buck, Amy Danzer, Amy Friedman, Brian Hieggelke, Jarret Neal, Toni Nealie, Robert Rodi, Bill Savage, Kim Steele, Danielle Susi, Mahjabeen Syed and John Wilmes.

Photos by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux on location at Women and Children First Read the rest of this entry »

Book Blast: Thirty-first Annual Printers Row Lit Fest Aims to “Expand Your Mind”

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printers row lit festThe annual lit fest where book lovers from all over the city come to hang with other bibliophiles, learn from master writers and geek-out with well-known authors is back. Within days, the Chicago Tribune will present the thirty-first edition of the Printers Row Lit Fest (PRLF), which will take place in the Printers Row neighborhood between Congress and Polk on Saturday, June 6 from 10am to 8pm and Sunday, June 7 from 10am to 6pm. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling’s Open Arms: Scott Whitehair Discusses His Burgeoning Career

Lit Events, Readings, Storyteller Profile No Comments »
scott whitehair new city (1)

Scott Whitehair/Photo: Benjamin Jenks

Scott Whitehair is living his dream. As a storyteller prominent within Chicago’s live lit scene, he’s crafted a life’s work out of what had previously been seen as a personality quirk. In fact, just recently an old friend of his remarked, “It’s nice to see people asking you to do the thing you were always getting yelled at for when you were twelve.” Read the rest of this entry »

Making CAKE: Chicago Alternative Comics Expo Features Two Illustrious Days and Dozens of Illustrators

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Move over Comic-Con, you won’t be the only expo drawing in the crowd this summer. Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) will have its fourth iteration take place June 6-7 at the Center on Halsted. CAKE celebrates the talented artists behind alternative and underground independent comics during this weekend-long event that features comics for sale, exhibitors, workshops, panel discussions from the pros and more. The icing on the cake is, it’s free and open to the public. Read the rest of this entry »

What We Talk About When We Talk About The Humanities: Twenty-Four Hours of George Saunders

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George Saunders - photo credit Chloe Aftel

George Saunders/Photo: Chloe Aftel

DePaul University is hosting a twenty-four-hour marathon reading of every book George Saunders has published to precede his lecture titled, “Why the Humanities? Why Art?”

The event, organized by H. Peter Steeves, a professor of Philosophy and Director of the Humanities Center at DePaul, was inspired by the groups that read James Joyce’s “Ulysses” out loud on Bloomsday. As Steeves explains, “Speaking words aloud has something approaching a kind of magic to it, almost like an act of conjuring. We’re all hearing it together, experiencing it together, entering into the same narrative space together, with the same world appearing there for all of us. What better way to celebrate George and remind ourselves of the power of art than to create such a community for a full day?” Read the rest of this entry »

News: Independent Bookstore Hosts First Annual Festival for YA Books

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CYA4

Design: Rebecca McKnight

This coming Saturday, The Book Cellar will host the first annual Chicago Young Adult Book Fest. The fest will take place at Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 North Lincoln, beginning at 10am and concluding at 7pm. Read the rest of this entry »

Booking it to Success: Naomi Huffman is Curbside Splendor’s New Editor-in-Chief

Chicago Publishers, News Etc. 1 Comment »
Naomi Huffman with author Brian Costello

Naomi Huffman with author Brian Costello

Independent publishing press Curbside Splendor recently announced a substantial shift in roles after a successful year in 2014 in which they published more than twelve books compared to their average of about three the years prior. Founder and publisher Victor Giron attributes that incredible leap to the diligence of Naomi Huffman, who has been promoted from managing editor to Curbside’s new editor in chief. The change in responsibilities also includes Catherine Eves as the new managing editor, Jacob Knabb as senior editor, business development and Ben Tanzer as senior editor, acquisitions. Read the rest of this entry »

Live Lit Review: Naked Girls Reading Series

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Michelle L'amour/Photo: LaPhotographie Nashville

Michelle L’amour/Photo: LaPhotographie Nashville

Like so many good things, the Naked Girls Reading series materialized from a happy accident. When international showgirl Michelle L’amour’s husband Franky Vivid happened upon her reading in the buff one eve, inspiration set in. The two of them first thought of nakedgirlsreading.com as a funny, novel idea. But after a test run with a couple of willing burlesque troupe members, Naked Girls Reading took form and took off. The show just celebrated its sixth year and now has chapters in twenty-five cities across the world, with three more in the works, one of which is slated to open in Berlin.

The show is exactly as it sounds: a live literary event where unclothed women read. Michelle L’amour and The Chicago Starlets–Honey Halfpint, Greta Layne, Lady Ginger, and Sophia Hart–enter the candlelit room in silky dressing gowns and before they sit down to lounge on a Victorian sofa or plush chair to read, they disrobe completely. They’re adorned only by extended eyelashes, a distinguishing something or other–ruby earrings, horn-rimmed glasses, purple velvet pumps–and gorgeous cravats provided by Sammy the Tramp, a local Vaudevillian performer and Mash Up Tie merchandiser. Read the rest of this entry »

Kinetic Vaudeville: The Paper Machete Marks Five Years as “Chicago’s Weekly Live Magazine”

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Chad the Bird - Paper Machete

Think vaudeville meets The Daily Show. Think The Nation meets Mad magazine. Think jazz concert on the floor of the Senate. Think funny. Really funny. Then, think serious. Think all those things and what you have is The Paper Machete—Chicago’s weekly, live magazine.

Held every Saturday afternoon at the Green Mill, the show is the brainchild of host Christopher Piatt and this January they had their fifth anniversary. As a weekly, that means they’ve done about 250 unique shows featuring comedians, musicians, performance artists, playwrights, sketch comics, live lit performers, puppeteers and anything else you can think of (Piatt’s minister from Kansas recently gave a homily).

Each performer brings skills from their particular field but is required to do a piece that addresses current events. This leads to some interesting juxtapositions: like a rhymed and metered poem comparing “Sex and the City” to “Girls” and a piano ballad entitled “Baby, Please Don’t Vaccinate Your Baby.” Read the rest of this entry »