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Saturday, April 19

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Book Club

Bookmarks Fri Apr 18 2014


Tonight! Author Rosalind Cummings-Yeates and musician Billy Branch come together at City Lit Books to discuss book Exploring Chicago Blues, 6:30 pm.

Saturday! Tribune reporter Liam T. A. Ford discusses his book Soldier Field: A Stadium and its City at Logan Square Library, 1 pm.

Saturday! Join New Yorker musica nd rock critic Sasha Frere-Jones as he discusses his work. 3 pm at Corbett vs. Dempsey.

Saturday! Enjoy bite-sized musings with 20x2! A transplant from SXSW, 20x2 features 20 writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers and even chefs, each with two minutes to answer the same question: "Where are we?" 7 pm at Schubas, $10.

Saturday! Quimby's Bookstore hosts Hillary Chute, long-time interviewer of contemporary cartoonists, in a discussion of her new book, Outside the Box, wherein she dishes all her insider's scoop. 7 pm.

Saturday! Unearth The Secret History of Chicago Zines with Steve Krakow, Jake Austen, and Chris Ware as they discuss the music industry's relationship with the local zine world. 7 pm at Powell's Books.

Saturday! Tamale Hut Café Reading Series returns with featured writer Aaron Longoria, 7 pm.

Sunday! Brain Frame and Chicago Alternative Comics Expo combine to create: CAKEFRAME (2)! Come out to bid on original artwork by Chicago's finest, see live music and drawing, and parteee, all to raise funds for CAKE 2014. 6 pm at the Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Author Fri Apr 18 2014

How Some Chicagoans Remember Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez via Twitter

Everyone from People Magazine to NPR has been posting on their twitter accounts the passing of renowned Columbian author Gabriel Gracia Marquez who died yesterday, April 17, 2014 at the age of 87 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Marquez was best known for his novels One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. Marquez has been called one of the world's significant authors of the 20th century and one of the most popular Spanish-language authors since Cervantes.

See how Chicagoans are honoring his life and work via their Twitter accounts.

Continue reading this entry »

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Author Thu Apr 17 2014

"How I Write..." with Sad Brad Smith

Sad Brad Smith
Photo by Ryan Bourque

Sad Brad Smith: I'm going to get another coffee.

Gaper's Block: That's going to be in the interview.

What? "I'm going to get another coffee"?

There it is again. It'll be in there twice.

I'm going to get another coffee.


(Brad gets coffee and comes back, reads an email, his brow furrows)


What is it?

Are you recording?

Yeah. Is it big?

I'll tell you later.

Continue reading this entry »

Alex Thompson / Comments (1)

Chicago Public Library Wed Apr 16 2014

In the Stacks: My Night with Frederico Garcia Lorca (and others)

I felt myself walk into a strange wilderness that cool night in early April when I stepped through a side entrance to the Harold Washington Library and joined a group of older patrons in an elevator. They were dressed "to the nines", as they might say. I had received an email informing me that cocktail attire was encouraged, if not required. I had on a new brown speckled sweater, formal slacks and a blazer I'd borrowed from my friend Julian nearly nine months prior for an event in Los Angeles. Rather than iron or dry-clean them, I put them on and did squats in my Boystown apartment kitchen before packing them in an overnight bag and heading downtown for dinner.

I smoothed the wrinkled slacks and smiled to the others in my grand gold elevator car. My car keys were jammed uncomfortably in my front pocket and my wallet, hulking with Belly cards and Subway gift certificates (but little cash), stuck out from my inner jacket pocket. I sucked at my teeth and rolled my tongue up and across my gums, trying to find the source of some odd smell I knew was coming from me. I hungered for a drink, some cologne to wash away my twentysomething strangeness. I smiled graciously again as a woman with a boa caught my eye wandering up the floor.

"What floor?" she asked.

"Nine," I said. We were going to the same place. Night In the Stacks was the only event in the library that night.

Continue reading this entry »

Alex Thompson / Comments (0)

Events Mon Apr 14 2014

Talented Women of Indie Presses Showcase this Thursday

Thursday April 17th, three established publishers get together to celebrate women authors at the Hopleaf Bar 5148 N. Clark, at 7pm. Local publisher Curbside Splendor Publishing, partners with New York publishers Black Balloon Publishing, and Open Letter Books to present Talented Women of Indie Presses. Each publisher is represented with authors on the bill.

The lineup includes Albena Stambolova, author of Everything Happens as it Does (Open Letter Books). Stambolova lives in Bulgaria and when not penning novels or short stories, she works as a psychological consultant.

Joining is fellow Bulgarian writer Virginia Zaharieva, author of Nine Rabbits (Black Balloon Publishing). The book is the first of Zaharieva's to be made available in North America. It details her struggle growing up in poverty during communist rule in 1960's Bulgaria. She overcomes the odds by finding a love of cooking. Manifested in the book amidst the chapters you'll find various recipes including ones for an apple tart, potato dumplings, and borscht.

The local lady in the lineup is poet Daniela Olszewska, author of Citizen J (Artifice books, an imprint of Curbside Splendor). Book Club reviewed this collection, read our review.

Book will be on sale at the event courtesy of the bookstore Women and Children First. The event is free and open to the public.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Author Sun Apr 13 2014

Two Bulgarian Writers, in Translation and in Person

It's safe to say that practically none of us in the U.S. are reading enough literature in translation. And should you protest, well: what's the last novel you read from, say, Bulgaria? (For real, tell me about it in the comments!) This Friday, April 18, at 6pm, Seminary Co-op Bookstore (5751 S. Woodlawn) and the University of Chicago's Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies bring together two prominent Bulgarian authors with their translators. In addition to reading from their novels, Virginia Zaharieva and Albena Stambolova will discuss what it was like to collaborate on their translations with Angela Rodel and Olga Nikolova, respectively.

18406293.jpgZaharieva's Nine Rabbits came out in Bulgaria in 2008, and immediately won praise for its eclectic blend of memoir, feminist meditation, and even recipes, letting ambitious readers can experience the story in a sort of taste-o-vision. It tells the story of a middle-aged artist and her childhood being raised by her grandmother, a woman of "monstrous energy," on the coast of the Black Sea.

Stambolova is a somewhat weirder writer. Her debut novel, Everything Happens as It Does (originally published in 2002), does the opacity of its title justice with quotations from Wittgenstein, psychoanalytical archetypes, and elements of fairy tales. Her prose, at least as filtered through Nikolova's, is both destabilizing and humorous--for instance: "Wearing glasses had the effect of calming the vague fears the family harbored about Boris. Not that now they knew him better than before. But an introvert boy with glasses was less worrying than an introvert boy without glasses." It ought to be a joy to hear in person.

Daphne Sidor / Comments (0)

Fri Apr 11 2014


Tonight! It's the second Friday of the month, which means Bad Grammar Theater is upon us again. Head to 1743 S. Halsted to hear readers from 6:30 - 8 pm.

Saturday! Curbside Splendor helps present a Pop-Up Book Fair at The Hemingway Museum in Oak Park. 11am-5pm, free with RSVP and $8 at the door.

Saturday! Stop by Challenger's Comics to meet Noelle Stevens, who will be signing copies of her comi book, Lumberjanes, 1 pm.

Saturday! Head over to Schubas to check out "Mortified," a show dedicated to presenting readers' true childhood embarrassments on stage. Sort of like The Wonder Years Live! $15, 7 pm.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Events Thu Apr 10 2014

Northwestern University Creative Writing Spring Grad Reading

On Sunday April 13, Northwestern University's Masters in Creative Writing program welcomes three of their graduating students for an afternoon reading at the Norse Bar, 6334 N. Clark, at 2pm.

Spring grad readers include nonfiction major Amber Peckham, fiction major Jesse Eagle and poetry major Adam Lizakowski (Director of the Polish Arts and Poetry Association in Chicago). Joining these grads will be NU alum Adrienne Gunn (fiction).

The reading is in the afternoon, so to get you going early, there will be free pizza! Then enjoy various drink specials at the bar. The reading is free and 21+.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Events Wed Apr 09 2014

Chicago Humanities Festival Presents Alice Waters and Ruth Reichl

The Chicago Humanities Festival presents chef and restaurateur Alice Waters in conversation with James Beard award-winning food writer Ruth Reichl at the Art Institute on Thursday, April 10.

Waters will be discussing her new book, Art of Simple Food II: Recipes, Flavor, and Inspiration from the New Kitchen Garden, and the Edible Schoolyard Project, whose mission is to build and share an edible education curriculum for kindergarten through high school.

Both Waters and Reichl began their culinary careers in 1970s California at the beginning of a food revolution based on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Waters is often credited as the mother of American food, starting with Chez Panisse, one of the most highly regarded restaurants in the world. Waters is also recognized for bringing the Slow Food Movement to the United States, as well as being an advocate for organic foods for more than 40 years.

Reichl is the past editor of Gourmet magazine and a former restaurant critic for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, as well as the author of numerous memoirs and cookbooks. Her most recent book, a novel set for release in May 2014, is titled Delicious!.

Although tickets to the program are sold out, tickets to a reception following the event are still available here.

This presentation is given in collaboration with Green City Market, the Edible Schoolyard Project, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Kathryn Pulkrabek / Comments (0)

Events Tue Apr 08 2014

Rahm Emanuel's Favorite Poems

favoritepoemchicago.jpgIf you've ever wondered what Mayor Rahm Emanuel's favorite poems were, this Friday the Favorite Poem Project and Chicago's own Poetry Foundation will lift that veil. His favorites and those of five other Chicagoans will be featured in this national video initiative, begun by Chicago poet and former U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky. It celebrates poetry as "a vocal art" and documents the role of poetry in Chicagoans' lives.

"A favorite poem," writes Poetry Foundation president Robert Polito, "can be a talisman or mantra, a clue, landmark or guiding star, and dwells deep down in our psyches. The readings on the videos are investigative, probing, revelatory, and ultimately autobiographical and moving. Chicago possesses a rich poetry tradition, and we invite our fellow citizens to join us in launching this poetry initiative."

During the initiative's first year-long open call for submissions, over 18,000 Americans, ranging from age 5 to 97, from every conceivable vocation and background, volunteered to share their favorite poems. Those initial ranks fostered several anthologies and collections and 50 mini-documentaries, which are available for viewing at

This perfect pairing of city and expression will be held this Friday, April 11 at 7pm at the Poetry Foundation, 61 W. Superior St., Chicago.

RSVP for this event is mandatory due to limited space, so be quick to make the list -- this is surely not an event to miss. Call Ashley Sheehan at (312) 799-8026, or in person at the Poetry Foundation.

Alex Thompson / Comments (0)

Events Sun Apr 06 2014

Sister Spit at 20: Still Touring, Still Fresh

When Michelle Tea and Sini Anderson first started Sister Spit in San Francisco in the 1994, it was an all-women, mostly-queer open-mic series. Eventually, they took it on the road, cycling in emerging writers and even eventually opening it up to, as they put it "emerging queer and queer-influenced artists of all genders." Throughout it all, the show has remained a fiercely feminist, often funny showcase for energetic poetry, prose, and spoken word.

SISTERSPIT2014POSTER_fb_versionamillion.jpgThis year's tour lands at The University of Chicago's Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 5801 S. Ellis, on Monday, April 14, at 7pm. Here's a quick look at the performers:

* Jerry Lee Abram: filmmaker who'll be screening his chapter of Tea's collaborative film Valencia: The Movie/s
* Rhiannon Argo: longtime Sister Spit vet and author of The Creamsickle and Girls I've Run Away With
* Dia Felix: filmmaker (who also directed a chapter of Valencia: The Movie/s) and author of the just-out novel Nochita (which, for the record, this writer adored)
* Chinaka Hodge: poet and occasional rapper seen on Def Poetry
* Chase Joynt: a multimedia artist whose Resisterectomy exhibition was mounted at U Chicago last fall
* Beth Lisick: comedy writer and author, most notably of counterculture chronicle Everybody Into the Pool
* Lenelle Moïse: a performance-oriented poet whose work often incorporates jazz, hip hop, and musings on Haitian-American identity
* Virgie Tovar: sex educator, fat activist, and editor of the anthology Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion

Admission is free.

Daphne Sidor / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Apr 04 2014


Tonight! The Interview Show comes to The Hideout for its April installment, and the lineup this month looks dee-lightful. 6:30 pm, $8 at the door.

Saturday! Alexander Eisenschmidt and Jonathan Mekinda discuss Chicago's architectural future through their essay, "Chicagoisms," at the Graham Foundation, 2 - 4 pm.

Saturday! Make your way to City Lit Books to join author Scott Jacobs as he discusses his latest book, Famous Ski Hills in Wisconsin (And Other Delusions of Grandeur), 5 pm.

Saturday! The Book Cellar presents the second annual "Ladder to the Moon" reading, featuring readings by Andrew Squitiro, Naomi Washer, Howard Simmons, Amy Giacalone, and Joe Meno, 7 pm.

Sunday! Stop by Logan Squre's Uncharted Books to lend an ear to Napkin Poetry, an open mic and reading, surrounding this month's theme: "EXILE." 7 pm, free.

Sunday! Stage 773 brings you another installment of LiveLit series and potluck, "Here's the Story." Listen up and then chow down with featured readings from Irv Levinson, Angelique Nelson, Nick Johne, Kelsie Huff, and Tim Witting. 8 pm, $8 OR free with a potluck dish!

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Chicago Public Library Wed Apr 02 2014

The CPLF Junior Board Takes the Library by Storm

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 11.14.43 PM.pngWe've all wondered what happens in the library after hours. Do the books' stories come to life and suck you in for wild adventures? Do the ghosts of self-help books past roam the corridors? Does it just look like a really dark library? The Chicago Public Library Foundation's Junior Board aims to find out!

This Friday, the Junior Board hosts fundraising event "Night in the Stacks" in Harold Washington Library's Winter Garden. The event will be the first major Junior Board fundraiser of this kind -- but hopefully not the last. While this night of beverage and books is now sold out, you can still donate here to support Chicago Public Libraries, and convince the Junior Board to bring Night in the Stacks back once again! If only so we can all see for ourselves what really happens in the stacks after hours.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Poetry Tue Apr 01 2014

A Poem A Day: National Poetry Writing Month Gets Underway

Rejoice, ye wordsmiths, for National Poetry Writing Month, is upon us! Founded by Maureen Thorson, as an offshoot of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), NaProWriMo is an annual project, spanning the month of April, in which participating poets strive to write a poem a day. The site hosts hundreds of participants and their entries, as well as posts prompts for inspiration, and features poems and presses of the day throughout the project's run.

NaPoWriMo, or "30/30", is a challenging exercise for novices and veterans, but one Chicago (by way of Detroit) poet, Stephanie Lane Sutton, is helping to make it a little easier. Sutton created NATIONAL POETRY WRITING MONTH: 30/30, a forum that "offers a private, user-driven space to promote accountability for daily writing. Additionally, this is a place for poets to connect to an online community and support each others' writing." Poets of all levels are welcome, but please note that users must register to view and/or content.

Continue reading this entry »

Danette Chavez / Comments (0)

Submissions Mon Mar 31 2014

Goreyesque Wants Your Edward Gorey-Inspired Writing and Artwork

Edward Gorey fans abound in Chicago, the author's hometown, and yet Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey at the Loyola University Museum of Art (from February 15-June 15, 2014) is the first exhibition dedicated to his work. Over 170 of Gorey's collected works (on loan from the author's charitable trust) are on display, including "original pen-and-ink illustrations, preparatory sketches, unpublished drawings, sketchbooks, illustrated envelopes, book-cover ideas, theatrical costume designs, and ephemera."

Goreyesque, the online literary journal that features contemporary work inspired by Gorey, celebrates this "homecoming" with a reading at LUMA on April 29, 2014 at 6pm. Created by Kenneth Gerleve, Todd Summar, and Sam Weller, in collaboration with editors Howard Simmons, Jess Millman, and Corey Klinzing, and co-sponsored by Columbia College Chicago's Department of Creative Writing and Loyola University Chicago, the journal seeks to highlight the author's "cross-disciplinary influence." With two issues under their belts, they are putting together an event that will feature local authors, and Goreyesque alums, Joe Meno and Adam McOmber.

You can help round out this roster by submitting your Gorey-inspired writing and artwork to To be considered for participation in the reading event on April 29th, you must submit your work by April 4, as well as be in Chicago on the night of the event. Poems, essays, short stories, photographs, and illustrations will all be considered. Click here for more info. Please note that the literary journal accepts Gorey-inspired submissions on an ongoing basis for future publication, so feel free to mine your macabre side even as the seasons (attempt to) change.

Danette Chavez / Comments (0)

Gapers Block presents Tuesday Funk, Chicago's ecclectic monthly reading series.



Sat Apr 19 2014
20x2 Chicago @ Schubas

Wed Apr 23 2014
World Book Night @ W&CF

Fri Apr 25 2014
Applied Words: Voices of Protest

About GB Book Club

Book Club is the literary section of Gapers Block, covering Chicago's authors, poets and literary events. More...

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