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Events Wed Aug 27 2014

Indie Publication Stare Celebrated with Exhibit and New Issue

Stare was an independent publication released from 1976 to 1991 by artist, print maker and teacher Kevin Riordan. The publication collected irreverent, arresting graphic art and writing with equal attention to how it was printed and bound. To celebrate Stare's legacy, Riordan approached Spudnik Press to host the exhibit Recombinant Stare. The show includes issues of the magazine as well as books, posters, press sheets, and photographs. It brings together recent and selected works by some of Stare's contributors, including Wayne Bertola, Mike Brehm, Elroy Christy, Peter Hannan, Jean Riordan and the late Fritz Wolfmeyer. The exhibit will also be the impetus for a new publication, the first in over two decades, curated by Riordan.

In order to fully understand the scope of Stare, I emailed its creator for an interview. Riordan discusses his printing process and the subsequent release parties thrown over the years. He talks of lofts spaces, early punk bands, and DIY printing. In doing so, he also provides a glimpse into the history of Chicago's independent print community. This is a tremendous story of a passionate artist and how he made his publication come to life.

Continue reading this entry »

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Aug 22 2014

Bookmarks

Tonight! Union Street Gallery hosts open mic "Union Street Beats," for any and all poets looking for an audience, 6:30 pm.

Tonight! Tallgrass Writers Guild presents original work around the theme "Dressing Up," at the Book Cellar, 7 pm.

Tonight! New-York-based sketch troupe and YouTube masters The Harvard Sailing Team makes an appearance at Beat Kitchen, 7:30 pm.

Saturday! Scrape together some scratch paper at Columbia's Papermaker's Garden with The Chicago 77. Organizers suggest bringing an article of clothing to be made into paper pulp, 10 am - 3 pm.

Saturday! Check out lady-driven live-lit series "The Kates," at the Book Cellar, 7 pm.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Author Thu Aug 21 2014

What Feminism Is Doing Wrong

cover_bad_feminist.jpgGlancing at Roxane Gay's latest title, Bad Feminist, I cannot help but imagine someone with a rolled up newspaper, whapping well-meaners on the nose: "Bad feminist! Baaad feminist. Look what you did!"

Now take that picture and imagine that, instead of a newspaper, Gay is wielding a rolled up zeitgeist: all the news, TV, film, music, and literature that have managed to slip through the cracks. (To pull an example from the book, Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" became a song. A popular song. Let's all take a moment to wonder how that happened.)

Wrapped in hilarious prose, Bad Feminist is a lab experiment in media dissection. Throughout the anthology, Gay employs dry wit to pick apart thirty-plus essays worth of cultural phenomena; and when not making case studies of Girls or The Help, she analyzes feminism as a whole and its exclusionary tendencies. What does it mean, she asks, to be a woman of color and a feminist? What does it mean to be queer and be feminist?

This Wednesday, August 27th, Roxane will be reading and discussing Bad Feminist at Women & Children First (5233 N. Clark St.) at 7:30 pm. Stop by to chip away at those pieces of culture that subtly undermine feminism -- and maybe to love-bash The Bachelor.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Aug 15 2014

Bookmarks

Tonight! Jeff Zwirek will discuss the second edition of his graphic novel Burning Building Complex at Quimby's, 7 pm.

Tonight! The Human Thread holds its last OpenMind OpenMic at the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St, 8 pm.

Saturday and Sunday! Figment Chicago, a festival encouraging and celebrating participatory art of all kinds, comes to Jefferson Memorial Park, 10 am - 6 pm both days.

Saturday! Local memoirist Mary Byrne Eigel hosts writing workshop, "Mining Your Soul Story," at Equilibrium Energy & Education Center, 9 am.

Saturday! The Dollhouse Reading Series, a BYOB Poetrypalooza, returns for another monthly installment, 7:30 pm.

Sunday! Curbside Splendor's Naomi Huffman and Leah Pickett host the August installment of THE MARROW at Punch House, 1227 W. 18th St, 7:30 pm.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Profiles Wed Aug 13 2014

Uncanny Magazine Wants You To Rethink The Familiar

uncanny_website_banner.jpg
Image courtesy of Uncanny Magazine and Katy Shuttleworth

"Is that a unicorn...in space?" you might ask, staring at the logo (created by Katy Shuttleworth) for Uncanny Magazine, the latest endeavor by geek culture mainstays Lynne Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas. And indeed it is--the drawing symbolizes the close relationship between the science fiction and fantasy (SF/F) genres, a relationship that the Thomases will highlight in their new magazine, along with original artwork and literature. But it also represents the proximity of fandom and art, of passions and professionalism.

Uncanny will feature stories, prose, poetry and cover art in, and inspired by, the realms of science fiction and fantasy. The online magazine will be available as an eBook (.mobi, .pdf, . epub) on a bimonthly basis (first Tuesday of the month) at all major eBook stores. Each issue will be made up of original short stories, reprinted stories, poetry, interviews, and nonfiction essays. Because it will be a professional magazine, non-fiction and art work will be solicited, and paid by direct commission. The editors will publish work that reflects their commitment to diversity and representation, and will even have an open call for submissions (for fiction and poetry).

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Danette Chavez / Comments (0)

Events Mon Aug 11 2014

"Second to None" Broadcasts and Archives the Voice of Queer Chicago

second to none color cover.jpgThroughout a number of works, local writer and artist H. Melt has made a project of documenting the intersections of Chicago's history with the lives of its often overlooked transgender and queer communities. Just last year they (Melt's preferred personal pronoun) published SIRvival in the Second City, a collection of poems that emerged from within and around queer institutions such as Dyke March and Big Chicks. This month, Melt opens up the floor with the release of compilation zine Second to None: Queer and Trans Chicago Voices. It debuts with a reading and celebration this Wednesday, August 13, at Women and Children First (5233 N. Clark), at 7:30pm.

Melt seems to have curated Second to None from a place of both love and frustration. They note in the preface that "While Chicago is home to many organizations that provide social, medical, and legal services for queer and trans people, there is not enough support for writers and artists, which often forces them to move elsewhere. Our thriving, underground culture is often overlooked outside of the city." And yet, in the experience of assembling this collection, "a critical queer, nonfiction literary voice has emerged that is strongly rooted in Chicago. Several themes connect these pieces, including the need to talk more openly about race, class, and privilege, the power of community support, and of course, the experience of living in Chicago itself."

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Daphne Sidor / Comments (0)

Events Mon Aug 11 2014

Get on This, Daryl Brown (son of James Brown) at City Lit Books

On the heels of the new James Brown biopic, Daryl Brown, the son of James Brown, comes to Chicago to promote his new book, My Father, the Godfather, Thursday, Aug. 14 at 6:30pm, at City Lit Books, 2523 N. Kedzie.

As the child who got to know James Brown the most, Daryl released his memoir (co-written by Michael Chabries) which takes an in depth look at the life of his father and their relationship. Waldorf Press released the book just before the James Brown biopic hit theaters this August. The book addresses issues not touched upon in the movie, such as drug usage, adultery, and religion. "How can Universal Studios distribute a movie about my dad without even talking to those that were closest to my dad, including me?" said Daryl Brown in press for the book. As son of the famous Godfather of Soul, Daryl toured with his father for eight years and traveled the world with him. The books includes intimate details and stories from his perspective.

The event is free and open to the public. Books will be available at the event.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Aug 08 2014

Bookmarks

Tonight! Quimby's hosts Vice Versa's Breakup Party: an evening of lady-powered zine readings and lectures, featuring Julia Arredondo, Melissa Smith, and Vanessa Viruet, 7 pm.

Tonight! Are you a girl with a passion for literature and birthday suits? Naked Girls Reading is having an open call for performers at Everleigh Social Club, 7 pm.

Tonight! Meme seen round the world, Grumpy Cat, will be begrudgingly presenting The Grumpy Guide to Life at a Skokie Barnes & Noble (55 Old Orchard Center), 7 pm.

Saturday! Brain Frame Comix Reading hosts the very last installment of some truly Punk Rock Shit. You won't want to miss the grand finale at Thalia Hall, 6 pm.

Saturday! Rebecca Makkai reads from her new novel, The Hundred-Year House at the Book Cellar, 7 pm.

Sunday! Catch author Michael Goldstein at Women & Children First, where he'll be discussing his book Return of the Light.

Sunday! Leslie Perrine comes to CHI PRC for another installemtn of Zines 101: Jam Comic FunFest! $3, 1 pm.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Book Club Wed Aug 06 2014

A Match Made In Heaven, A Town Doomed to Hell

PleasureTown Founders 1.jpg
Image courtesy of PleasureTown

One man's trash is another man's treasure; one town's failed utopian experiment is a Chicago storyteller's ideal setting for a storytelling experiment. Such is the case for PleasureTown, created by live lit stalwarts Keith Ecker and Erin Kahoa. Originally a live stage production, PleasureTown has evolved into a bi-weekly podcast (in the vein of the radio serials of old), as well as a "national platform" for local writers and performers.

PleasureTown was inspired in part by the Homestead Acts of the late 19th-early 20th centuries, wherein the U.S. government offered as many as 160 acres of land to families of settlers who were willing to "go west." It's set in PleasureTown, Oklahoma, a fictional town whose rise and fall is documented by the vignettes created, and voiced, by members of Chicago's live lit and storytelling communities, such as Ian Belknap, Don Hall, and Willy Nast. But the show isn't resting on the laurels of its established performers: there's an interactive element on the website, and even a call for submissions.

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Danette Chavez / Comments (0)

Author Wed Aug 06 2014

Some of the Most Punk Rock Shit I've Ever Seen In My Life

Thumbnail image for TK6A6081.jpg

Lyra Hill, creator of the anarchic and elaborate live comics series Brain Frame, has dark hair and round eyes. She often looks tired as she is, often, tired these days.

She speaks with her hands clasped, and looks at those who speak to her with expectation and attention. Standing atop the stage at the historic, newly restored Thalia Hall she is unmistakably a person in charge.

The interior is massive and neo-gothic. The theater chairs that make up its balcony once belonged to a middle school auditorium. The folding chairs above, rumor has it, were at one point courtside seats for the Lakers. Its stage recalls the Phantom of the Opera and Amadeus - in fact, the entire structure has the feel of Prague's neo-everything city center. No mistake, as it was modeled in 1892 after the Prague Opera House, a romantic, expensive-looking venue in the midst of a burgeoning, colorful neighborhood - in this case, Pilsen. Lawn chairs, plastic cones and colorful rope often impede parking on side streets.

Soon the theater will fill with people of all ilk and experience. Fans of Brain Frame are diverse: in the hour Lyra and company scout the space, most mention is made of whose parents are coming (5 of 8 performers present). However, Brain Frame's 3rd Anniversary/Grand Finale show (Brain Frame 19) will likely draw a crowd larger than the average middle school recital. This "homage to ancestral experimentation" is a sort of rite in Chicago. Commonly acknowledged as a "live comix reading", BF nevertheless doesn't shy from ambiguity.

At lunch months earlier, I offer Gertrude Stein as a comparison.
"It's like a salon," I propose. She shrugs.
"Yeah."

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Alex Thompson / Comments (0)

Events Wed Aug 06 2014

Baltimore Breakin' Up Is Hard to Do

For all the lonely hearts who've experienced summer romance go south for the winter, don't fret. This Friday, Aug. 8, Quimby's Bookstore at 1854 W. North hosts a Break Up Party with Vice Versa Press author Julia Arredondo and her new zine Baltimore Breakups: A Pop-Up Memoir.

breakups4.jpgBaltimore resident Arredondo is no stranger to writing about dating, as her past works include zines: Guide to Dating Gangsters Vol. 1 and Guide to Being Alone. Her casual tone delivers the straight dish on heartbreak. This memoir zine, constructed as a pop-up book, resonates a little deeper with imagery jumping out as you flip through the pages.

Also reading will be local fashion icon Vanessa Viruet and relationship eulogist Melissa Smith.

Zines will be available for sale. The event is free and all ages. The tears begins to fall at 7pm. Its BYOT (Bring your own tissue).

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Events Tue Aug 05 2014

How to Trick a Writer

"A writer," Thomas Mann once noted, "is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." For me, at least, the blank page is a tundra, inhospitable and endless, and one inches toward it only while calculating escape routes -- I can go back to this minimized Chrome window at any time; if I get stuck I can stop at 9 o'clock.

page.jpgTo help generate the courage needed to charge across it, local author Jac Jemc (My Only Wife) has devised a workshop called Fooling Ourselves (Into Writing), which she'll offer this Saturday, August 9, at the Chicago Publishers Resource Center (858 N. Ashland) at 1 p.m. Over the course of three hours, she'll delve into tactics such as creating "language banks" and accessing "gluts of memory" to get unstuck. The workshop fee is $25, although another generous source of writerly bravery -- Jemc's own rejections blog -- is free.

Daphne Sidor / Comments (0)

Events Mon Aug 04 2014

Two Cookie Minimum Kicks Off its 4th Year Tomorrow

Reading series Two Cookie Minimum kicks off its 4th year tomorrow, Tuesday August 5th, 9pm at Hungry Brain 2319 W. Belmont.

For the last four years, this series has provided a stage for emerging talent, notably those who self-publish books, zines and indie comics. This month's lineup features the talents of writer Franki Jo Beckwith, sketch comedy performer Tom Simmons, indie comic artist Ian McDuffie, writer John Wilmes, and zinester Josh Piotrowski (aka GAS MASK HORSE).

Keeping with the series' name, there will be free cookies. Get there by 9 so you can snag a seat and a plate (and bring some friends to share with). There is no cover.

John Wawrzaszek / Comments (0)

Bookmarks Fri Aug 01 2014

Bookmarks

Another weekly installment of what the weekend has in store for lit lovers:

Tonight! Author Tom Lukas will be at the Book Cellar reading from his debut novel, Special Operations, 7 pm.

Saturday! Beloved weekly live lit show Paper Machete introduces some new players this Saturday with the first show of their Fresh Meat series. Head over to the Green Mill to check out the new blood's debuts. (Don't worry, although he's a regular Chad the Bird will still be making an appearance.) 3 pm.

Saturday! Live lit show You're Being Ridiculous returns to Mary's Attic (above Hamburger Mary's) for their August show. This month, expect a fantastic line-up of readers who promise to be absurd, over-the-top, and absolutely positively ridiculous, $15, 7:30 pm.

Sunday! The Book Cellar brings us more authorial goodness with readings from The Hundred-Year House, a new novel by Rebecca Makkai, 7 pm.

Sunday! Test your judgment of fact or fiction with the Truth or Lie reading series. This weekend's show, to be held at Firecat Projects, features six readers presenting either a true story or total hooey. Is it true? That's up to you, 7:30 pm.

Sunday! Formerly known as Here's the Story, live lit show and potluck dinner Here, Chicago will return to Stage 773 for an evening of tales and tapas. Check out their website to learn more about the readers in store, and try your hand at cooking up a dish for the potluck! $8 or free with a potluck dish, 7:30 pm.

Miden Wood / Comments (0)

Author Tue Jul 29 2014

Lawrence Santoro, Chicago Writer Known for His Gifted Storytelling & Resonant Voice, Dies at 71

Lawrence SantoroBy Sally Duros

Lawrence P. Santoro, the amicable and talented creative man-about-town who worked in Chicago theater as a director, actor and dramaturge until finding his distinct voice as a writer of dark fiction died on Friday, July 25 in his Chicago apartment. He was 71.

He died from cancer of the duodenum, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

"Larry was patient and a great teacher, and he made lifelong friendships with our motley crowd (of amateurs)," said Ted Allen, host of the TV series "Chopped," who was directed by Santoro as a key cast member of the Chicago Gridiron Show, an annual benefit for the scholarship fund of the Society of Professional Journalists. "I'll always miss him and think of him fondly, and will always remember the Gridiron show as one of the most fun times of my life, largely because of him."

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Book Club / Comments (0)

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

 

Events

Sat Aug 30 2014
Recombinant Stare Opening @ Spudnik Press

Tue Sep 2 2014
Two Cookie Minimum @ Hungry Brain

Tue Sep 2 2014
Tuesday Funk @ Hopleaf



About GB Book Club

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

Editor: Miden Wood, miden@gapersblock.com
Book Club staff inbox: bookclub@gapersblock.com

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