Spoken word or live lit, a growing literary art scene across Chicago, is now coming to Beverly/Morgan Park. The Green Mill has Paper Machete, Lincoln Square has Essay Fiesta, The Hideout has Funny Ha-Ha, and now, thanks to the vision of Morgan Park resident and writer Scott Smith, our community will have The Frunchroom.
This past summer, Scott met with fellow writers Dmitry Samarov, Chuck Sudo, and Bill Savage at Horse Thief Hollow to pitch a southside reading series, one that explores southside culture and history, both the positive and negative, and the sharing of stories from a variety of perspectives. Live lit is difficult to find south of Bridgeport, but following the success of the Beverly Art Walk in October, it was apparent there is an appetite and an audience for arts programming.
This past December, Smith partnered with the Beverly Area Arts Alliance in organizing the New Year’s Eve Speakeasy event at a temporary gallery space provided by Peter Lawler. The highlight of the evening was readings by local writers, Adrienne Samuels Gibbs, Grace Kuikman, Erin Shea Smith, and Scott Smith. According to Scott, the Speakeasy was the perfect demo of a live lit event in Beverly, and it was a great success. This grassroots effort attracted a full house—a lively and receptive audience.
Scott soon met with members of the Alliance to discuss developing a quarterly reading series. He spearheaded a plan to bring together a mixture of experienced live lit readers along with those who haven’t done a live reading before. These stories might be fiction, non-fiction, funny, emotional, personal, reported or somewhere in-between. Some nights might have a theme. Others might end up combining words with music.
For many artists and writers, a great project needs a great title, and in this case, the first suggestion, made by Sal Campbell of the Alliance, made perfect sense. The Frunchroom. According to Scott, “The Frunchroom is where readers, writers, artists, and performers share their stories in the same way your friends and family sat around in their own frunchr…er, front rooms and did the same.” The speakers for this first event were either born on or are living on the South Side of Chicago, including Adrienne Samuels Gibbs, an arts and entertainment writer, Natalie Moore, reporter, WBEZ, and author, Jen Sabella, director of social media and engagement, DNAinfo Chicago, Dmitry Samarov, painter and writer, and Chuck Sudo, writer and editor.
The Frunchroom will be held at O’Rourke’s Office, 11064 S. Western. Event organizers are hoping to attract a mixture of locals and folks from the northside who attend live it events such as this, as well as those who just need an excuse to come to Beverly to experience our arts uprising. The inaugural event is April 16th, 7:30pm. The event is free, however, donations are welcome. Planning is underway for the next edition; details will be announced on the 16th. For more information, contact Scott Smith, email@example.com, or Monica Wilczak at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://thefrunchroom.com/ or www.beverlyarts.org.