At the very first Essay Fiesta performance on Nov. 16, 2009, founders Keith Ecker and Alyson Lyon didn’t know what to expect. They’d invited a handful of writers they knew to read essays for strangers they hoped would come out for it, at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square. The pair were in then-uncharted territory, seeking an audience for the live performance of written essays and first-person narratives. Live literature was new and Chicago, now the art form’s epicenter, was the wild west.
Imagine a town based on the concept of hedonism: “A place to find your happy,” as PleasureTown’s fictional co-founder Cyrus might say. This is the foundation upon which PleasureTown, Oklahoma originated. This fictional utopia is the focus of the WBEZ podcast of the same name, created by live literature veterans Keith Ecker and Erin Kahoa. Kahoa took the time to sit down with the Addison Recorder to talk about the show and about why you should start listening now.
If you’ve ever wanted to see if joining Chicago’s live lit scene is for you, you can find out in a stage setting anxiety-free this fall. Story Club host and founder Dana Norris is continuing a series of storytelling shows and classes at 7 p.m. Sept. 10 and Oct. 20 at Holiday Club on N. Sheridan Rd.