2014’s been a busy year! Because of this, we’re looking back on things we did or didn’t like in the year, as well as looking forward to what has already gotten us excited for 2015. This is the first part of the series, where we talk about our favorite discoveries of the year.
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.
Chicago’s live literature scene just became available in a new format, in case you haven’t made your way to a show in person.
Now readers can peruse stories online, all of which have been performed before a live audience, thanks to Story Club Magazine. The quarterly magazine released its premiere issue last week, made up of stories performed not just at Story Club Chicago, but other live lit events in the area. It also features stories from performances in other cities, including those at Story Club Boston and Story Club Minneapolis.
“We’re spreading the gospel of live lit a little wider,” said Dana Norris, Story Club founder and producer.