While Saturday and Sunday's Printers Row Lit Fest hogs most of this weekend's literary events, the regulars remain (Paper Machete, P. Fanatics) along with Bad Grammar, Applied Words, and two author appearances on Friday.
Friday, June 8th
Bad Grammar @ Bad Grammar Theater
(1743 S. Halsted)
Hosted by Brendan Detzner (Jagged Glass Ballet), Bad Grammar reading series seems to be the only lit-related event among the primarily visual art exhibits that comprise the Chicago Arts District’s 2nd Fridays. Burgeoning and established authors will be reading original works every half hour from 6 to 9 p.m. in an atmosphere one attendee describes as “comforting and inviting.” Guests are welcome to join and depart as wanted with no cover. Detzner encourages fledgling authors to participate, assuring that reading to a live audience will raise your personal standards as you’re writing at your desk, in bed, in an Annie Dillard inspired tool shed, library nook or mentally arranging the words as you walk like Emerson and Nietzsche. The feedback of an objective audience can be invaluable. But Bad Grammar isn’t just a place for writers; the audience is guaranteed entertainment listening to works that range from Brandon Sichling’s poem, “Let’s Hear it For Menstruation,” to the story of a drug dealer weighted with guilt, believing it was he who killed his generation’s beloved Kurt Cobain. Expect a great time.
Michael Robbins @ 57th Street Books
(1301 E. 57th St.)
At 6 p.m., Robbins will read from his latest poetry collection, Alien vs. Predator which has received rave reviews from The New York Times as well as “such wide-ranging publications like The Financial Times and Entertainment Weekly.” In this week’s “Lit 50” edition of New City, the poet ranked #38 among 49 other of Chicago’s most talented writers.
Gil Scott Heron—Passages, Interludes, Subtext n’ Understandin’ @ Epxerimental Station
(6100 S. Blackstone Ave.)
Guild Literary Complex’s “Applied Words” series hosts an “evening of poetry, music and discussion of the legendary poet/musician/activist” from 7-10 p.m. Speakers and performers include Dr. Carol Adams, singer and performer Maggie Brown (daughter of Oscar Brown, Jr.), poet and visual artist Krista Franklin, ethnomusicologist Travis Jackson, poet and performer Keith M. Kelley, poet Quraysh Ali Lansana, senior editor of In These Times—Salim Muwakkil, Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies at UIC David Stovall, and writer Avery R. Young. Mario is scheduled to emcee and “hip-hop based power group,” The Primeridian, will be performing as well. Scroll down on the “Event info” link below for full bios of these impressive individuals.
Richard Russo @ Women & Children First
(5233 N. Clark St.)
Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls and Bridge of Sighs, is set to present his latest work at 7 p.m.. The four-volume set of novellas, titled Interventions, is a collaborative effort with his daughter Kate Russo, the artist.
Saturday, June 9th
Printers Row Lit Fest
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Paper Machete @ Ricochet’s Tavern
(4644 N. Lincoln Ave.)
At this free "live magazine" occurring every Saturday at 3 p.m., local writer Christopher Piatt hosts a slew of comedians, journalists, storytellers, and musical guests as they discuss "pop culture, current events, and American manners." Often featuring some of Chicago's major talent, The Chicago Reader named Paper Machete the "Best Comedy Varietry Show of 2011." Be sure to note the change in venue: due to Ribfest, Paper Machete will be at Ricochet’s Tavern this weekend NOT The Horshoe. Featured readers include Dyan Flores, John Glynn, Ebony Joy, Conner O’Malley, and Tim Sniffen.
Sunday, June 10th
Printers Row Lit Fest
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Piss Fanatics Reading Series Presents: Why Would Anyone Want to Go to a Reading? @ Cole’s Bar
(2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
At 7:30 p.m., host Mason Johnson will start open up the stage for featured performers Roger Bonair-Agard, Dan Shapiro, Stephen Tully Dierks, Tom Simmons, Cassandra Nguyen, Chris Bower, Heiko Julien, and possibly—hopefully—Franki Elliot. Hawaiian Cock Rock Presents featuring Russ Woods will provide musical entertainment and audience members will leave with a free zine curated by Stephen Tully Dierks. The zine includes works by Heiko Julien, Cassandra Nguyen, Shaun Gannon, Franki Elliot, Dierks himself, and cover art by Omar De Col.
Uptown Poetry Slam @ The Green Mill
(4802 N. Broadway Ave.)
Chicago jazz club and "former haunt of Al Capone," The Green Mill, will again offer its space to acclaimed weekly poetry slam hosted by Slam originator, Marc Smith. At 7 p.m. guests are welcome to participate in an open-mic session; 8 p.m. featured guests will take the stage; 9 p.m. the Slam Competition officially begins! There is a $6 cover.