Summer is simmering down into the last long nights of September, a perfect time to expand your literary event horizons. Check out a new reading series in a neighborhood you haven’t frequented before. Defy your comfort zone with an open mic. Let the rhythms of slam poetry inspire you to create form- and genre-bending work that transcends expectations. Here are a few events to get you started!
Truth or Lie - September 3, 7:30-10:00 p.m.
What’s fiction but lying well? Truth or Lie, a fiction and nonfiction reading couched at Bucktown’s Firecat Gallery (2124 N. Damen Ave.), is prepared to string you along with five to six stories—fiction or nonfiction, you be the judge. The show, which runs 7:30-10:00 p.m. on the first Sunday of every month, is free and BYOB. Can we trust you not to miss it?
The Uptown Poetry Slam - Every Sunday, September 3-24, 7:00-10:00 p.m.
This weekly slam event is probably older than you, boasting a lineup at 7:00 p.m. every Sunday night since 1986—but when was the last time you even saw a slam show, let alone got up onstage yourself? The Uptown Poetry Slam boasts an open mic, featured readers, and an end-of-the-night slam competition (winner gets $10 and bragging rights). As if the history and the poetry weren’t enough, the venue is Chicago’s undeniably cool Green Mill Cocktail Lounge (4802 N. Broadway), making the show 21+ with a $7 cover.
Do Not Submit Open Mic - Various locations and times September 4-27
Looking for a place to read your latest writing that won’t drag you too far from home? Do Not Submit might just be the solution, with open mics popping up throughout the month on various dates and at locations across Chicagoland. Check out their schedule here!
Barack Obama: Invisible Man by David Masciotra at City Lit Books - September 6, 6:30 p.m.
If you’re in the mood for a heady look back at the good ol’ days of pre-Trump Administration America, this author event at City Lit Books will satiate your intellectual cravings. Writer, lecturer, and cultural critic David Masciotra will read from his new book, Barack Obama: Invisible Man. The nonfiction work examines Obama’s life and political career, contending that his status as the U.S.’s first black president obscured our view of him as a man and a leader. Hosted by City Lit Books (2523 N. Kedzie Blvd.), the event will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Reading Under the Influence - September 6, 7:00-9:30 p.m.
Ever a Chicagoland favorite, this monthly reading series/trivia contest is back again, this time with the theme of Rejoice, “because there’s still plenty to smile about and we want you to remember that.” September’s RUI lineup features stories from Suzanne Clores, Jen Pimlott, Tyler Benjamin Prinz, and Randy Richardson. The reading, which runs 7:30-9:30 p.m., has a $3 cover and is 21+ due to its blissfully boozy location in the back room of Sheffield’s Beer and Wine Garden (3258 N. Sheffield Ave).
In One Ear - Every Wednesday September 6-27, 9:00-10:00 p.m.
Boasting the title of Chicago’s 3rd longest-running open mic show, In One Ear is hosted every Wednesday night at 9:00 p.m. by Pete Wolf and Billy Tuggle at Heartland Cafe (7000 N. Glenwood Ave.) on the far north side. The event is 18+ and has a $3 cover. So, polish up something to share and get to reading!
Here, Chicago - September 24, 7:30 p.m.
Here, Chicago brings together professional and first-time performers to tell their stories and share a potluck dinner in the name of finding common ground. The show takes place at Stage 773 (1225 W. Belmont Ave.) and tickets are either $11 or free with a food dish to share. Check out their mission, learn how to get your name on the storytellers’ list, and reserve tickets here!