The last Wednesday of each month, Miss Spoken, a female-centric live lit series takes place in various locations around the city. For the month of October, the meeting took place at the Gallery Cabaret in Wicker Park. As the audience—both men and women—sipped on PBRs and shockingly turned their backs to the Cubs game on a TV in the corner, the women that shared their own stories on the evening’s theme: gossip.
For reader Takelya Weathers, gossip reminded her of middle and elementary school and a secret book—what she considered to be a real-life predecessor to the infamous burn book in Mean Girls. “This was pre-internet,” she said, pointing out that before Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and the plethora of other thought-sharing and micro-blogging sites that exist, hand-to-hand notes and secret books were the only way to get information from friend to friend (other than a single-landline telephone placed somewhere inconvenient for secret-sharing.)
Anjali Waikar, shared about how gossip was in her blood. Her family, being Indian she said, thrived off the drama that ensued in their family and community. She reminisced that her senior quote—the mantra that will forever live by her face in her high school yearbook, immortalizing her in a single phrase—was a Barbara Walters quote that reads: “Show me someone who never gossips, and I will show you someone who is not interested in people." Snooping around in other people’s business caused her to find out a coworker was being unfaithful to her husband and a rumor being circulated about Waikar’s sexuality led her to decide once and for all that gossip and rumors—things that her culture and experience had made her believe were good—were in fact harmful and not what she called “good shit.”
Carly Oishi, one of the founders of Miss Spoken on what was her final Miss Spoken reading, shared a piece devoted entirely to debunking gossip, and the power of rumors to harm relationships. She told anecdotes of how she had lost a friend after she spoke out about being assaulted by a mutual friend of theirs; how she angered a friend over a Facebook post saying that friend’s wedding was a less-than-enjoyable event; and how after asking a man to drinks she waited weeks to respond—only to receive a “no.” She then went into a list of all the secrets she wished she had revealed sooner—it was her last show after all—and shared some of her deeper secrets before ending with the realization that the point of gossip is other people’s secrets, not your own, and she should’ve left the audience with some juicy details of other people’s lives—real or imagined—instead.
If there’s a chance this event didn’t sound like your cup of tea, Miss Spoken’s readings have a different theme each month—with November’s theme being “Rites of Passage.” Why not let loose on a Wednesday night and listen to badass women talk about their experiences while you sip on cheap alcohol?