Tuesday Funk : Debriefings : Page 6

March debriefing


Look outs, Ella! Snow Monster iz hongree!
It was a small but hardy crowd that braved the roaring snow to make it out to this week's edition of Tuesday Funk. The thirty-odd folks in attendance were treated to a strong program featuring some returning readers, some first-timers, a whole lot of laughs, and maybe a sniffle or two. (Hey, it's cold out, okay?)

We kicked off the festivities with Dana Norris, who brought us a painfully funny reminiscence of her quest to lose her fear of hell. Mairead Case followed that up with a tantalizing excerpt from her novel-in-progress about teenagers in a small midwestern town. And Zoe Zolbrod took us through the Thai countryside on a quest for sex and opium in her essay "Pai Foot," from The Beautiful Anthology.

After a break for beer, our Poem by Bill was "Time Is Not on My Side." Bill followed that up (subbing in for a travel-stranded Lania Knight) with a chapter from his recently completed young-adult science fiction novel, Root, which is set right here in Tuesday Funk's very own Chicago neighborhood. (Or is it?) And CP Chang brought the scripted portion of the show to a lovely, contemplative close with his meditation on race and belonging, "Tribes," from the 2nd Story anthology Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck.

It was then that we bid a fond and slightly choked-up farewell to our departing co-host Sara Ross Witt, who will now be focusing more on her own writing (and who will next be appearing on our program as a reader on May 7th!). Thanks for all the great work, Sara, and we look forward to what you'll produce in the months to come.

All in all, it was a program that seemed to delight our (unusually polite) audience, but if you couldn't be there don't despair. We'll bring you plenty of video excerpts in the weeks to come, and then we'll be back Tuesday, April 2, 2013, with a program featuring Mary Robinette Kowal, Jeremy Jasper, Wesley Chu, Reagan Keeter, and Tuesday Funk co-founder Reinhardt Suarez, not to mention the debut appearance of our new co-host, Gapers Block's Andrew Huff. Don't miss it!

And like Bill exhorted us Tuesday night, don't procrastinate.

February debriefing


Bracelet found discarded in alley
It was a packed house that turned out earlier this week to witness our Not Your Parents' Valentines Day Edition of Tuesday Funk, among our best audiences ever, and they were treated to what we can only describe as the most outrageous program we've ever, er, mounted.

Our celebration of love both pure and profane kicked off with Gina Frangello, who pitted Intelligent Woman against Beautiful Woman in her story "What You See," from The Beautiful Anthology. Mary Pat Bohan raised the stakes with a catalog of all the baggage she brings to romantic relationships, and why there's no room for more. And Patricia Ann McNair rounded out the first half with her affecting true story of parental love and loss, "Return Trip," from the 2nd Story anthology Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck.

After a break for beer, and a couple of super-secret announcements we'll be telling you more about in the weeks to come, co-host William Shunn brought us our monthly Poem by Bill, a sonnet for his wife entitled "14 Februarys." Hanna Martine upped the ante for the second half of the program with a spicy excerpt from her novel A Taste of Ice that caused at least one audience member to issue a hoarse "Thank you!" And finally, John Everson shattered all bounds of propriety and stomped the shards into the ground with his enthusiastic reading of his short story "Cheerleader for the Labia."

We're still mulling over exactly how much of the video we shot that evening we can offer here on the site. Keep your eyes open. But in the meantime, if you couldn't be there don't despair. We'll be back Tuesday, March 5, 2013, with a program featuring Mairead Case, CP Chang, Lania Knight, Dana Norris, and Zoe Zolbrod.

Until then, dear Funkers, won't you be our Valentine?

Bill calls Tuesday Funk to order (photo by Kevin Swallow)

January debriefing


If you weren't at Tuesday Funk's New Year's Day edition last night, then you missed out on a most convivial evening that took unexpected turns down fantastic byways both light and dark.

We kicked things off with a hilarious and blasphemous excerpt from Christopher Sweet's science fiction novel-in-progress. Sondra Morin, mere days from moving to Massachusetts, read us several powerful poems. And Julie Ganey recounted her delightful tale of children's susceptibility to fantasy, "When the Fairies Came," featured in the 2nd Story anthology Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck

Tuesday Funk in the Chicago Sun-Times (January 1, 2013)

After a break for beer, our Poem by Bill was "Smoke," an ode to writing and whiskey. Gapers Block editor Andrew Huff took us on an evocative odyssey as he gave us "Directions Home." And finally, co-host William Shunn took us on a guided tour through the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City, in his essay "The Fanatic in the Street."

It was a great evening, but don't fret if you couldn't be there. We'll be bringing you video of our readings over the weeks to come, and we'll be back February 5th with our Not Your Parents' Valentine's Day Edition. The program will feature Mary Pat Bohan, John Everson, Gina Frangello, Hanna Martine, and Patricia Ann McNair. Don't miss it!

December debriefing


Chicago Hellmouth. And so the end begins. If you were at Tuesday Funk this week, then you know something very special happened. And we're not just talking about that extra closeness you experienced with your neighbors in the jam-packed upstairs lounge at Hopleaf. We're talking about what happened behind the microphone, and sister, was it something.

We started off strong out of the gate with
Jodi Eichelberger's tale of being the lone audience member at a solo mime/dance performance in London. Maggie Kast followed that will a powerful novel excerpt about a young Chicago activist arriving in Alabama for the infamous Scottsboro trials of 1931. And Stephen Markley's brought the house down with his gonzo, hallucinogen-assisted reportage from the Republican debate that dashed Rick Perry's presidential hopes.

After a break for beer, co-host William Shunn busted out this month's Poem by Bill, "Like Writing a Bicycle." Then we rounded out the evening with two remarkable selections from the new 2nd Story anthology Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck. There was not a dry eye in the house as co-editor Andrew Reilly wrapped up his story of a vacation romance in India, and every knuckle in the place was white while Julia Borcherts explained what brought her and her infant daughter to the scene of a gruesome late-night murder in 1981.

Funk #52 was truly the Funk by which all future Funks will be judged.

But if you weren't there, don't despair. We'll be bringing you video clips from the evening over the days to come, after which we'll be back January 1st, New Year's Day, with a great lineup featuring Julie Ganey, Sondra Morin, Christopher Sweet, William Shunn, and more. Don't miss it!

November debriefing


Now I can turn off the news til Election Day.

Last night was Election Night, and we know you've been waiting with bated breath to find out what happened. So without further ado, here's a recap of last night's events ... from the Election Night Edition of Tuesday Funk at Hopleaf Bar!

We started things off with a delightfully bloody tale of young were-beasts from repeat reader Kelly Swails. Next, B. E. Pinkham took us through the emotional process of coming to terms with a child's autism. And then our write-in candidate, host William Shunn, brought us some "Strong Medicine" from the environs of Washington, D.C., in the year 2037.

After a break for beer, we enjoyed some "Tasting Notes," this month's Poem by Bill. Then followed a second half that we cheekily called "The Jesus and Mary Chain," in which Mary Lorenz brought us a heartfelt and hilarious tale of her teenage flirtation with Christianity, followed by Mary Zemaitis's heartfelt and hilarious tale of her teenage flirtation with Christianity. I mean, what are the chances?

Oh, right, and then some guy named Barry won some election.

But if you weren't present last night to hear from your favorite candidate, don't despair. We'll be bringing you video clips from the evening over the days to come, after which we'll be back December 4th with a great lineup featuring Julia Borcherts, CP Chang, Maggie Kast, Stephen Markley, and Derek Silver. Don't miss it!

October debriefing


Ready for the ball You're forgiven if you decided to take a pass on out most recent episode of Tuesday Funk at Hopleaf—our United States of Horror edition. Yes, in honor of the ghastly month of October, we presented an evening of horror stories by local Chicago, and there wasn't an unchilled spine in the house.

We started things off with Stoker Award winner John Everson, who brought us not only an excerpt from his terrifying new novel NightWhere, but also read us the story of a young man who pays a steep price for his decidedly unnatural attachments to pumpkins. And then Cynthia (cina) Pelayo, made us think as well as cringe with a pair of shivery and evocative stories from her fine collection Loteria.

And finally, after a break for beer, The Colin & Ishmael Players presented us with a Tuesday Funk first—an extended live dramatic reading of co-host William Shunn's creepy horror tale "Colin and Ishmael in the Dark."

But if you missed out, don't despair. We'll be bringing you haunting video clips from the evening over the days leading up to Halloween, and then we'll be back on November 6th with our Election Night Edition featuring Jac Jemc, Mary Lorenz, B. E. Pinkham, Kelly Swails, and Mary Zemaitis.. Be sure cast your vote that night ... for Tuesday Funk!

Second September debriefing


Sassy parking meter. Tuesday Funk, in association with the wildly successful new Chicago Writers Conference, put on a terrific reading event this past Friday night at Open Books in Chicago's River North. If you've come to expect the unexpected from Tuesday Funk, then you probably weren't surprised about being surprised about some of the surprises that were sprung upon that evening.

After some introductory remarks about the great work that Open Books does and about our sponsorship partner the Chicago Writers Association, Patricia Skalka kicked things off for us with a noirish, engrossing scene from her Wisconsin-set mystery novel, Death in Door County. Host William Shunn followed that up with the stream-of-consciousness narrative of an old woman awakening in a new robotic body, "Find the Gray Triangle." And Rachel Wilson brought us a poignant chapter from her forthcoming debut young adult novel, Don't Touch.

Our Poem by Bill, "Telegraph," was composed on a topic provided by CWC backer Tina Woelke—"reading." M. Salahuddin Khan followed that up with a powerful excerpt from his novel Sikander, about a young Afghani mujahid who must live with the reality of his first killing. And Mary Robinette Kowal, after an emotional epistolary story about resurrection from the dead, startled and delighted our audience with a shadow puppet play from the 17th century.

People, this is the sort of thing you miss when you miss Tuesday Funk! But don't despair. We'll be bringing you videos from the evening over the next couple of weeks, and then we'll be back on October 2nd with our United States of Horror Edition featuring John Everson, Cynthia (cina) Pelayo, and The Colin & Ishmael Players. Be sure to join us!

September debriefing


Just dropped over to pick up Planet of the Apes Annual #1. (Hi, @darylwriterguy!) Greetings, Funkers! I know I say it time and time again, but if you missed this week's Science Fiction Edition of Tuesday Funk, you missed a hell of a good show.

First Gregory A. Wilson kicked things off in grand style with a tale that revealed the humanity at the heart of a mechanical man. Dapper Rajan Khanna then took us for some mind-bending and strangely costly travel through the secret doors that lurk in places we'd rather not look. And Adam Rakunas summoned us to the principal's office for a hilariously profane dressing-down that could only be forestalled by internet porn.

After our intermission break for beer at the bar, co-host William Shunn, in his latest Poem By Bill, brought the house down with his rhyming, rapping tale of a "Grand Motherfucker." Rae Carson followed that up with aplomb, bringing us the story of a girl who awakens after five days into a world that has changed in vivid and terrifying ways. And Daryl Gregory brought us a beautiful story in which the persistence of vision is made heartbreakingly literal.

But if you missed out, don't despair. We'll be bringing you plenty of video from the evening over the next few weeks, and we'll be back on Friday, September 14th, with our Chicago Writers Conference Special Edition, featuring M. Salahuddin Khan, Patricia Skalka, Rachel Wilson, William Shunn, and Mary Robinette Kowal. Be sure to join us!

August debriefing


Sending 2010 packing in style, w/@chavoen, the whisky to my beer. Every episode of Tuesday Funk at Hopleaf seems to feature some emergent, unintended theme, and Tuesday night's show was no exception. The major theme seemed to be old men, with subthemes of brown liquor and Martian exploration. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Jesse Jordan kicked things off for us with an intriguing and somewhat painful excerpt from his new novel Gospel Hollow. Chicago Magazine's Scott Smith followed that up with a wonderful meditation on growing old, setting the evening's themes in motion (see video below), after which Holly McDowell brought us a poignant and thrilling chapter from her serial novel King Solomon's Wives.

After a break for beer, co-host William Shunn broke with tradition by reading not a poem but instead a brief essay about Curiosity Rover. Next, co-host Sara Ross Witt delivered a powerful short story about a factory town in decline. And Stacy Bierlein brought the old man theme full circle with a wonderfully steamy story from her new collection A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends.

But if you missed out, don't despair. We'll be bringing you more video from the evening over the next few weeks, and then we'll be back on September 4th with our Chicago Post-Worldcon Science Fiction Spectacular featuring Daryl Gregory, Rae Carson, Rajan Khanna, Gregory A. Wilson, and Adam Rakunas. Be sure to join us!

June debriefing


Rabbit & Dumplings Our latest edition of Tuesday Funk at Hopleaf was a real humdinger. Were our audience members trying to hold onto their dinners because they were laughing so hard, or was there some other reason? If you weren't there, I'm afraid, you may never know.

The memorable evening started out strong with fiction from Jennifer Schaefer, poems from Kristin Lueke, and a sweet, affecting memoir from Dion Walton.

But after a break for beer and a biking poem by Bill—well, that's where the evening took a turn for the indelible. Seriously, we don't think anyone who heard it will ever forget the personal essay by Samantha Irby that brought the house down. We wish, seriously, that we could show it all to you, and not just the excerpt you'll find below, but it was so scorchingly vile that it must have broken our camera, because somehow the audio track became corrupted. We could only salvage the last few lines from Sam's reading, but we think you'll find that it conveys the, er, flavor of the piece quite well.

No one could possibly have followed that reading, but somehow Alex Shakar managed it, with an engrossing chapter from his L.A. Times Book Prize-winning novel Luminarium. We look forward to sharing that video with you soon.

So that's it—a Tuesday Funk for the ages. But if you missed it, don't fret. After a break in July, we'll be back on August 7th with our guests Stacy Bierlein, Jesse Jordan, Holly McDowell, Scott Smith, and our own Sara Ross Witt. Be sure to join us! The airsickness bags will be optional.

Tuesday Funk

About Us

Tuesday Funk is an eclectic Chicago reading series, hosted by Andrew Huff and Eden Robins, showcasing a monthly mix of fiction, poetry, essays and performance. Join us next on Tuesday, October 3, 7:30 p.m. at Hopleaf, 5148 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640. Admission is free.

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