Writing doesn’t always have to be about sitting with pen and paper or typing out into a word document. It can be enjoyed by listening to hilariously told and almost unbelievably true stories from Story Club Chicago held on the first Thursday of every month at Uncommon Ground.Enter into a remarkably dimly lit restaurant, practically yell over the noise of the bustling venue that you’re there for Story Club Chicago, and the hostess will guide you (with four menus in hand just for you) to watch your step past several rooms before getting to the very back where the self-proclaimed “best open mic for stories” is held.
If you wish to share a story during the open mic I must suggest going to one first, and also getting there early. Shortly after I arrived just before eight o’clock p.m. a woman stepped up to the mic and explained that the first five to sign up would be allowed to share. The next half hour allows for patrons of the experience to grab food and drink and chat with their friends.
This was where I made one mistake, I didn’t bring any friends. So being my awkward self, I sat around perusing the drinks menu and not really talking but rather observing. The crowd seemed to be a lot of twenty-somethings chatting with one another and eagerly awaiting their turn to sign up. Here is where I recommend having a cocktail (but be prepared for the price before you do) if you are of age and interested in a non-traditional twist on delicious signature cocktails or seasonal mixes. If you are not of age, definitely hook yourself up with some sweet potato fries.
Anyways, back to the reading part. Once 8:30 has arrived the reading, or better yet, performing of the stories begins. On this particular occasion they allowed six people to perform during the open mic portion because we all braved the cold to attend and deserved a reward. Each reader was allotted 5-8 minutes to tell their story which in some way pertained to the theme of the upcoming holiday – Valentine’s Day.
Needless to say the stories were hilarious. The readers were very animated, performing the stories rather than reading them. After hearing about a man losing his wife to another man who turned out to be her cousin, I could not believe these stories were really true. There were a few gushy love moments, but mostly the story-tellers talked about the mundane details that turn out to be life-changing or funny.
After the open-mic two featured readers told their stories. The first read from a story she wrote that involved audience participation and the second told stories off the top of his head, discussing the little he knows about love.
All in all, the event was a blast. If you want a good cocktail and to hear some great (though a bit crass or shocking) nonfiction, true stories it’s an excellent place to spend an evening and get involved in the Chicago literary scene. If you feel up to sharing a story, I suggest heading over to Uncommon Ground on March 10th for next month’s event and sharing for an open-minded crowd.