Event: A Night of Authors with Pizzazz

October 8, 2009

Michael_Heartland After the rousing success of our season opener, the pressure is on for the nine remaining events on our Chicago Public Radio Presents...Series.‚  Next up?‚  An October Sort of City: Chicago Authors Talk Chicago. Through our partnership with STOP SMILING, we've secured not one author to read for us but four.‚  And the reading will be in Chicago's historic Heartland Cafe.‚  And we'll have recorded music by midwestern band Black Christmas.‚  And beer from Goose Island. All that considered, Breeze and I were still finding it hard to describe how genuinely cool this night is going to be.‚  Our copy says this:
"In collaboration with STOP SMILING we present a showcase of Chicago authors to rhapsodize about the city that shaped their lives and work.‚  Authors Joe Meno, Cristina Henrƒ­quez, Deb Olin Unferth, and‚ Eula Biss take the stage to weave a single narrative from disparate selected readings and personal anecdotes, revealing many facets of Chicago's literary tapestry."
While all that is true, neither of us thinks it really explains how cool this thing will be. The process of putting the event together has been very interesting.‚  Each of our authors sent me an excerpt that they felt best encapsulated his or her newest book that they would read.‚  I read them.‚  And re-read them.‚  And started finding commonalities among the four very different stories represented. The first bit of each excerpt provided some insight:
There was a time I lived alone in the crappiest neighborhood I would ever live in and had few friends and worked at a place where the people I saw were all quietly abandoning their plans, like I was. --- The view from the window is beautiful.‚  I don't want to think that.‚  It doesn't seem fair that anything should be beautiful anymore, or that I should think of it that way, but there's no denying it. --- Shortly after we married, my husband and I moved to a part of Chicago that was once known as "No Man's Land." --- Fourteen years old, Thisbe Casper has begun riding her bicycle around Hyde Park looking for God.
Combined with the final moments of each piece, this provided a framework - I knew the beginning and I knew the end.‚  Putting the pieces together puzzle-like was the challenge and then marrying each section with music from our chosen CD was a second challenge. In the end, I had three different versions of the final script and then had the task of picking the one I thought would be both the best representation of each author's voice AND something I personally would find entertaining and exciting.‚  Breeze read my choice and was delighted.‚  She wrote that it left her wanting more (which, if you've ever been to a literary reading, is absolute gold) and it made her want to read all four books in their entirety (also a huge plus...) Here's the thing:‚  it's Pledge Drive time and there is no question you should pony up and become a member of our station.‚  WBEZ provides a ton of quality to the life and culture of Chicago and we hope you can see what you've been hearing with our live events - you are the reason we do them in the first place. So, pledge today.‚  Become an official member of WBEZ.‚  Then go online and use your Member Discount to get tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime event. You won't regret it.‚  Promise. PS: Although I just purchased a cool used bike last week, it is not and never was Peter Sagal's.
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