Northcenter: Chicago's Live Lit Epicenter

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Chances are, if you're in the know with what's going on in Chicago, then you know all about the fascinating, funny and compelling world of its exploding Live Lit scene. For those who have yet to experience it, Live Lit refers to a variety of live literary events, including storytelling, flash fiction, essay readings, humor pieces and more. The results are earnest, funny and make for a memorable experience.


Not only is Chicago a leader in the Live Lit movement, but many of the city's top Live Lit events can be found right here in Northcenter! Here are a few show suggestions at local venues to check out the burgeoning literary scene in your own backyard. And, if you're an aspiring writer, many of these series are looking for new writers and performers all the time. Everyone's got a story to tell-find yours!


Blackout Diaries (every Saturday @ High-Hat Club): Whether you're still a night owl or more of the sweatpants-and-Netflix type, you can appreciate the Blackout Diaries' weekly cast of comedians and regular folks (cops, firefighters, teachers, etc.) sharing their most hilarious and shocking tales of boozy adventure. A bonus? Each audience member gets a free shot of Malort, if you can stomach it after hearing these stories, or at all.


Louder Than A Mom (check website for schedule; @ Martyrs'): One theme that comes up at nearly every Live Lit event? Family. We all have that hilarious vacation-gone-awry story, the boozy uncle that ruins every holiday, a story about something audacious and shocking your four-year-old said. Louder Than A Mom is a storytelling night dedicated to sharing those awkward and hilarious family moments. Newcomers can participate in "the Teresa," a round of one-minute stories at the end of each event.  


The Mash (check website for schedule; @ High-Hat Club): Every Saturday at Uptown's venerable Green Mill, comedians, journalists, musicians and storytellers come together for the Paper Machete, a weekly variety show with creative takes on current events. Every so often, the Paper Machete crew comes to Northcenter for its open incubator series, The Mash, an informal, fun "audition" for the Machete, if you will.


The Moth (usually last Tuesday of the Month; @ Martyrs'): The grandaddy of Live Lit events, The Moth is one of the oldest and most respected storytelling evenings, and The Moth events can be found all over the U.S. and the world. Chicago is home to a number of Moth events, including a monthly StorySLAM, usually featuring stories on a single theme, at Martyrs'.


Story Lab Chicago (3rd Wednesday of Every Month @ Black Rock Pub & Kitchen): Story Lab is an intimate monthly salon billed as "new voices telling new stories." More than 250 readers from all walks of life and experience levels have shared their stories at Story Lab Chicago, and the organizers are always on the lookout for emerging talent. Story Lab also offers classes and workshops for writers serious about honing their craft.


This Much Is True (2nd Tuesday of Every Month @ Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro): Story Lab's sister show, This Much is True, has been showcasing Chicago's finest Live Lit talent since 2009. An evening "revealing the humorous, embarrassing and poignant moments that make up a life remembered," each event features seven true stories told by Chicagoans like you. Unlike some of the other shows mentioned here, This Much is True does not accept submissions, but the team offers other opportunities (such as Story Lab and its accompanying workshops) to get involved.

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