The Beverly Arts Center

The Frunchroom will host its first show of the year on Thursday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m., at the Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St.


The Frunchroom, the quarterly live storytelling series about the south side of Chicago that makes its home in Beverly/Morgan Park, will host its first show of the year on Thursday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m., at the Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St.

A $5 donation to benefit the Beverly Area Arts Alliance is requested.

The move to the BAC was necessitated by the sudden closing of Beverly Woods Restaurant, The Frunchroom’s former home, but audiences and performers alike have embraced the move.

“Last October’s show there was a trial run, of sorts,” said Morgan Park resident and Frunchroom host/producer Scott Smith. “There was some concern we’d lose the intimacy of our previous stages, but even in a larger space, we kept that sense of friends and family gathered together for a few stories over cocktails.”

October’s show was built around stories of race, segregation and integration and played to the largest Frunchroom audience yet. This month, The Frunchroom brings its usual unthemed, eclectic mix of storytellers and topics.

Scheduled to appear are a well-known South Side poet, a Lutheran pastor, a journalist, an educator and two sisters who’ve worked as executives at some of Chicago’s best-known nonprofits.

New to The Frunchroom will be a pre-show lounge space and pop-up art gallery in the BAC’s “Blue Room,” curated by Beverly Arts Alliance co-founder Sal Campbell with local artists.

“Visual art has always complemented the stories we tell and Sal brings in remarkable creators with unique work,” said Smith. “It’s another reason for people to come early, grab a drink and socialize.”

The unique mix of art, cocktails and stories at The Frunchroom continues to be produced as a showcase for original written work, presented in partnership with the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, the organization responsible for local art events including the Beverly Art Walk, the Uprising Craft Market and Local Art on Tap and sponsored by the BAC.

The Frunchroom has played to packed houses since it began in April 2015. Previous readers include local residents, business owners, radio and podcast hosts, teachers, poets and artists. In addition, The Frunchroom has featured reporters and anchors from the Chicago Tribune, South Side Weekly, Bloomberg News, WBEZ-FM and WGN-TV.

The readers for January’s show include:

Aaron Cynic, an independent journalist and photographer who covers media and politics. A former Chicagoist contributor, his work has appeared in Progress Illinois, Alternet, In These Times and The Huffington Post.

Ronne Hartfield and Audrey Peeples. Hartfield is an author, essayist and international museum consultant, previously at the Art Institute and Urban Gateways. She is also the author of “Another Way Home: The Tangled Roots of Race in One Chicago Family.” Peeples is the former CEO of YWCA of Metro Chicago and former executive director of the Girl Scouts of Chicago, now a trust officer with Bank of America and board member of Chicago Community Trust and Little Company of Mary Hospital.

Kelly Wickham Hurst, the founding executive director of Being Black at School, an advocacy movement for equality and safety for black students. She’s a writer and educator and currently working on her first book.

Nate Marshall, author of “Wild Hundreds” and an editor of “The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop.” His last rap album, “Grown,” came out in 2015 with his group Daily Lyrical Product. A university professor, Marshall is a member of The Dark Noise Collective, co-directs Crescendo Literary and is the director of National Programs for Louder Than A Bomb Youth Poetry Festival.

Amy Wiegert, a Lutheran pastor, who serves congregations on Chicago’s south side and south suburbs. Formerly of Colorado, she has been published in several magazines including The Christian Century.

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