The Frunchroom moves to Beverly Woods

With audiences getting bigger, The Frunchroom has outgrown its original site, O'Rourke's Office. The next show will be held at Beverly Woods, 11532 S. Western 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 21  (Review file photo).

The Frunchroom, Beverly and Morgan Park’s quarterly live lit storytelling series, begins a new chapter with a move to Beverly Woods Restaurant, 11532 S. Western Ave., for its future editions of stories by, about and of the south side of Chicago.

The next show will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 21.

The Frunchroom continues to be produced by Morgan Park resident Scott Smith in partnership with the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, the organization responsible for local arts events including the Beverly Art Walk, the Farmers Market Uprising Takeover and Local Art on Tap.

Since its inception a little more than a year ago, The Frunchroom called O’Rourke’s Office home. But with its ever-increasing audience size, a larger venue became a necessity.

“O’Rourke’s Office was a very welcoming and supportive host,” said Smith. “But as anyone who’s been to our last few shows will tell you, we outgrew the room. We wanted to find another place in the neighborhood that had a similar vibe—a sense of sitting around after dinner telling stories with friends and family. We’ve found that with Beverly Woods.” 

A neighborhood institution since 1954, Beverly Woods Restaurant will host Frunchroom events in its Caravan Room, which will feature retro-inspired, arts-driven decor created by Alliance members. In addition, Alliance board member and Horse Thief Hollow manager Lizzy Benner will guest bartend at Beverly Woods serving cocktails influenced by the South Side literary series.

To further support the work of the Alliance and the Frunchroom expansion efforts, Smith said the event will now ask for a $5 donation at the door. 

The readers for July’s show, all Chicago residents, include:

•Leah Chibe, Baroque singer, devotee of the fermented/distilled arts, and parent of three. Chibe is a native Michigander who has lived in Beverly since 2006.

•Kelly Norman Ellis, poet, southern woman and associate professor of English as well as chairperson of the department of English at Chicago State University. She is author of “Tougaloo Blues” and “Offerings of Desire” and her poetry has appeared in “Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art,” Essence magazine and others. She lives in the Avalon Park neighborhood.

•Bill Leslie, former catcher for the Ridge Beverly Minor League Champion Redlegs (1969-1970). Leslie has been published in the Chicago Tribune, the Sun-Times, and the Reader, and once rewrote the ending of a “Saturday Night Live” sketch. Leslie lives and now works in Beverly as a lawyer.

•Peter Nickeas, covers Chicago violence and mayhem as overnight reporter for the Chicago Breaking News desk at the Tribune. Nickeas lives in the neighborhood of Norwood Park.

•Rhythm, a.k.a. Rhonda Gholston, member of the performing artist group P.O.E.T.R.E.E. and an art teacher at Hyde Park Academy High School and resident of Avalon Park.

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