"Word Is Out" brings queer spoken word to Boystown
by Anthony Morgano
CHICAGO, IL -- For Chicago writer, comedian and producer Adam Guerino, Town Hall Pub is the perfect venue to host "Word Is Out," a new monthly queer spoken word series that continues this Tuesday May 15 at 3340 N Halsted.
"It's a bar that straight people think is gay and gay people think is straight and something about that is really interesting to me," says Guerino, who also performs his weekly comedy show "The Sarcastic Squad" at Town Hall Pub. "I think when you're trying to find a middle ground where people can all feel comfortable that's a great place."
Instead of putting on what he refers to as "gay for gay shows," where a gay venue hosts a gay performer preaching to the gay choir, Guerino uses what he sees as the opportunity in entertainment to open horizons. Last year he started OutLoud Chicago, a production company that strives to bring queer entertainment to the mainstream "Word Is Out" is OutLoud Chicago's most recent show, a collaboration with InOurWordsBlog.com, an independent queer literary salon for which Guerino writes a monthly dating column. A promotion for the event calls the night of queer spoken word a "reading series of first person narratives, editorials and general awesomeness."
Guerino hosted the first installment of the show last month, which featured writer Adam McOmber reading a chapter from his forthcoming debut novel. It also included readings by the editors of In Our Words, Patrick Gill and Nico Lang, Chicago-based transgender artist Rebecca Kling and Jamie Royce, the lesbian blogger behind Stuff Queer People Need to Know.
Each show will strive to likewise ensure that a breadth of sexualities and gender identities are represented, showing diversity within the queer community. Speakers are given the freedom to tell any story they think will add to evening, but encouraged to look beyond direct discussions of their queer identities. Instead, Guerno asks them to tell a story that lends itself to their unique perspective and to allow pronouns and other secondary indicators reveal the queerness woven into their tales.
"I say ‘you're bringing something new to this table, write whatever you want,'" Guerino told ChicagoPride.com. "I give them a time perimeter and just kind of let them go loose."
Guerino chooses speakers for their unique voice over the content of their stories, which results in a night that showcases a diverse breadth of queer talent. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans writers, speakers and comedians with a point of view come together to bring something truly new and interesting to Boystown on a Tuesday night.
This month's installment of "Word Is Out" is hosted by In Our Words co-founder and editor Patrick Gill. It will feature readings by Meg O'Rourke, a lesbian high school teacher and queer comedienne, Nightspots columnist Homer Marrs, transgender poet Mar Curran, co-producer of Essay Fiesta Alyson Lions and Guerino himself. The show is at Town Hall Pub in Lakeview this coming Tuesday, May 15, at 8 p.m. Admission is $5, which includes a companion zine featuring work from the show's contributors.