Sidetrack OUTspoken featured storytellers for Sept. 7

Tue. September 7, 2021 7:55 AM by News Staff

Chicago's monthly evening of LGBTQ storytelling – known as OUTspoken - returns Tuesday, September 7 with an exciting line-up of featured storytellers.

"The key is, we all have full rich lives," curator David Fink told "Talking about significant moments connects us. Although we may outwardly have little in common, as humans we all have a lot in common. Personal, true stories help remind us of these commonalities.”

Six storytellers will take their turn with the microphone as Sidetrack transforms its Main and Cherry Bars into a story-telling hall with chairs for seating.

September 7 storytellers are:

Kim L. Hunt has called Chicago home for over 30 years. She is a lifelong learner who believes deeply in the power of stories, advocacy and a great pair of shoes. She is the founding co-host of OUTSpoken LGBTQ Storytelling, the monthly show at Sidetrack in Chicago. She has also been a teller for 2nd Story, Pour One Out and You're Being Ridiculous. And for you fellow shoe-a-holics, check out her collection on Instagram, @khunt62.

Lisa DeSantiago is an educator who works each day to live a life worth sharing stories about. She follows in the footsteps of her Jibaro ancestors, whose stories of resilience and survival offered her life lessons, love and hope. She is a purveyor of peace, who pictures herself on a Caribbean beach in a rocking chair sharing stories for cocoanuts and mangoes. 

Suz Baldus-Strauss is new to storytelling. She is an Assistant Principal in Wheaton, where she lives with her husband and new puppy. Suz is the mother of two sons; 1 gay and 1 straight...loving them each for who they are becoming as we ride the journey together. Susan is looking forward to sharing her story at Sidetrack, as she has been there several times with her son to enjoy the grape slushies that go down easy.

 Evgeni Lilyanov was born and raised in Bulgaria. He was a lost and confused teenager covered in acne, and struggling with his sexuality and couldn't fit in anywhere. Evgnei found salvation in drugs. At the age of 23, he immigrated from Bulgaria to US. He quit using with the help of methadone and support groups. He facilitated meetings at a detox center for 2 years. At his 4th year of recovery, he decided to go back to school. Today he is 9 years clean and 2 weeks ago became a nurse after passing his exam (NCLEX). Becoming a nurse took 5 years of prerequisites and hard work. He dedicates his hard work to the addicts still suffering in the grip of active substance abuse.

Joy Wright is a Best-of-the-Net nominated writer, storyteller, social justice activist, and single queer mom. She works as a fundraiser for an organization promoting gender and racial equity and spends evenings telling stories at shows around Chicago. Publications include HuffPost, Creative Nonfiction, Entropy Magazine, and Rebellious Magazine. Follow @joyre65.

Joe Strauss. "My wife and I have two sons, one straight and one gay, we love them both equally. I march in Pride Parades with my message of 'My son has made me a better man'. That is my story, a story of amends and redemption. I bear my soul in unconditional acceptance and my choice of choosing Love." 

OUTspoken takes place the first Tuesday of every month at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted, and is hosted by Kim Hunt and Sidetrack owner Art Johnston.

There is no charge to attend, but audience members must be 21 with ID. Proof of vaccination and masks are also required.

Doors open at 6 p.m., stories begin at 7 p.m.

Related: Chicago's LGBTQ calendar