Sidetrack OUTspoken featured storytellers for July 11

Tue. July 11, 2023 9:34 AM by News Staff

outspoken! lgbtq+ storytelling

photo credit // sidetrack
Chicago's monthly evening of LGBTQ storytelling – known as OUTspoken - returns Tuesday, July 11 with an exciting line-up of featured storytellers for Pride month.

"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.

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. This month the event was moved to July 11 due to the Independence Day holiday. 

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., and stories begin at 7 p.m.

Meet the July storytellers:

Not quite a pup, not yet an otter; July Storyteller Jackson McKenzie begs the question: what do you call a man with the upper body of a twink, the lower body of a twunk, and a beard the likes of Hugh Jackman? …There’s no punchline here, he’s genuinely asking. Jackson McKenzie is young, dumb, and full of compassion — here to change hearts and minds, one story at a time. And, if you like what you see tonight, every Friday for the next month you can find Jackson on stage in nothing more than a mysteriously-stained towel in The Annoyance Theater’s production of Steamworks: The Musical! Hailed by The Chicago Tribune as the summer’s HOTTEST gay bath house-themed musical at a mid-size theater between Clark and Sheffield, this off-Belmont production is not a show you want to miss! He’s here, he’s queer, and his sanity’s unclear.

Jackie Kaplan-Perkins has been a leader in Chicago’s nonprofit, philanthropic and political communities. She launched LeaderShifting Consulting in 1999 to support and train nonprofit leaders. Kaplan-Perkins was director of Human Rights Watch for Chicago and the Midwest. She developed programs to engage key stakeholders, including policymakers, major donors and a diverse range of community partners. In recent years, she received fellowships from the American Jewish World Service justice program and the Rockefeller Foundation's Next Generations leadership program. Earlier, she held senior positions at the Shriver Center for Poverty Law and the Chicago Foundation for Women.

Martinique Haller is a community college librarian by day and has told stories for several years with 2nd Story Chicago. She lives in Chicago with her two kids who she is trying to be chill about turning into avid readers and writers.

David Rex James is the Property Manager of the Town Hall Apartments located at the corner of Halsted and Addison in Boystown. It was one of the first in the nation and the only affordable housing property specifically developed for LGBTQ seniors 55+ in Chicago. David currently lives on the lakefront in Rogers Park, is an avid cyclist, enjoys being outdoors, and spending time with friends. His email tagline is, “Our stories are powerful because they connect us to one another and can change lives.

Ernest Holden has spent most of the past decade in restaurants or some form of isolation across Virginia and North Carolina before somehow ending up in Chicago. Over that time, he has been fundamentally redesigning his life and is learning to embrace who he is as well as his unconventional journey, focusing now on cultivating empathy through entertainment. Whether it's through storytelling, standup comedy, game development, or screenwriting, you will find him sharing his experiences and observations on life in a style all his own.

Carlos Deleon was two years old the first time someone told him he talked too much; he was likely telling a story. 2020 changed everyone and he tries to honor that change by writing, and speaking, with purpose. He lives in Chicago with a cat who survived a skyscraper and his memories.

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