Sidetrack OUTspoken featured storytellers for May 7

Mon. May 6, 2024 1:13 PM by News Staff

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

There is no charge to attend, but audience members must be 21 with ID.

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

Meet the May storytellers:

Brock Ashford is a corn-fed, born and raised Illinoisan currently living here in Northalsted/Boystown. He works as a full-time staffer to Governor Pritzker and has been to nearly every gay bar in this state. Brock’s favorite hobbies include making inappropriate jokes at work, listening to house music, giving unsolicited advice, and attending mass every single Sunday.

Leah Huskey is an artist, actor and stand-up comedian in Chicago. Her male friends in high school said she was bad at telling stories and her voice was too shrill to listen to and that had no lasting impact on her whatsoever.

Jennifer Curtain is a queer woman and a licensed mental health therapist. She came out late in life with her sexuality and her passion for gender inclusive mental health care. Jennifer lives in DeKalb with her Newfoundland mix, Frank her partner and a little pittie boxer mix named Duncan. She has two college aged human children that round out the family.

Doug Curtis is a prodigal son of Illinois.  He grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago, then wandered the desert (mostly the east coast of the United States) for 40 years, finally finding his way home to Chicago in 2018.  Doug is a lawyer and is currently the regional director of Lambda Legal in the Midwest.

Eli is a Mainer pursuing their dreams of being a city gay. Eli is a Chicago Poetry Center programming fellow, living ear first and slowly accumulating tattoos. 

Nikki Patin has been featured in The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Reader, on WBEZ, WTTW, FoxSoul, and on international television and radio. Multidisciplinary artist Nikki Patin has been writing since she was 7. In 2014, Patin addressed the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on behalf of Black women and girl survivors of sexual violence. Nikki Patin holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Southern Maine and is the Program Director for the Resident Association of Greater Englewood. Patin’s memoir, Working on Me, is currently out on Vine Leaves Press. You can learn more about Nikki and her work at