ROGERS PARK — At the 16th annual Fillet of Solo festival, storytelling lovers will have a chance to hear about one of Jeremy Owens most embarrassing moments: soiling himself on a sidewalk early one summer afternoon.
"I had four more blocks to go home," said the professional storyteller. He paused for a moment and added, "It’s really incredibly weird to tell a person you've never met face-to-face" what happened.
Owens and other members of his storytelling group "You're Being Ridiculous" will kickoff the festival 7 p.m. Thursday at the Lifeline Theatre, at 6912 N. Glenwood Ave.
The 37-year-old Rogers Park resident plans to retell his didn't-quite-make-it story in much more gruesome detail on stage alongside his fellow performers and long-time friends Julie Cowden-Starbird and Brooke Allen.
Allen plans to perform a story about a videographer gig she was hired for when unemployed.
"They requested a professional videographer — which I am not," she said, careful not to give away too many details. "But I did it anyway because I really needed the money."
Dorothy Milne, the Lifeline Theatre's artistic director, said the festival will host 42 performances in 14 shows between Thursday and Jan. 20 at the theater and at the nearby Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood Ave.
Milne said there has seen a resurgence in the Chicago storytelling scene, especially in Rogers Park.
"We’re so darn artsy it's hyper-intense here," she said.
Performers usually share a true story with elements of standup comedy and slam poetry, she said.
"People are more interested in current, non-traditional theatergoing performance," said 33-year-old Allen about the neighborhood. "Rogers Park is sort of this untapped artistic home for some of this neat stuff going on."
Other group performances include 2nd City, enSOLO, GayCo, the kates, The Lifeline Storytelling Project, Stir Friday Night, Story Club, Sweat Girls, Tellin' Tales Theatre and Write Club.
Solo performances include Amanda Rountree, Kim Morris and Eric Warner.