UPTOWN — The Paper Machete is moving a lot closer to the lake.
Starting Dec. 1, the Green Mill will be the acclaimed Saturday afternoon variety show's new home. Paper Machete is billed as a weekly "live magazine," that touches on topics that include current events, pop culture and "American manners," according to its website. Featured guests and performers include writers, musicians and comedians from Chicago.
Paper Machete founder Christopher Piatt wanted a room that could accommodate various types of musical performances other than rock and folk, such as gospel and classical music, he said. He was also attracted to the Green Mill's legacy.
"It's a classic room; it's where the slam poetry movement started, so it has a great legacy with spoken word," said Piatt, a former editor at Timeout Chicago.
December is mostly booked, but everything is not yet set in stone. Piatt would not spill all of the beans, but he was still able to mention a few key dates on the calendar and upcoming performances.
"We've got major talent booked for the first month of December, and it's going to be great. It's a mashup of the city's best theater artists, and some of the best people from Second City at the top of the bill," he said.
The inaugural show will kick off on Dec. 1 with performances by Katie Rich of Second City and Timeout Chicago blogger Samantha Irby.
On Dec. 15, Paper Machete will feature writer and performer Ian Belknap, who also hosts the Write Club, a writing competition at the Hideout.
On Dec. 22, William Ayers will grace the stage. Ayers is a distinguished University of Illinois-Chicago professor who used to lead a 1970s radical left organization, the Weather Underground.
Piatt said he is excited for December performances by folk band Jonas Friddle and the Majority, and experimental Blues rock band Tijuana Hercules.
Green Mill owner Dave Jemilo said the decision to include an attraction such as Paper Machete was a no-brainer.
"To make money in a joint on a Saturday afternoon, when normally it's just a few old guys in there, is a great thing," Jemilo said.
The Paper Machete recently put on three special performances at the Green Mill, which Jemilo said prompted the show's organizers to contact him about a permanent move.
The show should add more flare to an area of Uptown that Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he wants to rebrand as a thriving entertainment district. It earned "Best Comedy Variety Show," honors from the Chicago Reader in 2011.
The Green Mill already hosts a popular poetry slam and a steady slew of musical offerings in a venue more than 100 years old that retains the look and feel of a 1920s speakeasy.
Ali Klinger, a Paper Machete staff writer, performer and former co-producer, said the Green Mill "has been the dream location from the very beginning."
"The Green Mill really came up because it's such a known vehicle for spoken word with the poetry slams, and it just has the atmosphere and the design that [Piatt] had always envisioned," Klinger said.
Admission to the Paper Machete will be free, as always — in contrast with most Green Mill events, including the poetry slam, that charge a cover fee.