UPTOWN — With bragging rights, "an expensive trophy bought at a dollar store" and more at stake, storytellers representing Chicago's South and North sides are set for a crosstown clash Thursday at the Holiday Club.
Story Club is a live, nonfiction storytelling show founded by writer Dana Norris. The Mayfair resident hosts the show on the first Thursday of every month at the Uptown bar, 4000 N. Sheridan Road.
She'll lead a team of storytellers against a squad representing Story Club South Side led by actor Andrew Marikis, who hosts the South Side show on the third Tuesday of every month at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport.
"Things might get ugly" when the Story Club South Side performers come north, Marikis said Monday.
On that note — here are the ground rules:
• The theme of the evening is "FIVE DAMN YEARS."
• The two hosts will pick names out of a hat to form teams representing the North Side and South Side, led by Norris and Marikis respectively. They will choose between four featured performers and two open mic acts.
• Each team member will square off with an opponent, with the audience deciding who told the best story by putting a dollar in either a bucket designated for the South Side or one designated for the North Side. The team with the most dough wins.
This is the second Crosstown Classic this year, aimed at commemorating Story Club's five-year anniversary and the one-year anniversary of Story Club South Side.
The North Side squad lost round one on May 20 in Bridgeport.
Marikis, who actually lives in Edgewater, denied any sort of home team bias.
"You know, rumors fly and some people get bitter, and that's what happened, but I will say the South Side show has got a lot of loyalty," he said.
But Norris remembers having a bad feeling about the North Side storytellers' chances from the start, when she was telling the audience how to vote with their dollars.
"A lot of the South Side people just looked me in the eye and put a dollar in the bucket for the South Side before anyone even told a story," she said.
While a more neutral venue would be ideal for competition's sake, Norris hopes the North Side team evens the score Thursday in Uptown.
She's coming to the stage with a sexual but not quite sexy tale about accompanying her lover of five years on a romantic getaway at a Sybaris resort — or, in her words — "a sex hotel."
"It's supposed to be an incredibly sexy place, but things ended up being strange," Norris said, complaining there were "too many mirrors" in her suite and nowhere to look without seeing herself. "It's hard to relax when I'm thinking: 'Why does my arm look like that?' It was interesting."
Marikis said he's telling a story about "an awesome game I play with my family."
The winners will get the aforementioned dollar-store trophy and will have their stories published in Story Club Magazine, Norris said. Proceeds from the event will be split between Story Club, its magazine and performers.
Regardless of who wins the showdown, Norris and Marikis said they hope the event encourages fans of both Story Club shows to go hear what tales are brewing on the other side of town.
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