MORGAN PARK — It didn't take long for a new South Side reading series to settle on a name.
The name of the quarterly series is Chicago-ease for the front room of a house, a place where city-dwellers have long gathered to share stories, said Scott Smith, the organizer and emcee of The Frunchroom.
"The first thing I wanted was to have a name that really evoked the South Side," said Smith, a blogger and resident of Morgan Park.
The Frunchroom "is a place where family and friends come together to tell stories, tell jokes," he said.
Smith expects this casual style of storytelling to resonate with residents of Morgan Park, Beverly and Mount Greenwood. These neighborhoods on the Far Southwest Side often boast of their Irish heritage, which carries a strong narrative tradition, he said.
Smith also envisions The Frunchroom series evolving into a destination event, drawing curious attendees from throughout the city to share in the regional storytelling experience.
For the kickoff the event, Smith has gathered South Siders with an array of credentials. Adrienne Samuels Gibbs is a Beverly resident and Pulitzer Prize nominee. Natalie Moore is WBEZ's South Side reporter. Dmitry Samarov is a writer and artist who until recently lived in Beverly. Chuck Sudo lives in Bridgeport and is the editor-in-chief of Chicagoist. And Jen Sabella is director of social media and engagement at DNAinfo who boasts South Side roots including her diploma from Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School in Mount Greenwood.
"Some of the folks that are reading are some of the best reporters and readers on the South Side and throughout the city itself," Smith said.
Most readings will be about 10 minutes long and will take a variety of forms, including fiction, non-fiction, personal reflections and funny coming-of-age stories rooted in the South Side. The program is expected to last about an hour.
"I've wanted to do a reading series on the South Side for a while," said Smith, adding that the event was spurred along by members of the Beverly Area Arts Alliance.
In the wake of this successful party, Smith opted to pursue his goal of launching the reading series. He believes the future of the event might also include live music, sketches and other performances — all while maintaining a strong South Side voice.
He encouraged anyone unfamilar with spoken word events such as The Frunchroom to satisfy their curiosity by attending the upcoming show.
"I think you will see a lot of friends and neighbors," he said.
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