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'The Frunchroom' Draws Standing-Room Crowd For Inaugural Reading Series

By Howard Ludwig | April 17, 2015 9:03am
 More than 100 people packed O'Rourke's Office on Thursday night for the debut of
More than 100 people packed O'Rourke's Office on Thursday night for the debut of "The Frunchroom."
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DNAinfo/Supplied Photo

MORGAN PARK — Five readers who took the stage at O'Rourke's Office in Morgan Park weren't the only people standing in the tavern on Thursday night.

A capacity crowd filled the bar at 11064 S. Western Ave. for the debut of "The Frunchroom." The inaugural South Side reading series was attended by more than 100 curious residents, some of whom sat outside the door of the main room just to listen in.

The name of the quarterly series is Chicago-ese 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.

"We had a packed house for our first event so on that level I couldn't be happier. But we also had great readers who told wonderful stories about life on the South Side, an enthusiastic audience and a perfect venue," said Smith, a Morgan Park resident.

For the kickoff of the free event, Smith gathered South Siders with an array of credentials including:

Adrienne Samuels Gibbs, a Beverly resident and Pulitzer Prize nominee.

Natalie Moore, WBEZ's South Side reporter.

Dmitry Samarov, a writer and artist who until recently lived in Beverly.

Chuck Sudo, a Bridgeport resident and former editor of Chicagoist.

Jen Sabella, 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.

Smith said he was encouraged to pursue The Frunchroom by members of the Beverly Area Arts Alliance.

This group organized the Beverly Art Walk on Oct. 11. This successful showcase of local artists was followed by a New Year's Eve party that included four spoken word performers.

The performances were all well received, which spurred Smith to go after his dream. He said future events might also include live music, sketches and other performances — all while maintaining a strong South Side voice.

"It's really gratifying to see the tremendous support from the community for everything The Beverly Area Arts Alliance is doing," Smith said.

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