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This week's Culture Vultures recommend . . .

Live literature, the holiday El Train, and Greg Palast's Vulture's Picnic

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Robbie Q. Telfer, program director for Young Chicago Authors, cofounder and cocurator for The Encyclopedia Show, braves the cold for:

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind - RYAN WALTERS
  • Ryan Walters
  • Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

Live literature We're currently experiencing a renaissance in Chicago in the live literary scene. Perhaps it can be traced to Chicago's invention of long-form open-source lit performance formats such as Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind and the Uptown Poetry Slam (both of which are still great and still happening). But their bastard children are running rampant all over the city. From Funny-Ha-Ha to Write Club, these shows' curators have a firm grasp on the fact that live audiences very rarely want to see an author merely read from their latest works. These shows ask authors to adhere to an entertaining format that favors the audience's enjoyment over the ego of the artist. Write Club, for instance, assigns authors opposing ideas (e.g. open vs. closed, yes vs. no, bananas vs. pajamas) and the audience votes on who better represents their arbitrary topic. Literature is not dead here.

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