The Frunchroom, Volume XIV: Hotter than July edition

The midway point of the summer in the city of Chicago is when everything starts clicking: your beach trips are planned, the weekend getaways to New Buffalo are in motion, you’re on your third trip to Rainbow Cone, your Kennedy Park poolside tan is coming along nicely, etc.

As you hit the high point of the season, you’ll be looking for a place to sit back, hang out with friends, sip a few cocktails and soak in some air conditioning. What better place than The Frunchroom’s next show?

The Beverly Arts Alliance presents: The Frunchroom, Volume XIV
Hosted by: Scott Smith

Lily Be
Forever changed by the challenges

David Daruszka
Quixotic retired locomotive engineer 

Sahar Mustafah
Other humans still amaze her

Joe Shanahan
Founder of Metro and Smartbar

Celina Villanueva
Fighter for social justice, lover of brunch

Sponsored by Beverly Arts Center

A $5 donation is requested at the door to benefit The Beverly Area Arts Alliance.

New to The Frunchroom and want to know more about it? Check out the first six episodes of The Frunchroom podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen to podcasts. Or read up on it here. Watch TheFrunchroom.com for reader bios and more updates on the show.

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Everything you need to know for The Frunchroom, Volume XIII

We’re three years into The Frunchroom. We must be doing something right because they’re even using the name for fancy North Side restaurants now. It’s all thanks to YOU for showing up at our shows, our readers for sharing their talent and the fine folks at The Beverly Area Arts Alliance for co-producing such a great night of art and storytelling.

So here’s what’s on tap tonight:

Who are the readers?

Colleen Hart-Kozubowski
Wordsmith, musician, leader, advocate, fighter

Tamar Manasseh 
Founder/President, Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK)

Edward McClelland
Author, Folktales and Legends of the Middle West

Ricardo Muñoz
Alderman, 22nd Ward

Claire Zulkey
Co-creator/host, Funny Ha-Ha

What’s the time?
730pm. But show up by 7-715pm to guarantee yourself a seat, chat with friends, get a drink from the bar, check out the art (see below) and settle in. We usually close the balcony at BAC to keep things a bit more intimate and cozy unless the crowd size demands it. 

Wait, there’s art?
Come early, grab a drink and enjoy photography from two local artists in The Blue Room, located just off the lobby at BAC. Curated by Beverly Area Arts Alliance co-founder Sal Campbell, The Blue Room will showcase visual art by three artists from the Beverly Hills Marketplace (1809 W. 95th Street, Chicago): Phillip London (above), Fred Mathews and G.L. Smothers as well as Maired Zigulich (at right).

Where do I park?
Beverly Arts Center has parking just west of the building.

How do I get there via transit?
Take the Metra Rock Island Line which departs from the LaSalle Street Station in the Loop. Get off at 111th Street. Head west up the hill for about three blocks. The BAC is the big red building on the corner.

Where can I eat?
We recommend Ellie’s Cafe at 107th and Hale. Their Thursday night dinner specials are not to be missed. Tonight their specials are the house-made veggie burger topped with bleu cheese and spicy bleu sauce and the English-cut Primal Rib – heaps of thinly sliced prime rib served with augratin potatoes and fresh veg of the day. Choice of soup or salad & dessert included. (If meat isn’t your thing, let them know & they’ll substitute salmon.)

If you eat at Ellie’s tonight, bring your receipt and you can bypass the request for a $5 donation at the door.

You mentioned drinks?
Beer, wine and liquor will be available at the cash bar before and during the show. The post-Frunchroom festivities will continue at Open Outcry Brewing.

What are the stories like?
Some are sincere, some are tongue-in-cheek. One may be a call-to-action, another might make you think. One might be historical, one might make you remember a place you haven’t been since childhood. Basically, like having a conversation with someone you haven’t seen in a while. This review from South Side Weekly really captures what we’re about.

Who’s helping you with this?
I’m producing this in partnership with The Beverly Area Arts Alliance (or The Alliance, for short).

A big thanks to Monica Wilczak, Sal Campbell, David Barsotti, Jane Zia, Chris Wilczak, Lizzy Benner, Chris Castaneda, Corinne Rose and Cicely Harris who’ve given this event material, financial and moral support. And a huge thanks to Beverly Arts Center for sponsoring the show.

See you there!

The Frunchroom is presented by The Beverly Area Arts Alliance and sponsored by Beverly Arts Center. 

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In the Frunchroom: Colleen Hart-Kozubowski

Our 3rd anniversary show is going to be fun. And funny. One of the people bringing the funny that night is Colleen Hart-Kozubowski.

Aside from brief stints in Central Illinois and Washington, D.C., Colleen is a lifelong resident of Beverly, and now lives in a house across the street from the one she came home to as a baby.

At work, she is the Chief Speechwriter and Associate Director of Communications for Chicago Public Schools, where she has the pleasure of helping parents, teachers, principals, and community partners understand the daily goings on at the third largest school district in the country. She has also been a freelance writer for nearly every publication serving the Beverly area, including The Southtown Star, The Villager, and the Beverly Review.

At home, Colleen is mom to a precocious 10-year- old named Claire who has nearly surpassed her in height, and whose hobbies include making slime, leaving her socks in all corners of the house, and finding obscure musicals on YouTube. Their family is completed by Zoey, a loving yet neurotic mutt of uncertain parentage. She is also blessed to be surrounded by many family and friends, some of whom will be embarrassed by the details shared about them in her piece.

Colleen earned a B.A. in Vocal Performance from Millikin University – an expensive degree she now puts to good use singing at funerals and directing the St. Cajetan Children’s Choir. She earned her M.A. in Creative Writing from Northwestern University and has no memory of writing her thesis, which was completed in the eight weeks after her daughter was born.

Colleen has perfected the art of laughing at herself and hopes the Frunchroom audience will do the same as she shares her piece about breaking the Beverly mold.

Join Colleen and the rest of our readers this Thursday the 19th at 730pm at Beverly Arts Center.

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In the Frunchroom: Tamar Manasseh

Our goal with The Frunchroom is to provide a mix of perspectives: from the person who’s lived on the South Side for years to the newly arrived; from the South Loop to the 10th Ward.

Our next reader, Tamar Manasseh, is an example of someone whose story we hear often: A person who is working each day to make the South Side better for everyone.

Following the shooting death of Lucille Barnes in 2015, Tamar Manasseh, a mother of 2 who grew up in Englewood and now lives in Bronzeville, rallied several other mothers and established MASK (Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings). In the summer of 2015, Tamar and other parents in the community took to their local corner daily to let everyone know that they’re watching.

MASK’s purpose is to put eyes on the streets, interrupt violence and crime, and teach children to grow up as friends rather than enemies. MASK’s primary mission is to build stronger communities through a focus on violence prevention, food insecurity, and housing. Additionally, MASK partners to ensure that community members have access to necessary city services, opportunities for education & professional skills growth, and economic development.

Tamar has also helped launch MASK initiatives in other Chicago neighborhoods, as well as cities throughout the nation, including Evansville, Indiana, Staten Island, New York, and Memphis, Tennessee.

Tamar will be reading a piece she has humor mixed with serious moments. Join us this Thursday the 19th at 730pm at Beverly Arts Center.

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In the Frunchroom: Ricardo “Rick” Muñoz

Too often we think about politicians as separate from than the average person. Over the past year, as organizations line Run for Something and She Should Run have shown, the lines we’ve drawn between the governed and those that govern are largely artificial.

All this is to say that The Frunchroom has often been a place where we’ve heard politicians like Alderwoman Susan Garza and Commissioner Bridget Gainer tell the stories of how they came to elected office by starting as lunch ladies or banquet hall servers on the South Side. It’s not as rare a path as others might make it seem.

A storyteller at our third anniversary show this week has a similar tale of working in the South Side from the ground-up.

Ricardo “Rick” Muñoz has become a dominant voice for reform in Chicago, earning his leadership role through innovation and determination. Muñoz put forward a proposal to generate millions in education spending without raising taxes, while overseeing the construction of more new schools in his neighborhood. He worked to make one of the schools in his community into the first-ever “dual language” academy in the City of Chicago.

Rick is also a progressive leader within the national Democratic Party and assisted then Senator Obama during his 2008 Presidential election. One of the original City Council sponsors of the Chicago Living Wage legislation, he helped lead a citywide, multi-racial coalition of labor, community, and religious organizations to victory on July 29, 1998. He is also notable for following through with major ethics legislations, like making it illegal for high-ranking administration officials to receive favorable city contracts, while still on the city payroll.

In his neighborhood, Little Village, Rick is known as a committed public servant, who twice declined his City Council pay increases and instead gave more than $90,000 to charitable organizations throughout the community. Muñoz is equally generous with his time, organizing block clubs and weekly clean-ups of streets, alleys and vacant lots. He also teaches classes on leadership at local schools, including serving as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Rick was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and is currently the ranking Mexican-American member of the City Council and a graduate of Northern Illinois University. He’ll tell the story of how his ward became a place where schools get built, not closed.

Join Rick and the rest of our readers this Thursday, April 19th at 730pm at Beverly Arts Center – presented by the Beverly Area Arts Alliance.

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In the Frunchroom: Claire Zulkey

It was with some mild consternation that I realized we will have not one, but two readers from the North Side at the Frunchroom’s 3rd anniversary show.

Luckily, they’re pretty great. And one of them is Claire Zulkey.

Claire was raised in Evanston and will likely die there. She produces the show Funny Ha-Ha, which returns to the Hideout May 11 (featuring Julia Sweeney). She is also a freelance writer and you can find out a lot more about her at her very old site Zulkey.com.

(Claire is apparently too modest to note in the bio she sent that she is also the author of the YA novel An Off Year, which I really enjoyed even though I am an OA – old adult).

Claire will be telling some stories of her dad’s days growing up in Bridgeport. Don’t miss her and the rest of our readers this Thursday, April 19th at 730pm at the Beverly Arts Center (111th and Western in the Chicago neighborhood of Morgan Park).

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Podcast, Volume 8: Write your way out edition (plus show notes)

It was a simpler time…the last night of the Obama administration. And the setting for Volume 8 of The Frunchroom.

Our readers are:

John Chatz
Blogger, tech consultant, softball player and father to many

Eric Charles May
Writer, professor, Sox fan, native South Sider

Robin Baumgarten
WGN Morning News anchor and lifetime South Sider

L.D. Barnes
Blogger, poet, mystery writer, essayist, wife and nerd

Jamie Nesbitt Golden
Journalist, mom, coffee-drinker, Buffy-expert

John’s blog, “It’s Never Just Black And White” is here.

Eric’s book, Bedrock Faith, which he reads from in our show, is here.

This video is from a few years ago, but Robin’s tour of Beverly (watch for Cork & Kerry and Janson’s) and other old haunts of the South Side is still funny to me.

More of L.D. Barnes’s work is here.

You can find some of Jamie’s writing on Medium.

That’s it. See you this Thursday!

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