Hosted and co-produced by Morgan Park resident Scott Smith, The Frunchroom has played to packed houses since it began in April 2015. Previous readers run the gamut from reporters and writers at the Chicago Tribune (Lolly Bowean, peter Nickeas), WBEZ-FM (Natalie Y. Moore), DNA Info Chicago (Jen Sabella) and Bloomberg News (Mario Parker) to local residents, business owners and community builders (MBMHMC’s Jamal Cole).
We’ve had radio and TV personalities like WGN-TV’s Robin Baumgarten and podcast hosts like Dynasty Podcasts’ Jaime Black. We also host artists and poets like Kevin Coval and Eve Ewing as well as politicians like Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer and 10th ward alderwoman Susan Sadlowski Garza.
In short, we try to represent all of the South Side, the stories that don’t often make headlines but represent the point of view of people who live here. We want to contribute to Chicago’s live lit scene by featuring writers, readers, artists and performers who are from the South Side or have something to say about it through personal stories, sharp commentary or historical perspective.
Previous shows can be found on The Frunchroom podcast available via iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and TuneIn.
We’ve been around for going on three years and have grown a bit bigger each year. We started out at O’Rourke’s Office then moved to Beverly Woods. Our most recent show was at the Beverly Arts Center. We’re proud to call the neighborhood of Morgan Park home.
The date of our next event will be announced soon.
The “frunchroom” is a colloquialism formed when the words “front room” collide with the glorious Chicago accent. When your living room is the first thing your guests see when they walk in your house, that’s your front room.
We wanted a name that evoked the sense of community found in Chicago, particularly the diversity of its South Side neighborhoods. We wanted people to think of a place where family and friends gather to tell stories, have a drink, crack jokes, argue about politics, discuss art and otherwise enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company.
That’s what we want The Frunchroom to be. But unlike other frunchrooms, you won’t need to take your shoes off first.
Selected coverage of The Frunchroom
Crain’s Chicago Business: “Beverly sees big increase in home sales”
Meanwhile, new arts and social groups and new businesses have “brought a new energy into Beverly” in the past few years, said Francine Benson Garaffo, an @properties agent who has lived in next door Morgan Park for 29 years.
The neighborhood now has two breweries and a meadery (a meadery makes honey drinks, or mead), the three-year-old Beverly Area Arts Alliance, which hosts an early October Art Walk through the neighborhood, and the Frunchroom series of spoken-word performances.
Beverly Review: “The Frunchroom to host live storytelling at Beverly Arts Center”
Daily Southtown: “Frunchroom event showcases South Side stories”
DNA Info: “The Frunchroom set to make Beverly Woods debut”
Beverly Review: “Arts Alliance events to thrill local eyes, ears”
DNA Info Chicago: “The Frunchroom draws standing-room crowd for inaugural reading series”
South Side Weekly (review): “New reading series The Frunchroom comes to the South Side”
Southtown Star, “Variety marks group’s events”
DNA Info Chicago: “The Frunchroom reading series moves to Beverly Woods Restaurant”
For inquiries about The Frunchroom, email producer Scott Smith at ourmaninchicago at gmail.com.
All photos courtesy of Holly Evanchik Donovan.