In the Frunchroom: Sahar Mustafah

Next up on this Thursday’s Frunchroom lineup is Sahar Mustafah.

Sahar is a native of Chicago who grew up on the South Side of Chicago in the Gage Park neighborhood. She is also the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, a richly complex inheritance she explores in her fiction.

Her award-winning short story collection Code of the West centers on native and immigrant Palestinians. Her short stories have been awarded the Guild Literary Complex Prize for fiction, a Distinguished Story honor by Best American Short Stories 2016, and two Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net nominations. She is co-founder of Bird’s Thumb, a publishing project devoted to new, emerging and established writers.

Sahar is at work on her first novel about a hate crime shooting that takes place outside of Chicago. It is forthcoming next year by W. W. Norton.

Sahar currently lives in Orland Park and has taught delightfully misunderstood teenagers for over twenty years. Her story is about the internalized racism she experienced growing up on the South Side. Join her and four other readers this Thursday at 730pm at Beverly Arts Center.

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In the Frunchroom: Dave Daruszka

Living in the 19th ward, there’s one thing that affects your road travel more than anything else: railroad tracks. So it’s perhaps fitting we have a former locomotive engineer in our midst for this Thursday’s Frunchroom show.

Dave Daruszka has spent his entire life surrounded by railroads and immersed in their history. Despite attending college to study design and photography, and making a few attempts at a creative career, he inevitably ended up working on the railroad as a locomotive engineer. The railroad left him with a darker sense of humor, numerous aches and pains, and a multitude of stories. These tragicomic tales are filled with a cast of characters that border on the unbelievable. They are most often best told to other railroaders who understand both the joys and futility of the industry they give much of their lives to.

Since retirement, Dave has gone back to working on his photography and other artistic pursuits while blogging on occasion about Chicago’s railroad history and his life as a Polish kid from Buffalo, NY. He has also undertaken a new quixotic project and currently lives in Morgan Park…near the railroad tracks.

See Dave and our other readers this Thursday at 730pm at the Beverly Arts Center!

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In the Frunchroom: Lily Be

Whether summer is your favorite time to get out of the house or you prefer to remain enveloped in air conditioning, The Frunchroom is here for you with our next show at 730pm, this Thursday, July 26th, presented by The Beverly Area Arts Alliance and sponsored by our hosts Beverly Arts Center (air conditioning provided free with your $5 dollar donation).

All this week, we’ll be posting bios of our readers, starting with Moth StorySLAM and GrandSLAM champion Lily Be.

Lily is the creator of Stoop-Style Stories and The Stoop Chicago storytelling series and workshops as well as her soon to be debuting podcast The Stoop straight UP no Chaser.

She is an accidental artist living a life of storytelling purpose. Every performance is her hope to inspire more and more people to own their stories and share their truths because storytelling saved her life and she believes it can do the same for others. There is no bio that can tell you about the force of nature that is Lily Be.

She’s someone you just have to experience. Follow her on everything at @QueenLilyBe. Catch her hosting shows, podcasts, workshops, and telling stories all over the city and see her this Thursday at The Frunchroom.

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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 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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