Meet Our Readers

Tomorrow night, Julie Marchiano, Kristin Mount, Kimberly Duncan, and Kelly Connell talk about sex, baby, let’s talk about you and me, let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be- sorry. How good are Salt-N-Pepa? How good and instructive is this show going to be? These are all questions, and the answer is very, very good.

Kristin MountKristin Mount

Kristin Mount has been a freelance medical illustrator since 1993, and also teaches Anatomy and Digital Illustration at a private art college in Chicago. She is also a research advisor at the medical illustration graduate program at UIC. Her writing experience includes her anatomy blog, her book, The Figure Artist’s Book of Anatomical Landmarks, and the occasional essay for online publications such as Zaftig and Yes Press. She is grateful for the opportunity to take part in a Miss Spoken event.

profile picKelly Connell

For over 20 years Kelly Connell has been teaching Sexuality Education to anyone who will listen. She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Sexuality Education from the University of Pennsylvania and completed all of her course work for her PhD in the same at Widener University, where she received a Certificate of Advanced Study in Human Sexuality- which means she ran out of money two months before her dissertation defense. When she is not teaching sexuality or telling tales about the crazy Life as a Sex Educator she is a busy wedding officiant, host of Sex Trivia, and lives in her small hometown in Michigan.

Julie-Marchiano1Julie Marchiano

Julie Marchiano is pleased as punch to be reading this month at Miss Spoken. When she’s not traveling across the country with The Second City Touring Company, Julie can be seen in Improv All Stars at UP Comedy Club, Weary Travelers at iO Chicago, and various improv, sketch, and storytelling shows around the city. Check her out on Twitter @juliemarchiano, or on her fancy website,

KimDuncanKimberly Duncan

Kimberly is an actor, dancer, singer and writer. She’s a Belgian girl raised in Detroit who loves french fries, waffles and the Red Wings. Sorry folks. Thanks to her  highly useful Bachelors degree in Theatre and Dance, Kimberly has appeared in shows across this great land of ours, but her proudest achievement, by far, is helping to create the greatest, sassiest, most independent girl in the world, her daughter, Isobel. Kimberly has told her stories at Voicebox and Louder Than A Mom. She also co-hosts Do Not Submit in Brookfield the 4th Tuesday of the month. Feel free to stop on by, but she is thrilled to appear at Miss Spoken, for the very first time, to share her Belgian version of Sex Ed.




Caroline and the towel

Somehow, between changing schools and avoiding the subject of it with my parents (for a myriad of reasons which I won’t get into now), I never had the opportunity to take a sex ed class.

This was in New York City in the 1980s. I went to public school through sixth grade, in a part of Brooklyn that you might one day see on an episode of “Girls”. Learning about sex was not on the curriculum for us. At least, it wouldn’t be until seventh or eighth grade. Apparently too late for some of the older girls who would go on to start high school a few blocks away with suspiciously round bellies.

Nobody Calling On The Phone, ‘Cept For the Pope Maybe In Rome

I’ve been listening to the radio a lot because I’m in the car more than ever.

In case you were wondering (I’m sure you were not), radio in Chicago is a sad state of affairs.

Some of you may know I went to college and graduated with a degree in radio. I had no lofty expectations of becoming a DJ, though a part of me wished I could. I loved Wendy & Bill in the morning on the original Q101. I used to record songs on cassette from Hot 97 in St. Louis. I called into stations for promotions and one time won tickets to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Radio used to be a pretty big deal. Eric & Kathy (who are apparently still around) were getting million dollar contracts for hosting the morning show on 101.9, The Mix. And yes, Kathy was making less.

But with iPods and satellite radio (once thought to be a failing fad), it’s lost a lot of appeal.

Anyway, I’m getting off track.

A few weeks ago, I was listening to the ‘Top 9 at 9’ on B96 (which is also still around) and the number one song was some guy singing about how a girl he hung out with used to call him on his cellphone.

I figured it was called “Cellphone”.

I did not know it was Drake.

Either way, I was very ANNOYED by this song, even though I also sort of liked it at the same time.

I was irritated by the lyrics.

So, you moved out of the city and this girl is hanging out with new people and wearing new clothes and drinking champagne on the dance floor when she used to stay at home and be a good girl? (You seem REALLY STRESSED OUT about these girls you’ve never seen before.)

First…seriously? Like, I get the image you are trying to paint, but…No. If she was cool enough to hang out with, I doubt she just stayed at home every night, curled up in bed calling you. Also, going out doesn’t make someone “bad”.

Second, so what if she’s wearing less clothes? Actually, what does that even mean? Did she wear sweat pants and cut them off into shorts? Is she opting out of a coat when it’s cold? Is her skirt above the knees now?


All of these changes have you worried that she’s bending over backwards for someone. Ahem. I KNOW YOU MEAN THAT LITERALLY.

Oh you “taught her things”, did ya now?

Look, I like the idea of writing a song about how someone used to call you on your phone. Because like listening to the radio in high school, I talked on the phone A LOT. I had my own line and would leave funny outgoing messages on my answering machine and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking to my best guy friend.

I miss those days, Drake. Even though you are eight years younger than me, perhaps you remember talking on the phone too.

But just because Rihanna, I mean, Some Girl, isn’t calling you anymore, doesn’t make her some raging party girl who is dabbling in anal sex with someone other than you.

And even if she is, THAT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, SIR.


P.S. But if the DJ played this song at an imaginary club I won’t be going to because I’m old, a parent and live in the suburbs, I’d be out on the dance floor.

P.P.S. But probably not with champagne.

P.P.P.S. Unless it was free.

At The Movies with Your Friend Jasmine: Crimson Peak and Yakuza Apocalypse

I went into this movie with a crush on Tom, but was overwhelmed by admiration for Jessica Chastain. She is an acting beast, and she wasn’t chewing scenery in this movie so much as ripping it’s head off with her bare hands.

Bus Stop Stacey

I’m waiting for the Damen bus when he descends, and descends isn’t the right word because this dude is short. I don’t like to rip on height, being a stubby individual myself, but yeah he’s short and anyway you’re not gonna have much sympathy for him in about thirty seconds. Short, white, graying, maybe in his early 40s. The girl I’m sharing the bench with is maybe a little younger than me. Mid to late 20s. She’s wearing those black exercise pants everyone wears and I can’t blame her, they look good, and a strappy pink tank top and she’s pretty, chill, just hanging out waiting for the 50.

She turns to me, “Are those flowers?”

I’m carrying a bouquet of dried flowers and I promise you, my life is not as manic pixie dream girl as all that. I was sweaty and had recently finished eating several tacos, hunched over one of those picnic tables at Big Star like a blonde raccoon but their fried fish game is strong. Those zanahorias with spicy tahini sauce are pretty good too. That plus an al pastor and I’m walking slowly to the bus, surreptitiously rubbing my swollen stomach. I am no one’s spritely projection right now, unless they’re into cumin-scented bus naps.

I show my bench companion my flowers and she nods and we smile at each other.

Then he’s there, hovering at the side of the bench.

“Can I just say, you have a beautiful Afro?”

Okay. I mean, he’s right. She does have a beautiful Afro, it’s swaying gently in the late summer breeze. This is not a terrible thing to say but my hackles are already bristling because I have seen this man, he’s black or white or brown or yellow but no matter what he is, he is the worst. But maybe he’s fine. Maybe I need to chill the fuck out.

She’s smiling politely. Her face is pleasant and open. I feel all the saltiness of my recently 30 years rise up (happy birthday Rose, you feel way too old for male bullshit), the catcalls and hisses and creepy fucking conversations I’ve had with strange men who want to say something about my face, or let’s be real my titties. But maybe he’s just tipsy and flirty, and that’s not a crime. I slump back and try to be chill. He is talking and she’s nodding and then-

“So my ex-girlfriend, she was black, and she-“

alone at home with jasmine

The other day at the opera I was sitting behind a woman who wouldn’t stop shushing. She wasn’t shushing me but rather the two little girls who, with their families, made up the happy little party we formed that afternoon at a matinee of Rossini’s “Cinderella”.

The two little girls are six and a half and 7 years old, respectively. Their mothers are, like me, in their late 30’s/early 40s. This is an age that I’ve come to think of as “probably too old for Tom Hiddleston, definitely too young for… whoever the 50-something version of Tom Hiddleston is”.

Not That You Asked: Hurt Feelings

I’m not a big fan of “I’m sorry”, though it’s an important and necessary phrase.

I don’t like it because it can be a really small thing to say after something horrible was done.

I think we’d all prefer that the horrible thing not happen, but sometimes “I’m sorry” plus “I won’t do it again” will have to suffice. Or not. It’s up to you what a forgivable offense is.

But I will not stand for someone who berates anyone for saying their feelings have been hurt. And I will not tolerate the “I didn’t intend to hurt you” pseudo-apology.

Yes, we’re all stupid and we all make mistakes. Yes, we do things that unintentionally hurt people.

Rather than front load our inevitable mea culpa with “but I didn’t MEAN to cause harm”, why not just skip straight to the “I’m sorry what I did hurt you” and leave it?

If you think someone is being overly sensitive, then you can simply not be around that person so much. It’s perfectly fine to decide that neither of you is in the wrong or needs to change in order for the relationship to work. It’s also fine to think another person is overreacting and remove yourself from further engaging with said person.

I say all of this because I get the fear in telling someone they’ve offended you or to be sensitive about issues that the other person can’t understand. I know what it’s like to worry that you’ll lose a friend, co-worker or significant other to stick up for yourself. It gets really old having to point out that sometimes it’s no fun being a woman of color to someone who Just Doesn’t Get It.

But I’m hella tired of the hyper defensiveness of people who can’t fathom the notion that they are capable of being insensitive. Yeah, SORRY YOU GOT CAUGHT.

Please take a moment to ask yourself why you think you’re some sort of special, non-existent snowflake who has never misspoke.

Also, if you find yourself on social media vehemently defending those who offend, please sit somewhere quietly to contemplate why it’s important to do so. Most devil’s advocate stances are boring, unintelligent and useless, in case you didn’t get the memo.

If you don’t like being called privileged because of your gender or the color of your skin, maybe use the very things you are being accused of benefiting from and actually DO SOMETHING USEFUL, like not constantly siding with your ilk. I hate to break it to you, but you’re not enlightened because you think you can flip the script.

It is seriously tiresome to not only be marginalized, stereotyped and discriminated against but to then have people you thought were allies telling people of your kind they all need to SLOW DOWN WITH THEIR FEELINGS AND SHIT.

If you do think this way, feel free to keep those lame opinions to yourself or within like minded company because We don’t appreciate it, don’t need it and think less of you for it.