amy sumpter

Heroes is Live

Our first show of the year is up. Get over to iTunes and let Amy Sumpter, Crystal Lynette, Louise W. Knight, Deborah Siegel, and Allie Kahan take you on a hero’s journey.

mariah carey


Meet Our Readers

In these times, we’re holding out for a hero more than ever. This Wednesday, Allie Kahan, Amy Sumpter, Crystal Lynette, Louise W. Knight, and Deborah Siegel bring us their personal definition of just that, from caped crusaders to feminist icons to family. Meanwhile, I’ll softly hum the lyrics to the Mariah Carey classic, and hope it adds ambience.

Allie Kahan

allie kahanAllie Kahan grew up in the suburban town of Glenview, Illinois. Heavily influenced by Nancy Drew, she was fond of trying to solve neighborhood mysteries, of which there were always none. Now, Allie is graduating in March with a degree in Communications and Media with a minor in Psychology. She has completed two internships working in the communications department of different non-for-profits. Allie writes weekly satirical articles for The Black Sheep, as well as hosts, interns and studies improvisation at iO Chicago. She is a monologist in DePaul University’s Vagina Monologues in February. In her spare time, Allie sees improv shows at iO, tries recipes from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, and fruitlessly tries to convince her friends how fun it would be to start a book club.

Amy Sumpter
amy sumpterAmy Sumpter
 is a cast member of the Kates. She can be seen all over Chicago doing stand up. When she isn’t doing that, you can find her high-kicking and rapping with She’s Crafty, Chicago’s all-female Beastie Boy tribute band.





Louise W. Knight

louise w. knightA native of Evanston who spent 20 years elsewhere after college, Louise W. Knight eventually found her Midwest roots too strong to ignore. Writing two books about Illinois-born Jane Addams also helped draw her back. After a career in university and nonprofit administration and fundraising, she is a biographer now, working on a third book about two radical abolitionist-feminists of the 1830s, the sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimke.


Deborah Siegel

Deborah SiegelDeborah Siegel is the author of two books and a pair of boy/girl twins, and the founder of the public voice consultancy, Girl Meets Voice Inc. She’s also co-founder of, Senior Facilitator with The OpEd Project, and creator of the Girl w/Pen blog. A Visiting Scholar in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Northwestern University and a lover of all things lake, she’s an ex-New Yorker who bailed on academia but never fully left. Her writing has appeared in venues including The Washington Post, The Guardian,, The Forward, Kveller, Slate, The Huffington Post, The American Prospect, Ms., More, and Psychology Today, and she’s been featured on The Today Show, at TEDx, and in the New York Times. Deborah is currently obsessed with a multimedia experiment in thinking out loud, and in community, about gender and early childhood. Learn more at

Crystal Lynette

crystal lynetteCrystal Lynnette is a lifelong, deep dish-eating, Cubs-loving, no ketchup on hotdogs-having Chicagoan. She is new to storytelling in front of adults, but spends most of her days telling stories to 9 and 10-year-olds as a 3rd and 4th grade teacher. During her free time she is training for a marathon, doing yoga, or watching reruns of The Office, and eating an embarrassing amount of Taco Bell (it is called balance).


Here’s a recording of our October 2014 show. The theme was Halloween. Readers included Britt Julious, Amy Sumpter, Kelsie Huff, Claire Zulkey, and Natasha Lagerfeld.


Meet Our Readers

We told ourselves we wouldn’t do holiday themes, but Halloween is kind of the best. Candy, dressing up like something else, horror movies, and bonfires – I’m getting an autumn boner just writing all this out. I wish I was kidding. I’m not. Thankfully, I’m also not kidding about our excellent line-up. Put on your costume (or don’t, whatever), bring your sweet tooth, and join us at Gallery Cabaret on 10/29.

missspoken_kelsiehuffKelsie Huff

Kelsie Huff is stand-up comedian who just got back from the Portland comedy festival All Jane No Dick. She is super proud to be the creator and co-host of the kates, an all female comedy showcase held at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square. She teaches Feminine Comique, an all female stand-up class created by Cameron Esposito. Kelsie’s deepest horror lies in fitting rooms and being surrounded by open toed shoes.



missspoken_brittjuliousBritt Julious 

Britt Julious is a born and bred Chicagoan, a writer, and a disco ball in human form. She is the senior editor for This Recording, a literary essay website, and a columnist for VICE. She contributes arts and music journalism regularly to The Guardian and The New York Times. In the past, she’s written for Pitchfork, WBEZ, Complex, The Fader, and Rookie. Her interests include wearing sequins, channeling the spirit of 70s and 80s divas, and practicing misandry.

missspoken_nathalielagerfeldNathalie Lagerfeld

At age 27, Nathalie Lagerfeld still remembers most of the French swear words she learned as a comparative literature major in college. This skill has never yet come in handy in her post-college jobs as a high-school writing teacher, food blogger, or professional coupon writer, but she still holds out hope. Meanwhile, she passes the time writing and performing at shows like Essay Fiesta and Mortified, or binge-watching old X-Files episodes at her apartment in Logan Square.

missspoken_katesumpterAmy Sumpter

Amy Sumpter is a Comedic Actress who has done stand-up in Chicago for over 7 years. She loves telling stories, high kicking and performing with the kates in Lincoln Square. She is also in a female Beastie Boys tribute band called She’s Crafty.




missspoken_clairezulkeyClaire Zulkey

Since 2002, Claire Zulkey has run the blog Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Jezebel, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of the young adult novel AN OFF YEAR and will be publishing a middle grade novel with Harper Collins in 2015. She runs the literary humor reading series Funny Ha-Ha, which will return to the Hideout January 30. She still lives in Chicago but will be moving to Evanston soon to start collecting Eileen Fischer dresses and North Face vests.