Here’s a recording of our May 2015 (FIRST ANNIVERSARY) show. The theme was Mothers. Readers included Samantha Abernethy, Sonia Denis, Natasha Tsoutsouris, and Shanna Shrum.*

*Not all readers featured in the podcast.



Meet Our Readers

This month’s theme is Mothers. I feel like mother-daughter relationships are rarely simple, and I don’t mean like Mommie Dearest (necessarily). It’s more like, to heavily paraphrase what someone once told me: “My mom has a temper, then my dad’s like let’s go watch Ancient Aliens.”

Maybe you can relate. Or maybe you’re like Rose, my mom is super chill and a program that presents hypotheses of ancient astronauts has no place in contemporary literary discourse. And I get that. Either way, you should come out Wednesday and hear stories about moms of all stripes from our fabulous line-up. Plus, I’m making cupcakes I’m buying cupcakes.

Sonia Denis

IMG_0728Sonia Denis is a Chicago-based comedian by way of Washington, DC. Sonia’s stand-up can be described as confessional, frenetic and another cool adjective.

Sonia will be performing in the upcoming Onion & A.V. Club’s 2nd Annual 26th Annual Comedy Festival and The Crom Comedy Festival. She has performed in the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, the Women’s Funny Festival, the Cape Fear Comedy Festival, and The Comedy Exposition of 2014. She co-hosts a popular Chicago open mic at Cole’s Bar every Wednesday. She’s also a co-producer of Congrats on Your Success (CoYS), a monthly stand-up showcase that has been featured in the Chicago Reader and Time Out Chicago.

Shanna Shrum

unnamedShanna Shrum is a Chicago based solo performer and recovering sorority girl.  When she isn’t writing or performing she spends many hours meditating on the question “What would Beyonce do?”






Natasha Tsoutsouris

IMG_2652Natasha Tsoutsouris is a Chicago based writer, actor and performer. She has told stories all around the city and is excited to be making her Miss Spoken debut!




Samantha Abernethy 

profilephotoSamantha Abernethy grew up on a farm and served two terms as president of her 4-H Club. She moved to Chicago in 2008, but she’s still not a bonafide city slicker. Sam has also lived in D.C., Denver, and rural Wyoming, but Chicago is her favorite. She’s been a real journalist, a blogger, and the editor of Right now Sam is a freelance writer, editor, and all-around wordsmith. She lives with her handsome boyfriend in Bucktown, and you can find her drinking whiskey, taking notes, or attempting to sing a Dolly Parton song on karaoke.

Mother’s Day Weekend Guest Post

We’d like to welcome guest writer and former reader Tori Szekeres for today’s topical post. Thanks, Tori! More about her at the end.  -Rose

My mother is really open about sex.

It was never to the point where she’d slip a condom into my bag if I were going out – she encouraged me not to make the beast with two backs until I had a ring on it – but as a kid, she made it clear she was a sexual being and someday, I would be one too.

As a result, she would embarrass me because she would talk about that part of her relationship with my Dad sometimes. I didn’t want to think about my parents doing the horizontal mambo, and as I grew up, I didn’t want her to think about me getting my freak on.

But as we edge ever closer to Mother’s Day, I want to tell you about an accidental gift she gave me last Christmas.

We were going to the ultra chi-chi Sundance 608 Theatres in Madison, WI on Christmas Eve to see Wild with Reese Witherspoon. We sat in our seats, popcorn and bottles of water at the ready when the trailers began. A cover of Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love” began to play, and a young twenty-something sat nervously in a reception area in a corporate office.

“Mr. Grey will see you now,” an assistant said to the young woman.

Uh oh uh oh a no no no no, the music said. I found myself whispering, “Oh my god.” It was the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer! I haven’t read the books, nor am I into kinky stuff, but I know the story. Who doesn’t? “What is Mom going to say about this one?” I thought.  My mind raced. Would she ask if I was into S&M? This is the woman who has encouraged me in front of my entire family not to engage in anal sex – anything was possible.

Just then, she turned to me and said, “This is like The Love Machine by Jacqueline Susann.” I nodded and the trailer ended. We watched the movie without incident.

Thanks, Mom. For this and everything else.


Tori Szekeres is a stranger from a strange land. You may have heard of it; it’s known as Wisconsin. She ventures into the city from the Northwest Suburbs to do stand-up and storytelling with venues such as Zanies, Guts & Glory, Just Dickin’ Around, the kates, Beast Women Rising, Flabby at the Abbey, and Serving The Sentence.