Chicago waits with bated breath for the frenzy that is set to descend with next week’s arrival of The Association of Writers & Writing Programs; the literary circus is coming to town! While we’ve been readying ourselves for the litany of literary temptations soon to be set before us, Curbside Splendor’s Victor David Giron has been putting together off-site events, including one of the week’s first–the Kick-Off Party.
“I heard about AWP coming here and immediately I noticed people were starting to plan,” Giron said. “So I decided let’s get in on it. I started to reach out to independent publishers.”
Curbside’s AWP Kick-Off Party, free with RSVP, is set for February 29 from 8 P.M. until close at The Empty Bottle, helping to get the week’s seemingly endless barrage of activities rolling. The event is the result of the pooled efforts of Artistically Declined, Curbside Splendor, Featherproof Books, Orange Alert, Other Voices Books, TZWCYL, and the Empty Bottle, all of whom are sponsoring the event that includes over 20 readers and live music. James Greer of Guided by Voices will be performing with friends in tow.
You can find out about the other two Curbside events in detail on their website. In brief, there’s a Karaoke Idol Dance Party at Beauty Bar—of which Giron owns a share—and Beautiful Words at Beauty Bar, with readings by Kim Addonizio, Kate Zambreno, Vanessa Veselka, Greg Olear, Stacy Berlein, Michael Czyzniejewski, David Galef, Jonathan Evison, and Shannon Cason. Out-of-town sponsors include the University of California-Riverside MFA program.
Many of the events throughout the week from Curbside, and numerous others, feature the same level of collaboration by local publishers and businesses, as well as those coming in from around the country. This city is inhabited by a diverse crowd of bookish individuals filling our calendars with a potpourri of programming, representing nearly every genre. Chicago’s literary scene is accustomed to planning readings on regular and large-scale events, like the Chicago Book Expo. AWP, however, draws readers and writers from all over the country, and for that it is truly a unique moment, even for a town like ours that bonds so often over books.