Before her two children re-choreographed her life, Keesha Beckford was a professional dancer who performed in the U.S. and in Europe. Today she teaches modern and jazz dance in the Chicago area. She is also the human cyclone behind the blog Mom's New Stage. A multitasker at heart, she shows fierce skills at simultaneously writing, choreographing, checking Facebook and Pinterest updates, playing the role of a mother named Joan "Kumbaya" Crawford, and overcooking food. Keesha is one of the select contributing authors of In The Powder Room's first anthology, You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth. Her writing has been featured on Mamapedia, The Huffington Post, and in the bestselling anthology I Just Want to Pee Alone.
The weather may be getting cooler, but there's nothing like a little live lit to warm you up. On Nov. 4, Andrew Huff and Eden Robins co-host the November edition of Chicago's eclectic monthly reading series, with readings by Tom Haley, Maggie Jenkins, Melinda McIntire, Keesha Beckford and former co-host William Shunn!.
The reading gets underway on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, at 7:30 pm in the upstairs lounge at Hopleaf, 5148 N. Clark St., Chicago. Doors open at 7:00 pm sharp -- no earlier, unfortunately, but get there as close to 7 as possible to grab a table, as the room fills up quickly. Our lovely bartender Mark has a beer for you, and stop downstairs before or after the show for a nice meal. Admission is free, but you must be 21 or older.
We started off with a story of love and Chicago with a twist of death (who could resist such a combination?) by Noel Jones, followed by an excerpt from Lori Rader-Day's gripping mystery novel, The Black Hour, and then Mark Turcotte left us shaking with an intense memoir-ish piece about his parents before they ever met.
We needed beer, and we needed it from Mark, who gave it to us in exchange for valid currency.
We were ready for round two! Dmitry Samarov told us two tales of being a cab driver in Chicago, from his most recent memoir Where To? A Hack Memoir. And then Paul McComas and Maya Kuper closed out the night with a moving musical/spoken word extravaganza based on McComas's novel UNPLUGGED that featured, yes, a real-live keytar.
It was a night to remember, and we have two more nights to remember in 2014 (you will remember NO OTHER NIGHTS). Join us on Tuesday, November 4th for Tuesday Funk #75 when we shall delight in the readings of Tom Haley, Maggie Jenkins, Melinda McIntire, Keesha Beckford, and former co-host William Shunn!
We here at Tuesday Funk love to use the weather as a metaphor for the passage of time, and this month is no exception - we're bundled up in our scarves and hip jackets, enjoying the changing colors and various pumpkin-flavored things, and tonight we are going to warm ourselves by the glow of our extremely talented readers at Tuesday Funk #74!
Our readings take place at Hopleaf Bar, 5148 N. Clark St. in Chicago. We get started promptly at 7:30 pm in the upstairs lounge. Arrive early if you want a seat--but no earlier than 7:00 pm. Our readings are free, but only those 21 and over will be admitted. No food can be brought in from the restaurant. See you there!
Mark Turcotte (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) is author of four poetry collections, including The Feathered Heart and Exploding Chippewas. His poems and stories have appeared in POETRY, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Sentence, Hunger Mountain, The Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner and other literary journals and anthologies.
His work is included in the Poetry Society's Poetry In Motion project, as well as the Poetry Foundation/NEA recitation program, Poetry Out Loud. He has been the recipient of a Lannan Foundation Grant, two Literary Fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts Board, and a Josephine Gates Kelly Memorial Fellowship from Wordcraft Circle. He was the 2008 Visiting Native Writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and served as Visiting Writer-In-Residence for Spring 2014 at the Center For The Writing Arts at Northwestern University. Since 2009 he has been a Visiting Assistant Professor in English and Creative Writing at DePaul University.
Please join Mark and all our talented readers on Tuesday, October 7, 2014, upstairs at Hopleaf at 7:30 pm. This 21-and-older event is free.
Paul McComas is an award-winning author (five critically acclaimed books, plus two in process), actor, educator, filmmaker and musician, and a progressive activist who's been honored by his home state of Wisconsin, the Mental Health Association, and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), on whose National Leadership Council and Speakers Bureau he serves.
Chicago singer/songwriter Maya Kuper portrays protagonist Dayna Clay in the stage adaptation of Paul's acclaimed 2002 novel Unplugged. In "UNPLUGGED: Songs & Scenes to Combat Rape" -- with which they're currently touring to raise funds and awareness for RAINN -- Paul and Maya mesh songs and spoken-word performance to tell the story of Dayna, a 27-year-old rocker and rape survivor. The show combines riveting drama with original songs to chronicle Dayna's bumpy journey out of depression, through the South Dakota Badlands, and into discovery, hope, full embrace of her bisexuality, and love.
Please join Paul & Maya and all our fantastic readers on Tuesday, October 7, 2014, upstairs at Hopleaf at 7:30 pm. This 21-and-older event is free.
Originally from Alaska, Noël Jones is a writer and former member of the 2000 National Poetry Slam Champion Team NYC-Urbana, featured in The New York Times and on NPR's "Infinite Mind," as well as at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, TX. As a performance poet, Jones has toured internationally and was selected to be part of an all-woman tour introducing slam poetry to Denmark. She now lives in Chicago and is focused primarily on fiction, most recently completing the first draft of her novel Vigil at Ragdale. She is very excited to be reading at Tuesday Funk again.
Please join Noël and all our impressive readers on Tuesday, October 7, 2014, upstairs at Hopleaf at 7:30 pm. This 21-and-older event is free.
Lori Rader-Day's debut mystery, The Black Hour (Seventh Street Books, 2014), received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Her short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Time Out Chicago, Good Housekeeping, and others. Her next book, the mystery Little Pretty Things, is out in 2015. She lives in Chicago.
Please join Lori and all our mysterious readers on Tuesday, October 7, 2014, upstairs at Hopleaf at 7:30 pm. This 21-and-older event is free.
Dmitry Samarov was born in Moscow, USSR in 1970. He immigrated to the US with his family in 1978. He got in trouble in 1st grade for doodling on his Lenin Red Star pin and hasn't stopped doodling since. After a false start at Parsons School of Design in New York, he graduated with a BFA in painting and printmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993.
Upon graduation he promptly began driving a cab--first in Boston, then after a time, in Chicago--which eventually led to the publication of his illustrated work memoir Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab by University of Chicago Press in 2011 and the forthcoming Where To? A Hack Memoir from Curbside Splendor.
He has exhibited his work in all manner of bars, coffeeshops, libraries, and even the odd gallery (when he's really hard up ).
He paints and writes in Chicago, Illinois. He no longer drives a cab.
Please join Dmitry and all our Lenin-doodling readers on Tuesday, October 7, 2014, upstairs at Hopleaf at 7:30 pm. This 21-and-older event is free.
Photo courtesy of Paul Germanos