Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Looking at February - May of 2018

Hey all you No Shush Lovin' folks!

I've been wrapped up in Library School and work and this is the first chance I've had to update the blog in a long time. I'm excited that October 2018 will be our 5th year anniversary and our third year at the Oak Park Library Maze Branch! But before we get to that, check out these other exciting things coming up:

Thursday, February 22nd, we are excited to have one of our regular No Shushers, Alexei Collier! Alexei is a writer who grew up in sunny Southern California, in a house his family moved into on his very first Halloween. Many years later, powerful forces flung him deep into the heart of the Midwest, where he now lives across the street from Chicago with his wife and their cat. His short fiction has been published by Cicada, Ideomancer, and StarShipSofa's Tales to Terrify. You can check him out on his underused author website:

On March 29th, we are honored to have Gary Johnson. Gary is an Associate Professor in the English and Creative Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago. He is also a writer/producer of creative nonfiction for Public Radio on Morning Edition, Soundprint, Living On Earth, and Pacifica. His fiction appears in We Speak Chicagoese, F Magazine, Private Arts, Hyphen, and his articles have appeared in the Chicago Reader, and online at The Smirking Chimp, Buzzflash, and American Politics Journal.  He is a Certified Story Workshop Master Teacher.  He served as an Oak Park Library board Trustee from 2009-2013.

On April 26th, we are thrilled to have The OuttaSpace Ensemble as our featured performer. They are an improv group that meets weekly at OuttaSpace in Berwyn.  A core group of 6 players (sometimes more), hones "acting without scripts" in various long form improv formats.  With the understanding that improv doesn't have to be funny to entertain, the players focus on connecting with the audience through audience input and character development to tell a darn good story!

On May 31st, we'll be all about Rockin' the Open Mic (er, podium)! We look forward to celebrating your yet-to-be-published stories, experimental music, recently choreographed dances, trial comedy, and so much more.

All of our events begin at 6:30 pm on the last Thursday of the month unless otherwise noted. They all take place at the 
Maze Branch of the Oak Park Library 
in the Meeting room  
845 Gunderson Ave., Oak Park, IL 60304

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Catching Up and Looking Forward

Hello friends!

Sorry I've been so delinquent in updating this blog, but I started Grad School and it kind of ate all my extra time. The good news is, I have lots to share with you! Also, since Thanksgiving doesn't fall on the last day of November this year, we will have a No Shush Salon on November 30th (at 6:30 pm, in the Meeting Room at the Maze Branch of the Oak Park  and it is ALL OPEN MIC! So bring your newest story, song, dance, comedy routine, puppet play, etc.

Here's a brief recap of what has been happening from August to October:


This month we had an all female comedy troupe called, “The Kates” as our featured performers. They were awesome! We had 14 people and, along with the two comedians, five people presented in our open mic. Also, one of the open mic folks as well as four audience members had never been to the No Shush Salon before! Three women said they learned about us through a Mom’s email list.  The other two newbies were friends of regulars.

NSS The Kates Collage.jpg


Image may contain: 1 person, closeupSeptember’s No Shush Salon had Patricia Ann McNair as the featured reader. Patricia is a professor at Columbia College. She presented her recently published book, "And These are the Good Times: A Chicago gal riffs on death, sex, life, dancing, writing, wonder, loneliness, place, family, faith, coffee, and the FBI (among other things)". She brought along Randy Albers who is the head of the Fiction Writing department. We also had Gary, whose last name I missed, who used to be on the Board of the Oak Park Library. Sheila I was so honored to have such excellent writers!

McNair Collage.jpg


Tina Harle PhotographyThis month we had John McNally as our featured reader. He read from his recently published book, “The Boy Who Really, Really Wanted to have Sex: The Memoir of a Fat Kid.” It was so fun and poignant! It was exciting to have one of my classmates show up as well as someone who learned about the No Shush Salon through the Writers’ Word Feast. Everyone had a great time and we had some excellent Open Mic readings. We also had a professional photographer show up that Rebecca arranged for us since the woman who usually takes our pictures was in Japan. (Sadly, she wasn’t able to stay and get shots of the Open Mic readers, but she did get some GREAT audience shots.)

Tina Harle PhotographyTina Harle Photography

Tina Harle PhotographyTina Harle Photography
Tina Harle Photography           

Monday, August 14, 2017

July 27th: Summer Fun!

July's No Shush Salon took on the air of an actual salon rather than performance. It was fun to gather in a circle and talk about writing, art, and life! There were still readings - we had a poem, a short story, a novel chapter, a bit of a novella, and another novelesque piece of writing. 

At the end of August, we will have:

an all female comedy troupe that will leave you laughing and thinking!

Followed by our Open Mic.

Thursday August 31st
Oak Park Library - Maze Branch
845 Gunderson Ave., Oak Park, IL 60304

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fantastic June with Aeverling & Open Mic!

An Aeverling Collage 
Aeverling thrilled us with their songs, The Drive, In Reverse, & Walk With Me! They also performed wonderful covers of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and The Civil War's Barton Hallow. I have a shaky little video clip that I hope I'll be able to download eventually, but for now, check out their music on their webpage:

Our Open Mic kicked off with Ed reading An Exciting Science Fiction Story! (Yup, that's the title.) There was a cybernetic arm, an enraged moose, looters, and the ALIEN (Allied League of Interstellar Extraterrestrials) threat. So yeah... pretty dang exciting. This was followed by Sabotage!

Open Mic Performers: Sheila, Rhiannon, Jeanine, & Alex
Rhiannon brought us fever sweats in the sick house of the Fey. Going against expected practices, Kaylen was giving the dying Fey release for transcendence.

Mayle and her two little ones, told us an Estonian nursery rhyme involving a bumpy road and lemonade.

Alex shared a new part of his Four and Twenty Blackbirds story with Marta and Yohan. Twelve sets of twelve steps, drop a marble. In a tree, a blackbird sang.

Sheila shared Shadow Play, a story about old Mrs. Morton in her closet apartment and the thunk, thunk, thunking of the ball against the wall. Standing in the hall was a girl. "The Shadows won't play with me anymore! Will you play with me instead?"

Jeanine gave us a short little story Werewolves from Outer-space in which the electricity goes out in Birmingham. Patch and Seymour leave the heat of The Little Donkey Bar and see the bright lights that light up the zoo.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The No Shush Salon Presents: Aeverling

JUNE 29th, 2017, 6:30-8:45 pm


Half an hour of music followed by an Open Mic
(with goodies to eat on the side)

Aeverling is an acoustic folk-rock trio made up of Lorinda Guenther-Wright, Juanita Rea, and Gary Guenther-Wright. They play a mix of original music and cover songs crafted from a rich blend of vocal harmonies and complex musical arrangements. Influences for this unique band range from Indigo Girls to Fleetwood Mac to James Taylor. Aeverling will put on a show with a little something for everyone, and they look forward to sharing their passion for music with you.

Monday, June 12, 2017

May: Luis Tubin!

What an excellent No Shush Salon we had in May! Our featured performer, Luis, is a spoken word artist. He has a very vivacious presenting style.

Luis kicked us off with his piece, Bidenity about being a Puerto Rican in Chicago. "I cannot keep Caribian blood quiet." He shared an Ode to the Photographer that took a look at the image rising to the top and an Ode to the Bartender about the fountain of euphoria. There was sad love and playing hop-scotch over landmines as he watches the bombing fill the holy land with holes. He spoke with a rhythmic slam about making mofongo with his hands stained a dirty gray. There was A Love Letter to Logan Square; "we used to be different... is this the hood I claim to keep?" He gave us Phone Call, a story about prejudice that was hard for his ears to digest.

In our Open Mic segment, Vann delivered a rap that held a hazmat suit Buddhist and the notion that "safe space means I have to feel safe first". Mike brought us The Unicorn's Song where cleaning became discovery of an office conflict involving an innocent plush unicorn. Stephanie told us about the Nimrod Club and the sketches by Seymour, "ripped from the headlines of 1867. Alex's Rattle Snake Tears gave us snake people and the understanding that "one day, the skin will wear you." Jeanine read from her Peculiar Predicament of Poppets novel about Margarita and her daughter Eva fleeing the fires in Peshtigo by running with the mass of people into the lake. CSE recited Little Sally and the Bull Fiddle God where he liked the thorns on this doll. She sang Lady Knight, a heart filling tune of a woman saving another woman. She also sang Lysistrata Strut Your Stuff -“The oracle has spoken, it is written in the stars If we can join our forces then this victory is ours". Sheila gave us Swimming Lessons about a mother dealing with her daughter's obsession with a real live mermaid.

We hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Nobody Shushes the Salon! X2

April 13th - Owen Patterson

Reading Collage.jpg

This is the event that got flooded. But even with the rescheduling, we had a great time!
Owen read from his book, The Dis-Condition of Ease, that explored life through short vignettes that asked about living up to a name, how great calamities befall humanity, and miracles in the everyday.

Oak Park Library's own Larry Nance was there and read his poem “Brother Tim” about the intersection of oppression and Tim who spoke of social justice in a way that spoke to the young Larry. I read from my short story “Lobster Girl” about a young girl and her father and what happens when a child’s desire translates to magic. (It’s going to be published May 15th!)  

We had a few folks who had never been to our even show up halfway through. Owen read a much lighter story that made everyone laugh about a student who had no patience and discovered by experience the importance of following the chain of command.

April 27th - Iztac Metztli

Iztac is a spoken word poet as well as a short story writer who is a former student of mine. She has grown into an amazing woman! She first read her short story, “The Old Man, The Ocean, and the Bird”, a magical realism story about a man losing his wife and discovering the flight of birds with the help of the ocean. Then she read some of her spoken word poetry - “White Bitch” was about being born here but being Mexican and knowing the soil from which her grandmothers sprang. “I Am, I Is” tackled the prejudice that comes from of how language is perceived. “In Between” dealt with her identity as a Mexican American born in a Puerto Rican neighborhood. “In the Seat of Suffering”, she explored Chicago’s response, or lack thereof, to gang violence and how these are our children with expiration dates.  “I Ain’t Hip-Hop” was about growing up in the shadow of older brothers in the Hip-Hop scene. “My Grandmother is a Candle” was about her grandmother Vella who taught her the art of ancient navigation and whose candle may flicker but always burns bright.

For our Open Mic, we had Mike reading his short story, “The Ancient Eyes of Sady French” about a murder that may or may not have been perpetuated by a parrot. Alex read from his novellla, “The World River Flows Where it Will” where two characters were looking for a place in an alien world where being human didn’t make them the lowest of the low. I read my poem, “We Were Never Mermaids” about my sister who has a brain injury and how her life affects the entire family. Sheila read, “Not For You”, a story about ghosts walking on halloween night and what to do when you are the lighthouse for the dead but one of the dead is an asshole. Ed read about how he wanted to write a serial, “In the Shadows of Giants” that sipped expensive marshmallows and his poem, “Homework oh Homework” about the terrible choices homework provides.

Our Next No Shush Salon is Thursday, May 25th a 6:30 pm, with Logan Lu!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

TWO No Shush Salon's in the SAME MONTH??? HECK YEAH!!!

April's second featured reader is Iztac Metztli. 
April 27th, 6:30 PM - 8:45 PM
Oak Park Public Library Maze Branch - 845 Gunderson Ave, Oak Park, Illinois 60304

Iztac Metztli is social Justice advocate, Youth Worker, Spoken Word Poet, Buddhist, Seeker of self, Cultivator of Compassion and believes in using writing as a tool for breaking barricades, voicing our passions, healing our traumas & sharing a part of ourselves that too often remains hidden.
She also believes in leaving room for laughter, love, silliness, and gratitude.

We have 10 minutes for anyone who wants to present their latest creative endeavor. Treats to share are awesome, but we will provide munchies. Spectators are welcome and appreciated!

The No Shush Salon is a monthly Open Mic for all creative types who what to share their works-in-progress or newly finished endeavors. We often begin with a featured performer / reader or we have a theme. No registration required, just drop in and share your talents!

Can't make it? Follow us through our blog: and like us on Facebook: No Shush Salon

Thursday, April 13, 2017

April 13th, Presenting Owen Patterson (Take 2!)

Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 6:30pm to 8:45pm
Oak Park Library - Maze Branch
845 Gunderson Ave, Oak Park, Illinois 60304

Owen Patterson, a native Chicagoan, is this month's featured reader. He will be reading from his book, The Dis-Condition of Ease. To learn more about Owen and his book, check him out here:

We have 10 minutes for anyone who wants to present their latest creative endeavor. Treats to share are awesome, but we will provide munchies. Spectators are welcome and appreciated!

The No Shush Salon is a monthly Open Mic for all creative types who what to share their works-in-progress or newly finished endeavors. We often begin with a featured performer / reader or we have a theme. No registration required, just drop in and share your talents!

Can't make it? Follow us through our blog: and like us on Facebook: No Shush Salon

Thursday, March 30, 2017

CANCELLED --- March 30th No Shush Salon --- CANCELLED


Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but the Meeting Room at the Maze Branch has flooded so we have to cancel our No Shush Salon tonight. (Boo!) 

However, Owen Patterson is such an accommodating and nice presenter, that he is willing to reschedule!  
April 13th

I would also like to apologize for never getting a write-up written about our February Open Mic. It was a great night and interesting hosting it in the kitchen / staff break-room. (Double bookings are no good!) 
A big THANK YOU to Anna, Alex, Brendan, and the ever elusive Ed for being so accommodating. Thanks for taking pictures again, Anna! Also, thanks to Ed for pizza & bakery items. YUM!!!

(Hopefully, this is the end of the scheduling weirdness...)