The human language has evolved from grunts to poetry and back to the grunts of Internet “LolSpeak“. Tonight, in the back room of Black Rock Pub, the discourse will be raised a little higher at Story Lab, a new monthly storytelling event in Roscoe Village.
This is the fourth presentation of Story Lab, and it has proven to be wildly successful with standing-room-only crowds. There are six performers at each show, and Story Lab host and organizer Scott Whitehair says performers are already booked through August.
Storytelling events have been popping up all over the city, including Essay Fiesta at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square, The Moth StorySLAMs at Martyr’s in Northcenter and Whitehair’s other project This Much Is True at Hopleaf in Andersonville.
The rising popularity of storytelling events, Whitehair says, may be part of a backlash against the impersonality of the Internet.
“I love technology, but there’s something about being in a room talking to people, listening to people talk, sharing each others’ stories face-to-face,” said Whitehair.
The stories are sometimes funny and sometimes sad and sometimes both. You may be able to find some stories online after the event, but Story Lab is more about the performance, separating the story from the literary element.
“People get into it,” Whitehair said. “There’s a lot of engaging with the audience.”
There is no qualification to tell your story. They do ask that the story is prepared in advance, but there is no try-out or screening.
“It was created just to give people a supportive environment to try this out,” said Whitehair. “We try to create an atmosphere … and it feels like a bunch of friends hanging out.”
Story Lab takes place the third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the back room of Black Rock Pub, 3614 N. Damen. For more information and to see upcoming contributors, visit the Story Lab website.