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Reading is Fun, Part Deux

By Margaret Hicks in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 3, 2006 3:00PM

Dollar Store.jpgOkay, we’re having fun with reading and writing this week, ‘member? So let us not waste any time and move on to The Dollar Store.

The Dollar Store is the brain child of Jonathan Messinger of fame. He gets writers from all over the city, gives them a suggestion (something from a dollar store, get it?), then the first Friday of the month the writers read what they wrote and everyone has a beer or ten and its great fun!

We really like the idea of Dollar Store, as does the Times, and asked a couple of questions of one of its hosts and birth parents, Jeremy Sosenko. Read on for the interview.

You can see The Dollar Store Fri 7:00PM, The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago. 773.227.4433

Hi Jeremy! You’re dreamy. What was the inception of Dollar Store? How did you all come up with the idea?

A couple years ago, Jonathan Messinger, myself, and few other un- or underemployed people would meet for lunch and commiserate about the staggering emptiness in our lives and how we don't ever do anything. It was somewhat jokingly suggested that we come up with a "creative project" to make our lives worthwhile. While the rest of us took this as a great opportunity to continue not ever doing anything, Jonathan put together an actual show, one which would combine elements of comedy, monologue work and readings and be cheap and unpretentious. Also he loved dollar stores.

How do you choose your writers for the month?

Each show has a different blend of writers, and we try to carefully curate what sort of writers and performers will work best together (i.e. it's never heavily weighted toward readings or off-book performance). As for how we find the people, we just see a lot of shows, read a lot of people's work, and bug friends of friends for a lot of e-mail addresses. There have been allegations of us running a "Payola" scheme in which we demand a large sum of money from anyone who wants to be on the show. These allegations are baseless.

You have pretty eyes. How did you get involved and become host?

Jonathan had originally hosted the show with Stand-Up Behemoth Sean Gardner, but Sean moved away from Chicago a few months ago. In need of a replacement co-host, Jonathan asked me. Following in the footsteps of Sean has been a challenge, but I do feel as if I've brought a stable, Sandy Duncan-type presence to the show, and people are beginning to accept that we are now a "Hogan Family". Jonathan continues to be Mrs. Poole.

You've gotten a lot of good press lately, why do you think that is?

John F. Kennedy got a lot of good press when he was elected. We're like the John F. Kennedy of shows.

Those jeans fit you really well. What's your favorite book and why?

I really like the Mystic Masseur by V.S. Naipaul. It's his first book, before he became a superstar. All of the characters are so funny and endearing, I would totally want to hang out with them. I realize this is impossible because they are fictional.

Mind if we take off our sweater? It’s so warm in here. Which writers are up for Friday?

This week we are breaking from tradition and featuring two writers instead of three: Punk Planet's Anne Elizabeth Moore and hard-charging comedian Kumail. More info can be found at I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say this Friday's show might be the best show ever performed by humans.