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Irvine Welsh Hosts Windy City Story Slam Championships

By Maggie Hellwig in Arts & Entertainment on May 23, 2012 7:00PM

In 2008 Bill Hillmann, 2002 Chicago Golden Gloves boxing champ, began the Windy City Story Slam. The Slam is modeled with the competition of a boxing tournament and resembles what we Chicagoans know as a traditional poetry slam. Instead of poems, however, the author performs a narrative. Most of the stories are of the autobiographical variety; some of them brutal, some are the funny, but ultimately only one author stands as the champion.

The Fifth Windy City Story Slam Championship is literally right around the corner. This Saturday, May 26, six finalists will spill their guts for the audience at Viaduct Theatre. Irvine Welsh fans will certainly have something to look forward to, since the famous author of Trainspotting will be hosting the event. Marc Kelly Smith, father of slam poetry and President of Chicago Slam Works will also be in attendance.

Let us not forget the finalists. This year includes a solid group of contestants: some who are involved in the Chicago storytelling scene, a few who simply have a talent for the art, and of course one who is just downright humorous:
Samantha Irby of the hilarious blog Bitches Gotta Eat.
Scott Whitehair, a member of the group This Much is True.
Shannon Cason, a storyteller hailing from Detroit.
Luis Perez, an on-air raconteur at Vocalo 89.5 Overdrive.
Cara Brigandi, the host of Grown Folks Stories.
Patrick Salem, gentleman of the US Marine Corps.

To leave a slight taste in your mouth, here's what you can expect on Saturday night. We bring you Alex Bonner, previous Windy City Story Slam champ, from the 2011 finals. He's as funny as he is self-deprecating (you office folks might want to slip on your headphones for this one).

May 26 at The Viaduct Theatre 3111 N. Western Ave., Doors at 10 p.m., Show at 10:20 p.m., tickets sold at the door for $10