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The Seven Deadly Sins Blurs Line Between Fact, Fiction

By Allison Kelley in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 13, 2014 9:45PM

Simon Smith reads his piece on Pride. (Photo credit: Allison Kelley/Chicagoist)
With a well-worn couch, walls adorned with knickknacks and album covers, and the vines of house plants creeping down shelves, Logan Square's Café Mustache is a cozy venue perfect for telling stories. It could be your basement, if your basement had a killer selection of beers and coffee drinks.

The Seven Deadly Sins storytelling series, hosted by veteran performer Angela Vela, sets up shop in the café every second Tuesday of the month and presents seven readers, each with a story based on a deadly sin. At Tuesday’s all-male showcase, stories ranged from the fantastil story of a former Iowa City gay bar owner cracking down on his coked out employee (wrath) to the violently ill outcome of a hot dog eating contest (gluttony.)

While Vela noted that the series welcomes both fiction and non-fiction pieces, not knowing what was real and what was fake felt disingenuous at times. For example, in the case of Lust, Zach Glasbrenner presented an off-the-cuff story about a drunken night that turned into an accidental indiscretion with two sex workers. The women refused to be paid in donut holes, the only currency the admittedly lecherous reader had on hand. The reliance on sex, drugs and Eddie Vedder references threatened to lose the audience in an Asher Roth frat mob.

Luckily, the standout of the night, Jim Padar (Envy), steered the night away from antics and into authenticity with his story about aging and that famous quote, “youth is wasted on the young.” Padar, a retired Chicago Police homicide detective, talked about how he stays young by hanging out with young people and genuinely taking an interest in what they have to say, “even if it’s dumb.

We’ve all been there at some point.”