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RUI: 'Reading Under the Influence' A Unique, Spirited Live Lit Show

By Allison Kelley in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 4, 2014 7:00PM


RUI: Reading Under the Influence (RUI) is unique for a live lit show, in that it features works of original fiction and readings from famous novels.

On Wednesday night, there were a total of four local published authors who read pieces to fit the theme, “Dude Ranch.” In keeping with the name of the series, each performer took a shot before taking the mike. The first reader of the night was Gint Aras, kicking things off with a passage from the Nabokov classic "Lolita". Later in the night he took the stage to read from his original work, a novel called "Finding the Moon in Sugar," about a Berwyn man who falls in love with a Lithuanian woman.

Matt Rowan, author of “Why God Why?” gave an animated performance, taking on the persona of a tough dude who never turns down the opportunity to box. Even when facing assault charges in court. Rowan’s character would even, “box a judge.”

With a theme like “Dude Ranch,” the Coen Bros. classic The Big Lebowski was a natural topic of conversation. Brian Costello, author of, “Losing Gainesville,” read a passage from, “The Dude and the Zen Master,” a book co-written by Jeff Bridges and his buddhist teacher/friend Bernie Glassman. While his novel excerpt, featured impulsive characters more inclined to drunkenly pen a song about a clown village, than meditate.

Joseph G. Peterson was the fourth reader of the night and author of this year's "Gideon's Confession." He read a second-person narrative story about a person looking back on a moment in their life, a fragment of a younger, boozier, easier time they could never get back. This was an easy story for a bar patron to slip into on a Wednesday night.

Throughout the night, readers asked audience members trivia questions pertaining to the theme and novels. Those who answered correctly were given a drink and a free copy of one of the novels of their choosing. While RUI does not exclusively feature fiction works, it is a great venue to hear smart local authors reading novel excerpts and short stories, in addition to non-fiction works.

RUI is held the first Wednesday of every month at 7:30 pm in the back-back room at Sheffields at 3258 N. Sheffield Ave.