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  WINDY CITY TIMES

OUTspoken at Beverly Arts Center to Place LGBTQ Stories in the Spotlight
2020-02-13

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( Chicago, February 12, 2020 ) — The Beverly Arts Center presents an evening with LGBTQIA storytelling collective OUTspoken on Friday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. The performance will be hosted by Chicago-based comedian Elizabeth Gomez and features storytellers Nancy Burkholder, Sydni Chiles, Steve English, Kim L. Hunt, Archy Jamjun, and Murphy Row.

OUTspoken is a monthly event celebrating uniquely personal stories from across the LGBTQ community. Usually hosted at Sidetrack, the group employs the art of storytelling to share authentic stories with the audience. Curators select storytellers who identify as LGBTQ or who have experiences as an ally to enlighten and entertain audiences. The collective is committed to inclusion and recognizing our commonalities while celebrating each other's differences. OUTspoken's goal is to create community, inspire dialogue, and honor the rich history of LGBTQ people.

Andrew Lindstad, Director of Development for the BAC and Staff Liaison of the organization's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, says, "The Beverly Arts Center is committed to diversity and inclusion and the power of the arts to build community, inspire social change, and bring fresh perspective to difficult and complex issues. In this vein, a member of our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Steve English, was familiar with this event and brought it to our attention as a possible LGBTQIA event. Storytelling through this lens is a powerful way to tell the unique and personal stories of individuals in this diverse community."

Tickets to OUTspoken are $15 ( $13 for BAC Members ) and available at the BAC box office on the corner of 111th and Western, via phone at 773-445-3838, or online at beverlyartcenter.org .

Link to event: https://beverlyartcenter.org/17/?noisa_events=outspoken

Bios of Tellers

Elizabeth Gomez is a Chicago based comedian, writer, and storyteller. She established the city's first all-female roller derby league, The Windy City Rollers, in 2004. She is the founding writer of a writing collective called Drinkers with Writing Problems and editor at Heauxs Magazine ( a magazine where smart people talk about dumb things ), spends her days working for an Alderman on Chicago's city council, and is currently obsessed with Chris Hemsworth's chest.

Nancy Burkholder has had one foot in the arts and one foot in the madcap world of marketing research for years. Part of the creative team behind the long-running show, Late NiteCatechism, and a marketing research consultant, Nancy understands the importance of both following your artistic dreams and having a sensible fallback career. Over the past year she's been telling stories at First Person Live, This Much is True, and Is This a Thing, as well as the Moth GrandSLAM. A stint in the record business put Nancy's pop music fixation to good use in a pre-Google world, not to mention provides some pretty interesting stories. As a kid she saw the Beatles live and has the $2.50 ticket-stub to prove it.

Sydni "Essay" Chiles studied architecture and creative writing at University of Southern California and went on to obtain an MFA in creative writing from Roosevelt University. She's obsessed with deep conversations, all forms of adventure, and pushing boundaries. Through storytelling, she explores whether there is that in each of us that is intentionally or specifically "human".

Steve English is the owner of Blossom Boys in Beverly. He tries to keep people asking, "what the hell is he doing now?!" English has an adopted son and is an advocate for disabled children and equality of animals. He also facilitates the only LGBTQA artist and writing workshop on the south side called Rainbow Youth Connections.

Kim L. Hunt is the executive director of the Pride Action Tank ( PAT ), a project of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ), where she also serves as the senior director of Policy & Advocacy Operations. She is the former executive director of Affinity Community Services and spent the first half of her career journey as an urban planner. A mother of three and the grateful wife of Mary DeBacker, her partner of over 20 years, Kim also loves shoes and storytelling and feels very lucky to be the monthly co-host of OUTSpoken.

Archy Jamjun is the curator for Outspoken. He is a two-time winner of The Moth GrandSlam and has been featured nationally on The Risk! Podcast. His writing has been published by The Rumpus, BarrelHouse, and The Coachella Review. Last summer he was a featured teller at the National Storytelling Conference in Fremont.

Murphy Row is a former comedian and professional MC. He continues to write and perform, attempting to find the middle ground between self-care and self-deprecating humor. With no expertise on any subject other than his own life events, Murphy tries to create honest material that reflects growth out of pain and also leads to laughter out of darkness.

—From a press release


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