I stumbled upon The Silver Room (1442 N Milwaukee) when I first moved to Chicago, a little over three years ago, while out and about exploring the city. Something about the place drew me back and continues to draw me back time and time again. I’m sure the unique and fun accessories, the super friendly staff and the great deals have a little something–ok a lot of something to do with it, but it’s Grown Folks Stories that permanently inked a trip to The Silver Room in my calendar!
I first heard about Grown Folks Stories from Ken, one of the many friendly employees, who told me I should come back on Thursday night for the event. I’m thinking to myself (much like you probably are now) “WTH is Grown Folks’ Stories?”. Ken likened it to spoken word, and being a former lover of good spoken word which I had yet to find here, I had to check it out…that and I’m pretty much game to check out any event.
Spoken word it was not! GFS is an open forum where people (strangers, friends and family) share stories about their life experiences. There is no beat or rhythm to underscore their words. There are no deep metaphors or symbolism for the audience to figure out or understand. There is just the honest, sometimes raw, sometimes funny and less times plain old boring truth of real life experiences. Don’t get me wrong, there have been stories that I question how true they really are, but overall Grown Folk Stories is the real deal.
So here’s how GFS works: First, anyone who wants to tell a story puts their name in the basket. Then, the host pulls names at random giving each speaker 5 minutes to tell their tale. Funny, sad, happy or mad, you have free reign to tell whatever story you want to tell…within 5 minutes, and there is a less than effective sign system to alert the storyteller when their time is up.
Most people are respectful of the time as well as of the speakers and their stories which run the gamut! The majority of them are funny, but some are not. Some are sad, tear-jerkers; others are disturbing or weird; and still there are others that just make you feel good. The stories really are all over the place from bank robberies to the plight of a CPS school teacher to overcoming bullies, and even stories from a “world-renowned” hula hooper; you just never know what you’re going hear at GFS. Cara Brigandi is the perfect host providing comic relief (which is sometimes much needed) between depressing or questionable stories and during intermission. Cara is always armed with one of her own hilarious anecdotes.
Much like the stories, the crowd is super diverse too with every ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation you can think of coming together to communicate and connect in real life. No texting. No tweeting. No Facebook or Instagram. Every storyteller gives the audience a little piece of them. For the most part, GFS has a small, intimate feel which I think adds to the comfort level of those sharing stories and the general community feel, but it continues to grow each month with new faces mixing in with the regulars.
Intrigued?? Well mark your calendars for the next Grown Folks Stories; it’s the third Thursday of the month (so April 18th this month). Doors are at 7/7:30 and stories start promptly at 8. Bring a little cash (the store is still operational and I guarantee something will catch your eye), and bring your own bottle (yes, it’s BYOB which you know I love ;)). Oh and the biggest tip for those that want to venture out is get there EARLY…seats fill up fast and standing room can get tight. Other than that come with an open mind because, like I said before, you never know what you’ll hear at Grown Folks Stories.