Drink it in: Beers paired with the wisdom of Chicago authors
By DAVE HOEKSTRA Staff Reporteremail@example.com December 31, 2012 5:12PM
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Hopleaf Bar, 5148 N. Clark
Admission: Free (21 and over)
Info: (773) 334-9851;
Updated: February 2, 2013 6:08AM
Writers are always foaming at the mouth to be heard.
The Hopleaf Bar, 5148 N. Clark, serves up a monthly Tuesday Funk series, where authors read their work amid the bar’s dizzying array of distinct brews (65 beers on tap and about 360 in bottles, according to owner Mike Roper). This week’s edition features Julie Ganey, Andrew Huff, Sondra Morin, William Shunn and Christopher Sweet.
Tuesday Funk, which debuted in February 2008, highlights original fiction, poetry, essays and memoirs. Guidelines include this disclaimer: “Try to limit yourself to one drink before you read. It’s good to loosen up a little, but not too much.” Alluding to a similar series at Sheffield’s, the guideline concludes, “This isn’t Reading Under the Influence (fine as that series is).”
Keeping a clear mind in mind, some of Tuesday’s authors have paired a Hopleaf beer with the work they will present:
The work: Writer-performer-teacher Ganey, 46, will read a passage about the allure of magic when her daughter’s obsession with fairies spiraled out of control: “Late that night, before I go to bed, I scrounge up some art paper. It looks woodlandly, with twigs and flower petals pressed into it, and disguising my handwriting by using my left hand, I compose a note from the fairies: ‘Dear Children: We eat flower nectar and berries from your gardens while you’re sleeping. We spend our time dancing, making flowers grow, and enjoying all the things that are beautiful. We love living in your yards, because you are children who are very kind to each other.’ ”
The brew: Revolution’s Rosa Hibiscus, produced at Belmont and Kedzie, “because of its pink color and tart whimsical flavor,” said Ganey.
The work: Chicago essayist, poet and social critic Morin, 30, writes poetry with themes of movement, landscape, feminism and relationships. She likes to play with slang and accents. Morin will read from her poem “Orcas”:
On the California Zephyr
In our rocking chair days
We sit on moving porches across
Tell each other stories of redemption
And forgiveness ...
When denial raps on my window
It distorts the color of sunlight.
The brew: Great Divide’s Hibernation Ale. “My plan for the rest of the season,” said Morin. “It’s a hoppy, hearty beer that pairs well with my poems. Hibernation is what my writing is heading for. Setting intention for the winter.”
The work: The 45-year-old Chicagoan, a science-fiction writer with more than 30 short stories to his credit, is co-host and co-producer of the Tuesday Funk series. He just completed a memoir, “The Accidental Terrorist,” an accounting of his story from 1987, when, as a 19-year-old Mormon missionary, Shunn found himself facing hijacking charges in Canada. He will be reading from the essay “The Fanatic in the Street,” which relates the first time he experienced the Mormon “endowment” ceremony in the Salt Lake Temple: “Latter-day Saints shun iconography in their churches, but that didn’t always hold true, as any cursory inspection of the temple will show. Adorning the outer walls you’ll find such symbols as clasped hands, the All-Seeing Eye, and the seven stars of the Big Dipper. These are some of the few remaining relics of the folk-magic traditions from which Mormonism arose, and their presence on the temple can be startling even to believers. But if you find the outside strange, just follow me inside.”
The brew: Solemn Oath Oubliette. “The brewery’s name is reminiscent of the oaths I took in the temple, of course,” Shunn said. “But an oubliette is a type of prison cell where you put a prisoner you want to forget about, and for breaking those temple oaths I’ve earned the privilege of being thrown into outer darkness and forgotten by God. Plus, though it’s brewed in Naperville, it’s a variety of beer originated by Belgian monks, continuing the religious theme.”
The work: Sweet studied in the Fiction Writing Department at Columbia College. He is obsessed with problems of historiography, time and “anything else that hasn’t been totally monetized.” He will be reading an excerpt from a novel in progress, a loose parody of “Gulliver’s Travels” where the traveler Latimer arrives in an alternative world: “Latimer pulled open the towering cathedral door and nodded to Marilyn to go in ahead of him. Just the way she moved made him speechless; it was dazzling the way she flowed through space, as if she could bend light around her body just by tensing her calf or dipping her shoulder. He followed like debris in her wake.
“Marilyn stopped at the inner door and shifted her weight from one hip to the other as she contemplated entering the sanctuary. She said, ‘Gosh, Lewis, I don’t know if I like this place.’ ”
The brew: Unibroue’s Ephemere, a light wheat ale brewed with apples and spices. “Refreshing and aromatic, 5.5 percent,” said Sweet. “Because it’s light, spicy and ephemeral, like fantasy fiction.”