The show opened with a quirky jingle as an audience tuned into refreshingly free entertainment. Corralled in the modern comfort of The Book Cellar, literary stallions speak of awkward hopes and true stories as they clasp the microphone.
Within the first seven minutes, Alison Lyon stepped to center stage and began to reiterate the monotony of daily life, the horrid grind that melts down a mass majority while a few suffocate on their own ideas of freedom. She commanded attention and spoke of compromising her precious, private identity for authenticated success. Reflecting upon a humorous stunt involving a maxi pad advertising agency and YouTube, she emphasized the idea that it’s always important to be yourself.
“Essay Fiesta is a place where people can give. The Book Cellar is to be included in that as well, as they’ve always been a big help to the show,” said Lyon, who is also co-producer.
Each month on the third Monday, Essay Fiesta, also co-produced by Keith Ecker, invites a group of storytellers and audience members to share in a primal expression of truth. The presentation of multiple non- fiction essays by a variation of witty and insightful writers raises money for 826CHI.
826CHI is a non-profit writing and tutoring center designed to encourage the writing process among children ages 6 through 18. Located at 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., the center provides motivation and support necessary for children to realize their potential. 826CHI is always accepting applications for volunteers who desire multiple levels of involvement as the center annually serves nearly 4,000 students.
Another writer and four year Chicago resident, Samantha Vincenty was selected to read. As she dives into insecurities surrounding the impression of make-up and femininity, the audience approves her simple nature. Through a sense of elegant sarcasm, Vincentry alludes to the idea that beauty will stay even after the make-up fades away. By acknowledging the impression of her mother, this realization is brought to life.
“I’ve been seriously writing for four years and I looked up Keith’s name and got involved that way,” she said.
Over the course of one night, seven presenters step through the spotlight and strip down barriers that stagnate the conception of primal thoughts. Through their voices, a sense of wisdom floods the room and those listening have nothing to do but swallow. Walking away from an event like Essay Fiesta allows the participant to ease themselves into interaction and guarantees they will walk away thinking.