If you think the only things happening on Monday nights are football and “Dancing with the (D-list) Stars,” then you’ve clearly not heard of Essay Fiesta. Every third Monday of the month Essay Fiesta takes over The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square to present an engaging and often hilarious event featuring actors, comedians, writers and artists reading true tales mined from their personal experiences. Each event includes 7 readers, a variety of refreshments and a charity raffle. How often do you get to tipple beer & wine and be riotously entertained in a bookstore? Well, at least once a month you do, at the Fiesta. And if you’re thirsty and in need of some good cheer you’re in luck: the series celebrates its second anniversary this Monday, November 21, at 7:00 p.m. at The Book Cellar.
Essay Fiesta was founded in November 2009 by writer/comedian/journalist Keith Ecker and writer/actor/makeup artist Alyson Lyon, who were looking to transition from stand-up comedy to a showcase for writing that would also serve as a community-oriented platform for fellow artists. The series also functions as a fundraiser, through donations and a raffle that takes place at the end of each show. In the past, funds have been donated to Howard Brown Health Center, and the Fiesta currently benefits 826CHI, a non-profit writing and tutoring center in Wicker Park that serves students throughout the Chicagoland area.
Monday’s anniversary event will feature a lineup of 5 guest readers that includes Ian Belknap, Scott Whitehair, Kelsie Huff, Andrew Reilly and Monte LaMonte, as well as representatives from 826CHI. The raffle will include items donated from Threadless, Chicago Underground Comedy, Southport Grocery & Café, Dabble, 826CHI and The Book Cellar. Admission is free and the word is out, so get there early if you can. Olé!