Special thanks to the Facebook group Chicago Activist Writers who supplied many of the events and descriptions in this round-up.
If you’re looking to attend readings and events surrounding and protesting the inauguration of our next president, there will be plenty to choose from. Consult the list below and make your inauguration week plans.
You’re Being Ridiculous Host Jeremy Owens says, “I’m queer and right now being a queer person hosting a successful show feels like I’m an activist.” He has three shows scheduled in January. Saturday, 1/7: Brooke Allen, Lily Be, Molly Brennan, Julie Cowden, Stephanie Diaz, Lisa Farver, Emjoy Gavino, Jeremy Owens, Karen Shimmin, and Lynn Wilde; Saturday, 1/14: Randall Colburn, Seth Davis, Elizabeth Gomez, Kim Nelson, Jeremy Owens, Allison Shoemaker, Diana Slickman, Steven Strafford, Julia Weiss, and Dexter Zollicoffer; Saturday, 1/21: Ines Belina, Philip Dawkins, Jennie Ellman, Margaret Ghielmetti, Isaac Gomez, Heidi Grandberry, Rashaad Hall, Archy Jamjun, MT Cozzola, and Jeremy Owens. 8pm at Steppenwolf 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted.
PEN America’s nationwide Writers Resist day: A number of events will be held throughout the city on Sunday 1/15: Open Books from 12-3pm, Woman Made Gallery from 1-3pm, Flor del Monte from 2-4pm, Café Urbano from 2:30-4:30, Bookends and Beginnings from 4-6pm, Cole’s at 6, La Bruquena at 7–and somewhere, sometime in Hyde Park. “Our democracy is at risk. Growing public cynicism and an alarming disdain for truthfulness is eroding our most dearly held democratic ideals. As writers we have tremendous power to bypass political discourse and focus public attention on the ideals of a free, just, and compassionate society.
The Chicago Revolutionary Poets Brigade’s next monthly meeting will focus on preparing for the Trump Era. “. . . what does the newly forming presidential administration show about the stage of history our society is in, and where we are headed? What lessons do the 2016 national election and its aftermath reveal about the (dis)unity of the ruling class, its goals, strategy, and tactics? How does this affect the strategy and tactics of revolutionaries (those who are struggling to secure basic needs and rights for the poor and oppressed)?” Harold Washington Library | Sunday, 1/15, 1-3pm.
Stand Up Fight Back is an evening of readings inspired by Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States and the Voices of the People Speak project. Stand Up Fight Back is a celebration of civil disobedience, past present and future. Featuring speeches, articles, and poetry from American political activists from 1800 to the present day, read by some of Chicago’s boldest actors. Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland, Sunday 1/15, 8-10pm.
40 Hours to Trump, sponsored by Welcome to the Neighborhood is a civil rights fundraiser that will feature stories about nonprofits targeted by Trump–to benefit nonprofits targeted by Trump. Storytellers are: Nestor “The Boss” Gomez raising funds for Catholic Charities’ services for undocumented immigrants, Martha Bayne raising funds for Planned Parenthood, Devin Whitlock raising funds for The Center on Halsted, Remigio Torres raising funds for the National Lawyers Guild Chicago, Lisa Kaplan raising funds for her school district’s low-income student assistance, Amelia Aldred raising funds for Southside Together Organizing for Power’s mental health programs. Gallery Cabaret, 2020 N. Oakley, Wednesday, 1/18, at 7pm.
Tolerance in the Age of Trump. This discussion on racism and diversity will be led by Christian Picciolini, author of Romantic Violence: Memoirs of An American Skinhead (and reformed hate group leader) and John K. Wilson, author of Trump Unveiled: Exposing the Bigoted Billionaire. Moderator will be Brandon Smith, the independent Chicago-based journalist whose FOIA request brought the video of the Laquan McDonald shooting to the public. After-Words Bookstore, 23 E. Illinois St., Thursday 1/19, 6pm.
Artists Against Hate is an inauguration day protest show. A dozen of Chicago’s circus performers, musicians, dancers, magicians, visual artists and firespinners join forces to fight Trump with art! “Rhetoric vilifying POC, immigrants, LGBTQ+, Muslims, people with disabilities, and women hurts us all. We refuse to allow hate to win.” Ages 21+. Tickets $19-39. All proceeds to the ACLU. Tickets and info: http://ArtistsAgainstHate.org/. Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway, Friday, 1/20, 7:30-9:30pm.
The Anti-Inauguration: An Emergency Cabaret. Writers, singers, composers, performance artists, filmmakers and comedians share their work and how they’re preparing for the new administration in a cabaret setting. Learn top tips for lefty survival from Derek McPhatter; sing along to a national anthem served fresh by Alexa Græ; run through some emergency maneuvers with the Laboratory for the Development of Substitute Material; brush up on your legal rights as a protester; see films by Eugene Sun Park and Sara Zalek. Get inspired by the words of our activist forefathers/mothers; have a laugh with Elaine Phillips; and yes of course there will be drinking. (If you’re headed to the Trump Tower protests, stop by for a fortifying shot of Anti-Inauguration.) Beverages and snacks provided. Tickets $10. High Concept Labs at Mana Contemporary, 2233 S.Throop St., Friday 1/20, 7:30-10pm.
Fictitious is hosting a “Protest Show” featuring performances by Ian Belknap, Natalia Nebel, Anne Calcagno, Amanda Goldblatt, Steve Trumpeter, Stephanie Rogers, Wesley John Cichosz, Ricky McRae, and Micki LeSueur. “A night of stories and songs of objection and defiance.” The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, Sunday, 1/22, 7-9pm.
The Conversation is a new live lit series and its first installment, titled “Art and Resistance,” will feature Aleksandar Hemon, Roger Reeves, Coya Paz, Eula Biss, Monica Trinidad and others (TBA). As the series title suggests, it’s not a reading, but, rather, a conversation that will open up to include the audience. Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark, Thursday, 1/26, 7:30-9:30pm.