I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into Cole’s Bar (2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.) on Oct. 6, but I was in for a treat. A ridiculously funny and touching treat.
AnySquared is a local collaborative artists’ network that has put on many events in the past, such as Post Post Post Modern, Fugue Space and Art@Handlebar. AnySquared, headquartered in Logan Square, produces art events, projects and ongoing activities with the mutual support and participation of area artists and local businesses.
Cinema Minima, founded by Tracy Kostenbader and Brett Swinney, is an ongoing residency taking place at Cole’s through Nov. 3. At the first event, writers competed for three $100 prizes by reading their work before an audience who would then vote for the winners.
But this was no simple reading—it was so much more. Featured were not only works of fiction and personal stories, but also screenplays and skits. Each reader was accompanied by Christopher Elam on piano, setting the mood for each piece with perfect tone.
Although all this was beautiful, the most interesting part of the night was going on behind the readers. Second City alumni and four-year improv veterans, The Troupe—made up of Kelly Ahlfeld, Zachary Baker, Jessica Bright, and Tucker Dryden—kept the crowd rapt as they acted out the story being told, often with uproarious results.
Once the stories had been told, the crowd voted for their favorites. At the end of the tight competition, Beverly Scott, Robert Castillo and yours truly, came out on top. Not only did we each win $100 cash, but in addition our stories will be entered into the next event of the residency. (Read the winning stories.)
Filmmakers were invited to make an adaptation of one of the winning stories and turn it in by Oct. 27. On Nov. 3, there will be a film premiere featuring these submissions. The one chosen “Best In Show” will receive $100 cash and a portion of the bar tab. Judging by the thirst of the crowd at the last event, this will be substantial.