Set in the historic lounge of the Logan Theatre, Flick Lit: Reel-to-Real Storytelling for Movie Lovers, expertly blends together all the best aspects of live-lit (the intimacy, candor, and humor) together with all things cinema for an extremely potent and exciting concoction this side of Mentos, Pop Rocks, and Coke mixed together.
The November 11th show opened with the convivial producer/emcee and veteran, Kirk Kicklighter telling the audience about his time in the marines and his unadulterated appreciation of Tom Cruise’s performance in Born On the 4th of July. Kicklighter then led the crowd in a rousing rendition of “War” by Edwin Starr.
Following a clip of the famous dinner scene from Cameron Crowe’s 1989 film, Say Anything, Jake Cowan of the reading series Is This A Thing? took to the stage with an incredibly heartfelt essay entitled, “The Church of Lloyd Dobler”. In it, Cowan told the audience about his journey to be the, “a man in a world full of guys”, and how his three commandments helped him not only pursue a career in Washington D.C., but meet his future wife. Cowan’s essay proved to set the tone for the rest of the show.
Alexis Steinkamp took the stage next, her movie of choice being the 2006 indie, Stranger Than Fiction, starring Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, and Queen Latifah. Steinkamp told her story sans microphone, commanding the audience with a congenial candor as she opened up about her life growing up on a farm. “If this movie were my life,” she said, “my mother would be played by Queen Latifah, and everyone else is playing my dad.” One of the (many) highlights of her story included her father sticking a burning smoke in the back of his jeans, forgetting about it, then making an impromptu snow angel, much to her and her sister’s shock.
James Sweeney opened up about his love of, “junk food movies”, most notorious of all being 1998’s Michael Bay epic, Armageddon. Sweeney’s essay posited the deeper side of mediocrity, comparing Bruce Willis’ Harry Stamper to the “sad clowns” of French New Wave cinema à la Pierrot le Fou.
Musical guests, The Acapella Justice League, performed a fun and soulful rendition of Huey Lewis & The News’, “The Power of Love” from Back to the Future, and the infectious fun of their performance carried over into the intermission. The Logan Theatre’s lounge borders right into the foyer and a classic wood-paneled bar rife with top shelf bourbons, vodkas, and European apértifs; coupled with the smell of buttered popcorn and other fare sold at the accompanying snack bar, a sort of giddiness and fun filled the air despite the oncoming rainstorm.
Following intermission, the series includes a lightening trivia round related to the movies shown/talked about in each installment, and winners of the contest receive a fun statuette reminiscent of an Oscar. Cinephiles looking to strut their stuff should absolutely come to future installments.
Laura Scruggs and Danii Gallegos debated the merits of 1955’s Disney classic, Lady & The Tramp in a fun debate called “Love-Hate”. Scruggs charmingly gushed over every element, while Gallegos opened up a worthy dialogue about all the problematic aspects of the film.
Featured storyteller, Jill Howe of Story Sessions, told a charming and hilarious story encompassing Werner Herzog, Marilyn Monroe, and a fling with a sexy neighbor. Howe’s potent and incorruptible gift for storytelling was the icing on the cake for the exciting new series.
The series ended with the Acapella Justice League taking to the stage once again, leading the crowd in a rendition of, “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. Kicklighter was all smiles as he sang his heart out. As everyone made their way to leave the lounge, it was hard not to notice how many people were grinning and laughing. What could have been a banal and rainy Wednesday night was turned into a fun adventure, making the rest of the week that much more bearable.
I cannot recommend enough that you make this series a part of your life. Between the effervescent energy of the producers, the unbridled passion of the storytellers, and the beautiful atmosphere of the Logan Theatre, Kirk Kicklighter and his team have created the new “It” series of live-lit.
Flick Lit: Reel-to-Real Storytelling for Movie Lovers
2nd Wednesday of every month // 7:30pm-9pm //
The Logan Theatre (2646 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647)
*Please note: seating fills up rather quickly, so it’s recommended you make it to the show prior to 7:15pm to reserve a space.