Featured Tellers, Main Show, Stories

December 17th Show!

Hello good fellows! Here Chicago rides again on December 17th, and we’d be overjoyed to have you with us. As ever, what we offer is a warm evening of multifaceted creative community. A bunch of great humans with a wide variety of perspectives coming together to enjoy the common grounds of delicious food and stories. If you bring a prepared dish for the potluck, your admission is free. Without a dish, it’s just $11, and the potluck is still ALL YOURS to enjoy!

If you’d like to tell a story, just sign up at the show. If you’d like to put your name in for a walk-up spot, just sign up on the stage between 7:30 and 8pm. Just make sure you have a story to slam with that’s rock solid at 5-6 minutes!

Along with our walk-up tellers, we host 5 invited feature storytellers on the night. December’s luminous lineup is as follows…

Eboni Sampson works full time as a programs coordinator at CCA Academy (high school), is in graduate school at Lewis University, and is the Founder and Director of Five Loaves Mobile Pantry. As a child who experienced homeless, it was her goal to eventually provide resources that she and her mother wished for before they became stable. Five Loaves is a mobile service, traveling to where people are in need to provide them with resources and services, including, but not limited to food, hygienic items, counseling services and access to employment opportunities. Five Loaves was incorporated on August 14, 2017, and is currently in the process of applying for 501(c)3 status. Once their tax-exempt status is granted, they will be applying for grant opportunities. Until then, individual donors have been gracious enough to contribute to the organization’s cause by providing food donations, resources and service. They appreciate EVERY contribution. Eboni is also a participant in the Chicago Urban League’s nextSTARTUP entrepreneurship program, and in the process of membership for one of her favorite service organizations. She is thankful for every opportunity, and just wishes we didn’t have to sleep in order to function.

Ian Belknap
is a writer whose opinion, essays, and satire have appeared in the Chicago Reader, Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business, Art + Marketing, The Rumpus, Bullshitist, The Hit Job, Untoward, and elsewhere. He is co-editor and contributor to Bare-Knuckled Lit: The Best of WRITE CLUB. He is founder of WRITE CLUB, which has monthly shows in Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Denver. He’s taught at Second City Training Center, StoryStudio Chicago, and Northwestern University’s Summer Writers Program, he regularly teaches writing workshops, most with an emphasis on personal narrative – info at http://ianbelknap.com/workshops/




Alana Holt lives in Chicago, where she is sometimes a Stand-up Comedian and always a Medical Student. Her two main life goals are becoming a Psychiatrist and not dying alone.  She hasn’t opened for anyone famous, but she has seen some famous people from afar. Alana loves making people laugh and is happiest when she is on stage.

(She is also Janna’s favorite stand-up comedian, and there’s nothing she can do about her writing that.)



Archy Jamjun
is a storyteller and writer from the suburbs of Chicago. He won the 2015 Moth Grandslam and the 47th Annual Chicago’s Biggest Liar Contest. He enjoys telling stories all over the city. His writing has been published by The Coachella Review and The Rhumpus. You can see more of his work at ArchyArchJ.com

As a special treat (we like to give you treats) at our last show of the year, Alizé Jireh will open the night with a song. If you know her, then you know how exciting this is. If you don’t, you probably should. Alize is a singer and songwriter, videographer and photographer. All of her work is born of love for capturing the real and the beautiful in the world. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, surrounded by sound and sunshine, and now lives in the quiet suburban Chicagoland area where her parents grew up. She loves to explore and go on adventures, walk/hike outside, swim, travel, eat around the table with friends, watch good films, practice/teach yoga, and laugh until she’s in pain. Visit alizejireh.com to see her work.

ALSO as a very special treat on December 17th, long-time Here Chicago sweetheart Stephanie Douglass will be joining Janna to co-host the night!! As many of you know, Stephanie is Host of Storyclub North Side, and is pinch-hitter Host for The Moth, and a powerhouse storyteller herself. Steph has co-hosted many Here Chicago‘s over the years, and we are excited to have her with us. Our dear Nnamdi will be in L.A. that weekend, where he is spending more time now. But he continues to be Co-Host and consultant on the show, and will be on stage with us whenever he’s in town, which is still very frequently! <3


Join us on December 17th. It is good to be together. And looking at this list of wonderful people who are gathering, we can’t think of a place we’d rather be. If people can be heroes and angels, then these people are. Funny and inspiring and good damn company. They do some stuff right. Join us and make the night even brighter with YOUR presence.

Here Chicago on December 17th
Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont
7:30 potluck | 8pm show
Reserve Seats Online (because we sell out)

A note from Janna and Nnamdi and the Here Chicago team, for folks concerned with Stage 773:

Here Chicago exists to be a safe and respectful place for people from all walks of life to share, learn, love, and grow. We do not stand for or tolerate abuse, hatred, or discrimination in any form.

We are very sad to hear that a number of incidents have occurred with the former Artistic Director of Stage 773. After discussions with different people close to the situation, and after careful reading, we understand that he is no longer associated with the theater in any way, apart from owning a minor part of the land that the building sits on. He has no ownership of the company, has stepped down from his position as Artistic Director, and has now also resigned his seat on the board. We also understand that, given the theater’s non-profit 501c(3) status, the theater continues without him as an independent non-profit. Based on this understanding, we have consulted with each other, our loyal audience, and respected members of the community, and are choosing to keep our bi-monthly show at Stage 773 for now, and will continue to foster a welcoming and positive space for all.

And an afterthought from Janna: 

As a woman who can say #metoo, I deeply appreciate this is moment of public reckoning. And I want to share a thought that, just like the individuals who enact abuses of power are fully responsible for their behavior, so are the organizations and communities where abuses have taken place. All of us have to do better. We have to believe women, and hold men accountable for their actions; even when they are friends, colleagues, or mentors. We have to restructure systems of power. And we also have to wrestle the question of what to do with institutions where the behavior took place. Many arts organizations are now holding that question in regard to 773, and as just one of them, we have people’s backs whatever they choose to do.

Our decision to hold our event at Stage 773 again after these revelations is conditioned upon our understanding of the above-described complete departure. And upon a wish to see an organization survive that fills an important role in Chicago’s theatrical landscape by providing affordable professional stages to numerous good, small organizations. Given this, what we would most like to see is a scenario in which the theater lives on under it’s new direction, reckons deeply with what took place, and organizes to ensure that no form of harassment happens there again. If at any time we feel this isn’t the case, we’ll re-evaluate. Right now, we are choosing to give good faith to their new beginning.