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Essay Fiesta

Essay Fiesta

March 10th—

Break out the streamers, noisemakers and well-crafted writing pieces, you are invited to an essay party! The brain child of Keith Ecker and Alyson Lyon, Essay Fiesta brings together awesome folks from Chicago's art and writing communities, once a month, for a night of first-person, non-fiction essay readings. On top of that, the nights seek to raise funds for a local nonprofit.

Well, we're extremely excited to reveal that Essay Fiesta has chosen 826CHI as its beneficiary for the upcoming year. It's a match made in party heaven.

Come on out, Monday, March 21st, at 7pm to the Book Cellar for this month's installment. As usual, this month's reading is loaded with some very cool people reading very cool things. And mark your calendar to join us every third monday of the month at 7pm throughout the year! Visit for more information!

A Jolly Great Time

March 7th—

To all you kings, queens, knights, Sherlock Holmeses, Beckhams, Poshes, Demon Barbers, giant bags of tea, underground tube maps, chimney sweeps, Hogwarts teachers, Sir Isaac Newtons and Apple trees, Helena Bonham Carters, Modest Proposals, Union Jacks, Wimbledon players, Fair Ladies, Peter Pans, Wendys, cricketers, Steve Bobbits as Rod Stewarts, and the like, a tremendous THANK YOU for making PROMME a success.

Our annual big dance to raise some fun and funds was absolutely fabulous.

Clearly, you should continue to drink brews from Haymarket Pub & Brewery, the great donors of the evening's pints. Not only are the people there incredibly nice, their beverages taste delicious.

Thanks as well to the British Consulate-General who lent us portraits of Her Majesty and many royal flags and banners.

Thanks to our DJ's 'Frier' Tuck and DJ KimBell. Thanks to our photographers, Sarah Jane Rhee and Justin Goh and co. Some pictures are already up here, with more to come!

Thanks too to our generous donors to the silent auciton and raffle: Bonnaroo, Pitchfork, Parkways Foundation/Lollapalooza, Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, WBEZ, Sound Opinions, Rock Candy By Helen, Revolution Brewing, Multilingual Chicago, Vosges Chocolate, 105f Bikram Yoga Chicago, Improvised Shakespeare Co., The Spice House, Terin, Elephant & Castle Pub, Greatlakes Brewing Co., Butcher & Larder, Reckless Records, Myopic Books, Peggy Notebaert Museum, Mr. Barna, Jerry's Sandwich Shop, Salon Blonde, Zanies Comedy, Second City, Comedy Sportz, Fairmont Hotel, Worm Hole Coffee

E Pluribus ‘Awesum’

February 28th—

E Pluribus Unum is certainly a nice phrase to mold into coins. But, dare we argue, it's an even nicer phrase to build a book from. Yes, "out of many, one" has been our guiding force as we move into the final phases of our Big Spring Book Project. The project: one amazingly big story created by many, many, many students from all over Chicago.

Students from one school developed the characters while students from another came up with some pivotal plot points. Students from one school were fleshing out some telling scenes while students at another school threw came up with crucial twists and maybe even a villain or two. At every turn, students are learning about what goes into a fantastic story while simultaneously unleashing their imaginations on the prompts they're given.

We will certainly let you know when this one book will be available for you to give as a gift to yourself and your many, many friends.

Moustache-a-thon Winners

February 23rd—

Our annual moustache growing competition has come to a close. Now, to reveal who had the most beautiful growth under his nose.

The winners:

Jeni won the 'Stache Tiara for best prosthetic!

Nathan won the 'Stache Sash for best organic!

George won the Chap 'Stache Cup for most money raised!

And, clearly, the students of 826CHI won, as they'll continue to receive free awesome programming because of everyone's support to the tune of over $9500!

Check out the official website for a final glimpse of all that glorious hair and thank you to all who made Moustache-a-thon 2011 a success!

A Kendra’d Spirit

February 22nd—

We are pleased to welcome Ms. Kendra Curry as our new Program and Volunteer Coordinator! You might recognize her as a prosthetic grower from this year's moustache-a-thon or from her time helping our afterschool program.

Kendra became involved at 826CHI as a volunteer tutor immediately upon her arrival in the Windy City, and has since co-invented Chicago-specific handshakes with students. Kendra has spent more than a decade involved in educational programming at arts organizations and museums, including work in Mexico and Honduras, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and for the Chinati Foundation and Artpace in Texas. A native Mainer and honorary Texan, Kendra is also an artist who rather obsessively draws, paints, and animates clouds. She earned her BFA in sculpture from the Maryland Institute, College of Art and her Master's in Art Education from the University of Texas at Austin.

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