(what would Walt Whitman do?)
What makes Live Lit so intriguing from a performer’s standpoint is that- because it’s a young art-form- there aren’t any rules yet.
Be funny. Be sad. Be serious. Be thoughtful. Be absurd… the list goes on and on. Unlike a comedian you don’t have to make people laugh. Unlike a story-teller, you don’t have to tell a story.
Live Lit also avails a wide birth to be either conversational or highly literary. Different shows have different expectations. Guts & Glory, arguably Chicago’s best Live Lit show, has performers read directly off the script. Other shows allow you to speak off the top of your head/directly from the heart.
Each method has its own (dis)advantages. On the one hand, having things scripted leads to a more concise, non-bullshit performance. On the other hand, not having everything written down allows more room for inspiration and the ability to feed off the audience. Most of us land somewhere in-between, depending.
Here’s my crack at the conversational variety at a small show hosted by Metropolis Coffee known as ‘Live Lunar Lit’. OK I host the damn thing too. Everyone’s welcome, every full moon.