There's nothing wrong with the usual summer fest trifecta of curb-sitting, head-bobbing and beer-sipping, but if you're craving a little more substance, mark your calendar for Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest, held June 7 and 8 in the blocks surrounding Polk and Dearborn streets. Produced by RedEye's big sib Chicago Tribune, it's the largest free literary festival in the country, and this year, there's a lot to celebrate. In addition to it being the fest's 30th anniversary, RedEye will also have its very own stage booked with fun events (see schedule below). Beyond the RedEye stage, more than 300 authors and performers participating in discussions, workshops and more make for a seriously daunting event lineup. Luckily, our staffers have made their picks to help you decide what should make your short list.
>>Check out a festival map and browse the full (and searchable!) schedule of indoor and outdoor events at printersrowlitfest.org. For programs marked "tickets required," we suggest you nab a ticket online starting May 30; all events are free.
REDEYE STAGE SCHEDULE
Saturday, June 7
11 a.m. Bookbinding workshop
Learn to make books by hand the old-school way with North Branch Projects.
Noon 2nd Story
Flash back to the '90s with Bobby Biedrzycki, Sahar Mustafah and Coya Paz of local storytelling crew 2nd Story.
1 p.m. Mistakes We Made
Photo editor Lenny Gilmore and social media lady Jessica Galliart host a live taping of their storytelling podcast, produced by Mike Novak.
2 p.m. "I Saw You"
Actors from Bruised Orange Theater Company perform dramatic readings of "missed connection" personal ads.
3 p.m. The God, Sex and Death Variety Hour
Comedian Danny Black brings his storytelling sesh, regularly hosted at Hideout, to the RedEye stage, featuring Moth GrandSlam winner Shannon Cason, comedians Sean White and Angela Vera plus author and musician Tim Kinsella.
4 p.m. Storytelling in the Digital Age
RedEye reporter Mick Swasko moderates a panel discussion about multi-media storytelling with WGN RedEye Remix producer Kate Gibson, RedEye video editor Sean Ely, filmmaker Melissa Pierce and Chicago radio host James VanOsdol.
5 p.m. RedEye's Adult Spelling Bee
Features editor Dana Moran hosts a spelling bee, guaranteed to be more fun than the ones you did in elementary school.
Sunday, June 8
11 a.m. Locally Sourced
RedEye web editor Jordan Monroe Schultz moderates a discussion about the state of publishing with Victor David Giron of Curbside Splendor, Kathleen Rooney of Rose Metal Press, Doug Seibold of Agate Publishing, Ian Morris of Fifth Star Press and Terry Gant of Third Coast Comics.
Noon The Kates
Get ready to laugh with local comedy group The Kates, led by comedian Kelsie Huff and guests Amy Sumpter, Jen Bosworth, Deanna Moffitt and Jennifer Ann Coffeen.
1 p.m. Page Meets Stage
RedEye and Metromix general manager Amy Guth moderates a discussion with writer-performers Keith Ecker, Dana Norris and Robbie Telfer on how to use performance to enhance your writing career.
2 p.m. Guts & Glory: The Angst of Turning 30
Keith Ecker and Samantha Irby host a special edition of their popular live lit event Guts & Glory featuring Willy Nast and Dana Norris.
3 p.m. More Than Capes and Tights
RedEye "Geek to Me" columnist Elliott Serrano hosts a panel discussion about graphic novels and multimedia comics with Third Coast Comics owner Terry Gant and comic book writers/artists Jill Thompson, Gene Ha and Lyra Hill.
4 p.m. C2E2's Drink & Draw
Stop by a special Printers Row Lit Fest edition of the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo's social drawing session, which lasts until 6 p.m.