Left: Adam Homer Lawson, creative director of the Spill Your Guts live lit series. Right: Woodlawn Tap, 1172 E. 55th St., will host the monthly series. Credit: Provided; Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago

HYDE PARK — Writers with counterculture ideas, shocking personal beliefs and oddball perspectives have a new home on the South Side as a live lit series debuts in Hyde Park.

Spill Your Guts, a monthly series which values authentic communication, launches 7 p.m. Wednesday at Woodlawn Tap, 1172 E. 55th St.

The series gives writers a chance to “let the lid off the id” and share their left-field thoughts, said Adam Homer Lawson, the series’ creative director and “world champion” of an unspecified field.

“I’m going to aim for it to be a judgment-free safe place to vent your opinions in comedic or heartfelt ways that people will be drawn to,” Lawson told Block Club while playing a drinking game. “I’m just aiming for catharsis for the writer and a fantastic Wednesday for the audience.”

Spill Your Guts is not an open mic. Each session will feature six writers, and Wednesday’s lineup is already maxed out. Writers interested in performing at future events can email their submissions to spillthoseguts@gmail.com.

Though Lawson encourages writers to share their unfiltered selves, he’ll screen and approve submissions before they’re performed, Lawson said.

The firewall is necessary, as the Hyde Park resident has overheard numerous stories and conversations at bars where his first thought was, “You need immediate therapy,” he said.

Controversial thoughts are welcome, but “some opinions are morally and ethically incorrect,” Lawson said. “I’m not giving my stage to people who have opinions that are corrosive to morality.”

“I don’t want people feeling uncomfortable going to my event,” Lawson said. “… The first night will be writers I’ve seen, who I trust. They could pull some fringe behavior out their pockets, but at least I would know it’s well-written. At least I know this bizarre opinion would be art.”

The flyer for Spill Your Guts’ Wednesday debut. Credit: Provided

Chicago’s community of writers is “big, loving and impactful,” with Samantha Irby and Megan Stielstra among the scene’s breakout stars, Lawson said.

Countless others have honed their craft through live lit series and open mics like Write Club at Gman Tavern and Do Not Submit in various neighborhoods, Lawson said.

The Roseland native and lifelong South Sider shouted out Grown Folks Stories — held every third Thursday at the Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West — as a South Side destination for the type of storytelling Spill Your Guts encourages.

“I’m looking for new voices and new people who want to break in to this scene,” Lawson said. “The South Side needs more [live lit series]. There are writers on the South Side who need their voices heard — and there’s a market for it.”

Lawson will consider Wednesday a success if it draws people who didn’t see the flier and weren’t invited by performers, he said.

“Maybe [they’re] a tad lonely, a tad crestfallen, maybe [they’re] actually in a pretty good mood,” Lawson said of his target audience. “They come, they sit for the length of the show and leave with a feelings change, with an idea change. They’re wanting to know what the next [Spill Your Guts] is.”

Help Block Club Get
500 More Subscribers!

Subscribe to Block Club now and you’ll get a free 16-by-20-inch Chicago neighborhood print of your choice, helping us reach our goal of getting 500 more subscribers before 2024. Click here to subscribe or click here to gift a subscription.

Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: