Chicago-based writer David Hauptschein is a man obsessed by “nontraditional texts”–both the mundane writings of everyday life and the paranoid ravings of eccentrics and crazy people. And since 1986 it’s been his mission to show other people how daring, insightful, imaginative, and entertaining these writings can be. Some of his past shows have been devoted to the senile ramblings of nursing home residents (The Duplex Planet Project) or the equally unhinged squibs of the mentally ill (Delirious Illuminations). But I favor the shows that focus on less flamboyant kinds of writing–refrigerator notes, letters from home, diary entries. Hauptschein’s Letters Show of a year and a half ago was a real revelation: made up entirely of audience members who volunteered to come up onstage and read–Hauptschein books no performers prior to show time–that Letters Show was easily one of the most spontaneous, lively, and joyful events that fall. Performance poet Cin Salach read a series of sweet love notes she’d received in elementary school, actress Shirley Anderson mischievously read her mother’s catty chronicles of life at home, and Steve Seddon read from the fan-letter columns of various early-70s rock magazines. It’s hard to say for sure whether this Saturday’s edition will be similarly enjoyable, but because Hauptschein’s shows always attract a cult audience eager to read, it’s a good bet. N.A.M.E., 1255 S. Wabash, 554-0671. Saturday, January 22, 8 PM. $5.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bill Stamets.