Two Chairs Telling: Courtney McLean, John Berquist

Two Chairs Telling reopens at the cozy Open Eye Theatre tonight after a mid-winter break, bringing a couple of excellent local storytellers together on one stage. John Berquist and Courtney McLean are a generation apart. Berquist is a renowned folklorist of Norwegian/Swedish descent whose calling is to rescue traditional tales and bring them to life for today's audiences. McLean is part of a young local spoken-word movement that's modern and edgy; her writing scans more like a radio monologue than traditional storytelling. But the tellers have one big commonality—they're both into old-timey music. McLean's a banjoist in her "naughtybilly" band, the Dirty Curls, a filthy-minded group that combines folk-country with inappropriately sexual lyrics. Berquist plays guitar, mandolin, and accordion and heads up the South Side Swedes, a Scandinavian band hailing from the Windy City. With the loose structure of Two Chairs Telling (the artists are free to tell their own stories or collaborate with one another), we can't guarantee the pair will break out instruments for a couple of duets, but here's hoping. (Photo by independent man)
Tue., Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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