Tough Guys Talk Tough: Stories of Image and Action

Chicago is a world famous ‘tough guy’ town. From Al Capone to Mike Ditka, the Chi has always embraced the image of the tough guy. But what happens when an individual’s actions don’t exactly match their tough guy persona? This month, 2nd Story will explore this image through the lens of the personal, with stories by, for, and about the ‘tough guy.’ From a man learning to draw the line with a new flame to a woman brushing full-on against the limits of revenge, this March we break out the scowls and explore what it really means to be tough.

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The Storytellers

Bobby Biedrzycki

Bobby Biedrzycki is a writer, performer, educator, and transnational human rights activist who resides in Chicago, IL. His stories, poems, and performances have appeared on pages, stages, and public spaces across the U.S. and beyond. His work is rooted in cross-disciplinary art making that focuses on creating social change. Bobby is the Curriculum and Instruction Associate in the Department of Education and Community Engagement at the Goodman Theatre, a company member of 2nd Story, and is faculty in the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, where he was the 2013 recipient of the Excellence-in-Teaching Award. Bobby is deeply committed to collaborating with youth artists working to change the world, and is @bobbyfloats on all forms of social media.

David Berner

David W. Berner is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, author, and teacher. His first book, Accidental Lessons was awarded the 2011 Royal Dragonfly Grand Prize for Literature. His broadcast reporting and audio documentaries have been aired on the CBS Radio Network, NPR’s Weekend Edition and a number of public radio stations across America. David has been the recipient of awards from the Associated Press, RTNDA (Radio and Television News Directors Association) and the Broadcast Education Association.

For the summer of 2011, David was awarded the position of Writer-in-Residence at the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando, Florida. His writing, both reporting and personal essays, have appeared in publications and online journals such as PERIGEE, Tiny Lights Journal, Shaking Like a Mountain,,, Golf Chicago Magazine, The Sun Newspapers, and Write City Magazine. David is also a performer. He’s a regular on the Chicago storytelling circuit, reading his personal essays at events such as Story Club, Essay Fiesta, and This Much is True. As an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago, he teaches radio narrative, audio documentary, and writing. He has presented writing workshops at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and for numerous literary organizations throughout the Chicago area.

Kareem Khubchandani

Kareem is a performance artist and activist interested in issues of gender, class, sexuality, race, and migration. His performance styles include storytelling, drag, South Asian dance, spoken word, and weird performance-arty things. In his free time, he writes a dissertation on queer nightlife in India and the South Asian diaspora; this will eventually assist him in graduating from a Ph.D. program in Performance Studies at Northwestern University.

Kim Morris

Kim Morris earned her MFA from Columbia College Chicago and her BA from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications. She’s written short plays included in Theatre Seven of Chicago’s “Yes, This Really Happened to Me” and “We Live Here.” Her work has been performed in New York as part of Bohemian Archaeology’s “Holidays Uncorked” and “BOOzy: An Evening of Spirits and Storytelling.” She’s performed her stories at Victory Gardens Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Lincoln Hall, Strawdog Theatre, and many other venues in Chicago. She wrote and performed original pieces for the Fillet of Solo festival in 2010 and 2011 and performed a devised ensemble piece for the 2011 Chicago Fringe Festival.

About the Stories & Wine Series

At our flagship Stories & Wine series, we pair some of the best wines in the city with some of the finest storytellers you've ever heard. Whether you're looking for something bright and crisp or something complex and full-bodied -- in either your story or your wine! -- you'll find it at our Stories & Wine series.

Images from from Webster's Wine Bar

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