Amanda Snyder puts down her book, knocks back a shot, and addresses the crowded bar: “If I were a lesbian,” she says, “would I rather sleep with Reese Witherspoon or Kate Winslet?” The room erupts in shouting. Whoever’s credited for calling out the right answer—and they’re all shouting at once—could win a free drink. Oh, and a free book.
Snyder is a regular at RUI: Reading Under the Influence, a monthly night of reading, drinking, and trivia she helped start at Sheffield’s in Lakeview. RUI has got to be the city’s most fun reading series. First of all, it’s not an open mike. Readers—there are usually six to eight of them, all prescreened— must read a piece of original writing and an excerpt from someone else’s published work. All the material is loosely related to a theme—risk, say, or virgins—and is usually raunchy and/or somehow otherwise twisted. The excerpt is book-ended by shots (mandatory for the reader, voluntary for the audience). And the trivia that follows is supposed to relate to the published work, but sometimes the connections are more abstract, or perhaps the booze obscures them. The “correct” answer to Snyder’s question, for example, was Witherspoon, even though everyone knows a real lesbian would pick Winslet, hands down. And none of us can remember now what book she was even reading from. First Wednesday of every month, 7 PM, Sheffield’s, 3258 N. Sheffield, 773-281-4989, readingundertheinfluence.com, $3 cover. —Kathie Bergquist
We also want to hear your stories about your favorite people, places, and things in the city--go here to share them with the rest of the class.