Smile Politely

Stories & Beer #2: don’t call it a comeback

Who says the sequel can’t be as good (or even better?) than the original? There are the obvious exceptions: Godfather II, The Empire Strikes Back, Aliens. But we would also like to remind you of Evil Dead II. Back to the Future II. Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. And, now, S&B 2.

The problem, most people argue, with most sequels is the akin to the sophomore slump in music: trying to live up to high expectations, trying too hard to outdo the orig’ and perhaps taking criticism too much to heart instead of listening to your heart/gut/loins. But, it turns out, sometimes criticism can be constructive and sometimes it is merely echoing the sweet nothings already being whispered into your ear by said heart/gut/loins. 

Which is the long, introductory way of saying: you said “more estrogen” so we added some more female readers, and they killed. You said “more gingers,” and so we added some of them too, and they killed. You said, “we know it is called stories & beer, but why not add in some poets,” and so we said, of course! We like poetry, too! (Sometimes.) Added some of that into the mix; killed. You said, “less magic” and so… just kidding. You didn’t ask for less magic. You aren’t lame. You said “how about more… you know, death?” Um. See all previous mentions of killing. You asked if we could just keep on bringing the ruckus and so, yes, we again queued up some Wu Tang to kick it all off right, and then the ruckus we did again bring.

[Note: Aaron’s contribution to bringing it included the recitation of “poems” he “wrote” in honor of each reader.  For example, there’s this one, dedicated to Brian Kornell]


First up was Sidney Sheehan, who read a series of three short poems, and then topped things off with a some bar room theatrics.


Next, Brian Kornell took the stage with a story that centered around thirst which, given the setting, was not as ironic as you might think.



Then, Emily Cody took the stage with a fictional (?) expose of the Lincoln Park Trixies


A short beer break, and then a little more “poetry” to get us back in the groove



Then, a little more poetry, this time by the decidedly more poetic Sara Gelston.






And, finally, closing it all out and brining it home, was visiting writer and reader, Bryan Furuness. Bryan traveled from Indy, special, just for us, and then (and here’s where I tie it all back into the beginning (fancy!)) killed! Introducing his travel into our fair town as, “when I came into town, and saw a billboard for something called… Karate Glove… I knew I was in a poetic town.” Bryan then read three very short pieces:

  • “On Tubes, by Ted Stevens” (the Senator who famously described the Internet as a “series of tubes”). Excerpt: “I’m not obsessed, I’m just aware. I live in a state known for its pipeline and my wife breed dachsunds. Is it any wonder that tubes come to mind when I describe the Internets?”
  •   “Poor Richard’s Sex Almanack” – “Puritan in public; hellcat in the sack. Every time! Trust me on that one, my friend.”
  • An excerpt, in the form of a letter to a “future corporation” describing what the narrator would do, given the ability to go back in time, which largely revolved around being the man who his wife (or, at the time, “pre-wife”) had a one-night stand with, and also beating up her old boyfriend.

How brilliant do those sound? And, in case they don’t sound brilliant, know the fault lies only in my attempt at retelling. Listen to the audio for the real, full effect.

Thanks again to everyone who came out! Hope to see you all again (and those who couldn’t make it, too!) next time around, on Sunday, April 18th.


For more audio and pictures from Stories and Beer, click HERE for Stories and Beer#1.

Stories & Beer is brought to you in part by the City of Urbana Arts Grant and Urbana Business Association.


More Articles