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Artist Bios


curated & hosted by




GREGORIO is the MC/host of the infamous Monday Night Poetry at "Weeds" (circa '85)...Gregorio, who immigrated from Veracruz, Mexico, has been a presence and influence of the spoken word of Chicago's poetry community for over thirty years. He has been a featured poet in many of the city's poetry venues and published in various magazines and anthologies.




featured artist 01.25.15


Gregory Curry was born and raised in New Jersey where he attended Ramapo College. After graduating he lived in Florida for several years pursuing a career in the arts and selling paintings on street corners. Upon coming to Chicago, Gregory was homeless for several months, using most of the day to write poetry on various park benches. Once back on his feet Gregory became active in the Chicago poetry scene. His first book, Artificial Horizon, was published by Generationless Publications and his second book, Gently Broken, came out in October of 2014 by Puddin’head Press. Gregory is on staff at the In One Ear Open Mic and produces his own shows, The Elevator Sessions and Caffeinated Confessions. He has appeared in Street Wise magazine, interviewed on James Gordon’s radio show GPA Talks Everything, asked to perform on the Poet at the End of the World podcast, and was recently asked to teach a series of writing workshops at the Spoken Word Lounge. In addition to regular readings and feature performances he is a big fan of reading in quiet spaces and B-grade horror movies.




featured artist 01.25.15


Chuck Kramer taught reading and writing in Chicago’s public schools for thirty years. He’s also worked as an advertising copywriter, a public relations writer, and the theater critic for the Oak Leaves newspaper. He currently cohosts the Weeds Poetry Open Mic every Monday night and is a free-lance photographer for the Windy City Times.

His poems and short stories have appeared in many publications. He’s written two unpublished novels and is currently working on a third.

WOMEN IN JAZZ II: NEEMA presented in collaboration with AACM's 50th Anniversary 03.21.15






Sitar & Bassa



Shanta Nurullah was born into a musical family and studied piano and tap dancing throughout her formative years. While in college, she was able to travel to India and study Indian Classical music and the sitar.  Shanta has been performing professionally as a musician since 1972, and as a storyteller since 1978. After college, Shanta immersed herself in the Black Arts Movement as a member of the Kuumba Workshop, Phil Cohran’s Black Music Workshop, and associating with writers, visual artists, dancers, and members of the AACM.

Shanta formed her first band in 1978, and went on to co-found the all-women’s ensembles Sojourner and Samana, the first female band in the AACM. With these groups, and others, Shanta has performed in venues across the country, distinguishing herself a sitarist and bassist exploring African-American improvisational music.


Shanta has received an Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship,  a Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award, and the Zora Neale Hurston Award. Other awards include grants from the Nevada Arts Council and the American Association of University Women. Shanta has an original story on permanent display at Brookfield Zoo (IL) and has been a storytelling teacher and mentor for many years.


Currently Shanta teaches at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music, serving there also as a Teaching Artist Fellow.


Photo of Shanta by Lauren Deutsch



Piano & Vocalist




featured artist 01.25.15


Hillary Kobernick writes poems for both performance and page. She holds a master’s of divinity and currently pastors outside of Chicago. Her poems have appeared on Button Poetry and in literary magazines in the U.S. and Cananda including DecomP, Bellevue Literary Review, and FreezeRay. She has two chapbooks, titled Flying Lessons and Sunrise O’Clock.




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