Myopic Books with a side of improvisational music

Myopic, a local bookshop in Wicker Park, 1564 N Milwaukee Ave, introduces a music series called Live-Music Mondays.


Book buyers browsing shelves for new reads in Wicker Park can now be serenaded by two musicians improvising their performance during a weekly music series, Live-Music Mondays.

The event at Myopic Books, 1564 N. Milwaukee Ave., was organized by Julian Kirshner and Macie Stewart. It is free to the public every Monday night at 7:30 p.m. until Jan. 28.

“The basis of the series is that [there are] two musicians who are playing together—in that context as a duo—for the first time ever,” said Kirshner, who has been the organizer for five years this coming July.

Live-Music Mondays were introduced to Myopic Books in the mid-90s by drummer Weasel Walter.

Kirshner said most of the musicians who participate are solo artists and send in requests to perform. Once they are booked, they are paired up with another artist they have never collaborated with before so that when they perform together, it is completely improvised.

“The special thing about the series at Myopic, unlike many of the other venues which also host music of experimental and improvised nature, is that its a good platform for not only seasoned musicians, but those who are curious about improvisation,” Kirshner said.

Kirshner said the series is unique because most people at these concerts happen to be shopping for books and find themselves in the middle of the event.

“The best way to approach the series is with open ears and an ability to be vulnerable to the musician’s decisions,” Kirshner said.

Kristine Garcia, a frequent Myopic customer, was browsing the store as usual when she became curious about people setting up for the event and decided to check it out.

“[The event] is the best of both worlds for me because I love live music, and I love books,” Garcia said.

Vocalist and improvisational performer Anna Munzesheimer sang vocals alongside Danny Van Duerm, who played synth and keys, on Jan. 14.

Munzesheimer said she got into improvisation when a friend took her to Slate Arts + Performance, 3203 W. North Ave., a Wednesday night music series. She got involved by going to events and started playing shows about a year ago. Before that, she had always been a vocalist and played with whoever was around.

“It can be very liberating,” Munzesheimer said. “It gets me out of my box, and it’s a great way to explore. I encourage everyone to find a safe space and try it out.”