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RACINE — Do Not Submit, an ongoing community event that was created in Chicago, has found a home in Racine. These open mic events encourage connection through the spoken word.

Do Not Submit began hosting monthly storytelling open mics throughout the Chicagoland area, and now this form of artistic expression has come to Racine at George’s Tavern, 1201 N. Main St. This event is open to adults 21 years old and older.

The first Racine event was held on Feb. 21, and the second event will take place on March 21. Hosting the event in the Racine neighborhood are Jolanta Butvilas and Joel Ebert.

Sign-up starts at 6:30 p.m. and storytelling begins at 7 p.m. at the venue.  

Coming to Racine

Butvilas, who is originally from Lithuania, came to Chicago in 1992. As of June 2022, she has called Racine her home. Previously, Jolanta was the host of a Do Not Submit chapter in Homewood, Ill.

With her relocation came the first Do Not Submit event in Wisconsin.

Community members have the opportunity to take center stage at this free storytelling open mic event. People often share their personal stories, accolades from childhood, and past experiences with those in attendance.

“It feels like it was needed for Racine,” says Butvilas.

At the first event, the venue was packed to the brim. Butvilas estimates that there were around 50 people in attendance.

Do Not Submit
People gather at the first Do Not Submit event at George’s Tavern. The event will be hosted monthly as an opportunity for people to share their stories. – Credit: Jolanta Butvilas

“We had a lot of speakers, a lot of people who were willing to tell their story and it was just the magical night,” comments the host about the first open mic.

“We would like to give everyone a chance to tell their story and enjoy being on stage,” says Butvilas. “Most people tell their personal stories. They are sometimes funny, and sometimes they’re sad. They will make you cry.”

Everyone and anyone is welcome to attend on March 21, either as a speaker or a listener (and hopefully both).

How Does it Work?

According to the Do Not Submit website, the event format is as follows:

1) Simply show up at the neighborhood venue fifteen minutes before the open mic starts. (Slots will be available throughout the night if space allows, so if you cannot arrive early, you may still have a chance to share.)

2) Write your name on the list. Names will be called in order. 

3) When your name is called, you get seven minutes on stage to tell or read any story you’d like. 

Bringing people together

“Storytelling brings people together,” explains Butvilas.

At the Do Not Submit: Storytelling Open Mic in Racine, no experience is necessary to participate, and there is never a cover charge.

To learn more, visit the organization’s website, email or visit their Facebook page.

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