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You always said your grandmother's life would make for a great movie (one part The Notebook, one part Fried Green Tomatoes and a whole lot of The Royal Tenenbaums). Since you're not into financing films at the moment, why not start with a recording?

Now you can, with StoryCorps. The decade-old oral history project that has captured 45,000 Americans’ stories for preservation at the Library of Congress has a new recording booth at the Chicago Cultural Center. (There’s an opening party tonight; RSVP here.)

When you sit down with your loved one in the Cultural Center’s soundproof studio, you’ll have 40 minutes of uninterrupted time for meaningful conversation. A StoryCorps facilitator will be there to manage the equipment, and he or she might gently nudge you along if the storytelling stalls. At the end of the experience, you’ll be given a free CD taping to take home.

Tales from StoryCorps play each week on NPR’s Morning Edition program, and a selection of standout stories is available to hear online. (Just try not to tear up at this one.)

Could there be a better way to spend quality time with your fascinating family? We doubt it.

StoryCorps at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.; 800-850-4406 or

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