James Davisson is a native Chicagoan with almost no knowledge of the city he lives in, because he mostly stays at home. The main reason he has stories to tell is that his friends and relations drag him into the sunlight from time to time, or, more often, that he needs leave the house to make money. He studied linguistics in college and no, he doesn’t speak any languages other than English or Spanish, thank you, but he can tell you whatever you want to know about grammar in American Sign Language, word order in Biblical Hebrew, or the etymology of English words, and if he can’t he will happily fib convincingly enough to satisfy your curiosity.
Jodie Daquilanea is a first-generation American, fire performer, and poet who has most recently performed at the Metro, Abbey Pub, Schubas, Exit, Bridgeport Art Center, and the North Halsted Halloween Parade, among other venues. She is one of the planners of the largest regular fire and drum jam in North America, and she now performs regularly with Environmental Encroachment, a magical circus marching band based in Chicago (http://www.encroach.net). Professionally, she is a sociologist and social researcher, and she is currently Project Director and Subcontracting Principal Investigator of a study on religious life throughout the United States. She is a research nerd at heart. She has a deep appreciation for creative community and is ever grateful for the people around her who are doing great things and who give her so much inspiration, encouragement, and support. When she’s not pouring herself mind, body, heart, and soul into her work and play, she likes to cook, read, do yoga, and rock climb.
Brenda E. Kelly is excited to be a part of StoryLab. Her favorite roles include Ellen in TWO ROOMS, Shawna in COYOTE ON A FENCE and Little Red Riding Hood in WHEN FAIRY TALES…ATTACK!!!, a one act play she also co-wrote. Brenda is a network playwright with Chicago Dramatists and also the president of the Women’s Theatre Alliance of Chicago, an organization devoted to supporting, promoting and showcasing Chicago’s female theatre artists.
Joanna P. Lind is terrible at writing bios. It’s an area in which she hasn’t improved in her 26+ years as a performer and writer, mostly because she finds it horribly difficult to distill so many varied experiences and interests down into a few sentences to express who she is artistically. As a child, Joanna loved creative writing, music, theatre, and dance, and that has not changed. A native Chicagoan, over the years she’s appeared in venues from the Lyric Opera all the way down to your local park. She enjoys her day job with the locally touring children’s theatre company, American Eagle Productions, as well as performing in other plays and musicals when the right show comes along. Joanna really loves making stuff, is the thing, including music (she’s a singer/musician/songwriter), theatre (especially staged readings, new works, and Shakespeare), and baked goods (cookies are her specialty). These days Joanna is most excited about two pursuits in particular: the band she is in (The New Switcheroo) and that she is writing more again (stories, poetry, songs, plays). She is also excited to share her stories with you!
Bart Longacre is the youngest child of an arson investigator and a school nurse. He tells everyone he grew up in Montana.
Until recently, Denise Santomauro was pursuing an acting career here in the city. But in a stroke of financial genius, she gave that up to pursue a writing career. Needless to say, she will probably die broke. Since beginning to pursue a writing career, Denise has managed to eek out a chapter book for middle schoolers, a few essays and short stories and submitted a few random things to a couple of random publications. About seven months ago, one month before her 29th birthday, she decided she was sick of living in safely and set a goal of taking a risk everyday of her 29th year of life. To keep her honest, she chronicles her adventures and blunders in a daily blog: www.littledbigyear.wordpress.com. And yes, speaking at StoryLab will get it’s own post.
Jen Daniels is a writer and independent filmmaker currently based in Rogers Park. She recently completed a short entitled, “Clothes Optional” which is featured on the DVD release of the feature film “Act Naturally.” She lives in an intentional artist community with her scheming radical compatriots and enjoys making mischief, music, and love.
Dana Marie Jerman. Came from western Pennsylvania. Living in Chicago 3.5 years. Have been to all 50 states and lived for a brief time in Portland, Maine and Anchorage, Alaska. As well as southern California and Washington, DC. My writing has been published over a dozen times in the USA. Also India, Australia. Writer of mostly haiku and poetry. Dabbling also in flash fiction and playwriting. Self-published a poetry collection available for purchase online. (through Blurb.com). Currently working on a graphic novel collection of short fictions. Goals for 2012 include riding in a hot-air balloon and teaching a 1-day creative writing crash-course in a bookstore.
Louis Knapp is an avid reader, cancer researcher, and student of Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University. Fascinated by mathematics and the internet, some of Louis’ generative art can be seen at loumachine.appspot.com.
Kerry Maiorca received an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco, and soon after moved back to her hometown of Chicago because California winters do nothing for one’s character. Having spent her grad school experience immersed in short fiction, she has recently discovered a love of reading and writing nonfiction, and currently writes what she reluctantly calls a blog at ThinkingYogi.com. Kerry is a yoga instructor and the director of Bloom Yoga Studio in Lincoln Square.
Mike Manship is recently transplanted to Chicago from Boston, where he wrote and performed in a variety of shows that no one in Chicago has heard of, including T: An MBTA Musical. He recently published his first novel, Cambridge Street, and is happy to report that people who review books on amazon.com are liking it. You can learn more about him at darkandstupid.info.
Blake Richter grew up in Kansas and has lived in the Midwest most of his life, finding his way to DeKalb,IL (Yes, we are part of Chicagoland!) in 1997. He continues to hold down third chair in the trumpet section of the legendary Big Band, Shannanigans, and will tell anyone who will listen about how much he loves his Schilke 6L trumpet, a 50th birthday present from his wonderful wife. In addition to playing semi-professional trumpet every now and then, he is also an award-winning video producer for Umbrella Group Arts, and a pastor at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in DeKalb, IL.
Gipsy Escobar (no, no relation to Pablo) is a Colombian-born criminologist (no, not like CSI), who teaches classes with depressing names at Loyola University Chicago. She has lived in the US for almost ten years and is going on her third year in Chicago, where she lives with her funny-man husband (who doubles as an excellent cook) and their two hair-producing machine dogs (who also double as excellent poop-producing machines). This is her first time doing storytelling of any kind that doesn’t involve three gallons of whiskey beforehand, but she’s excited to be in Story Lab, and to perhaps drink three gallons of whiskey after telling her story.
Ben Gibson grew up in Texas and will likely be buried there, since he proudly occupies a seat on the board of the Gibson Family Cemetery. He currently works for a publishing company but would not object if a publishing company one day wanted to work for him. He loses socks with disheartening regularity and has failed to earn the respect of Siri, the polite genie who lives inside his IPhone.
Kate Herold grew up in St. Louis, attended college in in Iowa, has lived in Chicago for the last seven years, and expects any day now she’ll make peace with the idea of being a lifelong Midwesterner. As both a writer and a nurse, Kate is interested in the importance of narrative and oral story-telling in the profession of nursing, and finds that most of her writing these days reflects her experiences working as a nurse and midwife. When she’s not catching babies, Kate can usually be found hovering around iO (formerly Improv Olympic), taking improv classes, seeing shows, and learning to take life less seriously.
Camille Izlar hails from Durham, North Carolina. She is twentysomething working on discovering her professional calling. In the meantime, she enjoys dabbling in poetry, fiction writing, fiction reading, cooking and long walks in the snow.
Andy Kerns is an up-and-coming young something or other, and a writer. He has dabbled in screenwriting, social satire, sketch comedy, and short fiction, but his preferred genres are emotionally exposed emails about the trials of modern manhood (sent to his younger sisters) and flirtatious texts (sent to unavailable women). He lives in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago with his dream to one day live in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago with a dog.
At 6 years old, Zack Meyer was going to college fairs hell bent on finding the right business school to suit his entrepreneur-y aspirations. Now at 25 years old, he teaches people how to sword fight and spends his summers on a pirate ship. His mother is sooo proud. Zack is a Chicago Actor, Fight Director and is the Assistant Artistic Director of the Tall Ship Windy on Navy Pier. Whether it is a historical retelling, a ghost story, or some saga told over brews, Zack has always loved story telling. He dedicates his story to his 90 year old grandpa. Here’s to 90 more years of stories!
Aria Alexander-Manifold is from Lafayette, Indiana and has lived in Chicago for almost exactly one year. She has a degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in drawing, which has inexplicably landed her in a cubicle job in which she listens to audiobooks all day long while dreaming of a job that requires any pretense of brainpower. She has written two NaNoWriMo novels that she has not yet allowed anyone to read, as well as about half of a collaborative attempt at a Harlequin romance. The project was dropped when Aria and her collaborator realized that they had already written all the fun parts. Her favorite thing about Chicago just might be the storytelling culture and all the amazing people involved in it, and she’s grateful to be involved in even a small way.
Jeff Bakkenson was born and raised in Andover, MA, and started writing books about his stuffed animals at a young age. At Georgetown University, he had the opportunity to complete a creative writing thesis under the tutelage of Jennifer Fink. Jeff was a runner-up for the Mary Ora Phelam Poetry Prize in 2008, and contributed editorials and fiction to the Georgetown Voice. More recently, he was a finalist for Line Zero’s 2011 Fall Fiction Contest and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, also in 2011. Jeff’s work has also appeared online at Vestal Review. For the past year and a half, he’s worked at Urban Prep Academies. Jeff has seen the lakefront via Segway and always wears a helmet.
Dale Cocca moved to Chicago from upstate New York a year ago to pursue so many of his interests. He hosts trivia nights at a few bars in Chicago, despite being pretty bad at playing trivia himself. When he’s not doing that, he’s an adventure guide with LivingSocial Adventures. He regularly performs in “The Boy Scout Musical” at the Annoyance Theatre, and is a founding member of the critically acclaimed improv team, “Vehicular Man’s Laughter”, and does some stand-up comedy on the open mic circuit. In the large chunk of time that he’s not doing those things, he’s scheming on how to make the world more fun.
Jeff Grabowski took an interest in math and science at a young age and eventually received two engineering degrees. During school, he avoided as many English and humanities classes as possible, and did not find enjoyment in reading or writing. That all changed recently when he wrote a best man’s speech and a eulogy in honor of his grandmother. Reflecting on these important people in his life nucleated a new-found interest in writing. Since Sept of 2011, he has written more than 10 personal stories for Chicago non-fiction blog “The Third City.
Sara Kaplan currently performs on the Award-winning iO Harold team, “Inkling.” She can be seen performing throughout Chicago with her independent improv teams, “Your Neighbors” and “Velvet Rope.” She also does stand-up, story-telling, and will be co-starring in Wishbone Theatre’s new production, “Incendiary.” Sara would like to thank Chicago and its people for all the opportunities and love, especially Zach.
Lydia Stux‘s adopted twin sons provide fodder for her blog, RAISING ROMULUS AND REMUS (www.raisingromulus.blogspot.com). Since there is a momentary lull in the near-constant chaos her boys create, Lydia has been recycling some of the blog essays into storytelling pieces. This is her first original story, developed specifically for performance. In addition to maintaining a blog, Lydia acts, writes, travels and sings with WHQODJY (We-haven’t-quit-our-day-jobs-yet) Singers at the Old Town School of Folk Music.
Laura Hawbaker has written for all the Chicago newspapers at one point or another. She holds a Bachelors in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a Fulbright Scholar and organizes her bookshelves by color.
After receiving universal acclaim for his uplifting portrayal of Fab Morvan—aka the darker skinned half of Milli Vanilli—in his 7th grade variety show, Cyrus Irani joined the likes of J.D. Sallinger, Dave Chapelle, and Right Said Fred and decided to leave the art world on top. He looks forward to making his long awaited return at Story Lab. He also blogs infrequently at www.cyrus2k.blogspot.com
Emily Johnson is an editor and writer living in Chicago. She is a professional copywriter, yoga instructor, and pro bono philosopher, and has written for various magazines and newspapers on the subjects of relationships, psychology, and communications. Check out her stuff on emjohnson.net
Erin Kahoa has been living life backwards. Salaried job before part time minimum wage work. Marriage before casual dating. Home owner before grungy bug infested apartments. Director of a university theatre program before big city auditions. But, since resetting and moving to Chicago, he’s never been happier. You can catch him as the evil villain on stage in Rough Magic at The Raven the last weekend of July.
Monte LaMonte is a neck breaker. Shit taker. Love maker. And an excellent photographer. http://monteism.blogspot.com
Sondra Morin is a Chicago poet and a small town New Englander at heart. She is an alumnus of the Juniper Summer Writing Institute and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Poems and prose appear or are forthcoming in The Rumpus, Curbside Splendor,Two With Water, and vis a tergo. She is a regular contributor to Chicago Publishes. In 2010, she created Radical Snail Poetry, a contemporary poetry magazine under construction, and published her first chapbook, Inviting the Expanse. She keeps a little blog about snails: Snails Are Good For The Environment, Too.
Eileen Dougharty has found storytelling to be the much needed squeeze cheese addition to a life that was once just macaroni. After dabbling in sketch comedy writing at Second City, she decided that the true tales of her life were better than fiction and certainly easier to come up with. When she’s not writing, she’s brainstorming captions for New Yorker cartoons or flying around the country handing out drinks, snacks, and snark to the general public, which beats having a real job. She has performed with 2nd Story and Reading Under The Influence and is currently working on a screenplay for a buddy picture road trip flick…think Easy Rider fueled by lady power. More of her musings and poorly developed metaphors can be found at www.whowritesyournonsense.blogspot.com
Jason P. Kelleher moved from Ireland to Chicago 14 years ago. Graduated from UIC with a degree in architecture. He is perusing a masters of psychology this fall. Writing has become his new passion, and loves the support Chicago writers have given him.
Lily Mooney is a playwright and performer originally from Boston. Three years ago she put her material possessions into a U-Haul and trucked them to Chicago, stopping to sleep in the town of Independence, Ohio, which seemed significant at the time. Since arriving, she has worked for and with wonderful artists at places like Chicago Dramatists, The Neo-Futurarium, The Annoyance Theater, and Northwestern University. In her picture, Lily is the one in the foreground.
Luis Antonio Perez is a local radio host and producer at Vocalo on 89.5 FM, sister station to WBEZ. Born and raised on Chicago’s north side, he brings his energy and love for storytelling to Story Lab with his first effort at performing a fully processed work of exposition. Luis, a natural raconteur, has won a recent Moth StoySLAM, was a finalist in this year’s Windy City Story Slam, and can be seen sharing stories every month at Grown Folks Stories. You can follow Luis on twitter @NorthsideLou, Tumblr, (northsidelou.com), or hear him online weekdays at 4:00 pm on Vocalo.org. He is Puerto Rican and Colombian, which he has been told is the perfect Latino combination. He says, “it is at the very least delicious.”
Jack Ryan is an actor, dancer, writer and teaching artist. As an actor he has played in many children’s programs with Chicago DanzTheatre Ensemble telling “Tales from Around the World” and Imagination Theater teaching kids fun ways to “Ease the Tease” and “Show some Respect.” He has also performed one person shows for children. With Imagination Theater he wrote “E-etiqutte” a program about cyber bullying and internet safety for third to eighth graders. As a teaching artist Jack has taught many after school programs with Chicago DanzTheatre Ensemble, Imagination Theatre, and The Institute for Positive Living. He has taught programs for kindergarten to high school on various topics such as literature, art, performance, dance, respect and healthy communication. Jack also performs for adult audiences and addresses adult topics as well. He recently co-developed and performed in “Mirrors.” Inspired by the poems of the Sufi mystic Rumi, “Mirrors” incorporates dance, puppetry, acting, and multimedia image projections to tell the story of four couples mirroring each other through joy, sorrow, confusion and many of life’s twists and turns. Other on stage roles include “Doctor Atomic,” “The Subject was Roses,” “Candida” and “An Inspector Calls.”
Susie Allen grew up in Palo Alto, CA, and currently lives in a faraway land known as “Hyde Park.” She studied English and French literature in college; somehow, despite this great hardship, she is currently employed. She can often be found applying hand sanitizer, writing, and avoiding writing.
Drew Dormann is a software engineer who has worked on top-selling Playstation and Xbox video games, high-frequency trading applications, and DVD production suites. He has no experience writing and could be dyslexic for all he knows. Drew has has been showing growing interest in getting a beer soon and would like to know if you want one too.
Sheila M. Gagne is currently a senior pursuing a BA in Creative Writing and a minor in Writing for Television at Columbia College Chicago. Before that, she competed on the College of Lake County’s speech team, placing nationally both years. She is a Second City graduate in improvisation and frequent attendee to the Mixer, a weekly improv jam at the Playground Theater. She is interning for the summer at ARU Chicago and is also an aspiring voice actor. Follow her on Twitter: @SheilaMGagne
Originally from Indiana, Jesse Bob Harper spent the last twenty years of his life living and working in what is simply, the greatest city on earth; Los Angeles. The fact that he states that without the slightest bit of irony or use of hyperbole, probably tells you everything there is to know about Jesse Bob.
Chicago native Rob Putnam is an avid writer, traveler and skilled napper. He’s a contributing writer with Los Angeles’ Music Connection magazine, for which he scribes the Producer Crosstalk column, as well as a number of other features. A graduate of the Second City writing program, he’s penned several sitcom spec scripts and is proud of his many and varied friendships. Both of them. He’s told stories at The Moth and enjoys writing more than performing. Similar feelings have been expressed by his audience, usually behind his back and more commonly scrawled anonymously on his Facebook wall. His shortcomings include being a vegetarian, single (yes, ladies: single) and Tee’totaller killjoy.
Emily Sutherlin is a transplant from Washington State, now residing in Wicker Park. She works in conference services at a Chicago-area university, and is intensely interested in language and communication. She spends her free time rock climbing and listening to more public radio than is probably healthy for any one human. She’s quite the introvert, so speaking at story lab is going to rip her little safety bubble wide open.
Chicago native. Writer. Reiki practitioner. Notary. Peanut M&M enthusiast. Rachael Smith is almost done writing her first novel, Forever Maybe, and will share it with the world soon. She excels at lifting heavy things, apologizing and finding parking.
Margaret Burk’s lifelong study of mythology, psychology and world spiritual traditions infuses her work as storyteller, actress and educator. She is Director of the Fleming Center which teaches classes in leadership development: living into our full creative talents. As Director of Development for the Chicago Sinfonietta, Margaret was named as “100 Women Making a Difference” in Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine (July 1997). Margaret believes there is power in story to touch the heart, to inspire a sense of hope, to spark the imagination, to embolden the spirit, and to remind us of the greatest of human potential! Margaret has a B.A. in Theatre and M.A. in Communication. She is on the Board of Illinois Storytelling, Inc. and is co-artistic director of a Storytelling Concert Series at Village Players Performing Arts Center in Oak Park, IL.
Originally from the birthplace of the sock monkey, Paul Dailing is a Chicago-based freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Tribune, the Sun-Times, the Bangkok Post, France 24, the Agence France-Presse wire service and more. He also recently duped an area university into letting him teach a class on media ethics. He accomplished this by blackmail. Paul writes about life in 21st-century Chicago at 1001chicago.com, his attempt to re-create reporter Ben Hecht’s Chicago Daily News column from the early 1920s.
Lindsay LaVine grew up in the northern suburbs and is thrilled to appear in her first storytelling event. She’s an assistant attorney general by day and blogs at Ehilarity.com at night. Prior to attending law school, Lindsay was a journalist with NBC in Raleigh and CNN in Atlanta. She graduated from the Second City Training Center’s writing program and regularly speaks to performers and bloggers about protecting their intellectual property rights.
Debbi Welch has been telling other people’s stories for over 20 years and has finally decided it’s time to tell her own. She’s also writing a book for middle grades – that is, when she’s not weeding the garden, sorting through boxes that haven’t been opened in five years and doing anything else she can think of to avoid her computer. Debbi’s president of the board of Young Chicago Authors, a 21 year old organization offering writing, performance and publication opportunities to young people throughout Chicago.
A native of South Texas and graduate of Antioch College, Ben X has called Chicago home since January of 2009. In addition to teaching music, DJing, producing and performing with his band Immovable Types, Ben hosts regular events at the Sun Palace for DJs and firespinners, and does freelance video, web and graphic design.
Robin Gelfenbien is a comedian, writer and storyteller who has written jokes for Rosie O’Donnell and starred in a commercial directed by Spike Lee. Her original comedy songs have played on Sirius Satellite Radio, and her solo show, “My Salvation Has a First Name (A Wienermobile Journey),” premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival. Robin has performed at The Moth, RISK!, Mortified and she is the creator of the storytelling series, “Yum’s the Word,” that features her homemade ice cream cakes. She was recently featured in “Oy! Only Six? Why Not More? Six-Word Memoirs on Jewish Life” along with Henry Winkler and Larry David, and she will be performing at the Chicago Women’s Funny Festival on Saturday, June 9. www.robingelfenbien.com @robingelfenbien
Carolyn Guido is an acting/dance teacher for VIVA Performing Arts School primarily in DIxon, IL, grant based organization with the goal of bringing the arts to rural IL. After a year of Chicago city life, she gave up the two hour commute and now hails from Dekalb, IL. She grew up in New Orleans, LA and moved the the frozen tundra.-the midwest- for college at Northern Illinois University where she received her B.A Theatre Studies. She has been telling children’s stories for many years at venues around the country.
Jill Howe has never backed down from a new career choice or an opportunity to tell a story, and sometimes the two have overlapped. The path of her professional life reflects everything she loves; from teaching high school English, film study and journalism, volunteering at 826Chicago (all of you should too!), to now dealing mostly in sparkling diamonds. Inspired by her urban tribe of creative friends, Jill is attending and producing many storytelling events throughout the city this year and loves developing new and unexpected opportunities for great people to connect, share, and grow. Her Mount Rushmore of inspiration would have the faces of Joseph Campbell, Werner Herzog, Cornel West, and Jane Austen.
Currently, Greg Poljacik teaches stage combat at The Second City Training Center, The International Stunt School, works as a Sword Cutler, providing the best stage weapons in the industry, and owns his own business selling Blood Jam, the only stage blood that looks real, washes out of clothes and skin with hot water and is safe to eat. Currently you can see his Choreography in Woman in White at Lifeline. All of his work follows the principles of “Safety, Story, Substance.”
Julie Sadowski is not comfortable talking about herself in the third person, but one must do what one must. Julie is a local gal and graduate of Columbia College. During the week you can find her playing super nanny and on weekends she snaps away as a wedding/event photographer for her own company www.grayscalephotography.com. Her likes include cold beer on hot days, dance parties, group mediation and perusing Craigslist. Her dislikes include parking tickets, tourists, slow people in general and awkward silences. Julie is longtime company and former staff member of www.2ndstory.com. It’s been a few years since she has been in the chair as she has been behind the scenes producing, directing and dabbling in sound design. Her sudden desire to take this risk has been inspired by all of the brave talented first timer story tellers that she has had the pleasure of directing. She is certain that she learned more about her own voice while helping them realize their own. And for that she is forever grateful.
Philip Siegel grew up in New Jersey, just down the block from a veritable Real Housewife. He graduated from Northwestern University and promptly moved out to Los Angeles, where he became an NBC page. He likes to think that the character of Kenneth on 30 Rock is loosely based on his life rights. Currently, he works in downtown Chicago by day while he writes novels at night and during his commute sandwiched in between colorful characters on the El. His plays have been performed on stage and radio, and he is currently writing a young adult book series.
Johnnie Grozenski, 45, has always dabbled in writing since he was very young. In the fourth grade he won the Young Author Award for his colorful story, “Sammy the Seal.” He earned a minor in fiction writing at Columbia College, Chicago in 2000. He has lived in Chicago for 12 years and currently resides in the Edgewater neighborhood where he is a partner in two businesses and looks after his husband of 12 years, Paul who suffered a stroke in 2009. He has studied with Arlene Malinowski in her Writing Workshops for the past three years and has performed his personal essays at Speak Easy Speak Hard and most recently at the hit show, “My First Time” During his husbands stroke recovery, Johnnie began writing again after many years. His personal essays focus on him as care-giver to his husband, insights of his gay childhood, friends, family and life in general. Johnnie brings understated humor and lightheartedness to stories of deep emotion. He is currently working on a compilation of those stories to hopefully publish one day. inadifferentlife.com
Kelin Hall fled the East Coast for the University of Chicago. There, she thrived among the nerds while earning a B.A. in Why You Can Never Save the World So Stop Trying and Become an Academic. Now she listens to low-income immigrants’ stories and helps to turn them into legal arguments accompanying visa applications. These stories are far more compelling than her own; but she’ll probably talk about herself when you watch her. Kelin maintains her writing skills by falling for journalists who live far away. This is her Chicago performance debut. She is terrified.
Rebecca Marquardt is a certified PADI scuba diver and intends to use that certification soon. Her interests include storytelling, storyhearing, improv, sketch comedy, making silly and fun videos, and
playing a wide and weird array of musical instruments (favorites include keyboard and ukulele, but an accordion may have been added to the mix; watch out). Thanks to Texas for raising me, Louisiana for giving me a college degree (Geaux Tigers!), and Ohio for giving me the Masters Degree in Oboe that launched my comedy career.
playing a wide and weird array of musical instruments (favorites include keyboard and ukulele, but an accordion may have been added to the mix; watch out). Thanks to Texas for raising me, Louisiana for giving me a college degree (Geaux Tigers!), and Ohio for giving me the Masters Degree in Oboe that launched my comedy career.
Since she left her old life in San Diego, Jenny Melnick travelled for about two years, including a solo bicycle trip across the country. She arrived in Chicago last June and hasn’t left yet. She has been a circus performer as well as a kindergarten teacher. She continues to hone the skill of not fitting in, but not standing out.
Valentine Soposky has spent the recession tuning in and selling out. Since graduating with a Theatre degree from a private catholic womens college at the height of the financial crisis she immediately started juggling two jobs and later added running a Republican congressiona campaign, even though she’s a Democrat, and a woman. She moved to Chicago a year and a half ago and soon started attending the many great storytelling events found here. Her first storytelling appearance was as an open mic competitor at Here’s the Story, and she won a featured slot for the next event! Valentine competed in the triumphant return of the Skald Storytelling competition. She has told stories in multiple Moths and finally won! She’ll be competing in a Moth Grand Slam later this year. Valentine is pleased to find that preparing for these story events is really fast tracking her memoirs!
NOVEMBER 2012 - No show
Sarah Goldenberg is a certified teacher who works 10 different jobs that include substituting, tutoring, to coaching college and high school speech teams and working in retail. She hopes to be a full time teacher soon or she will flee the country to teach full time in Korea or Israel. Her interests include storytelling, improv, fashion designing, and finding things on Pinterest to test in real life. She is excited to share her story with Story Lab Chicago!
From a family of 11 children one way for Karen O’Donnell to get any attention at all was to tell stories. Being half-Italian she tells her best stories when her hands are busy. Dr. Karen says she is blessed to be able to tell stories to captive audiences of hopelessly mute while her hands are busy doing dentistry. Professionally she has been calling herself a story teller as she found some people still fear dentists, but it is rare for a person to be fearful of a story teller. She does allow her patients to speak for the first 3-5 minutes of their appointments, but then it is story time …ala dental chair. She has studied Improvisational Theater at Comedy Sportz in Chicago and believes you learn seven times faster when you are having fun. Dr. Karen sings soprano with the 130 voice South Suburban Chorale and went on tour in Europe. Trained by Tony Robbins, and other leaders in the personal development field, this will be her Chicago debut. firstname.lastname@example.org
Note Sangern is Chicago-born and raised and is your normal, average everyday kind of guy, except when he’s not. He’s the city’s #1 premiere free-agent, both in terms of love and work. He lives for sports, especially his chicago teams and his beloved Illini. He enjoys writing, listening to, and telling stories – not necessarily in that order. Among other things, he loves eating, tweeting, and repeating any and all quotes from ‘the simpsons’ to ‘anchorman’. If you’re not careful, he’ll make you laugh.
Paul Teodo is the second ever Chicago Moth Grand Slam champion. He has 2 great sons and a love for writing,theatre, storytelling,music, movies, and hanging out with family, “family” being whoever is willing to hang out with and eat with. He was raised in an Italian family on the south side of Chicago that could not hang together unless there was lots of food and lots of stories. One of his favorite sayings in life is this: “The sign of a truly rich man is not he who has the most, but rather he who needs the least” He trys to keep things simple and focus daily on what is really important. His real job is serving as the Chief Operating Officer of an inner city hospital on the south side of Chicago. The hospital is run by a group of caring and committed nuns from Lithuania.
Ray Teresi is a enthusiastic story collector and sometimes storyteller who believes in the power of stories to transform lives. Since entering the Chicago storytelling scene over a year ago, He has enthusiastically lent his support in many ways to the storytelling community and is now co-producing a storytelling series called Storytelling: Missionary Style, a charitable event that has some of Chicago’s finest storytellers and takes them beyond the city boundaries to spread their art far and wide. When not concentrating on storytelling Ray spends his time working at WBEZ as the Membership Coordinator: Pledge Drive Producer and on NPR’s ‘Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me’ as Volunteer Coordinator for the live show in Chicago. He also produces a segment called “On Location” for the Chicago arts & entertainment podcast fuse:chicago where he focuses on telling people’s stories. Ray lives in Lincoln Park with his black & white cat Audrey.
Hailing from Quincy, Illinois, Shawn Wilson has spent the last three years in Chicago pursuing comedic and theatrical endeavors, and singing more karaoke than is probably healthy. He is thrilled to be making his story-telling debut, and hopes it will prove to be the merely the first of many.