David Boyle is a musician, actor and storyteller born and raised on the south side of Chicago. He enjoys swimming, smoking, eating and drinking (in that order).
Charlotte Hamilton is a 33 year old former East Coaster who moved to Chicago eight years ago to get her master’s degree in social work. Since graduating, she has worked with hospice patients, recent immigrants, and adolescents. Her writing and storytelling resume is similarly eclectic. She has been published in McSweeney’s Internet Tendencyand on her Twitter page, @charluhamilton. Last year, her work was performed on stage in the NYC show, Blogologues. She made her storytelling debut at the Solo in the Second City Reading Series and has gone on to perform at her grandmother’s 90th birthday party. Charlotte’s skills include coffee drinking, staying up late, and kicking your butt at Scrabble.
Since he was a child, Glenn Jeffers has often exemplified Confucius’ adage: “May you live in interesting times.” Mind you, Confucius meant that as a curse and at 35, Glenn really would like to get off that roller coaster. Since receiving his B.S. in Journalism (and truer words were never uttered), Glenn has worked for the Chicago Tribune, the South-Florida Sun-Sentinel, Ebony, Black Enterprise, N’Digo and written for The Washington Post (the Post deserving the “and” credit). Glenn also co-wrote and produced his first play, “The Marker,” which premiered this past February in Louisiana. He currently works as an instructor for a journalism workshop based out of Columbia College and writes for whomever will pay him. And mourn for him, for he has no website.
Pie baker, soup maker. Petter of cats, wrestler of dogs. Road trip queen. Pedaler of bicycles. Harbinger of cheer. Devourer of books. Ellen Lekostaj lives in pursuit of a good anecdote.
Jim Padar is a Chicago native and a retired Chicago Police officer. He has been writing as long as he can remember, initially attracting attention as a University of Illinois college freshman with a piece published in The Pier Glass. (U of I at Navy Pier? He must really be old!) Post college he was first published in Flying Magazine, writing about an experience as a student pilot. In 2011 he started a blog (www.OnBeingaCop.org) drawing in part on his experiences as a homicide detective. The blog has logged over 65,000 views from more than 65 countries. Readers tell him he writes cop stories with soul and compassion. While he has trouble remembering where he put his car keys, he somehow seems to recall murder cases from 40 years ago. Most recently he has done memoir readings at the Irish American Heritage Center and is also a two time winner at the Moth StorySLAM.
Laura Stark & Holly McDowell
Laura Stark (left) came to monologues by way of improv where she found it’s easier to tell a true story than to make something up. She has been involved in storytelling and readings on and off for the past ten years and has been seen in Chicago at Tuesday Funk, Holiday Hangover, and You’re Being Ridiculous, among others. Holly McDowell is the author of a new serialized thriller, King Solomon’s Wives. The first episode is available now: it’s a contemporary suspense story about women alive today who descended from the women in King Solomon’s ancient harem. The second episode comes out in February. Find out more at her website, hollymcdowell.com. Laura and Holly became friends after meeting at a literary event here in Chicago, so it only seemed natural they would end up telling a story together.
Lily Be has been sharing stories since 2009. It was not something she thought would go anywhere. She considers herself an average woman with a son, a life, a family and now, storytelling. After her debut at Grown Folks Stories in Wicker Park she caught the bug and has been performing ever since.She’s performed at almost every storytelling event in the city and have been featured on Chicago Public Media stations WBEZ and Vocalo. She’s also introduced her 16 year old son Xavier to storytelling and most recently her younger sister Lisa. Lily Be has begun hosting her own storytelling event, Stoop-Style Stories in Chicago’s Humboldt Park/Hermosa neighborhood at Rosa’s Blues lounge every 4th Thursday of the month.
Lisa Holmes’s short stories and essays have appeared in the literary journal “After Hours,” on WBEZ’s Radio M, and on her own blog: www.whimsycity.blogspot.com. In her past life as a playwright and sketch comedy writer, her work was presented around Chicago in places like Steel Beam Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, the Midwest Playwriting Fest, and Second City. And yes, she truly grew up with a monkey.
Jim Markus lives in almost complete seclusion at the corner of Edgewater and Eternity. He writes nonsense, non-fiction, and sometimes short stories. On occasion, he helps organize intricate, public games as part of a motley band of eccentric fools. Tonight, he is telling a story to a handsome group of strangers.
Seth Montague writes grants for a large nonprofit organization. While raising money for great causes is deeply satisfying, he prefers writing stories, poems and random nonsense. Seth learned to tell stories while growing up in a small Texas town, listening to old men talk over coffee and cigarettes at the local gas station then repeating and embellishing everything he heard to his friends at school. He moved to Chicago in 2007 and likes taking notes as the city rolls past his balcony.
Erin Robinson is an actor/singer who grew up in California, went to Rice University in Houston to study voice, and then moved to Chicago. This is her first time reading at an event like Story Lab, so y’know – be nice!
Rich Wamsley lives in the urban oasis known as Rogers Park. Raising two cats on my own. Hey, it’s harder than it looks! Still trying to make sense of our changing world… or maybe I should stop making sense. Apologies to Talking Heads. Have written a few screenplays… if one sells I can live the life I dreamed about – welcoming guests on Fantasy Island. Hey Boss, the plane, the plane! Find it very hard to walk past bakeries. I would drive down to Key Largo for Key Lime Pie anytime.
Sean Cooley is a journalist, actor and Connecticut native. He won the Ratcliffe Hicks Public Speaking Contest his senior year of high school for an essay about his infomercial addiction (did you know George Foreman has five sons named George AND a daughter Georgetta?). He has worked as a digital editor at the Chicago Tribune, has a Master’s from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and is the City Editor for Thrillist.com covering Chicago’s bar and restaurant scene. He can be seen improvising each Saturday with The Second City’s house ensemble and has performed standup at Zanies and The Laugh Factory. His half-baked musings are tweeted @SeanCooley
Greg Ledger is waiting in hot anticipation for his AARP card to arrive this year, dreaming of all those senior discounts he’ll get to enjoy. His long, checkered career of stints as a vocalist for a punk rock band, a librettist, a panhandler, a writer, a book reviewer, a poet, a graphic designer and a web developer has nonetheless not adequately prepared him for his new passions: improv and storytelling, but he’s giving it the old college try anyway. He is really excited to be participating in Story Lab for the first time
Bailey Pickens is a small person with a loud voice. She's a freelance translator by day and a baker with a cavalier disregard for recipes also by day, since her bedtime is pretty early. She accidentally ran a marathon in October (that's a story for another time) and is going to a fancy East Coast university for graduate school in the fall, but she's still not sure anybody should be taking her seriously. When she's not working (and also when she is), she can be found typing in capslock on the internet and missing Kyoto to a degree that is unseemly
Byron Roussin is a St Louis native who’s been performing in Chicago for several years. He’s a writer, comedian, actor, stage manager, and storyteller. He’s a graduate of IO and Second City’s Conservatory programs, as well as Second City’s writing program. He’s performed at Second City, IO, Stage Left, and Gorilla Tango; as well as appearing in the webseries Yard Times. He’s been a storyteller around Chicago for about a year now. He’s stage managed productions at Zoo Studios for Chicago Mammals, Gorilla Tango, the Apollo Theatre, and IO. He’s currently stage managing the show Thirsty at the Apollo theatre. He looks forward to telling as many stories as possible for as long as people will listen.
Klaudia is reveling in the fact that the collection of embarrassing moments throughout her life have indeed had a purpose! She has a background in architecture, a love of song and theater, and is actively trying to create a more musical, architecturally-appreciative world. She pioneered the architectural music video: youtube/klaudiaciou
After earning her BS in Agricultural Education and Agricultural Technology Management from the University of Arizona, Tamale wanted to focus on her first love- comedy. She moved to Chicago and went through I.O. Chicago, Second City’s Conservatory Program, and Annoyance Theater. She began performing stand up, sketch, and improv comedy, far and wide. She also began exploring and performing burlesque, drag, fire dancing, and belly dancing, and was invited to tour with the Windy City Blenders on several international tours. She partnered with members of the Blenders and developed the full-length gender performance revue, The Lola Project. Soon, she began developing installation and multi-disciplinary art, earning her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Media from Columbia College Chicago. She now also produces Brass Chuckles Comedy: "comedy that kicks ass!" and writes personal narrative work. More awesomeness at TamaleRocks.com and BrassChucklesComedy.com
Hilary Barry’s performing experience is primarily in the singing and dancing arena. A regular song and dance girl, she is currently a non-profit professional by day, a student of marketing by night, and (in her free time) the Artistic Director of Chicago Verge Dance Theatre. Hilary rarely speaks on stage and is therefore almost more afraid of public speaking as she is of missing the newest Mad Men episode. She is grateful to be able to tackle her fears with the support of the wonderful storytelling community in Chicago. Thanks to the wonderful audience, her friends, family, and husband-to-be, Philip.
Nancy Hannibal grew up in “Pleasantville” (aka West Lafayette) Indiana. Even as a small girl, it was hard to fence her in. She always was a bit of a rolling stone, a vagabond, a dreamer with wonder & wanderlust She traveled the globe for 30 years working for companies who were inventing or re-inventing themselves by helping them create and implement new ideas, products & brand identities. Nancy jumped off the corporate treadmill a few years back and signed up for the Peace Corps (Kenya 2005-2007) where she found out that the less she owned and possessed the bigger her life could be ... and also realized it is the small encounters that give us the "forever moments" that connect us to one another. She now lives in Chicago, in a teeny-tiny nest overlooking her lake, reinventing herself from corporate marketing guru into a Storyteller.
Pat Monahan is the CEO of Riverside Graphics and The Ink Spot on Halsted. He is a serial entrepreneur who has created and built two highly successful businesses. Along the way he has also been a Democratic Precinct Captain; a member of the National Guard, famously charged by Mayor Daley with responsibility for “Preserving Disorder” during the 1968 Riots. He also has devoted many years coaching Youth Baseball; was elected, and served on a School Board; also served on the Boards of a Hospital, and a non-profit Foundation dedicated to helping Women-owned businesses. Pat enjoys reading, fishing, gardening and golf. He loves the White Sox, and does not hate the Cubs.
Kasey O’Brien is an actor/director/writer and all-around art enthusiast from northern Idaho, land of meth & Mormonism. She co-wrote Sockhopapocalypse: a rockmusicalclownparody of Lord of the Flies which was performed last summer at the Underground Wonder Bar. She is also an ensemble member of Abraham Werewolf, an experimental theatre company based in Chicago. She doesn’t trust equestrians or children. She loves snail mail and a stiff drink
A New Hampshire native, Peter Papachronopoulos has spent the past two years working as a staff writer in Groupon's Editorial department. A sketch writer and performer and graduate of comedy programs at both Second City and The Annoyance, Peter loves to make with the jokes onstage. Though terribly named, Peter's "Pretentious Title That Makes You Hate This Play Before It Has Even Begun" was recently selected as a finalist for Stage Left's DrekFest 2012
Belinda Woolfson is a New Hampshire native who moved to Chicago three years ago to pursue improv and comedy. She enjoys writing, blogging, traveling, and laughing. She plays the piano and is obsessed with NPR, documentary films, and interior design. She lives and works in Lincoln Square, and is actively trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up.
Alan Brouilette is an entertainer. Like most creatives, he's got a cat, a sketch comedy troupe, and a huge self-destructive streak. He is also a runner, a gambler, a cook, and a sucker for aimless road trips. He prefers Gonzo journalism to the regular responsible kind. He writes books, magazine articles, and scripts, and especially loves kicking down the fourth wall.
David has attended a number of storytelling events but this is his first official performance telling an entire story to an audience. David usually works behind the scenes at the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, Michigan. The Acorn regularly presents a storytelling event called "Adult Education" hosted by Scott Whitehair. Scott has pestered David to tell a story on stage long enough to wear him down and, in a moment of weakness, agree to perform in Storylab. Please be gentle with him
Virginia Fox is a rewired actress after retiring from corporate marketing jobs a few years ago. She lives half the year in Puerto Vallarta and the other in Chicago. You guess which one. She loves playing character roles in film and on stage and thinks Story Lab is a highlight of her rewiring! She's been writing poetry, journalism, and short stories forever
Katie has worked as a director, teacher, improviser, dramaturg and puppeteer in the Chicago area for the past seven years. During that time, she has worked with Northlight Theatre, American Theatre Company, Citadel, Second City, Improv Olympic, Steppenwolf’s Crosstown Teen Ensemble, the International Centre for Women Playwrights, Director’s Lab Chicago, Civic Leadership Foundation and Von Orthal Puppets. In 2012, she performed as part of Theatre Zarko’s He Who in the Steppenwolf Garage Rep Series, and directed a workshop of Small Gameby local playwright Lily Mooney. Katie is the Founding Co-Artistic Director of Wishbone Theatre Collective, which is now in its fourth season. Through Wishbone, Katie has directed productions of Incendiary; Maybe, Baby, It’s You; Vigils,; and Wishbone’s original Spandex, an investigation of the superhero which performed at the Chicago Fringe Festival last September, and will move on to Edinborough in August 2013
A native Chicagoan, Annette Radziszewski’s writing has been featured in the Chicago Reader, Chickpea Vegan Quarterly Magazine, and her personal twitter feed, @annradtweets. When not developing marketing campaigns for health and wellness companies or working on freelance videography projects, Annette can be found developing her improvisational skills at Second City, making food-centric experimental films, or indulging her curious yet sincere predilection for Malort shots
Ozzie has claimed Chicago as his home for the past seven years. He's actively involved in 2nd Story, where he serves as a company member and the manager of the podcast program. In his free time, he's a die hard Minnesota Twins fan. Yes, you read that right
Ken Brezinsky has been telling stories for years, ones with almost no plots, no characters and no drama since they have been scientific stories told to captive students and conference attendees. At last he decided it was time to get out of the lecture hall and into Chicago story telling venues where he can add humor, conflict, pathos, tragedy, and drama to his stories. Since that decision about eighteen months ago, he has presented almost fifty new vignettes based on personal and decidedly non-scientific experiences
Brittany Bookbinder is an actor, playwright and frequent train rider. She hopes, someday, to be described as "that girl on that show," "ukelele sensation" and/or "Amy Poehler's other best friend." She dreams big. She is currently celebrating two and a half years of living in Chicago. She enjoys cooking, kittens, sci-fi, sitcoms, and sitting near large bodies of water on warm-weather days.
Erin grew up in Arlington Heights and is a proud resident of Chicago's Northcenter neighborhood. After attending her first storytelling event last September (The Moth GrandSLAM), Erin was hooked! Recently, she left her rewarding but consuming job working in mental health in order to focus more on writing and performing. She is a die-hard Third Eye Blind fan...and she doesn't care who knows it!
I have always loved to tell stories. I am a native Chicagoan who grew up on the north side of the city and even though I have traveled a lot I always return home to Chicago. I have spent my professional life as a teacher and a counselor working for the Chicago Public Schools. My time with CPS can be described as the best of times and the worst of times-the best being the kids and the worst being Rahm Emanuel. As much as I loved teaching and being a counselor last year I decided to broaden my horizons and to test my abilities in other areas, such as storytelling, so I retired from CPS. So far it has been a great year learning new things and traveling the world. I've learned there is life outside the public schools and in India that getting on and off a camel can be a tricky business.
Ben Kass is a Chicago voice actor, and has been heard on national and regional radio and tv playing such niche roles as "Man 1" or "Guy". He has performed improv and sketch comedy iO Theatre and Second City and been a contributing writer for The Paper Machete Live Podcast. He loves playing comedy music around town, and likes to eat sweet potatoes. Ben co-stars in the new comedy web series, "Lowe Maintenance", which launches later this summer
Traditionally, performer bios are written in the third-person. Traditionally, they contain a predictable compilation of semi-personal information. My name is Felissia Mae, and I'm non-traditional. Something very close to my psyche is the belief that true life stories are the pure and succulent product of a life well-lived. The better the stories, the better the life. When I'm dead, my memoirs will be my legacy. When you share story-time with me, our legacies touch fingertips. Swapping experiences - it's a collaborative effort in constructing that collage of divinity, the collective unconscious
Kevin Dudey is a graphic designer, musician and part-time cat wrangler. Although he likes to travel whenever he can, exploring his hometown of Chicago is one of his favorite activities. Despite being half-Asian, he is not particularly fond of math or nail care, however he does like photography and being first in line. Kevin is typically very bad at remembering song lyrics and has an affinity for tater tots. Finally, he knows the last number of pi, which consequently happens to be his age: 32
Kaitlyn Grissom moved to Chicago from Newark, Ohio (It's nowhere. Don't worry about it.) to do some theater. Since arriving in the city, she has worked as a freelance scenic designer and carpenter at places like Black Ensemble Theater, Pure Artistry,and Redmoon. And yes, some day jobs, too- like waiting tables, nannying, and driving one of those little bike rickshaws at Cubs games. You can find her at standup comedy open mics and showcases all around town.
Barry Joe Lorberbaum
Motivated by anger, frustration, pain and disgust I see the downside of every situation. The costs always out-way the benefits. As a product of the Chicago Public School System and other Chicago institutions I am living proof that life in Chicago should be a felony. After 58 years of exposure I’ve been on both sides of the shoe-shine rag. I am detached but not isolated, writing and painting and creating in near silence. 2000 poems-500 painting-3 books, outdoor installations and some short stories. Few people know me, fewer people know what I do. Discomfort is my closest friend. Old, sick, unemployed and broke; telling one of my stories to a group of strangers is something I need to do. I am an optimist.
James Rickel grew up in Waukegan Illinois were he still lives and works today. As he was growing up in Waukegan he did theater until he went to college, and went from being homeschooled his whole life to a college life. He will be a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago, in industrial design. Before his transfer to UIC, he went to the College of Lake County and was on CLC speech team for two years. He is a passionate home brewer were he tries to capture a memory into a beer.
Laura's first role was a green bean in the play "Clarence the Carrot," at the age of 6. Other favorite roles are: Wendy in "Peter Pan," Mrs. SWAK in "Meet Me on the Ceiling" and The Mother of Victim in "Bully: The Hip Hop Musical," which has been touring various Chicago Public Schools this school year! She can be seen performing her one-woman show, "Punk Grandpa," this year at the Chicago Fringe Festival! Laura also enjoys playing the piano, puppetry, doing research about how to become a fairy and really loves her husband of almost 10 years, who let her have a Wizard of Oz-themed wedding reception!
Marta is a social worker by day, hobbyist by night. Recently, she has been dabbling in ballroom dance and stand-up comedy. Marta is fond of cycling, cooking, and running around with her charming (but very naughty) border collie, Leroy. On most days you can find her drinking lots of water and following the rules in Logan Square, where she lives together with her younger sister, Laura
An attorney with a master’s in TV/Radio, Ruth Kaufman earned multiple national top performer awards at two companies while pursuing acting and writing on the side. Eight years ago, she left corporate America training and marketing to act and write full-time. Credits include on-camera roles in independent films and commercials and narrating dozens of e-learning courses and medical projects. Writing accolades include Romance Writers of America®’s Golden Heart® Award, a National Indie Excellence Award and runner up in the American Title II contest. Visit ruthtalks.com to learn more.
A.J. traveled to Chicago in 2008 from the great State of Iowa, and has found it very difficult to leave. He is a graduate of UNI, the iO training center, the Second City Conservatory and Writing Programs, and The Annoyance theater. You can find A.J. behind the bar at the Goose Island Clybourn Brewpub, or on the more fun side of the bar at any of the other Brewpubs in the city. Also, please watch for him Co-starring in the Fall release of the new web series Lowe Maintenance
Wolfgang Stein is an actor and writer. He recently stared in the short film Running Buddies by Micah C. Gardner. He hangs out at The Annoyance Theater and annoys people with Fire & Beer, Stitched, Oprah and anything that might upset his mother. Stein performs improv. Stein directs children in an improv ensemble and a group of Russians that you should never mess with. Stein is working on a screenplay. Stein enjoys a good patch of green grass to lay on next to the lake. Click on these links: steintime.tumblr.com, www.jackandthewolf.com, www.shortvision.com
Dan is a fresh face in Chicago's universe of story buffs. He began performing at open-mike venues last November after reading a Tribune feature about Chicago's network of story-tellers. A life-long city kid, Dan has been an eyewitness to, and sometime participant in the urban circus that is Chicago since the 1960s. For all of his lengthy work-life, he's held straight jobs including budget analyst and planner, technical writer, and CTA bus pilot. His favorite aroma is that of a freshly-tarred roof on a warm summer evening
Melissa has called Chicago home for the past 4 years. Chicago is the 11th place she’s lived, because she is proud to call herself an ARMY brat (although South Carolina is “home home”)! Her love of books led to a career in publishing, and currently works at the mecca for all bibliophiles, the American Library Association. At night, she volunteers at Gigi’s Playhouse, takes advantage of weird Groupons, enrolls in whatever new dance class Old Town School of Folk offers, and spends WAY too much money entertaining herself in this amazing city. Live music is her most expensive habit, and is a sucker for an outdoor festival.
Dacey Arishiba writes and performs sketch comedy with Stir Friday Night, sings in a punk rock choir called The Blue Ribbon Glee Club and improvises with his team Thunder Bunny. He sometimes writes music for shows he is in including an ode to Jeppson’s Malört. He has also done sketch comedy for kids in “The Ankle Todd Show”, co-produced the Paranormal Adventure League, and performed in Big/Little productions. In a previous life he was a professional musician, and has a song 17 minutes into “D2: Mighty Ducks Two.
Josh has used the exploding Chicago storytelling scene as a wonderful excuse to get back on stage. As was the case with most men in their 20's who live within 30 miles of the city, Josh was in a comedy troupe as one of the founding members of Big Dog Eat Child. Since he left the group, he has spent his spare time writing, gaming, drinking, and working in his decidedly uncreative job. Now, he's taking his neuroses, his awkwardness, and his near supernatural ability to put his foot in his mouth to fuel his stories about growing up and finding his place in the world. He's performed at The Button Down, Grown Folks Stories, as well as any other stage that will have him, including The Moth at Haymarket where he was the May StorySlam winner
Alex Blanchette is an occasional performer, freelance film-maker, and fifth-year resident of Chicago. A graduate of Bradley University's Radio/TV, Music, and Theatre programs, he currently makes his living watching wedding videos. Other things he has watched through a camera monitor include a season of minor-league baseball, three days of tech discussion he still can't comprehend, and two films he will never fully explain to his grandparents. A native Midwesterner and survivor of five years in retail customer service, Alex has accepted his permanent bafflement at humanity, but is at least fairly nice about it
Susan Gidel is a writer from way back (starting with pen pal letters in grade school), but just recently has embraced the storytelling form—and loves it! She made her storytelling debut as part of the 2012 festival at side project theatre in Rogers Park, and will do an encore performance in the 2013 festival. Please visit www.susangsays.com for more about her day job as a marketing copywriter and astrologer. Many thanks to Story Lab for this opportunity to get even more hooked on storytelling!
Anita Mechler has been an off and on-again writer from whatever tender age forces you to keep diaries and journals. She is a librarian, archivist, and Japanophile. Her love of storytelling comes from being steeped in Mexican folklore and the superstition of her hometown of San Antonio, Texas. In her free time, she likes to avoid writing by riding her bike, rubbing elbows with colleagues in her field, going to museums and shows, hanging out with her cat, and drinking. You can follow more of her writing on drinkerswithwritingproblems.com
Kathy O'Neill is a writer, journalist, special events producer and publicist. She works for the Irish American Heritage Center and Prop Thtr. She has been a writer for NewCity Newspapers and was the Midwest Correspondent for ABCNews.com. She has also worked for Redmoon Theater, the Democratic National Convention, Nightline, Good Morning America and World News Tonight, with Peter Jennings. She has read her short stories and poetry about growing up Irish Catholic in New Jersey at the iBAM! Irish Books, Art and Music Celebration and her next reading is at iBAM! on October 13 at the Irish American Heritage Center. She lives in Logan Square
Clarence Browley is a former musician who is new to the storytelling scene, and co-host of Stoop Style Stories
Stephanie Chavara is an actor, storyteller, and teaching artist. She has worked with Signal Ensemble, TimeLine, Adventure Stage, Remy Bumppo, Collaboraction, and The Agency. In addition she has collaborated as a dancer and puppeteer with Rooms Gallery, Champagne and Milk, and HERE Theatre Company. Her original stories have been heard at Salonathon, Lifeline's Fillet of Solo, and 2nd Story-where she is also a company member. She devises theatre with kids so can frequently be found fighting dragons, making up songs about eggs, and having dance-offs
Mark A. Child
Mark Anthony (A.) Child is an actor, who has also dabbled in the world of radio producing and writing (stand up, fiction, and creative-nonfiction). He has acted for the radio, stage, and camera in a number of audio dramas, commercials, theater productions, and short films all while seeking to join an agency, so he can begin working professionally. Initially wanting to become a voice actor mainly, Mark’s varied interests made him decide to just try some of everything. He recently graduated from Columbia College Chicago in May 2013, where he majored in Radio and minored in Acting. From January to September 2013, Mark interned for the radio shows ‘The MusicVox’ and ‘The Mixtape’, both of which air on Vocalo 90.7FM, a radio station that is a part of Chicago Public Media. His voice can be heard briefly on WCRX 88.1fm in their latest radio dramatic series, ‘Writers at the Edge’ (for which he was also a writer), airing this Fall. Whether it’s acting, writing, or producing, Mark always has a story to tell
Raised in a small New England town (pop. 929), Bethany came to the Midwest in 2002 to study theatre and English at Northwestern University. She has since performed at the Goodman Theatre, The American Theater Company, Donny’s Skybox Theatre, iO Chicago and Stage 773, and has been performing with Storytown Improv since August of 2009. In 2011, her love of storytelling brought her back to Northwestern, where she recently earned a Master's from the Medill School of Journalism. She currently serves as publications editor for Science in Society at Northwestern, where she helps graduate science students become better communicators. She now knows way more about carbon nanotubes, graphene oxide and quantum chemistry than she ever thought she would.
Nicole Matos is a Chicago-based writer, professor, and derby girl. Her written work has appeared in such publications as Salon, The Classical, THE2NDHAND txt, Chicago Literati, Vine Leaves, and others. You can catch her blogging for Medium and publishing tappable stories on Tapestry, too. She competes as Nicomatose #D0A with The Chicago Outfit Roller Derby, proud member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), where skaters are the primary owner-operators of their leagues, and all leagues have a voice
Kelly moved from Texas to Chicago six years ago to pursue a second career in advertising. She’s now a freelance copywriter and teaches at the ad school once a week. She’s a sci-fi nerd and an avid scotch drinker, which makes for a dorky drunk. Kelly used to do stand up in Houston for years but found it limiting, so she’s now honing her storytelling skills. Kelly also thinks it’s a little weird to write about herself in the third person like this so she’s going to wrap it up.
Jake Cowan is new to storytelling. He has performed at several open mics while taking classes at Story Studio Chicago. By day, he works at the Urban Libraries Council and generally tries to make the world a better place. When not engaged in this noble pursuit, Jake watches shows like So You Think You Can Dance and imagines the alternate universe in which he is able to break dance. He recently completed a streak of running a mile every day for 500 consecutive days. He's a Midwestern boy at heart, raised in St. Louis. Find him on twitter @BaconJedi.
Amy Dittmeier is the owner of HEAVEmedia.com, a local website full of columns, features, and other things people like to read. She's taken the quiet path of the writer and editor for most of her career, but caught the storytelling bug when her website started sponsoring The Button Down, and has since performed several times within the series. A native Chicagolandian, Amy enjoys all the city has to offer - mostly its vast selection of couture hot dogs and comic book shops.
Misty has lived in Chicago since March of this year. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre from Bradley University, where her favorite pursuits included foley sound, writing,and improv. Since then, her varied work experiences have ranged from a summer studio Props Artisan to a Supervisor at a Pharmaceutical Company to a residential Cleaning Lady. This is her first storytelling event.
Amy Krzyzek grew up listening to the stories of her very large extended family, and was inspired to be a storyteller, too. Previous experiences include: telling many elaborate lies to her two sisters, creating amazing adventures for her pets, and imagining the strange lives of the customers at the grocery store where she worked for 4 years as a teen. Currently, Amy works as a youth developer/educator, and she uses people's stories to teach students about local and global social problems. She hopes to become even better at using stories as tools for meaningful learning, self-expression, empowerment, and building communities.
Mare Swallow is a professional speaker and public speaking coach. She is also the founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Writers Conference, an organization that helps writers grow their careers. Learn more at mariannaswallow.com, or at chicagowritersconference.org. She loves red wine.
Hailing from Miami, Fl, Craig Fitzgerald has called himself a Chicagoan since 1999. He enjoys dancing (poorly), playing his guitar (even more poorly), and drinking chai tea lattes (he’s actually pretty good at that one). He has taken improv classes at IO and did some theatre in college, but he hasn’t performed for quite some while. He has also worked in the non-profit and public service sector for the entirety of his adult life and once upon a time attended grad school. Craig is half Puerto Rican and half Irish, which is probably funny. He knows how to say “beer” in Korean, so if you’re ever going to visit Seoul he’s the man to talk to
Eleanor is a theatre producer, bread baker, bike rider, and maker of canned goods. She works at Emerald City Theatre. Previously she was a company member and managing director of New Leaf Theatre. A transplant from the Northeast, Eleanor has been in Chicago for eight years (non-consecutively), but still holds on to her phone number from Cambridge, Massachusetts
Born in Chicago, Kelley has also lived, worked and studied on three continents, primarily in French-speaking places. She loves that her home city allows her to hang out with all sorts of different people, local and global, and is almost always up for trying something new. While she can't seem to stick with one job for more than a year and a half, Kelley has primarily worked in the non-profit sector doing things like refugee resettlement, immigrant rights advocacy, and disaster response, with a little bit of language education thrown in. She currently pays the bills helping travelers solve problems out at O'Hare International airport and in her down time can be found (surprise, surprise) doing things like salsa dancing, trying new foods or hanging out with friends swapping stories and getting uber-philosophical about the way the world works.
I was raised by an Irish-born mother and Air Force father who moved around a lot during my childhood, contributing to my travel obsession and outgoing personality. These days, I'm a librarian at a psychology graduate school here in the city, so I spend a big chunk of my time with budding psychologists. When I'm not there, I fulfill the librarian stereotype by hanging out with my cat and making books by hand. Thankfully, I counteract these activities with a deep love of bourbon, a commitment to music at least once a week, and a pretty kick ass group of friends. I can never find my keys, talk to my mom every morning before work, and always up for a good story
Andi works for NASA. Although she is a scientist, she's not an astrophysicist (but, she can do the science and the math). When not translating science research and concepts from scientist to public, she practices the alchemical arts of turning nothing into something through spinning, knitting, weaving, sewing, soapmaking, gardening and cooking. She's the one you want to be with if there is Zombie Apocalypse. Andi's greatest accomplishment is her 16 year old daughter. While she has told stories everyday for over twelve years, and has a long term relationship with the stage, she is only beginning to combine the two experiences
Kelly Swails is an editor, author, and recovering microbiologist. She grew up in a small town in southern Illinois and has recently moved to Chicago with her husband. She has been telling stories her whole life. Sometimes those stories are even true.