McKinley Carter has been an actor and singer here in Chicago for over 20 years, performing in theaters big and small. To keep things real, she is a solo cabaret performer, creating her own one-woman shows with personal themes expressed through a variety of music. She bravely leaves the music behind in Storytelling, although it's never very far away. You can find her in her kayak on lake Michigan on any given day over 60 degrees.
Katie grew up in Minnesota but, apart from 5 years of backpacking around the world, has spent her adult life in Chicago. She's a preschool teacher in Lakeview. In her free time she is probably playing sports, watching British reality TV, or drinking wine.
Rose is excited to try a storytelling performance for the first time this evening. She is a jack of all trades: a practicing occupational therapist with experience in sales, fiddle player, swing dancer, and beginning work on her clinical doctorate of occupational therapy! She has always loved listening to others tell their stories, especially her elderly patients while working with them in the hospital. There is something special and beautiful about being the recipient of such personal stories. Now, she wants to try telling a story for others to hear.
Nina Em is a former nurse and spokesperson for people frightened by puppets. She lives with her husband in southwestern Wisconsin without internet access where they manage an isolated conservation property. Nina has performed on stage as a paid consultant and on El platforms and on the #36 Broadway bus in Chicago.
Deb McGarvey is a lapsed storyteller, lifelong writer, and former Chicago actress. Originally from Connecticut, Deb moved to Chicago about a hundred years ago for college, where she fell in love with the art of storytelling. In addition to performing, she worked as a seamstress and dresser for the Lyric Opera, studied improv (briefly) at Second City, sang with an all-female a capella group, and held a variety of day jobs before leaving the theater world to get a Master’s degree in social work. For 7 years, Deb worked with a youth development organization in elementary schools on Chicago’s west side, where her favorite part of her job was working with students on performing their original poetry and partnering with other great organizations to bring in high quality programs.
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.
Raised in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, with a BA in fine art from Colorado College. I run a small business in Chicago with my daughter Rose, and recently published From Chicago To Vietnam: A Memoir of War(Sept. 2016).
Jeanie Harris was raised in Chicago the last of seven children and by far her mother's best work. She defines herself as an artist although her degree is in Radiologic Technology.. go figure. Her passions include creative writing, reading, painting, drawing, dressmaking, jewelry making, leather working, and last but certainly not least bringing joy to others thru laughter. Her grandfather and the apple of her eye was a story teller. He was the best. He has since past but his spirit lives on thru Jeanie. It was called telling lies back then. We've come a long way baby.
Sarah Hurd is a writer and radio producer who has lived in New Mexico, Washington, D.C., and Helsinki, Finland. She is passionate about local music and sharing stories with her community. She got her start at a public radio station in Oklahoma City before following her dreams to Chicago. She now lives in Logan Square and works as an Assistant Producer for WBBM Newsradio.
Terri Silverstone has been telling stories since 7th grade when she convinced her social studies class to pretend they were in a TV studio and be interviewed by her about current events. Her yellow jump rope served as her microphone. Terri’s love of entertainment and media brought her to many jobs with the one closest to her heart being 30 years at Viacom, where she was an account director selling eyeballs for dollars at MTV, Nickelodeon and VH1. Terri is now experiencing a new avenue of life through retirement. She thanks her lucky stars for shooting her to Chicago’s Storytelling Community. She thanks TenX9, Scott Whitehair, Mary Foss and all the fab-o story tellers she’s been fortunate enough to hear.
Julie moved to Chicago in a state of confusion when she was 24. At 25, she finally got to dump a boyfriend instead of being the one to get dumped. She played a lesbian named Brenda in a play so shitty she didn't invite anyone to see it at 26. By 27 she experienced her first full blown hangover and at 28 she put on a cabaret at Davenports piano bar where she realized she had no idea how to write a show so she a took a storytelling class. She rediscovered Alice in Chains at 29 and wondered how she ever did without them, and a few days ago at her job, she heard someone say it was a huge red flag if you meet an attractive woman whose still single at 30. She hopes her storytelling skills will steer her towards less ridiculous things.
Reuben Westmaas is a writer and editor who works for Groupon and the arts publication Sixty Inches From Center. He has moved to Chicago in 2007, which means that in a couple of months he will have lived in Chicago longer than anywhere else. He is a whiskey enthusiast, a novice Spanish speaker, a podcast addict, and the author of thousands of opening chapters to unfinished novels
Julia is an explorer and mystic, embodied and present. She makes art, is a healer and bodyworker, a gardener permaculturist and nature-loving visionary, has traversed and experienced many things and ways. She has lived in Chicago most of her life, with a good chunk of time spent elsewhere. She likes to meditate and is always learning. She often enjoys listening to and sharing stories.
Jesús is a self-described, middle-class socialite who grew up in Mexico, Arizona, and Chicago. He's a photographer, officiant, strategic planner, copywriter, and yogi wannabe. When he's not telling stories he dreams about taking up running again someday when the weather is perfect and he gets enough sleep. He also believes in the power of human connection and makes it his life's journey to connect people to one another just for the fun of it.
I'm a Director of IT at a major video game company, 22q Dad, first generation Mexican-Chicagoan, the baddest emcee you've never heard...and now a story teller. With all but a couple of creative dreams and ambitions completely faded away, I was looking for an outlet. I felt like I needed to fuel the creative fire or it may extinguish completely. So, I took a storytelling class and started telling stories around Chicago. I found what I was looking for. It's been an extremely gratifying experience and the response has been great. I thoroughly enjoy crafting a story and getting up in front of an audience and sharing that moment together. I look forward to telling more stories in my own way and taking the whole experience and medium even further.
Marc Lazar has been fascinated with all kinds of stories ever since he can remember. Perhaps it had something to do with the countless hours he spent sitting in front of the T.V. during Walter Cronkite's newscast in the mid-70s. Don't blame his parents - it was one of the few things that would calm him as a tantrum-prone toddler. This led him down the path to become a journalist, before he switched careers to work with teens and adults on the autism spectrum. That's where he really learned about the power of stories to connect people, especially those who might see the world in a different light. After performing several times at storytelling open mics, this will be Marc's first performance as a featured storyteller.
Laura Sudec is a social worker by profession and a research nerd by choice. As a Lab Manager at Northwestern University, she cares about helping children and families and doing rigorous research that will change policy and move the needle. She spends a lot of her free time playing sports and hanging out with her two cats, Pip and Paisley. She came to StoryLab during her first month in Chicago, after moving from Baltimore, Maryland. After 3 1/2 years of attending, she figured it was finally time to bite the bullet.
Brian Wille survived 15 years in IT and escaped with nothing worse than a bad back, acid reflux, nightmares and teeth ground down to nubs. His work has appeared in The Redacted Files podcast and blog, The Nerdologues Your Stories podcast, This Week in Despair podcast, and Brent P. Newhall's Museum of Fantastic Wonders. You can find him @steamboat77 on Twitter or visit his personal blog, Bad Company: Dungeoneers, Hunters, Aliens and Old Gods where he talks about games and stories.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Miriam Carey is a writer and editor who has published three regional interest books: Backroads of Ohio, 52 Romantic Outings in Greater Cleveland, and 365 Ways to Meet People in Cleveland. She was also the founding editor of LongWeekends magazine, the travel editor for Ohio magazine, and wrote for regional and national publications as a freelancer. Miriam moved to Chicago in 2008 to transition to web editing and has worked with clients like Kohler, Motorola, and HowStuffWorks. She’s currently the director of marketing at eContext and spends her free time thinking up the next tale to weave for Chicago’s live storytelling scene.
I am Half Mexican and Half Irish, I know, you can barely see my Irish side. I love my family, especially my sisters! I have three younger sisters that are so supportive of their older brother and can make me laugh like no one else. I love the sound of laughter and making people happy! In my fantasy life, i would be a professional Skateboarder. I guarantee you that I can beat you at Tony Hawk pro skater ( any of them ) but personally love Skate 1-3 and hope they come out with a fourth one for xbox one. I hope one day to be featured in a Thrasher Magazine, but not for my skateboarding skills, but for my love of the game. Family, Skateboarding and laughter is life!
I'm a retired RN , specializing in Maternal-Child Care for most of my career. I often comment on what is going on around me.I've been told my comments are right on and pretty funny. I've been told I'm a good storyteller. I'm in an improv class at a Chicago Senior Center, which I'm really enjoying.
Gordon Medlock is a psychotherapist, psychology researcher, career coach, and educator – and married to a compulsive story teller who lured him into the world of storytelling. He has recently been doing research on the creative process of artists, and this is his first foray into the world of performance art.
John has been an actor for over 28 years, performing on stage, as well as in films and industrial videos. He is new to the world of performance storytelling, but did have a story that was published in 2014 as part of a collection entitled, ‘Dammit I Learned a Lot from that Son-of-a-Gun’ (available on Amazon in both paperback and audio versions, where he had his first opportunity to do a voiceover by reading his own story). His biggest claim to fame so far was performing in a film entitled, ‘This Afternoon’ which was shown at the 2014 Chicago International Film Festival. He has a new adventure on the horizon and he gives thanks to Sean and Pilot for making his house a home!
Reba Meshulam is a video producer, making a living telling her client's stories. Her most eye opening experience (so glad you asked) was as a photographer at the Ponderosa Sun Club, a nudist camp. A native Chicagoan, she now lives and works in the northern suburbs where her office is six steps from her kitchen. When she's not downing handfuls of sprouted cashews, she's doing down dog in her yoga studio.And speaking of dogs, she wishes people were more like the
Anne is a market-researcher by day and writer by night. She’s written about research, body language, feral cats, and the connection between humans and animals. She believes that animals make us human and help us in more ways than we will ever know. Originally from Massachusetts, she’s lived in Chicago for almost 20 years and enjoys running on the lakefront, gardening, having spirited discussions with friends, and sampling dark beers.
Originally from Southern California, Tabitha has embarrassed herself in front of the likes of Damon Wayans, Cisco and Cuba Gooding Jr. In her 30th year of life, she gave herself a 7 week deadline to sell 90 percent of her belongings, find a room for rent and move to Chicago. A recent storytelling junkie, she attends as many events as possible because they are cheaper than therapy and more satisfying than Netflix.
Lisa Ebel is a LOVER of STORIES! She loves stories because they entertain, educate, heal, transform and empower. She rarely makes it through the telling of one story without interrupting herself to tell another story.
Carla is the second youngest of seven and grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. She studied Theatre performance at UIC and went on to graduate from the Conservatory program at The Second City. She spends her days as an insurance agent, while still maintaining her love of performance. She is a company member with Old World Theatre Company - UIC’s alumni theatre group. She enjoys yoga, stand up comedy, poker, coffee, and traveling - most recently to the south of India.
Karen Perille is excited for her first appearance at Story Lab! She's a Chicago-native who lived in St. Louis for several years before coming back home to her family and hometown. A lifelong reader and sometimes writer, she works as an executive assistant in the tech industry.
Reece Quesnel is a native Minnesotan who by some stroke of luck managed to leave that magical northern land where you can't start your car in the winter and can't get away from the mosquitoes in the summer. Before coming to Chicago,he spent a couple of years traveling the East coast and learning the previously foreign and non-Minnesotan concepts of "conflict" and "being direct". By day, he works at a standing desk and takes frequent foosball breaks to reconcile the fact that his software job has very little meaningful impact on the world. By night, he works on his wok technique and makes homemade pizza. This June will be his 2 year anniversary with Chicago, and he'll likely celebrate by donning his wetsuit to skirt the hypothermic effects of Lake Michigan's icy waters, and warm back up with the local elixer known as Malort.
Hello everyone, my name is Harrison Jones. I am originally from Brighton, Michigan which is a tiny town outside of Ann Arbor. I am a recent graduate of Michigan State University with a Dual BA in Comparative Cultures and Arabic Language with a focus in Economic Development. I love traveling and have spent time in Jordan and Morocco. I am always looking for another adventure either down the street or across the country! I try and get outdoors to go hiking, camping, and fly-fishing whenever I possibly can either in northern Michigan or out in Montana. I am a huge fan of architecture and I have wanted to live in the Second City my entire life. I currently live in Uptown and am incredibly grateful to have finally made it to the big city.
Sarah Leibov is a writer whose personal essays have appeared in a range of local publications. She is also an instructor of the Feldenkrais Method, a practice that applies therapeutic movement to enhance overall awareness and use of the body. She discovered Feldenkrais in Israel when she took a class by accident. She couldn’t read the Hebrew schedule, so she signed up thinking it was yoga. When not writing or teaching, she enjoys reading and traveling with her family.
A Michigander and Spartan at heart, Lauren Leffel moved to the Windy City in 2016 seeking new adventures and nearly daily food and music festivals; needless to say, it's been easy for Lauren to call Chicago home despite living here/there for less than a year. Having been empowered by constant change and need for adaptation while growing up, Lauren's ultimate goal is to bring quality education to people of all socio-economic backgrounds and plans to do so by receiving her teaching certificate within the next year. In her free time, Lauren is either over-watering her cacti, steeping loose-leaf tea, eating tacos, or dancing in the rain. She's excited to tell you about her travel adventures (Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Spain to name a few), life's trials, tribulations, and successes, and may even throw in a few Spanish words if you're lucky
Jodi Meusel grew up on a 2nd generation farm here in northern Illinois, working at her family's ice cream shop. After spending her sophomore year in high school as an exchange student in Germany, she fell in love with cross-cultural learning and travel. She and her husband spent 2 years teaching English in Japan followed by another 8 years of working internationally in Switzerland, England, and China. Today, she works in global production and sourcing in the toy and game industry. A perfect combination of fun and travel. She moved back to Chicago 3 years ago and continues to be impressed with the public transportation here. She is an avid movie goer and now calls Uptown home.
Alex Sanchez is a super fun dude. When not rolling dice in his weekly D&D sessions, between his Netflix and Crunchyroll binging sessions, he's a staple of Chicago geek culture - having created and grown one of the city's most popular board game meetups in his former role at G-Mart comics. Today he pushes more paper than comics, having gone all corporate. But he's still a geek at heart.
Kyle Akerman was born and raised in Illinois and has never lived outside of the state. Luckily he has expanded his worldview by traveling around the world both for work and pleasure. Kyle is a recovering engineer turned internet marketer and enjoys helping small businesses grow. Kyle recently completed the Improv programs at Second City and the Annoyance Theater and wishes he had discovered Improv 20 years earlier. Kyle volunteers with the Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP Radio) and loves playing music for passionate music fans during his weekly CHIRP show. Unbeknownst to Kyle he had a 5-second on-air appearance as "Unidentified Man #2" in a 2016 NPR feature on Low Power Radio. Also, Kyle has one of the Top 5 worst birthdays - the day after Christmas.
Jamie Bliss is a mysophobic old lady with a fear of all things scary and a zero tolerance policy for bad grammar. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English and has half of a double masters in Special and Elementary Ed. from DePaul. She currently works in advertising. Three years ago, Jamie signed up for an improv class in an effort to combat her crippling anxiety and has been taking classes and performing ever since. She is obsessed with her cat (but has been told she can't get a second until she gets a boyfriend). She is very nerve-cited to be part of Story Lab!
Scott is Southern Transplant from Montgomery, Alabama who is thrilled to be making his Story Lab debut. A graduate of The Second City Conservatory, Scott has performed in various theaters and venues throughout Chicago as a writer and director of sketch comedy and improvisation, and occasional drag queen. Scott would like to thank Hillary Clinton for hugging him that one time at a rally and for shouldering the weight of a nation divided. He would also like to thank Jennifer Lopez for single-handedly bringing back the sequin bodysuit as acceptable cocktail attire.
I'm a litigator for a nonprofit environmental group. I love climbing, being outside, fish, awkward moments, and various shades of green.
Wes Meador was a theatre kid who wound up working in advertising. After spending nearly 15 years focusing on digital media planning in advertising agencies and not having the energy to live like a human outside of work hours, he decided to take a year off to travel, spend time with friends and family and just remember what it was like to live in the real world. Luckily, his time off morphed into a consulting practice, so now he has time to help clients make smarter decisions about their digital marketing while making time to listen to stories, tell stories and, most importantly, spend time with people making stories worth telling.
Danielle Snow is a long-time audience member but first time storyteller who has lived in Chicago for the past seven years. She works as a professional pastry cook and loves playing around with chocolate, yeasted dough, and homemade ice cream. When she's not in the kitchen, Danielle is either out and about (usually on her bike) exploring Chicago's wealth of restaurants and bars or-- more likely than not-- at home with a book. She's hoping to eradicate her fear of public speaking through exposure therapy (or at least to tell a story and have fun doing it!).
Brad Finkeldei went from buying his confidence with a big corporate paycheck to now inspiring entrepreneurs to face their own fears. He wouldn't be here today if he hadn't met a man in his journey that reminded him he could be powerful in this world. That man, Rafael, left Brad with a tiny rubber chicken to remind him to step into his fears and believe in himself. To stop being a chicken! A year after Brad met Rafael he was killed in a terrorist attack and Brad decided to carry on his message to pay it forward and continue the message of making a difference for others. Brad's dedicated his life to empowering entrepreneurs to step into their fears and make a difference in the world. He reminds entrepreneurs it's not about making money but the person you become in the journey to make the difference you're out to make.
Julie Gaynes enjoys traveling the world collecting stories of the supernatural. After graduating from Oberlin College with focuses in Creative Writing and Religion, she received a fellowship to teach Creative Writing and English in Indonesia. In her two years living in South-East Asia, she joined an acrobatic dance troupe, with whom she performed as a Javanese demon. She also edited and illustrated an anthology of local myths. Each day she made it her business to milk stories out of strangers, which fueled her curiosity across South-East Asia, Ghana, Israel, and most recently Peru and Bolivia, where she volunteered as a journalist. She loves filthy markets and dreams of bravery.
After teaching drama in Chicago public high schools, I opened a woman's clothing store which I operated for 43 years. During that time, I never gave up the theater. I was on the Jeff Committee for 5 or 6 years and the monthly buying trips enabled me to see most of the Broadway shows. I have always been a storyteller, but only with my friends. I began "performing" storytelling several years ago but this is my first appearance in Chicago.
Jake is a long-time attendant of Chicago live literature, but a first time teller. When he's not talking about maps or science fiction you can find him playing board games in bars across the city. By day he's a business analyst at a marketing company, and by night he's probably eating tacos.
Kristen Miano was born in Yonkers, NY, a city famous for being the setting of the Broadway musical, Hello, Dolly!, which Kristen has never seen. She works as the Digital Media Coordinator for the United Airline Pilots Union, lives with a gimpy cat named Bilbo, knows more Westerosi history than she probably does American and is a self-proclaimed DnD nerd. Kristen's love of stories is what has motivated a good many of her life decisions and is what brings her here tonight.
Craig Montgomery is a 9 to 5er who spends his days mitigating risk for a logistics company. He is also a brother, guncle, and friend, as well as a writer and long time lover of stories in all of their shapes and sizes. In his spare time he runs a YouTube channel about self-care and emotions that make you question your own existence. You can find him by searching the channel name, WhoEvenAmI?
Paul Baffico is a Vietnam veteran who served with the 101st Airborne Division in 1970 and 1971 as a communications platoon leader. He flew 206 combat assaults with the Screaming Eagles and earned the Silver Star, the Air Medal with 7 oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star with 1 oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. He is a monthly volunteer docent for the National Park Service at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC where he has served for 136 consecutive months; is a certified Veteran Peer Support Specialist, the 2012 Red Cross Military Hero of the Year for Greater Chicago, and is the President of the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation, a non-profit charity that he founded in 2012. His book, Last Mission for a Reluctant Patriot, is about his life journey in dealing with the Vietnam experience and the indelible residual memories of combat. It was published on Amazon and Kindle in 2015.
Raised in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, with a BA in fine art from Colorado College. I run a small business in Chicago with my daughter Rose, and recently published From Chicago To Vietnam: A Memoir of War(Sept. 2016).
Bob Gorman is a peer support specialist with the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation in Grayslake, Illinois. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, he entered the Army in 1968, serving as Editor of the Airborne Quarterly for the 18th Airborne Corps at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He also served as Public Information Officer for the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division serving near Hue, Vietnam. He is married to Mariann and has three children and nine grandchildren.
John King has lived in Chicago suburbs all his life with exception of 4 yrs in Marine Corps. John is a Vietnam Veteran having served in country from September 1967 to October 1968. After the service he completed his college education on the GI Bill and enjoyed a long career in the insurance industry. Currently retired, John and his wife split their time between Chicago area and Florida where he enjoys golf, fishing and not shoveling snow!
I am from Buffalo,New York. I graduated from D'Youville College in 1967 with a BSN in Nursing. The day after graduation I drove to Newport Rhode Island for Navy orientation. I served 2 years at Great Lakes ,Illinois from 1967-1969. Moved to Chicago after the Navy and worked at the VA Lakeside Hospital. After getting married and starting a family, I worked in pediatrics. Since 1995 I have gone on yearly Medical Missions to Bolivia, Ecuador, Kenya or the Philippines.
Grew up in Kankakee, IL. Bachelor of Architecture from University of Norte Dame in 1968. Commissioned an ensign in the US Navy Civil Engineer Corps in June 1968. Assigned to Mobile Construction Battalion 40 and deployed for 9 months to Phu Bai combat base that was 8 miles south of Hue RVN, 8 months after the Tet Offensive. Returned to CONUS for 6 months and redeployed with 16 men to Xuan Loc RVN as officer-in-charge of Seabee Team 4004. The Seabee Team did civic action projects. Got out of active duty in January 1971 and went to graduate school at University of Chicago. Got an MBA from the U of C in 1973. Continued in Architecture and founded ARCON Associates, Inc. in 1979, specializing in education projects. I will retire from there in October. I functioned as the managing partner for architectural forensics for the last 38 years.
He is an advocate and speaker about the nature of addiction, recovery and the human condition as a whole. He loves to ride motorcycles and is currently trying earn his pilots license. Also, he is the head of janitorial services at his house and the lead engineer for waste management for his kitchen. In his free time, he does everything possible to make his wife happy and to avoid being yelled at.. he's in charge of a whole crew of ZERO people and loves working with all of them.
Randy Ford moved to Chicago from Tennessee with a 15-year layover in Washington, D.C. In 2016, he launched First Story Strategies, which helps nonprofits tell the story of their work.
Sade Hutchinson is a comedy writer who hails from Chicago. After studying Psychology and Theatre at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL, she moved back to Chicago to enroll in the Second City Training Center. There she completed the Sketch Comedy Writing Program, and began to work on sketch shows throughout the city. Her true, yet amusing stories provide a unique perspective on navigating through life as a Queer Black woman. Currently, she is the Content Editor for sex KiKi, which is an educational pop up forum that provides self care resources to femme-identified individuals and trans women of color. In her down time, you can find her day drinking in a Chipotle or crying in the bathroom of that same Chipotle.
Caryn Klein is a mother,grandmother and costume director. She has been telling stories about the adventures she and her family and friends have shared, since she was a teenager,Her audience has been her family and friends. She see the world as a wonderful place and likes to get on the roller coaster of life and enjoy the ride.
Richard’s professional experience is wide-ranging and colorful. It includes being a sailor, an opera singer, a writer, a marketing executive, a web developer and an actor. He is currently MC for two popular Chicago shows: Loose Chics, and Cafe Cabaret.
Sandy Suminski is an advertising copywriter who’s proudest commercial achievement was having the Dairy Fairy put the “yum” in calcium. She is a memoir writer and mental health advocate who’s trying to overcome her writer’s block by replacing it with stage fright.
Steve likes crossword puzzles and frisbee, a lot. Outside of that he is an international educator that has been adventures from around the world. Despite all of this excitement, he is true to his Ohio roots and loves the outdoors. After he left Ohio he had a 3.5 year layover in Korea on his way to Chicago. It should be noted that he has never told a story in front of an audience before, but thoroughly enjoys meeting strangers and hearing their stories. He figured others may feel the same way, so what better way than to share a story with strangers.
Although Cynthia makes her living in digital content for business, she is a storyteller and fiction writer at heart. Originally from New York, she has made Chicago her home for over 17 years and wouldn't dream of rooting for those teams from Queens and the Bronx. She has also lived in England, Israel, Spain, Seattle and, funnily enough, Connecticut.
Arnold Kas has been engaged with storytelling from the first weeks of This Much Is True - when the audience was one table of friends and other storytellers. During his years in storytelling audiences, he has learned road trips, paper products, life as a tour roadie in the 1970s, a mom in New York City, and mulitple views of the Bartman foul and last year's World Series. He is a Chicago-based improviser and has started to develop a voice about his own story. He's performed at Identity Flip and Mac & Cheese as an Idea Potluck Dish. He is an Urban Transportation Planner and Logistics Analyst and a professional dreamer who tries to make people think the good idea was theirs. Arnold's roommate is an adorable white haired cat.
After a 10 year stint as a human tumbleweed, Katie has returned to the shores of Lake Michigan, where people appreciate ending a sentence with a good preposition. She currently works at a medical association, helping medical students ("zygotes") figure out what kind of doctors they'd like to become, but, also, collating. (So very much collating.) In her free time, Katie enjoys leading knitting club at the local library (living proof that there is a gang for every gangster), takes stupidly long bikerides, and frequently laughs til she cries over her 4 brothers' combined shenanigans.
Jim is new to public storytelling but a lawyer and adjunct law professor by profession so he has been telling his clients’ stories for years. He likes messy stories, stories of redemption, stories of real lives lived. His storytelling heroes include John Prine and Sandra Tsing Loh. He thanks his friends and colleagues for putting up with his need to inject his stories into conversations, regardless of topic. He believes that no matter what happens in life, there is a good story in there somewhere.
Jennifer is a native Californian turned New Yorker turned proud Midwesterner. Her longest career has been in group fitness, as she truly loves the active life. Though instructing has always come naturally to her, public speaking has not. Yes, as a child, she entered many a speech contest, resulting in many tears...on stage. Ha! She is here tonight to see if years of adulthood will help ease the tears...or will those years have only generated more fodder for tears? We shall see!
Terry Burke is a retired attorney and high school football and basketball coach. A native Chicago Southsider, he is the only Cubs fan in the family and spent the past few seasons working at Wrigley doing his part to bring the World Series home! His interest in storytelling and writing began with researching his Chicago family history. And there are stories to tell!
Joe Kreitzer, 39, has lived in Uptown for the last 10 years and in the Chicago area his entire life. Joe works downtown for a software company but gets his inspiration for performances at 2nd City, Toastmasters, and Story Telling via his marriage, young daughter, and questionable decisions.
Jennifer Ould (pronounced "old") moved to Chicago from North Carolina 13 years ago and found home here. She has a Master of Divinity degree and, in addition to her day job at a progressive seminary in Hyde Park, she works in leadership at Gilead - an inclusive church that meets in a Rogers Park bar to tell true stories that change lives. She's a sunshine, cider, and bourbon lover who completed her first marathon in October, occasionally preaches, and blogs at jennifereould.com.
Gabriel Sheridan once told a story at the Moth about how the universe wanting her to be a lesbian and forgot to mention she is straight. Which in itself would not be an issue except she really would like to meet a guy...so that didn't help. See, she is funny and sad… Spends most of her time with 7 year old people in a public school and truly loves her work! Hoping to entertain a crowd for a few minutes of free therapy.
Nathan is 31 years old who has called Chicago home for the last 11 years. As an award winning screenwriter, Nathan naturally found a semi-fulfilling career in a field that has nothing to do with the film degree he earned and thousands of dollars he still owes Columbia College Chicago. Nathan credits his last 3 years of happiness to the time spent with his wonderful partner while they continue to garden, travel, and laugh as much as possible. Fun Fact: While this is being read aloud to all of you, Nathan is currently experiencing a mini heart-attack and existential crisis.
Valerie is a joyful human being who has spent the past 30 years listening to other people’s life stories as a licensed clinical social worker therapist. From psychiatric mental health to hospice, addictions to trauma, there’s pretty much a life experience she hasn’t encountered. When she’s not listening to people, she talks to her chocolate lab, Montana, who has made life a great adventure since 2009. Tonight, she decided it’s time to tell one of her own stories officially on stage for the very first time.