Trained in college to be an advertising copywriter, Michael made a conscious choice to use his powers for the forces of good rather than evil. A promising career writing restaurant reviews for a Chicago tourism magazine was cut tragically short when he ran out of synonyms for the word "delicious". After discovering his latent abilities as a geek, Michael managed web site development for a major Chicago radio station, an infamous theatrical producer and a New York City business school. Having confirmed his suspicion that economists are the least funny people on the planet, Michael continued down the twisted path that led inevitably to Story Lab.
The product of nine years in San Francisco and eight years in St. Paul, Rose Lannin is happy and still a little surprised to have lived in Chicago for almost a decade. A graduate of Loyola University Chicago's Creative Writing program, she has been an editor for Gapers Block's Book Club and Slowdown sections, an online coupon writer, technical support for car dealers, and many more things involving the Internet and writing in some capacity. These days, she sells websites and mobile applications by day, and tries to write funny and interesting stories by night. Rose lives with a guy, a cat, and many comic books in Roscoe Village, which she secretly calls Mayberry
Molly is from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and moved to Chicago in 2010 after graduating from a college in Oregon. Her life goals include learning "Heart of Gold" on harmonica, visiting Greece, and telling a story in front of an audience.
Natasha Mulholland was born and raised here in the Chicagoland area, but believes herself to be a west coast person by nature. She lived in Seattle for a few years and has returned here to finish her graduate degree in secondary education. The transition back has been trying but she hopes to make the most of it. While she enjoys city life, she also desires adventure and wishes her life were more outdoorsy. Natasha has an undergraduate degree in fine art from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which enabled her to realize she's more of a writer than a visual artist. She currently teaches yoga, has a couple part time jobs, and writes the blog: Aviva O'Byrne's Melting Pot. (www.avivaobyrne.com) She felt inspired by storytelling events and her new years resolution was to get serious about writing and share some stories herself
Chris Padar is a father and business professional living in the north-west suburbs. He enjoys a wide range of hobbies including music, travel. writing, acting, and camping. He's worked a variety of jobs from Envelope Inspector to Process Improvement Manager. Holding degrees in Computer Science, Speech Communication, and Technology Management as well as being a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Chris is currently an independent process consultant (aka unemployed). It would be wise not to engage him on the topics of Star Wars, Backyard Chickens, or Aquaponics unless you have a few hours to kill. If you experience a conversation lasting over four hours, consult a physician immediately.
Natasha Samreny is a writer and storyteller based in Chicago. She can often be found writing sketch, or laughing too loud at her own jokes at an open mic. She cannot often be found at a baseball game drinking craft beer. But if the weather's nice, Natasha's probably hunched over her computer, editing audio stories or writing (natashasamrenywrites.tumblr.com). She doesn't have a smartphone so she has no real friends. But her sister calls her Bird, so it makes sense that she tweets - @NatashaSamreny
Jenn Barthold is from Michigan, so she talks funny, or so she's been told. She grew up in suburbia, and moved to the city proper after college. Jenn works as a graphic designer both 9-5 and after hours (i.e. freelance design). She is tall, crafty, and slightly off kilter. Jenn really hates talking about myself
Sarah Bunger grew up in one of the smallest towns imaginable outside of Dayton, Ohio (think: flashing caution light, a gas station/Subway sandwich duo, and lots and lots of cows). Since moving to the big city six years ago, she is adjusting to the long winters and nearly complete lack of cows. She teaches English to sophomores and seniors, relishing every minute she gets to re-experience Holden Caulfield, Blanche Dubois, and Nick Carraway. She is new to the storytelling scene, but hopes to tell more stories in 2014 and beyond.
Michael Cullinane has a knack for connecting life's interesting moments to classic episodes of 80's sitcoms. He has been a high school English teacher for 12 years, two of those spent in a small town in Northern Japan. Some of Michael's favorite experiences have been inside his Creative Writing classroom showing (not telling) young people the wonderful worlds they can develop through personal storytelling. Many of his own personal stories have been fueled by his love for travel and attending bizarre concerts and music festivals. Michael is an avid fan of both highbrow and lowbrow culture, from Ernest Hemingway to Ernest Scared Stupid. He looks forward to telling you his story and hopes that you'll really like it!
Buddy feels like Richard Nixon writing about himself in the third person. He (I) will have been a professional actor for fifty years next year. Appearing around the country as Baby Jon to Riff Raff, I am now enjoying Improv and Storytelling as an even more complete method of communication. Synchronized swimming is next.
Maureen Muldoon is here to have fun, laugh and not take things too seriously. She comes from a long line of storytellers, entertainers, gypsies and alcoholics. She grew up in Jersey and has live in 20 different homes from New York to LA. Spent 20 years in Hollywood as an actress and was one of the first characters killed off on Dexter. She is the creator of VoiceBoxOakPak.com and loved nothing more than a good story and a PB&J.
Ellen is a massage therapist in the city of Chicago. She is a late bloomer in the sense that she has only now realized that creative output is connected to her physical well being. Telling stories is one of many steps
Writer, musician, and graphic designer Joel Ebner is excited to be making his storytelling debut at Story Lab Chicago. A former associate editor for the music website Pitchfork Media, he is now the primary creative engine behind the art-pop band City States. The group just finished producing its first full-length album, Geography, which will be available to the public later this spring. Ebner lives in Bucktown with his girlfriend and her 3-year old Shiba Inu, David Bowie The Dog
Writer, avid bike rider, and people observer Monica is currently having a quarter life crisis (yes, it’s a real thing…maybe). She just moved to the Pilsen neighborhood in August. She is currently enjoying all the city has to offer. A few random facts about her: She used to have a pet miniature opossum named Tiko, she used to break into churches with her best friend in high school, and she once relocated her neighbor’s lawn ornaments just for the fun of it
After a successful career as a psychologist, Suzy Krueckeberg is having the best midlife crisis ever by becoming a performer. She has trained at the Graham School, Story Studio, Second City, and IO. Suzy’s writing has been featured at Write Club, Story Club and Guts and Glory. She also does stand-up comedy with The Kates
Dave Maher does stand-up comedy around Chicago, and he improvises with the groups K.C. Redheart and Big Trees, a house team at the Upstairs Gallery. He co-hosts an open mic called This Is Not an Open Mic in a Humboldt Park gallery basement, and he has a podcast called The Sweetness, which features comedy, music and conversations about the creative life. He recently released an EP called "My Fake Comedy Album," which is available through the podcast now
Sandra Mazuera is a traditional illustrator. Her work has been showcased through RawArtists: Chicago and the Evanston Galleria. She spends her days tutoring algebra full-time for CPS, working box office for the Second City, and training for her second marathon. She'll be turning the big 3-0 in April, and she is happy to check this off her bucket list.
Marty Pack is a lot of things. First, she is a single mom raising two brilliant and beautiful girls. She is a documentary film maker, bringing to light the social injustices of our educational system and domestic violence in illegal immigrant communities. She is involved in her local community, helping to improve her neighborhood High School. She is an Athlete, at the age of 45, slowly lifting an increasing amount of weight and to her amazement, running. In May she will be starting her Masters in International Relations, with the intention of studying/filming abroad, the cultures of Eastern European women and their roles in emerging democracies. Born and raised in Columbus, OH, she is a diehard Buckeye and should never be disturbed during OSU football games. How does she do it all? Liquor and Coffee
This is Amanda's second time with Story Lab Chicago since October 2011 and she's very excited about coming back. She has been living in Chicago for 10 years, but she happily refers to Louisiana as her first home. She is currently the Secretary and Database Manager for the Chicago Fringe Festival and for real money, she works as a Processor for a mortgage company. Her vocabulary includes such phrases as “Woof,” “Girl,” and everyone’s favorite, “I cannot go back to jail.” She likes mustaches on men, women and children, but not on animals. That’s just ridiculous.
Jesse Giallombardo is a musician, fiction author and filmmaker; hobbies linked by the joy of telling a story. Working around an adequately paying day job, he currently performs in multiple music projects and is nonchalantly laboring on two screenplays, a novel and a collection of 55 Fiction. Jesse also hosts We're So Lost, a bi-weekly conversational podcast with a recurring storytelling segment. He is obsessive about objects which have no importance to his contemporaries, such as his newly-acquired pre-1973 Parker Jotter pen with brass fitment and dome button, for which he purchased new old stock Schmidt 8900 Super Bowl refills on Ebay. Grounded in reality, he does not hesitate to scratch his inner ear with this pen. Jesse's approach to life is the opposite of his typing style and he is a vocal opponent of the Oxford comma
Alex Hough, a native of Richmond, Virginia, attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and George Washington University, graduating with a degree in philosophy, which seemed like a good idea at the time. He has written for Chicagoist and the now-defunct (not his fault) online city guide Centerstage, and has performed with professional orchestras in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Virginia, and professional law firms in Illinois and Washington, D.C. A certified yoga teacher and non-certified project manager, Alex was also recently trained in CPR, so come over here, baby, and let him give you some mouth-to-mouth. Alex rents in Wicker Park
Andy Mitchell is a writer, editor, musician, comedian and quizmaster. He grew up in St. Charles, Ill., and previously worked as a newspaper and public radio reporter. By day, he edits content for Aggrego, a subsidiary of the company that owns the Chicago Sun-Times. By night, he makes music under the name Bigger Children, hosts Geeks Who Drink pub quizzes and studies at Second City. His favorite kind of pizza is Hawaiian
Claire Podulka is a writer, editor, and startup cat wrangler. She founded the travel blog Go Go Go and is producing the forthcoming superhero web comedy Two Redheads.
Born and raised in Chicago's south suburbs, Molly Strzelecki is a writer and editor who likes to throw parties in garages, and cook and bake things and then take pictures of them. Sometimes the pictures aren't blurry, and she has yet to drop her camera in a bowl of batter. When not in the kitchen you can usually find her at the library checking out entirely too many books to read in a single sitting, or teaching the cats that live in her home to act like dogs.
No performance this month
Morgan Crouch is a writer, performer, storyteller and pseudo-raging feminist from Chicago. She is a graduate of iO and the Second City Writing Program and is currently studying in the Second City Conservatory. Over the past year, Morgan has successfully become one of those dog owners, which is emphasized by the magnet on her fridge that reads "who rescued who?"
A resident of Oak Park, Jen Janke teaches, writes, and improvises in faraway places known as the suburbs of Naperville and Aurora. Yes, these places exist. She specializes in ESL and bilingual education. Jen is obsessed with interviews, and will try to work in a reference to some random podcast during virtually any conversation. She appreciates motorcycles, dreams of lakes, and likes to drink.
Rick has spent his entire marketing career crafting very important stories about his clients, such as: why XYZ Bank’s checking account is better than bank down the street; what makes ABC fork lift truck so durable; and how buying toilet paper for your factory’s rest rooms from TMI Company will impress your boss. Now, Rick is turning his attention to telling less important stories by orating chapters from his own life. He lives in Chicago’s North Park neighborhood with his husband and their dog. Rick kindly requests that no one call his house while HBO’s "Game of Thrones" is on.
The best concert Dan ever went to was Wilco at Summerfest, in 2008. He is hafu, which means half-Japanese. Dan grew up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, and went to college at a small liberal arts school in Ohio. He works at Apple and has three different Apple hoodies, except his girlfriend stole one. Dan is more used to reading stories than telling one and this will be his first time sharing one on stage.
Rachel Singer has been exploring the intersections of art and healing to connect mind, body and spirit. In 2008 she co-founded an intentional arts co-op in Rogers Park to build community through the arts and healing. In recent years she has traveled extensively, building a network of individuals working in the field of Arts in Medicine. In 2012, Rachel trained in Dance for Parkinson's and Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida. In these two programs the work was focused on the intrinsic healing properties of art, holding space for the artistic process with the individual, and not pathologizing, analyzing, or diagnosing. The Arts in Medicine program gave Rachel the opportunity to use interdisciplinary art in settings ranging from a juvenile detention center to various units in a hospital. She has been teaching dance in the Chicago Public Schools since 2007. This year Rachel trained at Yogaview to become a certified yoga teacher and is thrilled to now be sharing this sacred practice in private lessons and group classes. Currently she is creating a puppetry and dance show called The Blind Cartographer. Rachel is working to expand the development and access to arts in medicine programs in the Chicago area.
I was born in New Hampshire to a librarian and a printer and lived in N.H. until I was 13. My mother and I moved to the little town of Walnut, IL (the hometown of "Archy and Mehitabel" writer Don Marquis - literally the only interesting thing about Walnut, IL). I studied English at Northern Illinois University while working two jobs and watching unhealthy amounts of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix. And what was I going to do with that expensive English degree, you ask? Teach, you ask? Don't be silly. I'm a rebel. I go against the grain. I excel at instantly doing the opposite of what people suggest. Now I'm in logistics. I moved to Chicago and got a temp job in the call center of C.H. Robinson, a third party logistics company located in Lincoln Park. It was soul-suckingly awful and I used to cry every morning on the walk to work from the train. But then I was promoted to full time and now work with a small group of nice guys who buy me cake pops from Starbucks whenever I ask for one. The work is simple, I get health insurance, and there is an abundance of natural lighting.
John spent much of his childhood living in Bangkok, Thailand, where he spent countless hours searching the markets for American comicbooks. When visiting the USA for the summers, he spent most of his time in South Carolina, where his parents were born and raised. When he moved back stateside, he traded the heat and humidity of Thailand and South Carolina for the utterly perfect temperatures to be found in, ahem... Minneapolis, Minnesota. The good news about this jarring move to the land of ice and snow? John lived less than a mile from an actual comic shop! It wasn't long before he wrote his first comic script. In the years since, John's love for all forms of storytelling has grown exponentially. After earning his degree in history from the University of Richmond, John learned that there are very few open 'historian' positions to be found. And so he became a ski bum in Montana instead, sharing his love for comics, history (and his favorite subject: the history of comics!) with anyone unlucky enough to be stuck on a ski lift with him. He then moved to Chicago, where he earned his Masters degree in Public Administration from DePaul University. He now works as the Business Development Manager for a web development firm that specializes in work for the public sector and non-for-profits. John still writes comics. He's somehow conned several extremely talented artists to lend hundreds of hours, pro bono, towards the goal of bringing life and movement to his crazy ideas.
Elizabeth Gomez is a storyteller, stand up comic, and tiny dancer. She is the world's most renowned expert on Anna Nicole Smith and has never played Legend of Zelda. Elizabeth can be seen at various open mics and storytelling events around the city. She also is a writer at drinkerswithwritingproblems.com
Archy Jamjun is a writer, storyteller, and Chicago's Biggest Liar! He competed in the Moth Grandslam in May and had "Game of Phones", a show he co-wrote, go up at Second City this past spring. For more information or inquiries email him at ArchyJam@gmail.com
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.
David Richmond is a Manufacturing Supervisor, an Army Veteran, and a Chicago native. Growing up, he lived all over the city (has never lived in the same place for 3 years straight). He is one of the few people that loves all of Chicago's seasons. David was introduced to Storytelling events by a friend last year and was instantly hooked. He has told stories at Do Not Submit, and Grown folks Stories but his best stories were told in his Grandmother's house around his cousins and drunk uncle.... Man, you missed it
As a wanderlust runner Joanne has completed marathons and ultra-marathons. She has participated in city marathons with thousands of others, to remote races in Alaska with just a few hundred people. She documents the remote adventures using the 'long arm' given there's seldom anyone else around to take the picture. As a pediatric transplant social worker she has seen the joy and heartbreak of what life and death has to offer. Her patients and families inspire her to find the best in all things, though she admits if marooned on a desert island she'd probably have a very difficult time coping, given she much prefers a snowy mountains to a sandy beach
Maddy has been touted as "the kind of person who makes the world go 'round" by a teenager who she switched seats with on the bus so that he could sit next to his friend. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she is growing weary of incredulously being asked why she now lives in Chicago. Before landing in the Windy City for graduate school in social work, she volunteered full-time for two years as a teacher and at a family emergency shelter. From a young age, she had a solid appreciation for the little things and later in life developed a belief in the power of words to turn little things into big ones. Maddy has been drawn to storytelling in all of its forms since then.
Laura Haney is a Chicago native who is also a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. She has worked on various film and animation projects including a piece for Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She is a comic art enthusiast and enjoys creating her own comics, doing improv, trying out new cuisines and cosplaying. Her recent travels include New York City and Israel. She also has worked for the Chicago Botanic Garden for 5 years and champion’s environmental issues as a result. If you would like to learn more about her or her art please visit her website at www.laurahaney.net .
For Claudia Jaccarino, a memoir writing class at the Irish American Heritage Center (yes, shameless plug) was the impetus to get the stories of her life out of her head and onto paper. Bedtime stories shared with her only child about her "former incarnations" as a dancer, (not exotic) New Yorker, (not rude) and Pan American World Airways Flight Attendant, (definitely quasi unbelievable) are the fodder for her writing. Aspiring to be an enigma, Claudia is simultaneously delighted and terrified to be here.
I am a proud CPS high school teacher of English who is awaiting the demise of our mayor - the Tiny Dancer. I borned and bred five children who are now adults (except for my daughter Lillian who passed away last year). I am new to storytelling on stage but already fully vested in the effort. I presume my audience to suppose that I have led a remarkable life even though it doesn't include stints with improv, 2nd City, or notable literary contributions. On my behalf it should be noted that I look forward to sharing my modest funds with the guys who stand in the middle of the Belmont hwy exit with small cardboard signs (that need editing from an English teacher) and all of my students get $5 on their birthdays. These acts should assure my safe passage to Heaven when the time comes for such things.
Devo has been storytelling since she found out what the word exaggeration meant. She's from Chicago- fine, ok the suburbs- has studied comedy at all the usual places, and has two guinea pigs, Minkus and Lil Karl. She loves performing standup, sketch, and improv, but storytelling makes her feel giddy. heydevo.blogspot.com
Emily Brouilette is a financial planner who doesn't particularly enjoy math. She loves animals, ice cream, the Rolling Stones, and talking to strangers. She is a slightly reluctant gym rat and has never drunk a glass of milk.
In 2009, Tyler Clark moved to Chicago for a woman and a political campaign. He lost both. Now, he works as an Arts & Leisure editor for the Groupon Guide to Chicago, where he's written about everything from Thanksgiving parade balloons to the stories behind an arcade's high scores. He's appeared on stage at Mortified, Story Club, and Rock Trivia! The $10,000 Newlywed Match Gong Pyramid Feud. In his spare time, he's a DJ for CHIRPradio.org, and a member of the Blue Ribbon Glee Club (Chicago's only punk rock a capella group)
I have been a writer my whole life but didn’t try to publish since I needed to make money. Mundane I know. My business, www.ur-pal.com, is 25 years old. If you look at my website you’ll notice humor is used to teach serious subjects of corporate health and safety. I write serious life topics the same way. I’ve always believed we remember humor. Like everyone, we all have stories and all our stories are lessons for each other. Live Lit has been a whole new world. The story tellers have been inspiring and educational. I look forward to joining in with Story Lab
Johnnie Grozenski, after staying away from the Chicago Literary circuit for one and a half years, has come back with work from his new solo show he is developing titled 'In a Different Life: Testing till death do us part'. Johnnie explores the idea of commitment, five years after his husband of 15 years has suffered a stroke and is living with aphasia. He is currently studying a solo workshop at Chicago Dramatist; he has read at Speak Easy Speak Hard, This Much Is True and My First Time. He hopes to be chosen to perform his solo show at RhinoFest coming in January.
After spending three balmy years at Arizona State University earning an MFA in fiction writing, Justin Sikes decided that he missed subzero temperatures and snowdrifts the size of his car, and so he returned to his home region of Northwest Indiana. By day, he coordinates accreditation and quality improvement for a community mental health center. By night, he commutes to Chicago to tell or listen to stories whenever he can and to goof off with the Second City, where he has completed the writing program and is having a blast with the Improv program. Justin also likes to run, to hike, to pretend he knows how to use his digital camera, and to add to his whiskey collection.
Elise has been told more than once that she’s could give the Most Interesting Man in the World a run for his money. She grew up in Texas, got out of there as fast as she could. She moved to Chicago three years ago on a whim after she fell in love with the city on vacation. These days, she manages a team of trainers where she gets to tell stories every day. Among other things she’s done: played in a competitive billiards tournament; run a marathon; and snuggled a panda.
Bill Hillmann is the author of award winning internationally acclaimed Chicago novel, The Old Neighborhood. His writing has appeared in The Toronto Star, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and NPR. He's the creator of The Windy City Story Slam, a former Chicago Golden Glove Champ and works as a union construction laborer
Arthur moved to the US three years ago after spending three years in the UK and 28 in Denmark. He has slowly been living life forwards while understanding it backwards ever since. Arthur is a PhD student whose research focuses on civic education and video games. When he is not attending storytelling events in Chicago, he might be running, or drinking beer.
I am a social justice activist for a living. 70% of time home I cook because it's the only crafty thing I can do. I absolutely love dogs, farmers markets and Bourbon. Trying to go through life embracing awkwardness instead of avoiding it.
Tess Lennon-Dorn was born and raised in Chicago. She attended the Chicago Waldorf School’s Early Childhood program where everything was covered in rainbow scarves. Seriously, everything. She was then homeschooled, where she wore ill-fitting overalls and questioned authority. In the sixth grade she decided she was done with alternative education and wanted to get serious, so naturally enrolled in the Sunflower School. The school was parent run, but in retrospect she wonders if she would have been better prepared for selective enrollment high school had it actually been run by sunflowers. From a young age she has enjoyed the performing arts, particularly acting. Tess is currently a student at Columbia College Chicago where she is majoring in Theatre with a concentration in Comedy Writing and Performance. Tess’s ultimate goal, other than riding around on a dragon thingy like in the movie Avatar, is to professionally write and perform stand up and musical comedy
One of Dhamana Shauri's favorite things is having deliciously interesting conversations. She loves to meet people, discover new things, and she thinks it's a must to have fun along the way. In her work as a teacher and social worker, Dhamana has had experiences that range from the ridiculous to the sublime---and everything in between. Those experiences are great fodder for stories---stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. Sharing our stories breaks down barriers. Peace.
Vincent Truman likes to be introduced at parties as a playwright, not because he can make a living by it, but it is the most fulfilling of his creative ventures. His play, "The Observatory", was named one of the top 20 independent plays of 2010. Its follow-up, "Venus Envy", which flip-flopped the genders and their inherent strengths and shortcomings, inspired tremendous discussion and debate during the show's many talkback sessions. His latest play, "Featherstone", is a comic critique of the current gestalt of America post-911 and its bloodlust to find a bad guy in any situation. This play is set, appropriately enough, in a marriage counselor's office. When he is not writing provocative plays, Vincent battles with his social awkwardness by engaging in storytelling, having performed at Truth or Lie, Pungent Parlour, Do Not Submit, the Chicago and Portland Moths, among others
Kristen Anderson is a school librarian in Evanston where she lives with her husband and daughter. Although she prefers reading and telling stories over running the circulation desk, she can tell you the Dewey number for any subject and loves learning about the world alongside her students. A recent storytelling class in Oaxaca, Mexico inspires Kristen to spend more time making sense of her world through writing. Kristen was a 2014 cast member of Listen To Your Mother Chicago.
A Chicago native, Amy is known for her curly hair, loud Italian laugh, and love of anything pumpkin-flavored. She is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice downtown, where she has the pleasure of helping people improve their relationships. You can usually find her running, reading, or telling stories over a drink on a patio somewhere. She knows all the words to Gangster's Paradise, and is grateful to be storytelling, not rapping, in front of all of you wonderful people.
Angelica is a product of immigrants, thereby making her a speaker of two languages and master of none. Her life's goal is to be a "re-enactress" on an Investigation Discovery crime show. Failing this, she would settle for being a published author.
I started my storytelling career at age 6 when I got up in front of my first grade class and told them a story about how the ant and the dinosaur became friends. I’ve pretty much been retired since. Until now! On a whim I attended the Story Lab Chicago event in August and without taking too long to talk myself out of it I signed up for an undetermined upcoming event. Apparently the Universe thinks this is supposed to happen sooner rather than later because within days of that first encounter I was slotted for the stage in November. By day I’m a Maitre D’ at one of Chicago’s famous eateries. On the side I teach a little yoga, cook, drink a little wine and apparently I tell stories. Here goes nothing.
I grew up in Iowa and have lived in Chicago for more than a half-century, so both are a part of me. I have been wife, mother of three, grandmother of one, and pet caretaker (or server) happily. And I am the widow of Henry J. Lambin, teacher, husband, friend, psychologist by profession, and father by nature. Thank goodness the children take after him. Over the years I have been: student, attempted nun, secretary, social worker, event planner, film extra, and part-time writer. At an age I refuse to reveal truthfully, I got my first tattoo—the first of a rather large number someone nicely described as a gallery. So I will claim that. It has also served as a bridge, across age, gender, racial, ethnic, social and any other borders you want. And because of my senior status and the Ink I’ve been profiled in print, TV and Internet. I still do some free-lance writing,but this is the first time I have tried story-telling, where if people like or don’t like what I say, they are there to tell me. My daughter Jeanne, herself a teller and lover of stories, got me into this. Well, she didn’t have to push very hard, I love stories and have had quite a bit of time to live them. I just didn’t realize it until along came Story Lab and…
Melissa is a trained observer who collects stories on a daily basis. In her day job she teaches, gives consultation and helps folks rewrite their personal narratives. When she isn't working, she spends her time chauffeuring her daughter, patronizing coffee shops across the North Shore, writing, chatting and observing. Melissa is a native of the North Shore. She secretly wishes that she had been born and raised in Phoenix Arizona so that she could introduce herself as a Native Phoenician. [She just likes how that sounds.]
For Laura Bollin, a visit to “This Much is True” inspired her to get up on stage and share her own stories. A lifelong Chicagoan, Laura enjoys walking along the lakefront, visiting museums, and hanging out at the Chicago Cultural Center. A few years ago, Laura decided to go on 100 dates with 100 different men – and write a book about it. In a few short months, Laura will be marrying date number 100. In her spare time, she likes to try new recipes and visit new restaurants. A recovering newspaper reporter, she hopes to save the world through working at a nonprofit. She gave speeches as a child, but this is her first time sharing a story she wrote on stage.
Contrary to popular belief, Scott Kanter is not a cyborg. He hails from Skokie, IL (The Sapphire of the North Shore). He works at The Center for Gifted and Glenview District 34, and hopes to have a classroom of his own soon. When not binge watching or explaining obscure pop culture references to his wife, he practices magic and writes sketch and stand-up comedy. He is a connoisseur of bacon, riddles, puzzles, board games, graphic novels, and other ten-year-old tastes. If you enjoy his performance, please don't offer to buy him an alcoholic beverage. Pie or doughnuts are preferred. He dedicates his performance to one of his favorite storytellers, Grandma Eva.
"A self proclaimed workaholic, fortunately, Sara loves what she does for a living. But...balance in life is important, right? At the end of her life, Sara doesn't want to be known as a good Realtor....but as a person who is contributing to the world positively. Beyond being passionate about Chicago real estate, Sara's "joie de vivre" include people, places, puppies, paddle boarding and....composting (yes, composting!). She is #22 out of 23 siblings (crazy & yes, true). Loves spontaneity & random acts of kindness (more importantly, witnessing people's reaction to them). Believes everyone should "do something that scares them" to grow...and that's why she is here! Ultimately, the act of "paying it forward" is what propels Sara in life!"
During the day Marina works as a therapist and spends her time listening to other people talk about themselves, so naturally, in the evening Marina prefers to talk about herself. She lives in Chicago with her husband and cat and can often be found knitting, drinking coffee or getting overly concerned about various TV show characters.
Mindy Park was born and raised on the northwest side of Chicago, but did a stint in Los Angeles for 3 years to pursue a career in comedy writing. She made the decision to return home last year, because she missed her family, pizza, and the Italian subs from Bari’s with mild giardiniera, a condiment the West coast has never heard of. Currently, she works for CPS and enjoys it. She hopes one day that Hollywood will buy something she’s written, for lots and lots of money.
Michael Reed has been studying storytelling and telling stories since 2002 when he first appeared on stage at Live Bait Theatre as part of a workshop with Brigid Murphy. Michael has been involved in live event show production ever since he borrowed his mom’s suitcase and went on tour with Barry Manilow in 1977. Michael currently owns Reed Rigging, Inc., the largest event rigging company in the Midwest.