Linda Bubon had a 40-year career in bookselling, co-founding Women & Children First. She continues to lead the monthly Women's Book Group and first Wed of the month morning Storytime at the bookstore. A long-time performer of great children's books and adult stories by famous authors, she is new to personal storytelling. Be gentle.
My name is Tareq M. I moved to the states when I was 15 and Chicago has been my home since. I collect plants, Pokémon, and Star Wars Legos. I speak 3 languages and enjoy learning new ones. Clearly I only do things in 3’s, because rule of 3’s apparently.
Katurah comes from Cleveland, has travelled all over the world, and has recently reached her seventh continent. She is happy to return to the Chicago stage and start telling her own stories, instead of telling stories by others.
Although this is Leah’s first storytelling performance, she has always been the storyteller of her friend group. When dinner parties come around, everyone buckles in for an hour long tale about hitchhiking on a jet ski or falling through the gap on the train platform. Even when life is less fantastical, Leah believes with the right details and enough enthusiasm, just about anything can be a good story. In her everyday life, Leah is the creative director at a children’s food company and loves pursuing creative projects beyond her day job. She often has trouble focusing on just one thing and spreads her energy across multiple hobbies, but her favorite pastime is hanging out with her cherished loved ones.
Eva Zeidner is the mother of two young adults, an avid gardener, cook and baker, and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. As is the case with many mental health professionals, Eva spends most of her time focused on other people’s life stories. For the past decade she has worked for Thresholds, overseeing intake and community relations for the Emerging Adult program, and helping to develop innovative mental health services to address psychosis risk and help young people cope with their first episode of psychosis. But when it comes to the coping mechanism on which she personally relies – seeing humor on even the darkest of days is Eva’s specialty.
After a decade of performing stand-up comedy and two decades of trying to get over it, Briane finally turned to his storytelling roots ten years ago, by creating a one person show “Confessions of an Operatic Mute” which received outstanding reviews at Fringe Festivals across his home and native land, Canada. He has since created two additional Fringe Festival shows, and currently co-hosts and co-produces the seres “But That’s Another Story” every second month in Toronto. His focus is personal stories, usually showcasing his keen sense of humour and observations gained from too many attempts to find love, fame fortune and happiness – not necessarily in that order. For more about him visit www.brianenasimok.com
Franklin Guttman is a designer and illustrator originally from New York who just moved to Chicago a few months ago. Being still basically a baby, he doesn’t really have anything to share, and is currently trying to figure out what to write, but will have something once you see him.
Ernest was born and raised in New Jersey but calls Virginia Tech home. He began working at pizza joints to finance degrees in engineering and creative writing, of which he completed neither. Most of the following years were spent in either restaurants or some form of isolation across Virginia and North Carolina before winding up in Chicago. Over that time, he has fundamentally redesigned his life and learned to embrace who he is as well as his unconventional journey, focusing now on cultivating empathy through entertainment. Whether it's through storytelling, standup comedy, game development, or screenwriting, you will find him sharing his experiences and observations on life in a style all his own. He earnestly hopes that you enjoy what he has to say.
Matt O'Leary was born in New York, but he's lived throughout the whole country in his life, typically within a few miles of the ocean. He moved to Chicago six years ago and immediately fell in love and now hopes to remain here the rest of his life. Prior to moving to Chicago he mostly worked on and around large ships, but these days Matt works as a professional watchmaker. When he's not repairing watches Matt enjoys cycling, racing on sailboats, playing with his cat, and telling stories to anyone who will listen.
Katlin Schneider, spelled K-A-T-L-I-N and definitely pronounced KATE-Lyn not CAT-Lyn, has been making shit up since she was able to write (about 3 or 4-years-old). Midwestern born, she graduated with a degree in screenwriting from Columbia College Chicago and over a decade later she still can’t quit this city. Her day job is in marketing, but she identifies as a writer and filmmaker. She’s producer of a documentary called Melomaniac about Chicago’s punk music scene in the 80s and 90s in addition to producing a music video called Password for local musical comedian Ron Hexagon. You can find her at her second home the Bughouse Theater, where she produces and hosts a showcase of women, trans, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC comedians called FORWARD (In Comfortable Shoes).
Claire Bergen is a teacher, artist, semi-retired musician and is studying to be a rabbi at a school nobody has heard of. Ten years ago, they came out as nonbinary by telling their story at SHINE Storytelling in Santa Monica, CA. Since arriving in Chicago in summer 2021, Claire has found some more stories to tell, so they've decided to try their hand at it again.
Katie has always loved storytelling and comedy, which she explored by writing sketch comedy, performing stand-up, and studying improv at iO. Today, she enjoys writing personal narrative essays, drawing cartoons, and binge-watching shows. She's lived on both the West and East coasts, moving back to Chicago in 2016 where she currently lives with her boyfriend and their two cats.
Sarita is a retired English/language arts teacher, mother to two fine adults and one adorable pup, mother-in-law to a flower farmer, and grandmother to two rambunctious dogs and a mischievous cat. Presently, Sarita tutors reading, writing, and grammar - something she greatly enjoys. Throughout her days as a middle school teacher, Sarita was known for telling stories during lessons. Although her students thought they were pulling one over on her and getting her off task when they asked for a story, she explains that doing so was her plan from the beginning. She believes that listening to others’ anecdotes and telling one's own is an important path toward literacy as well as toward an understanding of the human condition. To Sarita, life is simply stories. In the past, she shared a couple of hers with audiences at Short Story Theater in Highland Park, and she admits to being somewhat nervous but also excited about telling one at Story Lab.
Oliver has lived all over the Midwest and New England, but finds himself drawn time and again to the Chicago area and is now a resident of Evanston with his partner and cat. He is absolutely obsessed with opossums and will gladly lift his pant leg to show off his opossum tattoo. He likes to experiment and tinker with home bartending, getting lost in cozy mysteries, and watching Wheel of Fortune while eating dinner. Oliver fell into story telling by way of a queer story telling bar church and is so happy that such a thing exists.
Rich Price is a retired computer programmer. Immediately after retirement he started writing an open source application to support the online play of certain board games. Even though he can play no musical instrument and has trouble singing on key, he has nonetheless hosted song circles at his home on a regular basis since sometime around 1986. Rich attends lots of science fiction conventions. He has also worked as a volunteer on many of them. All in all Rich is a really weird guy.
Tim Mills-Groninger is a retired consultant to nonprofits where he worked with a range of human service, arts, and education agencies. Prior to settling in Chicago he has lived in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, and Indiana and insists that he has no accent. He enjoys cycling, yoga, and tennis and is struggling with a pickleball addiction. With his partner Carolyn and their dog Ziggy he enjoys traveling and Ziggy is especially fond of road trips that involve BBQ in motel rooms and pork ribs in the bathroom.
Katerie Prior is a classic underachieving overachiever. She is a corporate trainer and instructional designer who teaches cybersecurity basics by day, a wannabe novelist by night, and a watercolor artist on the weekends. A Michigan native, Kate has recently celebrated her one-year anniversary of living in Chicago and she enjoys exploring the many cool neighborhoods in her new hometown.
Diane Roman has lived on Chicago’s far north side for more than 32 years when she got married at the young age of 26. A communications professional by day, Diane has always enjoyed writing and wanted to try her hand at live storytelling. In 2018, when her 28-yr marriage imploded, Diane started writing a book as she embarked on a mid-life journey of separation, Zoom divorce, dating, and discovery all while COVID-19 raged. She shares the characters she’s encountered and her experiences in creating a joyful new life with honesty, humor, empathy, and insight. Her two rescue dogs seem to enjoy her stories, and Diane hopes you will, too. You can’t make this stuff up!
Alex Stenner is originally from Connecticut - since 2016 he has called Chicago home. He has had a meandering path of shifting, exciting, serious endeavours - from teaching kids how to garden and cook in Americorps with Foodcorps, to service industry jobs ranging from casual to fine dining, to bike courier work, even a few years as a farmer here in Chicago, a brief stint as small dog walking business owner, and for the past 4 years a member of IBEW Local 134 as an electrician. Just having turned 30, Alex is gratefully feeling Saturn's Return cooling off after a very tumultuous 29th year in life. Having fun, you can find Alex going to therapy, attending ska and punk shows, swing dancing, riding bikes, and cooking with those he loves and calls friend
Michelle Young grew up in central Illinois and has lived in Chicago over 30 years. By day she manages a global sales team in hospitality software, by night she writes (stories and comedy). A self-taught artist, Michelle also tells stories through her art. She started telling stories on stage, with “Is This a Thing” right before Covid but has been telling her stories to anyone who would listen for a very long time. Michelle believes that telling our stories, is essential to creating community with others and transformation for ourselves.
Mary Pat Dillon
Mary Pat Dillon was born and raised in Lincoln Square and North Center. She is the oldest girl of 8 sibs, so has plenty of experience bossing people around. Mary loved acting in her high school plays. She worked for 45 years as an RN. In retirement, she loves being in a writing and an improv group. With thr improv group, she acted in a play at the Harris Theater. The play was called "Off our Rockers" Which best describes all who participated! After the play Mary Pat realized she had missed her calling! She is now to try her hand at storytelling!
Mark Kincaid is an entrepreneur, traveler, and husband, and if he is being honest, he’s average at best. He wasn’t proud of this statement, nor was he inclined to share it with strangers, but here we are. Mark has always been a firm believer in the idea that if you see something, say something, and having lived worldwide; he has seen a lot, so now it's time to do some talking.
Kelly Pasholk is an attorney living in Evanston with her husband and cat. She can usually be found baking a new recipe in her apartment, spending 3 hours trying to decide which documentary to watch on Netflix or trying to find her keys.
I grew up in Indianapolis, the 6th child of 7. My childhood was unremarkable for that time, and only now have I come to fully appreciate the freedoms that children were once given. We amused ourselves, made up games, and played outside, essentially all the time we weren't in school, at church, at camp, or on vacation. Weekly piano lessons in our home were the only structured activity, but I enjoyed banging away at that. “Screen time” meant watching a few television programs per week, including The World of Disney, Marcus Welby MD, and MASH. When you wanted to watch The Wizard of Oz, you had to wait for the once a year airing of it on network television. When you wondered about something, you had to go to the encyclopedia (We had both Encyclopedia Brittanica, the stuffy, dense one, and World Book, which had more color pictures.) It was a big deal when I got to stay up late to watch The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, when they debuted in February 1964. I've been blessed to find work that I am passionate about, as a midwife for women who choose to give birth at home. I've always marched to a different drum, and I guess this is just one more expression of that. I've been less lucky in love... the father of my first 2 children and I divorced when they were babies, and the father of my 3rd child died young of a brain tumor.
Saychay Thor moved to Chicago just as the US entered a national shutdown due to the global pandemic, dramatically shaping her Chicagoland experience thus far. As the youngest daughter of first-generation immigrants, she has chosen to live life on her terms and continues to believe that we make the life that we choose. In doing so, Saychay has a plethora of life stories to share.