Last night was amazing. I sometimes feel redundant in the adjectives I use to describe this show. But what can you do when an exalting, hilarious, tender exchange happens between 100 strangers and friends on a monthly basis?! When people from all over a huge metropolitan area turn up to make each other food and tell each other stories of some of the best/worst/funniest/ most important times in their lives? Maybe you just get to keep using words like beautiful, wonderful, and magic.
Thanks to all our great storytellers, Melvin Davis, Rebecca Kling, Joe Fish, Susan Haarman, Jonathan Feakins, Nancy Sack, Felix Amanor-Boadu, Sarah Kaminski and Zack Violet. They all were wonderful. Zack Violet won your vote for Audience Favorite open-mic storyteller! We hope to have him return to feature at our next show.
Last night’s show will be the last Here, Chicago for a little while. I (Janna, the show’s producer and host) am leaving Chicago for a time, and Nnamdi Ngwe (my co-host) and I hope to revive the show in 2016. We thought about continuing it while I’m away, but decided not to. Mostly because, while the nature of the event is highly collaborative, it is also something that I take responsibility for the 40+ volunteer production hours it requires every month, and for its curation. Selecting the people who come to tell their stories is a creative practice that’s central to the show, and without being in Chicago to participate in that, the show just won’t be itself.
So, we hope to see you next year! And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for any part you have played. I want to especially thank Molly Emmons, Mary Cait Walthall, Andi Nelson, Zoot Blasko, Alize Jireh, Lily Be, Matthew Williamson, Rae Madrid, Javier Smith and Christie Grace for coming out to run this show with me over the last two years. You are the gentlest, smartest, most joyful and generous people, and you all made me feel as supported as I want everyone who attends the show to feel. Thanks to Eva Shiu, Nancy Sack, J Goodrich and Jeff Rukes for making last night’s show go as well! Very special thanks also to Nnamdi Ngwe, who holds the evening with all the playfulness, joy, and generosity it deserves. There’s nothing I like more than marveling with him at the ridiculous wonder of it.
There are a million other people to thank because the nature of the thing is contributive and collaborative. Each teller, every chef, friend, and guest who lends their warm attention, thank you. Nearly 5,000 people have attended this show, over 2,500 people have made food for it, and over 500 people have shared their stories on our stages! There is a page on this site that names some of those who have contributed to this great big collaboration. It doesn’t nearly cover everyone. Thank you all.
Please enjoy photos by the wonderful Stephanie Toland from last night! Our podcast will be posted to this article soon (fingers crossed!), and an update will appear on this website when we know the dates of the next shows. Enjoy…
So great. If you ever waiver in your hope for human kind, come see this show. It always reminds me (at least) that people are good. That listening changes you, and so does sharing. Stuff like that.
See you in 2016,