February 26th’s show will stand as one of my favorite Here, Chicago shows of all time. In the 5 years I’ve been doing this, I’m not sure if we’ve had a night with such consistently beautiful storytelling. Our storytellers, Celine Rosseel, Nate Olison, Susie Pohl, Stephanie Anderson, Will Dixon, Matt Flemming, Aida Johnson-Rapp, Sam Maranto, Nestor Gomez, and Alize’ Jireh, made a quilt of stories with common patterns that ran through the night. Themes of being willing to want, of finding joy in the mundane and moving on after despair or embarrassment, of determination and achievement and hope and strength, were interwoven with lots of humor and wonder. I guess if a single word comes to mind in relation to these pieces, it would be spirit. The rising life inside of people that finds the way and burns bright.
I’m grateful for having listened to all of them last night. And I’m very happy to say that we will have Nestor Gomez, your Audience Favorite teller from the night, return to join us as a feature on April 23rd! Nestor’s story was gorgeous, and we are lucky to have him return. Tickets for that show are already on sale. If you’d like to be with us, feel free to reserve a spot now before seats are gone.
Some sad news from our show this month is that we didn’t couldn’t find a person to capture the audio of the show. And in addition, the camera holding all the images from this gorgeous evening disappeared on our photographer’s train ride home. We are of course sad and sorry not to have his beautiful creations (and especially sorry for the loss of valuable equipment), but in a way, all this makes this month’s show even more special. Because the only place it lives now is in our minds. We get so used to capturing and preserving moments digitally, but even that isn’t guaranteed. And really, the magic of this show can only be felt by being there in person. We love sharing audio recordings of the show with those who can’t attend, and REALLY love having photographers make art out of the many beautiful moments that happen on our stages! But the real beauty of this thing can’t be experienced without being there in person. Which just means that you should make sure to be with us on the 23rd. :)
Speaking of art and April 23rd, our Artist in Residence Allie Shapiro is going to be exhibiting portraits of the tellers from last night’s show, and hopefully will continue to exhibit portraits from each month’s show at the next one for a while! Allie’s work is fantastic. And she is a light. As Nnamdi says, she has a good soul. We are excited to see the beautiful, fierce, playful life of our storytellers through her eyes.
Thanks, as ever to Nnamdi Ngwe for hosting this collaborative creative project with me. He makes me feel like I want everyone in the room to feel; happy, safe, respected, and free to play and try things. So lucky. Thanks also to Mary Cait Walthall for running the event with me. As our House Manager, she not only runs everything smooth and easy, she makes everyone feel really welcome. And thanks to Liz and Emmanuel for volunteering late in the game last night! You were our heroes.
Thanks to everyone who brought food, shared attention, and shared stories & their artistry to make a wonderful night. We can’t wait to see you next time.
Here, Chicago on April 23rd
Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont
7:30 potluck | 8pm show