The extremely belated Chicago arrival post

I'll give you my mobile number on request.

I’ll give you my mobile number on request.

Hello world.

Today marks three weeks since I arrived in Chicago, my newest city of residence. It’s the first time I’ve lived outside New Zealand, and the first time I’ve set myself up in a city with so few connections.

If you’ve come to this website because I’ve handed you a business card in the last three weeks, welcome. I am indeed here in the city that you met me in. I live in Wicker Park – a neighbourhood sort of inconvenient to Lake View, where much improv takes place, but wonderfully hipster all the same.

I’m attending Wicker Park Fitness and working with a personal trainer there; I’m enjoying coffee at Intelligentsia on Division, The Wormhole and Brü; and I’m eating regularly at Sultan’s on North Ave and Chicago Bagel Authority on Belmont.

I came to this city to work as a music director for improv, comedy and sketch; and other related things around that. I’ve acquired a few regular shows as MD:
The Second City Teachers’ Jam (Tuesdays 10:15pm, De Maat Studio)
– House Party (Wednesdays 8pm & Sundays 7pm, ComedySportz)
and starting on 6 February:
– Hitch*cocktails (Fridays 10pm, The Annoyance).

Playing at Drop The Mic, a show at MCL. (source)

Playing at Drop The Mic, a show at MCL. (source)

I’ve also done occasional one-off performances:
– Drop The Mic at MCL Chicago, performing my epic Belgian waltz Dry July
– SalsaSketch 2015 with Salsation at Gorilla Tango Theatre, in which we devised/rehearsed/performed 25 minutes of sketch in a day. I played a French chef/teacher and Pope Francis.
– And there’s a one-off revue at Second City on Friday 20 February, for which details are a little sketchy right now!

And I’m taking two classes:
– Level 1 at iO. It’s nice to go back to basic principles, especially in an improv tradition which is quite different to my own.
– Writing 1 at The Second City. This is a great bombardment introduction to sketch writing. I have homework for the first time in a long while.

Impressions:
– The first week was really quite cold (got as low as 0F, or -17C) but without big snow storms or huge wind it was manageable. Since then it’s been pretty mild. I’ve heard people say “winter is coming” quite a lot. Sometimes in a Game of Thrones style.
– So many theatres have their own pianos/digital pianos here. I mean, I’ve bought my own, but I haven’t had to schlep it anywhere yet.
– Chicago hot dogs. They’ve got all the trimmings and are quite marvellous.
– The El train is great. The buses are patchy. I rely on some buses, particularly the 72 (North Ave).
– When the weather is cold in New Zealand, you feel it inside the house as well. When you step out your front door, you’re only feeling 80%. Chicago, as most of the US, heats its dwellings properly. I can quite happily walk 15 minutes in -10C because I’m warm at either end of my journey.
– Free delivery on SO MANY ITEMS when you order online.

I was well laden.

I was well laden.

– IKEA. I had quite a time shopping out in Schaumburg. I spent like $573 on furniture and bedding and stuff.
– When it’s been snowing and the footpathssidewalks turn to slush, there’s etiquette around tracking your outside shoes too far inside.
– Cheap shavers from The Warehouse are inevitably 240V only, and will not last all that long being charged on 110V American power. At least I didn’t make the same mistake in reverse, which may result in molten plastic.
– This is the Midwest. Basically everyone has a college football allegiance.

In summary:
– I’ve been here three weeks.
– I’m making connections bit by bit.
– I don’t need a day job just yet but probably will after my April trip back to New Zealand.
– I’m invested too heavily and sold too much of my New Zealand life to be in Chicago for anything less than the long haul.
– We’ll see! It’s a fun adventure.

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