Tag Archives: ComedySportz

The extremely belated Chicago arrival post

26 Jan

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 BrĂ¼; 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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