Monday, February 13, 2017

Money Make Em Smile

I was nervous. Then I met her and my anxiety increased. Not only was I about to audition for a play, I was about to do so alongside a talented and beautiful actress. She put me at ease. After my audition, she insisted I did well. As I sat next to her, the director offered me the role. I was thrilled to be cast. I was even more excited that I would get a front seat to watch such a wonderful actress be amazing. Katie Bellantone proved to be all that and so much more. From day one, I was speechless each time she took control of the stage. I learned plenty by observing her. She was kind, warm, and charming. She inspired, challenged, and motivated me to be a better actor and person. Katie Bellantone was truly the most important and influential person for me in that production.

Katie Bellantone can currently be seen in Her Story Theater’s Money Make Em Smile at the Greenhouse Theater. This piece is theater about youth for youth. Money Make Em Smile tackles the subject of sex trafficking. The average age of a child sold into the world is twelve years old. The average number of years a young person lives this nightmare is seven years. Her Story Theater shines a light on this dark subject while educating young people. One may think sex trafficking happens to other kids in other countries. Chicago is the third largest hub for buyers and sellers.

Money Make Em Smile is must see social justice theater. Katie Bellantone is a must see beautiful, talented, magnificent actress!

Money Make Em Smile
The Greenhouse Theater Main Stage
2257 N. Lincoln Ave
Chicago, Il 60614
Tuesday, February 14 to Saturday, March 10
10:00A.M.

For more information and to buy tickets:

Money Make Em Smile

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Freedom: Is This A Thing?

On Monday, February 13, 2017 the monthly live lit show, Is This A Thing returns to Chicago's O'Shaughnessy's Public House. Storytellers write and perform a piece based on the assigned theme for that month's show. For February, the theme is Freedom. The piece can be comedy or drama. It can be whatever the storyteller wishes. Mainly, it should entertain.

I will be one of the performers at this Is This A Thing event. You should come. Whether by yourself, with a date, or group of friends, you will have a splendid time. Here is the information.

Is This A Thing
O'Shaughnessy's Public House
4557 N. Ravenswood Ave.
7:00p.m.
FREE

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Serving The Sentence At Fillet Of Solo

I am excited that later today I will perform in Serving The Sentence at Fillet Of Solo. Serving The Sentence is a monthly live lit event where performers are given one sentence with which they must begin their stories. The stories can be funny, dramatic, fiction, nonfiction, read, memorized. Fillet Of Solo is a long running festival celebrating storytellers. This is the first time I have been selected to participate. I am thrilled that so many of my friends are performing throughout the three week event.

The word is that today's event is sold out, however some limited standing room only tickets remain. Serving The Sentence begins at 5:30p at Heartland Studio 7016 N. Glenwood in Chicago. For more information or to reserve some tickets at the last minute, please visit:

Fillet Of Solo

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Kimberly's The Selfless Mile

In 2010, I ran my first ever marathon. The Chicago Marathon. Not knowing what to expect and not having proper training, I gutted out 26.2 miles in five and a half hours. I ran the final twenty-two miles with a severely sprained ankle. In 2011, I registered for Chicago again. Surely, I could run faster. It had special significance as I dedicated my race to dear friend, Michelle. I met her while in college. At such a young age, she lost her life to cancer. Through the power of Twitter, several women who worked for Imerman Angels One-On-One Cancer Support introduced themselves and encouraged me to run on Team Imerman. As a result of being a runner and fundraiser for IA, I had access to training with NJOY Racing. Owner, pro Ironman triathlete, Kimberly Shah, welcomed me with open arms. After only twenty minutes of knowing me, she offered to guide me for the marathon.

This is Kimberly's story of that experience. Thank you, Kimberly!

The Selfless Mile

Monday, January 9, 2017

Laura Sturm Movement

After writing several short films and a full length screenplay, I felt it was best to register for acting classes. I researched various schools reading about courses, instructors, and techniques. I researched experiences and biographies of instructors, administrators, and board of directors. Eventually, I came across Laura Sturm. Almost instantly, I knew I had to meet her. I made an appointment to meet with the school’s Artistic Director. A few days later, I attended a party where one of the co-CEOs of the acting school introduced himself to me. After we spoke for a bit, he suggested I meet with Laura Sturm. He felt Laura and I would connect. Sure enough, within minutes of meeting her, I knew I needed to study with her. She felt similarly.

I struggled mightily. Laura could not get through to me. Years later, I learned she contacted mentors, teachers, and colleagues for guidance in how to best help me. All agreed that Laura had to realize there was a reason blind people did not study the Sanford Meisner Technique nor Lloyd Williamson Movement. There was not a way to accommodate the requirements to fit a blind person. Laura insisted on creating a way. Eventually, she realized that life caused me to build walls to protect myself from pain, injury, and heartbreak. To successfully connect with me, she would have to remove my wall one brick at a time. We were in this together and we would succeed together. one week, I would take one giant leap forward. The next week, I would regress. I was frustrated and angry. If she was, she never displayed it. Laura was always positive. She encouraged me placing her arm around me knowing I was emotionally fragile. She believed that one day it would fall into place and I would make my much anticipated break-through. It took much longer than I expected, but Laura did it! She broke down my walls, reached inside of me, and pulled out the artist. Artistic Director, Ted Hoerl noticed that Laura’s efforts took me from nothing and going nowhere fast to placing me on the edge of being an artist. Ted said, “Laura brought you to the edge. Now it’s up to you to believe in yourself and leap!”

I always feel so touched when Laura Sturm attends a performance of any show I do. I continue to be grateful for all her effort and belief. To this day, I live to make her proud each time I am on stage. To learn about the type of work Laura did with me, I point you to an article PerformInk published. Laura Sturm wrote the piece. This is the movement class I took with Laura.

Laura Sturm PerformInk

Friday, January 6, 2017

After The Gazebo

As a prepubescent, I wrote stories. I wrote and wrote. Page after page. I never knew the ending, but I loved watching my fingers form the letters. I kept going till my fingers and wrist hurt. I rarely shared my stories with anyone. I sat in class hoping the teacher’s next assignment would be to write a short story so I could submit, but the teacher never did, so I never did. By high school, I had a computer. I missed and still miss the tactile feel of forming the letters with my hand. I wrote poems. I printed out seven of them and gave them to one of my English teachers for feedback. She told me they were all bad, but had potential because I had talent which needed some nurturing. She felt I would eventually be published. In my senior year, two of those poems were.

While in college, I wrote my first screenplay. A thirty minute short film. After a couple screenplays, I tackled plays. Friends asked why I did not write plays sooner given my love for dialogue. I missed writing short stories. I returned to them, but quickly discovered I could not write them. I started a novel. Two pages into it, I deleted it. I immediately opened another blank file and began writing it as a screenplay. I had become more comfortable with slug line, action, dialogue. Eventually, that idea for the novel became a screenplay and stage play. The theater piece was in development, but something went sideways with the theater group. Along came the talented Jen Knox. She and I became friends. I read her blog and stories. She was amazing. She wrote an entry on her blog about flash fiction. I wanted to write those. Jen encouraged me. She offered to help where she could. I asked if she would read my work and offer feedback. She told me I was great at sensory description. I had a way of painting a picture and evoking a response. I was moved that a talented writer whom I respected thought so highly of my work. Jen breathed life back into my love for short stories. She inspired me to tackle writing a novel.

Jen Knox’ latest book, After The Gazebo is available for download for the low price of $6.95. If you have not heard of the award winning wonderful, Jen Knox, please visit the link below to familiarize yourself with her work.

AFTER THE GAZEBO

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Look Back At Sweet '16

At the start of 2016, strangers continued recognizing me from the Chicago Athlete Magazine cover featuring Wendy and me. Attention and praise make me uncomfortable. This year, I received plenty of both. Instead of discomfort, I found joy.

In February, I joined Keri Serota, Melissa Stockwell, and Levi Kane presenting at a Francis Parker school assembly. 1,000 students and administrators watched in awe as we shared stories of personal triumphs through national and international elite level Paratriathlon and the Dare2Tri Paratriathlon Club. Principal, teachers, and administrators told me how inspiring I was. Keri, whom I have known for seven years, said, “Wow! I had no idea you were such an amazing storyteller.”

In April, Ryan Nord guided me through the BOA Shamrock Shuffle 8K. In June Lindsey Cook was my eyes all weekend at the Dare2Tri triathlon camp. The camp ended with a triathlon where I front crawled the swim finishing in minutes. We hit 26MPH on the bike. A photo of Lindsey and me racing to the finish line appeared in a local newspaper. In August Dan Tun guided me for the Chicago Triathlon super sprint. It was our first race together since Dan guided me to my second straight regional title in 2014. Thanks to Cynthia Shur Petts and Kyna Lenhov for offering me a slot at the August This One Woman variety show. I brought down the house. Having the audience roaring throughout gave me confidence I could do stand up.

September was life changing. Director, Nich Radcliffe, asked me to audition for the role of Greg, a blind character, in a production of the hit classic, Bleacher Bums. Fifteen hours after receiving the sides, I did. I had the great privilege to audition alongside beautiful and talented, Katherine Bellantone, who was part of the cast. I was anxious, but she insisted I did well. Nich offered me the role on the spot. I accepted. The experience was more than I ever dreamed. I was in awe of each actor and crew member on a daily basis. From day one, I felt overwhelmed and out of place. Opening night. Katherine initiated the most significant conversation I have had since Jenna Parker encouraged me to qualify for Paratriathlon Nationals. Katherine inspired me to embrace my greatness and magnificence. She looked into my eyes down into my core and brought me to life. I will forever love and respect Katherine for all she has said and done to change my life in ways she may never realize!

Because of Bleacher Bums, I was interviewed by Janet Davies of ABC7 and Chris DeRosa of WCIU. Doors have been opened for me at Victory Gardens, Prop THTR, Telling Tales Theatre, and 16th Street Theatre to write and perform.

I made my Serving The Sentence debut in September then brought down the house at Is This A Thing Chicago in October. Erica Alansari and Mike Casey guided me for my seventh Chicago Marathon and seventh Boston Marathon qualifier. I inspired grade school children at a assembly and company managers at a corporate gig.

Thanks to Pinnacle Performance Company for sponsoring my marathon and triathlon dreams. Thank you to triathlete, surfer, writer, actress, model, director, Jenna Parker, for being my coach and friend. Thank you for reading this post. Whatever comes my way, in 2017, I hope you will come along for the ride.