What I’ll miss about living in Chicago

5 08 2014

I have lived in Louisville, KY; Cincinnati, OH; Seattle, WA; and Chicago, IL. I’ve been living in Chicago now for seven years. A couple of years ago, I fell in love. I fell in love with a physicist who was in the middle of a three-year research contract at Northwestern. I fell in love with an academic who didn’t know where in the world his next job would be. I fell so in love with him, that I knew I’d move with him, whenever he got his next job. You guys, you know it’s true love when you’re willing to move to the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia for somebody. The outer suburbs. Like, really far.

Chicago

Chicago, it was easy to fall in love with you.

Since we met in Chicago, we wanted to get married here. And that’s exactly what we’re doing 4 days from now. And in 7 days from now, we’re leaving Chicago, for northern Georgia.

(Side note, some advice… If you’re getting married, do not schedule an out-of-state move three days after. If you’re moving, don’t schedule your wedding three days before.)

Now obviously, I’m gonna miss the dear friends I’ve met here and the amazingly talented colleagues I’ve gotten to work with. I’ll miss teaching at Second City and Lifeline Theatre. But there are subtler things I will miss. And I’d like to share some of ‘em with you now:

the smell of chocolate when I’m running errands downtown

the occasional Polish conversation floating through the air at the coffee shop down my street

whizzing down Lake Shore Drive on a beautiful day

Stan’s donuts

wandering around the Chicago Cultural Center

catching the view of the city from the brown line train

eating Mexican food for breakfast, Ethiopian food for lunch, and Indian food for dinner

that sense of accomplishment and feeling of toughness that you get on the first warm day when winter is officially over—really feeling like you’ve “earned” summer when it finally gets here

fireworks over Lake Michigan

taking tourists out for expensive drinks and grand views at the Hancock Tower

paper copies of the Onion

going to the main library downtown and checking out one of the fiction books recommended by their librarians

thinking, “I’ve got a new piece I wanna perform,” then emailing/calling someone and having a performance slot that weekend

The Chicago Diner

exploring another neighborhood and feeling like I’m in another country

listening to fabulous late-night jazz sets at the Green Mill

exposed brick in friend’s apartments or restaurants or salons or, well, exposed brick anywhere

the camaraderie one experiences with fellow commuters under the heat lamps at the train stations in January

free concerts in the summer at Millenium Park

the sound of snow blowers coaxing you awake for the first snowfall of the winter

neighborhood street festivals

hopping off the train at Argyle and getting bubble tea

walking through parts of the city and all of a sudden the truth hitting me: “Whoa, I live in Chicago. That’s pretty cool.”

There are always two sides of every coin. And I can’t comment on the glass being half empty, without also acknowledging that it is, of course, half full. There are some things about my upcoming move to Georgia that bring me joy.

I’ll be near mountains again. And not just any mountains. I’ll be near the beginning (or the end, depending on which direction you’re headed) of the Appalachian Trail. When the sun sets in the sky, there is a beautiful artwork of purple and blue zig-zag shapes—a gentle reminder that you and your problems are not so big. Not so big at all.

sweet tea, biscuits, and grits: all made the right way

not fearing winter: complete confidence that my eyeball liquid will not freeze while it is in my eyeballs

Trees. People describe Chicago as a green city, which is true, if you’re comparing it to New York. But oh, man. There are trees in Georgia! So many trees!

The probability of getting puked on over St. Patrick’s Day weekend will be so much lower.

seeing stars at night

clean air—no, really clean air. You forget what clean air is like when you live in a big city. The air in Georgia smells like oxygen with a hint of magnolias.

So many trees!

So many trees!

I think I’m ready to live in the suburbs. I don’t want to live in another city right now. I’ve lived in Chicago. And there aren’t a lot of cities that can top Chicago. Atlanta can’t out-city Chi-town. So, I’m gonna go in the other direction. I’m gonna enjoy all of things you can’t get when you’re in a big city. Plus, I’ll be experiencing all of it with someone I am super in love with.  There isn’t a whole lot that could get me to leave Chicago. But love? Yeah, I’ll leave Chicago for love. And besides, I can always say, “I lived in Chicago.” That’s pretty cool.





Chicago and Me

4 06 2014

Seven years ago, I moved to Chicago from Seattle.  I landed in a whirlwind of auditions and new opportunities and took on all sorts of fun and wonderful projects.  One of these projects was a ridiculous show called “Impress These Apes,” which, if you’re in Chicago and haven’t heard of it, you should totally check out.  Each week we had a new challenge (e.g., write a short song about yourself and sing it with a musical instrument, make a puppet and perform an act, choreograph and perform a dance number, etc…).  For the final week, our challenge was to do anything we wanted to do.  The only limit was that it had to be under ten minutes, I believe.

I wrote and performed this piece:

Now, here I am in 2014, about to get married and move away from Chicago, to Georgia.  I was getting sentimental (typical me) and I wrote a new conversation with Chicago.  I’m delighted to say that I’ll be performing this new piece with Beast Women THIS SATURDAY at 10:30 pm at the Den Theater (1333 N. Milwaukee).  The Beast Women Cabaret is a show that runs three or four times a year.  They are a powerhouse of female talent from all performing art disciplines (sbeastwomenlogo_thumbtand-up, poetry, music, dance, and more).  I wouldn’t have become the solo performer I am today without all of the opportunities to try stuff out and stretch myself through their auditions and performances throughout the years.  I performed my first “conversation with Chicago” in their show seven years ago and am absolutely honored that they’re giving me the space–one more time–to put up something new and personal on their stage.

I’d love to see you there.

Beast Women
Amanda performs a new, original solo piece at this cabaret
The Den Theater
1333 N. Milwaukee
Chicago
$20 (cash only)
Saturday, June 7, 10:30 pm

 





The Fillet of Solo Festival is happening now!

4 01 2014

Chicago’s solo performance festival is happening right now and it’s kind of a big deal.  Lots of amazing performers are on the two-week long schedule and I am delighted to be performing two different times.  The annual festival is hosted by Lifeline Theatre and all of the wonderful details can be found by going to their website, here.  

Some amazing performers are in the line-up of shows this year! Check it out!

So many amazing performers are in this festival–check it out!

I’m performing a new story along with four other storytellers in, “Five From Rogers Park.”  Tickets are only $10 for any of the festival performances; you can also buy a fest pass for only $30!  Hope to see you at one of the shows!

Five from Rogers Park at the Fillet of Solo Festival
Amanda performs a new piece as part of Chicago’s solo festival
Heartland Studio
7016 N. Glenwood Avenue
Saturday, January 4, 6pm &  Sunday, January 12, 5pm





Buddhas/Bruiser: Only ONE more chance!

20 10 2013

My solo show, 185 Buddhas has one more performance in Chicago before it heads to the west coast!  And if you come out to see one of these Chicago performances, you’re in for a treat, because my show is running on a double bill with Kelsie Huff’s solo-show, Bruiser.

But you only have one more chance!  We’d love to see you there!

185 Buddhas Walk into a Bar & Bruiser
An evening of two solo shows!  Amanda’s 185 Buddhas and Kelsie Huff’s Bruiser
Studio Be
3110 N. Sheffield Avenue
Chicago
$20
Sunday at 6pm:  November 3

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE STUDIO BE CALENDAR TO PURCHASE TICKETS

Chicago, you have three more chances to buy one ticket and see these two shows!

Chicago, you have only one more chance to buy one ticket and see these two shows!

185 Buddhas Walk into a Bar
The art of improvisation creates stories from thin air, making the unseen seen. For Amanda Rountree, this is not just an art form, but a way of life — one that includes unexpected twists and turns — leading, if not to mastery, to enlightenment.  Written and performed by Amanda Rountree, and directed by Jen Ellison, this show follows the artist on her path with all of the funny and touching moments along the way.

The Chicago Reader says, “Amanda Rountree is a riot!”  Audience members have described the show as “inspiring,” “funny,” “beautiful,” “insightful,” and “a must-see!“  The Chicagoist picked this show as one of their “three to see.”  Click here to watch a trailer for the show.  You can also click here to read a review of the show.

BRUISER: Tales from a Traumatized Tomboy

Some girls dream about their wedding day. Others long to play with ponies. Only a select few name and collect their scabs, speak to imaginary rodents in their minds, and make mortal enemies out of cute yellow doggies. Kelsie Huff brings to the Chicago stage the true story of how a misplaced tomboy blossoms into an even more awkward adult. “BRUISER” tackles the hilarity of adolescent and adult humiliation using Huff’s trademark blend of uproarious characters, crushing and unavoidable hereditary influences, and engaging storytelling. Huff shares her unique brand of humor in a new knock-down, drag-out solo show hailed as “comic gold” by the Boulder Daily Camera.

“Huff…a big-time talent, mixes a friendly Midwestern manner with a darker, slap-your-face-funny edge… a fearless chronicler of the awkward and the excruciating…” – The Daily Camera (Boulder)

“Her performance crackles with life and at its very best, gets into rare reaches of emotional ambiguity.” – The Daily Camera

“Bruiser” received 4 out of 4 stars in the Chicago Stage Review and won Best Solo Performance of 2011.

5.5x4.25_postcard





185 Buddhas returns to Chicago in October!

23 09 2013
Chicago, you have four chances to buy just one ticket and see both of these shows!

Chicago, you have four chances to buy just one ticket and see both of these shows!

If you missed seeing this solo show during its run earlier this year, now you’ll have another chance to see it!  But I have even more good news:  185 Buddhas will be appearing along side Kelsie Huff‘s fantastic solo show, Bruiser!  Essentially, you can buy one ticket, but see two great one-woman shows in one night!  Wonderful!

 

 

 

 

185 Buddhas Walk into a Bar & Bruiser
An evening of two solo shows!  Amanda’s 185 Buddhas and Kelsie Huff’s Bruiser
Studio Be
3110 N. Sheffield Avenue
Chicago
$20
Sundays at 6pm:  October 13, 20, 27, and November 3

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE STUDIO BE CALENDAR TO PURCHASE TICKETS

185 Buddhas Walk into a Bar
The art of improvisation creates stories from thin air, making the unseen seen. For Amanda Rountree, this is not just an art form, but a way of life — one that includes unexpected twists and turns — leading, if not to mastery, to enlightenment.  Written and performed by Amanda Rountree, and directed by Jen Ellison, this show follows the artist on her path with all of the funny and touching moments along the way.

The Chicago Reader says, “Amanda Rountree is a riot!”  Audience members have described the show as “inspiring,” “funny,” “beautiful,” “insightful,” and “a must-see!“  The Chicagoist picked this show as one of their “three to see.”  Click here to watch a trailer for the show.  You can also click here to read a review of the show.

BRUISER: Tales from a Traumatized Tomboy

Some girls dream about their wedding day. Others long to play with ponies. Only a select few name and collect their scabs, speak to imaginary rodents in their minds, and make mortal enemies out of cute yellow doggies. Kelsie Huff brings to the Chicago stage the true story of how a misplaced tomboy blossoms into an even more awkward adult. “BRUISER” tackles the hilarity of adolescent and adult humiliation using Huff’s trademark blend of uproarious characters, crushing and unavoidable hereditary influences, and engaging storytelling. Huff shares her unique brand of humor in a new knock-down, drag-out solo show hailed as “comic gold” by the Boulder Daily Camera.

“Huff…a big-time talent, mixes a friendly Midwestern manner with a darker, slap-your-face-funny edge… a fearless chronicler of the awkward and the excruciating…” – The Daily Camera (Boulder)

“Her performance crackles with life and at its very best, gets into rare reaches of emotional ambiguity.” – The Daily Camera

“Bruiser” received 4 out of 4 stars in the Chicago Stage Review and won Best Solo Performance of 2011.

5.5x4.25_postcard





SNORF!

29 05 2013

So there’s this great puppet company here in Chicago called The Noah Ginex Puppet Company.  It was created by this guy, Noah, who happens to be super talented at making puppets.  So talented, that he was even nominated for a Jeff award for design!  I’ve worked with Noah and his company before in different shows and web videos and even on a video for the Barenaked Ladies!

Well now, NGPC is launching a really fantastic live puppet variety show.  There’s a small group of very talented individuals involved, whom I’m very delighted to be working with.  We’ll have a human guest each show and we’re in previews this summer!  The show is called, SNORF!  And you should check it out!

SNORF!





Two Original One Act Plays this Summer

16 05 2013

I’m an ensemble member of a pretty great theatre company here in Chicago called WNEP (What No one Else Produces) and this summer, we’ve got two original one-act plays coming up!

RAINBOWS AND LOLLIPOPS by Dave Goss (to be directed by Rebecca Langguth)

THE TRIBUTE by Rebecca Langguth (to be directed by Amanda Rountree)

Both one-acts will be performed at the Zoo Studios in Ravenswood from July 26th – Aug 17th!  More details on the show (and auditions for both plays) will be out soon!