Sunday, April 28, 2013

Thnks Fr Th Mmrs

No amount of time could have prepared me for the goodbye that was this weekend. Parting is such sweet sorrow, right? Well, what's so sweet about it? Bittersweet, maybe. But I want to have my cake and eat it too...because cake IS sweet and that counts for something. 

Before I (temporarily) moved back to the suburbs, I had so much to do before my time was up in Chicago. There was a check list, bucket list, packing list, that all had to be looked over and fulfilled. Let us begin with the day of Sun and work our way forward.

1.I had just given my YES to accepting an assistant directing gig with LOOKINGGLASS THEATRE for the beginning chunk of June. If I've taken away one thing from working in Chicago, it's that my networking skills are beastly. After a quick conversation with the resident dramaturg of the theatre, we communicated back and forth and WAHBAM- placement acquired. We're gonna have ourselves a really swell time.

2.Because I hardly ever check my school email, I decided one day to browse through the ol' I received an email from the coordinators of the Senior Baccalaureate Ceremony which read that I was selected to give a personal testimony of my time at Trinity. I had been asked to speak at big-deal events before, but this time I was like, "You want me, to speak? How long do I have? Only 6 minutes?" That's not enough. I could go on for days about how rockin' Trinity is, so for those attending the ceremony, I'll do my best to meet the time. "PR," if you will. (That's runner's talk for 'faster than I was the last time I ran 34571904 miles).

3.My last college class of my life ended on Wednesday. As euphoric of a feeling that it was, I couldn't believe that that class it was actually my very last class. After being a part of the school system for 17 years, I'm about due for a break right? Use up my sick days or whatever. I'll need to figure out a new hobby that I can take on with all this new found time- I cannot STAND sitting around with nothing to do. Someone teach me how to knit.

4.Northlight has been far too kind to me these past 3 months. As an 'end of Gina's internship" celebration, we potlucked on Thursday and it was amazing. The NL staff were sad to have me go, but eager to see me back in June for camp which is awesome because it's as though I'm not actually leaving Northlight yet...? I can't wait to be back in Skokie, y'all.

5.Against my will, I was forced to say goodbye to one of the coolest roommates I'll ever have. Me and Julie was like peas and carrots (the Forrest Gump moment of the blog) and as we've proven in the past, if you don't know what you want to eat, get Taco Bell. So for one last time, we ventured to Wrigelyville for crunch wrap supremes and reflective conversations about life; Taco Bell knows more than its fair share of secrets now. #livemas

6.I was able to bookmark my Chicago experience with a trip to the Snuggery, the same way I started this whole party. I met up with my cousin and her boyfriend and celebrate one last night in the city before I moved back on Saturday. I already miss the Gold Coast life, the people, ruthless cabs, bar specials and routines, it never ceased to excite me. Doors open on the Left at Clark and Division.

It does the spirit lots of good to explore, in my opinion. I will always vouch for getting out of the comfort zone or familiarity of a space and venture out for some length of time; it certainly helped make me a more well-rounded individual. There's SO much to do and see in the time we think we have in life, but it won't happen unless you make it happen. And I'm not saying it'll be a cake walk (there I go again, talking about cake) but trust yourself. Be spontaneous and spend more money than you thought you had. Make friends fast. Tell jokes. Visit places even if they sound weird. 

Now is the time to try it all.   

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Let's Stay Together

I wanted to write something last week talking all about how great the week before THAT week was, and never got around to it, shocker. So real real real real quick, let me breeze through 2 weeks ago and end with the present.

I could never in a my wildest imagination, and I've imagined A LOT in my time, foresee what was to come in the month of April. It opened with tragedy when I found out my dance coach from high school passed away suddenly. Sue Hubbard was quite possibly the most demanding woman I've ever worked with, but it showed in performance. At times she made you love what you did and want to quit at the same time. I was someone who fought her creatively on almost everything, whether it was dance, musical theatre, or what have you. What I appreciated about her teaching was that she saw me and any other  opposing force as a challenge worth accepting. "Oh, Gina, you can't do a back roll into the splits? Well let's see it anyway." Don't ask me to do that now, I've been out of commission for too long. But she never doubted that you couldn't do something, and sometimes that made the world of difference in choreography or blocking, because if you fought her enough, you would still lose and eventually be able to do a back roll in the splits. Worked like a charm.

On a much lighter and brighter note, Northlight is continuing to be full of surprises. Our last and final show of the season has been well underway and our staff is beyond excited to see it come to life on May 10th. Stella and Lou features one of theatre's finest and most comedic actresses of all time, Rhea Perlman. My generation would know her best for her work in Matilda  but she's also a 4 time Emmy-winner for her work on Cheers, what an accomplishment! Oh, and I met her. We ate bagels together, so now we're besties.

Aside from all our show hubbub, I was offered (and accepted) a paying summer internship with Northlight's Performing Arts Camp. I cannot tell you how fun it is to watch kids practice and perform theatre, they are by far the most creative and uninhibited actors of them all. I'm really happy to be sticking around Northlight a little longer than originally expected, it's going to be a great summer. 

You know what's really cool? Social media. I will never be sick of the Facebooks and Twitters of our generation because it is a fascinating concept. Just last Friday, I won tickets to see Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers via Twitter just for simply retweeting a Tweet of theirs. That's literally all I did- a mindless act that I was drawn to and BAM- free tickets. I can do anything now.

Recently, I reconnected with a close friend of mine from high school. For two years, we were truly inseparable and have tried to stay close while we went our own ways in life. We had one of those conversations that lasted for 4 hours where we could pick back off where we left off time ago and still recall inside jokes and comments about things from years past. Made my life, man. Wouldn't trade it for anything. 

I was able to see my friends from school over the weekend at Sunday's Cubs Vs. Giants game and although we lost, the time spent with them was much needed. My usual crew was fun as always, AND I ran into some of Tib18ers, also a plus. 

I hate feeling that I have to cram in all this last-minute excitement before moving back to the burbs, because if it were up to me, I'd stay here for at least another 2 years. I am in no way ready to give it up yet. Oooof. This is crushing. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sigh No More

The Chicago Bulls just ended the Miami Heat's 27-game winning streak without two of their star players.
The weather is finally in the upper 30's.
There is a new wave of social network, opinion-based, expression of controversy
And now, it's officially less than a month until my semester stay in Chicago comes to an end.
To the person held responsible for stealing time and making it go by so fast, I'm on to you.

The weekend of St. Patrick's Day really put into perspective just how much time I had left in Chicago. Have I done all I've wanted to do? Visit the right attractions? Explore the right neighborhoods? Truth be told, I'll never know. There's just too much to see/do/hear in a city like ours when you're only limited to 4 months. 
I am thankful, however, for the love and company of my wonderful Trinity friends. I know people talk about college and the growing mentality of how "I literally have like, THE best friends EVERRR and no one else's come close, etc." but the truth is, I, Gina, actually have THE best, greatest, most genuine, fill-in-the-blank friends anyone could ask for; I'm talkin' cream of the crop, here. Friends visit friends, it doesn't matter if it's face-to-face or over a video feed, the best kind will always want to stay close.

Missing Hannah Joy, but the rest of the gang is all here.

Life post-Irish weekendpalooza is still treating me well. My internship at Northlight Theatre could not be any more perfect- I have been working with a dream team of colleagues that see me as an asset to the theatre, which speaks volumes. I was also delegated as the office March Madness Bracket Pool coordinator- that's a LOT of pressure, guys! I haven't even kept up with college basketball since December, and that means zilch. We still have fun with it, though. In a brighter light, our current show, "Stones In His Pockets,"  has gotten raving reviews and continues to do us proud for its third weekend in a row. Y'all NEED to see this show. 2 men playing 15 roles? In Ireland? Just do it. Also, follow us on the Facebook and Twitter machine if you have yet to do so, it's worth your while.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Little Secrets

It has been far too long since my last post (25 days if you're counting along), I'll admit. So to play a quick game of catch-up, here's what I've been up pictures!

My work at Northlight has certainly kept me on my toes. When I'm not doing busy office tasks, I get to sneak out and explore some of what actually goes on throughout the day on our stage! Here's a shot from a post-show discussion of The Whipping Man, the 3rd production we recently ended this season. Pretty cool set, huh? The play takes place in the aftermath of the Civil War when Jewish, Confederate soldier Caleb DeLeon, injured and dying, makes his way back home only to find it half-destroyed from the war. Two of his family's slaves (now free men) Simon and John, have been hiding out in the home for some time, and tend to poor Caleb. The Jewish faith between the slave/ master relationship is brilliantly executed on stage; the show itself has been one of the most successful shows Northlight has ever produced. 
About 3 weeks ago, the Goodman Theater hosted a networking event for any and all Chicago theatre interns who were interested in talking with theatre professionals in their field about their work in the city, how their jobs came to be, words of wisdom, etc. I am beyond grateful that my supervisor told me about this opportunity because not only do I now have a better sense of direction with what I want to do with my career, but the concept of devoting a night just to sit around and talk with these experienced people is a rarity. 

When we Chicago Semester students aren't crunching in 32 hours of internship work a week, my friends and I like to explore Chicago on the weekends and see what it has to offer. Meet Brandi and Kate, two very good friends of mine who are students at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Both girls sweet and funny with winning personalities and a super cute fashion sense to boot. We take way too many frozen yogurt trips. It might be our one and only fault in the friendship, but when the store is literally 200 ft. from your building, I mean, c'mon.

In my Urban Development and Planning class, we take field trips every other week to explore the architecture and sights that have shaped what Chicago is today. Here's a shot of my class visiting the Hull House at UIC's campus. 

The only downfall to this class is the style in which it's taught- the lights off and a powerpoint slideshow that lasts about an hour. Not ideal for a sleepy Gina. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Anything Could Happen

"ELLIE! PLAY LIGHTS! I ONLY CAME HERE TO HEAR LIGHTS," one crazed fan shouted amongst the thousands of people who flooded the Aragon Ballroom last night. There might be many of you who too, could only recognize her music based on how many times the radio decides to play Lights...but she is so, much, more than that. I'm not even sure I know where to begin in unraveling my concert experience for you, so I guess I'll start at the top. 
we are not worthy.
Elena Jane "Ellie" Goulding was born December 30th, 1986 (whaddup, December babies!). An English singer-songwriter, her debut album Lights  was released in April 2010 and her sophomore album Halcyon was released in October 2012. Both album sales did amazingly well in the states and her fan base here and home speaks for itself. 
Ellie's Halcyon Days tour kicked off in Miami on January 16th and will end February 12th in Los Angeles; her Chicago show was directly in the middle of the tour. 

The Queen at her throne. 
My friends and I had gambled with the order of her opening set months in advance, trying to figure out what would be THE song to open this specific tour. And then the song after THAT one. And after THAAAT one. Calob (one of 3 that night) was right with his choosing, naturally. Ellie opened with the first song on her new album called "Don't Say a Word," and the moment she began to sing the opening riffs, the crowd lost it.

Ellie performed one hit song after another for 2 hours, ranging from her upbeat indie-electronic tunes to her piano-accompanied ballads and everything in between. 

Here's Tuesday's set-list!

  1. Joy 
  2. (Elton John cover)
  3. Encore:

  4. Serenading Chicago
    Before her super energetic encore, Ellie invited us to sing and wish her guitar player, Chris, a happy birthday. What a phenomenal way to spend your birthday, no? Rockin' out with one of music's most brilliant artists in one of the greatest cities ever? C'mon now. That's a pretty legitimate birthday celebration.

    This concert marks the umpteenth concert I've seen in my lifetime. Ellie is a performer who you could easily argue sings better live than on an album, I'm not even sure I know where my opinion stands in that sense. I will, however, encourage all music lovers to give her a better listen. She A. is unbelievably gifted as a musician and songwriter and B. has an unbelievable vocal range and uses her voice as its own instrument. So fear not- there is still plenty of time and space to hop aboard the Ellie Goulding Bandwagon. I would love to think that this time next year (or sooner, if possible) she'll have another album under her belt and a tour to go with it. Who knows!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hello, Goodbye

Q: What do you call free labor for one of the most noted and award-winning theaters in Chicago?


The mission:

Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.

Most people in the theatre world wear many hats: there is a wide gamut of little odds n' ends jobs that may be asked of you as well as tasks presented on a much larger scale. Some interns tackle computer work AND schedule meetings while others work on patron subscriptions AND rehearsals AND concessions. Catch my drift? Dig what I'm saying? I knew that you could. I'll be doing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING all at once. Challenge accepted.

Joining the Northlight team is a blessing in itself. Naturally, I had to publicize it to the (Facebook) world and share my wonderful news once I confirmed the position. I could not, however, predict the number of overwhelmingly congratulatory responses, Likes, texts, tweets, etc. 

Not to mention the recognition granted to a fellow student and myself through the support of our theatre club. 
Easily the best club on campus.

Without sounding like a complete sap, I have mixed emotions about starting and closing so many chapters of my college life and watching new ones open up for the people I care about back home. SO MANY TROLLS ARE GOING ABROAD TOO! And may the capslock accentuate such exciting news! I couldn't be happier for my wonderful friends departing for new adventures in Kenya and Ecuador. I bet your friends merely WISH they were as cool as mine. Hannah Joy, Leah, Jake, Jess, Kyle, and Becky, I will continue to pray for you and your time away. I know so many fellow students and friends wish nothing but the best for you and if they're on my brainwave, can't wait to watch and see the amazing things God will do with you in your respective countries.