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Saturday, April 18, 2009

How I spent my 21 hours in Chicago

It was mind blowing to look out into the audience at the beginning of the show to see people who had trained us when we were first starting out, as well as friends from Boston we've only started to get to know. At the after party my mind continued to whirl as I realized many of the friends I have kept in different cities actually know one another. And those who didn't already, did meet each other and they clinked cans and glasses and liked it.

As Three Hole warmed up backstage I remembered being in the same space in 2007 while on spring break with Mission:IMPROVable. We were there taking a workshop with Andy Hobgood. I had wondered, as I looked around backstage, if I would ever get to perform there.

For that reason, and for many reasons getting to make stuff up with my best friends at the Chicago Improv Festival was a huge big deal for me. Plus, Three Hole had a set we felt good about, which always sweetens the experience. But the best part of the entire thing hands down was getting to see old friends doing great new things and to meet new people who share the bizarre desire to play let's pretend almost all the time.

After the after party cleared out of the theater everyone walked a few feet to the Green Mill. We squeezed into 1930's style booths and enjoyed some of the most breath taking jazz ensembles I've ever seen. Jon Dick,* Steph and I decided to stay up all night. Although my dear friend Nick (also of Mission fame) discouraged me at first he stuck close by and then drove me and Steph to the airport a few hours before our respective flights where we napped at the terminal. Friends don't let friends stay up all night at cocktail clubs alone, which was evidenced by the large community of other improvisers who seemed to have the same idea.

Other highlights of the trip included a pet store full of puppies, Mick Napier remembering me from the Mission:Improv workshop he taught in 2006**, Nick taking us on the "Batman Run," (where you drive the same roads as in the movie), and finally having a dinner with my college roomie in a city where she lives.

Of course, in typical Jen and Misch fashion we started out trying to meet up with a friend of hers for deep dish, but instead ended up in an entirely different part of town eating Pho. This should surprise no one. Not even you.

* ... who was the producer of Mission when I was a freshman and is now a member of Dirty Water,
** Mick approached me to shake my hand, and then ended up patting the fur on my coat appreciatively instead. Then he said "thanks for coming over," as if we were having a barbecue and I said "thanks for having us." I'm not star struck, but I was floored.

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