PART TWO: acting
so. yes, the main reason we went last week was to find an apartment. but we also wanted to try to get a headstatr on our careers in the big city, so as i mentioned earlier, i had done a mailing last month.
the only two responses i got from the mailing were one "don't call us, we'll call you" card, and one we'd love to have you audition call. (this doesn't count the steppenwolf interview, because that was due to a personal reccommendation, not a mailing.)
so i had my audition on wednesday the 30th. it had been scheduled for 10:30, and since pinky and i had signed the lease the day before, we decided to do the audition, do a meeting for her, and then get out of town for some r&r in wisconsin. so we thanked our hosts graciously for their hospitality, and got on the road, and found ourselves in the loop, which is pretty impressive, as far as big cities go. it's the only downtown of the major cities i've been to that even remotely resembles new york in busyness. anyway, we were early, but parking is very expensive, so i got out of the car and pinky stayed with it, driving and stopping illegally, i guess.
(let me note here that i had a case of nerves for this audition that i haven't had since i first got out of school. granted, it's been a long time since i've gone on a general, and this was my first audition in this town so i really wanted to make a good impression. i've always felt that i gave a number of bad auditions right out of school, and it tainted my reputation early on... whether that's true or not we'll never know, but i think it colored this one for me, quite a bit.)
to kill time, i walked around the block and used our hostesses suggestion of going over my monologues into my cell phone. this worked particularly well, not only to stay inconspicuous, but also as an acting exercise, of talking to my "partner" over the phone.
at 10:30 i went in, and was met by the casting intern who told me the casting director would be late. we went into the main rehearsal hall, which was huge... so much bigger than any rehearsal hall i've ever been in. apparently it's big enough to tape out the entire stage and fit major set pieces into. they had just cleared it out, though, so it was completely empty, which made it a little intimidating. the intern and i shot the shit for a while, while i stretched a little, and tried to get used to the utter size of the room. did i mention the room was huge? we were joined a few minutes later by the assistant casting director. we continued shit-shooting, and talked about different neighborhoods, and cost of living, and my new apartment, and c. time keeps passing, and i don't care much, as this is very relaxing, and is helping my nerves immensely. at about 11:05, i'm invited to use the phone to call pinky, who seems to be fine with waiting... (her appointment isn't until the afternoon.) as i'm finishing the conversation, the casting director strides in, and apologizes for his tardiness. i shake his hand and move to the other side of the table. the intern, acd and i have been pretty informal this whole time, and i've been kneeling to use the phone, but i sense it's time to move back into formal audition mode.
he looks at my pic and resume, and, thankfully, does not visibly blanch at the fact that my pic shows me with a (relatively) full head of hair, and i'm currently sporting a five day shadow on my bald head. he asks me what i've got to show them, and i tell them, grab a chair and begin.
i decided to do the comic piece first. this is the one adapted from the short story. you may remember that i found this monologue for my chicago auditions, so i had never done it infront of a live human before. i had worked it up, sure, and done exercises, and c., butnever played it in front of someone, so i had no idea how it was going to play. it's a bold piece, to be sure, and not for the squeamish, but i think it's pretty funny. anyway, i was slightly apprehensive, so i wanted to do it first so that they were left with the piece i was more confident about. so i sat down and i started, and, thankfully, they were laughing. they were with it the whole way, and laughing the whole way, and phew!
so i removed the chair and began the next one, which is, well, slightly, experimental. and they lauged a little, because it starts a little funny, but then it turns on an incredibly freaky dime, and i got them. and it was done.
and the CD asked me when i was moving, and i said the end of the month, and he said, "when you get settled, make sure to call us and give us your updated contact information, because i'm sure we'll be seeing you back here this year."
i said, "absolutely."
he said, "really great great work. it was very nice to meet you, thanks for coming in."
i said, "thank you
, and i was escorted back downstairs by the intern, and was on my merry way.
pinky and i finally found the drama book shop of chicago, act 1
, which has apparently moved their brick and mortar operation 2x in the past couple of years, and took a lovely stroll in oz park. we lunched at a greek diner, and i wandered while she met with the PCOM people again. then we were back on the road, and in a couple of hours, we were back in milwaukee.
upon our home-return a few days later, i checked the mailbox and found self-addressed stamped postcard number 2, from an agency. this one, strangely, had the "don't call us, we'll call you" box checked and then crossed out, because they apparently changed their minds, and checked, "call us for an appointment." which i did. so now i've got a meeting with an agent on september 2.
meanwhile, i still have my steppenwolf meeting and our hostess said she would gladly take me to meet her agent. she seemed impressed with me in general i think, and my progress report to her on the audition seemed to make her truly happy. truth be told, i think she liked pinky and i quite great deal, as did her husband, and the feeling is mutual, actually. we hope to remain friends.
anyway, that's where we stand. to sum up:
2 agent meetings
oh, which reminds me... i got some intelligence on the steppenwolf thing that looks very promising, but i can't repeat it here. more on it as it develops.
PART ONE: living
ok. i've been trying to write about last week since, well, last week, but have been foiled by time. more than once.
anyway, chicago is a great town. i love it there. it feels right there. and now i reside there. or i will in three weeks. yes. we have a new address.
as you may or may not know, the apartment lead we had before we left fell through, in a horrifically last minute sort of way. new yorkers that we are, we freaked out a little that we would have to now spend our three or four days in chicago frantically searching for that ever elusive quarry: an apartment. we tried to remind ourselves that apartments are only scarce in new york and san francisco, and chicago would be fine, but we were very apprehensive. until we looked at the chicago reader
and found 200 listings for apartments in our price range in one
neighborhhod. in another neighborhood, we found two hundred more. so now the overwhelming task of finding an apartment in four days became more overwhelming because of the wealth of choice. imagine that.
so we flew into milwaukee on saturday, visited with various family members, ate burgers from at kopps
, and went to bed early, because on sunday morning at 8, we were on I94 to chicago.
we met with the lady whose apartment fell through, and she took us on a tour through logan square, a lovely west-side neighborhood, up and coming, with huge verdant boulevards. we wrote down a number of telephone numbers from the myriad FOR RENT signs posted on the beautiful greystones. we sat and coffeed, and made some calls. by afternoon, we had seen a great apartment, the upper floor of a two flat that was owned by L___ and A____ (chicago it seems is a haven for lesbians, most of the women we met there were of that persuasion. food for thought.) they liked us. we liked them, but it was the first thing we had seen in the city, and we had decided not to take the first thing we saw on the spot, because, as new yorkers, we'd be tempted. so we left the $ for a credit check with them, as a mini-deposit, and kept driving. we were to have dinner with our extremely gracious hosts for the trip, ex-actors now living in hyde park on the south side. so we traveled east on diversey (pronounced di-VERSE-ee -- this was a good bonding moment, as one of the lesbians had corrected my mispronunciation - DIE-verse-ee - and i brought up the house-ton/hugh-ston new york deal, and all was well). any way traveling east was horrible, but it was worth it to get on lake shore drive, which is beautiful. down to hyde park, which seemed very suburby to me, to dine with our new friends in their victorian, and talk and talk, and walk the dog, and have a generally happy time. sleep.
up early (it's the midwest, people), and made some phone calls for real-estate people in rogers park, our original neighborhood of choice, from our exploratory trip 2 years ago. anyway, we got an appointment for 11:00 to see something, so we drove up there (thank god for laura murphy's car), and met with, you guessed it, another lesbian, who showed us another lovely apartment. she was a little controlling though, in manner, and in her rulebook, which would not allow us to paint. the place was nice though, and very close to the el, and to the beach, a big plus for rogers park.
had an appointment at her new place of employ, so we drove down to wrigleyville, where i walked aimlessly, as she met. we grabbed a bite, and then went to a major apartment rental brokerage for our 2:00 appointment. reader, take note: this major apartment rental brokerage charges the lessee NO FEE. the owner pays the fee. so, we filled out the paperwork, and were greeted by M___, who, as it happened, lived in the neighborhood himself. we spent some time at his computer picking up leads, and then hopped in his car to take a look at them.
the first one we looked at was in a slightly run-down building, but it was on the beach. on. the. beach. a large one bedroom, with some weird old furniture, including an victrola. hm. we liked the beach proximity, but it wasn't good enough to go with. we looked at another, that frankly i don't remember, because the next one was so great.
M_____ let us know that this next one was going to be under the table, because it was in his own building and not listed by his company. we looked at it, and fell in love. for kicks, we looked at a couple of others, but decided on the under-the-table one pretty quick.
M_____, by the way, is a real trip. tall, skinny, gangly, self-proclaimed redneck, grew up in rural midwest, moved to foreign lands to referee professional basketball, moved back to the states, settled in kentucky, then found his way to chicago. while we were at his apartment filling out the application and waiting for our credit check (which the landlord, then in florida, did), he consumed no fewer than 3 cherry cokes, and a can of beef stew. he has hundreds of tropical fish, which he pets, and a very loud tropical bird of some sort, named fred. a real character.
anyway, our credit checked (!), and we decided to take a nighttime walk around the neighborhood to make sure it was safe before signing the lease. we ate at hearland, a fabulous neighborhood restaurant, took a stroll, and decided, oh yes, yes indeed. (the neighborhood is very reminiscent of fort greene.) we made an appointment to sign the lease in the morning and give the deposit. we drove home.
in the morning we went to the bank, got the deposit, went to the apartment, and signed the lease. the landlord was back in town by now, and he assured us the windows would be properly secured, and then we went over with a measuring tape, to figure out where we would put the furniture in our new home.
i don't have a square footage, but i can tell you this: 2 bedrooms, living room, sun room, dining room, kitchen, walk-in pantry, 3 walk-in closets, decorative fireplace, built-in bookshelves, leaded glass windows, 12 foot cielings, laundry in the basement, deck for outdoor grilling, storage locker, beautiful condition, 2 blocks from the beach, 1 block from the el, heat included, $925.
so, we went, we saw, we signed a lease. in under 48 hours.
tell me again why new york is better?