Performers!

  • Derek Van Barham @ Steppenwolf!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to kick of 2019 with a return to Steppenwolf as part of their LookOut Series -- a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. We're delighted to welcome Derek Van Barham to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Derek here and get your tickets!

    DEREK VAN BARHAM is the Producing Artistic Director of Kokandy Productions, and a member of the Red Tape Theatre ensemble. He previously served as Associate Artistic Director of Pride Films & Plays. For PFP, he directed Perfect ArrangementAngry Fags (Steppenwolf Garage), Songs from an Unmade Bed (Jeff nomination), and (co-directing) PRISCILLA, Queen of the DesertOther directing credits include The View Upstairs (Circle Theatre), Three Days of Rain (Boho), Miracle! by Dan Savage, Skooby Don't (Hell in a Handbag), and HOT PINK (New American Folk Theatre)Choreography credits include The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier and BITE (PFP), all Black Button Eyes productions, and Salonathon. He was named one of Windy City Times 30 Under 30, recognizing Chicago's LGBTQ+ community.   

    What are your wishes for 2019??

    1. For Glenn Close, Olivia Colman, and Lady Gaga to tie for the Best Actress Oscar.

    2. World Peace.

    3. For years, I've tried to communicate with birds. Like a Disney princess. My hope for 2019 is to have more than just a passing word, but an in-depth conversation.

    4. Less talking, more listening.

  • Karen Clanton @ Steppenwolf!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to kick of 2019 with a return to Steppenwolf as part of their LookOut Series -- a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. We're delighted to welcome Karen Clanton to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Karen here and get your tickets!

    Karen Clanton is an attorney whose law degree did not stifle the English major lurking within.  She has forged a career as a writer in the legal profession, where she develops internal communications strategy for a major law firm.  She has also led editorial projects focused on Diversity & Inclusion for both the American Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association. She is a single mom living on the South Side of Chicago chronicling her adventures through stories that can be heard at open mics on the city’s live lit scene.  

    What are your wishes for 2019??

    (1)    I wish … to complete an oral history of my mother.  She is in her mid-80s and a treasure trove of great stories and perspective that would benefit our family.  I’ve begun interviewing her about her life and recording it.  In 2019, I would like to make this project an ongoing conversation because her initial answers opened doors to many more questions.

    (2)    I wish … my 8 year old wouldn’t be naughty at school.  I wish to never receive a phone call from an exasperated teacher again.

    (3)    I wish … to pamper myself more in 2019.

    Karen is sharing a story with us at Steppenwolf Saturday, February 2.

    Follow this link to purchase tickets

  • Archy Jamjun @ Steppenwolf!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to kick of 2019 with a return to Steppenwolf as part of their LookOut Series -- a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. We're delighted to welcome Archy Jamjun to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Archy here and get your tickets!

    Archy Jamjun is a suburban boy living out his dreams in the big city. He is a two-time Moth GrandSLAM champ whose writing can be found in The Rumpus and Barrel House and a server whose cat treats him like a feeding machine who loves to sift litter and clean vomit from area rugs. He recently debuted his solo show, "A Boy & A Diva" and is looking for other places to stage it. Help him.

    What are your wishes for 2019??

    1. To perform in a drag competition: I am writing this down and letting you say this out loud because I hate myself but also I only have so many years left until this is weird and impractical.

    2. For RuPaul to host the Oscars: In light of Kevin Hart, this is self explanatory 

    3. To watch R. Kelly go to jail: I just watched Surviving R. Kelly and I'm pretty sure this kind of justice will reverse climate change.

    Archy is sharing a story with us at Steppenwolf Friday, February 1.

    Follow this link to purchase tickets

  • Rebecca Makkai @ Steppenwolf!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to kick of 2019 with a return to Steppenwolf as part of their LookOut Series -- a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. We're delighted to welcome Rebecca Makkai to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Rebecca here and get your tickets!

    Rebecca Makkai is a fiction writer who does occasional live lit so her inner high school theater geek never dies. She has three novels, National Book Award Finalist The Great Believers, plus The Borrower and The Hundred-Year House, and a story collection, Music for Wartime. The story collection was printed on special paper made from that one tree that fell in the woods when no one was there to hear it. She teaches at Northwestern University and StoryStudio Chicago, and she lives on the North Shore, where she enjoys alarming all the Republicans.

    What are your wishes for 2019??
    Massages declared a medical expense
    Twitter lets you block all sports tweets
    Post-impeachment cocktails for all

  • Rosamund Lannin @ Steppenwolf!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to kick of 2019 with a return to Steppenwolf as part of their LookOut Series -- a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. We're delighted to welcome Rosamund Lanin to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Rosamund here and get your tickets!

    The product of nine years in San Francisco and eight years in St. Paul, Rosamund Lannin is pleasantly surprised to have lived in Chicago for over a decade. During that time, she has published essays about feelings, food, and pop culture, performed stories around the city, and consumed many carne asada burritos. You can find her most places on the Internet @rosamund, or riding her bike around the northwest side.

    What are your wishes for 2019??

    1. That the country moves in an increasingly progressive direction, ousting Trump from office and fighting back against forces of xenophobia, misogyny, and anti-enviromentalism. In the words of my punk rock uncle Henry Rollins, "This is not a time to be dismayed. This is punk rock time. You can be thunderous in your own life." 

    2. Perfect a winged cateye.

    3. Something small and massive and health-related. It would spoil my story if I told you, so now you have to come see me perform. Psych!

  • Anne Purky @ Steppenwolf!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to kick of 2019 with a return to Steppenwolf as part of their LookOut Series -- a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. We're delighted to welcome Anne Purky to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Anne here and get your tickets!

    Anne Purky has burst on the storytelling scene talking about the dark side of a privileged upbringing, stirring up trouble on the North Shore and being a renegade mom of an astonishing differently abled daughter.She studied film & writing at Northwestern and the School of the Art Institute.She is active in politics, disability rights, and advocates for the homeless with PADS in Waukegan & Zion. Anne’s performed at Story Jam, Chicago Dramatists, Truth Be Told, Beast Women, Ragdale, Story Lab, Pour One Out and others.She resides in Lake Forest where she chronicles entitlement with raucous glee!

    What are your wishes for 2019???

    1. To go from a size 16 to a size zero while still eating mac & cheese and candy. I've been to Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and an expensive intuitive nutritionist in flowing new age clothing all with no lasting results. 

    2. To not hit the side of the garage with my new car. With my last car I destroyed several side mirrors and scratched the side repeatedly which led to me begging a car wash guy to buff out the scratches so my husband wouldn't find out.

    3. Finding a four year college that will showcase my daughters talents as a writer and performer.   

    Anne is sharing a story with us at Steppenwolf Sunday, February 3.

    Follow this link to purchase tickets

  • Ashlee Hardgrave @ Steppenwolf!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to kick of 2019 with a return to Steppenwolf as part of their LookOut Series -- a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. We're delighted to welcome Ashlee Hardgrave to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Ashlee here and get your tickets!

    Ashlee Hardgrave is a musician, writer, cat mom, recovering arts school administrator, and current law school administrator (same issues, less clarinet and dance majors). She has subjected her friends, family, and social media to her storytelling for years, so she's thrilled to be making her maiden voyage on the YBR stage, in a nice, structured environment where the audience will laugh at her for all the right reasons. 

    Ashlee trained as a classical musician, and has spent the last fifteen years making art on her own terms. You'll find her singing ditties with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus, performing in churches for various divinities, writing scripts for the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, lobbying for equity and access in arts education, premiering new musicals and orchestral works, and managing her own vocal ensemble, Vox 3 Collective. When she's not working, she's telling stories about her life that begin with "I can't make this sh*t up," so again, it's good that she's here.

    What are your wishes for 2019??

    1) Wish for my loved ones: that they spend the year content, healthy, and in blissfully uneventful situations. After a somewhat chaotic few years, peaceful boredom would be a blessing. Also good beer.

    2) Wish for myself: to be mindful of my worth and limits simultaneously, and fight for them. Also good beer. 

    3) Wish for the world: that we discover the secret to eternal health, then kidnap Ruth Bader Ginsburg, feed it to her, and pray. While drinking good beer.

  • Jennifer Peepas @ Steppenwolf!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to kick of 2019 with a return to Steppenwolf as part of their LookOut Series -- a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. We're delighted to welcome Jennifer Peepas to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Jennnifer here and get your tickets!

    Jennifer Peepas writes an internet advice column at CaptainAwkward.com.

    What are your three wishes for 2019??
    I'm trying to stay lighthearted and not make everything about politics and depression but a swift and peaceful end to this national Fascism nightmare is literally my only wish.

  • Jennie Ellman @ Steppenwolf!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to kick of 2019 with a return to Steppenwolf as part of their LookOut Series -- a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. We're delighted to welcome Jennie Ellman to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Jennie here and get your tickets!

    Jennie Ellman actually hung some non-custom-framed art on her walls in her apartment so she's fleetingly feeling like she's on top of things.  She enjoys going to concerts and baking pies.  Jennie has told stories for You're Being Ridiculous, Matter Dance, Write Club, Story Club, and others. She does not have any published works and that is currently not one of her goals but that could always change.

    What are your three wishes for 2019??

    1. I wish to see an average of a musical artist or band per week.  That's 52 bands.  This is because I was sitting in a work meeting and couldn't think of New Year's Resolution so I had that as my answer while not realizing that we were going to have recurring meetings with check-ins on progress.  I've currently seen five - three at the Paper Machete and two different musical performance acts while waiting for the Red Line. Please help. 

    2. I wish for my streak of not being in a trending meme involuntarily continues. 

    3. I wish for more happy times with my family and friends. 

  • Adrienne Gunn @ Steppenwolf!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to kick of 2019 with a return to Steppenwolf as part of their LookOut Series -- a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. We're delighted to welcome Adrienne Gunn to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Adrienne here and get your tickets!

    Adrienne Gunn is a writer and humorist based in Chicago. She received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Oregon and her work has appeared in McSweeney's, TriQuarterly, PANK, and Chicago Magazine. Visit her at www.adriennegunn.com.

    What are your wishes for 2019??
    My wishes are: World peace, to stop reading social media, and to meet Stanley Tucci.

  • Jacoby Cochran @ Steppenwolf!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to kick of 2019 with a return to Steppenwolf as part of their LookOut Series -- a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. We're delighted to welcome Jacoby Cochran to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Jacoby here and get your tickets!

    What's good, my name is Jacoby Cochran. When asked to describe myself the first thing out of my mouth is that I'm born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. Between moving a dozen times as a kid and performing hundreds more as an adult I have walked the streets of almost every neighborhood in this city. Events like Grown Folks Stories, Redefining Black at the MCA, & host of The Moth Live have allowed me to humbly share myself with this city and for that I am grateful. 

    I am excited to be back at YBR because collaborating and working with amazingly talented individuals is my lifeblood and I love journeying with you all through often improvised stories blending humor, heartbreak, and the intersectional musings of a nihilist black dude from Chicago.

    Inspired by my mentors and coaches that helped me to become the only four time top speaker in America, publish a thesis dedicated to my home, and travel the world performing, I am grateful to split my time between the stage and the classroom. Currently I teach at the City Colleges, DePaul, and Cook County Jail.

    What are your wishes for 2019??

    1. Travel to another country: I hope to return to South America this year! 

    2. Skydive: I'd love to jump out of a plane at some point in 2019.

    3. For folks to stop stanning predators, abusers, faux heroes, dbags, and skallywags.

  • Vincent Francone @ Steppenwolf!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to kick of 2019 with a return to Steppenwolf as part of their LookOut Series -- a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. We're delighted to welcome Vincent Francone to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Vince here and get your tickets!

    Vincent Francone is the author of Like a Dog and the forthcoming essay collection, The Soft Lunacy (March 2019). His work has appeared in Rain Taxi, Rhino, New City, Three Percent, and other web and print journals. He teaches at Roosevelt University when not hosting the podcast, Drinking and Talking. Visit his website at  www.vincentfrancone.com 

    What are your three wishes for 2019??

    1) Temporary internet blackout. I love the internet. Except when I don’t. I love what it offers me. That is, when it’s not offering me empty distractions and shallow ego-validation. So I’m hoping there will be internet blackouts timed so as not to disrupt the positives—connection with friends and family, opportunities for self-promotion (hello!), and endless access to information—that will free me from the negatives (90% of the things one does online).

    2) Reason, sanity, and compassion. Because these appeared to be in short supply in 2018.

    3) Uninterrupted time. Preferably spent in my recliner with a book and glass of wine. And my dog.

  • Michael Blumberg @ Steppenwolf!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to kick of 2019 with a return to Steppenwolf as part of their LookOut Series -- a performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form. We're delighted to welcome Michael Blumberg to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Michael here and get your tickets!

    Michael Blumberg lives a ho-hum life in the suburbs with his wife, two daughters and unassuming dog.  He lives in a modest home and takes the same route to and from work every day in his unremarkable sedan.  Michael is undistinguished in virtually all aspects of his personal and professional life.  In high school he would have been voted Least Likely to be Remembered, had anyone known his name.

    What are your three wishes for 2019?
    My wishes for 2019 are peace, love and a skateboard with a cool-looking skull on it.  No, a panther.  No, skull, definitely skull.

  • Adithi Chandrashekar @ Uncommon Ground!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to be back at Uncommon Ground, Edgewater with a fun fall show for you! AND ... we're delighted to welcome Adithi Chandrashekar to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Adithi here and get your tickets!

    Adithi Chandrashekar is an actor and writer based in Chicago. Her solo performance piece Open Season, was written and produced as part of The Gift Theatre's inaugural 4802 residency, a lab which focuses on new work research and development. Her most recent appearances include Bull in a Shop at About Face Theatre, We're Gonna Be Okay at American Theater Company, Wit at The Hypocrites and NBC's Chicago Med. Adithi is a proud 2015 graduate of the School at Steppenwolf, and has trained at the Second City Training Center's writing program, iO Theater, Green Shirt Studios and the Acting Studio Chicago. She is represented by Stewart Talent Agency.

    What are you thankful for this year??
    1. My family, friends and pup -- this year and every year. I am surrounded by love and loving people. I'm so thankful.

    2. Art. Art is activism. It's a subversive voice for the disenfranchised, and it's the articulation of hope. I love experiencing it and I love making it.

    3. Food. Enjoying food and art together. Enjoying food with family. Enjoying food alone. Enjoying feeling nourished—cooking whole foods and eating well. And, feeling immense gratitude and humbled that I have the privilege of enjoying so many things—including but not limited to food—when so many others cannot.

    Adithi is sharing a story with us at Uncommon Ground, Edgewater

    Saturday, November 17.

    Follow this link to get your tickets!

  • Karen Clanton @ Uncommon Ground!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to be back at Uncommon Ground, Edgewater with a fun fall show for you! AND ... we're delighted to welcome Karen Clanton to share a story with us ... learn a little about Karen here and get your tickets!

    Karen Clanton is an attorney whose law degree did not stifle the English major lurking within.  She has forged a career as a writer in the legal profession, where she develops internal communications strategy for a major law firm.  Karen served as the Reporter for an American Bar Association (ABA) Commission examining diversity and has led editorial projects for both the ABA and the Chicago Bar Association. She is a single mom living on the South Side of Chicago chronicling her adventures through stories that can be heard at open mics on the city’s live lit scene. 

    What are you thankful for this year??

    1 - My Village: The eclectic, outrageously generous and kind family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers who band together in support of my son and me.  From offering sage advice on childrearing to watching my child when I was away on business for 10 days, I couldn’t make it without them.

    2 - Live Lit: Sharing stories at various outlets all across Chicago allows me to breathe.  When I first starting writing, I had no idea there was a community that would want to listen.  I am relieved that there is.

    3 - Law & Order Reruns (The original series): The predictability of knowing who did it, why,  how, when the plot twist will come and that Jack McCoy (or Ben Stone) will make it right all within a well-written hour gives me a great sense of comfort.

  • Randy Kim @ Uncommon Ground!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to be back at Uncommon Ground, Edgewater with a fun fall show for you! AND ... we're delighted to welcome Randy Kim to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Randy here and get your tickets!

    Randy Kim is a queer Southeast Asian-American who currently serves as a board member with the National Cambodian Heritage Museum in the Chicago Lincoln Square neighborhood (Ask him for more details). He began his storytelling at YBR in the summer of 2016 and has been storytelling at various events across the city since then.

    What are you thankful for this year??

    1) I got to experience visiting Paisley Park, the home and studio of Prince.  It was a life-altering experience, so much so, that my favorite color went from Green to Purple.

    2) That I can still keep up with the young'ins on the dance floor because I'm doing something right to keep age gods at bay for now.

    3) I am able to make critical decisions, not just for myself, but for my family.  Over the summer, I've been tested at every turn, and luckily my decision-making has worked to my advantage.

  • Marya Morris @ Uncommon Ground!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to be back at Uncommon Ground, Edgewater with a fun fall show for you! AND ... we're delighted to welcome Marya Morris to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Marya here and get your tickets!

    Marya Morris is a city planner, geography buff, and GPS refusnik. She was born in New York, grew up in Madison and lived in Chicago for 20 plus years. In 2008 she got married and moved to the North Shore where she now lives with her husband, three kids (each at various points on the launch trajectory), and her mother.  Marya started telling stories at Louder than a Mom in 2016 and just last month was the winner of the Chicago Moth GrandSlam. In 2018 she played the role of "Mom" in three separate short films, one of which is being made into a bona fide Hollywood feature film in 2019.

    What are you thankful for this year??

    1. I am thankful for climate scientists. The are doing critically important (although often very depressing) research and reporting to save our planet in the face of white hot stupidity in the White House and Congress. 

    2. I am thankful for Graeter's Smores flavored ice cream. Please, please, PLEASE don't tell me the company owner believes Earth was created 6,000 years ago. #boycottfatigue

    3. I am thankful for the roof over my head. It's a homely mansard roof, clad in peeling vinyl tiles the color of red bricks. If the house was mine I'd fix the roof but for now I am just grateful I get to live under it.

  • Kurt Conley @ Uncommon Ground!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to be back at Uncommon Ground, Edgewater with a fun fall show for you! AND ... we're delighted to welcome Kurt Conley to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Kurt here and get your tickets!

    Kurt lived most of his life in Erie, PA. But in 2013, he traded one Great Lake for another and moved to Chicago, where he completed an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. Currently, he’s putting the finishing touches on his first novel while working hard on the follow-up, making feminist-as-fuck art, volunteering at the Gerber Hart Library, and being the queerest queermo he can be.

    What are you thankful for this year??

    1) my husband: Look, yes I know this is fucking gross but I really don't care. He's amazing and cute and a total goofball and you should be so lucky.

    2) my therapist: I'm fortunate to be in a position where I can afford it, and my therapist is wonderful and has helped me through some legitimately tough times. We cry together. How cool is that?!

    3) my friends: I was going to put something irreverent and silly for my third thing, but this world is a goddamn shitshow and I don't have time for it right now. Do what I do and surround yourself with beautiful souls that accept you no matter what, purple lipstick or not.

    Kurt is sharing a story with us at Uncommon Ground, Edgewater

    Saturday, November 17.

    Follow this link to get your tickets!

  • Carlos Antonio Piñón @ Uncommon Ground!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to be back at Uncommon Ground, Edgewater with a fun fall show for you! AND ... we're delighted to welcome Carlos Antonio Piñón to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Carlos here and get your tickets!

    Carlos Antonio Piñón is a three-time You're Being Ridiculous storyteller unless you count the time a lady confused him for a different Latino man, in which case it's four-time. The last time he was at Uncommon Ground, his date was on the phone the entire time, but the food was good.

    What are you thankful for this year??

    1) I'm thankful for those old school toilets that waste a bathtub of water each flush. I'm sick and tired of those low-powered, auto-flush pieces of shit. I clog a toilet 300 times a week because of those things. I'm just glad actual sturdy toilets exist.

    2) I am a big fan of privacy, so the next thing I'm grateful for is gender neutral bathrooms. I don't want to be in the same room as anyone when I do my business and honestly neither should you.

    3) I'm super thankful for my boyfriend. If you thought this one wasn't going to be about poop, then you're wrong. I shat my pants at his earlier this year and he didn't break up with me then and there. I still think about it. Honestly, I think we're closer because of it.

  • Josh Friedberg @ Uncommon Ground!

    You're Being Ridiculous is super excited to be back at Uncommon Ground, Edgewater with a fun fall show for you! AND ... we're delighted to welcome Josh Friedberg to YBR to share a story with us ... learn a little about Josh here and get your tickets!

    Josh Friedberg is a Chicago-based music historian, essayist, and singer-songwriter, as well as a writing tutor and bookseller. He hosted a radio show on CHIRP Radio (107.1 FM) for a while, and he hopes to eventually publish a memoir on his struggles with being Autistic and gay. The story he is telling tonight will surely end up in that book. This is his storytelling debut, taken from a piece he wrote on moments when music made his life better.

    What are you thankful for this year??
    This year, I'm thankful for getting a lot more writing done (and published) than in past years, co-leading one of the biggest projects of my life, and making it to my 30th birthday. I love community, I love music, and I love writing, and these 3 things helped me integrate different areas of my life that I love.