Chicago Semester—Gina Ciametti ’13 of Hickory Hills, Illinois - January
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
"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.
Ellie Goulding’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.
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.
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.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Q: What do you call free labor for one of the most noted and award-winning theaters in Chicago?
A: AN INTERNSHIP WITH NORTHLIGHT THEATER!
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 caps lock 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.
Speaking of new beginnings, tomorrow starts Day 1 of my internship. I hope the other kids like me and let me sit with them in the cool kids’ office. Let it not reflect the scene in Mean Girls where I greet everyone with a heartfelt "Jambo" and get the Look of Death in return. May I be rid of all and any nerves and stay mentally prepared to do my best.
That would be so. fetch.
* * * * * * * *
Outside world, I have survived the first 5 days of living in one of the most chaotic cities in the world. And I owe it to you to keep you up to speed with everything, so let's begin with Day 1.
Looks pretty official, eh?
January 14, 2013
After moving all of my stuff into a one-bedroom apartment the day before with 2 other roommates (who are awesome, by the way-super great girls), the entire program met at the Chicago Semester building located on Monroe and Adams...which thankfully is a quick and easy commute from the Red Line. It was your typical first impressions meeting: after breakfast, we had roughly an hour to kill before the orientation process actually began. It only took 1 student to move themselves over to their assigned seat in the classroom setting for EVERYONE ELSE to use it as a social cue to move to their seats as well. It was an amazing social experiment, I mean, you do NOT want to be that person who goes against the grain right? Yeah, that was a bust.
As the morning took off, we eventually got to the portion of the schedule where we pair up with someone and get to know them beyond their name and whether or not they are one of the 2 hundred people from Dordt in the program (obviously I'm exaggerating, or AM I?! Ok so there's maybe only like, 15, I decided to round up). After this, we would report back to everyone about who's who and move on with the day. Um, time out. I need my cheesy name-game icebreakers to help me actually put a name with a face! Do you need a volunteer to lead them? In true Hunger Games fashion, I would have jumped at that opportunity.
The rest of the morning consisted of the CS staff breaking down the week day-by-day and doing some interactive work with us in groups and individually. Let me be the first to say that the CS Staff is legit. These are people who genuinely want to see you succeed in the program and hope that you bring as much as you can to the proverbial table. It was refreshing to know that your semester away from home would be in good hands.
Later that night, we traveled in assigned small groups for a dinner trip to an ethnic restaurant. My group ventured to Tandoor for Indian food. Awesome grub and fun conversations made for a very enjoyable time.
My super-cool new friends and I have begun to explore the Division St./ Gold Coast night life a bit and have found that it's a great way to bookend our days. It's always a good time to catch up and let loose after a long and productive day of orientation.
I have been without internet in my apartment since I've moved in and for those of you wondering how I've survived without it, it's easy. I talk to people. Read books. TRAVELED THE CITY. Radical concept, right? Getting out and exploring does the soul so much good.
January 3, 2013
I have often asked myself what attribute about studying abroad (or 45 minutes away from my college and hometown) entices me the most. Aside from all the fun thoughts of eating delicious food, edgy and hip night-life, mastering CTA transportation and eating more delicious food, I think I'm looking forward to the people most. Trust me, I know Chicago traffic and crowds are not ideal for most, but I can't think of a better place to be for my last semester of college than in a city I love, flooded with all walks of life. Not too long ago, a friend of mine took a photo of an article from a magazine and posted it to Instagram, and it read:
“I’m impressed with people from Chicago. New York is talk, L.A. is hype…Chicago is work.”
Whoever the 'I' is in that quote knows what he or she is talking about. Chicago is work. It's gradual, sure, but think of everything that happens in a city like Chicago year round--sports games, seasonal events, conferences, festivals, concerts, etc. We are a bustling metropolis always on the move because there is always something to do or see. Nothing excites me more than knowing I will contribute to the busyness and all around success of Chicago's entertainment scene, especially in the field where there is so much talent and pizzazz to witness--theatre.
Fact: Chicago is home to more than 200 small and large scale theaters, 200! Before studying theater at Trinity, I could probably name 10 theaters that I might have heard of, but never actually knew anything about the works they produced. Thanks to Trinity’s Interim and theater courses, field trips, and summer internships, I have become so familiar with the mass amounts of theater the city has to offer. Remember my aforementioned love for being around people? This would be where it really kicks in. Think of how many actors and employees Chicago must have in order to run 200+ theaters. I'm not good at math, but I'm sure it's a really high number.
Did I forget to mention that I'll be interning at a theater for the semester? It's quite the selling point if you ask me. Which theater? No idea. Although it's a major factor still to be determined, I know wherever I end up will be a stellar opportunity for me to work and learn and gain as much cultural expertise as I possibly can. So I urge you all to see what this semester in Chicago has in store for me. I'm pretty much an open book, er, blog.
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