The Upstairs Gallery's Alex Honnet on 2014

Hi!

This is Alex Honnet. Myself and my friends Caitlin Stephan and Walt Delaney (and some other great people at various times) ran a place called the Upstairs Gallery from 2011-2014. If you are a regular Steamroller reader you have probably heard of it, but maybe not! It was a performance space that gained a lot of traction really quickly and got a lot of people in the Chicago sketch and improv community excited. Ultimately though it wasn’t a sustainable thing and instead of trying to make tough choices and change it we made the also tough choice to close at the end of last summer.

I wanted to write something down about the way I feel right now as 2014 comes to a close and I have had a few months to reflect. It feels like things have sort of blown up here in Chicago. Lots of people are leaving, new spots for old theatres, so much potential but also so much change. The below is mostly personal stuff, I’m sorry for that, but maybe you read this and see some or your own experiences in it and you can get down on that.

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Harrison George On The Closing of The Upstairs Gallery

In 1964 Isaac Asimov was asked to speculate on what life in the year 2014 would look like. Some of his predictions were spot on (cordless appliances), while others were way off (flying cars). The goal of this piece is something similar, to attempt in some small way to predict what Chicago might look like in the next 1-5 years.

Last month we saw the closing of The Upstairs Gallery, an ambitious 3 year experiment in alternative-theater spacework. Now that the theater’s closed, I’m wondering what comes next, if we’ll see new spaces inspired by Upstairs; an UG 2.0 if you will.

There are lots of ways things will be affected by UG’s closing. Here are my guesses.

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Weirdos Exposed: Tonight, One Night Only Until It Happens Again In A Few Weeks

The Upstairs Gallery is closing. We're all aware of that and it sucks and is crappy but also I'm glad they've got the foresight to go out on top. In this, their last few weeks of doing shows, they've begun putting up shows every night of the week, and were nice enough to give me a spot to book some folks I like.

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The Steamkend approaches!

This weekend, The Steamroller is presenting a pair of very exciting events: A semi-formal fundraiser for The Comedy Exposition and A Jangleheart Circus at Goofballs United on Friday, and the second and final (for a while) edition of Seven Minutes in Purgatory, a science experiment of a comedy show hosted by Ian Abramson.

This confluence of two extremely high quality comedy shows in one weekend will be known from now on as The first annual STEAMKEND.

More info on both shows below!

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Getting to Know CAVES!

CAVES is a brand new improv team formed in March 2014, featuring four talented performers named Jen Burns, Kristina Felske, Jennifer Mills, & Becca Slack. They've secured a run of shows at the Upstairs Gallery on Saturday evenings at 8pm through the end of May, performing alongside a slew of Upstairs Gallery house teams like Dead $$$ and Big Trees!

As a means of getting folks introduced to CAVES, they've put together and answered a questionnaire full of interesting and provocative questions that reveal shocking truths about all four members.

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This Weekend: A Double Dose of The Steamroller Presents...

So this weekend is a big one! The Steamroller is presenting two huge events, one recurring show that you're read about before, and one all-new one, that you've also read about before. Tonight (Friday, May 16th) at 11pm is the latest edition of Goofballs United, a hybrid sketch/improv/standup comedy show presented by The Steamroller and Upstairs Gallery at The Den Theatre in Wicker Park.

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Ian Abramson Answers the FAQs About “7 Minutes in Purgatory” Without Hearing the Questions

Stand-up is a comedian telling jokes, and an audience responding. The comedians knows how they’re doing based on that response.

So what if the comedian had no idea if they were bombing, or killing?

On May 17th at 10:30pm at The Upstairs Gallery, I’m teaming up with The Steamroller to present 7 Minutes in Purgatory, where I hope to find out.

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Collectors Edition says goodbye to Conor Sullivan!

I've lived in Chicago for almost 4 years. For most of that time, I've known Conor Sullivan, my good friend who is leaving for Los Angeles next month. For a lil while I'd had plans to eulogize Conor here on the Steamroller, but I don't think that would be fair to him because Conor leaving Chicago to bigger and better things is nothing but a positive thing. He is moving on to do things he's always wanted to do, and I am sincerely proud of him.

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