DeBlogs > Tyler Esselman
In high school, I was an honors student. Like, I mean the textbook definition of an honors student. Anxiety-ridden, stressed and overloaded with positions on the executive boards of student groups. You know the one. That was me. The long-term effects of my honors-induced anxiety is a subject for a novel of Russian proportions, but the benefits I have reaped from the AP/IB/honors seeds that I sowed in high school are undeniable.
The later years of high school consisted of a combination of AP and IB work that helped me take care of a goodly amount of liberal studies requirements during my first couple years of college. I didn’t even get the highest scores on any of those exams and DePaul was still pretty generous with accepting the credit. I was able to complete all of my liberal studies requirements by the end of my second year. This opened my schedule up to take classes that I wanted simply for the fun of it. I took an Islamic studies class, a couple French classes, a German class, and a creative writing class. I was very glad for the opportunity to diversify my class experience outside of The Theatre School. But beyond that, the time gifted to me allowed me to see more shows, get to know more theatre companies, experience more around the city and figure out what my real goals are after school. That’s the biggest benefit. You have to have breathing room in school to be able to build relationships and just wander.
In essence what I’m getting at is that if you’re in the thick of an AP or IB course load in high school right now and you want to pull out your hair, stuff it into your textbook and eat it with mustard, you’re going to survive. And you will reap some reward from the experience. I guarantee it. If nothing else, you’ll know that you can accomplish something you set your mind to and that’s a feeling worth its weight in gold.
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:
Future Islands - Seasons (Waiting on You)
One week from today, I will be in New York City doing the first part of one of the major closing events of my time at The Theatre School: Graduate Showcase. During the first two weeks of June, my class and I will showcase our wares in New York, Los Angeles, and here in Chicago for industry professionals. It’s our chance to blast off into the professional world as a team.
Since the beginning of spring quarter, we have been presenting scenes and monologues to our showcase director Lisa Portes to find a piece that works best to showcase our strengths as performers. The people that will be in attendance are agents, casting directors, and alums in the respective cities. Once they watch our pieces, there will be networking events where we can introduce ourselves to those people as human beings. In addition to the actual events planned for showcase in each city, there will be plenty of time for us to explore the cities and see shows. It’s a great opportunity for us to get a feel for the place and see if we could actually see ourselves there. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends in both cities and also taking a little road trip up the coast in California. It’s going to be perfect to see the ocean in all its vastness before graduating and starting the next chapter of my life.
Ideally, some of the agents that see our work in any of the cities will call us in to audition specifically for representation but it’s best to go into the showcase just focused on the work. In my opinion, this event is going to be great because it’s one last chance to work with this ensemble with whom I’ve gone through so much these past four years. One last hurrah is just what we need. And we’re going to do it in style.
Just trying to keep moving forward, ya dig?
I’m a guy that thrives on structure. It’s my default when I don’t know what to do in a situation. As such, I have been trying to embrace more chaos in my life simply because it puts me out of my comfort zone and helps me go to places in my acting work and in my personal life that I rarely expect. That being said, as I graduate and lose the structure of going to class every day and knowing where I will be at the beginning and end of each season, I have to build at least a little more structure for my daily, post-grad life so that I can stay sane.
As an actor starting my professional career here in Chicago, I’ll have to supplement my income with a day job or two. I have managed to secure one at the Chicago Athletic Club already. This job is great for many reasons including the fact that I can work early mornings so I can go on auditions during the day, I get a free gym membership, and it’s easy to trade shifts with coworkers. My hope is that I can also secure another job in the evenings serving at a restaurant. This way I would at least have the experience serving that I could use at any restaurant and get to interact with people. At some point, my hope is to get a job working at a brewery here in town. Beer is another of my major passions outside of theatre and being able to help brew beer for my day job would be absolutely ideal. The key that I have gathered about how to make it for the long haul as an actor is that you cultivate a life outside of the craft. If I can brew beer, write my own material, exercise, spend time with my friends, and make time to get out into nature regularly, I think I will be in the perfect headspace to do my best acting work.
The structure that I’m trying to create for myself will ideally be flexible enough that I can follow my impulses when new opportunities present themselves for me. Is there a chance to work in Milwaukee or another city that attracts me? Well then I hope to be able to go for that with no qualms. I’m getting more and more excited for the life I can live after graduation with each day that passes.
I’ve never been terribly into Toro Y Moi but this track may have shifted that. This is great springtime music.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what my legacy will be at DePaul. I recently heard somewhere that the only reason humans do anything in their lives is so that they will be remembered when they’re gone. And it makes sense to a certain extent. We want to make our mark. And hopefully it will be a positive mark!
In a literal sense, I’m very proud of having been a part of The Theatre School (TTS) as we moved into our new building last year. It’s been a huge shift in identity for us as a community and it’s been exciting, frustrating, and rewarding to be at this school during this time of transition. I’ll always be able to say that I was among the first students to work in this building as it continues to support artists for many years to come.
I’m also very proud of the student organizations I’ve helped start while at this school. I was in the group of students that started TTS’s Musical Theatre Collaborative our first year. We started out doing a small-scale cabaret in a tiny room and we’ve grown to doing full musicals in the beautiful studio space in The Theatre School building. The Mildly Rehearsed Players is another organization of which I cannot express how proud I am. We had so much fun putting up Shakespeare’s plays in a way that we connect to in a deep way and sharing it with our community in a fun, engaging way. I also never thought I would be able to play Romeo in my life and mildly gave me that opportunity. I will always be grateful that we brought that together.
DePaul’s legacy in me is perhaps even more interesting. I did so many great things in school and out of school during my time here. I had major life events come and go; I fell in love for the first time, I discovered the kind of art I want to do, and I started down a path toward the kind of man I want to be. I like to think that the lives I encountered and the art I made while here will live on just as much as the experiences will live in me. That means I’m doing my job.
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:It’s warm this week! Thank god!
For a very long time, winter was my favorite season. I loved the gray skies and the skeletal vegetation and dependability of the cold. What was I thinking?? All of those things I loved about winter before are pretty much always replaced by January with dreams of clear skies, light breezes, and trees and flowers bursting with life. Spring is a chance for new beginnings and the spring in Chicago is a unique, beautiful animal.
If you’ve read any of my other blog posts or bio, you’ve probably gained an inkling as to my deep love for baseball. And to me, spring and baseball are inextricably connected. When the weather gets warm, I immediately start dreaming of bats cracking, the organ churning at Wrigley, and even just listening to a game on the radio on the porch back home in St. Louis. This year, thanks to the generosity of a good friend of mine who is a Cubs season ticket holder, I was able to attend Opening Night at Wrigley to see the Cardinals and Cubs play the very first baseball game of the regular season. It was a tremendous night. My boys played well and soundly defeated the Cubs. I can’t think of a better way to start my spring than with an evening at Wrigley.
Spring has an amazing effect on how Chicagoans interact in the city. During winter, everyone curls up into themselves. They zip their collars up to the tippy top and put their shoulders down into the wind to be able to make it down the street. But when the flowers bloom, many Chicagoans do too. The clear air and even smallest modicum of warmth causes people to actually look at each other on the street, smile and spread a bit of good cheer. It’s also liberating to know that you can actually walk places rather than having to figure out the best covered form of transportation. The possibilities exponentially increase when spring comes in Chicago.
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:I’ve been busting my way through the first season of True Detective and this bit of music caught my attention. T Bone Burnett coordinated the music for the show and he’s one I can always count on to match music perfectly to a film or television show.
A couple years ago, when I started DeBlogging, I wrote a post called Homesickness: A Manifesto. In my opinion, it’s one of the better posts I’ve written because it was more personal and revealing than many of my other posts. I really had it bad back then. I just hadn’t found my rhythm and niche here in Chicago yet and it was really hard for me live with my yearning to be back home some days. Going into my final spring quarter of college, I can say that I’ve come a long way with my homesickness and have a much-changed perspective on it.
I definitely still miss St. Louis every day. I miss my family and friends and the special kind of familiarity that I will never be able to replicate anywhere else. I miss the way it smells in the middle of spring driving around with the windows down listening to Cake. I miss the open space and the sense of freedom. But what I’ve realized is what I miss is just that: the sense of what it was like before. I’m a nostalgic guy. To the point that I can get stuck there sometimes. But I’ve found that my homesickness has evolved into something that looks forward rather than backward. What I want now is to establish my own home. I want surround myself with a community of people that I love and care about in a place that feels right. This is one of the most exciting trains of thought I have had while mulling over post-graduate life. This is my chance to find my home for the rest of my life. Don’t get me wrong, St. Louis will always be home to me but that doesn’t mean I won’t be able to establish roots just as meaningful somewhere else.
So my advice to all of you out there who experience homesickness is that I don’t think it ever really goes away entirely. It’s like when you fall in love. In my opinion, all the love you have for someone never really goes away completely. It will just live in you in a different way. So all you can do is figure out how to find your niche and make a new home for yourself. It won’t be the same but that doesn’t mean it will be worse at all.
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:My good buddy put this on his playlist for his trip to the Grand Canyon and it immediately grabbed me. I’ll have to put it on my playlist when I eventually make it to that big hole in the ground.
Entering college, it’s important to remember that everyone is starting fresh. No two people will have exactly the same experience. That’s the beauty of it. My best overarching and admittedly cheesy advice is to thine own self be true. You want to be the most genuine, real version of yourself. It’s the only that college will really be a time during which you can figure out your own personal philosophy and how that will feed your future. So with that in mind, here come my three things I wish I would have known before coming to DePaul.
The first one is pretty technical. When moving in to the residence hall, you probably don’t need as much stuff as you think you do. I understand the idea that you want to have anything you might need at your disposal, but those rooms can get real crowded real quick. To my mind, you want to have your living essentials like clothes and all that jazz, and some comfort stuff like mementos from home, and then build from there. You don’t want to have an overstuffed room because then you’ll just feel claustrophobic and it won’t feel like a home away from home. Focus on making it feel homey over time rather than expecting it to happen right away.
Second, it’s important to have alone time. There is a typhoon of socializing when you first get to school. Endless recitations of your hometown, major, and what you did over the summer. At least for me, it was overwhelming. It can feel like you need to make best friends with people right away or you’ll be behind the eight ball. It’s just not the case. Your friend group will present itself over time as long as you are participating in the experience to some extent. But you need to have some alone time to decompress and actually process the whole transition to pseudo-independent life. I recommend taking a walk to the lake a couple times a week. It doesn’t take too long from campus and it’s a great time to think and then appreciate that beautiful lake we have here.
Finally, choose one person from back home and correspond with them in letters. This is definitely something I wish I had done. Letter writing takes practice and concentration and is very different from sending emails. It makes you a better writer, teaches you how to organize your thoughts, and is so satisfying when you seal that envelope. This will also create a tether to home for you. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in college life but, if this is something that you desire, having a specific point of contact and communication back home will be incredibly valuable.
Maybe these seem obvious but, in my experience, sometimes the most obvious things that can make us happy are the first to fall by the wayside. Be good and true to yourself and college will be a really transformative, enriching time.
Hozier's really been blowing up lately and this is my favorite cut of his that I've heard. Enjoy!
The other day the warmth came out, if only for a moment. It was glorious. I didn’t even have to wear a hat. Of course things cooled down again as the day went on but it got me to thinking about how exactly we Chicago residents survive each soul-sucking winter.
I think it takes a special kind of person to be able to live in Chicago. You have to be tough. First you have to be physically tough. You have to have the stamina to make it through the long, dark nights from November to March. And you have to be able to trudge down your street to the train even when the wind and snow are trying their hardest to bend you backwards. This winter, I’ve discovered just how important staying active during the cold months is. If you can do a lot of strength training at this time, then it won’t feel like you’re at so much of a disadvantage in the battle against the cold. You must be like a Viking or a 20s-era boxer. Bruised, weathered and built to last.
You also have to be mentally tough. You have to choose to be happy and positive because if you don’t then it’s a long spiral down the rabbit hole of seasonal depression. It’s important to take time to quiet your mind and center yourself. I’ve been trying to incorporate at least fifteen minutes every day of just being still. I don’t take in any information and I don’t move. I just sit still and swim in my thoughts. Any form of meditation can work so long as you are in the moment and honest with yourself. You’ll be amazed at how drastically it can affect your mood when it feels like the sun will never come back ever.
Carl Sandburg wrote a famous poem about Chicago and I think it paints a truly evocative portrait of our city. We’re fighters and we don’t take no for an answer. That is what makes this town beautiful and why we manage to survive winter after punishing winter. Stay warm, friends.
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:The Bad Plus is a great contemporary jazz outfit that I have been grooving hard to lately. This one never fails to give me feelies. Enjoy!
For those of you high schoolers who will be visiting DePaul on your respective spring breaks this year, I have one recommendation for something to do. It is, in my mind, so quintessentially Chicago that you simply must not miss the opportunity to experience it.
I have talked about TJ and Dave before but for those of you have not heard me sing their praises to this point, Tj Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi are two improvisers here in town who are the artistic directors of iO’s Mission Theatre in their new space on Kinhsbury. In addition to moderating the shows that play at The Mission, they have their own 90 minute show that they do every Wednesday night at 10:30pm eponymously titled TJ & Dave. They come on the stage, introduce each other, drop their trademark line of “Trust us, this is all made up”, the lights go down, the lights come up, and they tear into 90 minutes of improve right off the tops of their heads. They don’t take suggestions, they just look at each other and the scene grows from whatever behavior is happening in that moment. It is quite honestly the best theatre I have ever seen. These two men are such incredible quality actors that them just existing together creates some of the funniest, poignant, and thought-provoking theatre being done anywhere. Most people are familiar with the sketch-based improve that Chicago is known for thanks to Second City and iO, but this longform work is also a hallmark of the Chicago improve scene. The space is very intimate and the audience is always rapt because they know just how special the material unfolding before them can be. It’s only $10 but make sure you buy your tickets ahead of time because this show sells out every single week. If you’re interested, here’s a trailer for a documentary recently done about the guys that can whet your appetite.
Improv and storefront theatre are what make Chicago’s theatre scene the beautiful cacophony that it is and nothing encapsulates that spirit more than TJ & Dave.
This song is love, people. “I’d rather be working for a paycheck, than waiting to win the lottery”
I can’t stop thinking about the movie Whiplash. By now, many of you out there have probably at least heard of it. For those of you who haven’t, Whiplash is a remarkable film about a young jazz drummer at the nation’s top music conservatory being pushed to the limit by a supremely demanding conductor at the school. It’s such a beautifully done film; masterfully acted, shot, and edited. And it asks an important question: what makes the great artists truly great?
As I inch ever closer to graduation, the constant daydreaming about what kind of work I want to do as an artist and human being is becoming ever more pressing. I’m in a really fortunate position, I can pretty much go anywhere and do anything I want, but it’s tough to figure out what my path will be. I know what I value and I know the kind of people I want to work with, but it’s a matter of putting myself in a position that will allow me to be free to do exactly the kind of work I want to do.
One of my immediate goals is to continue to do a great deal of quality classical work, both Shakespeare and otherwise. Thus far the performances I have done that I enjoy the most and from which I learn the most have been performing Shakespeare. I’m going to continue on this track because I believe that if you can perform classical text well, you can do it all well. It’s also becoming more and more of a desire of mine to write and produce some killer short films with my buddy. I’ve been learning more about what it actually takes to produce a film and it seems like something we can actually do. I have no doubt that we can make some honest, personal films and I want to get it done! The wheels are turning!
In Whiplash, our protagonist takes to heart the idea that the great jazz musicians in history became great because they were relentless and never, ever took no for an answer. While I think one has to take care of themselves and have a healthy separation from their work, I do think that it is so important to go after artistic pursuits with single-minded determination. It’s the only way and that’s how I plan on working from this point on.
I saw The Districts on Seth Meyers this past week. Great energy and killer sound for such a young band. I mean, come on! They just graduated HIGH SCHOOL!
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:This week’s hot track comes from Eels. His album Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire is rad to say the least. Give it a good, hard listen. Enclosed is one of my preferred tracks from that joint.
This quarter, my class has a tandem of two weekly classes at the Acting Studio Chicago. The Acting Studio is a center for classes focused in acting technique and also the business side of the entertainment industry in Chicago. The classes we are taking are an acting for the camera class and also an audition technique class. They present an interesting one-two punch every week introducing every week to what it might really be like to work as an actor in Chicago.
In acting for the camera, we go through scenarios every week that resemble an actual on-camera audition that we would go on. We read commercial copy and learn how to most effectively use our training to make this sometimes dry text unique to us and boil down what will help us get callbacks on these auditions. It’s a subtle technique and looking at yourself on the screen once we’ve filmed the segments is very weird at first. I’m getting more used to it with each class but it can make you pretty self-conscious. It really just comes down to practice, I think. Doing this kind of material is something very few people in my class have ever done but we’re getting better. In addition to reading copy, we’ve gone through scenarios for auditions with no written text and worked in pairs. We are certainly getting an advantage because so many other actors our age not coming out of a program such as ours don’t have this opportunity to learn the industry and the technique before jumping in to an audition.
Speaking of auditioning, our audition class on Fridays is an extension of the audition class we had last quarter. We are learning what it takes to get in the door with agents and do our best work when we get in the room for those auditions. I guess the biggest thing that I’m taking from all of it is that there is no right way to do it, really. The most important thing to me is that I don’t feel like I’m compromising any part of myself to get work that I think I “should” get or “have” to get. I want to and will do it my way and I am confident that, because of that, I will do the work that I want to do. Rock on, amirite?
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:Say what you will about Beck, but the dude can really write a jam.
This week is "Towers" by Bon Iver. My favorite song off their self-titled second album. I could listen to it any time, any day.
For those of you have never done a play, tech week is the time during a play's production where all of the design elements are incorporated before opening. As such, it necessitates going through the play moment by moment and folding in lights, sound, and transitions. I personally love tech because it demands a high level of focus as an actor and allows you to feel out, in a deep way, what it will truly take to perform the show each night. The key is to take care of yourself, especially during the winter. You have to make sure you have enough food at home to sustain yourself because you probably won't be making it to the grocery store any time soon. It also always helps me to have my room clean and laundry done for the sake of my mental state. That way, even if I'm stressed about rehearsal or class or whatever else, at least I know that I have clean clothes and sheets waiting for me at home.
I'm very excited to open this show and share our ensemble's work with the community. It's a wacky piece that I think will be very interesting to perform for The Theatre School.
Tyler's Hot Track of the Week:
I'm a big fan of Bon Iver and have also started taking in Bon Iver creative force Justin Vernon's other work as well. This song from his band Volcano Choir called Byegone is particularly good and I hope you'll give it a taste.
The fourth year of the BFA Acting program here at The Theatre School is largely an exit year. We take classes like audition technique, acting for the camera, and voice over to help prepare us for the realities of being a working actor in Chicago or elsewhere. Important stuff like how to format headshots and resumes, and how to interface with agents and casting directors is covered. All of this in addition to some more acting technique. One of the pure acting technique classes this quarter is Advanced Meisner and it is a fascinating course.
Many of you have probably heard, at least in passing, of actors using Meisner technique. It is a study of the teachings of a man named Sanford Meisner. The idea, as with most acting training, is to help the actor personalize text to a high degree and be able to fully exist with his or her scene partner in the moment. The training starts with what is known as “repeating”. This is where two actors will sit across from one another, observe each other, and state what they see. For instance, I may say to my partner “You have a blue shirt.” And then he or she would repeat, “I have a blue shirt” and I would say my statement again until one of us made another statement. Eventually, the goal is to be able to make statements about what your partner is doing or feeling and the partner can agree or disagree with them and make observations about you.
It is an excellent tool by which to drop in to meaningful presence with your partner. Another aspect of the training is personalization and emotional preparation. This uses the given text of a play and helps the actor make it mean something very deeply to him or her in preparation for a scene. Ideally, this preparation takes the actor to a vulnerable place in some way and then when they enter the scene, they do not have to consciously think about it. It will be there in them and they can be fully present with their partner and the circumstances of the text.
The emotional prep stuff can be scary. It leads to some very strong reactions during the training but, as far I have seen, can also lead to some decidedly truthful and vulnerable work if handled in the correct way. We’ve only had one class so far but I’m looking forward to diving deeper into this training. It’s a great class to have at this stage of my training.
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:I’ve been feeling sentimental this week and Marvin Gaye always has a way of encapsulating what I am feeling or what I want to feel. Here’s the real jam for the week.
I’m on another Andrew Bird kick lately and here’s a track of his that struck me the moment I heard it.
One of those college stereotypes that I never thought I would fall victim to was the college student as the coffee addict. My parents are both dedicated coffee drinkers and it never really caught on for me before or during high school. But after a year of college, at the beginning of my sophomore year, I started drinking coffee before my 8:00am LSP-120 class and have since been hooked. I don’t drink it every day but it’s at least once every other day, and I must say that I love it. Part of what I love about it is the ritual of either making it myself or going to a café and grabbing a cup. The warmth and spark it gives me on an early morning are invigorating and sometimes indispensable. And thank goodness I decided to fall in love with coffee in a city that is so rich with coffee opportunities.
Your first stop should be Bow Truss Coffee Roasters. These guys are down-to-business coffee folk. I have been to their Lakeview location. The utilitarian space is geared towards showcasing the process of bringing coffee to your cup. They have some seating available but no Wi-Fi. So bring a book/magazine/newspaper and enjoy the fantastic cup of coffee they will brew for you. Their coffee has also been featured at Brownstone’s at DePaul’s student center!
Next, shuffle up Broadway to Intelligentsia. A very similar atmosphere to Bow Truss but with Wi-Fi and a bit more traffic. I would say that Intelligentsia is likely the most popular coffee in Chicago outside of your more commercial options. They do a very good job of rotating their selection so the more you visit, the more things you will be able to try. Plus, the painfully trendy employees are always kind and helpful, even for the less experienced coffee consumers.
Now for something a little quirkier! If you find yourself in the vicinity of Wicker Park, make a stop by The Wormhole. This place is for those of you truly nerdy coffee connoisseurs. It is decked out from head to toe in sci-fi paraphernalia, retro video games, and even a real-life DeLorean. This is a favorite of my roommates’ and mine. They also do a great job of bringing in brews from all over the world so that your palate can marvel in the diversity of coffee available to us. Truly wonderful times in which we live!
So make sure you bring your mug with you if you’re coming to visit Chicago during this sure-to-be brutal winter. You’ll have no shortage of fantastic coffee options right at your fingertips.
It’s been too long since I shot a Radiohead B-side out into the blogosphere. Take this! A true classic, in my opinion.
This past weekend was The Theatre School’s first audition and interview day of the year. For the next couple months, we will see thousands of students from around the world showcase their talents and see if they might be a good fit for our program. We do these auditions and interviews at regional locations around the country, but I am of the opinion that it is certainly more fun to come and do it on campus. You get the chance to actually work in our beautiful facility and feel out Chicago a bit to see if it might be your bag. Of course, equal consideration is given to all of the auditions done at any of our audition locations. I just think that if you can come visit us on campus you definitely should.
So, for those of you auditioning for our Acting program, let me give you a few pointers on our audition that will hopefully reduce your nerves and help you feel like you can put forth your best work. First off, breathe. Nervousness can make us get all tight and compressed but it will be to your advantage to be as open and available as possible during your work and allowing yourself to breathe is the first step in that direction. And I know it’s not as easy as it sounds sometimes! I still struggle to allow myself to breathe in auditions but when I do, it’s always better. Second, choose a piece that you really love. If you are doing a monologue that you really connect with on a deep level, you will automatically show a lot of who you genuinely are in the piece. And that’s what we want to see. Be willing to show us a little bit of yourself during the limited time we have with you and you can’t lose. Lastly, be willing to play. Acting and collaborating is all about being willing to think on your feet, take what your partner is giving you, and strongly give them something right back. So come in to the process willing to try some new things and surprise yourself. That right there is the best feeling; when you’ve committed so deeply to the piece, and the people you are working with, that you do things you didn’t even know you were capable of. That’s theatre and people will pay to see it.
I hope this has been helpful for those of you out there cutting up monologues and booking tickets to Chicago or wherever else. Who knows? You might even have a little fun when you audition. I sure hope you do.
Tyler’s Hot Track of the
Some mellow vibes and
often devastating lyrics can come from Iron & Wine. Just what the doctor
Well, it's nearly arrived. I'm just about entering rising senior status here at DePaul. That's a scary thought. It's one of the biggest cliches but it really does feel like just yesterday I was standing on Clifton with several plastic tubs full of stuff that I thought would allow me to survive on my own, waiting to move into University Hall. A lot has changed since then, obviously, but perhaps just as many things have stayed the same. Im now thinking about how I want to make my senior year the best it can be.
For starters, with all my non-major required courses fulfilled, I'm going to fit in as many extra, personally interesting classes that I can. I'm slated to take a German class in the fall, which will be a great help in pushing me down the path of knowing as many languages as possible. I also intend to take as many advanced stage combat classes as my schedule will allow. I took one advanced combat class this quarter and it was truly awesome. I learned a more refined level of unarmed and rapier & dagger combat, which I had started in the basic combat class, and also learned quarterstaff combat, which I had never done before. Quarter staff, a six foot long redwood staff, is a weapon designed for guys like me. It was a blast to use the full length of the staff and alternate between very rapid and slow and deliberate passages of combat. This coming year, the featured weapons, in addition to more rapier & dagger and unarmed, are broadsword and knife. I freaking can't wait.
Among my other goals for the next year are to write an at least ten minute play, learn how to play guitar, and take a significant camping trip with my buddies. But, in a less concrete sense, I think this year will be especially important in figuring out how life after college will be. What it will look like and how I will handle it on a day-to-day basis. What's fortunate is that The Theatre School does a great deal to prepare its students for life as theatre artists after college. And, ultimately, I know it won't be that different besides the fact that I won't go to class everyday. Instead of that, I'll go to my job. Weird. But just the natural progression of things, I guess. As someone who worries quite a lot, I just need to keep reminding myself that I know how to survive and finishing school is something I can totally handle.
So, for the next year, I hope to soak up as much experience as I can from DePaul and my status as a student in Chicago and then figure out that whole being a functioning member of society thing. Piece of cake, right?
Tylers Hot Track of the Week:Heres a moody lil one for you. Foals hail from Oxford, England like another English band that I sort of like a little bit (cough Radiohead cough). This one's perfect for expressing that early summer angst that might be boiling right under the surface for many of you. Enjoy, friends.
I love cooked meat. That's just my truth. I love animals, and I am all for their humane treatment, but if we are going to eat them, then we need to do it in the right way. But ultimately, I just love eating cooked meats of all kinds. To that end, if you are a meat eater in Chicago, you must be familiar with the hot dog and sausage scene. I've talked about some of the better spots for these succulent treats in previous posts but there is one place that I have been wanting to try and have not had the opportunity to do so yet. And what's more, my time in which to do so is limited.