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2343 No BS Interviews
61 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
Creating a Universe of Art, Games, and Toys: Ninjatown & Shawnimals — Shawn Smith
Shawn co-founded a unique character design studio, Shawnimals—created with his wife over 10 years ago. Hundreds of characters inhabit those worlds and live through toys, murals, and videogames. The ninjas from Ninjatown transformed from handmade plush toys to vinyl creations, posters, stickers, calendars, keychains, and mobile apps. He grew up admiring Japanese and American pop-culture, with a passion that morphed from early doodles to characters like the Wee Ninja from Ninjatown, Moustachios, Pocket Pork Dumplings, and many, many more. His designer toys have seen success with Kidrobot and Rotofugi, apparel with Mimoco, David and Goliath, and Smash Transit. Shwan created original art for companies like MailChimp, Basecamp, LiveNation, Twisted Hyppo, Dark Matter Coffee, Cards Against Humanity, Revolution Brewing, and others—not to mention comics, and video games for Nintendo, iOS, and Android.
51 minutes | Apr 16, 2020
Don't Worry About Being Funny & Stumbling Into Brilliance — Rachael Mason
Rachael began her career in improvisation at Skidmore College, home of the National College Comedy Festival, with the Ad-Liberal Artists. After graduating with a degree in English Literature (concentrating on Shakespearean Studies) she moved to Chicago to study improv comedy with Del Close. Currently the head of Advanced Improvisation at The Second City, she created the Dramatic Improv programs as well as The History of Satire Series for The Second City Training Center. Rachael has performed musical improv with Baby Wants Candy at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, directed and performed at The Annoyance Theater, and she was Training Center Director at iO Theater for 8 years. She is part of the cast of The Second City Improv All-Stars and performs in The Boys, with Susan Messing.
35 minutes | Apr 2, 2020
Becoming A Puzzle Maker & Founding The Mystery League — Sandor Weisz
Sandor Weisz is the founder of The Mystery League, a company of creative puzzlemakers who stage live games. He developed large scale puzzles and games at locations like the Chicago Art Institute, the Lincoln Park Zoo or the Harold Washington Library. A Northwestern University graduate, Sandor transitioned to working full time on the Mystery League from a career as a software and web developer. He currently focuses on creating tabletop puzzle games and shares a new puzzle every day on Twitter via his account @pzlr.
34 minutes | Jan 23, 2020
Free Expression Through Art & Radical Self-Learning — Lanny Fox
Lanny Fox (Pam Who?!) is a brilliant writer, actor, comedian, and drag performer exploring through comedy and satire controversial social themes. He has written and performed with The Second City, The Annoyance Theater, and The iO Comedy Network in Chicago. He is also a student of The New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
70 minutes | Jan 9, 2020
Our Relationship with Technology & What Social Media Metrics Do to Us — Ben Grosser
Ben is an artist focused on the cultural, social, and political effects of software. What do computers mean for human creativity? How does software design affect our behavior and ideas of friendship and relationship? Faculty member at the University of Illinois, his artworks have been featured in The New Yorker, Wired, The Atlantic, and more. Ben's projects include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Demetricator. Would not seeing likes and retweets make a difference in your online experience? His latest work is Order of Magnitude, a supercut that examines what Mark Zuckerberg focuses on by extracting a few words he says regularly.
63 minutes | Jun 6, 2019
Following the Unknown & Navigating New Realities — Susan Messing
The improviser from The Second City, the iO, and The Annoyance on how to navigate the unknown and your reality, moment by moment.
51 minutes | Dec 13, 2018
Telling the Story of Chicago Theater & Improv — Mark Larson
Mark Larson is a writer, interviewer, educator, and curator of many oral history projects like American Stories Continuum and Ensemble, Chicago collecting and sharing conversations about contemporary life in the United States. Professor at National-Louis University, Mark also published two books: 'Making Conversations' and 'Situations' (co-authored with Betty Jane Wagner). Inspired by Studs Terkel's work, Mr. Larson's interviews are intimate portraits of subjective experiences in our communities, shining a light (one voice at a time) on our shared social experience as human beings.
51 minutes | Nov 29, 2018
Merging Unlikely Passions and Careers Through Exploration — Melissa McEwen
Melissa McEwen is a tech consultant and writer merging two passions and careers, publishing articles for Quartz, Submain, on Medium and more. You can check out her website and social media profiles by visiting melissamcewen.com.
52 minutes | Nov 14, 2018
SNL, Police Academy, & What Truly Matters in Life — Tim Kazurinsky
Tim Kazurinsky is an actor, screenwriter, Saturday Night Live alumnus, and performer from the Police Academy series as Officer Sweetchuck. In the early 80s, Mr. Kazurinsky played iconic characters on SNL, like Jack Badofsky on Weekend Update, Mr Landlord, Gandhi, Hitler, and even a chimp's husband in "I Married a Monkey". As a two times Jefferson Awards nominee, Tim's experience on live stages started with the Second City in Chicago and goes on to these days as the Wizard of Oz in Wicked's itinerating company, and with the Broadway play An Act of God. He is the screenwriter of the movie About Last Night, and shared screen and stage with John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Bill Murray, Sharon Stone, and more.
52 minutes | Oct 31, 2018
Boosting Creativity Through Restraints — Scott Robbin
Scott Robbin, web developer and co-creator with Naz Hamid of Vapid, an intentionally simple content management system to create websites. Starting in the late 90s, Mr. Robbin founded different companies like Halobrite and Songza, and also worked as lead developer and director for Cards Agains Humanity, Blackbox, and more. You can check out his projects on srobbin.com and learn more about Vapid, his latest creation, on vapid.com.
52 minutes | Oct 18, 2018
Self-improving with People Smarter than You — Cody Gough
Cody Gough is a radio host, producer, and audio editor. For over a decade he worked as a producer and content creator with WGN Radio, GonnaGeek Network, and Curiosity.com. Mr. Gough's skills help shows to take shape and become even more successful while he works with hosts like Spike O'Dell, Brian Noonan, Nick Digilio, Steve King and Johnnie Putnam, Milt Rosenberg, and Pete McMurray. He hosts the award-winning, daily curiosity.com podcast and Game/Life Balance U.S., a lifestyle show.
52 minutes | Oct 4, 2018
Reclaiming Focus, Attention, & Involving Emotional Stakeholders — Linnea Gandhi
Linnea Gandhi is adjunct professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Chicago Booth and founder of BehavioralSight—an advisory firm helping businesses to integrate insights and methodologies from behavioral science into their research and decision-making processes. Linnea also coaches leaders on ways to reduce error in their own everyday decisions. Her work has been published in Harvard Business Review. Prof. Gandhi has also written and spoken about topics such as noise in decision-making, nudging strategies, and experimentation in business. She aims to teach students to understand and design for the nature, causes, and implications of human decision-making patterns in real-world settings.
53 minutes | Sep 20, 2018
Seeking Your True Self & Having Fun in the Process — Jen Ellison
Jen Ellison is an actor, writer, director, and professor focusing on comedy and theatre. Throughout her career, Ms. Ellison performed and directed at ComedySportz, Collaboraction, The Neo-Futurists, and The Second City, the legendary improv theater where Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Key and Peele, and Stephen Colbert first learned how to be be funny on stage. As a professor, she is the former lead of an Ethics in Gaming class, analyzing how we, as players, can become somebody else, living through another point of view, experience empahty, and how videogames and cinema are powerful tools of storytelling and human connection. Jen also mentors students on how to become funnier at Columbia College Chicago by teaching comedy classes in the Comedy Studies program. You can check out her work both on stage, and throuhg "Drunk JCrew", a parody of Jcrew's adversiting shots on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook pages.
59 minutes | Sep 6, 2018
GigaOm & The Fourth Age of Humans and Machines — Byron Reese
Byron Reese is an entrapreneur, public speaker and author, currently CEO and Publisher of GigaOM, a leading technology research company. As a technologist and futurist, Mr. Reese brings his passion for history and philosophy to the readers shining a light on social dilemmas that we already face, and will face, as humans. His most recent book, The Fourth Age, explores the essence of humanity through the lenses of philosophy applied to technological change, using an objective yet positive light on how the coming age of machine automation and AI will reshape our futures potentially ending war, ignorance, disease, hunger, povery, and war—while also exploring less favorable scenarios that humanity should do its best to avoid.
49 minutes | Aug 23, 2018
Comedy, Writing, & Not Settling for What You're Given — Ashley Ray
Ashley Ray is a comedian, writer, and TV critic sharing her personal stories and ideas while touching important topics like gender, race, and sexuality. As a cultural critic, Ashley writes for The A.V. Club, Vice, and The Chicago Reader.
50 minutes | Aug 16, 2018
The Journey to Drag & Protest by Having Fun — Dakota Conduct
Dakota Conduct is a Supply Chain Analyst by the day, and drag queen by night. Living in the duality of corporate daytime professional and gender-bending drag queen in nightlife, she shows how knowledge can only further enhance her drag aesthetic.
37 minutes | Aug 9, 2018
RadioPublic & Empowering the Podcast Community — Jake Shapiro
RadioPublic's CEO and co-founder Jake Shapiro talks about RadioPublic's stragety, business model, and risks, discussing how to create a sustainable marketplace for podcast creators and listeners while contributing to the development of open standards and a decentralized ecosystem.
45 minutes | Aug 2, 2018
Founding WakandaCon, Black Culture, & Reclaiming Your Past — Ali Barthwell
Ali Barthwell is the co-founder of WakandaCon, a celebration of afro-futurism and black culture in a society that stripped african-americans of their past. She is a writer, performer and comedian teaching her students how to use sterotypes on gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation as a tool of growth for themselves and their audiences.
35 minutes | Jul 12, 2018
Cliff-dwelling & Architectural Landscapes — Thomas Thorson
Thomas Thorson is a landscape architect and urban designer interpreting the physical world to interconnect people in an urban environment. He serves on the Board of Directors at the Cliff Dwellers Club, an historic and iconic arts club in downtown Chicago. You can find more about Tom visiting https://cliff-chicago.org.
51 minutes | Jul 5, 2018
No Excuses: Changing Things Is Up to You — Neal Sàles-Griffin
Neal Sáles-Griffin is an entrapreneur, teacher, and an educational leader born and raised in the Chicago South Side, currently CEO of CodeNow, a national nonprofit teaching young people how to code in order to solve problems and become creators of their own future. Professor at Nortwhestern, University of Chicago Booth, and teacher for the Chicago Public Schools empowering high schoolers with skills from software development to business creation basics in the tech field, Mr. Sáles-Griffin is a 30yo running as a Chicago mayor candidate as an outsider, but one who comes from the community in times where being a poilitical outsider means coming from the entertainment field. You can read more about his projects, resumé and platform, by visiting nealformayor.com.
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