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Art & Life with Greg Weiss

Today we’d like to introduce you to Greg Weiss.

Greg, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Pegged as a natural storyteller with an overactive imagination, even as a small child, I told tales, tall and sometimes true, mostly to get out of work or trouble. Eventually, life brought me to Chicago to study theatre at Northwestern University, after which I focused my efforts on teaching theatre to middle and high school students. Somewhere in the midst of this, a side trip into graduate school ensued, along with a detour into rock and roll. Finally, graduating from teaching into full-time performance work, at long last, I know what I want to do when I grow up.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Over the years, my work has been called: Written & Spoken Word, Performance Art, Storytelling, Food Whisperer

Depending on the occasion, audiences will be regaled with tales, classical, contemporary or original, covering the gamut of human experience from humor and whimsy, to heartfelt and thought-provoking. If Chef G takes the stage, then the focus is on food culture & lore and more than the imagination will be fed! Think of Chef G as Fringe Festival meets the Food Network.

Sharing direct communication between one person and the audience, with minimal trappings, to shine a little light and/or happiness is what motivates my art. As humans, we are hardwired for a story, and true storytelling happens in the space between teller and listeners. I work to live in and to honor that space.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
The best advice I could offer to artists actually comes from Kurt Vonnegut:

“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

Beyond that, I would add that while it’s not an easy path, persist–keep striving to do better today than yesterday. Follow your passion. Nurture your being. Tune out distractions. Trust and listen to your muse. Also, encourage artists of all stripes, in all media. It’s not a competition or a race. The more vibrant the art scene, the better it is for all artists. You will find a way to live & make art, and ideally, they will feed each other.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Have a story, will travel. My work finds me anywhere someone is looking for a story well told. Based in Chicago, I travel extensively around the Midwest and beyond. I am equally at home whether the venue is a festival, theatre stage, tavern, library, school or community center. I also work with people in nonperformance settings to explore the power of story in their professional lives.

My one man dramatic reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a late autumn, early winter tradition, sure to warm hearts and lift spirits. Having performed several dozen times, for well over a decade, be sure to look for it in December at one of my favorite haunts, The Celtic Knot in Evanston. It is also available as a double CD, through my website.

Beyond that, anyone looking to hire a storyteller can email me through my website or call me at 708.799.8230. Not only do I have a host of programs for all occasions, I welcome commissions, to tailor a program for your event.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
(Chef G -presents- and Greg Weiss STORYTELLER images) Marc Alan Fishman, (Dickens’ A Christmas Carol image) Katie Weiss

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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