CHS Crow | Kesan, Adrienne and AJ — ‘Soak up everything you possibly can’

This week, the CHS Crow met an improv pro who says one things leads to another, a physical therapist who cultivates connections, but who is probably calling it quits on the Hill, and a history buff committed to helping tell the story of Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. Say hello to these friendly friends and neighbors.


Curricular: Studied theater Day job: Performer, solo and with Seattle Comedy Group, and theater teacher Has lived in Seattle: Three years Moved to the Hill from: Milwaukee — via Belltown and Queen Anne  Moved to Seattle for: The improvisational theater and comedy scene.

I don’t believe in ____ , I just believe in ____ .
I don’t believe in ‘everything happens for a reason,’ I just believe in cause and effect.

… what does that mean for you?
If I go out saying I’m going to have a good night, I’ll come back with a good night. If I go out and sort of just do things that infringe on that, if I’m not at my full capacity, I’m going to have to expect the outcome of that.

It kind of conflicts with what I do, just because so much of it as far as success depends on the person being in the right place at the right time — just to get that big break or whatever — but I’d rather just go after it.

Is there a particular niche in theater you’re focusing on right now?
What I do mostly right now is improv, but every once in a while I stop by a couple of open mics — like Jai Tai, Comedy Underground, even down towards the Market at Can Can, and over at the Annex they have a lot of sketch performances , so I get to flex those muscles as well.

I’m also subbing for several different schools for theater. And teaching theater classes, and I also work with the Pre-K program over in Queen Anne. It’s just fun — it’s what I’ve been doing for a good eight years now.

Pretty rare that you get time to go out like this then?
Right now I’m teaching in Fremont at the Atlas Space Friday and Saturday nights — weekly improv jams, and a hip hop freestyle class — like a rap class you can go to, so that’s my Saturday. And then after the club closes, I’m usually back here, over at the Cha, or at this place getting some late night foodies: but yeah, I just love the area, there’s something going on constantly, and it just serves what you need .

Wisconsin or Seattle?
Wisconsin in beautiful and gorgeous, and it’s a great place, it’s wonderful. The winter however is extremely bitter — beautiful but harsh, very harsh, which is one of the best parts about Seattle. Weather doesn’t really change until the summer, but you don’t have to shovel rain,’ so that’s nice. As of right now, this has turned in to home. Just getting some roots in.

The main reason I’m out here is just what I’m doing for work right now, and I love it. I love the scene for it — it’s great. So I can’t really argue with it.

Ok, last one – what’s most beautiful sound you’ve ever heard
“Greensleeves” being played on a saw, or a theremin.

… where did you experience that?
YouTube. It’s one of those things.


Day job: Physical Therapist Extracurricular: Currently learning ukulele Lives in: North Seattle Moved from: Other parts of Seattle over last 15 years, including two bouts on Capitol Hill, all via Pennsylvania

Adrienne - CHS Crow Portrait - 2014.05What gives your life meaning?
My work for sure — just being able to help people. And my relationships with people in my community. I have a great family of friends here in Seattle. So, really, connecting with people, whether it’s through my work or through my social life. And just trying every day to be more compassionate, and a little bit wiser, and to make sure I dance and laugh and get out and about.

What was one of the scariest moments of your life?
The first time that I went skydiving. You had to step out of the plane, on to this little tiny platform and stand there until you jumped, with a person attached to your back. … And the wind, you think it’s going to take your leg off …

… what went through your head right after you jumped?
It was totally exhilarating and my brain really didn’t know what to do with the experience because it was so new. It felt like I couldn’t even process what was happening.

Do you have any thoughts about the ongoing changes on the Hill?
I’m actually moving my practice further north, mostly just because of my commute — because I’m not living over here, it’s a little tougher to just move back and forth. And the parking situation is getting trickier for having a clinic. There’s no parking available at my clinic, so patients are just having to park on the street, which I think is just going to get more difficult unless it’s just people who are in the neighborhood and walking.

When I was just living here, I walked 15 minutes to work, it was awesome. But eventually I’d like to buy something in Seattle, and that won’t happen on Capitol Hill, so I’m kind of in stages moving my life to somewhere its more likely I’ll be able to afford something. …

We’ll see if it becomes — if it’s affordable for just certain folks on Capitol Hill, or if it can be a nice mix of people. Because that’s one of the things I think is great about Capitol Hill, is just that you can see a ton of diversity.

What advice would you have for a person just starting a career in the healing arts, be it physical therapy or another practice?
I would say it’s worthwhile to shadow someone who’s in the field so you can get a much better sense of the day to day and really kind of what you’re getting yourself in to. And then to be open to opportunities that come your way.

I never thought I would work with cancer patients; I had a mentor years ago who thought that I should do that, and I said, ‘No, it’s just not for me.’ And for the first five or six years of my career I kind of really just shied away from it. Then I opened up to an opportunity that fell in to my lap and it turned out that I really enjoy it, and it’s kind of good niche for me, a good specialty area for me.


Curricular: BA in History and Urban Design Dayjob: On sabbatical, at least, from working as content editor for coupon website. Extracurricular: Collecting and archiving ‘social history’ of 1960’s in Old Town, Chicago. Has lived on Capitol Hill: A couple months Moved here from / will soon be returning to: Chicago

AJ - CHS Crow portrait, 2014.05What brought you to Capitol Hill?
My buddy lived here and he was like ‘Hey get out of the Midwest for a while.’ And I was like, ‘You know I need to see some hills, so let’s do it.’

Well, fair enough! What have you been up to?
I’m trying to get as much of the Pacific Northwest as I can while I’m out here. So we hiked Mt. Si a few weeks ago. Went to Alaska. Explored here. Portland tomorrow, and then head back to Chicago in month I think.

— yeah, that’s pretty good I’d say. Tell me something about your passion for history.
I studied history in college. So, I wanted to get something done: I’ve always had an interest in Old Town in Chicago, which is the equivalent of what the Greenwich Village was — big hippy movement. But if you read a lot about it in the history blurbs, it brushes over that history really quick. It just says ‘This is was an artist community.’ And I’m like, ‘Well that doesn’t really flesh out what that is.’

I did oral histories in college, and I was like, ‘I’m going to start calling people and just recording their stories, and then present it to the [DePaul University Library] archives myself.’ So that’s what I started doing, and I love it.

I talked to people who were 11 years old in the neighborhood [during the 60’s], and they thought it was weird, that nothing really happened. And I talked to people that were doing drugs with Johnny Cash for a long time too. Totally different stories.

I’ve been working on that project for about six months now, which is what I do out here on my free time, because I’m not working.

It’s been really rewarding and cool to get done. I hope to go to grad school eventually, that’s my plan — and teach urban history and get people excited about where the neighborhoods are, and how they formed and where people lived — I think that’s great.

What advice would you have for someone interested in exploring a city?
Soak up everything you possibly can, because that’s what cities are for. It gets boring if you become one flavor, and there’s so much to see.

And you said you’re a foodie — favorite sandwich?
Italian beef! — I’m from Chicago.

best place to get one?
The original Al’s or Johnnie’s in the suburbs. Johnnie’s, you don’t want to get it dipped, you want to get it wet. Dipped is too much. And you wanna get sweet peppers, not hot.

Previously on CHS Crow

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3 thoughts on “CHS Crow | Kesan, Adrienne and AJ — ‘Soak up everything you possibly can’

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