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On-Line Edition      Thursday, October 19, 2017      Vol. 59  No. 42

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‘Champions’ honored by YMCA

“Celebrating Our Champions of Change" was the theme for Tri-Town YMCA's 2017 Annual Meeting that was held Oct. 11 at National University of Health Sciences. Following the installation of the Board of Directors, four of the Y's "champions" were recognized with awards. Rev. Jim Ilten, pictured in the top photo with Y Interim Executive Director Deb Allen (left) and President Whitney Cimaglia-Voelker, is a Y Past President and board member who was recognized in appreciation for his 19 years of dedicated service to the Y. In the bottom photo, Lombard Boy Scout Troop 51 member Alec Schulze, pictured with his parents Audrey and Ron Schulze (left) and Y Secretary Dennis McGuire, was recognized for his Eagle Scout project to repair the Y's Christmas tree sales hut trailer. Also recognized were Y board First Vice President Tony Palmisano who received the President's Award, and the Glenbard East High School National Honor Society that received the Friend of the Y Award for helping with setup and sales during the Y's annual Christmas Tree Sale.                  Photos by Steve Spoden

                ***** Out & About  by Jane Charmelo *****

Lombard resident good at being a "bad" cop

Watch crime drama TV long enough, and you are bound to see Kurt Naebig in the role of a not-so-nice police officer — the kind, he described, in similar words, as a hard-nose.
    The likely explanation?     "I've got a face for being a cop," quipped the Lombard resident, whose biography in show business is longer than a nightstick.
    Naebig most recently was "Grogan" on NBC's "Chicago Fire," who is, you guessed it, a police officer. It's a role he said he first played some five years ago on the show.
    Naebig grew up in Cicero and La Grange, and actually went into business for himself at the age of 13. He recalled how at age 11 he loved skateboarding, and began selling skateboards out of his house.
    When he was 13, he opened up his own skate shop for three years in Oak Park, commenting, "You don't think much about the logistics as a kid."
    Ironically, it was as a young entrepreneur that Naebig first got what he called his "15 minutes of fame" after being featured by the likes of People Magazine, National Geographic World, "Good Morning America" and Charlie Rose, to name a few.
    In high school, Naebig took an improv and mime class, saying with a chuckle that "I viewed it as a blow-off [class]," but what happened next may have been a pivotal point in turning him toward acting.
    "I kind of got bit by the [acting] bug," he said, adding that he went on to take an improv class at College of DuPage, and "I loved it."
    He attended the Players Workshop of the Second City, and the then-Audition Center, now The Acting Studio/Chicago, studying under Jane Brody, someone he considers a mentor.
    The actor ended up studying at Juilliard, where he was one of only 25 out of 1,000 prospective students to make the cut, and in 1990 received a degree in drama. He counts Jean Tripplehorn, Laura Linney and Tim Blake Nelson as being among his fellow classmates.
    Naebig said his first movie role was in 1986 as a high school "jock" in "Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer," about Henry Lee Lucas. At the time, he recalled, it didn't seem like the movie would go anywhere, but "film classes have been taught around that movie."
    Since then his portfolio has demonstrated a wide variety of acting opportunities, including comedy ("just not a lot of it on screen"); voiceover work (Mazda, Craftsman, McDonald's and Chicago Wolves commercials to name a few); and performing with Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Portland State and Buffalo Theatre Ensemble (BTE).
    However, many of the actor's roles have been as a law enforcement officer; for instance, as an FBI agent in the 2009 release of the movie, "Public Enemies," before which Naebig was first featured in "Out and About."
    His short but intense role had him, shall we say, coercing a bad guy to give up information, and he remembers thinking after reading the script, "OK, if they keep that in, that's kind of memorable."
    Some of the actor's police roles have been on "Chicago Code," "APB" and Chicago P.D.," the latter of which he appears in three episodes. No spoiler here.
    He said he doesn't know if his role as Grogan on "Chicago Fire" will continue and if so, where it will lead, but in the meantime, he enjoys the work.
    Naebig said he believes he has some insights on playing a cop based on "where I grew up," saying it was a tough neighborhood.
    Although, he quipped, with Grogan's character, "I was playing a nice cop. Usually I'm trying to hurt somebody."
    He described his not-so-nice police characters as being men who "don't think they're bad guys."
    The actor said he gets casting calls for this type of role because "it's kind of what people call [me] in for."
    Naebig, who has also taught and coached acting since the early 1990s — and has been behind the lens, so to speak, as a director — said he has broadened his horizons by performing on stage, in such roles as Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire," and as Joseph (also known as John) Merrick in "Elephant Man."
    Not exactly his usual roles, so for him the challenge is "to use every ounce of training that you've got."
    "Acting onstage is significantly more difficult," he said, because on film, he may be "on" for a minute or so, and shots can be retaken.     However, an actor might be onstage "for an hour-and-a-half before you get to an intermission," Naebig pointed out, saying that during that time all kinds of things can happen, from prop mishaps to lost lines.
    He believes stage acting is "the testing ground," because it's easier to go from stage to film than from film to stage.
    The actor recently finished directing "The 39 Steps" with the BTE, and is slated to appear in the BTE production of "Time Stands Still," next February.
    When asked if there is any type of role for which he would like to be cast, Naebig responded, "I'm not an actor who walks around itching to do something in particular."
    At the same time, "I would take on the role as a regular cast member in any TV show — I would not care about the genre," he stated. "I just love to work and would be excited to have that opportunity."
    However, the actor summed up, he doubts he will ever get a call to audition for the role of a camp counselor.
    To learn more about Naebig, visit his website at www.kurtnaebig.com.

                 *** September 11, 2011 ***