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Arts administrator blends southern charm and nice arms

One of our readers' awesome single friends is ready for his close-up.

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PHOTO BY COLLEEN DURKIN; STYLING BY AGGA B. RAYA; PROPS AND SET BY DOUG JOHNSTON AND COLLEEN DURKIN
  • Photo by Colleen Durkin; Styling by Agga B. Raya; Props and set by Doug Johnston and Colleen Durkin

Christopher Audain
28, Humboldt Park

Seeking: adventures with dudes with brains

Occupation: arts administrator

His friend says: "He's wicked smart on art and politics, and he keeps fit by biking from Humboldt to Hyde Park. That biking also gives him a cute butt and strong arms."

What do you do when you're not working?

Go on adventures.

Smoker?

No.

Pets?

No.

Dietary restrictions?

Nope. Love gluten and lactose.

Children?

Hahahaha.

Religion?

Love.

If HBO made a miniseries about your life, who would you cast for the lead role?

Cuba Gooding Jr. circa Boyz N the Hood.

What's your preferred method for surviving a Chicago winter?

What Chicago winter?

Go-to karaoke song?

"Lean on Me" in the style of Bill Withers—pretty much my go-to everything song

What do you find boring?

This questionnaire.

What was your first e-mail address/AIM name?

CdainSpeedStar. I ran a lot of track in high school.

What's your zombie apocalypse contingency plan?

Step 1: gather all my friends and family in a sturdy apartment building, third floor. Step 2: create a charter and build community of trust and responsibility. Step 3: the cure.

If you could only eat one type of sandwich for the rest of your life what would you pick?

Grilled cheese.

Where were you this past Fourth of July at 7:18 PM?

The nation's capital, of course, celebrating America.

PHOTO BY COLLEEN DURKIN; STYLING BY AGGA B. RAYA; PROPS AND SET BY DOUG JOHNSTON AND COLLEEN DURKIN
  • Photo by Colleen Durkin; Styling by Agga B. Raya; Props and set by Doug Johnston and Colleen Durkin

At what stage in your life were you the best (or worst) version of yourself?

I was the worst version of myself circa 2010 when I was about 23-24—I partied too much and thought I knew everything. I'm pretty happy with the current version of myself as I feel like I know where I'm going, learn something new every day, and am very excited for the next decade.

Are you afraid of or excited to face the unknown?

It can be scary sometimes venturing into uncharted waters, but I try dive headfirst into the unknown.

Who is your intellectual idol?

The Hulk.

So, really, why are you single?

I really enjoy being single. I've dated and had some more serious relationships, and right now for me the independence that comes with being single is ideal. I'm open to that very special guy coming along when I'm ready, and when we can complement the chaos of each other's lives.

Anything else you feel like including to help people get to know you?

I am the project and finance coordinator at the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. It's a pretty dynamic and demanding job, but ultimately rewarding and very engaging, never boring. I believe investment in the arts is one of the smartest things we can do as a country—they build character and confidence, enhance performance in school, help us to connect in the most humanistic ways, and ultimately break down systematic barriers of race, class, gender, and sexuality. I will never stop fighting for the arts in our society.

I am originally from Nashville, and didn't apply to any colleges in the south because I wanted to get out. I landed on my feet at Kenyon College in rural Gambier, Ohio, then moved to Chicago in 2008 to pursue a career in the arts. My southern roots are very much a part of who I am and the way I see the world. I think it's where I get my manners, so I'll always say please and thank you to all y'all. I nearly completely lost my accent, however there are a few words I say with a different inflection than my midwestern and northern counterparts.

I became significantly more politically minded in college, and even my master's thesis in arts administration focused on arts and politics, and the history of federal funding for the arts and the NEA. More recently, I have become more involved in protests across the city that focus on inequality and inequities in our justice system. The hope is that raising our voices together will open a path towards creating new policies that address some of our country's longstanding issues.

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