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The End of Season Four and the Beginning of “The Department”

Here we are: the end of another season of Our Fair City.   It is difficult to properly express the gratitude we feel towards everyone who has had a hand in the creation of this work – the stellar cast, production and sound-design team, our dedicated board and staff, and of course, our ever-growing listenership.  We’ve had chances to speak with more and more of you, at conventions, through email, Facebook, and Twitter, and even at late-night diners — it has been an absolute joy to hear your thoughts on the series, what you loved, who you hated, and more.

The season finale (and really, the whole season) has seen us breaking new ground–more underscoring and music from composer Stephen Poon, dynamic manipulations of the soundscape and scene-changes from designer Ryan Schile, and an overall sharpening and focusing of the writing team under Clayton Faits.  We hope you’ve enjoyed listening as we learn more about the craft of audiodrama—we sure have had a lot of fun with it.

Our Fair City will be resuming on January 18th with the launch of Season Five.  In the meantime, we’re excited to announce something brand new from HartLife NFP. Starting Wednesday, October 30th, we’ll be releasing “The Department”- a webcomic created by Ryan Simmons, Dann Tincher, and Jim McDoniel, set in the world of HartLife some time before the events in the audio drama. “The Department” follows the exploits of a young inductee into the department of the “Municipal Union for the Restructuring of District Records” as he learns the ropes with HartLife’s finest Agents.  The webcomic will be updated every Wednesday, just like the show, and will run until we launch Season Five—so keep checking back for new things from the world of HartLife!

It has been an absolute pleasure, folks.  Thank you for listening, and as always…

See you in the tunnels.

Vice President Gardner

A huge thank you for a great Fringe Festival

Loyal Policies,

What a ride!  We’ve wrapped up our run at the 2013 Chicago Fringe Festival, and boy–was it a great time.  By our count, we had roughly ~150 policies, new and old, come see the show–with a fantastically packed house for the final performance!

Mark Soloff as Archibald FunnyPants with the HartLife Players.  Photo by Ryan Bond.

We want to give a big shout out to all the folks who helped spread the word about the live performance- including, but not limited to: Geek Girl Chicago, Chicago Nerd Social Club, OCDweeb, Skill Point Station, Chicago Loot Drop, Chicago Game Lovers, Two Girls a Guy and a Tardis Podcast, ETMF Podcast, Forward Compatible Podcast, David Zoltan, Time Crash, Arc Impulse, Raks Geek, and the Chicago Sci-Fi club!   We’d also really like to thank the Chicago Fringe Festival and the Jefferson Park community for being such welcoming hosts—we had a great time, and can’t wait for next year!


Live Foley artist David Rheinstrom works his magic. Photo by Ryan Bond.

So, once again—thank you so much to everyone who came out to see our show, and a big welcome to all the new Policies listening to the show for the first time!  We’re going to get back to editing/releasing Season Four, workshopping Season Five, and getting ready for our next big event!

Photo by Ryan Bond

See you in the tunnels,

Vice President Gardner


Our Fair City at the 2013 Chicago Fringe Festival

Tickets for our performance of

Our Fair City: the Live Episode! are on sale now!

Tickets are $15 ($5 fringe pass + $10 ticket)

Tickets are available online on Chicago Fringe’s website- just follow the
“Purchase Tickets” link and scroll down to the bottom of the shows.
Remember to get a “Fringe Button” as well- that’s your admission into the festival!

Please be aware, the venue for our show has been moved!

We will now be performing at 5320 W Giddings, Basement. The venue is still called the “Hold the Pickles Stage.”

Our Fair City: the Live Episode! is a late night variety show set in the world of HartLife, featuring live foley, music, advertisements from the Corporation, and more.  Described as “Garrison Keillor in the world of 1984, “ the show follows the foibles of its host Archibald FunnyPants as he runs afoul of the only power left in the world: the HartLife Corporation.
Directed by Jeffrey Gardner
Starring Mark Soloff, Kat Evans, Jared Latore, and Sebastian H. Orr.
Live Foley sound effects by David Rheinstrom
Music performed by David Kitsberg and Betsey palmer, with lyrics by David Rheinstrom
Written by Clayton Faits with Mark Soloff

Mid-season break for Season Four

ATTN: all policies

RE: Broadcasts of the Historical Record

As you may have noticed, this week marks the beginning of our Season Four Mid-season break: a much needed time for the Managers to clear their throats, the MolePeople to buff their claws, and for the Actuaries to…do whatever it is they do in their eldritch lair.

While we’re working on the next half of the season, we invite you to listen to HartLife NFP’s submission to the 75th anniversary War of the Worlds contest, which won 2nd place this year at CONvergence in Minneapolis.

It’s also a really exciting piece as it marks our first collaboration with  sound designer outside of the company: Eric Mooney!  Check out his stuff—he’s a really stellar designer, and we had a really great time working with him.

Your regularly scheduled installments of the Historical Records of HartLife will return August 21st- in the weeks in between, keep an eye out here for music, blooper reels, and more every Wednesday!

See you in the tunnels,

Vice President Gardner

“Silence: A Fable” is a finalist for this year’s Parsec Awards!


HartLife is honored and delighted to announce that “Silence: A Fable” has been nominated for a Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction Story in the small cast / short form category! This piece is a dramatization of the Edgar Allen Poe story of the same title, and was released during the Season 3 act break.

The Parsec Awards were founded in 2006 to celebrate speculative fiction podcasting. Finalists are selected by a panel of judges from a list of dozens of fan-nominated submissions. Check out the other worthy finalists at the Parsec Awards website!

Thank you for your continued support and listenership. We’ll see you in the Tunnels.

Vice President Faits

Back from CONvergence 2013

We’ve made it home from CONvergence 2013–we had a wonderful time, and were so happy to meet so many awesome new people!  There will be a longer post soon with pictures, video, and more—but until then, welcome to our new friends, and thank you for joining us for a wonderful weekend!

Clayton and Jeffrey with current and past Mark Time and Ogle Award Winners at CONvergence 2013


Paging Dr. Herbert West…

Through the world of Our Fair City we offer you a glimpse of a dark and troubled future. While genetically-engineered molepeople, airborne lightning collection rigs, and coffee brewed from algae may seem like flights of fancy, every so often one of us here at HartLife stumbles across an article that makes us realize that the Future is closer than we think. This one was so bizarre, we had to share it with our loyal Policies.

Taking a page straight out of Herbert West’s medical handbook, researchers have laid out a plan to perform the first human head anastomosis – in lay terms, a human head transplant.

Transplants of animal heads have been carried out in the past, but with a severed spinal cord the head had no control over the donated body. Researchers in Turin now believe that they can chemically regenerate a spinal cord severed under controlled circumstances in an operating theater. In the near future, we might actually see a functional body transplant recipient.

This raises a host of ethical questions and philosophical quandaries, but it is as exciting as it is unsettling.

Read more at (warning: medical jargon and graphic descriptions of surgical procedures) or check out the academic paper in the Surgical Neurology International journal.

I guess there’s hope for Elizabeth Rourke after all…


See you in the Tunnels,

Vice President Faits

2012 Mark Time Awards announced!


We are humbled, grateful, and very excited to announce that Season Three of Our Fair City has been recognized with the 2012 Silver Mark Time award!  This international award recognizes excellence in Science Fiction audiodrama, and is presented every year at the Minneapolis CONvergence convention.

We’re even more humbled by the other stellar companies who have been recognized this year by the Mark Time and Ogle awards–if you’re looking for more audiodrama to check out, definitely give them a listen!  They include Audio Epics, The Truth, and  Audio Comics Company!


Thank you one and all again for your incredible support!

See you in the Tunnels,

Vice President Gardner

HartLife NFP is looking for a Board Treasurer

Want to join the HartLife Board of Directors?

HartLife NFP, the producers of “Our Fair City” are looking for a new Board Treasurer.  This is a volunteer position, and would join our current Board of Directors in guiding the company in administrative and business matters.

We’re looking for a highly organized individual with accounting and budget-planning experience and an enthusiasm for both performing arts and genre work.You’ll be joining a small, tightly-knit group of artists, technicians, and administrators with a proven history of top-notch productions and a great community that has been steadily growing (both in size and professionalism) over the last few years.  We’re incorporated as a non-profit in the state of IL, and hope to receive our 501(c)3 status soon.

Please send a letter of interest to [email protected] no later than 6/17/2013.

Performing at CONvergence 2013

Loyal Policies,

As you may have heard, HartLife will be bringing it’s Corporate-Compliant live show “The Archibald Funnypants Radio Hour” to CONvergence 2013!  Best described as a “Post-apocalyptic Johnny Carson show” (or “Garrison Keeler sells out to the Dystopian Overlords”), the show combines short scenes, music, advertisments, and of course, everyone’s favorite host: Archibald Funnypants!

We’ll be performing at 3 pm on Saturday, July 6th on the Harmonic CONvergence stage.  If you’re going to be at the convention (or in Minneapolis), come see the show!

Dann Tincher, HartLife NFP’s Visual Art Director, put together this stunning PSA.  Listen, Watch, and Remember.



See you in the tunnels,


Vice President Gardner