The month that triggers our eight-week-long feeding frenzy is upon us, so let’s talk about food. This month, tellers explore our love/hate relationship with what should be our sustenance but has become our national obsession. Stories about weaponized cookies, sausage throw-downs, vegetarians who slaughter their own animals (not a typo), The Big Texan (not a guy) and TWO stories about cake…because, cake.
And this month, Hey Nonny and First Person Live are teaming up to donate food to a local pantry. Get a raffle ticket for every non-perishable item you bring for the chance to win a ticket to an upcoming show!
Storytelling for adults is hot-hot-hot in Chicago, with shows like The Moth packing houses nightly. First Person Live brings this unique form of entertainment, self-expression and community building to the suburbs in a show featuring the best of Chicago talent as well as local folks. Hosted by 3-time Moth StorySLAM winner Diane Kastiel, this is real people telling real stories from their lives – a new group of tellers and a different theme each month. More at www.firstpersonlive.com.
David Barish has been telling stories ever since his parents came home when he was a just wee lad, looked around and said, “What happened here?” And he’s been listening to stories for years as an attorney representing injured workers. In recent years, David started telling stories on stage, revealing parts of himself that have raised eyebrows from his loving wife who simply says, “Hmm…never heard that one before!” As an adult, David has found ways to cope with the inability to sit still that drove his parents nuts: playing the harmonica, throwing golf discs, and riding his bicycle for miles and miles – and miles!
As a pathologist, Elizabeth Brown spent hundreds of hours hunched over either a microscope or a dead body. She then worked as a consultant to the medical device industry writing technical reports – all dry as dust and utterly humorless. Original thoughts were few, as all statements had to be referenced. Spreading her wings to write creative nonfiction has been a liberating joy. Elizabeth focuses on personal narrative that combines humor with pathos, and recently segued into storytelling.
Diane Kastiel is the producer, director, and host of First Person Live. A writer and storyteller from Chicago, she’s a three-time winner of the National Public Radio’s Moth StorySLAM; her work has been featured on the Moth Radio Hour, its podcast, and at special events for WBEZ, NPR’s Chicago affiliate. Diane has told stories on stage at The Second City, the Park West, Victory Gardens and other theaters as well as bookstores, comedy clubs, art galleries, the basement of a tattoo parlor – she even did a show in the middle of the woods. Diane also works with libraries, schools and community organizations to bring storytelling to wider audiences and recently began teaching workshops at Northwestern University. Diane is an alumna of The Second City Conservatory and the University of Chicago’s Great Books program. She also has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Business…just in case.
Sann Knipple is business manager for Sea Change Strategies. She’s also worked in oil refineries around the world, solving equipment problems mostly by turning things off and then on again. The winding road of Sann’s life includes being dead last running cross country races in the hills of East Tennessee and first runner up in the Miss Georgia Tech competition, as well as stints as an at-home mom, school board member and barista. Sann is new to storytelling and thanks First Person Live for providing the support she needed to lean into this new curve on the road of life.
Joel Thomas Miller is an accounts receivable specialist for a medical office and a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Ethiopia 2012-2014). Originally from Fort Wayne, he now lives in Chicago and loves telling stories around the city. When he’s not fighting insurance companies for money, Joel can be seen taking classes with local theatre groups, going to plays, working out at 4:30 a.m. like a boss, and talking to his many houseplants.
Wendi Nelson is a native Chicagoan who divides her time between the Windy City and Miami. By day, she’s a sales process improvement consultant; by night, she can be found lurking around storytelling open mics hoping to share a story. New to storytelling, Wendi has participated in Moth StorySLAMS in both of her home cities, and is committed to working her way to New York. She’s thrilled and honored to appear in First Person Live. When not working or telling stories, Wendi loves to spend time with her husband and two grown daughters. She is an exceptional cook, and loves to sing (loudly) and be on the water – either in a boat or a raft, as long as it has a cup holder!
By day, David Quach is a number-crunching data scientist. By night, he’s begun pursuing his creative interests through improv and storytelling. David was born and raised in Sydney, Australia and moved to Chicago in 2010 for graduate school. He quickly fell in love with the city and has been living there ever since. David told his first Moth story in March and is looking forward to sharing more stories with live audiences. In his spare time, David enjoys reading non-fiction books and listening to podcasts.
Evelyn Troutman works as a server in Wrigleyville but thankfully not in one of those big douchey bars. She’s also a comedian, poet, rapper and storyteller who got her start in Columbus, Ohio. Evelyn is a regular at Moth StorySLAMs and comedy and variety shows in Chicago. Other than reading, writing, and performing, she loves being outside, spending time with friends, drinking chocolate milk, and getting her blood drawn.
Rory Zacher was born and raised in Northbrook, Ill. and is a graduate of Glenbrook North High School. He went to the University of Miami where he majored in communications and theatre performance and was a member of the professional Improvisation Troupe “Laughing Gas.” He then moved to Los Angeles where he pursued acting while working at various restaurants and bars on the Sunset Strip. After moving back to Chicago, Rory worked at steakhouses in Chicago, attaining his Level 1 Sommelier certificate while simultaneously playing Tony in the hit show “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding.” When he’s not trying to pay his bills through acting, Rory works as a manufacturer’s rep in the exciting world of retail/industrial poly packaging and does volunteer work as a rescuer/transporter for cats and dogs. Rory is married to Kelly LaBanco, the best makeup artist in the world, and is the proud parent of an 80-pound goofball Labrahound named Boodgey, a Siamese cat named Crockett who is very judgey, and a Bengal Tabby named Tubbs who can do no wrong.