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Fur, Feathers & Scales: Stories about animals

Friday, July 23 /  6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

First United Methodist Church of Arlington Heights

It's time we talked about the elephant in the room - and all the other animals that make life so interesting. This month, stories about terrorist lizards, heroic horses, neurotic mice, amorous giraffes, vengeful cats, and waaaay too trusting Flemish Giants (Google it). 

Show is appropriate for ages 18+ unless accompanied by an adult. Grounds open at 5 p.m. BYO chair, food & drink - no alcohol please. In the case of inclement weather, the show will move indoors and follow all CDC guidelines.

Erin Lindstrom_July 2021.jpeg

Erin Lindstrom is a high school English (and sometimes Spanish) teacher. She worked in corporate communications before she began coaching her former high school’s speech team and transitioning to education. Twenty years in, she thrives on teaching creative writing and working alongside her students as she dabbles in poetry, fiction, memoir, and playwriting. As a teenager, Erin traveled to Costa Rica as part of a month-long cultural exchange, and 30 years of recurring trips there have fueled her love of travel and provided unending fodder for her writing and storytelling. Currently Erin is writing her first screenplay based on her adventures in Costa Rica, and working on her Master of Arts in Communication, Media and Theater. When she is not dodging bats, tripping over snakes, and being chased out of rainforests by monkeys in foreign countries, Erin spends her time rescuing retired racing greyhounds from the tracks and watching them sleep on her couch.

Jean Kelsey

Jean Kelsey is a massage therapist, yoga and meditation instructor, and a massage therapy instructor at Harper College. She has a Master’s degree in Human Resources management, and a former life in corporate Human Resources. Jean took First Person Live’s storytelling workshop three years ago, and she has been writing stories ever since. When she is not working or writing, you can find Jean walking her 140-pound Newfoundland, Milo. She loves live music and theatre and can’t wait to get out and enjoy these events again! 

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Risa McDonell may be the only mom in America who sent her four-year-old to preschool with a Budweiser can hanging around his neck…but that’s another story. Risa started telling stories as a way to create short-term deadlines for herself, get out of her living room “office,” and find a creative community to inspire her. She tells stories all over Chicago and is thrilled to be at First Person Live! Risa's happy place is anywhere she can be with her husband and 10-year-old son, preferably in Maine. And some day she will finish her novel – a fictionalized account of her great-grandmother’s friendship with Babe Ruth when they were on a bowling league team together (really!).

Sean Whittaker_July 2021.jpeg

Sean Whitaker is new to telling stories to an audience but is frequently on stage as a musician, weaving stories with the sound of the tuba. Sean grew up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania, but has adapted fairly well to big city life in Glenview, where he lives with his wife and four sons. Sean works in healthcare IT, where there is never a shortage of meaningful problems to solve. This is Sean's debut at First Person Live. 

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Melissa Earley, originally from Colorado, is the lead pastor at First United Methodist Church of Arlington Heights. She's new to storytelling (if you don't count sermons) and writes fiction and a blog, “Waking Up Earley.” Melissa loves to travel, though the rain on her trip to Belize inspired a poem about chewing off her own arm. She loves to go hiking with her dog Mandy and would take her kayaking if the dog would just learn to paddle. 

Lauren Kelliher

Lauren Kelliher spent the last 15 years realizing the similarities between rescuing dogs and teaching English to high school and college students. She is now writing and editing for an educational psychology firm. She also is a photographer, having taken photos of thousands of dogs and more than 100 storytellers! Lauren enjoys bike riding, vegetarian and gluten-free cooking, and listening to podcasts about obscure history. She has told stories at The Moth and other local shows. Lauren lives in the Buffalo Grove with her husband of 19 years and their big brindle rescue dog. 

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Tim Sisk’s interest in storytelling began when he was growing up in Detroit in the 1970s – a place where stories find you, whether you want to be in them or not. He currently lives in a house filled with half-finished DIY projects, six guitars he doesn’t play, two part-time kids, an amazing woman who’s much too good for him, and a Beagle-Basset mix who’s somehow the best and worst of both breeds at once. When he’s not working on sales proposals – a form of corporate storytelling – you can usually find Tim helping his fiancée sell jewelry at art fairs, watching his kids play baseball and lacrosse, or sneaking late night snacks in front of the TV after everyone else is asleep.

Steve Miller_July 2018.jpg

Steve Miller has been a high school math teacher for 18 years, and a storyteller for five. In the classroom, his favorite topic is algebra and his favorite victims are freshmen. Prior to teaching, Steve was a patent lawyer who specialized in disposable absorbent nonwoven hygiene products (e.g., tampons and diapers!). He likes to believe that spending 2-1/2 hours a day driving to work makes him smarter as long as he listens to audiobooks. When not driving, Steve enjoys discussing politics podcasts with his wife and 70’s music with his stepson. 

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