Live events producer
Actor & director
High school teacher
T-shirt designer & Lyft driver
Research engineer & navy officer
Writer & at-home mom
In his 30-year career, Don has worn many hats - public school music teacher, beloved Moth StorySLAM host, off-Loop theatrical producer, and decade-long Director of Events for WBEZ and House Manager of NPR’s megahit show, “Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!” He’s also a former professional trumpet player and homeless busker. Each of his random gigs is a chapter in a truly strange novel written by a lunatic. Don currently lives above a bar in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago with his wife, the poet and musician Dana Jerman.
Josh Zagoren is an Iowan, schooled in Bost1on who, after relaxing in LA, decided Chicago was the right mix of the three so he hangs his hat there. Josh has worked with Steppenwolf, Babes with Blades, Factory Theater and played a naked guy on Chicago Fire. A voice actor by day and the Artistic Director of Wildclaw Theater by night, Josh loves a good whiskey and usually has food on his mind - so if the bar serves food, he'll meet you. He hates driving and cucumbers, he’s always down for a scary story, arcade games or just a high-five, and will tell you all about the time he met Ryan Gosling, but only if you're buyin'. Every Saturday you can find him as Chad the Bird of The Paper Machete at the legendary Green Mill Lounge in Chicago - then food, then the arcade, but you're driving. (Photo courtesy of Lee Klawans.)
John Hahm is happy and proud to have taught English at Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago since its founding in 1999. While there, he also coached the Academic Decathlon team and led educational tours to Europe over the spring breaks. This past June he retired to devote his time to writing, storytelling, and tango!
Nestor Gomez was born in Guatemala and moved to Chicago in the mid ‘80s. He told his first story at a Moth StorySLAM as a way to get over stuttering. He won the slam that night and has not stopped telling stories since.
Nestor currently holds the record for most Chicago Moth StorySLAM wins. But if you ask him, he will say his greatest achievements are making his mother proud and winning the heart of his girlfriend, Sweet Mel.
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 and 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 Second City, the Park West, Victory Gardens and other theaters - but also in more unconventional settings, including art galleries, the basement of a tattoo parlor, homeless shelters - she even did a show in the middle of the woods! Diane is an alumna of The Second City Conservatory and the University of Chicago’s Great Books program, and has an MBA from Northwestern University…just in case.
Chris Nemeth is a Chicago area native with lots of stories from his experiences as a research engineer, Navy officer, jazz musician, university faculty member, competitive runner, radio announcer and reporter, author and editor, mailman, and phone book delivery guy. He won the first Moth StorySLAM he entered, and is thrilled to be performing with First Person Live in the western suburbs, where his family lived for many years.
Emily Schleiger is a contributing writer to "The Second City Network.” Her comedy writing can also be found on "McSweeney's Internet Tendency," “Reductress," and much more. She's an intolerable grump who likens herself to Ouiser Boudreaux, but believes laughter and honesty can soothe us all.
She married her high school sweetheart, and survived a career in human resources that she says prepared her for parenting two kids - and two furry dogkids. Her family tries to cope with being imperfect in the "perfect ‘burbs," and fantasizes about living on a coast one day.
Jeremy Schaefer has shared stories on stages throughout metropolitan Chicago and the Midwest. By day he gives educational storytelling assemblies to K-5 audiences through Urban Gateways and serves as the Artistic Director of Imagination Theater. By night, he is the co-producer of The Sidesplitter at the Laugh Out Loud Chicago comedy club. When he’s not telling stories, Jeremy keeps busy collecting and cleaning records. Starting on August 30, he’ll be performing his solo show, What’s A Wedding Got To Do With It? at The Chicago Fringe Festival; he’ll premier his new solo show, Sportsball, at The Elgin Fringe Festival in mid-September.in Los Angeles,