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FOOD! Stories about America's favorite obsession

Thursday, Nov. 1     7:30 - 9:30

Big Show Piano Lounge, Arlington Heights

Doors open at 7:00 to ticket holders only. Our shows get very full so we strongly suggest reserving a table through our venue.

This month,  tellers explore our love/hate relationship with what should be our sustenance but has become our obsession. Stories about the miraculous power of buckwheat groats (huh?), the dangers of bananas (wha?), the threat of pizza (WTF?!?) and the existential question we've all wrestled with: Cake...or sex?

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Big Shot and First Person Live are teaming up to donate food to a local pantry. For every non-perishable food item you bring to the show, you'll get a raffle ticket for a chance to win a free beer or a ticket to our December holiday extravaganza!

Content is appropriate for ages 18+. ID's will be required to purchase alcohol.

Don Hall

Diane Kastiel

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. Diane has told stories on stage at The Second City, the Park West, Victory Gardens and other theaters - but also in more unconventional settings, including comedy clubs, 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. 

Rory Zacher

Rory Zacher was born and raised in Northbrook and is a graduate of Glenbrook North High School. He studied communications and theater performance at University of Miami and was a member of the improvisation troupe “Laughing Gas” which performed all over the South Florida area. He later moved to Los Angeles and pursued acting; his credits include MTV’s Punk’d, the TV pilot Good Sex, and Second City/LA’s production of Pat Tillman/Paris Hilton. After moving back to Chicago, Rory starred in the award-winning horror/drama movie I Am Alone, which is available on Hulu and DVD, a McDonald’s commercial most recently completed a two-year run as Tony in the hit show Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding”at Chicago Theatre Works. When he’s not trying to pay his bills through acting, he works in his family’s business as a manufacturer’s rep in the exciting and dangerous world of retail/industrial poly packaging. Rory is married to Kelly LaBanco who is the best makeup artist in the world and the proud parent of an 80 lb goofball LabraHound named Boodgey, a Siamese cat named Crockett who is very judgey, and a Bengal Tabby named Tubbs who can do no wrong.

Emma Alamo

Emma Alamo grew up in Florida, the state in which law enforcement recently had to issue a statement urging citizens not to shoot guns at hurricanes. She escaped to Chicago by way of Baltimore, and has since established herself as a leatherworker, writer and storyteller. Her stories have been featured on the Risk! and Lenny Says podcasts, and her leather harnesses have been featured on the bodies of babes around the world. Her Facebook presence is an ongoing source of stress for her family. You can check out her words and her leather creations at

Don Hall

Don Hall has worn many hats in his 30-year career: public school music teacher, beloved Moth StorySLAM host, off-Loop theatrical producer, 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!) Now’s he’s a freelance events consultant and co-editor of “The Literate Ape.” Don currently lives above a bar in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago with his wife, the poet and musician Dana Jerman.

Stacy Jaffe

Stacy Jaffe is a long-time Chicago resident who recently moved to the northern suburbs. She started telling stories to her sons when they were little as a way to help them fall asleep... and to keep her awake! Given the choice between chocolate and hearing a good story, Stacy would choose a story every time. She was thrilled to be picked as a storyteller in a recent Moth StorySLAM, and has shared stories over the years at other local venues. When she isn't teaching preschool, Stacy loves spending time with friends and family, exploring the outdoors and taking pictures of things that take her breath away.

Kevin Biolsi

Kevin Biolsi is a statistician and on-again, off-again empty nester who enjoys brewing beer and, every few years, attempting to learn to play the banjo. He is a relative newcomer to storytelling on stage, having performed solo storytelling/comedy shows in 2016 and 2017 as fundraisers for two performing arts youth groups before starting to tell stories at Moth StorySLAMs in late 2017. Prior to this, Kevin’s performing experience was limited to a couple of Latin Club plays in high school and a traumatic piano recital at the age of 33 where he was placed between two eight-year-olds in the performance order.

Elizabeth Brown

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 become a creative nonfiction writer has been a liberating joy. Elizabeth focuses on personal narrative that combines humor with pathos, and recently segued into storytelling. Her essays, stories and podcasts can be found at  

David Barish

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 in his daytime gig 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 found ways to cope with the inability to sit still that drove his parents nuts: When not writing, telling or listening to stories, he can be found playing the harmonica, throwing golf discs, and riding his bicycle for miles and miles and miles…!

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