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FOOD!: stories about America's favorite obsession

Friday,, Nov. 18  7:30 - 9:30 (doors open at 7:00)

First United Methodist Church of Arlington Heights


The month that triggers our eight-week feeding frenzy is upon us, so let’s talk about food - which should be our sustenance, but has become our national obsession. Stories about mango fixations, coffee epiphanies, unfortunate dinner parties, the curative nature of Jimmy Johns, the miraculous power of buckwheat groats, and the most beautiful story you ever did hear....about pomegranates


And this month, we're teaming up with our venue to donate food to a local pantry. You’ll get a raffle ticket for every non-perishable item you bring for a chance to win a ticket to our December Holiday Extravaganza!

In keeping with protocol at storytelling shows, First Person Live requires all ticketholders to show proof of vaccination the night of the show. Masks are optional.  All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges.

Don Hall
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Diane Kastiel is the producer 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, Steppenwolf, the Park West, Victory Gardens and other theaters as well as comedy clubs, art galleries, the basement of a tattoo parlor - she even did a show in the middle of the woods! Diane works with libraries, schools, community centers and homeless shelters to bring storytelling to a wider audience, and leads storytelling 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 Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management…just in case. 

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Nick Narcisi was a theater actor before the pandemic and since has worked in a cancer research laboratory in Chicago. (He is as surprised with that career pivot as you are.) Nick has worked with theater companies from Arkansas to Montana, spending a lot of time in small towns and dive bars throughout the country. As an actor, Nick got very good at telling other people’s stories, and only recently he started telling his own. He has performed with The Moth and is thrilled to make his First Person Live debut tonight. Nick spends most of his time in Chicago fighting imaginary dungeons and dragons with friends, or hanging out with his definitely real French girlfriend, and their even more real English Bulldog. 

Karrie MdDermott

Karrie McDermott has spent decades developing and selling commercial food service equipment, often spending more time in restaurant kitchens than her own! But her real jam is hosting dinner parties - planning menus, cooking for her friends, and watching people connect over stories. Karrie has told stories at the Moth and other Chicago shows, and hosts an annual storytelling event in her backyard. Karrie and her husband Bill enjoy tandem bike riding, finding it the best way to explore the world. Karrie lives in Libertyville and Telluride, CO.

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Dustin Valenta is an actor, writer, and creator based in Chicago. He was born in small-town Vermont and grew up between there and Minnesota. Dustin is currently getting his MFA in Acting at DePaul University. When not in school, he’s spending time with his amazing girlfriend, trying to see all the plays, teaching and practicing yoga, riding his bike, or pursuing any number of physical endeavors, preferably outside.

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Kevin Biolsi is a statistician by trade but has managed to avoid the glamorous, fast-paced, and ultimately self-destructive lifestyle so often associated with that profession. He started telling stories in front of audiences in 2016 and found it to be more exhilarating than any drugs he’s ever taken – though to be honest, those have almost exclusively been analgesics and anti-inflammatories. In addition to running and brewing beer, Kevin enjoys taking on DIY projects around his home, which has had the added benefit of generating a countless supply of home injury stories.

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Kim Buck loves participating in any aspect of Chicagoland’s performing arts scene whenever she can spare a few minutes between happy wife-and-motherhood and a career in high tech marketing. She’s a graduate of the Second City Conservatory, has reviewed theatre for the Chicago Reader, performed in local theatre productions, and sings her guts out in the First United Methodist Church of Arlington Heights choir. Kim is so grateful to First Person Live for creating a storytelling community by bringing this inclusive, fascinating art form to the northwest suburbs.

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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 currently holds the record for most Chicago Moth StorySLAM wins. He’s also the producer and host of 80 Minutes Around the World: an Immigration Storytelling Show, which showcases stories of immigrants and their allies. But if you ask him, he will say his greatest achievements are making his mother proud and winning the heart of his wife, Sweet Mel.

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Melissa Earley, originally from Colorado, is the lead pastor at First United Methodist Church of Arlington Heights. She's a Moth StorySLAM winner and writes fiction as well as 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 looks forward to long walks with Tango, the dog she welcomed into her life this summer. 

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