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Mixtape: Stories we love 

Wednesday, Sept. 21  7:30 - 9:30 (open for dinner at 6:30)

Big Shot Piano Lounge, Arlington Heights



NOTE! You must order tickets as a group to be seated with friends. 

Over the years, we've collected stories we LOVE but haven’t brought to the stage because they don't fit a specific theme. Mixtape to the rescue! This month, we're mashing up some of the best stories we know - the only thing they have in common is they KILL. Stories about shocking confessions, naughty pranks, impossible odds, international scandals, courageous stands and - because they're our faves - wrenching heartbreak and fearless love, of course!

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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Franco Catalano is an Argentinian native coming to Chicago to fulfill his lifelong dream of working for an IT company in the Loop. He is also the founder of the only storytelling show in Argentina, coaching over 60 storytellers from 2019 to 2021. Before leaving Argentina, Franco released his solo show called "WIR - Work in Regress" in which he delved into stories of his past. In his free time, he loves playing any types of games, be it video, board or roleplaying.

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Kim Alexander is a clinical social worker turned at-home mom of three, who moved from North Carolina to Schaumburg during the pandemic. She is passionate about time with family, environmental activism, and singing – in particular singing bass with the Melodeers, an international award- winning women’s a cappella chorus. Kim also loves nature and enjoys walking (especially in snow (!) – so she feels right at home in Chicago weather.

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Josh Zagoren is an Iowan who schooled at Emerson College in Boston and, after relaxing in LA for a bit, decided Chicago was the right mix of all 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 he morphs intos Chad the Bird at The Paper Machete in Chicago’s legendary Green Mill Lounge - then food, then the arcade, but you're driving.

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Lily Be, award-winning storyteller and first Latina Moth GrandSLAM champion, lives to support the arts and communities through storytelling. She’s the creator and producer of Stoop-Style Stories, which produces stories by people from marginalized communities, and the education director and senior producer at Storycollider, an organization that helps people share true personal stories about science. Lily also sits on the board of directors of The Hairpin Arts Center and The Prop Theater. 

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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 writing and storytelling that combines humor with pathos to examine the human condition. 

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Grace Topinka is from Miami, but has been living in Chicago for eight years (and no, she’s still not used to the cold). She works as a production accountant, where her most important duty is petting the office dogs. She’s also the co-host of the “Two Girls, One Crossword” podcast and a regular at Moth StorySLAMs. Grace also spends a lot of time paying late fees at the library and on escape room leaderboards across the city.

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Susan Rohde credits God’s guidance and grace in making a couple of amazing decisions: going back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University at age 35, and marrying a terrific man (celebrating 25 years of marriage) who is patient enough to listen to all her stories...over and over. Their children are all either foster or adopted which, along with their two dogs, makes for an “interesting family life,” for which they are very grateful. Susan is Director of Professional Development for a higher education institution.

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