Diane Kastiel is the host of First Person Live, and a writer and storyteller from Chicago. She’s a three-time Moth StorySLAM winner whose work has been featured on NPR’s Moth Radio Hour, its podcast, and at live events for NPR’s Chicago affiliate, WBEZ.
Diane has performed stories on stage at the Park West, Victory Gardens, Second City, Mayne Stage, Athenaeum, and Lifeline theaters in Chicago, and at legendary rock bars Martyr’s and Fitzgerald’s. She’s also told stories in more unconventional settings, including art galleries, bookstores, the basement of a tattoo parlor, the middle of the woods, and homeless shelters.
Diane works as a freelancer writer specializing in the nonprofit sector. She’s also an alumna of The Second City Conservatory, the University of Chicago's Great Books program, and Northwestern University.
Chris Trani is an American stand-up comic, storyteller, and documentary filmmaker who uses his humor to educate and entertain audiences around the world. Chris has traveled throughout North America and Europe engaging audiences with his hilarious stories, candid views and pro-immigration politics, which he turned into a documentary film, An American House.
Chris is a winner of National Public Radio's Moth StorySLAM, SNUBFEST (2015), and a Moth GrandSLAM runner-up. He has had the honor to share the stage with TJ Miller, Pat McGann, Tracey Ashley and Roy Wood Jr., Senior Correspondent for The Daily Show.
Chris produces one of the best stand-up comedy shows in Chicago, creatively titled A Comedy Show. He lives in the city with his puppy, creatively named Puppy.
Sarah Bunger is a two-time Moth Grand Slam Champion. She’s also told stories at Solo Theatre, Story Lab, Fillet of Solo, and WBEZ's New Year's Eve program. Currently, she curates the Truth or Lie Reading Series, which takes place the first Sunday of every month in Chicago.
Sarah grew up in one of the smallest towns imaginable outside of Dayton, Ohio (think: flashing caution light, a gas station/Subway sandwich shop, and lots and lots of cows). Since moving to the big city seven years ago, she is adjusting to the long winters and nearly complete lack of cows. She teaches English to sophomores and seniors, relishing every minute she gets to re-experience Holden Caulfield, Blanche Dubois, and Nick Carraway. (But not those boys from Lord of the Flies. Because, gross).
James Gordon, who performs as G.P.A. (Greatest Poet Alive), is a writer and poet as well as storyteller and Moth Grand Slam Champion. James has written 10 books in various genres including, poetry, erotica, mystery and suspense, and children and young adult literature.
James is also an actor and can be seen on the shows Empire, Shameless, the Dick Wolf productions (Med, Fire, PD, and Justice), and Amazon's The Patriot.
Annalise Raziq is a three-time Moth StorySLAM winner and has been featured on National Public Radio’s Moth Radio Hour and its podcast. She has also told stories for Risk!, This Much Is True, Chicago’s Biggest Liar Contest, and the Truth or Lie Reading Series.
Annalise is a versatile performer – she’s worked with renowned playwright Tony Kushner and also played the back end of a dragon. A singer with the Americana band “Annalise and the Backsliders,” her warm and arresting voice is garnering attention on the Chicago music scene.
Annalise is also a writer and improviser, creating the show “Sisters Rising” with a group of formerly incarcerated women. She will be performing a solo show as part of the Fillet of Solo Festival at Lifeline Theatre in Chicago in January. But by far, her most creative act has been raising her amazing daughter Kalila Holt.
Don Hall is Director of Live Events for WBEZ and House Manages the NPR/WBEZ mega-hit show "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" He also hosted The Moth StorySLAM for five years, and is a regular contributor to and editor of the digital magazine Literate Ape.
Formerly a theatrical producer, public school teacher, massage school facilities manager, professional trumpet player, professional improviser, and homeless busker, Don now lives in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago with his wife, the poet and musician Dana Jerman.
Margaret recently moved back to Chicago after living in Egypt, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Paris and New York, travelling to nearly 50 countries around the world.
She started telling stories at Second City’s Sunday Mornings show, and has performed all over Chicago - and in Singapore. Now, she’s digging even deeper into her art - performing a solo show on Feb. 2 at the Berger Park Coach House Theater in Chicago, and working on a memoir of her travel (mis)adventures abroad.
Margaret hails from Evanston, where she still loves spending time with her 93-year-old dad, crediting him with her love for the spoken word. (When they read bedtime stories together, he encouraged her creativity by playing Beauty so Margaret could have the role she really wanted: the Beast!)
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.
Susan is a regular storyteller, appearing in numerous shows and winning storytelling competitions in Chicago. She has also been a featured artist at Poetry’s Love Letter and the Teen Writers and Artists Project. Having never considered herself a writer, Susan draws on skills learned while obtaining her BFA in Acting from the University of Memphis for all of her storytelling.
Susan is also a long time yarn-crafter and lover of silly poems. A transplant to Illinois via Tennessee, after 10 years she still forgets that you cannot get real sweet tea in most restaurants. :(
Steve Glickman has been telling stories at weddings and funerals his whole life to wide critical acclaim. He is the co-host of the monthly open-mic storytelling show Do Not Submit at Uptown Underground in Chicago, and has performed at the Laugh Factory, the Moth, the Evanston Storytelling Festival, This Much Is True, Story Club, OUTspoken, and other shows in Chicago.
Steve is a software engineer by day and a proud nerd. He loves classical music and can often be seen air-conducting whatever symphony or opera is playing on his iPod or in his head. He lives in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago with his partner Mark and their imaginary dog Ruffles.
Diane Kastiel is the host of First Person Live, and a writer and storyteller from Chicago.
Chris Trani is an American stand-up comic, storyteller, and documentary filmmaker who uses his humor to educate and entertain audiences around the world.
Sarah Bunger is a two-time Moth Grand Slam Champion.
James Gordon, who performs as G.P.A. (Greatest Poet Alive), is an international award-winning author and poet, as well as storyteller and Moth Grand Slam Champion.
Annalise Raziq is a three-time Moth StorySLAM winner, and has been featured on National Public Radio’s Moth Radio Hour and its podcast.
Don Hall is Director of Live Events for WBEZ and House Manages the NPR/WBEZ mega-hit show "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!"
Margaret recently moved back to Chicago after living in Egypt, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Paris and New York, and travelling to more than 50 countries around the world.
Nestor Gomez was born in Guatemala and moved to Chicago in the mid ‘80s.
Susan Cramm has been a regular competitor in The Moth StorysSLAMs around Chicago for the past two years, winning with stories on the themes “Courage” and “Fathers.”
Steve Glickman has been telling stories at weddings and funerals his whole life to wide critical acclaim.