Talking to Tammy Job, Founder/Producer, Evanston Live!

I was honored and excited (now I'm mostly nervous!) when Evanston resident Tammy Job asked me if I'd be willing to do a live lit piece about Dear Evanston in the next Evanston Live variety show, which happens on Saturday, February 3 at 7:15 p.m.

Evanston Live, which Tammy describes as "a bi-monthly, community based retro-cool talk show featuring Evanston artists, musicians, chefs, local notables, and historians," started in the Fall of 2016 and calls the American Legion, Post 42 (1030 Central Street) home.

For each show, doors open at 7:15 p.m. for cocktails, culture, and conversation, with music by DJ Pound. The show runs from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. followed by a set from a local band.

January's show will feature:

  • Mark Collins interviews with: Candance Chow, candidate for 17th District State Rep. and Nicholia Q. Aguirre, actress and visual artist;

  • Comedy by Mateo the Bartender

  • Rob Kleeman: lead vocalist and guitar for Brothers and Others;

  • Bill McCrory and Mark Blank: Billy Blues Acoustic Duo;

  • David Ivey + Special Guests; and

  • Yours truly.

Tammy (who's from St. Louis) and her husband Ed moved to Evanston in 2006. They have three kids, Truman, 20; Caroline, 17; and Maggie, 15.

Like Dear Evanston, Evanston Live's goal is to build bridges and create community. I asked Tammy how the show started, what inspired it, and about her take on Evanston.

DE: What do you do for your day job?

TJ: I am the Director of School and Community Resources for Young Chicago Authors, a literary-arts nonprofit in Wicker Park, best known for our Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival. I am also a booking manager for A People’s History of Chicago and The BreakBeat Poets.

DE: Why did you start Evanston Live?

TJ: I love people and I am amazed by their talent. Since I was a kid, I was organizing talent shows in my back yard and it's been my hobby for very long time. Evanston is filled with so many incredible people and I wanted to create a space for all of them to share their talent and for folks to meet who wouldn’t otherwise.

DE: Do you work alone on it or do you have help?

TJ: A group of so many fantastic Evanstonians make Evanston Live work. As I began thinking about the show in the summer of 2016 I reached out to a number of folks for advice on format, structure, and talent scouting.

From there I realized I knew a little and would need a lot of help. From graphic and set design, to marketing, sound, production and talent, a lot of folks worked and continue to work to make the show successful. These folks include, Noah Eisfelder, DJ Edwards, Susan Belzer Fitzgerald, Jeff Hubbard, Elizabeth Solomon Hubbard, Resa Ivey, Ed Job, Paul Lawless, Mary O'Brien, Max Shapiro, Bonnie O'Malley Shapiro, and Howard Tenner.

Our team from the set includes, DJ Pound, Mark Collins, who conducts interviews, and this year we brought on Dave Ivey to host our game-show segment. For each show, we also ask local restaurants and individuals to bake a dessert for up to 200 audience members.

I'm also forever grateful to Brett Hallongren and his team at American Legion Post 42 - Evanston for hosting us, and for their ongoing support.

And then there's the talent. Since the show began, we've welcomed more than 70 Evanstonians to share their stories, music, and art.

DE: How did you pick the location?

TJ: I wanted a place that had a long history in Evanston and that felt good. Many folks in my family and my husband's family are veterans, so the place felt like a home for me. I also wanted to avoid places of worship and theatre spaces that might feel non-inclusive. The Legion is the perfect place for this show.

DE: How often do you host the show?

TJ: I haven’t quite figured out the exact schedule for the show. Currently, we host a show every other month October through February. I wanted to let it saturate a bit before we expanded, and as a long-time Evanstonian, I don’t want to be inside during any good weather, so we avoid the spring and summer.

DE: Who shows up—who’s your audience?