Chicago Humanities Festival 2013: Season Line-up of Events

Chicago Humanities Festival 2013: Season Line-up of Events

The Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) has just announced the schedule for the 24th Annual Chicago Humanities Festival kicking off November 1. This year's line-up features some big names trying to set things straight about humans and their connections to animals.  There's a lot to learn in our dog eat dog world when the experts explore this year's theme:  Animal: What Makes Us Human.

We all know that it's a jungle out there, that life is a rat's race with everyone wanting to be top dog but before going ape over the human/animal connection you'll want to check out the 88 programs being presented at this fall's Humanities Festival. This year's impressive line-up includes David Axelrod, Rick Bayless, author Jonathan Safran Foer and Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones--to name a few.  (More names and highlights of the Festival are listed below)

The Chicago Humanities Festival is a meshing of the arts, culture, science and the humanities to shed light on and explore new as well as age old questions and ideas through a series of programs ranging from theater to literature and politics. Programs will take place from November 1 through November 10 in and around Chicago.

If you are chomping at the bit to get tickets to this years festival you'll have to wait until Tuesday, September 3rd, if you are a CHF member, or Monday, September 16th for the general public.

Fall 2013 Schedule Highlights:

  • Sherman Alexie: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (and Banned Writer). An acclaimed novelist (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian), filmmaker (Smoke Signals), and poet (I Would Steal Horses, The Business of Fancydancing), Sherman Alexie has explored contemporary Native American culture for the past 25 years. He is also one of the most-banned living authors, propelling him to the front lines of the struggle against censorship.
  • The Political Animal: A Conversation with David Axelrod - One of the most influential figures in American politics, David Axelrod has worked for such political figures as Harold Washington, Richard M. Daley, Rahm Emanuel, and Barack Obama. He is also the inaugural director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
  • Tammy Baldwin - The first openly gay senator in US history, Tammy Baldwin served in the Wisconsin Assembly and the US House of Representatives before her 2012 election to the US Senate on the Democratic ticket.
  • Rick Bayless: Food Revolutionary - Chef, cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV personality Rick Bayless has heavily influenced Mexican cuisine, exemplified by his restaurants Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, and Xoco. The host of the PBS series Mexico: One Plate at a Time, Bayless has pioneered Chicago's farm-to-table movement.
  • Birds Do It, Bees Do It . . .  Actor/director Rob Lindley and Jeff Award-winning musical director Doug Peck join forces again to create an all-star cabaret revue. This year's annual concert will explore the odd mating habits of animals, paired with songs from the Great American Songbook, and also feature new songs commissioned by CHF.
  • Katherine Boo: Behind the Beautiful Forevers - Published in 2012 to rave reviews, Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers won the National Book Award and was named a best book of 2012 by the New York Times and the New Yorker, among many others. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and MacArthur Fellow, Boo will discuss the three years of research behind her latest work.
  • Anne Carson - Presented in partnership with the Poetry Foundation - Lannan Literary Award-winner Anne Carson is a genre-defying poet. Her original training as a classicist reverberates through her extensive work, which includes:  Autobiography of Red; Glass, Irony, and God; Nox; and her latest work, Red Doc>. Carson will perform a reading from Red Doc>, the long awaited sequel to Autobiography of Red.
  • Junot Díaz: This Is How You Find Him - Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz (The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) demonstrates that nothing plagues the human animal more than love in his newest book This is How You Lose Her. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Díaz will reveal how his cultural backgrounds are an inspiration and a calling to his work.
  • Jonathan Safran Foer on (Not) Eating Animals - Named by the New Yorker in 2010 as one of the "20 Under 40" who "capture the inventiveness and the vitality of contemporary American fiction," Jonathan Safran Foer is a celebrated author known for his novels Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. He comes to the festival to discuss his 2009 bestseller Eating Animals--hailed as an instant classic of the new food writing.
  • Atul Gawande -Surgeon, bestselling author, and New Yorker writer Atul Gawande established a reputation for masterful storytelling with his first two essay collections, Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science and Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance. More recently, he has ventured afield, probing different industries to learn how checklists and standout efficiency can improve outcomes and services in the US medical system.
  • Temple Grandin - Temple Grandin is one of the world's most prominent adults with autism. She revolutionized practices for the humane handling of livestock on cattle ranches and slaughterhouses, a feat chronicled in an HBO movie starring Claire Danes in the title role. She also wrote a series of bestselling books--Animals Make Us Human, Animals in Translation, and Thinking in Pictures--and most recently The Autistic Brain.
  • Bill T. Jones: A Life Well-Danced - Widely regarded as one of the greatest living choreographers, Bill T. Jones has challenged conventions in dance since he and his partner Arnie Zane took New York by storm in the early 1980s. He has created dozens of groundbreaking dance and theater works, receiving a MacArthur Fellowship, two Tony Awards (Best Choreography for Spring Awakening and Fela!), and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2010.
  • Martina Navratilova: Match Point - The most successful female tennis player in history, Martina Navratilova's career spanned four decades--59 Grand Slam titles and a record nine Wimbledon crowns. On the verge of turning 50, she became the oldest player to ever win the US Open, winning the mixed doubles in 2006. An activist for gay rights, in 2010 she received the National Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian activist/lobbying group.
  • Kimberly Peirce: From Boys Don't Cry to Carrie - Director of the critically-acclaimed films Boys Don't Cry and Stop Loss, Kimberly Peirce will join the Festival just after the release of her newest movie Carrie---the much anticipated adaptation of the Stephen King classic starring Julianne Moore and Chloë Grace Moretz.
  • Lemony Snicket: All the Wrong Questions - Presented in partnership with Poetry magazine Daniel Handler is an American author, screenwriter, and accordionist. Best known under his nom de plume Lemony Snicket for his work on A Series of Unfortunate Events (which was made into the 2004 film starring Jim Carrey), he will discuss his latest book When Did You See Her Last?, the second in his All the Wrong Questions series.
  • White Rabbit, Red Rabbit - with Michael Shannon and more Co-presented with the Museum of Contemporary Art - Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour, a conscientious objector who refused mandatory military service, was forbidden to leave his country. In White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, he turned his isolation into a wild, original play that blends comedy and drama, requiring no director or set. Each performance will feature a different notable Chicago theater personality, who will receive the script just prior to going onstage. Boardwalk Empire and Man of Steel actor Michael Shannon is slated as one of the featured performers. A complete list of actors will be released at a later date.


If you want to attend certain events get your tickets early as the most popular events sell out fast. Tickets can be purchased online or through the CHF Box Office at 312-494-9509, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets range from $5-28, with free and reduced-price tickets available for students and teachers (with valid ID)

Save these dates:

  • Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 - Morry and Dolores Kohl Kaplan Northwestern Day, Northwestern University campus
  • Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 - Hyde Park Day, University of Chicago campus
  • Friday, Nov. 1-Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 - In and around downtown Chicago

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