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Navratilova, Baldwin, Peirce, Bill T. Jones at Humanities Fest
From a press release

This article shared 5149 times since Wed Aug 14, 2013
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The Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) revealed today the complete schedule for the 24th Annual Fall Festival, 88 events which will explore the theme of Animal: What Makes Us Human, Oct. 13 on the Northwestern University campus, Oct. 20 on the University of Chicago campus, and Nov. 1-10 at venues across Chicago.

This year's presenters include political consultant and former Senior Advisor to President Obama David Axelrod, revolutionary chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Rick Bayless, celebrated author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Eating Animals Jonathan Safran Foer, Tony Award-winning choreographer and Kennedy Center Honors recipient Bill T. Jones, 59 Grand Slam title-winning tennis player Martina Navratilova, critically-acclaimed director of Boys Don't Cry and the upcoming film remake Carrie Kimberly Peirce, Boardwalk Empire and Man of Steel actor Michael Shannon as a featured performer in White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler), and many more.

"This festival goes right to the heart of the human condition. We are, at bottom, animals. But what does that actually mean?" said CHF Artistic Director Matti Bunzl. "Are we simply the product of our biology or has culture lifted us to a 'higher' realm? And how do we use animals to make sense of being human? In an age of revolutionary findings from genetics to cognition, the 2013 Chicago Humanities Festival will present the latest answers to these most fundamental questions."

For over two decades, CHF has made Chicago a more vibrant and culturally enriched community by uniting the arts and humanities in a thought-provoking Fall Festival. In addition to the annual festival, CHF also presents the spring Stages, Sights & Sounds, a global performance festival for students, families, and theatergoers of any age, and programs throughout the year that celebrate the richness of the humanities. In 2012, CHF's intellectually stimulating programs were attended by nearly 50,000 people. By keeping ticket prices low ($5 to $28) and often free to students and teachers, CHF creates an environment that invites people of all ages and economic circumstances to examine the world of ideas.

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 D�az: This Is How You Find Him - Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot D�az (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, D�az 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 Chlo� 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.

This production is made possible in association with Aurora Nova Productions. This play is NOT overtly political, and should not be portrayed as such. Any allusions to it being anti-government could jeopardize the author's safety. We therefore ask the press to be judicious in their reportage.

Save the 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

For a complete lineup of speakers/events, visit .

Tickets to the 24th annual Chicago Humanities Festival go on sale to CHF members on

Tuesday, Sept. 3 and to the general public on Monday, Sept. 16, and can be purchased online at 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).

To download a PDF listing of all CHF fall events, click: To download photos, visit the CHF Press Room:

About the Chicago Humanities Festival

The Chicago Humanities Festival began in 1989 as a dream shared by a determined group of Chicago's cultural leaders eager to extend the riches of the humanities to everyone. Since that first year, some of the world's most exciting thinkers, artists, and performers have come to Chicago each fall for a festival that celebrates ideas in the context of civic life. Past Festival themes include Laughter, The Body, tech knowledge, America, and this year's Animal: What Makes Us Human, Oct. 13, 20, and Nov. 1-10, 2013. Under the leadership of Executive Director Phillip Bahar and Artistic Director Matti Bunzl, CHF partners Chicago's premier cultural institutions and the festival has become an annual highlight for thousands of people from Chicago and beyond. In addition to the annual fall festival, CHF also presents the spring Stages, Sights & Sounds, a global performance festival for families, students, and theatergoers of any age, and programs throughout the year that encourage the study and enjoyment of the humanities. Visit for more information.

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