The Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) presents the 24th annual Fall Festival, with more than 60 events that will explore the theme of ANIMAL: What Makes Us Human, 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 ofExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Eating Animals Jonathan Safran Foer, autism activist and author Temple Grandin, 59 Grand Slam title-winning tennis player Martina Navratilova, critically-acclaimed director of Boys Don’t Cry and the recently releasedCarrie remake Kimberly Peirce, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler), author of The Secret History and the newly released novel The GoldfinchDonna Tartt, and many more.
“We had a fantastic kick-off to the Festival in October with our Morry and Dolores Kohl Kaplan Northwestern Day and Hyde Park Day,” said CHF Artistic Director Matti Bunzl. “Our November events will be all the more intense and exciting, with 10 packed days of talks and conversations and an incredible series of performances.”
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.
November 2013 Schedule Highlights:
G=General Admission, ST=Students/Teachers, M=CHF Member
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, he will discuss his latest book When Did You See Her Last?, the second in his All the Wrong Questions series. After the program, while Mr. Snicket meets with fans and signs copies of his latest book, the audience can enjoy readings and entertainment with author James Kennedy (The Order of Odd Fish), have their faces painted by Making Faces, and grab savory treats from 5411 Empanadas.
Anne Carson| Presented in partnership with the Poetry Foundation | Saturday, Nov. 2 | 11 a.m.-Noon | Harold Washington Library Center |
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.
Donna Tartt in Conversation| Presented in partnership with Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Live! series | Saturday, Nov. 2 |5:30-6:30 p.m. | Thorne Auditorium | G $15 ST $5
Equally sinister and compelling, The Secret History was a runaway bestseller and established Donna Tartt as a writer uniquely able to take her readers to the darkest of places, both storied and true. Tartt talks about her new book, The Goldfinch, and the intrigue that lurks in humanity.
Three deluded illusionists–Louie Magic, Dennis Diamond, and Daryl Hannah–perform magic that functions and fools just fine, until they begin to fall apart. Conjuring a work of experimental theater into a magic show, their off-the-wall comedy unfolds on a set every bit as outrageous and surreal as the show.
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 actor, who will receive the script just prior to going onstage. Performers for White Rabbit, Red Rabbit are Usman Ally, Fawzia Mirza, Yasen Peyankov, and Michael Shannon. This production is made possible in association with Aurora Nova Productions.
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.
Wednesday, Nov. 6 | 8-9 p.m.| Thorne Auditorium | G $15 ST $5
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.
Surgeon, bestselling author, and New Yorker writer Atul Gawandeestablished 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.
The most successful female tennis player in history, Martina Navratilova’scareer 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.
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 frontlines of the struggle against censorship.
Saturday, Nov. 9 | Noon-1 p.m. | UIC Forum | G $15 ST $5
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. 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.
Saturday, Nov. 9 | 5-6 p.m. | Francis W. Parker School |
G $15 ST $5
Director of the critically-acclaimed films Boys Don’t Cry and Stop Loss, Kimberly Peirce joins 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.
Saturday, Nov. 9 | 5-6 p.m. |UIC Forum | G $20 ST $10
One of the most influential figures in American politics, David Axelrodhas worked for such political figures as Harold Washington, Richard M. Daley, Rahm Emanuel, and Barack Obama. The inaugural director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, Axelrod embarks on a conversation with journalist Jim Warren on the nature of American politics past, present, and future.
11 a.m.-Noon| Francis W. Parker School | G $20 ST $10
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.
To browse a complete listing of events, visit chicagohumanities.org/events. Tickets to the 24th annual Chicago Humanities Festival are on sale now and can be purchased at chicagohumanities.org 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).
**The Edward Albee event on Sunday, Nov. 3 has been cancelled. Please see thewebsite for details.**
The Chicago Humanities Festival also offers the Shortlist Ticket Package for young professionals in their 20s and 30s. The fall 2013 ticket package includes three hand-picked programs, White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, Jonathan Safran Foer, and David Axelrod, as well as a pre-event cocktail hour, for the discounted price of $35. For more information, visit
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 with 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. Visitchicagohumanities.org for more information.