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Oh the Humanties

By Margaret Hicks in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 27, 2006 4:04PM

Oates10_27.jpgIt’s that time of year -- leaves are falling, radiators are clunking, and the Chicago Humanities Festival is raring to go.

We love the fest, we really do. Chicagoist even worked for them for a few years. We don't want to look in gift horses' mouths, but we can't help wishing they would un-stuffy it up a little bit. Maybe book some more fun guests and authors. (Neil Gaiman sold out in minutes a few years ago -- more of that please!) Still, we found more than enough programs to keep our happy hearts beating. Since many of the events are sold out, we've highlighted ones that still have tickets available. Just keep in mind that lots of people show up expecting to get tickets at the door.

In chronological order:

Stanley Lombardo: An Iliad for Today
Lombardo, professor of classics at the University of Kansas, began his “refashioning” of Homer’s epic war poem as a set of scripts for solo performances given to his students and other audiences, eventually publishing it in 1997 to wide acclaim. Professor Lombardo will both read from and discuss his reworking of the great classic.
Saturday, Nov. 4, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St.

Joyce Carol Oates
Chicago Tribune is pleased to present the 2006 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize to esteemed author Joyce Carol Oates. This honor recognizes individuals who have made an extraordinary contribution to the literary world, touched audiences, and changed the face of literature.
Sunday, Nov. 5, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave.

Yusef Komunyakaa: The Autobiography of My Alter-Ego
A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Komunyakaa has often found a touchstone in his experiences as an African American soldier in Vietnam. In a feat of empathic imagination, his latest poetic monologue gives voice to the title character — a white, male Vietnam War veteran. The piece is performed for the first time by playwright and Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble actor Tracy Letts under the poet’s direction.
Sunday, Nov. 5, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater, 77 E. Randolph St.

Gary Snyder: Poet of Peace
In launching his personal career as a poet several decades ago, this Buddhist, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet translated texts from ancient Chinese and modern Japanese. As part of the Silk Road Chicago project, Snyder looks back at his own poems inspired directly by Asian concepts and images, spinning stories of the peaceful landscape he views daily from his Californian home.
Sunday, Nov. 5, 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. , The Art Institute of Chicago, Fullerton Auditorium, 111 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize: Louise Erdrich and Taylor Branch
The brilliant novelist, poet, and children’s book author Louise Erdrich and the esteemed historian and author Taylor Branch are this year’s recipients of this annual prize awarded for works “embodying the spirit of the nation’s Heartland.”
Sunday, Nov. 5, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave.

Andrew Carroll
Andrew Carroll presents a reading by Chicago veterans of excerpts from his literary project Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families. This project, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, marks the first time that the government has asked active duty troops to record their experiences and supported a collection of their writings.
Sunday, Nov. 5, 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. , The Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St.

Frank McCourt: Teacher Man
Providing wry reflections from a different sort of battleground altogether, the Irish-born author of the award-winning memoirs "Angela’s Ashes" and "’Tis" presents a public lecture on themes raised by his most recent reminiscence, "Teacher Man," which recounts his thirty-plus years teaching in New York City public high schools. McCourt is interviewed by Edward Lifson, host of Chicago Public Radio’s arts magazine, Hello Beautiful!
Wednesday, Nov. 1, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 111 S. Michigan Ave.

Sid Jacobson, Ernie Colón: The 9/11 Report
Please note that Ernie Colón will no longer be part of this program. Sid Jacobson will be interviewed on stage about this project.
Two veteran comic artists present their new graphic adaptation of the government’s 9/11 Report, published on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attack. Colón (overseer of Green Lantern and Wonder Woman) and Jacobson (creator of Richie Rich) explain why they felt the need to produce a more accessible, visual account of arguably the most defining event of the new century.
Saturday, Nov. 11, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St.

You can always check their website or call the box office with any questions. Remember, most tix are $5, so be sure to go out and support this amazing event.