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Peace Out at The Humanities Festival

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 27, 2006 8:43PM

In case you weren't paying attention earlier, the Chicago Humanities Festival begins tomorrow. Really, we’re not kidding. Judging by the long scroll of sold-out shows in the website’s festival updates section, advance ticket sales have been brisk. And at $5 a pop to see the likes of General Wesley Clark, Garry Trudeau, and Paul Krugman, are you honestly surprised?

CHFlogo.gifThis year’s theme, Peace and War: Facing Human Conflict, speaks to growing apprehension about America's military campaigns, a shared desire to achieve peace with dignity, and a zillion different opinions about how we can do that.

For Moshe Safdie, the answer lies in architecture. A city’s design generally reflects its history and impacts its future, particularly in the Middle East. Safdie speaks at the Spertus Museum, prior to the screening of a film documenting his work and philosophy.
Lecture is Sunday at 1:30 p.m., $5; free film screening is Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

They garnered national attention for their symphony of ringtones. Next, Chicago Sinfonietta presents a tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers and Alexander Nevsky in Peace Paix Paz with guest contralto Gwendolyn Brown and the Elmhurst College and Northern Illinois University choirs.
Tuesday, November 7, 7:30 - 10:00 p.m., Symphony Center, $15.

If you didn't have time for the book, maybe you should see the story on stage. Jonathan Safran Foer's post-9/11 drama Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is presented twice by The American Place Theatre (Nov. 2, $5), the Metro Theater Company presents Beowulf (Nov. 6, $5), and Steppenwolf presents All Just One, a mishmash of works about war (Nov. 1, $5).

The City's Silk Road Chicago showcase is a fabulous tool for cultural understanding, but will it help contribute to world peace? National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry, offers some insight as he recounts his adventures along the Silk Road (Nov. 4, 10:30 a.m., sold out, but turnbacks might be available).

Why did a handful of cartoons published in a Danish journal spur deadly riots? And why did reporting of those cartoons by Chicagoist and others provoke such heated exchanges? Comic artists Art Spiegelman and Joe Sacco try to explain what it all means. (Nov. 12, 2 p.m., $5)

Can poetry really contribute to peace? Gary Snyder talks about his work inspired by Asian traditions. (Nov. 5, 12:30 p.m., $5)

The Chicago Humanities Festival starts October 28 and continues through November 12. More information at