The 13th annual Chicago Humanities Festival, this year themed “Brains & Beauty,” runs through November 10 and offers dozens of lectures, readings, and discussions by writers, artists, and scholars (see schedule below), as well as film screenings at Facets Cinematheque and theatrical and musical performances (see separate listings in this section and in Section Three). The following events take place at these locations: Alliance Francaise, 54 W. Chicago; Art Institute of Chicago, Michigan and Adams; Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; Chicago Historical Society, 1601 N. Clark; DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl.; Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.; First United Methodist Church, 77 W. Washington; Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake; Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State; Istituto Italiano di Cultura, 500 N. Michigan; Kennedy-King College, 6800 S. Wentworth; Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton; Northwestern University School of Law, 357 E. Chicago; Quigley Preparatory Seminary, 103 E. Chestnut; and Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan. Programs are $5 in advance, $6 (if available and cash only) at the door, unless otherwise noted (students and teachers are admitted free, with advance reservations). Advance tickets are available by phone at 312-494-9509 or on-line at (handling fees apply to phone and Web site orders).


Design Panel: “Designs for Living”

Discussion with clothing designer Lorain Croft, Tim Parsey of Motorola, architect Eugene Tsui, and Edward T. Welburn of General Motors; Northwestern University costume design professor Virgil C. Johnson moderates. Noon: Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater.

Howard Reich and Marcus Roberts

Chicago Tribune music critic Reich and pianist Roberts examine the work of James P. Johnson, Scott Joplin, and Jelly Roll Morton in “Talking Jazz.” 7:30 PM: Northwestern University School of Law, Thorne Auditorium.


Noreen Ahmed-Ullah

The Chicago Tribune staff writer discusses “Writing With an Informed Heart.” 10 AM: Northwestern University School of Law, Thorne Auditorium.

Mary Ann Caws

The scholar presents “Convulsive Beauty: Surrealist Love Poems.” 11 AM: Alliance Francaise.

Jennifer Egan

The New York Times journalist and novelist (Look at Me) talks about “The Future of Inner Life.” 11 AM: Newberry Library.

Dacia Maraini

The Italian playwright and novelist discusses “the relationship between women and power”; Tiffany Liveris performs Maraini’s monologue Lettere d’amore. 11 AM: Istituto Italiano di Cultura.

Edmund Morris

The writer talks about his biography of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex. 11 AM: Chicago Historical Society.

Mira Nair

The Indian filmmaker (Monsoon Wedding) speaks on “From the Imagination to the Image” with Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Wilmington. 11 AM: First United Methodist Church.

Eugene Tsui

The architect offers a selection of his work in “Architect for the 21st Century.” 11 AM: Harold Washington Library Center.

Marina Warner

The cultural historian and novelist (The Leto Bundle) presents “Crossings and Re-Crossings,” a program on myths and fairy tales. 11 AM: Harold Washington College.

Roger Wilkins

The historian (Jefferson’s Pillow: The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism) lectures on “Civil Rights: The 60s and Its Echoes Today.” 11 AM: DuSable Museum.

Sandra Witelson

The neuroscientist talks about “Einstein’s Brain.” 11 AM: Roosevelt University.

International Journalists Panel: “Ourselves as Others See Us”

Program with Ennio Caretto (Italy), Jose Carreno Figueras (Mexico), Yasemin Congar (Turkey), Rupert Cornwell (UK), Nathan Guttman (Israel), Sridhar Krishnaswami (India), Hafez al-Mirazi (Qatar), and Bartosz Weglarczyk (Poland); moderated by Chicago Tribune staff writer R.C. Longworth. 12:30 PM: Northwestern University School of Law, Thorne Auditorium.

Amiri Baraka

The poet, playwright, and activist discusses “Self-Determination and Democracy.” 1 PM: DuSable Museum.

Spencer de Grey

The British architect presents “Old and New: The Challenge of Historic Buildings.” 1 PM: Alliance Francaise.

Howard Gardner

The Harvard University education professor lectures on “From Multiple Intelligences to Good Work.” 1 PM: Harold Washington Library Center.

Karsten Harries

The Yale University philosopher

discusses “Why Beauty Matters.”

1 PM: Roosevelt University.

Carolyn Heilbrun

The literary scholar and novelist (aka Amanda Cross) presents “Alter Egos.” 1 PM: Newberry Library.

Margaret MacMillan

The historian (Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World) presents “Personalities and Peacemaking: Paris, 1919.” 1 PM: Chicago Historical Society.

Michael Ondaatje

The Booker Prize-winning novelist (The English Patient) and author of The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film is interviewed by Facets Multimedia director Milos Stehlik. 1 PM: Art Institute, Fullerton Auditorium.

Tom Shippey

The Old English scholar lectures on “Trees, Chainsaws, and the Vision of Paradise in J.R.R. Tolkien.” 1 PM: Harold Washington College.

Richard Christiansen

The former Chicago Tribune drama critic presents “Born (Again) Yesterday,” a discussion of Garson Kanin’s comedy Born Yesterday; a Loop Players production follows. 2 PM: Harold Washington College, theater.

“Beauty Marks”

Discussion with art historians Elise Goodman and Marilyn Houlberg and Art Institute curator Gloria Groom. 2:30 PM: Art Institute, Fullerton Auditorium.

Regina Barreca and Nicole Hollander

Writer Barreca (They Used to Call Me Snow White . . . But I Drifted) and comic-strip creator Hollander (Sylvia) offer “Why Smart Is Sexy After 40, and Other Mysteries of Life Explained.” 3 PM: Newberry Library.

Robert Dallek and Robert V. Remini

Historians Dallek (Hail to the Chief: The Making and Unmaking of American Presidents) and Remini (Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars) present “What’s Wrong With History?” 3 PM: Chicago Historical Society.

“From Revolution to Institution”

Discussion with Ebony magazine executive editor Lerone Bennett, ETA Creative Arts Foundation founder Abena Joan Brown, artist and DuSable Museum cofounder Margaret Burroughs, poet Angela Jackson, and writer and Third World Press founder Haki Madhubuti; moderated by DuSable Museum senior historian Charles Branham. 3 PM: DuSable Museum.

Im Kwon-taek

The South Korean film director, whose work is receiving a retrospective at Facets Cinematheque, speaks on “Korean Visions” with Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Wilmington. 3 PM: Harold Washington Library Center.

Nancy Milford

The biographer talks about Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay. 3 PM: Harold Washington College.

Joyce Carol Oates

The Sandburg Prize winner reads from her novel Blonde. 3 PM: Northwestern University School of Law, Thorne Auditorium.

Richard Powers

The novelist (Plowing the Dark, Galatea 2.2) offers “When Software Is Like a Story.” 3 PM: Roosevelt University.

“Quigley Seminary Chapel Windows”

Free lecture; tickets required. 3:30 PM: Quigley Preparatory Seminary.


Oliver Sacks

The neurologist and author (Awakenings) lectures on “Stinks and Bangs: A Chemical Boyhood.” 11 AM: Field Museum, Simpson Theatre.

“A Subtle Beauty: Changing Perceptions of the Midwest Landscape”

Discussion with Jerry Adelmann of the Openlands Project, art historian Sarah Burns, photographer Terry Evans, painter David Klamen, and conservationist Curt Meine. 11 AM: Newberry Library.

Jean-Paul Viguier

The French architect lectures on “Technology of the Invisible.” 11 AM: Northwestern University School of Law, Thorne Auditorium.

Fay Weldon

The novelist reads from The Bulgari Connection. 11 AM: Chicago Historical Society.

Jeff Donaldson

The artist, critic, historian, and founder of the Chicago-based collective AfriCobra discusses “AfriCobra and Its Impact.” 12:30 PM: Kennedy-King College, lecture hall 2W89.

Gary Saul Morson

The Northwestern University professor of Slavic literature lectures on “Anna Karenina and the Surprisingness of Ideas and Art.” 1 PM: Northwestern University School of Law, Thorne Auditorium.

New Technologies Panel: “Bits, Bytes, Brains & Beauty”

Discussion with computer scientist Jaron Lanier, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center plastic surgery professor Joseph Rosen, and MIT Laboratory for Human and Machine Haptics director Mandayam A. Srinivasan. 1 PM: Field Museum, Simpson Theatre.

Micheal O’Siadhail

The Irish poet reads work from The Gossamer Wall. 1 PM: Alliance Francaise.

“Slip Knot” Opera Workshop

Composer T.J. Anderson, Northwestern University historian Timothy Breen, stage designer Richard Hunt, and director Rhoda Levine discuss an opera in progress; with accompanying performances. 1:30 PM: Harold Washington Library Center.

Jane Urquhart

The poet and novelist (The Stone Carvers) talks about “When Visual Art Collides With Narrative.” 1:30 PM: Newberry Library.

“Elizabeth Extolled and Excoriated: The Virgin Queen on Canvas and Screen”

Discussion with British historians Michael Dobson and Nicola Watson. 2 PM: First United Methodist Church.

Francine du Plessix Gray

The novelist and biographer

(At Home With the Marquis de Sade)

lectures on “Brains, Beauty, and the Marquis de Sade.” 3 PM: Chicago Historical Society.

R.F. Foster

The Oxford professor, author of W.B. Yeats: A Life, speaks on “Eagle With Phoenixes: Yeats and His Contemporaries.” 3 PM: Northwestern University School of Law, Thorne Auditorium.

European Union Literary Panel

Discussion with writers Abdelkader Benali (Netherlands), Michael Collins (Ireland), Dacia Maraini (Italy), Ray Loriga (Spain), Ulrich Peltzer (Germany), and Dai Sijie (France); moderated by critic Andrew Patner. 3:30 PM: Alliance Francaise.

Alan Lightman

The MIT physicist and novelist (Einstein’s Dreams) discusses “The Physicist as Novelist.” 3:30 PM: Field Museum, Simpson Theatre.

Alexander Nehamas

The Princeton University philosopher presents “Beauty Knows No Boundaries.” 3:30 PM: Harold Washington Library Center.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Jerry Bauer, Marion Ettlinger.