This year’s fest, themed “The Body,” kicks off Sunday, October 24, with Festival Day on the University of Chicago campus. That day’s events include discussions with U. of C. scholars on the following topics: The Metropolitan Opera production of Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera The Nose (10 AM, International House, 1414 E. 59th, $5); The South-Side Health and Vitality Studies: Body and Community Wellness (10 AM, Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th, $5); artist Tania Bruguera and Renaissance Society education director Hamza Walker in conversation on Sculpting Politics, Debating Art (11:30 AM, Goodspeed Hall, 1010 East 59th, $5); Human Vulnerability—Human Rights (noon, International House, $5); Studying the Body: Rare Medical Texts of the History of Medicine (noon, Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th, $5); Making a Body From Scratch: Human Development Before Birth (2 PM, International House, $5); A Mummy Comes to Life (2 PM, Oriental Institute, $5); How the Body Became a Museum Exhibit (4 PM, International House, $5); and Machiavelli and the Body Politic by historian Hanna Gray (4 PM, Mandel Hall, $5).
Some other Festival Day programs: a viewing of Rare Medical Texts of the History of Medicine from the university’s rare books collection (10:30-11:30 AM and 3:30-4:30 PM, Regenstein Library, 1100 E. 57th, $10); writer Leslie Marmon Silko discussing her new memoir, The Turquoise Ledge, with arts journalist Victoria Lautman (1:30 PM, Fulton Recital Hall, 1010 E. 59th, sold out); and a dance performance by the Chicago Human Rhythm Project ensemble BAM! (6 PM, Mandel Hall, $10).
The rest of the fest runs Tue-Thu 11/2-11/14, with discussions, talks, and performances at venues throughout the city. Here’s a sampling of programs not yet sold out at press time.
Athletes are naturals for considering the body. Marathoner Frank Shorter speaks on “Athletes and Anti-Doping” (Wed 11/3, 6 PM, Northwestern University School of Law, 375 E. Chicago, $10), while NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar covers “The Body at Its Finest” (Mon 11/8, 6 PM, UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt, $15).
On the food front, chef Paul Kahan, pastry chef Mindy Segal, and WTTW’s Check, Please! host Alpana Singh present “The Perfect Meal: A Journey With Chicago Tastemakers” (Sun 11/14, 10 AM, Northwestern University School of Law, $10).
For the literati: biographer Antonia Fraser chats with Victoria Lautman about her memoir, Must You Go? My Life With Harold Pinter (Sat 11/6, 10 AM, UIC Forum, $10); writer Aleksandar Hemon hosts a program of dramatic readings from Best European Fiction 2010, which he edited (Sat 11/6, 2:30 PM, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State, $10); playwright-actor Sam Shepard receives the 2010 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize (Sat 11/13, 10 AM, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, $15); the 2010 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize winners for fiction and nonfiction go to biologist E.O. Wilson for his novel Anthill and to Rebecca Skloot for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Sat 11/13, 2 PM, Northwestern University School of Law, $15); undertaker-poet Thomas Lynch reads from his collection Bodies in Motion and at Rest (Sun 11/14, 4 PM, Northwestern University School of Law, $5); and physician Cheryl Kinney and lit scholar Elisabeth Lenckos contemplate Jane Austen and the Body (Sun 11/7, 3:30 PM, Harold Washington Library Center, $5).
Programs with actual moving bodies include New York’s Big Dance Theater (Thu 11/4 and Sat 11/6, 7:30 PM, and Sun 11/7, 3 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, $22-$28); Ananya Dance Theatre (Sat 11/6, 1 PM, Art Institute, 111 S. Michigan, $5); GIMP (Sun 11/7, 4:30 PM, Francis W. Parker School, 2233 N. Clark, $15); and Mordine & Company Dance Theater (Sat 11/13, 7 PM, Francis W. Parker School, $10).
And a few programs that just sound interesting: NU prof and cultural critic Laura Kipnis on her latest book, How to Become a Scandal: Adventures in Bad Behavior (Sat 11/6, 10:30 AM, UIC Forum, $5); Bicycling and the Body (Politic) panel discussion with authors Greg Borzo (Where to Bike Chicago) and Harry Wray (Pedal Power: The Quiet Rise of the Bicycle in American Public Life) and new Active Transportation Alliance chair Randy Neufeld (Sat 11/6, 1 PM, First United Methodist Church, 77 W. Washington $5); entomologist Gene Robinson talking about What Honeybees Can Teach Us About Human Nature (Sat 11/13, 3 PM, Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph, $5); “scent critic” Chandler Burr (The Perfect Scent) discussing The Art History of Scent (Sun 11/14, 11:30 AM, Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark, $5); and NU bioethicist Alice Dreger examining The Intersex Body (Sun 11/14, 3:30 PM, Harold Washington Library Center, $5). The program with Savage Love columnist Dan Savage Fri 11/12 is sold out.
Tickets for all events are available at 312-494-9509 or online. A $5 processing fee will be added to all advance orders including those for students and teachers. Tickets at the door are cash only; a $5 per ticket surcharge will be applied at the door. Students and teachers are exempt from the at-the-door surcharge. For a complete schedule and to buy tix online, see chicagohumanities.org. —Jerome Ludwig