The 16th annual Chicago Humanities Festival, this year themed “Home and Away,” continues through 11/13, offering dozens of lectures, readings, and discussions by an international coterie of writers, artists, and scholars as well as film screenings and theatrical and musical performances. All programs are $5 in advance, $6 (cash only) at the door, unless otherwise noted. (Tickets for some sold-out programs may become available; check at the venue no later than 30 minutes before the program.) Tickets can be ordered by phone at 312-494-9509 or online at Call 312-661-1028 for more information. Following is the schedule through 11/10; a complete schedule is available at


“Song of the Exile” Film screening. An autobiographical feature (1990) by Boat People’s Ann Hui, set in 1973. A young Chinese woman (Maggie Cheung) studying in London is summoned back to Hong Kong to attend her younger sister’s wedding and finds herself in frequent conflict with her Japanese mother (Chang Shwu-fen) until she accompanies her on her first trip back to Japan since being married. 90 min. Facets Cinematheque. 7 PM

R”‘Get Happy’: Celebrating the Music of Harold Arlen” Concert featuring performers Leslie Uggams, Montego Glover, Marin Mazzie, Jason Danieley, and Noah Racey and pianist Dick Hyman and his jazz trio. Symphony Center. $25. 8 PM

“Journey to the Sun” Film screening. A night of danger solidifies a friendship between two men from opposite ends of Turkey in this drama from writer-director Yesim Ustaoglu (1999). 105 min. Facets Cinematheque. 8:45 PM


“American Artists and the Louvre” by Olivier Meslay, Louvre curator of Spanish and American paintings. Alliance Francaise. 10 AM Sold out.

“The Avant-Garde Interiors of Frances Elkins” by architectural and design historian Stephen M. Salny. Loyola Univ. 10 AM

“When Jobs Leave Home” Debate with University of Chicago political scientist Daniel W. Drezner and AFL-CIO chief international economist Thea Lee; Tribune editor Charles Madigan moderates. Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium. 10 AM

“Roots and Wings” by poet Edward Hirsch (Lay Back the Darkness, et al); he’ll be joined by Northwestern University lecturer Averill Curdy. Art Institute, Fullerton Hall. 10:30 AM

“A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” Staged reading of an adaptation of Mark Twain’s satire by the Remy Bumppo Theatre Company. Roosevelt Univ. 11 AM Sold out.

“Finding a Way” Members of the Neighborhood Writing Alliance read from their Journal of Ordinary Thought. Chicago Architecture Foundation. Free; reservations required. 11:30 AM Sold out.

“American Dialects” Panel with Dictionary of American Regional English editor Joan Houston Hall, writer Simon Winchester, and dialect coach Robert Easton. Chicago Cultural Center. noon Sold out.

“A Home in the Theater” by Tony Award-winning stage director Garry Hynes; she’ll be joined by Writers’ Theater artistic director Michael Halberstam. Loyola Univ. noon

“Never Away From Home” by anthropologist Beatrice Medicine. Alliance Francaise. noon

RGeorge Packer The New Yorker staff writer discusses The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq. Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium. noon Sold out.

“The Time and Place of the Poem” by poets Lawrence Joseph (Into It) and Stuart Dybek (Streets in Their Own Ink). Art Institute, Fullerton Hall. 12:30 PM

“DisLocation” Film screening. Sudhir Venkatesh, director of Columbia University’s Center for Urban Research and Policy, directed this 2002 documentary about residents reacting to their three-month eviction notices from the Robert Taylor Homes. Venkatesh will field questions after the screening. Chicago Architecture Foundation. 1 PM Sold out.

“Chief Chicagou in Paris” Performance by Ars Musica Chicago. Roosevelt Univ. 1:30 PM

“The Future of the United Nations” by senior UN official and author Shashi Tharoor (Bookless in Baghdad: Reflections on Writers and Writing). First United Methodist Church. 2 PM

R”Global Citizens” by writers Jan Morris (The World: Travels 1950-2000, et al) and Simon Winchester (A Crack in the Edge of the World, et al); they’ll be joined by Lonely Planet editor Don George. Chicago Cultural Center. 2 PM Sold out.

“A Long Long Way From Home” by Irish poet, playwright, and novelist Sebastian Barry (A Long Long Way): he’ll be joined by Organic Theater producing artistic director Ina Marlowe. Loyola Univ. 2 PM

“The Mythology of the Inevitable Return” by University of Chicago divinity school prof Wendy Doniger (The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was: Myths of Self-Imitation). Alliance Francaise. 2 PM Sold out.

“The Past, Present, and Future of American Immigration” by historian David M. Kennedy (Freedom From Fear). Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium. 2 PM

R”William Maxwell’s Literary Life” Scholar Barbara Burkhardt (William Maxwell: A Literary Life), fiction writer Charles Baxter, and poet Edward Hirsch discuss the life of longtime New Yorker fiction editor Maxwell, who attended Senn High School for a time. Harold Washington Library Center. 2 PM

“All Dressed Up With Somewhere to Go” Fashion program with Chicago Historical Society costumes curator Timothy Long and Sun-Times travel editor Lisa Lenoir. Field Museum. 2:30 PM

“A Home for Poetry” Panel with Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman, poet Christina Pugh, and Poetry Foundation president John Barr. Art Institute, Fullerton Hall. 2:30 PM

“Homefront: Silenced Voices of War” Dramatic presentations of poetry and song by performers Jamie O’Reilly, Michael Smith, and John Starrs. Roosevelt Univ. 3:30 PM

“Coming Back Home to Church After 30 Years” by journalist Debra Dickerson (The End of Blackness). Loyola Univ. 4 PM

“Immigration Law” Roundtable with legal scholar David Cole, U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, University of Chicago Human Rights Program director Susan Gzesh, political scientist Bonnie Honig, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Tamar Jacoby, U. of C. historian Mae Ngai, and Migration Policy Institute senior fellow Doris Meissner; moderated by U. of C. law prof Geoffrey Stone. Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium. 4 PM Sold out.

Bobbie Ann Mason presents her new novel, An Atomic Romance; she’ll be interviewed by Tribune columnist Dawn Turner Trice. First United Methodist Church. 4 PM

“The Three R’s of Travel” Lonely Planet editor Don George and LP authors discuss “Research, Respect, and Reward.” Chicago Cultural Center. 4 PM Sold out.

R”The World” Film screening. Suggesting at different moments a backstage musical, a failed love story, a surreal comedy, and even a cartoon fantasy, this beautiful, corrosive, visionary masterpiece by Jia Zhang-ke (2004) is a frighteningly persuasive account of the current state of the planet. In Mandarin and Shanxi dialect with subtitles. 139 min. (Jonathan Rosenbaum) Facets Cinematheque. 5 PM

“The Silver River” Composer Bright Sheng and playwright David Henry Hwang discuss their opera; with a musical performance and screenings of excerpts of the work. Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium. 7:30 PM


Margaret Atwood The novelist (Oryx and Cake, The Blind Assassin, et al) receives the Chicago Tribune Literary Prize. Symphony Center. $15. 10 AM

“Journals of a Diplomat’s Wife” Talk by Art Institute curator Elinor Pearlstein. Art Institute, Fullerton Hall. 11 AM

“German-Jewish Filmmakers in Hollywood Exile” by Hollywood Entertainment Museum curator Jan-Christopher Horak. Alliance Francaise. 11:30 AM Sold out.

“Journey to Homeland” by journalist Dale Maharidge (Homeland). Loyola Univ. 11:30 AM

“Our Death Race With the Legendary Jungle Leper Army” by Outside magazine travel writer Tim Cahill (Hold the Enlightenment, Jaguars Ripped My Flesh, et al). Chicago Cultural Center. 11:30 AM

“Without Boundaries” by scientist-physician-astronaut Mae Jemison. Field Museum. noon

“Landscape in American Fiction” by novelist Annie Proulx (The Shipping News, Brokeback Mountain, et al). Harold Washington Library Center. 1 PM Sold out.

Marilynne Robinson, Kevin Boyle The Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize winners (Robinson’s Gilead for fiction, Boyle’s Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age for nonfiction) read from their works. Art Institute, Rubloff Auditorium. 1 PM

“Ten Years of Looking at the Moon” by artist Sallie Wolf. Adler Planetarium. 30-minute program; free. 1 PM

“Why Do We Care . . . So Much?” Sports panel with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney, Northwestern University president Henry S. Bienen, NU athletic director Mark Murphy, NU associate basketball coach Craig Robinson, and Chicago Public Radio sports commentator Cheryl Raye-Stout; moderated by NU law prof Leigh Bienen. Northwestern Univ. Hughes Auditorium. 1 PM

Geoff Dyer (Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered) reads from his book of essays about photography, The Ongoing Moment. Loyola Univ. 1:30 PM

“Exiled in America” Lecture-performance by British opera director David G. Edwards and soprano Ann Panagulias. Chicago Sinai Congregation. 1:30 PM Sold out.

R”Our New, Invisible Homes” by travel writer Pico Iyer (Sun After Dark, The Global Soul, et al); he’ll be joined by Lonely Planet editor Don George. Chicago Cultural Center. 1:30 PM

“Religious Pluralism–A Report Card” by Dominican University theology prof Jeffrey Carlson. Alliance Francaise. 1:30 PM

“From Jim Crow America to Apartheid South Africa and Beyond” by Johannesburg-based journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault (New News Out of Africa: What Africa Means to Me). Field Museum. 2 PM

cJonathan Kozol First United Methodist Church. 2 PM

“Ten Years of Looking at the Moon” by artist Sallie Wolf. Adler Planetarium. 30-minute program; free. 2 PM Sold out.

“Will You Give Us a Tune, Uncle John?” Performance by musician-composer Michael J. Miles. Roosevelt Univ. 2 PM

Charles Baxter reads from his novel Saul and Patsy. Harold Washington Library Center. 3 PM

“The Perfect Houses of Andrea Palladio” by urbanist Witold Rybczynski (Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life). Art Institute, Fullerton Hall. 3 PM Sold out.

“Betting the House” by Sports Illustrated writer Lester Munson. Northwestern Univ. Hughes Auditorium. 3:30 PM

“Collecting Visual Histories” by Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas (Carnival Strippers, et al). Loyola Univ. 3:30 PM

R”Lamerica” Film screening. A masterful and extremely moving 1995 feature by Gianni Amelio (Open Doors, Stolen Children) that recalls some of the best Italian neorealist films. An Italian con artist (Enrico Lo Verso) tries to set up a fake corporation in postcommunist Albania; with his business partner, he digs up a traumatized 70-year-old former political prisoner to serve as the phony president of his phony company. An epic, multifaceted portrayal of a postcommunist Europe awakened from its slumbers by TV and consumerism. In Italian with subtitles. 116 min. (Jonathan Rosenbaum) Facets Cinematheque. 3:30 PM

Rebecca Solnit The cultural historian reads from her essay collection A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Chicago Cultural Center. 3:30 PM

“A Space Filled With Moving” by historian Tom Lewis (The Perfect House: A Journey With Renaissance Master Andrea Palladio). Alliance Francaise. 3:30 PM

“Callie House and the Ex-Slave Pension Movement” by historian Mary Frances Berry (My Face Is Black Is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations). Field Museum. 4 PM

Anita Desai discusses her novel The Zigzag Way in an interview by writer Carolyn Alessio. Chicago Sinai Congregation. 4 PM

David Hackett Fischer The Pulitzer-winning historian (Washington’s Crossing) discusses Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America. First United Methodist Church. 4 PM

“The Stranger in Opera” Performance by former and current members of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists; with commentary by Lyric Opera dramaturge Roger Pines. Roosevelt Univ. 4 PM Sold out.

“Leaving Home With 71 Cents in His Pocket” Autobiographical monologue by Chicago journalist John Callaway. Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium. $10. 7 PM

“That New, Familiar Song” Performance by singer-songwriter Susan Werner. Chicago Cultural Center. $10. 7 PM Sold out.


“In the White City” Film screening. A sailor (Bruno Ganz) abandons his job as a hand on an automated oil tanker to spend a few days exploring the city of Lisbon. Suddenly liberated from purpose, responsibility, and structured time, he finds that the world looks different to him, and slowly he loses himself in its newly opened fissures. With Teresa Madruga (of Manuel de Oliveira’s Francisca). 107 min. (Dave Kehr) Facets Cinematheque. 7 PM

Scott Turow discusses his new novel, Ordinary Heroes, in an interview by journalist John Callaway. Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium. 7 PM

R”Chopin’s World” Performance by actor, composer, and pianist Hershey Felder. See Theater & Performance for a review of Felder’s current show at the Royal George, Monsieur Chopin. Royal George Theatre Center. 8 PM Sold out.

R”Marooned in Iraq” Film screening. This magnificent second film (2002) by Kurdish director Bahman Ghobadi reprises all the memorable motifs and horrific imagery of his acclaimed A Time for Drunken Horses–but here, everything foregrounded in Ghobadi’s first picture becomes the everyday backdrop to a quasi-farce that tracks a family of musicians in their noisy, squabbling, absurdist, and revelatory trek from Iran to Iraq in search of the patriarch’s first wife. In Kurdish with subtitles. 110 min. (Ronnie Scheib) Facets Cinematheque. 9 PM


R”Sans Soleil” Film screening. Chris Marker’s 1982 masterpiece is one of the key nonfiction films of our time–a personal philosophical essay that concentrates mainly on contemporary Tokyo but also includes footage shot in Iceland, Guinea-Bissau, and San Francisco (where the filmmaker tracks down all of the original locations in Hitchcock’s Vertigo). A film about subjectivity, death, photography, social custom, and consciousness itself, Sans Soleil registers like a poem one might find in a time capsule. 100 min. (Jonathan Rosenbaum) Facets Cinematheque. 7 PM

“Welcoming the Stranger” by University of Chicago theologian Martin E. Marty (When Faiths Collide, et al). Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium. 7 PM


“Mies Is More: Learning From Mies” by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Robert Venturi. Illinois Institute of Technology. Free, but reservations required. 6 PM Sold out.

“Auschwitz as an Evolving Camp” by Holocaust scholar Raul Hilberg (The Politics of Memory: The Journey of a Holocaust Historian). Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies. 7 PM

“Travellers and Magicians” Film screening. The first feature shot entirely in the Himalayan monarchy of Bhutan, this 2003 drama was written and directed by an ordained lama, Khyentse Norbu. He focuses on the conflict between traditional and Western values, as a young Bhutanese leaves his small village with dreams of America, opportunity, and girls, girls, girls. Despite the seemingly straightforward message, the film ends on a surprisingly and pleasantly ambiguous note. In Dzongkha with subtitles. 108 min. (Hank Sartin) Facets Cinematheque. 7 PM


Erica Jong (Fear of Flying, Sappho’s Leap, et al) delivers a lecture on “Women and Culture.” Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium. 7 PM Sold out.

“Port Djema” Film screening. This drama concerns the political awakening of a doctor (Jean-Yves Dubois) who travels to a fictional former French colony in east Africa after a friend and colleague is murdered there. Written by Jacques Lebas and director Eric Heumann. 95 min. Facets Cinematheque. 7 PM

“The Inner Tour” Film screening. A group of Palestinians embark on a three-day sightseeing tour of Israel in this 2001 documentary by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz (James’ Journey to Jerusalem). In Hebrew and Arabic with subtitles. 97 min. Facets Cinematheque. 9 PM


Adler Planetarium 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.

Alliance Francaise 54 W. Chicago

Art Institute Michigan & Adams

Chicago Architecture Foundation 224 S. Michigan

Chicago Cultural Center Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington

Chicago Sinai Congregation 15 W. Delaware

Facets Cinematheque 1517 W. Fullerton

Field Museum Simpson Theater, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.

First United Methodist Church 77 W. Washington

Harold Washington Library Center 400 S. State

HotHouse 31 E. Balbo

Illinois Institute of Technology Crown Hall, 3360 S. State

Loyola Univ. Rubloff Auditorium, 25 E. Pearson

Northwestern Univ. Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago

Roosevelt Univ. Ganz Hall, 430 S. Michigan

Royal George Theatre Center 1641 N. Halsted

Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies 618 S. Michigan

Symphony Center Armour Stage, 220 S. Michigan

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Greg Martin.