Chicago Humanities Festival Goes PUBLIC this Fall

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Headliners include Patti Smith, Jessica Lange, Chelsea Manning, Miranda July, Elizabeth Alexander, Jeff Garlin, Kevin Nealon, April Ryan, Valerie Jarrett, Jim Jarmusch & more

The Chicago Humanities Festival is bringing some of the biggest names in film, politics, music, literature, and activism to stages across Chicago for entertaining, inspiring, and provocative conversations addressing the theme of “PUBLIC” and how we are all re-imagining our public lives today. Check out the fabulous Fall offerings.

The Social Mind

With whistleblower Chelsea Manning and Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova, CHF will ask what right the public has to information. Experts from The Verge will discuss the relationship between the public and Big Tech in a series called “The Social Mind.” Marianne Williamson will address the role of public politics after the midterm elections. Reporter April Ryan and political advisor Valerie Jarrett will talk about how Black women can save the public. And poet Elizabeth Alexander, photographer Devin Allen, artist Jefferson Pinder, and scholar Margaret A. Burnham will all explore how racism still divides our American public. These PUBLIC issues—and more—will permeate all the conversations at CHF this fall.

Alan Cumming Kindler

As always at Chicago Humanities Festival, many events feature some of the biggest names in culture including legendary musician Patti Smith; Academy Award winner Jessica Lange; artist, filmmaker, and writer Miranda July; literary giants Jonathan Franzen and George Saunders; filmmakers Jim Jarmusch and Jonathan Ames; country singer Margo Price; and comedians Iliza Shlesinger, Kevin Nealon with Tim Meadows, and Chicago native Jeff Garlin talking with Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star Susie Essman.

Jeff Garlin in Chicago

“As we return to our first fully in-person Fall Festival since the start of the pandemic, we wanted to explore how each of us is returning to public life, how attitudes towards America’s various publics have changed, and how we can use this transition to better engage in the vital public conversations of our time,” says CHF’s Executive Director Phillip Bahar. “From deep conversations about gun violence, religion and politics, to laugh-out-loud events with comedians and entertainers, we have a broad range of programs to tempt Chicagoans to come out and re-engage with the remarkable public life of our great city.”

Black Women will Save the World by April Ryan

Most events will take place on various Neighborhood Days—where all of the events are held within walking distance in a specific neighborhood to encourage audiences to spend all day hopping from one event to another. Neighborhood Days include Northwestern on October 22, Hyde Park on October 29, Southport on November 5, and Lincoln Park on November 12.

special series this fall exploring the relationship between big tech and the public:

On November 12, 2022, as part of CHF’s day at Lincoln Park, The Verge will join the Chicago Humanities Festival for a full day of exploring how big tech impacts the public in a series of conversations called “The Social Mind.” The series begins with David Pierce (editor-at-large at The Verge) sitting down with New York Times investigative reporter and author of The Chaos Machine Max Fisher to talk about how Social Media has rewired our brains. Next up, The Verge deputy editor Alex Heath will host a discussion about the future of the feed and how the algorithms that control what we see online impact our real world. The final conversation will explore how social media is affecting the mental health of America’s youth with Nicole Wetsman (health tech reporter for The Verge), Dr. Megan Moreno (a leading researcher on adolescent social media), and a special guest.

BOOK OF DAYS — cover

After the conversations end, the public can join an interactive afterparty with experts from The Verge and video games provided by Bit Bash. Dedicated to turning Chicago into an amazing place for the indie games community, Bit Bash will bring unique, interactive games to the afterparty that night, and a few games will be made available throughout the day.

“For years now, The Verge has been reporting on the impact of social media on our communities, how we connect with one another, and how these platforms are shaping our democracy,” says The Verge’s VP and general manager Andrew Melzinek. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Chicago Humanities Festival this year to host a series of sessions on the impact of social media in our minds. CHF is a leader in thought-provoking and insightful programming, and The Verge is looking forward to sharing in those discussions with the Chicago community.”

Nikole Hannah, Jones Kindler

All events with The Verge will be held in the downstairs theater at Steppenwolf. Festivalgoers can join in any of the individual conversations or grab an all-access pass to stay logged into The Verge action all day – for all three panel discussions and the Bit Bash afterparty.


Fall Festival October 13 – December 9

For Information and Tickets or call the BOX OFFICE: 312-661-1239

Check out the many opportunities that await you.

CHF- Fall-2022

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