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David Pickett's Blog

Hyde Park Day 2013 - A Hyde Park State of Mind
Every October when the leaves start to change, I find myself in a Hyde Park state of mind. The crisp autumn air makes me want nothing more than to throw on my University of Chicago sweatshirt, wander the gothic campus, and be challenged by new ideas. That's why I'm excited for Hyde Park Day of the Chicago Humanities Festival on Sunday, Oct 20.  For those of you who didn't spend the better part of the last decade on the UChicago campus, let me lay out how to spend the perfect Sunday... Continue Reading >>
Neil Shubin is a Rock Star
Neil Shubin is a rare find. Not only is he an accomplished scientist (in 2004 he led the team that discovered the missing link between fish and land-dwelling vertebrates), but he is an eloquent writer and public speaker to boot (his 2006 book Your Inner Fish was a New York Times bestseller, and he can hold his own on The Colbert Report). This made him a natural fit for the 2013 Chicago Humanities Festival, Animal: What Makes Us Human. His latest book, The Universe Within, treats the... Continue Reading >>
What are Video Games Good For?
Arguing about whether or not video games are art is so passé. The debate peaked a few years ago when the late Roger Ebert made his now-notorious declaration that "video games can never be art." It's a sign of Ebert's great humility that he later acquiesced that he was in no position to make that judgement, having never fully played any video games. The MoMA's recent opening of the exhibition Applied Design, which features a number of video games, sparked another round of articles... Continue Reading >>
Are restaurants venues for participatory theater?
"Why does a restaurant have to have a permanent address?""Why does food have to be put on a plate?""Why is [a meal] different than reading a great novel?""Why is it okay to no-show at a restaurant, or not honor your reservation?""What is something that nobody has done?" These are the questions that keep Grant Achatz—the visionary chef behind Alinea, Next, and the Aviary—up at night. His restless deconstruction and reformation of the dining experience has made him the toast of the... Continue Reading >>