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Stuart Flack's Blog

Sylvia Nasar's Grand Pursuit
Once upon a time it was the 1980’s, when Drexel Burnham roamed the earth, Apple actually fired Steve Jobs, and magazines actually made money and actually paid that money people to write for them. Sylvia Nasar and I were two of those people. I was writing plays, but paying my rent writing for Forbes. (ALL playwrights—and I mean ALL as in, “every single last one in the entire world that doesn’t have a trust fund” —must have a day job. And, “yes,” teaching and writing movies and for TV and putting... Continue Reading >>
A Short History of Guitar Noise
For as long as people have been making music, those people have been trying to make the music they make louder. A longer stick. A bigger rock. Hollow out that log. Yodel in a fjord. Steel strings on violins instead of gut. Church organ pipes the size of a redwood. Mr. Jolson, sing into this megaphone. All are technologies of loudness. As with so many technologies, the 20th century saw technologies of loudness, as it were, boom. Just as the A-bomb was the mid 20th century... Continue Reading >>
Tech·Knowledgē Revealed!
We are thrilled to release the 22nd Chicago Humanities Festival schedule to you! Browse events here. The fall 2011 festival is tech·knowledgē. It's 'technology' with 'knowledge' at its center. Human experience is inextricably linked to technology. At its root is the impulse to craft a better, easier, more informed life. From the creation of stone tools to the development of the printing press, the assembly line, and the microprocessor, technology is the expression of human ingenuity and a... Continue Reading >>
Great Talks
If you missed it last week because it was sold out, I urge you to block an hour on your busy schedule and immerse yourself in Harvard Law Professor turned Consumer Advocate Elizabeth Warren’s view of the world. Without doubt, this is a great talk. Click above to watch Warren's talk. Great talks. Whether it’s Sherwin Nuland on medical ethics, Sam Shepard reading from his work, or Raynard Kington on race and healthcare, we all know them when we see... Continue Reading >>
A History of "Body and Soul"
This fall’s festival is going to offer you the unique chance to explore one the great American popular compositions, Johnny Green’s “Body and Soul,” in at least five different versions. Pianist Bill Charlap and singer Sandy Stewart will do the piece in its most intimate setting, on the last day of the Festival, and I’m guessing (hoping) that Bill will do something along the lines of this masterpiece by bop pioneer Bud Powell, who is one of Bill’s strong influences. Our Benefit Gala,... Continue Reading >>
Frank Shorter
A couple of months back, I was getting advice from the Festival’s intrepid accountant, Tony—who loves the Humanities even more than he loves the tax code, which is saying quite a bit—when, completely without warning, he paused right in the middle of expounding on the question of whether the cash cost of online archives can be capitalized and depreciated, and said “Stu, I see you are having Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the Festival this fall.” “Yea,” I explain, adjusting to the non sequitur. “Our... Continue Reading >>