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Chicago Humanities Festival Blog

Dark Woods and Breadcrumbs
Neil Gaiman said, “We encounter fairytales as kids, in retellings or panto. We breathe them. We know how they go.”   This year’s Stages, Sights & Sounds festival loosely follows the broad and encompassing theme of the fairy tale. Grounded in the oral tradition, fairy tales have been endlessly transformed, reinvented, and transcribed on pages and stages, and embedded in our cultural subconscious. With the strange magic of recognition, they invoke the universal. Dark woods, breadcrumbs, a... Continue Reading >>
It's All About Access
By Wayne Stiles, Director of Program Development and Evaluation at the Better Boys Foundation Access. That word has been a part of Better Boys Foundation since a boxing gym was converted into a community center over 50 years ago on Chicago's West Side. Whether it was through the generosity of borsch belt comedians, NFL linebackers, or heavyweight champions of the world, our founder Joe Kellman found a way to give the students of North Lawndale access to a brighter future. Many things have... Continue Reading >>
Murder on the Midwest Express
By Marc Frost, Artistic Director of Theater Un-speak-able Waiting backstage at last year’s Stages, Sights & Sounds Festival, I felt like the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. The emcee announced our piece, Superman 2050, the lights went out and busloads of school kids began cheering wildly. The screams reached a full pitch and the Festival’s stage manager could barely see us reaching our opening positions and waiting for the lights to appear. Two weeks later, the big wave came... Continue Reading >>
Fairy Tales
What comes to your mind when you think about fairy tales? If you were raised in the United States, it might be an iconic Disney movie like Snow White – a children’s story teaching resilience and celebrating beauty with all the magic of the movies. Or, perhaps, you conjure the beloved stories by Hans Christian Andersen with their bittersweet themes of longing and persistent struggle against adversity – favorites of children ever since their publication in the mid-nineteenth century. Or you might... Continue Reading >>
Looking for Cloud Man
Welcome to Imaginate! In May of 2012 a colleague and I had the good fortune to travel to Edinburgh for the Imaginate Festival, one of the largest and most ground-breaking festivals in Europe featuring performances for young audiences. After flying all night we stepped off the plane into the murky, drenched Scottish landscape. Unsurprisingly, the rain was falling down in sheets. Mary Kate braves the Scottish weather. I was aching for a cup of coffee, knowing... Continue Reading >>

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