WBEZ | Matt Damon http://www.wbez.org/tags/matt-damon Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Matt Damon and Lupe Fiasco bring 'The People's History' to Chicago students http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-02/matt-damon-and-lupe-fiasco-bring-peoples-history-chicago-students-96046 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-02/Damon_edit.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For some students, high school history can be a drag. But some schools and teachers mix things up from the standard lesson plans. One alternative is to teach from Howard Zinn's seminal 1980 work <em>A People's History of the United States.</em></p><p>Actor Matt Damon is a fan of the book and actually grew up next to Zinn in Boston. He's executive producer of the film <a href="http://www.thepeoplespeak.com/" target="_blank"><em>The People Speak</em>,</a> based on Zinn's book.</p><p>Damon joined other performers Tuesday night at the <a href="http://metrochicago.com/" target="_blank">Metro</a> in Chicago for The People Speak, Live! featuring Chicagoans reading from Zinn's work. Earlier that day, he and rapper Lupe Fiasco <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/matt-damon-visits-school-englewood-96006" target="_blank">visited Englewood High School</a> to talk with students involved in the project.</p><p>Damon started by telling Tony Sarabia about the project's collaboration with the school.</p></p> Thu, 02 Feb 2012 14:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-02/matt-damon-and-lupe-fiasco-bring-peoples-history-chicago-students-96046 Matt Damon visits school in Englewood http://www.wbez.org/story/matt-damon-visits-school-englewood-96006 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-01/matt damon_Natalie Moore.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A group of students sat in a circle sharing their poetry, perspectives and personal takes on U.S. history. It was a kind of prep for these students at TEAM Englewood High School on Chicago’s South Side; this spring they will put on a performance to highlight anonymous voices in American history.</p><p>The student project is a spinoff from Howard Zinn’s seminal book, <em>A People’s History of the United States</em>. Two years ago actor Matt Damon co-produced a documentary from Zinn’s material that aired on HBO. Damon’s also associated with an offshoot from Zinn's tome, a nonprofit civic engagement outfit called Voices of a People’s History.</p><p>That brought him to Englewood Tuesday afternoon.<img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-01/matt damon_Natalie Moore.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 404px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="Matt Damon with TEAM Englewood students. (WBEZ/Natalie Moore)"></p><p>“Real people who have said real things or people who are doing their own experiences like Englewood Speaks and have a place where teachers can go and get these things and use them as teaching tools to help students connect to history,” Damon said.</p><p>Englewood Speaks is the name of the student performance —&nbsp;the only one of its kind in the city that’s connected to the Voices project.</p><p>Jerome Wade, a TEAM Englewood student, performed in the circle on Tuesday.</p><p>“This project is really important to me because of my community,” Wade said. “I mostly try to better my community with my poetry and music. To see people come here and make a big deal of it, motivates me to keep doing it.”</p><p>Damon, a native of Boston, grew up next to Zinn for the first 10 years of his life and said the historian was like a surrogate grandfather. Zinn’s work highlighted ordinary people involved in various struggles that ranged from Native American rights to the dissolution of Jim Crow. Zinn died in 2010.</p><p>Damon and rapper Lupe Fiasco, who also visited TEAM Englewood High School, are pairing up with local talent at the Metro nightclub Tuesday night to perform readings from the Voices project.</p></p> Tue, 31 Jan 2012 21:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/matt-damon-visits-school-englewood-96006 Daily Rehearsal: Sketchfest marches on http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-10/daily-rehearsal-sketchfest-marches-95429 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-10/set.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. The Chicago early premiere of <em>Smash </em><a href="http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/01/10/smash-premiere-chicago/">was last night</a></strong></span></span>, with&nbsp;executive producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-04/daily-rehearsal-how-much-power-does-critic-hold-95267">our favorite Bryan d’Arcy James</a> in attendance.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-10/set.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 180px; height: 271px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. You could argue that <a href="http://www.chicagosketchfest.com/">Sketchfest</a></strong></span></span><a href="http://www.chicagosketchfest.com/"> </a>feels like it has been given a fresh coat of paint (literally) in its new Stage 773 location. But even if <em>you </em>personally couldn't, because you haven't been there, I will. Reviews from this past weekend are in, and they're consistent: <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/ct-ent-0109-sketchfest-review-20120107,0,3339955.story">Nina Metz at the <em>Trib </em></a>and <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/comedy/15075745/live-review-chicago-sketchfest-weekend-recap">Jason&nbsp;Heidemann at <em>TimeOut </em></a>agree that Philadelphia's <a href="http://www.campwoods.net/">Camp Woods </a>gets a pass. They also both praised Portland's <a href="http://www.sweatysweat.com/">Sweat</a>; Metz writes effusively about&nbsp;Shelley McLendon, who she notes is the younger sister of Wendi McLendon-Covey, the disgruntled mother in <em>Bridesmaids</em>. And Heidemann calls new group <a href="https://www.facebook.com/BusinessComedy">The Business</a>&nbsp;"[a]mong the bigger surprises of the weekend" -- and though I'm a very biased friend of the group, I did see their show on Sunday and loved it. Sketchfest continues this weekend, starting up again Thursday.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Improv helps you make friends</strong></span></span>, says author&nbsp;Rachel Bertsche, who moved to Chicago and found that she didn't really have any. She <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2012/01/10/you_gotta_have_friends_new_memoir_c.php">spoke with <em>Chicagoist</em></a> about her new book&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&amp;v=ggEObQlmk1w" target="_blank" title="Opens in a new window">MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend</a></em>. Read her other suggestions over there and/or see her at the Book Cellar and the Highland Park Library this Thursday and next Wednesday, respectively.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Matt Damon will be <a href="http://metrochicago.com/shows">at Metro on January 31</a></strong></span></span> as part of&nbsp;<em>Voices of a People's History Presents Howard Zinn's The People Speak, Live! </em>-- but online ticketing is sold out.&nbsp;If you'd like to hear a hilarious story about Matt Damon potentially coming to Chicago and meeting with the producers of <em>Wait Wait </em>instead, go over here and listen to <a href="http://howtodoeverything.org/post/13923574141/were-on-the-road-in-kentucky-this-week-so-we?645c1460">this episode of their podcast&nbsp;<em>How to Do Everything</em></a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Broadway in Chicago profiled the Chicago chapter of<a href="http://www.twentypercentchicago.com/20_Theatre_Chicago.html"> 20% Theatre Company</a></strong></span></span>, who put up <em>The House of Yes</em> in November at the Think Tank and is planning their<em>&nbsp;1st Annual Variety Show </em>for February.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Tue, 10 Jan 2012 16:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-10/daily-rehearsal-sketchfest-marches-95429