WBEZ | Literacy http://www.wbez.org/sections/literacy Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Global Activism: Manos Unidas helps deaf children in Nicaragua http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-manos-unidas-helps-deaf-children-nicaragua-109506 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/manos unidas.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.manos-unidas.org/">Manos Unidas</a> provides access to sign language education and learning resources to the deaf community in Nicaragua. Marie Coppola, founder and co-chair of Manos Unidas, updates us on what&rsquo;s new with her organization.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/128707905&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><a href="https://www.facebook.com/ManosUnidasNica">Manos Unidas</a> says its mission is, &quot;to ensure equal access to educational and vocational opportunities for deaf children and young adults by providing access to sign language, Spanish literacy, numeracy, and real-life job skills so they can become contributing members of society and in the deaf community.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 09:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-manos-unidas-helps-deaf-children-nicaragua-109506 25 inspiring authors for writers http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-12/25-inspiring-authors-writers-109352 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" dominique="" penguin="" press="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Dominique%20Nabokov.jpg" title="Press photo for Zadie Smith, author of &quot;NW.&quot; (Dominique Nabokov/Penguin Press)" /></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The great endeavor of writing a novel, I have discovered, is equal parts exhilarating, exasperating, and exhausting. One day can bring a huge breakthrough, with ideas overflowing and fingers flying across the keyboard, while the next can amount to nothing more than a tiny black cursor blinking desperately on a blank page.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In these moments, I search for traces of kinship in the literary giants who came before me.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Did Hemingway ever struggle with writer&#39;s block when he was scribbling away in those Paris cafés? Did Salinger obsessively re-write sentences and anguish over syntax, too? Did Woolf realize her writing would continue to be read and cherished by women in the 21st century&mdash;that a lonely girl from Texas would pick up &quot;A Room of One&#39;s Own&quot; and yearn for the freedoms she described?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Meanwhile, Buzzfeed is running a wonderful&nbsp;<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/colinwinnette/aimee-bender-there-is-such-genuine-happiness" target="_blank">interview series</a>&nbsp;on writers recalling and dissecting the books that have formed them, which prompted me to further examine which authors have had the most profound impact on my life.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">When did I realize that I wanted to be a novelist? At first, I thought it must be around the time that I first read &quot;To Kill A Mockingbird&quot; (my first classic, age 8) or &quot;Harry Potter&quot; (my first serial obsession, age 11), but then remembered a host of other novels written by authors who still feel like old friends, though we&#39;ve never met.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Turns out, I have many to thank for shaping me into the writer that I am today.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In no particular order:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>1. Zadie Smith.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;White Teeth&quot; (2000), &quot;On Beauty&quot; (2005), and &quot;NW&quot; (2013)&nbsp;</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else. 2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.&quot;&nbsp;<em>&mdash;&nbsp;</em><em>Smith, from her &quot;10 Rules of Writing&quot; published in the <a href="http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/09/19/zadie-smith-10-rules-of-writing/" target="_blank">New York Times</a>.</em></div></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>2.&nbsp;Gabriel García Márquez.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;One Hundred Years of Solitude&quot; (1967) and &quot;Love in the Time of Cholera&quot; (1985)</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;If I had to give a young writer some advice I would say to write about something that has happened to him; it&rsquo;s always easy to tell whether a writer is writing about something that has happened to him or something he has read or been told. Pablo Neruda has a line in a poem that says &#39;God help me from inventing when I sing.&#39; It always amuses me that the biggest praise for my work comes for the imagination, while the truth is that there&rsquo;s not a single line in all my work that does not have a basis in reality.&quot; &mdash; <em>Márquez, interviewed for <a href="http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/3196/the-art-of-fiction-no-69-gabriel-garcia-marquez" target="_blank">The Paris Review</a> after winning the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature for &quot;One Hundred Years of Solitude.&quot;</em></div></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>3. Nick Hornby.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Fever Pitch&quot; (1992), &quot;High Fidelity&quot; (1995) and &quot;About a Boy&quot; (1998)</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;One of the questions that is probably troubling you at the moment is this: How do I know whether I&rsquo;m a writer? And the question can only be answered with another question: Well, do you write? If you don&rsquo;t, you&rsquo;re not. If you do, you are. There&rsquo;s nothing else to it...Walk into a bookshop and you will see books that you love and books that you hate, books that were written in three weeks and books that took thirty years, books that were written under the influence of drugs and alcohol, books that were written in splendid isolation, books that were written in Starbucks. Some of them were written with enormous enjoyment, some for money, some in fear and loathing and despair. The only thing they all have in common&mdash;and actually there is the odd honourable exception even to this rule&mdash;is that their authors finished them, sooner or later.&quot; - <em>Hornby, in an excerpt from his <a href="http://nanowrimo.org/pep-talks/nick-hornby" target="_blank">Pep Talk</a> for National Novel Writing Month, 2013. &nbsp;</em></div></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>4. Chuck Palahniuk.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Fight Club&quot; (1996), &quot;Survivor&quot; (1999) and &quot;Choke&quot; (2001)</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;Your audience is smarter than you imagine. Don&#39;t be afraid to experiment with story forms and time shifts. My personal theory is that younger readers disdain most books &mdash; not because those readers are dumber than past readers, but because today&#39;s reader is smarter. Movies have made us very sophisticated about storytelling. And your audience is much harder to shock than you can ever imagine.&quot; &mdash; <em>Palahniuk, from his &quot;<a href="http://chuckpalahniuk.net/features/essays/13-writing-tips" target="_blank">Essays on Writing</a>.&quot;</em></div></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>5. Joan Didion</strong></span><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Joan Didion.jpg" style="height: 213px; width: 320px; float: right;" title="Joan Didion in 1977. (AP Photo/File) " /><strong>. Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Slouching Towards Bethlehem&quot; (1968), &quot;Play As It Lays&quot; (1970) and &quot;The Year of Magical Thinking&quot; (2005)</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;Of course I stole the title for this talk, from George Orwell.&nbsp;One reason I stole it was that I like the sound of the words: Why I Write. There you have three short unambiguous words that share a sound, and the sound they share is this: I,&nbsp;I,&nbsp;I. In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. It&rsquo;s an aggressive, even a hostile act. You can disguise its qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasions &mdash; with the whole manner of intimating rather than claiming, of alluding rather than stating &mdash; but there&rsquo;s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer&rsquo;s sensibility on the reader&rsquo;s most private space.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Didion, from &quot;<a href="http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/10/16/why-i-write-joan-didion/" target="_blank">Why I Write</a>&quot; in the New York Times Book Review, 1976.&nbsp;</em></div></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>6. Ernest Hemingway.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works: </strong>&quot;The Sun Also Rises&quot; (1926), &quot;A Farewell to Arms&quot; (1929), &quot;For Whom the Bell Tolls&quot; (1940) and &quot;The Old Man and the Sea&quot; (1952)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell you, so try to remember it.&quot;&mdash;<em>&nbsp;Hemingway, in an October 1935 article about writing for <a href="http://www.openculture.com/2013/02/seven_tips_from_ernest_hemingway_on_how_to_write_fiction.html" target="_blank">Esquire</a>.</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>7. J.D. Salinger.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Catcher in the Rye&quot; (1951), &quot;Nine Stories&quot; (1953) and &quot;Franny and Zooey&quot; (1961)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;I have to know my character thoroughly before I start, and know how he&rsquo;d act in every situation. If I am writing about Mr. Tidwinkle&#39;s golf game, I must also know how he would act when drunk, or at a bachelor dinner, or in the bathtub or in bed &mdash; and it must all be very real and ordinary.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Salinger, to journalist Shirley Ardman in New York,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thedrum.com/news/2012/01/26/top-tips-writers-jd-salinger-advice-beyond-grave" target="_blank">1941</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>8. Mary Shelley.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable work:</strong> &quot;Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus&quot; (1818)&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>&quot;How dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to be greater than his nature will allow.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Shelley, &quot;Frankenstein&quot; (written at <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenstein" target="_blank">age 19</a>) &nbsp;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>9. George Orwell.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;1984&quot; (1949) and &quot;Animal Farm&quot; (1945)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.&nbsp;This sounds easy, but in practice is incredibly difficult. Phrases such as&nbsp;toe the line,&nbsp;ride roughshod over,&nbsp;stand shoulder to shoulder with,&nbsp;play into the hands of, an axe to grind, Achilles&rsquo; heel, swan song,&nbsp;and&nbsp;hotbed&nbsp;come to mind quickly and feel comforting and melodic. For this exact reason they must be avoided. Common phrases have become so comfortable that they create no emotional response. Take the time to invent fresh, powerful images.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Orwell, from his <a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/george-orwells-5-rules-for-effective-writing/" target="_blank">1946 essay</a>,&quot;Politics and the English Language.&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><b>10. Toni Morrison.&nbsp;</b></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Beloved&quot; (1987) and &quot;Song of Solomon&quot; (1977)</p><blockquote><p>&#39;&#39;I am not able to write regularly. I have never been able to do that&mdash;mostly because I have always had a nine-to-five job. I had to write either in between those hours, hurriedly, or spend a lot of weekend and predawn time [doing it].&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Morrison, in an excerpt from her 1993 interview with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1888/the-art-of-fiction-no-134-toni-morrison" target="_blank">The Paris Review</a>.</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><b>11. Virginia Woolf.&nbsp;</b></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Mrs. Dalloway&quot; (1925), &quot;To the Lighthouse&quot;(1928) and &quot;A Room of One&#39;s Own&quot; (1929)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to.&nbsp;Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.&rdquo; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Woolf, in an excerpt from &quot;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Room_of_One%27s_Own" target="_blank">A Room of One&#39;s Own.</a>&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>12. Dave Eggers.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius&quot;(2000) and &quot;The Circle&quot; (2013)</p><blockquote><p>&#39;&#39;And here is where I spend seven or eight hours at a stretch. Seven or eight hours each time I try to write. Most of that time is spent stalling, which means that for every seven or eight hours I spend pretending to write&mdash;sitting in the writing position, looking at a screen&mdash;I get, on average, one hour of actual work done. It&rsquo;s a terrible, unconscionable ratio.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Eggers, from the 2010 article &quot;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/10/AR2010121003215.html" target="_blank">Dave Egger&#39;s Writing Life</a>,&quot; published in the Washington Post.</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>13. Mark Twain.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works: </strong>&quot;Adventures of Huckleberry Finn&quot; (1885) and &quot;The Adventures of Tom Sawyer&quot; (1876)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say.&#39;&#39; &mdash; <em>Twain, on how <a href="http://www.rebellesociety.com/2012/11/14/writing-lab-11-juicy-tips-from-mark-twain/" target="_blank">writing is re-writing</a>.</em></p></blockquote><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ROALD_DAHL_AP_.jpg" style="height: 433px; width: 320px; float: left;" title="Roald Dahl in 1964. (AP Photo/File)" /><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>14. Roald Dahl.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;James and the Giant Peach&quot; (1961), &quot;Charlie and the Chocolate Factory&quot; (1964) and &quot;Matilda&quot;(1988)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;The prime function of the children&rsquo;s book writer is to write a book that is so absorbing, exciting, funny, fast and beautiful that the child will fall in love with it. And that first love affair between the young child and the young book will lead hopefully to other loves for other books and when that happens the battle is probably won. The child will have found a crock of gold. He will also have gained something that will help to carry him most&nbsp;marvelously&nbsp;through the tangles of his later years.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Dahl on the power of <a href="http://scribblepreach.com/2013/04/25/how-to-write-like-roald-dahl/" target="_blank">children&#39;s books</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>15. Margaret Atwood.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works: </strong>&quot;The Handmaid&#39;s Tale&quot; (1985), &quot;Cat&#39;s Eye,&quot;(1988), &quot;Blind Assassin&quot; (2000) and &quot;Oryx and Crake&quot; (2003)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Sometimes people are surprised that a woman would write such things.&nbsp;<em>Bodily Harm</em>, for instance, was perceived as some kind of incursion into a world that is supposed to be male. Certainly violence is more a part of my work than it is of Jane Austen&rsquo;s, or George Eliot&rsquo;s. They didn&rsquo;t do it in those days. Charles Dickens wrote about Bill Sikes bludgeoning Nancy to death, getting blood all over everything, but if a woman had written that, nobody would have published it. Actually, I grew up violence-free and among people who were extremely civilized in their behavior. &quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Atwood, on writing violence, from her 1990 interview for the <a href="http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/2262/the-art-of-fiction-no-121-margaret-atwood" target="_blank">The Paris Review</a>.</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>16. Vladmir Nabokov.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable work: </strong>&quot;Lolita&quot; (1955)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;After waking up between six and seven in the morning, I write till ten-thirty, generally at a lectern which faces a bright corner of the room instead of the bright audiences of my professorial days. The first half- hour of relaxation is breakfast with my wife around eight-thirty... Around eleven, I soak for 20 minutes in a hot bath, with a sponge on my head and a wordsman&rsquo;s worry in it, encroaching, alas, upon the nirvana. A stroll with my wife along the lake is followed by a frugal lunch and a two-hour nap, after which I resume my work until dinner at seven. An American friend gave us a Scrabble set in Cyrillic alphabet, manufactured in Newtown, Conn.; so we play&nbsp;<em>skrebl</em>&nbsp;for an hour or two after dinner. Then I read in bed&mdash; periodicals or one of the novels that proud publishers optimistically send us. Between eleven and midnight begins my usual fight with insomnia. Such are my habits in the cold season.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Nabokov, when asked how he works and relaxes in an 1968 interview with the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/03/02/lifetimes/nab-v-things.html" target="_blank">New York Times</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>17. Richard Wright.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Uncle Tom&#39;s Cabin&quot; (1938), &quot;Native Son&quot; (1940) and &quot;Black Boy&quot; (1945)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Our too-young and too-new America, lusty because it is lonely, aggressive because it is afraid, insists upon seeing the world in terms of good and bad, the holy and the evil, the high and the low, the white and the black; our America is frightened of fact, of history, of processes, of necessity. It hugs the easy way of damning those whom it cannot understand, of excluding those who look different, and it salves its conscience with a self-draped cloak of righteousness.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Wright, from &quot;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_boy" target="_blank">Black Boy.</a>&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>18. Hunter S. Thompson.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works: </strong>&quot;Hell&#39;s Angels&quot; (1967), &quot;Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas&quot; (1971) and &quot;The Rum Diary&quot; (1998)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I&#39;m not sure that I&#39;m going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says &#39;you are nothing&#39;, I will be a writer.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Thompson, from &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Gonzo-Hunter-S-Thompson/dp/097860766X" target="_blank">Gonzo.</a>&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>19. Kurt Vonnegut</strong></span><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kurt_vonnegut_ap_img.jpg" style="float: right; height: 212px; width: 320px;" title="Kurt Vonnegut in 1979. (AP Photo/File)" /><strong>. Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Cat&#39;s Cradle&quot; (1963), &quot;Slaughterhouse-Five&quot; (1969) and &quot;Breakfast of Champions&quot; (1973)</p><blockquote><p>&quot; 1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. 2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for. 3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water. 4. Every sentence must do one of two things &mdash;reveal character or advance the action. 5. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them&mdash;in order that the reader may see what they are made of.&quot; &nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;<em>From Vonnegut&#39;s &quot;<a href="http://www.writingclasses.com/InformationPages/index.php/PageID/538" target="_blank">8 Basics of Creative Writing</a>&quot; in the preface of his short story collection, &quot;Bagombo Snuff Box.&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>20. Elie Wiesel.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable work:</strong> &quot;Night&quot; (1955)&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Why do I write? Perhaps in order not to go mad. Or, on the contrary, to touch the bottom of madness...There are easier occupations, far more pleasant ones. But for the survivor, writing is not a profession, but an occupation, a duty. Camus calls it &#39;an honor.&#39; As he puts it: &#39;I entered literature through worship.&#39; Other writers have said they did so through anger, through love.&nbsp; Speaking for myself, I would say &mdash; through silence.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Wiesel, in an excerpt from &quot;<a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;ved=0CC4QFjAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.litjunkies.com%2FWhy%2520I%2520Write.doc&amp;ei=gbWpUr2NAuamygGVqoDoDg&amp;usg=AFQjCNGSnkS4wm30rmI_li7l-ILEuIDfVA&amp;sig2=mqauA92_eJtyi_KE1ZtopQ&amp;bvm=bv.57967247,d.aWc">Why I Write: Making No Become Yes</a>.&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>21. Jack Keroauc.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;On the Road&quot;(1957) and &quot;Big Sur&quot; (1962)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy, 2. Submissive to everything, open, listening, 3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house, 4. Be in love with yr life, 5. Something that you feel will find its own form.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Keroauc, from his 30 essentials in &quot;<a href="http://www.writingclasses.com/InformationPages/index.php/PageID/464" target="_blank">Belief and Technique for Modern Prose.</a>&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>22. Harper Lee.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable work:</strong> &quot;To Kill a Mockingbird&quot; (1960)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.&quot; &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Lee in <a href="http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/thick-skin" target="_blank">Writer&#39;s Digest</a>, September 1961.&nbsp;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>23. Stephen King.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Carrie&quot; (1974), &quot;The Shining&quot; (1977) and &quot;Misery&quot; (1987)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it &#39;got boring,&#39; the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.&quot;<em>&nbsp;</em><em>&mdash;</em><em>King, from &quot;<a href="http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/stephen-kings-top-20-rules-for-writers/" target="_blank">On Writing</a>.&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>24. John Steinbeck.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> &quot;Of Mice and Men&quot; (1937), &quot;The Grapes of Wrath&quot; (1939) and &quot;East of Eden&quot; (1952)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.&quot; &mdash; <em>Steinbeck, from his &quot;<a href="http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/03/12/john-steinbeck-six-tips-on-writing/" target="_blank">Six Tips on Writing</a>&quot; in the Fall 1975 issue of The Paris Review.</em></p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:16px;"><strong>25. J.K. Rowling.&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>Most notable works:</strong> the &quot;Harry Potter&quot; series (1997-2007)</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me...And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.&quot; &mdash; <em>Rowling, on living as a single mother on welfare before publishing the first &quot;Harry Potter&quot; book at age 32.</em></p></blockquote><p><strong>Honorable mentions:</strong> Marya Hornbacher, David Sedaris, the Brontë sisters, and the poets: Whitman, Poe, Dickinson, Plath, Silverstein, Frost, Ginsberg, Yeats, Angelou, Emerson, and Wilde.</p><p><strong>Which authors, poets, and essayists have inspired you?</strong></p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about art and popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 12 Dec 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-12/25-inspiring-authors-writers-109352 Global Activism: Bookwallah update on bringing books to Orphans in India http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bookwallah-update-bringing-books-orphans-india-109505 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bookwallah.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Seena Jacob is founder and CEO of <a href="http://www.bookwallah.org">Bookwallah</a> Organization. &ldquo;Bookwallah&rdquo; is a Hindi word that means &ldquo;book peddler.&rdquo; Her group works to give books and provide quality libraries to orphans in India. Seena is just back from India to give us an update.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/123417608&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Seena on why this matters to us:</p><p>&ldquo;Why is this important, especially to people who may feel they aren&rsquo;t directly impacted? The world is globally connected and we learned that particularly during the Great Recession. But, if you know a child has suffered or has endured hardship such as HIV, abuse, living in brothels and you have a chance to make a difference in their lives -- bring hope, happiness, and smiles -- through the simple gift of a book-- does it matter where they live? A child is a child no matter where they live in the world. But, there are truly global challenges such as 793 million people who cannot read, 143 million orphans in the world who have undergone some major things in life. A [dollar] can go a long way in the developing world. So, to know that you can make a difference, be spiritually fulfilled in changing the life of one child, opening their world, should be a great motivator, particularly during this holiday season.&rdquo;</p></p> Thu, 05 Dec 2013 09:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-bookwallah-update-bringing-books-orphans-india-109505 Tribune Co. to cut 700 jobs at newspaper division http://www.wbez.org/sections/literacy/tribune-co-cut-700-jobs-newspaper-division-109204 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP526898405060.jpg" style="height: 159px; width: 400px; float: left;" title="(AP/File)" />Tribune Co. says it&#39;s eliminating about 700 jobs as part of a restructuring of its newspaper business.</p><p>Spokesman Gary Weitman says the cuts will take place over the next year.&nbsp;In addition to the Chicago Tribune, the Tribune Co. owns the Los Angeles Times and six other daily newspapers.</p><p>The company&#39;s reporting staff won&#39;t be affected, but there will be small reductions in other editorial areas.</p><p>The cuts account for about 6 percent of Tribune Co.&#39;s workforce.</p><p>The Chicago-based company emerged from a four-year stint under bankruptcy protection last December. In the months since, it has focused on boosting profitability at its broadcast division. It plans to spin off its publishing business by mid-2014.</p></p> Wed, 20 Nov 2013 15:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/literacy/tribune-co-cut-700-jobs-newspaper-division-109204 Classic young adult heroines of the past http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-11/classic-young-adult-heroines-past-109184 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4261108036_1d9ababf05_z.jpg" title="Inside spread from a vintage copy of the book, &quot;Harriet the Spy&quot; written and illustrated by Louise Fitzhugh. (Flickr/CalsidyRose)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Study after study has shown that children are <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/technology/appsblog/2013/sep/26/children-reading-less-apps-games" target="_blank">reading less</a> in the digital age, with the number of kids picking up books in their spare time <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10353148/Children-too-embarrassed-to-read-in-front-of-friends.html" target="_blank">dropping dramatically</a> amid claims that they are &quot;too embarrassed to read in front of friends.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Furthermore, a <a href="http://skills.oecd.org/SkillsOutlook_2013_KeyFindings.pdf" target="_blank">new study</a> by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that for the first time, America has fallen &quot;below average&quot; in the developed world for educational achievements and now ranks 16th in the world in literacy.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In recent years, America also has become the only free-market OECD&nbsp;country where the current generation is <a href="http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-literacy-america" target="_blank">less well educated</a> than the previous.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And yet in an era dominated by smartphone apps, tablet games, and YouTube videos glowing under children&#39;s blankets at night instead of books read by flashlight, are youngsters still finding joy in literature?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">If book sales for certain millennial hits like &quot;Ender&#39;s Game,&quot; &quot;Divergent,&quot; and &quot;The Hunger Games&quot; are to be believed, then the answer is yes: children and young adults still enjoy reading, especially when the story is set in a sci-fi dystopian universe and the hero or heroine is close to their age.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This got me thinking about how the literary heroes of today compare to those of young adult novels past, and why girls cling to an abysmal role model like <a href="http://screencrave.com/2009-11-11/twilights-bella-swan-is-a-feminists-nightmare/" target="_blank">Bella Swan</a> when they have so many others from classic literature to admire.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Would the fame of &quot;The Hunger Games&#39;&quot; Katniss&nbsp;even exist without the spunky, brave, and arguably more complex heroines who came before?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div>From the perspective of a female bookworm who attached herself to other similarly nerdy and spirited female characters from an early age, the following classic young adult heroines stand out.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Hermione Granger,&nbsp;from the &quot;Harry Potter&quot; series by J.K. Rowling&nbsp;</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Hermione is a terrific role model for young girls, not only because of her eager intelligence, courage, and loyalty to her friends, but also because of her vulnerability. She faces insecurity about her looks, her grades, and her birthright as a &quot;Mudblood&quot; in a wizarding school, but ultimately learns to rise above her fears of failure and find the strength in herself to prove her naysayers wrong.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Jo March,&nbsp;</strong><strong>from &quot;Little Women&quot; by Louisa May Alcott</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As the plucky second daughter of four &quot;little women&quot; in the March family, Jo has emerged as an almost universal fan favorite. She is an opinionated, free-spirited tomboy who writes plays that are Shakespearean in nature, dreams of becoming a published author instead of a housewife, chops off all of her hair, and thinks nothing of wearing pants and insisting that a man treat her as an equal in Civil War-era Boston. Basically, Jo is a feminist way ahead of her time.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Anne Shirley,&nbsp;from the &quot;Anne of Green Gables&quot; books by L.M. Montgomery</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Anne is perpetually &quot;heedless and impulsive,&quot; which is exactly why readers can&#39;t help but fall in love with her. In contrast to the mostly prim and proper characters who surround her in&nbsp;Montgomery&#39;s series, Anne is the very definiton of a sparkplug: a talkative redheaded orphan who brings light, joy, and boundless enthusiasm wherever she goes. Runnerups in this category: Pippi Longstocking, Madeleine, Pollyanna, and Eloise.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Harriet M. Welsch,&nbsp;from &quot;Harriet the Spy&quot; by Louise Fitzhugh</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As far as lovable misfits go, Harriet M. Welsch ranks near the top. She longs to be a writer one day, but seeing as she&#39;s only 11 and still in elementary school, she decides to become a &quot;spy&quot; and write about her neighbors, family, and friends in her top-secret notebook during her formative years. Harriet is imaginative, curious, and precocious, but also struggles with feeling like an outsider &mdash; a sentiment to which many adolescents can relate.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Meg Murry,&nbsp;from &quot;A Wrinkle in Time&quot; by Madeleine L&#39;Engle</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Meg is ambivalent about romantic love, which is a nice change of pace from all of the boy-crazy Bellas of the world. She is a stubborn and self-conscious teenager who relies upon her smarts to succeed, despite the fact that her incredible abilities often go unappreciated. Her anger is not only relatable, but justified, as new generations of readers continue to root for Meg and see themselves in her struggle.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><b>Nancy Drew</b><strong>,&nbsp;from the &quot;Nancy Drew&quot; books by Carolyn Keene</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This cultural icon has been cited as an influence by a number of prolific women, from Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O&#39;Connor and Sonia Sotomeyer to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and it&#39;s easy to see why. Nancy is a fearless and feisty young amatuer detective who is wise beyond her years, no doubt inspiring modern-day heroines like Veronica Mars to gain similarly devoted fan followings.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Matilda Wormwood,&nbsp;from &quot;Matilda&quot; by Roald Dahl</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As one of the most recognizable characters in Dahl&#39;s illustrious canon of children&#39;s books, Matilda is more than just a child genius with magicial abilities. She is a symbol of someone born into less-than-ideal circumstances (in this case, horrible parents who neglect her and an evil principal terrorizing her school) who recognizes the unique power that lives within her. In a way, Matilda&#39;s telekinetic powers are a metaphor for acknowledging her own strengths, and realizing that just by virtue of being born, she has an inherent value that no other person can take away.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Matilda also had a great <a href="http://madbibliophile.wordpress.com/2008/12/09/matildas-booklist/">booklist</a>&nbsp;that inspired me to keep reading classic literature throughout my adolescence and into adulthood as well.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Who were your favorite characters to read and relate to in your childhood?&nbsp;</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.&nbsp;</em></div></p> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-11/classic-young-adult-heroines-past-109184 Global Activism: A ‘Girl Manifesto’ from Ethiopia http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-%E2%80%98girl-manifesto%E2%80%99-ethiopia-108894 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS7386_LLTG group photo-lpr.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Amanda Lichtenstein and her colleague, Kidist Tariku, spent this past summer in Hawassa, Ethiopia leading writing workshops with young women and girls about gender issues. Lichtenstein, who co-directs <a href="http://www.breakarts.org/">Break Arts: International Arts and Education Collaborative</a>, and Tariku, who is the development director for Action for Youth and Community Change in Ethiopia, join us to share some of the girls&rsquo; work and talk about the themes that emerged in their writing.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F112655895&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 26 Sep 2013 14:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-%E2%80%98girl-manifesto%E2%80%99-ethiopia-108894 Nerds take Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/nerds-take-chicago-108708 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Geek bar chicago.jpg" style="height: 287px; width: 600px; " title="Geek Bar Chicago's COO Matt Wolff, left, with CEO and president David Zoltan. (Kickstarter)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Being a hardcore nerd as a child and awkward teen is usually not the most enjoyable of experiences. In fact, getting lost in fantasy worlds and committing oneself fully to passions that others might not understand (or worse, mock) can often feel very frustrating and even acutely lonely at times.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As a former child-geek who cried when I didn&#39;t get my Hogwarts letter, I would know.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Thankfully, being an adult nerd is <a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/04/30/star_treks_wil_wheaton_tells_newborn_girl_why_being_a_nerd_is_awesome/" target="_blank">awesome</a>. Not only do nerds grow up to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWXdZ9oYT5k" target="_blank">rule the world</a>,&nbsp;but also&mdash;much like a fine wine or Patrick Stewart&mdash; letting one&#39;s freak flag fly only gets better with age.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">I&#39;ve written about nerd culture before, from finding&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-01/geek-love-new-normal-105118" target="_blank">geek love</a>&nbsp;to navigating the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/c2e2-and-hierarchy-nerd-culture-106772" target="_blank">hierachy of nerdom</a>; but this time, I wanted to share some of my favorite resources for nerdery in Chicago and beyond:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><strong>Chicago Nerd Social Club</strong></p><p>Who gets to be a nerd, geek, dork, etc.? <a href="http://www.chicagonerds.com" target="_blank">The Chicago Nerd Social Club</a>&nbsp;believes it&#39;s anyone who wants to be, regardless of gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, political affiliation or fluency in Klingon. The newbie-friendly group hosts tons of monthly events and meetups throughout Chicago, from comic book trivia nights and local museum visits&nbsp;to science fiction and fantasy book clubs. Follow CNSC on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/chicagonerds" target="_blank">@chicagonerds</a> for updates and info on how to join in!</p><p><strong>Geek Bar</strong></p><p>After an <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cantinaforward/geek-out-geek-bar" target="_blank">astoundingly successful</a> Kickstarter campaign, Chicago&#39;s first Geek Bar is officially underway for a Spring 2014 opening. The brainchild of CEO and president David Zoltan combines all of the best aspects of nerd culture into one: innovative food and drinks (hello, Dragon Ribs and test tube cocktails!), an atmosphere of game-play and a mission to foster geek solidarity through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/geekbar" target="_blank">community support</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Sugar Gamers</strong></p><p>Chicago was recently named the site of a <a href="http://kotaku.com/chicago-home-of-a-new-indie-gaming-renaissance-1335671787" target="_blank">new indie gaming renaissance</a>, thanks in large part to the growing number of women who are giving traditionally misogynistic male gamers a run for their money. The Sugar Gamers are at the forefront of the female gamer movement, giving geeky women the platform to show the gaming industry that <a href="http://thegazette.com/2013/08/19/women-fight-back-on-video-game-misogyny/" target="_blank">they matter, too</a>.</p><p><strong>Nerdette Podcast</strong></p><p>Looking for a safe space to nerd out about all of the things you&#39;re watching, reading, listening to and encountering IRL? Don&#39;t worry,&nbsp;<a href="http://nerdettepodcast.com" target="_blank">Nerdette Podcast</a>&nbsp;has you covered. From nerdy summer camp stories and SEO wordplay to awesomely geeky interactions with guests like NPR&#39;s Audie Cornish, hosts Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda cover the broad expanse of pop culture with one-of-a-kind chemistry, wit and enthusiasm. Follow the Nerdettes on Twitter @<a href="http://twitter.com/nerdettepodcast" target="_blank">nerdettepodcast</a>.</p><p><strong>Geek Girl Chicago</strong></p><p>Another nerd lady who deserves a shoutout is Lauren Rapciak, voice of the <a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/geek-girl-chicago/" target="_blank">Geek Girl Chicago</a>&nbsp;blog for ChicagoNow. Rapciak&#39;s delightful corner of the blogosphere&nbsp;is a treasure trove of GeekEnd updates, book and game reviews, musings on nerd life, and advice for events that range from cosplay burlesque shows to über geek conventions like DragonCon.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The Nerdologues</strong></p><p>This Chicago-based sketch comedy group is on a mission to not only &quot;make nerds laugh,&quot; but also bring nerds together in comedic harmony. Each month, they host a &quot;nerdologue&quot; telling event called <a href="http://www.nerdologues.com" target="_blank">Your Stories</a>, in which Chicago nerds have the opportunity to share their most daring, hilarious and heartfelt tales. Other regularly-held events include introductory Dungeons and Dragons games, superhero-themed pub crawls and a sketch show every first Sunday of the month at the Public House Theater.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Galloping Ghost Arcade</strong></p><p>Chicago is home to many nerd-tastic arcades (Emporium Arcade Bar, Headquarters, Logan Hardware, etc.) but the most spectacular of all resides in Brookfield, Ill. <a href="http://www.gallopingghostarcade.com" target="_blank">Galloping Ghost</a> is the largest video arcade in the United States, with over 345+ games to play until 2 a.m. daily&mdash;no quarters or tokens required!&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Movie Trivia</strong></p><p>The film nerd is a very special breed; and as someone who campaigned for a Woody Allen class in college and has watched &quot;When Harry Met Sally&quot; about 36 times, I count myself among their ranks. Luckily, The Logan Theatre has one of the best <a href="http://www.thelogantheatre.com/index.php/component/content/article/component/shows/?id=98" target="_blank">movie trivia nights</a> in town for film buffs, especially those honing their prowess as walking IMDBs. Every Tuesday at 8 p.m., bring a group of five friends to the Logan lounge and show off your cinematic knowledge over beer, popcorn and geeky categories galore.</p><p><strong>Adler Planetarium</strong></p><p>If you geek out about physics and astronomy, look no further than the Adler for an impressive date night, friendship outing or nerd&#39;s day off to put Ferris Bueller&#39;s to shame.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.adlerplanetarium.org" target="_blank">America&#39;s first planetarium</a>&nbsp;has tons of exciting events coming up too, including a visit from NASA astronaut Jerry Ross during World Space Week!&nbsp;</p><p>Alright, lovely nerds of Chicago: what else would you add to this list?&nbsp;</p><p><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 20 Sep 2013 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/nerds-take-chicago-108708 Sorority racism: a legacy that needs to end http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/sorority-racism-legacy-needs-end-108690 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rush%20at%20the%20University%20of%20Alabama-%20Lindsay%20Flickr.jpg" style="height: 418px; width: 620px;" title="Sorority Rush at the University of Alabama, Fall 2011. (Flickr/Lindsay Brown)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Last week, the University of Alabama&#39;s student newspaper <em>The Crimson White </em>published a lightning rod of an exposé on <a href="http://cw.ua.edu/2013/09/11/the-final-barrier-50-years-later-segregation-still-exists/" target="_blank">racial discrimination</a> during sorority rush. The allegations&mdash;that two black women were rejected from four traditionally white sororities this rush season because of pressure from racist alumnae&mdash;were based on the account of Melanie Gotz, a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, and several other UA sorority members who wished to remain anonymous.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This news does not surprise me. First of all, Birmingham, Ala. is the site of one of the most heinous hate crimes ever committed. On September 15, 1963, a group of white supremicists <a href="http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/09/15/20507957-birmingham-remembers-4-little-girls-50-years-after-infamous-church-bombing?lite" target="_blank">bombed</a> 16th Street Baptist Church, injuring two dozen black churchgoers and killing four little girls: Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair. This year marks the 50th anniversary of their deaths.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Many of the white alumnae urging sorority members <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/13/us/sorority-exposes-its-rejection-of-black-candidate.html?_r=1&amp;" target="_blank">not to pledge black women</a>&nbsp;in 2013 may be old enough to remember this tragedy, or perhaps their parents witnessed it firsthand. Most likely, these women came of age in a place and time when violent racism was not only out in the open, but also publicly encouraged.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">I was raised in the South and saw institutional racism almost everywhere I turned; although sadly, I didn&#39;t see it for what it was at the time. I joined a prestigious (read: overwhelmingly white) Southern sorority, as did my mother and older sister before me. The university that I attended for two years was not what one might call a shining bastion of <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/tcu-professor-criticized-email-students-of-color-2013-9" target="_blank">racial diversity</a>. My youngest sister rushed at the University of Alabama this fall, and was selected by one of the sororities at the heart of the current controversy, Alpha Gamma Delta.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">I know how rush works. The pressure from alumni is intense. I know that most white women who enter into sorority rush, often at the behest of their female relatives, are either blissfully unaware that their &quot;sisters&quot; look just like them, or prefer (secretly or overtly) to keep it that way.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Still, I believe that in the vast majority of cases, it is the sorority <em>system</em>, not the sorority members themselves, perpetuating the age-old practices of elitism, segregation and thinly-veiled prejudice. Tradition is worshipped in sorority life, upheld as holy doctrine by the alumnae determined to keep their sisterhoods frozen in time. &nbsp;However, the new pledges are the ones to raise their hands and ask why. After all, when a perfectly qualified candidate is rejected for no other reason than the color of her skin, what does standing by &quot;tradition&quot; really mean?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">My sister, raised in a city by an open-minded family, goes to parties in Birmingham and is shocked to hear students casually spewing racial epithets. She and her more progressive friends leave.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Members of Alpha Gamma Delta and several other sororities on the UA campus have spoken out against their Panhellenic legacy of <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/report-racial-segregation-university-alabama-sororities-2013-9" target="_blank">systemic racism</a>, and I commend them for doing so. Still, the system needs to change from the inside out, with the younger generations leading the way to bridge the divides.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Anyone who followed the Trayvon Martin&nbsp;trial or saw the hate roll in on Twitter for the new, non-white&nbsp;<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/a-lot-of-people-are-very-upset-that-an-indian-american-woman" target="_blank">Miss America</a>&nbsp;knows that we don&#39;t live in a post-racial world. Not yet. But as long we continue to speak out against injustice, much like sororities <a href="http://jezebel.com/tell-us-about-your-schools-racist-sororities-and-frate-1300421893" target="_blank">all over the country</a> are beginning to do in the wake of this report, then bigotry won&#39;t win.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 17 Sep 2013 10:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/sorority-racism-legacy-needs-end-108690 30 things to do in Chicago this fall http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/30-things-do-chicago-fall-108606 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Fall%20Chicago%20Flickr.jpg" title="Grant Park in the fall. (Flickr/PhilontheWeb2001)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Summer may have its charms, but let&#39;s be real. When it comes to the three Ws (weather, wardrobe and whimsy), fall is the best season by far.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The sopping humidity of summer suddenly turns crisp and purposeful, ushering in a new academic year and bursts of gorgeous, coppery color in the trees.&nbsp;Chicagoans also become more fashionable, as we trade in our often unflattering shorts and sandals for a more polished look of jeans, scarves, layered cardigans and boots. We indulge in pumpkin lattes, host more game nights, watch the leaves fall and celebrate three of the year&#39;s best holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving and <a href="http://holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/November/buynothingday.htm" target="_blank">Buy Nothing Day</a>.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Back in June, I made a list of things to do in a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/30-things-do-chicago-summer-107847" target="_blank">Chicago summer</a>; but now, an even better season has arrived. In no particular order, here&#39;s 30 adventures to have this fall:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>1. A.V. Fest/The Hideout Block Party, Sept. 6-7</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">From Friday afternoon to Saturday evening, The A.V. Club (the arts-and-entertainment wing of The Onion) and The Hideout Inn (one of Chicago&#39;s best live music and performance venues) will combine forces for an epic <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/143973282461284/" target="_blank">music festival</a>&nbsp;outside The Hideout at 1354 W. Wabansia. Performers include Young the Giant, Neko Case, Mavis Staples and Superchunk.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>2. Windy City Wine Festival, Sept. 6-7</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Wine connoisseurs, rejoice! The 9th year of the Windy City Wine Fest, presented by U.S. Bank, will bring samples of over&nbsp;<a href="http://chicago.eventful.com/events/windy-city-wine-festival-/E0-001-059429588-7@2013090616?utm_source=facebook&amp;utm_medium=events&amp;SREF=FBEvent" target="_blank">345 different wines</a> from all around the world, alongside food pairings from some of the city&#39;s best restaurants. Meet at Buckingham Fountain for demonstrations from local chefs and expert-led wine pairing seminars.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>3. Renegade Craft Fair, Sept. 7-8</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Feeling crafty? This annual indie-craft marketplace, held on Division Street in Wicker Park, brings hundreds of craft makers out of their studios and into the spotlight for a festive <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/412070168914166/" target="_blank">weekend celebration</a> of all things handmade. The Chicago English Bulldog Rescue (CEBR) will participate again this year too, making this fest 100 percent pet-friendly!</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>4. Riot Fest, Sept. 13-15</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://riotfest.org" target="_blank">Riot Fest</a> may be described as the last hurrah of summer; but by the time Sept. 13 rolls around, the atmosphere will &nbsp;feel a lot like fall. Fortunately, cooler temperatures and a jaw-dropping lineup featuring The Replacements, Rancid, Pixies and The Violent Femmes makes for a stellar combination.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>5. Chicago Music Summit, Sept. 20</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_music_summit.html" target="_blank">first-ever</a>&nbsp;conference, presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), will give Chicagoans the opportunity to learn more about our city&#39;s thriving music scene and connect with industry professionals at the local and national levels. More than 20 panels on a variety of topics will feature 100+ speakers, including representatives from Sony Music Entertainment, Pitchfork and Live Nation.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>6. Try a new restaurant.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">New hotspots opening this season: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chichopshop" target="_blank">Chop Shop and the 1st Ward</a> (a Bucktown restaurant, bar, music venue and butcher shop combined into one) debuts in mid-September, <a href="http://chicago.eater.com/tags/a10" target="_blank">A10</a> (a European venture from Matthias Merges of Yusho and Billy Sunday) arrives in October and <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-06-23/features/chi-paul-kahan-and-co-readies-nico-an-italian-seafood-restaurant-in-gold-coast-20130623_1_publican-quality-meats-paul-kahan-curtis-duffy" target="_blank">Eataly</a>&nbsp;(Mario Batali&#39;s megaspace of eight restaurants, a microbrewery and a culinary school) opens its doors in mid-November.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>7. Drive out to the drive-in.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Before the weather gets too cold, bundle up with some blankets, popcorn and good company at the old-timey&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cascadedrivein.com" target="_blank">Cascade Drive-In</a> in West Chicago.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>8. Expo Chicago, Sept. 19-22</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art &mdash; a celebrated arts and culture fest offering tours, artist discussions, special exhibitions and site-specific projects&mdash;will take place over a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.expochicago.com" target="_blank">three-day weekend</a> at Navy Pier, with a &quot;Vernissage&quot; opening night benefit on Thursday. The event will feature 125 galleries representing 17 countries and 36 cities, including London, Zurich, San Francisco, Berlin, New York City, Madrid and Chicago.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>9. Volunteer at 826 Chi.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Help tutor a Chicago student at <a href="http://www.826chi.org/about/" target="_blank">826 Chi</a>,&nbsp;a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting learners ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills. Back-to-school volunteers can choose to help students with their homework after-school, in schools, through events and outreach, on field trips or in conjunction with workshops at 826 and The Boring Store.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>10. Hit up a Subject to Change event.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/subjecttochangechi/?directed_target_id=0" target="_blank">Subject to Change</a>, an LGBTQ-friendly collective that aims to create &quot;no shame&quot; when it comes to the music they enjoy and the people they care about, holds monthly events at Township to raise funds and awareness for a variety of different community organizations. Past events have included benefits for the Chicago Women&#39;s Health Center, Chicago Books to Women in Prison and Vida SIDA. Keep your calendar open every first Tuesday this fall for more!</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>11. Design Harvest Festival Sept. 28-29</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Chicago&#39;s annual street festival <a href="http://www.design-harvest.com" target="_blank">celebrating home design</a> will feature a myriad of local vendors and antique collectors, &nbsp;as well as family hay rides, pumpkin painting to raise money for a local elementary school, square dancing, cold beer, delicious food and live music programming from The Hideout.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>12. Hang out in a new bar.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Coming soon: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Punch-House/501622639921369" target="_blank">Dusek&#39;s/Punch House</a>&nbsp;in Pilsen&#39;s historic Thalia Hall (mid-September), <a href="http://articles.redeyechicago.com/2013-08-19/entertainment/41426244_1_violet-hour-bartenders-cocktail" target="_blank">Analogue</a>&nbsp;on Milwaukee Ave. (mid-October), and River North comfort food bar <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/Dining/Dining-Guide/index.php/name/Tippling-Hall/listing/46375/" target="_blank">Tippling Hall</a>&nbsp;(late October).&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>13. Chicago International Film Festival, Oct. 10-24</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Now in its 49th year, CIFF continues its tradition of <a href="http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/sneak_preview/" target="_blank">bringing exciting new films</a> from more than 55 different countries to Chicago&#39;s main stage. This fall, the lineup includes the much-buzzed documentary &quot;Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,&quot; the Israeli horror film &quot;Big Bad Wolves&quot; and the 2013 Cannes&#39; Palme d&#39;Or winner &quot;Blue Is The Warmest Color. &quot; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>14. Hubbard Street: Fall Series, Oct. 10-13</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The incredible Hubbard Street dancers have a <a href="http://www.hubbardstreetdance.com/index.php?option=com_k2&amp;view=proditem&amp;id=211:fall-series&amp;Itemid=58" target="_blank">hot ticket</a> for Chicago audiences this year: a diverse and exciting program from choreographers Robyn Mineko Williams, Ohad Naharin, Mats Ek and Alejandro Cerrudo that will feature nods to Michael Jackson, the Paris Opera and &quot;Flashdance.&quot;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>15. Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Oct. 13</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">If you&#39;re not running that day, bring a sign and cheer on your friends! The <a href="http://www.chicagomarathon.com" target="_blank">marathon</a>&nbsp;has Two Waves that start at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively, so bring that double-shot pumpkin spice latte with you to the start line.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>16. See a new theater show.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The must-sees: Joan Allen returns to the Steppenwolf stage for the first time since 1991 in the American premiere of <a href="http://www.timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/16406291/the-wheel" target="_blank">The Wheel</a>, The Goodman Theatre&#39;s&nbsp;fall season opens in September with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/16406631/pullman-porter-blues" target="_blank">Pullman Porter Blues</a>, and the Tony-Award winning musical <a href="http://www.timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/16409076/once" target="_blank">Once</a>&nbsp;arrives&nbsp;at The Oriental for a limited run in October.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>17. Vintage Garage, Sept. 15 and Oct. 20</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Uptown&#39;s <a href="http://www.vintagegaragechicago.com" target="_blank">Vintage Garage</a>, the only monthly flea market in Chicago, presents the best vintage and antique dealers under one roof every third Sunday from April to October. Don&#39;t miss your chance to attend the last two shows of the season: &quot;Vintage Art&quot; on Sept. 15 and &quot;Record Ramp&quot; with the Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) on Oct. 20. &nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>18. Chicago Ideas Week, Oct. 14-20</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This <a href="https://www.chicagoideas.com" target="_blank">annual hub</a> of creativity, connection and inspiration kicks off Year 4 with a wide assortment of events, master classes, labs and special presentations. An impressive array of speakers includes Buzz Aldrin, Cat Cora, Dan Savage, Elizabeth Smart, Malcolm Gladwell and Terry McMillan.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>19. Search for the best cider.&nbsp;</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&#39;Tis that time of year. For the hard cider fans: Sprout, SmallBar, The Grafton Pub and Kuma&#39;s Corner all have excellent selections.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>20. Third Coast Percussion, Oct. 20</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Since its formation in 2005, <a href="http://www.thirdcoastpercussion.com/about-us/" target="_blank">Third Coast Percussion</a>&nbsp;ensemble has performed hundreds of concerts across the country. This year, TCP will be opening their Chicago concert season with a Frequency Series of &quot;Infinitesimal Machinery&quot; at <a href="http://www.thirdcoastpercussion.com/news-and-events/chicago-concert-season/" target="_blank">Constellation </a>on Oct. 20.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>21. Go on a Zombie Safari Hayride.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Make the trek to Tinley Park for an October weekend of fun, tractors and zombies in the cornfields! Yes, this is really a <a href="http://www.odysseyfunfarm.com/ZOMBIE.html" target="_blank">thing.</a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>22. Play flag football.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Chicago&nbsp;Bears games are fun and all, but how about tossing the old pigskin in your own backyard? Organize a game of flag or touch football in your neighborhood park, then treat the winning team to beers.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>23. Shop local.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">When scouring the streets for the best fall fashion, don&#39;t forget your local boutiques and online vendors. A few of my favorites: <a href="http://wolfbaitchicago.com" target="_blank">Wolfbait &amp; B-girls</a>, <a href="http://www.sofialivelovely.com" target="_blank">Sofia</a>, <a href="http://shoppenelopes.com" target="_blank">Penelope&#39;s</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://sarateashop.com" target="_blank">Sara Tea Shop</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>24. Laugh out loud at Pop Goes Alicia Live!</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Every <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/148783585330469/" target="_blank">first Tuesday</a> at The Hideout until November, join host Alicia Swiz and a rotating panel of local writers, comedians and activists discussing the latest in pop culture and buzzworthy current events.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>25. Step back in time to the 1893 Fair.&nbsp;</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Head to the Field Musuem on Oct. 26 for the Women&#39;s Board Gala in celebration of a sure-to-be <a href="http://fieldmuseum.org/happening/exhibits/opening-vaults-wonders-1893-worlds-fair" target="_blank">stunning</a> new exhibition: &quot;Opening the Vaults: Wonders of 1893&#39;s World Fair.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>26. Check out a new band.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The gargantuan music fests of summer have come and gone (until we meet again, Walmart on the Lake), but never fear. <em>Time Out Chicago</em> has an excellent list of <a href="http://www.timeoutchicago.com/music-nightlife/16397136/10-new-bands-to-see-this-fall" target="_blank">rising acts </a>to fall in love with this fall: from Jenny Hyval at the Empty Bottle to Water Liars at Schubas to Lucius at Lincoln Hall.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>27. Rubber Fest, Nov. 8-9</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://mirubber.com" target="_blank">Mr. Interntional Rubber</a>&nbsp;(MIR) is a rubber-fetish event that includes cocktail parties, a rubber/leather market and awards at the Center on Halsted. Go get your kink on, if you feel so inclined.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>28. Beer Hoptacular, Nov. 8-9</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">If rubber is not your thing, attend Chicago&#39;s Fourth Annual <a href="http://beerhoptacular.com" target="_blank">Beer Hoptacular</a>&nbsp;at Lacuna Artist Loft Studios in Pilsen instead. Make sure to stick around for the best Hoptacular beer of the year (2012 winner: 5 Lizard from Bedford, Illinois)</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>29. Find the best pie.</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">During the autumnal months, a seasonal slice of delectable pumpkin or hot apple pie really hits the spot. Take refuge at Bang Bang Pie Shop, Hoosier Mama Company or First Slice Pie Cafe to satisfy your every craving.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>30. Christmas Tree Lighting at Daley Plaza, Nov. 27</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Watch Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the tree donor flip the switch at Chicago&#39;s 100th Annual <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/provdrs/attractions_eventsandexhibitions/news/2012/sep/christmas_tree_lightingandulsantahousekickofftheholidays.html" target="_blank">Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony</a>, accompanied by live music and performances at Daley Plaza. And say, &quot;Goodbye fall, I hardly knew ye.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">What would you add to this list?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 05 Sep 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/30-things-do-chicago-fall-108606 Sex on film: why we deserve better than "Fifty Shades of Grey" http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/sex-film-why-we-deserve-better-fifty-shades-grey-108583 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Frank%20Micelotta%3AKaty%20Winn%3AInvision%3AAP.jpg" title="Dakota Johnson, left, and Charlie Hunnam have been cast as the leads in the film adaptation of &quot;Fifty Shades of Grey.&quot; (Frank Micelotta/Katy Winn/Invision/AP)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Back in April, I wrote about how the insanely popular book series &quot;Fifty Shades of Grey&quot;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/fifty-shades-grey-there-was-secretary-106561" target="_blank">pales in comparison</a>&nbsp;to&nbsp;the indie film &quot;Secretary:&quot; a far superior exploration of BDSM culture than the &quot;Twilight&quot; fan fiction&nbsp;tripe&nbsp;upon which the &quot;Fifty Shades&quot; trilogy is <a href="http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/fifty-shades-of-grey-wayback-machine_b49124" target="_blank">based</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Now, the first novel is being made into a feature film; and after much frenzied speculation over who would be cast in the lead roles of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, &quot;Fifty Shades&quot; author E.L. James took to Twitter on Monday to make the big announcement.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">James <a href="https://twitter.com/E_L_James" target="_blank">tweeted</a> that Dakota Johnson (&quot;21 Jump Street,&quot; &quot;Ben and Kate&quot;) has agreed to play Anastasia, while Charlie Hunnam (&quot;Sons of Anarchy,&quot; &quot;Pacific Rim&quot;) has been cast in the BDSM Mark Darcy role of Christian. Both are fine actors, and Johnson has a fancy pedigree (her parents are Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith), but will their talent save them when their script inevitably cannot?&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">I have read the first &quot;Fifty Shades&quot; book, and it was awful. James&#39; writing is thin and pedestrian at best; the story not so different from one you might find on a fan fiction website (not surprising, since that was exactly where this amateur ode to &quot;Twilight&quot; originated) or in the bodice-ripper section of a CVS. Plus, Anastasia and Christian may be the most insufferably vapid bores that I have ever had the displeasure of sitting with for two hours straight. I had to force myself to finish, just so I could say that yes, I had read the book&mdash;and it was indeed as mind-suckingly horrendous as I had feared.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The film <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/01/the-50-shades-of-grey-film-will-be-better-than-the-book-but-still-bad/267271/" target="_blank">could be</a> a vast improvement upon its source material, but that hardly matters. Sex sells; and with a built-in female fanbase, many of them <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/50-shades-grey-women-turned-sexual-submission/story?id=16059118" target="_blank">repressed housewives</a> who had never been introduced to the BDSM lifestyle before &quot;Fifty Shades&quot; took it mainstream, the movie is sure to cash in.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Scenes&nbsp;of dominant/submissive sexual acts can be intensely erotic (ahem, &quot;Secretary&quot;), but I doubt that the romance novel clunkiness of &quot;Fifty Shades&quot; will set the screen on fire. In my opinion, the sexiest movie scenes are not the most explicit, but rather the most withholding. The best erotica lies in what we cannot see, teasing with innuendo and allowing our imaginations to piece together the rest.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">For example, the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJBbDW491V0" target="_blank">phone scene</a> in &quot;It&#39;s a Wonderful Life,&quot; when Jimmy Stewart presses his body against Donna Reed&#39;s and takes in the aroma of her hair, contains more sexual tension than any of the mass-marketed kink from &quot;Fifty Shades.&quot;&nbsp;Similarly, the moment in &quot;Shame&quot; when Michael Fassbender locks eyes with a beautiful <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-sU8GWoD3w" target="_blank">stranger on the subway</a> is perhaps the only scene in a very sexually explicit film that actually feels erotic, as opposed to just numb or sad.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">I&#39;m not expecting much from the film version of &quot;Fifty Shades of Grey,&quot; since the book that spawned it is grossly undeserving of bestseller status and essentially a &quot;Twilight&quot; retelling for the <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2012/12/19/james-interview-fifty-shades/1767497/" target="_blank">mommy porn</a>&nbsp;set. Will the erotic scenes match the poetic grace and beauty of those in &quot;The Dreamers,&quot; &quot;The Unbearable Lightness of Being&quot;&nbsp;or even&nbsp;&quot;Secretary?&quot;&nbsp;I highly doubt it.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Still, just as the story of a Bella-like submissive and her dominant, Edward-esque partner became the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/50_Shades_of_Grey" target="_blank">fastest-selling paperback</a> of all time, perhaps the movie will throw audiences off-guard in a whole new way: by achieving the kind of erotic subtlety and true, powerful nuance that the book failed to deliver.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">At least, I don&#39;t think that it could be any worse.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 03 Sep 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/sex-film-why-we-deserve-better-fifty-shades-grey-108583