Category Archives: Printers Row Lit Fest

Hot Air: Literally

Smart Woman

Here’s a good gag from my old Whole Foods Market pal, David Staples:

Science professor: “Does everyone here know what Watson and Crick discovered?

Voice from the back of the hall: “Yeah, Rosalind Franklin‘s notes!”

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Unsolicited Advice

Personal to Hillary: As long as you’ve demonstrated the ability to wear a variety of political cloaks depending on how strongly the wind is blowing, you’d better don the very liberal/progressive raiment ol’ Bernie’s pushing you toward. Y’know, the one the Republicans have been accusing you and your husband of wrapping yourselves in ever since you came out of Arkansas? The one, BTW, you’ve never really worn despite what the Far Right imagines.

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Look Left

America’s Shart, Donald Trump, has the angry white guy vote all wrapped up. Now, you’ve got to nail down the angry everybody else vote. And there’s getting to be a lot more of everybody else than there are of angry white guys.

It’s just simple math.

Bernie’s Gotta Build, Redux

Sheila Kennedy, who’s one of the smartest folks around, writes today, citing the opinion of Ed Brayton, about how Bernie ought to start building up his movement, as opposed to focusing solely on gaining the Dem nom — which he’s not going to get.

Now I realize Bernie Nation is going to have apoplexy when they read what I’ve just typed (the he’s not going to get part) but that’s okay. It’s clear these days Bernie’s most rabid fans like having apoplexy. In any case, she writes the same thing I did yesterday in these precincts.

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Kennedy

Kennedy calls herself a Republican, although I have no idea why. She positions herself a tad to the left of Hillary. I suppose she’s holding fast to the notion that there have to be at least two teams going strong in this holy land and she’s going to do her level best, as an IUPUI Law and Policy professor and respected observer of the political landscape, to keep the dual party concept going.

I read SK’s blog posts every day and so should you. And thanks to Susan Sandberg for turning me on to her.

Journalism Royalty

How very cool! Historian Rick Perlstein will interview legendary journalist Seymour Hersh at the Printer’s Row Lit Fest in Chi., Saturday, June 11th.

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Hersh

Hersh broke the My Lai Massacre and cover-up story back in 1969, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his work. He’s written scads of books tearing the covers off the lousy tricks our gov’t likes to pull. For his part, Perlstein has written a thoroughly engaging series of books on the birth and growth of the modern conservative movement that began with the national ascendancy of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and has resulted in the rise of you-know-who, America’s Shart, today.

The PRLF has been going strong for 32 years as a street fest for the hyper-literate. Over the years, notable and fascinating authors from Augusten Burroughs and Chuck Palahniuk to Rick Bayless have appeared for panel discussions and readings at the event, formerly known as the Printers Row Book Fair. Each year hundreds of antiquarian and rare booksellers as well as publishing industry types and independent authors set up tables and booths on a five-block tract just south of Congress Street. Printers Row is an historic old Chi. district that used to be the center of the nation’s printing industry. It’s towering, elephantine old structures were built super-strong to bear the load of thousands of rotogravure machines and multi-ton rolls of paper. Now the buildings have been transformed into chi-chi apartments and condos for the new urban middle class. And, it being Chicago, there’s loads of food to be eaten at the fest.

Among the big names scheduled to appear this year:

  • Buzz Aldrin — The second human to walk on the moon and author of Magnificent Desolation and No Dream Is Too High
  • Sidney Blumenthal — Senior advisor to Bill Clinton and author of The Clinton Wars and The Permanent Campaign
  • Amy Goodman — Journalist, co-host of Democracy Now!
  • Ethan Hawke — Screen actor and director who dabbles in writing
  • Steve Inskeep — NPR Morning Editon co-host and author of Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab
  • Sebastian Junger — Author of  The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea  and War; directed the documentary film Restrepo
  • David Maraniss — Pulitzer Prize winner and author of First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton and When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi
  • Terry McMillanWaiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Getting to Happy
  • Ruth Reichl — The last editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and best-selling cooking writer
  • Marilynne RobinsonHousekeeping, Gilead, Home, Lila
  • R.L. StineGoosebumps and other children’s series
  • Vu TranDragonfish: A Novel
  • Andi Zeisler — Co-founder of Bitch magazine

If you dig books and street fairs take in the PRLF.

May 5th Birthdays

Søren Kierkegaard — Danish philosopher and notorious buzz-killer

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Karl Marx — The original Marxist

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Nellie Bly — Muckraking journalist born Elizabeth Seaman, exposed harsh conditions in mental institutions

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James Beard — Bestselling cookbook author specializing in American cuisine

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Leo Ryan — Member of the US House from California, was killed by Jim Jones’s People’s Temple cult in Guyana in 1978

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Sylvia Fedoruk — Physicist specializing in cancer treatment, politician, and member of the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame

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Tammy Wynette — The First Lady of Country Music, sang “Stand By Your Man”

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Michael Palin — Member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and author

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Adele — Chanteuse

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Hot Air

Hoosier Hope

[Warning to loyal Pencillistas: This first entry is about sports. Read it at your own risk.]

My beloved Chicago Cubs last night selected Indiana University catcher Kyle Schwarber as their first pick in the 2014 Major Leaguie baseball entry draft.

Schwarber

Kyle Schwarber (Bleacher Nation Image)

Hey, maybe this’ll get me to start caring about Hoosiers baseball which, I understand, has been pretty good the last couple of years. My back-office (Soma Coffee) colleague Pat Murphy broke the news about Schwarber to me last night, seeing as how he knows about my Cubs “problem.” So, just to make small talk, I mentioned that IU lost a heartbreaker in the NCAA regional tournament the other day. That set Murphy off on a seemingly endless soliloquy about everything IU baseball. He spoke of the rain on Monday night, the Hoosiers’ injury problems, something about the coach’s son, Stanford’s triumphant performance after the rain delay, the unfairness of teams from California being able to play baseball all year while Indiana is pretty much limited to a week and a half in late May/early June, the IU leadoff hitter’s 0-for-5 collar in the ultimate game, Stanford’s mighty batting order, and a whole host of other minutiae.

I smiled nicely at him and nodded my head at what seemed appropriate times. Pat went on to tell me he’d gone home mid-game after Bart Kaufman Field officials cleared the place due to a threatening storm eight miles to the west. Murphy had to change his rain-soaked duds, which seems to me prima facie evidence that he, too, has a “problem.” He returned in time for the game to resume and for Stanford to overcome a three-run Hoosier lead.

Back to Kyle Schwarber. Man, the kid looks like a catcher, all squat and pug-faced. He won’t be a catcher as a pro because he’s not good defensively. He’ll be an outfielder and the Cubs brain trust hopes he’ll hit in the pros with the same jaw-dropping power he’s shown in the collegiate game.

Cubs director of scouting Jason McLeod says, “We felt Kyle was the best hitter, hands down, in this year’s draft.”

Should Schwarber turn out to be a star for the Cubs in a few years, I’ll consider my move here the turning point in his personal history. Don’t ask me to defend that statement; just keep in mind I have a “problem.”

Book Fair

Speaking of Chi., the Printers Row Lit Fest runs tomorrow and Sunday on Dearborn Street between Congress Parkway and Polk Street. It’s the unofficial kick-off for the Windy City’s summer fair, fest, and carnival season. If June seems a little late to be starting outdoor activities, keep in mind that winter just ended six hours ago there.

Anyway, here are some of the notable authors appearing this weekend at the PRLF:

  • Chris Albani, The Secret History of Las Vegas
  • Hisham D. Aidi, Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture
  • Tashe Alexander, the “Lady Emily” series and Elizabeth: The Golden Age
  • Jim Aylesworth, children’s author, Old Black Fly
  • Eric Banks, senior editor of Artforum
  • Lidia Mattichio Bastianich, Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking
  • Elizabeth Berg, Open House
  • Ira Berkow, Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter
  • Paul Buhle, graphic novelist, Studs Terkel’s Working and The Beats (with Harvey Pekar)
  • Bonnie Jo Campbell, Once Upon a River
  • Katie Crouch, Abroad, Girls in Trucks, and Men and Dogs
  • Stanley Crouch, MacArthur “Genius” Award-winner, writes about jazz and the Black experience
  • Monique Demery, Finding the Dragon Lady
  • Anton DiSclafani, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls
  • Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed
  • Joseph Ellis, Founding Brothers
  • John Feinstein, On the Brink
  • Gene Ha, graphic novelist
  • Chuck Haddix, Bird

PRLF/Fitzpatrick

The Official PRLF Poster By Tony Fitzpatrick

  • Paula Haney, founder, Hoosier Mama Pie Company
  • Christina Henriquez, The World in Half
  • Blair Kamin, Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic
  • Greg Kot, co-host, public radio program Sound Opinions
  • Malcolm London, TED speaker and poet
  • Gillian McCain & Legs McNeil, co-authors, Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk
  • M.E. May, the Circle City Mystery series
  • Walter Mosley, the “Easy Rawlins” mystery series
  • Dana Norris, founder, Story Club storytelling shows
  • Jenny Offill, Last Things
  • Sara Paretsky, the “V.I. Warshawski” detective series
  • Brigid Pasulka, A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True
  • James Patterson, the “Alex Cross” series
  • Rick Perlstein, Before the Storm and Nixonland
  • Chris Raschka, children’s book author
  • Kimberla Lawson Roby, The Prodigal Son
  • Amy Krause Rosenthal, Duck Rabbit
  • Amy Rowland, The Transcription
  • J. Courtney Sullivan, The Engagements
  • Marlo Thomas, actor and author, Free to Be… You and Me
  • Jacinda Townsend, Saint Monkey
  • Sam Weller, The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury
  • Colson Whitehead, The Noble Hustle
  • Beatriz Williams, Overseas and A Hundred Summers
  • Gabrielle Zevin, YA author, Elsewhere

This is the 30 anniversary of the book fair. Lots o’books, loads o’food, tons o’music and sunshine, the Loop to the north, the lakefront and museums to the east; you can’t go wrong at the Printers Row Lit Fest. If you’re feeling ambitious, take the road trip up to Chi. this weekend and enjoy.

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