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What to See at Chicago Humanities Festival Week 2

Hear Sasha Frere-Jones, Jesmyn Ward, Anya von Bremzen, and more riff on this year’s festival theme, journeys.

Patti Smith speaks tomorrow at the Symphony Center.   Photo: Beth Rooney/Chicago Tribune

Week 1 of the 25th Chicago Humanities Festival came, educated, and went, and if you scoped out Chicago’s picks for last weekend, you’re all the brighter for it. Looking forward to Weekend 2, there are even more lectures, performances, and panels scheduled to keep your cocktail chatter on-point. Tickets to each event will be sold at the door (cash only), and are first-come first-serve. Get out there and sponge some knowledge.

Patti Smith

When: Saturday, November 1 at 10 a.m.
Where: Armour Stage, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan.
How much: $10-20 at the door. Cash only.
Why you should go: Punk-rock poet, musician, traveler, and all-around legend Patti Smith is experiencing something of a late-career renaissance, sparked by her NBA-winning memoir Just Kids and unanimously beloved 11th (!) LP Banga. She swung through Chicago last month to utterly eviscerate Riot Fest, but given her prolificness, there’s plenty left over for her CHF talk and (somehow not sold-out) Old Town School show Sunday night.

Sasha Frere-Jones

When: Saturday, November 1 at 3:30 p.m.
Where: Ballroom, Art Institute, 112 S. Michigan.
How much: $10-20 at the door. Cash only.
Why you should go: Hear New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones wax rhapsodic about, well, rhapsodies, with Wicker Park art gallery owner John Corbett—a fringe-music aficianado in his own right.

Jesmyn Ward

When: Saturday, November 1 at 3:30 p.m.
Where: Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, Harold Washinton Library Center, 400 S. State.
How much: $5-12 at the door. Cash only.
Why you should go: Novelist Jesmyn Ward has lived in California, New Orleans, and Michigan, but it’s her hometown of DeLisle, Mississippi that takes center stage in Men We Reaped, a NBCC-nominated memoir tracking the deaths of five men close to Ward (including her brother) to drugs, suicide, gun violence, and other various bedfellows of poverty and racism.

Anya von Bremzen

WHEN: Sunday, November 2 at 12 p.m.
WHERE: Northwestern Law School; Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago Ave.
HOW MUCH: $5-12 at the door. Cash only.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Hear Cold War émigré–turned Travel + Leisure editor Anya von Bremzen relay her ex post facto quest through Soviet cuisine with—ahem—Chicago mag contributing editor Gina Bazer.

GO: Chicago Humanities Festival runs through November 9 at Northwestern, U. Chicago, and various downtown cultural buildings. See the full schedule and ticketing info here, and stay tuned for Chicago’s picks for week 3.

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