Cory Booker

Put on your thinking caps! Chicago Ideas Week returns for its second year, bringing together some of today’s great minds and engaging voices to share innovative notions of all kinds. And you’re invited. Here are three can’t-miss panels.

Democracy: State of Our Union

October 8 at 7, Oriental Theatre
Rahm Emanuel, Newark mayor Cory Booker (right), and top analysts from Time and New York magazines discuss Election 2012. The conversation falls at the perfect time—right after the first presidential debate. RELATED: Read our story from last year's mayoral event, featuring Emanuel, Michael Bloomberg of New York, and Kasim Reed of Atlanta.

Identity: What Makes Me

October 9 at 4:30, Goodman Theatre
A diverse panel—including Laura Jane Grace, the transgender frontwoman of the punk band Against Me!, and Baratunde Thurston, author of the satirical memoir How to Be Black—brings a new perspective to the age-old question, “Who am I?”

The Future of Chicago

October 11 at noon, Museum of Contemporary Art
From education to technology to culture, what’s next? Brian Bannon, head of the Chicago Public Library, and John Tolva, the city’s chief technology officer, are just two notables who will explain their plans for the Windy City for 2013.

GO Chicago Ideas Week runs October 8 to 14 at various locations; $15 for each talk. For info,


Photograph: Paul Zimmerman/WireImage