Chicago Humanities Festival kicks off Sunday, with a host of big-name guests

Guests include actors Henry Winkler and Bob Odenkirk, as well as Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and the Tyshawn Sorey Trio.

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Emmy-nominated actress Millie Bobby Brown will discuss her debut novel “Nineteen Steps” in a special event at the Chicago Humanities Fall Festival.

Emmy-nominated actress Millie Bobby Brown will discuss her debut novel “Nineteen Steps” in a special event at the Chicago Humanities Fall Festival.

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The Chicago Humanities Fall Festival — the city’s sprawling, two-month arts and culture event — kicks off Sunday.

As in past years, a broad range of luminaries from the world of film, music, TV, literature, politics and elsewhere are all scheduled to be part of the lineup. This year, interwoven into various lectures and conversations, the festival plans to offer a “deep dive” into the rise of Artificial Intelligence, as well as a hard look at the climate crisis, said Michael Green, co-creative director for the festival.

And, of course, there will be many opportunities for the public to interact with the celebrity guests.

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Chicago Humanities Fall Festival

When: Sept. 17 – Nov. 15

Where: Various venues, from Evanston to Hyde Park

Tickets: $10 - $60

Info: chicagohumanities.org


“For the majority of our events, if not all, we really do save time at the end ... for a robust Q&A session with audiences. So people have an opportunity through a passed mic to ask questions directly of the people on stage,” Green said.

Among those appearing are Naperville-born actor Bob Odenkirk of “Breaking Bad” fame. Odenkirk is expected to read from his new book of children’s poetry, “Zilot & other Important Rhymes,” illustrated by his daughter Erin Odenkirk. The two are expected to appear together, along with Peter Sagal, NPR host of “Wait Wait ... Don’t tell Me!”

Emmy Award-winning actor Henry Winkler is scheduled to talk about his life and career in Hollywood. Melissa Newman, daughter of the late Oscar-winning actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, is set to appear with Illeana Douglas, granddaughter of screen legend Melvyn Douglas, to talk about their famous relatives and the importance of the state of Connecticut (where the Newmans made their home, and what is also the subject of Douglas’ new book “Connecticut in the Movies: From Dream Houses to Dark Suburbia”) in cinema.

Actress Millie Bobby Brown will be presenting her debut novel “Nineteen Steps,” and comedians Sarah Cooper, Maria Bamford and Aparna Nancherla are also part of the lineup, which includes about 50 events at venues stretching from Evanston in the north to Hyde Park in the south.

Musicians, including Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and the Tyshawn Sorey Trio, are scheduled for events.

“Chicago Humanities is more than a festival, it is an exploration of contemporary ideas, a celebration of arts and culture, and an opportunity to bring together a curious and engaged Chicago community,” said Executive Director Phillip Bahar via statement.

Tickets for most events go on sale at 10 a.m. Sept. 12 at chicagohumanities.org. The full lineup and schedule is available at the website.

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