Let’s Get Working is a three-day festival celebrating the legacy of Studs Terkel, revisiting his work and tracing his influence through oral histories, film screenings, performances, art installations, storytelling, and community dialogues.
May 9–11, 2014
the University of Chicago
the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
Join the celebration at:
- Haskell Wexler and Andy Davis in conversation with Rick Perlstein (Nixonland) and Jim Chandler (Franke Institute) about Terkel’s involvement in Wexler's film Medium Cool (1968)
- Dave Isay (StoryCorps) and Alex Kotlowitz (The Interrupters) discuss Terkel's influence on their work.
- Screening of It’s a Living (1975), a documentary based on Terkel’s book Working.
- UChicago’s Theater & Performance Studies presents a new work, Buried in Bughouse Square: A Studs Terkel Circus (running all weekend)
- Old Town School of Folk Music’s Jason McIness restages “I Come For to Sing,” the classic music program first performed by Studs Terkel, “Big Bill” Broonzy, Win Stracke and Larry Lane.
- WFMT discusses Terkel’s 45-year career at the station, and the new archive being created in partnership with the Chicago History Museum.
- The University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics moderates soapbox debates.
- Manual Cinema performs a new animation based on StoryCorps oral histories.
- Illustrated Press hosts a live art event.
- Radio host Ira Glass discusses Terkel and the future of radio.
- Jane Addams Hull-House Museum joins forces with The Hideout to put on a concert of songs inspired by the eight-hour work movement
But of course, when archiving any collection, unexpected and often forgotten material turns up. At WFMT there's a large, splitting-at-the-seams box of printed materials collected during Studs' lifetime–things that won't necessarily be thrown away, but won't be spotlighted in any collection of Studs' work, either...Between some of Studs' hand written notes, unpublished essays and forgotten photos I found the obituaries of two Chicago giants–Mahalia Jackson and the late Major Daley. (Analeah Rosen)
One Sunday afternoon in 1975, a group of ten young video experimenters had finished an editing a version of the first “It’s a Living” documentary, based on Studs Terkel’s best-selling book, “Working.” Studs comes to view the videotape with, to everyone's surprise, Nelson Algren. A post by Tom Weinberg of Media Burn Archive.
Reading Studs Terkel’s “Good War:” An Oral History of World War II was a revelation in 8th grade history class. For too long, I had been inundated by “Great Men History”—an obsession with white and male individuals who propelled history forward. I’m talking about the Abraham Lincolns, Theodore Roosevelt, and Winston Churchills of the world. Studs Terkel’s book, on the other hand, placed importance on “ordinary” people, people who lived the history that I, as an 8th grader, only saw from the top down. This book changed my view of the practice of history. It would begin a lifetime love of the lived history of men and women at all levels of life. (Elisa Shoenberger)
Printers Row Journal spoke with Kotlowitz, author of "There Are No Children Here" and "Never a City So Real," and Isay, founder and president of StoryCorps. Here's an edited transcript.
"People sound like people in a Studs Terkel interview— their pies still baking in the oven, their books disheveled on the floor, their unresolved questions about race, work and American dreams lingering on the page. He humanized common traits that could otherwise seem foreign. We like to think we share that same insatiable drive to deliver a holistic experience to the reader." - The Illustrated Press, designer of the festival's graphics.