May EventsEve Ensler, Audrey Niffenegger, and more!
Women & Children First
All events held at the store unless otherwise noted.
Photos and additional information available for all events.
Saturday, May 4 at 10:00 a.m.
Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)
Hawthorne Scholastic Academy, 3319 N. Clifton Ave., Chicago
Do you let your kids walk home alone from school or the bus stop? Ride their bike to the library? Play at the neighborhood park on their own? Find out why best-selling author, blogger, and television host Lenore Skenazy thinks kids with independence are the safest and what the “Free-Range Kids” movement is all about. This is a free event, open to all teachers and parents, co-sponsored by Hawthorne Scholastic, Audubon Elementary, and Alcott College Prep. (And 10% proceeds will benefit these schools!) Go to http://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050E4EABA72AA20-free to reserve a seat.
Sunday, May 5 at 4:30 p.m.
Editors Enid Baron and Barbara Gazzolo and various contributors
Weaving the Threads: Discovering the Patterns in Our Lives
Weaving the Threads is an anthology of memoirs from a colloquy of Chicago-area women who have supported one another’s writing for four years in a workshop in Evanston. As Barbara Gazzolo, co-editor of the anthology, says, “We are women of a certain age. Our hair is gray. But we have lived long enough to reflect and now tell stories observing the significance of our experiences.” The women, all between 70 and 80 years old, urged one another to develop their voices and style to make their stories compelling. Their earlier achievements in teaching, business, arts and culture, philanthropy, religion, research and other disciplines—in addition to being mothers and grandmothers—inform stories of family, adventure, loss, renewal, and beginnings that also intersect with the arc of history they have witnessed. These narratives connect memory to the present with a clear honesty that gives these writings a special authenticity. Enid Baron is a clinical psychologist and author of the poetry collection Baking Days. She teaches memoir writing at Evanston’s Levy Senior Center. Barbara Gazzolo was a pastor in Lake Forest for 24 years, during which she raised four children.
Wednesday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Yoga Ph.D. and 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics and PracticeMaking Sense of Modern Yoga
Have you ever wondered how to make sense of modern yoga and what it might offer you personally? Author, editor, blogger, and yoga teacher Carol Horton will lead an experiential discussion of her two new path-breaking books: 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics and Practice and Yoga Ph.D. Come prepared to move, breathe, think, share, and discuss. Carol will lead the audience through some simple yoga movement and breathing techniques (asana and pranayama) to illuminate the difference between exercising with a distracted, preoccupied mind and practicing yoga in ways that consciously link body, mind, and breath. Carol Horton, a certified Forrest Yoga teacher, teaches yoga to women in the Cook County Jail with Yoga for Recovery and at Chaturanga Holistic Fitness in Chicago.
Thursday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Mary Hutchings Reed
In the novel Warming Up, former musical actress Cecilia Morrison (talented but unknown, functional but depressed) now can’t bring herself to audition for parts, even though she once won leading roles. In the end it’s not therapy but a runaway teenager conning her out of sixty bucks who changes her life and gives her the courage to do something she’s never thought she’d do. Warming Up asks the age-old question, “What’s it all about?” and answers it in surprising ways. Mary Hutchings Reed (Courting Kathleen Hannigan) is a lawyer as well as a novelist and playwright.
Friday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m.
In the Body of the World
The Swedish Museum, 5211 N. Clark St., Chicago
While working in the Congo, Eve is shattered by the horrific rape and violence inflicted on the women there. Soon after, she is diagnosed with uterine cancer, and during months of harrowing treatment she is forced to become first and foremost a body—pricked, punctured, cut, scanned. As she connects her own illness to other forms of devastation she has witnessed, she is finally, fully, and gratefully, joined to the body of the world. Unflinching, generous, and inspiring, In the Body of the World is a transformative work that calls on us all to embody our connection to and responsibility for the world. Eve Ensler is an internationally bestselling author and an award-winning playwright whose works include The Vagina Monologues and I Am an Emotional Creature. A portion of the proceeds of this event will benefit V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls that Eve Ensler founded. Seating is limited, and tickets are required. Purchase of the book from Women & Children First comes with a ticket to the event. Companion tickets are available for $10.
Tuesday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Raven Girl and Awake in the Dream World
The Swedish Museum, 5211 N. Clark St., Chicago
Audrey Niffenegger will be discussing her two new books, Raven Girl and Awake in the Dream World: The Art of Audrey Niffenegger (the latter is the catalog of her upcoming one-woman show at National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.). Raven Girl, an illustrated novella, is a dark story, full of wonderment and longing, the tale of a postman who encounters a fledgling raven and decides to take her home. The unlikely couple falls in love and conceives a child—an extraordinary raven girl trapped in a human body. Raven Girl explores the bounds of transformation and possibility and challenges popular opinions of what contemporary families, romantic relationships, and bodies should look like, encouraging readers to open their hearts and minds to a new kind of fairy tale. Audrey Niffenegger is the author of many books, including The Time Traveler’s Wife, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Night Bookmobile.
Wednesday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Hackers of Oz
Hackers of Oz tells the adventures of Elizabeth Gale Callahan, a wonderfully geeky ten-year-old. The story begins when Scarecrow and Scraps appear in her bedroom and refuse to go home to Oz. The story is snarky and hilarious but also warm and hopeful in a way that is signature Tom Mula (Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol). This book is for any man who has worn ruby slippers (or a pointy black hat) on Halloween—plus it’s a Valentine to the city of Chicago and a gift for everyone who loves the work of L. Frank Baum.
Thursday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m
Finding Work When There Are No Jobs
How do people really find work? Not by standing in a line or tossing resumes into cyberspace. Searching for work, as all who have done it know, is not a rational process. Having the best resume does not guarantee you a job. Instead of offering the same tired advice, Finding Work prompts individual action by using riveting stories and five key principles that will prompt the reader to start asking, “What if I did something different in my work search?” This book will help you find your own answer to the question “How do I find work when there are no jobs?” Roger Wright is a ghostwriter, leadership coach, and training developer and a former special education teacher and senior executive in the technology sector; he has done extensive consulting in talent and change management in business and government, as well as nonprofit and faith-based organizations. His Chicago Guy blogs appear on Fictionique and Our Salon. He is also the co-author of I Am Your Neighbor: Voices from a Chicago Food Pantry.
Friday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m.
The Still Point of the Turning World: A Mother’s Story
Like so many parents, Emily Rapp had ambitious goals and dreams for her first child, Ronan. He would be smart, loyal, physically fearless, and get the very best education. But all those plans changed when, at nine months of age, Ronan was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease, a rare and always-fatal degenerative disorder. Rapp was forced to reevaluate everything she thought she knew, not just about being a parent, but about life. The Still Point of the Turning World tells the story of a mother’s journey through grief and beyond it. She begins to find solace in unexpected places—a Buddhist retreat, the New Mexico desert, an animal shelter, and works of literature. A former Fulbright scholar and graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Emily Rapp is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, and Slate, among other publications. She teaches at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and the University of California-Riverside.
“The Still Point of the Turning World is about the smallest things and the biggest things, the ugliest things and the most beautiful things, the darkest things and the brightest things, but most of all it’s about one very important thing: the way a woman loves a boy who will soon die. Emily Rapp didn’t want to tell us this story. She had to. That necessity is evident in every word of this intelligent, ferocious, grace-filled, gritty, astonishing starlight of a book.” —Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Sappho’s Salon Presents an Easy Abby viewing party
Featuring special guests Wendy Jo Carlton and Lisa Cordileone
$7 to $10 sliding cover includes food and wine
The latest installment of our popular salon night for lesbians and their friends features a screening party for the web series Easy Abby with special guests director Wendy Jo Carlton and Easy Abby star Lisa Cordileone. Shot in Chicago, Easy Abby chronicles the adventures of Abby, a chronic seducer with an anxiety disorder who is just trying to get by. Wendy Jo Carlton is the director of the award-winning feature films Hannah Free and Jamie and Jesse Are Not Together. Lisa Cordileone is an actor and producer with credits from many distinguished Chicago theaters. Carlton and Cordileone will host the screening, with a Q&A to follow. All proceeds benefit the artists and the Women’s Voices Fund.
Sunday, May 19 at 4:30 p.m.
Shakespeare Saved My Life
The daughter of Polish immigrants, Laura grew up amidst the gang violence of the west side of Chicago. Although she dropped out of college early, she returned when she was in her thirties, eventually pursuing a Ph.D. in Shakespeare studies at the University of Chicago while tutoring minimum-security prisoners in the Cook County Jail. Although many people told Laura that prisoners at the next level—the maximum-security facilities—were “beyond rehabilitation,” she decided to find out for herself. Laura’s program, Shakespeare in Shackles—which began with a single inmate (a prisoner who had been in isolation for 10 years and was serving a sentence of life without parole)—has since been expanded to several other federal prisons. Laura Bates is an English professor at Indiana State University, where she has taught Shakespeare for more than 15 years. The former theater editor for Chicago Magazine, she has a Ph.D. in Shakespeare studies from the University of Chicago.
Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday May 19, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Chicago Green Festival
Eat, shop, listen, learn, network, and dance the weekend away at the Chicago Green Festival. Authors, leaders, experts, advocates, celebrities, and cultural icons from around the country and around the world will be there, including Amy Goodman, Dylan Ratigan, and Marianne Williamson. We are pleased to be the official bookseller at Chicago Green Festival again this year! We have a limited number of free-admission tickets to give out—stop by and save the $15 on your entry to the festival! (As an alternative, a donation of 3 cans of food will also secure free admission.)
Wednesday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Film screening: A Question of Habit: Images of Women Religious in U.S. Popular CultureBren Murphy, the film’s director, producer, and writer
Narrated by Susan Sarandon, this film examines depictions of Catholic nuns and sisters in contemporary U.S. culture and contrasts these popular images with the lives of actual women religious, both historical and current. More than thirty women religious, cultural critics, historians, and artists were interviewed, including Sr. Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking), Tom Fontana (Oz, Homicide), and Robert Orsi (Madonna of 115th Street). The winner of four prestigious awards, this film has been screened throughout the United States and Europe and been aired by PBS. Running time is 57 min. A discussion will follow the film.
“A Question of Habit is a provocative, funny, thoughtful, entertaining and inspiring new documentary that reveals the largely unheralded and often unknown contributions of sisters and nuns to our world. Interweaving stories of real-life sisters (the world’s ‘first feminists’) with the sometimes belittling pop-culture portrayals of their lives, the film shows how these astonishing women led lives of simplicity and prayer, built schools, nursed the sick, wrote books, counseled inmates and worked for justice and peace, in the midst of a world that seemed unable to comprehend them. If your image of women religious is still The Flying Nun or Sister Act, be prepared for a surprise. By the end of the film, they’ll be your heroes, too.” —Fr. James Martin, culture editor for America Magazine
Thursday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Rock-Bottom Blessings: Discovering God’s Abundance When All Seems Lost
What does it mean to live an abundant life? Can we actually be blessed in the midst of serious disappointments and setbacks? In Rock-Bottom Blessings, Karen Beattie makes the case that true abundance is found in the transformation that happens when we experience God’s presence during periods of grief, loss, and disappointment. Beattie begins to see life’s challenges as gifts to be accepted like all other gifts: with reverence and gratitude. Karen Beattie has been a writer for more than 20 years and has been published in numerous publications, including Christianity Today and Midwest Living.
Monday, May 27
Upcoming Book Group Meetings
Sunday, May 5 at 2:00 p.m.
Family of Women Book Group – Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
Tuesday, May 7 at 7:15 p.m.
Classics of Women’s Literature – On Lies, Secrets & Silence by Adrienne Rich (and book selection meeting)
Sunday, May 12 at 5:00 p.m.
Kids First Book Group (for kids 8 to 12 years old) – Shakespeare’s Secret by Elise Broach
Sunday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m.
Feminist Book Group – Bossypants by Tina Fey
Tuesday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Women’s Book Group – Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories by Melinda Moustakis