Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bughouse Square 2006 - Schedule of Events

The Newberry Library
Bughouse Square Debates

Saturday, July 29, 2006
11:00 am to 6:00 pm

Pat Butler, Reporter for Pioneer Press
Master of Ceremonies

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors: MacClean-Fogg Company, Hallett Movers,
OneSource Building Services, Inc., The Mayor’s Office of Special Events*, and TimeOut Chicago

* Chicago Transit Authority, WBBM Newsradio 780, and sponsor Neighborhood Fests 2006


11:30 am

Folk, labor, and protest music performed by singers Bucky Halker and Jimmy Tomasello

Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” performed by Devin Kenny, Ariela Rotenberg, Deja Taylor, and Bueana Cox, Chicago finalists in the Poetry Foundation’s National Poetry Recitation Contest for High School Students


12:45 pm

Cindy Mitchell, Mayor of Bughouse Square


1:00 pm

Presented by Geoffrey R. Stone, professor of law at the University of Chicago,
and author of Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime


1:30 pm

Each soapbox session lasts about 15 minutes. All three soapboxes run simultaneously.

Soapbox 1

Speaker 1 – Erwin Lutzer, Why the Jesus of the Da Vinci Code is Bogus
Speaker 2 – Michael Burton and Josh Deth, Bring Back the Draught—A Homebrewed Strategy for Restoring America’s Greatness
Speaker 3 – Rob Warden, Rotten Justice—Convicting the Innocent
Speaker 4 – J. Quinn Brisben, Hello Yanqui, Fill Your Tank with CITGO!

Soapbox 2

Speaker 1 – Gale Ahrens, No Human is Illegal! What’s Wrong with Immigration Reform

Speaker 2 – Warren Leming as Clarence Darrow, There is No Justice In or Out of Court

Speaker 3 – Rachel Goodstein, Planes and Parks—Bring Back Meigs Field

Speaker 4 – Quentin Young, Health Care for Every Body

Soapbox 3

Speaker 1 – Michael Tsonton, Quit Telling Us What We Can Cook!

Speaker 2 – Keith Bolin, How Corporate Agriculture Abuses American Farmers and Consumers

Speaker 3 - Alma Washington as Lucy Parsons, The War and the Press

Speaker 4 - Bob Matter, Depave Paradise—The High Cost of Free Parking


Judges: David Anderson, Chicago Tribune Freedom Museum; Ruth Lopez, TimeOut Chicago;
and John Williams, WGN Radio 720


3:30 pm


YES – John Cox
NO – Michael Silverstein

Born on Chicago’s South Side and reared in the south suburbs, John H. Cox has run his own businesses since 1981, including an investment advisory firm, a real estate management company, and a venture capital firm. He led the investment group that purchased Jays Potato Chips. He founded Restore Trust, which fights corruption in government. Active in Republican Party politics for thirty years, he is a Republican candidate for President of the United States in 2008.

Michael Silverstein received his pre-collegiate training in soapbox orator in New York City’s Union square Park—a sister free speech corner to Bughouse Square—before his and its gentrification. He is Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor in Anthropology, Linguistics, and Psychology at the University of Chicago, where he has taught for 25 years. He has been recognized for his excellence in teaching and honored with MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships.


4:30 pm – 5:15 pm


5:15 pm – 6:00 pm

Blues music by Johnnie Mae Dunson and Jimi “Prime Time” Smith


The John Peter Altgeld Freedom of Speech Award is dedicated to the memory of the former Illinois Governor who pardoned the surviving Haymarket anarchists. The award is presented each year to a person the committee feels has distinguished herself or himself as a defender of free speech and ideas. This year the award goes to an organization rather than an individual.

The American Library Association is an advocate and defender of what James Madison called “public access” to “public information” as the foundation of American liberties and self-governance. On the eve of World War II, the ALA spoke out against attempts to ban John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath from public libraries, and passed the Library Bill of Rights. In 1967, during the Vietnam War, the ALA established the Office of Intellectual Freedom, which has provided practical advice and support to the grass roots for almost 40 years. In the past 5 years, the American Library Association and its Freedom to Read Foundation have led the challenge to a provision of the Patriot Act of 2001 that allows the Justice Department to subpoena library circulation records.

The Newberry Library Bughouse Square Committee’s John Peter Altgeld Award for courageous advocacy of freedom of speech is presented to the American Library Association for its principled defense over many years of the freedom to read, think, write, and speak.


Gale Ahrens, No Human is Illegal
Gale Ahrens has been active in the Chicago Surrealist Movement for more than seven years. She learned about surrealism right here in Bughouse Square, and joined the movement to seek a world worth living in by subverting misery with art and poetry. A prison and punishment abolitionist, she lives in Chicago and speaks frequently here and in other cities and has appeared on radio and television.

Keith Bolin, How Corporate Agriculture Abuses American Farmers and Consumers
Keith Bolin and his family raise hogs, cows, corn, oats, and alfalfa on the family farm near Manilus, Illinois where he grew up. As President of the American Corn Growers Association, he is a leader in the fight to save the family farm from a predatory marketplace.

J. Quinn Brisben, Hello Yanqui, Fill Your Tank with CITGO!
J. Quinn Brisben taught high school history and social studies in the Chicago Public School system for 30 years before retiring in 1990. He joined the Socialist Party in 1959 and was the Party’s Presidential candidate in 1992. A frequent speaker at the College of Complexes, he has actively participated in civil rights, anti-war, labor, and disability rights struggles for more than 40 years. He has traveled widely in South America.

Michael Burton and Josh Deth, Bring Back the Draught
Michael Burton has spoken frequently at Bughouse Square for Chicago Critical Mass. Today he appears with Josh Deth on behalf of the Logan Square Draught Beer Preservation Society, which seeks to lure couch potatoes to the local tavern for healthy social interaction and an “honest pour.” Josh Deth is the proprietor of Handelbar Bar & Brill, which caters to cyclists and vegetarians.

Rachel Goodstein, Planes and Parks—Bring Back Meigs Field
On the night of March 30-31, 2003, the City of Chicago bulldozed Meigs Field. Rachel Goodstein (a non-pilot) is the Executive Director and President of the Meigs Action Coalition, a coalition of business and aviation groups founded in 2001, and was President of Friends of Meigs Field, 2002-2004. Both groups seek to restore, preserve, and improve Chicago’s downtown airport, and they have a plan to do it.

Warren Leming (Clarence Darrow), Crime and Religion
Warren Leming has written, directed, choreographed, and staged theater and video for over 25 years. He co-founded the musical group Wilderness Road, the Cold Chicago Company, the original Story Theater Company and the Nelson Algren Committee. His website,, is devoted to social satire. He is the author of Cold Chicago, a Haymarket Fable (Charles Kerr Publishing).

Erwin Lutzer, Why the Jesus of The Da Vinci Code is Bogus
Senior Pastor of the Moody Church since 1980, Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer is the author of more than 20 books, a celebrated international conference speaker, and a featured speaker on three radio programs. He was born and reared near Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. One of his most recent books is The Da Vinci Deception.

Bob Matter, Depave Paradise—the High Cost of Free Parking
“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot,” sang Joni Mitchell. Bob Matter of the Campaign for a Free and Clear Lakefront will talk about what “free parking” actually costs. He is a cycling, walking, and public transit activist. He is founder of the Chicagoland Folding Bike Society, former chair of Chicago Bike Winter, and member of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, Break the Gridlock, and Calumet Citizens for Connecting Communities.

Michael Tsonton, Quit Telling Us What We Can Cook!
Michael Tsonton, Executive Chef of Copperblue Restaurant, is co-founder of Chicago Chefs for Choice, a chapter of the Illinois Restaurant Association. Chicago is the first American city to ban the sale of foie gras, a delicacy made from the livers of overfed ducks and geese. For Chefs for Choice, foie gras is a consumer choice not a matter for legislation. What’s the next food the City Council will ban?

Quentin Young, Free Health Care for Every Body
In 1980, Dr. Quentin Young founded the Chicago-based Health and Medicine Policy Research Group and is national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program. Since 1953, he has been attending physician at Michael Reese Hospital. Since 1987, he has been clinical professor of preventive medicine at the University of Illinois Medical Center. His is a tireless advocate for health care reform.

Rob Warden, Rotten Justice—Convicting the Innocent
Rob Warden is the executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, Northwestern University school of Law. He is an award winning legal affairs journalist, who was an investigative reporter, foreign correspondent and editor at the Chicago Daily News. In 1978, he founded Chicago Lawyer and in the 1980s exposed many wrongful convictions in Illinois. Among his many publications are two books about wrongful convictions that he co-authored with David Protess, Gone in the Night and A Promise of Justice.

Alma Washington (Lucy Parsons), The War and the PressActress Alma Washington is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. After receiving a theater degree from Chicago's Roosevelt University in 1973, Washington auditioned for the role of Lucy Parsons in a play about the Haymarket Trial. Ever since she has kept alive of legacy of the militant anarchist, with performances at the Chicago Historical Society, the Praireland Chautauqua in Jacksonville, Illinois, and at the Newberry Library’s Bughouse Square.


Folksinger Jimmy Tomasello teaches guitar at the Old Town School of Folk Music. He has been “hanging out” at the Old Town School since May of 1973, when as a senior at Francis Parker School and self-described “star-struck kid,” he volunteered to work at the Old Town School. Bucky Halker is a labor protest singer and songwriter who grew up in Ashland, Wisconsin. He recorded his first album in 1984, and has since produced a half dozen CDs, and toured in Europe as well as in the US. He earned a Ph.D. in American history at the University of Minnesota, and is now completing a research project on Illinois’s labor song heritage.

For the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Allen Ginsberg's landmark poem, "Howl,” which was seized by US Customs for “obscenity,” the Poetry Foundation presents a recitation by four standout student participants of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest. Devin Kenny, Ariela Rotenberg, Deja Taylor, and Bueana Cox demonstrate and celebrate our first amendment rights. The national contest is supported by The Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Johnnie Mae Dunson Smith left Alabama in 1943 and came to Chicago where she learned drums from former medicine show dancer Eddie "Porkchop" Hines on Maxwell Street. She became an accompanist and songwriter for Jimmy Reed and recorded a few sides in the 1960's. In 2000, she recorded “Big Boss Lady” with her son, Jimi "Prime Time" Smith, and old Maxwell Street friends including Jimmie Lee Robinson and Frank Scott.

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