Wednesday, July 25, 2007

“WRIGHT ACROSS AMERICA” With Ian Wright at Bughouse this year!

Breaking News!

Ian Wright, a popular face of travel familiar to millions all over the world, will be a soapboxer at this year's Bughouse Square Debates! He is in Chicago this weekend filming a new series - “WRIGHT ACROSS AMERICA” - wherein our hero will take a unique look at the USA and its most popular tourist destinations. His current series, Discovery Network’s “Globe Trekker” regularly achieves 30 million viewers worldwide.

From the Music City to the Big Easy and Vegas to L.A. Ian’s no-nonsense style will offer a refreshing look at America and its home-grown tourism industry. In each film Ian will try to get to the heart of each city. He will meet people who will help understand each city’s unique character. The series will be broadcast, across the world on the Discovery beginning in the fall of 2007. Discovery has commissioned a series of six one-hour shows to be filmed across the USA over the next 35 weeks.

So, join us on Saturday at 1:30 pm to hear what Ian has to say and watch the cameras roll!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bughouse Schedule is up!


JULY 28, 2007, NOON TO 4:00 PM

Noon: Black Bear Combo Marching Band

Walt Whitman “I Sing the Body Electric” performed by
three outstanding Chicago area participants in “Poetry Out Loud,”
The Poetry Foundation’s National Poetry Recitation Contest for High School Students.

12:45 PM
Cindy Mitchell, Mayor of Bughouse Square

1:00 pm

1:30 PM
Each Soap box orator gets about fifteen minutes. All three soapboxes run simultaneously.

Soap Box 1
Speaker 1 - Erwin Lutzer, Jesus in the Spin Zone: Why the Early Church Got It Right

Speaker 2 - Gale Ahrens, In the Spirit of Surrealism, Overthrow Everything!

Speaker 3 – Keith Bolin, How Far from Farm to Fork? Local Food Systems and Your Health

Soap Box 2

Speaker 1 – Bob Matter, Car-sicko: A Prescription for Socialized Transportation

Speaker 2 – KittenINFINITE, Don’t Legalize Prostitution. Decriminalize It.

Speaker 3 – Edwin Yohnka, Why Defend the Offensive?: The Importance of Free Speech

Soap Box 3

Speaker 1 – Michael Silverstein – Electoral Justice for The Supremes!

Speaker 2 – Steve Dale, Do Dogs Belong in Café Society?

Speaker 3 – Rebecca Steinmetz, Why Your Neighborhood Needs a Sex Shop

3:00 pm

Immigration Reform: Build a wall, offer amnesty or do nothing?
Staged by the Bread and Butter Forum and Second City
Co-hosted by BBF founder Marj Halperin and Second City regular Jordan Klepper.

The Voter Slam format invites people to answer the question in 90 seconds. Speakers are invited to consider immigration reform in the context of economic security for working Americans.

To participate in or attend future Voter Slams, e-mail For more information on BBF, visit

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Newberry Library Bughouse Square Debates Honors Activist Jorge Mújica

The Newberry Library’s Bughouse Square Committee is proud to present the 2007 Altgeld Freedom of Speech Award to Jorge Mújica in recognition of his role in the struggle for the human and civil rights of non-citizens and for fair and just immigration reform.

Each year the award goes to a courageous defender of free speech and ideas. The Award is named for the former Illinois Governor (1892-96) who sacrificed his political career by pardoning Haymarket anarchists who had been condemned in 1887 for their words rather than their deeds.

Read the entire press release on the Newberry's Web site. Join us for the award ceremony on Saturday, July 28.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Bughouse Square Debates is public domain. You can come and scream your head off if you want (see the following post for details). This year things will begin with three Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Finalists reciting from memory “I Sing the Body Electric” by Walt Whitman. The poem was part of his lifework Leaves of Grass, once in Boston deemed obscene literature and pressured for censorship. But Whitman being Whitman refused to think of it under any circumstance. And the rest of course is history. Now the poem is by law in the public domain and free at a click. How would Whitman have loved the Internet?

What I can answer is that the poem is the first I loved, as a circulation assistant (page, as we were called and called pulling books from the closed, cold stacks) in the General Reading Room of the Newberry Library. We called ourselves Space Monkeys. This is where I had my best education, serving book after book alongside a team of the best finger-licking good friends I could hope for. While the genealogists dug in lineage, we tapped another in the mine of the library. And in afternoons in Washington Square Park. And hours after hours in the Zebra Lounge down the street. And still sometimes as old friends.

So this is my electric invitation to my old colleagues from the GRR. To my fellow Space Monkeys. I hope somehow they find themselves through this blog and join us for this year’s Bughouse Square Debates. This means you: Julie Lynch, Elizabeth Aubrey, Prentiss Kwabena Slaughter, Seth Ford, Lisa Adrienne Horrigan, Jenny Beinke, Heather Smedberg, Rosie Chase, Janice Dillard, Laura Carroll, Darran
White, Lisa Baldassari, Cindy Romanowski, Maria Villanueva, Carly Corder, Sean Jones, Susan Kunkle, Amber Cooper, Sean Raleigh, Kate Henningsen, Jeff Guntzel, Josh Leopold, Adrian Lucia, Alicia Duell, Diana Sudyka, Lisa Schoblasky, Analia Rodriguez.

Sometimes someone else said it best:
I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.

—From "I Sing the Body Electric," by Walt Whitman

Monday, July 02, 2007

Be a Soapboxer!

Rachel Bohlmann, director of public programs at the Newberry, announced on the John Williams' Show how you can get involved in this year's Bughouse Square Debates.

Interested soapboxers can call 312 255 3834 to leave a 30-second Soapbox Audition. Please remember to leave your name and phone number.

Also, don't forget you can get involved with the Voter Slam's main debate on immigration. Details in the previous post.