The Studs Terkel Centenary: Chicago Celebrates Legendary Studs Terkel

The Studs Terkel Centenary: Chicago Celebrates Legendary Studs Terkel

May 16th marks the 100th anniversary of Studs Terkel’s birth and an occasion to memorialize one of the most prolific writers and cultural critics in the history of Chicago letters. As an author, broadcaster and oral historian, legendary Chicagoan Studs Terkel celebrated the lives of ordinary Americans. Some of Terkel’s many friends and fans are hoping to return the favor with a series of events marking the 100th birthday of a man whose work is a chronicle of the 20th century.

The Studs Terkel Centenary, a group headed up by Terkel’s friends, including Chicago Tribune reporter Rick Kogan, on Saturday will rededicate the Division Street Bridge, which was named after Terkel 20 years ago. On Wednesday, The Newberry Library will host a birthday party featuring guest speakers who will share stories about Studs. Terkel’s friends will ensure that his memory lives on with a day of Studs-only programming on WFMT-FM on his birthday, with performances of passages from Terkel’s 2001 book Will the Circle Be Unbroken? at Steppenwolf Theatre next week and by phoning in personal anecdotes about Terkel to a hotline set up by Chicago’s Hull House Museum.

A Tribute: Remembering Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel: The Human Voice (StoryCorps)

Remembering Studs Terkel: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

The New York Times reported that Chicago’s legendary Studs Terkel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose searching interviews with ordinary Americans helped establish oral history as a serious genre, and who for decades was the enthusiastic host of a popular nationally syndicated radio show on WFMT-FM in Chicago, died at his home at the age of 96.

In his oral histories, which he called guerrilla journalism, Mr. Terkel relied on his effusive but gentle interviewing style to bring forth in rich detail the experiences and thoughts of his fellow citizens. For more than the four decades, Studs produced a continuous narrative of great historic moments sounded by an American chorus in the native vernacular.

Division Street: America (1966), his first best seller, explored the urban conflicts of the 1960s. Its success led to Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (1970) and Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974).

Mr. Terkel’s book The Good War: An Oral History of World War II won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction. In Talking to Myself: A Memoir of My Times (1977), Terkel turned the microphone on himself to produce an engaging memoir. In Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession (1992) and Coming of Age: The Story of Our Century by Those Who’ve Lived It (1995), he reached for his ever-present tape recorder for interviews on race relations in the United States and the experience of growing old.

In 1985, a reviewer for The Financial Times of London characterized his books as “completely free of sociological claptrap, armchair revisionism and academic moralizing.” The amiable Mr. Terkel was a gifted and seemingly tireless interviewer who elicited provocative insights and colorful, detailed personal histories from a broad mix of people. “The thing I’m able to do, I guess, is break down walls,” he once told an interviewer. “If they think you’re listening, they’ll talk. It’s more of a conversation than an interview.”

Readers of his books could only guess at Mr. Terkel’s interview style. Listeners to his daily radio show, which was first broadcast on WFMT-FM in 1958, got the full flavor as Studs, with both breathy eagerness and a tough-guy Chicago accent, went after the straight dope from guests like Sir Georg Solti, Muhammed Ali, Mahalia Jackson, the young Dob Dylan, Toni Morrison and Gloria Steinem.

The entire New York Times article can be read here.

Rick Kogan has written a detailed article in The Chicago Tribune, which can be read here.

Studs Terkel’s website at The Chicago Historical Society can be accessed here.

Studs Terkel’s (1970) WFMT-FM radio interview with me (Patrick Zimmerman) can be heard here. Parts of this radio interview later become a selection (pp. 489-493) in Terkel’s acclaimed book, Working:

Audio: Part I of The Radio Interview

Audio: Part II of The Radio Interview

Studs Terkel: Remembering His Life and Times

Conversations about Studs Terkel (2004)

Studs Terkel: About the Human Spirit (2002)

Studs Terkel: The Pioneering Broadcaster

Music Audio: Mavis Staples/Hard Times

Please Bookmark This:

Share

John Lennon: Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

John Lennon: Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

To my friends: I’d like to share this wisdom with you.
It is from a Xmas card I received this year!

Watch your thoughts for they become words.
Choose your words for they become actions.
Understand your actions for they become habits.
Study your habits for they become your character
Develop your character for it will become your destiny.

Wishing you a joyful new year,
big kiss!
Yoko

In 1971, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, with the Harlem Community Choir, recorded their message against war, a part of their major multimedia campaign for peace, as a peace anthem, a song that has also become a Christmas standard: Happy Xmas (War Is Over).  According to the John Lennon Museum, Lennon wrote the song as an attempt to get people to see war at a grassroots level and for them to take responsibility for the world around them.

So this is now the beginning of the Christmas season.  And what have you done?  The opening lines of the song, sung so nonchalantly by Lennon, serve as a call-to-action for us all.  The holidays become critical moments in the year for personal assessments, to review our choices.  And to make things better.  If you want it.

John Lennon: Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Please Share This:

Share

Happy Christmas: WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It)

Happy Christmas: WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It)

To my friends: I’d like to share this wisdom with you.
It is from a Xmas card I received this year!

Watch your thoughts for they become words.
Choose your words for they become actions.
Understand your actions for they become habits.
Study your habits for they become your character
Develop your character for it will become your destiny.

Wishing you a joyful new year,
big kiss!
yoko

WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It) is a documentary short film created by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  As 1969 came to a close, Lennon and Ono’s ideas about their protests against the Vietnam War grew beyond printing a few posters.  As Ono notes in the documentary, Lennon was the one who dreamed big.  “I said let’s have T-shirts,” Ono remembers, “and John said, ‘Let’s buy billboards.'”  The posters were displayed as billboards in twelve major cities across the world.   And the message appeared not only in mass-produced posters and postcards, but also in large newspaper ads, as well as on the radio and television.  It was the first major multimedia campaign for peace.

In 1971, Lennon and Ono, with the Harlem Community Choir, recorded their message as a peace anthem, a song that has also become a Christmas standard: Happy Xmas (War Is Over).  According to the John Lennon Museum, Lennon wrote the song as an attempt to get people to see war at a grassroots level and for them to take responsibility for the world around them.

So this is now the beginning of the Christmas season.  And what have you done?  The opening lines of the song, sung so nonchalantly by Lennon, serve as a call-to-action for us all.  The holidays become critical moments in the year for personal assessment, to review our choices.  And to make things better. If you want it.

Happy Christmas: WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It)

Slide Show: Happy Christmas/WAR IS OVER! (If You Want It)

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

Following the breakup of the Beatles, John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved to New York City in 1971, where Lennon sought to escape the insane commotion of the Beatles era, and to focus on his family and private life.  LENNONYC is a new feature-length documentary that takes an intimate look at the time Lennon, Yoko Ono and their son, Sean, spent living in New York City during the 1970s.  The full version of the documentary is available for viewing below:

John Lennon and Yoko Ono in NYC During the 1970s: LENNONYC

(Please Click Image to View the Full Documentary: LENNONYC)

Please Share This:

Share

Photos of the Day: Engaged Observers

Photography by: Walker Evans

Photography by: Leonard Freed

Photography by: Larry Towell

Photography by: Larry Towell

Photography by: Mary Ellen Mark

Photos of the Day: Engaged Observers

Documentary Photography: Engaged Observers is a collection of photographs by photographers who  created extended photographic essays that delved deeply into topics of social concern and presented distinct personal visions of the world.  Following in the tradition of Walker Evans and other Depression-era photographers, this series of works focuses on the tradition of socially engaged photographic essays since the 1960s.  Engaged Observers includes photographs from the following projects: The Mennonites by Larry Towell, Streetwise by Mary Ellen Mark, Black in White America by Leonard Freed, Vietnam Inc. by Philip Jones Griffiths, The Sacrifice by James Nachtwey and Migrations: Humanity in Transition by Sebastião Salgado.

Walker Evans: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Mary Ellen Mark: Streetwise (1984) Part I

Larry Towell: The Mennonites

Slide Show: Documentary Photography/Engaged Observers

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

Please Share This:

Share

Ethan Law’s Roue Cyr Presentation: The Captivating Lord of the Ring

Ethan Law’s Roue Cyr Presentation: The Captivating Lord of the Ring

Ethan Law’s Roue Cyr presentation is a captivating piece of performance art; it’s part dance, part acrobatics, part athleticism and the longer you watch, it gets more and more impressive.

Ethan Law’s Roue Cyr Presentation: The Captivating Lord of the Ring

Please Share This:

Share

Photo of the Day: The Flying Spirit of Ecstasy

Photo of the Day: The Flying Spirit of Ecstasy

Photography by:  Joseph O. Holmes, NYC

The 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost: World Premiere

The 1958 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud

Please Share This:

Share

Chicago’s Studs Terkel Dies at 96: A Champion of the Human Spirit

Chicago’s Studs Terkel Dies at 95: A Champion of the Human Spirit

NBC News: Chicago’s Studs Terkel Dies at the Age of 96

Studs Terkel Dies: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

The New York Times has reported that Chicago’s legendary Studs Terkel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose searching interviews with ordinary Americans helped establish oral history as a serious genre, and who for decades was the enthusiastic host of a popular nationally syndicated radio show on WFMT-FM in Chicago, died Friday at his home there at the age of 96.

In his oral histories, which he called guerrilla journalism, Mr. Terkel relied on his effusive but gentle interviewing style to bring forth in rich detail the experiences and thoughts of his fellow citizens. For more than the four decades, Studs produced a continuous narrative of great historic moments sounded by an American chorus in the native vernacular.

Division Street: America (1966), his first best seller, explored the urban conflicts of the 1960s. Its success led to Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (1970) and Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974).

Mr. Terkel’s book The Good War: An Oral History of World War II won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction. In Talking to Myself: A Memoir of My Times (1977), Terkel turned the microphone on himself to produce an engaging memoir. In Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession (1992) and Coming of Age: The Story of Our Century by Those Who’ve Lived It (1995), he reached for his ever-present tape recorder for interviews on race relations in the United States and the experience of growing old.

In 1985 a reviewer for The Financial Times of London characterized his books as “completely free of sociological claptrap, armchair revisionism and academic moralizing.” The amiable Mr. Terkel was a gifted and seemingly tireless interviewer who elicited provocative insights and colorful, detailed personal histories from a broad mix of people. “The thing I’m able to do, I guess, is break down walls,” he once told an interviewer. “If they think you’re listening, they’ll talk. It’s more of a conversation than an interview.”

Readers of his books could only guess at Mr. Terkel’s interview style. Listeners to his daily radio show, which was first broadcast on WFMT-FM in 1958, got the full flavor as Studs, with both breathy eagerness and a tough-guy Chicago accent, went after the straight dope from guests like Sir Georg Solti, Muhammed Ali, Mahalia Jackson, the young Dob Dylan, Toni Morrison and Gloria Steinem.

Now that the author-radio host-actor-activist and Chicago symbol has died, what should be his epitaph? “My epitaph will be ‘Curiosity did not kill this cat,'” he once said.

The entire New York Times article can be read here.

Rick Kogan has written a detailed article in The Chicago Tribune, which can be read here.

Studs Terkel’s website at The Chicago Historical Society can be accessed here.

Studs Terkel’s (1970) WFMT-FM radio interview with me (Patrick Zimmerman) can be heard here. Parts of this radio interview later become a selection (pp. 489-493) in Terkel’s acclaimed book, Working:

Audio: Part I of The Radio Interview

Audio: Part II of The Radio Interview

Studs Terkel: Remembering His Life and Times

Conversations about Studs Terkel (2004)

Studs Terkel: About the Human Spirit (2002)

Studs Terkel: The Pioneering Broadcaster

Music Audio: Mavis Staples/Hard Times :

Please Share This:

Share

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,458 other followers

%d bloggers like this: