Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Memorial Tribute text from Saturday, July 25

The four people we remember today, Studs Terkel, Leon Despres, Judith Krug, and Franklin Rosemont, shared a bold commitment to free speech. And all of them stood up for free speech in this park, Bughouse Square.

Studs Terkel was a Pulitzer-Prize-winning author, radio broadcast personality, listener, and activist. But he was also a soapbox speaker. Studs Terkel was one of the lively, free-spirited people who energized Washington Square Park and made it Bughouse Square. He spoke on the soapboxes before many of us here today were born, and, in the 1980s, he helped revive Bughouse Square as an annual event with the Newberry Library.

Leon Despres, Chicago Alderman and activist, and outspoken critic of Mayor Richard J. Daley, embodied free speech. While serving as Alderman for the 5th Ward from 1955 until 1975, Despres opposed Daley and often found himself the lone dissenting vote on the Chicago City Council. He fought against the Daley patronage machine, and for civil rights and open housing. And like other politically active and civic-minded Chicagoans, Despres was a soapboxer at Bughouse Square.

Judith Krug, librarian and advocate for First Amendment rights, founded the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week and led the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom for more than 40 years. She led legal challenges to laws that attempted to censor books and people’s access to books, many of which were argued all the way to the United States Supreme Court. In 2004 she held the ALA’s Banned Books Week kickoff event in Bughouse Square.

Franklin Rosemont, surrealist poet and labor historian, contributed to Chicago’s long history of leftist activism. He sustained the radical Chicago publishing house Charles H. Kerr, helped revive Bughouse Square in the 1990s, and researched and wrote on the history of Chicago’s labor movement, including the history of Bughouse Square. His writing emphasized the countercultural and artistic influence of the labor movement.

Today, we honor their memories with a moment of silence.

And we keep their spirits alive by speaking out!

Soapbox Winner

Lina Thorne and Mars Caulton, “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology” were this year's Soapbox Debate winners. Chosen by the judges, Dave Anderson, McCormick Foundation, Madeline Nusser, TimeOut Chicago, and Suzanne Niemoth, Flavorpill Chicago, the winners received a $25 gift certificate to Manny's restaurant.
Jorge Mujica, “Enhance Immigrants’ Rights”, came in second.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

List of Soapbox Debaters

This year's soapbox debate topics include:

Soapbox Speeches
Soapbox speeches run no longer than fifteen minutes; all three soapboxes run simultaneously.

Soapbox 1
2:30 pm Jorge Mujica, “Enhance Immigrants’ Rights”

2:45 pm Nora Rowley, "The Use of Religion as a Weapon in Burma/Myanmar"

3:00 pm Haroon Rashid, “Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable: Chicago’s Most Underappreciated Historic Figure”

3:15 pm The Parking Ticket Geek, “Chicago’s Parking Debacle”

Soapbox 2
2:30 pm Rob Sherman, “Stop Unconstitutional Donations of Your Tax Dollars to Houses of Worship”

2:45 pm Erwin Lutzer, “The Resurrection of Jesus: Why All Historians Should Agree He Rose From the Dead”

3:00 pm Tom Tresser, "Chicago 2016 Olympics - Biggest Disaster since to Hit Chicago Since the Great Fire!"

3:15 pm Stephanie Velasco, “No One Should Be Caged: Amnesty International USA's Campaign for Immigrant Rights”

Soapbox 3
2:30 pm Herbert Caplan, “Artificial Turf is Poison: Chicago's Park District Is Responsible, The Victim Is You"

2:45 pm Michael Mackaplow, “A Politically Incorrect Recipe for a Fair and Prosperous Society”

3:00 pm Lina Thorne and Mars Caulton, “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology”

3:15 pm Raven Tillman, “Speech is Change”

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Schedule of Events for Saturday, July 25

9 am – Complimentary yoga presented in Washington Square Park by lululemon athletica

10 am – Book Fair opens

10:30 am –Complimentary kids’ yoga presented in Washington Square Park by Get Healthy Chicago

12 pm - Meet the Author: Alex Kotlowitz (book signing)

12:50 pm – Live Music by Black Bear Combo

1 pm – Rick Kogan Welcome

1:15 pm – Presentation of the Altgeld award to Barb Thill

1:35 pm – Main debate (Lincoln vs. Douglas)

2:15 pm –Memorial tributes to Studs Terkel, Leon Despres, Franklin Rosemont and Judith Krug.

2:30 pm – Soapbox Debates

3:45 pm – Dil Pickle award presented

6 pm – Book Fair closes for the day

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bughouse 2009

Exercise your First Amendment rights and relive the exciting public debates that immortalized Washington Square Park. Join the Freedom Museum, the Newberry Library, and the Poetry Foundation, for music and lively debates on current issues, and engage in some good-natured heckling with the crowd. This year, relive the Lincoln-Douglas debates in honor of the Lincoln Bicentennial, and get your photo taken with Lincoln and Douglas. Author Alex Kotlowitz will sign his books before the debates, from 12-1pm, and Rick Kogan will MC this exciting day of activities and speakers.

Make a day of it for your family at the park! Before the debates, Get Healthy Chicago's Chris Nassivera will be teaching a complimentary Kid's Yoga class outside the Newberry Library from 10:30-11:30am on Saturday, July 25th. An adult yoga class will be held at 9 am.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Rick Kogan MC

Rick Kogan, author, Chicago Tribune columnist and radio personality, is this year's MC.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Planning for the 2009 Festival is underway. Stay tuned for more details.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bughouse Media Coverage

Relive the day by listening to Chicago Amplified's recording of the Bughouse Square Debates. Go to http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=27206.

The Wall Street Journal's online story of the event is also available. Go to www.wsj.com, scroll down and click on "see all video offerings" in the Video Center Section. Choose "Chicagoans Get on Their Soapbox".