Studs and Stuart Dybek at Chicago’s Rhinofest

A few weeks ago, we told you about the “Terkelogues” show at Chicago’s Rhinofest.  This Sunday, February 8, is the second and final performance.  The show features Jenny Magnus, Beau O’Rielly, and Jeremy Campbell, and is co-written and co-directed by Stephan Brün and our own Tony Macaluso.  This Sunday’s show has a little something extra – author Stuart Dybek will be joining the performance to read a related blizzard-set story from his recent story collection, Ecstatic Cahoots.

We’ve also recently been writing about the Reader‘s Greatest Chicago Book Tournament.  Did you look closely at the seed map on the Reader‘s website?  Look again (scroll down).  There’s a pretty good chance that we could see a Terkel/Dybel book-off in the near future.  But before the competition begins, they’ll be collaborating… maybe synthesizing is better… this weekend at Rhinofest.  Come check it out!

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Who wrote the Greatest Ever Chicago Book?

Have you been following the Chicago Reader’s Greatest Ever Chicago Book Tournament?  We have, and you can guess who we’re rooting for!  The last round pitted Nelson Algren’s City on the Make against Mike Royko’s Boss – what would Studs have made of that?  Jerome Ludwig was tasked with this difficult decision, and even considers what he calls “the Studs Terkel factor” in making his final choice.  If you haven’t already, read about what he chose and why.

And then come back to hear Studs and Nelson talk about their beloved city and Algren’s paean to it.

Speaking of love…

And we couldn’t leave out Mike Royko!

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Studs in Chicago’s RhinoFest

This weekend marks the opening of Chicago’s 26th Annual RhinoFest, the “longest-running multi-arts fringe festival in Chicago.”  “Terkelogues,” a show featuring content from Studs’s interviews with comedian/actor Zero Mostel and painter Gertrude Abercrombie, can be seen Sunday, January 25 at 7pm and Sunday, February 8 at 3pm.  As is fitting for a festival that takes place each year in January and February, “Terkelogues” considers blizzards, power failures, being ill and stuck in bed – and the inefficiency and liberation that accompany a snow day.  The play is co-directed by our own Tony Macaluso, the Director of the Studs Terkel Radio Archive.

Gertrude Abercrombie was a Chicago native.  She got her start painting with the Federal Arts Project, and continued to work in a surrealistic style until her death in 1977.  She was great friends with many jazz artists, including Dizzy Gillespie and Milt Jackson; Richie Powell’s “Gertrude’s Bounce” was written about her.  Zero Mostel, perhaps best known for his Tony Award-winning portrayal of Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” was interviewed by Studs Terkel in 1961 when he was in Chicago as part of the Broadway cast of Eugene Ionesco’s “Rhinocerous,” (in another Tony-Award winning role).  The production took a four-week break from Broadway and came to Chicago’s Edgewater Beach Playhouse.  How fitting that the interview will now be a part of Chicago’s own RhinoFest.

For additional information about the production, you can read Thomas Willis’s article in the Chicago Tribune from August 6, 1961.  And of course you can listen to the Mostel interview below.  Hope to see you at RhinoFest!

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The Best of Studs Terkel

For ten years, WFMT has been celebrating Studs Terkel’s legacy on its “Best of Studs Terkel” program.  Every Friday night at 10:00 pm (central time), you can hear a rebroadcast of one of Studs’s original radio shows.  Often, these programs tie into a special event or holiday.  We do our best with that here on the blog (check out the Halloween post for an interview with witch, Sybil Leek); but with 10 years of practice and a greater selection of interviews to choose from, the “Best of” show is your best source for themed interviews. Continue reading →

Take it easy, but take it

This past Friday marked the sixth anniversary of Studs’s death and an occasion to reflect on his legacy as we work to assemble his radio and audio archive.  It’s heartening to know that within two years almost all of his radio programs (5,400+) should be on the site available for the world.

To get a sense of how much pride Studs took in his archive, watch a bit of this fascinating BBC television documentary made about Studs in 1985.  (Thanks to our friends at Media Burn for making this and other dozens of other Studs videos available.)


At about 9:25 in, you can see Studs browsing through his reel-to-reel tape collection talking about specific programs, a gleam in his eye as he surveys shelf upon shelf of his life’s work.  It’s a moment that has inspired us as we work to make all of those programs available. (more…)

#AskAnArchivist Day

Tomorrow, October 30, is the Society of American Archivists‘ #AskAnArchivist Day!  Archivists participating in #AskAnArchivist are eager to respond to any and all questions you have about archives and archival work.  To participate, just tweet a question and include the hashtag #AskAnArchivist in your tweet!

No question is too silly

  • What’s the craziest thing you’ve come across in your collections?
  • If your archives had a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
  • What do archivists talk about around the water cooler?

and no question is too practical!

  • What should I do to be sure that my emails won’t get lost?
  • I’ve got scads of digital images on my phone.  How should I store them so I can access them later on?
  • How do you decide which items to keep and which to weed out from a collection?
  • As a teacher, how can I get my students more interested in using archives for projects?

Allison Schein, our Archive Manager, will be on hand to answer your specific questions about our collection.  Tag her at @StudsArchive and use #AskAnArchivist.  We’ll be posting our favorite questions and answers in the coming weeks!

Original tapes of Studs's shows waiting to be digitized at the Library of Congress

Original tapes of Studs’s shows waiting to be digitized at the Library of Congress

Thanks, Mr. Schwartzman

In a recent interview on, Jason Schwartzman discusses how he prepared for his upcoming film Listen Up Philip, the solitary lives authors may lead, and what he’s been listening to lately.

Our favorite part of the interview?  “I’ve also been listening to these Studs Terkel interviews.  He’s the best.”  We agree!  (FYI, Jason Schwartzman will be doing a Q&A about the film after a screening on October 24 at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago!)

And speaking of authors, here are a few gems from the Archive.

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Archive featured in Chicago Magazine

We are pleased to announce that Chicago Magazine recently featured the Studs Terkel Radio Archive on their Arts & Culture page!  Author Joe Engleman highlights some exciting plans we have for the Archive project, and has selected six interviews that showcase Studs’s varied interests and recording styles.

Please take a minute and check out the article here:



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