For my money, the most stimulating and inspiring event you can treat yourself to this weekend is a live interview of best-selling author-political consultant David Sirota by fellow writer Ben Joravsky, at 2pm on Sat., June 21, just a hop-skip from Evanston at Loyola University's Simpson Multipurpose Room, 6333 N. Winthrop, Chicago. The event is free and open to the public, courtesy of sponsorship by Northside Democracy for America.
Nationally-syndicated journalist Sirota has
appeared on national shows from Stephen Colbert to Lou Dobbs, and has worked as a consultant for a number of high-level campaigns. His brand-new book, The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington, a biting critique of corrupt politics and "faux bipartisanship" that disenfranchises ordinary Americans, debuted at #15 on the N.Y. Times best-seller list a couple weeks ago and is currently at #20. The result of an odyssey Sirota took through America's heartland, it spares neither of the two major parties. Sirota's previous book was Hostile Takeover: How Big Money and Corruption Conquered Our Government--And How We Take It Back, which gives you some idea where he is coming from.
The New York Times has called Sirota a "populist rabble-rouser" with a "take-no-prisoners mind-set." National political consultant Joe Trippi, who used to live in the Central Street neighborhood, says of Sirota's new book, "If you love your country, buy The Uprising, read it, and act."
Sirota will be interviewed by Chicago's own Ben Joravsky, a prize-winning journalist whose keen observations of community politics have been a mainstay of the Chicago Reader for over two decades, and who is himself the author of the best-selling Hoop Dreams.
I had the pleasure to hear Sirota last night at a panel discussion with Chicago labor reform attorney Tom Geoghegan, professor Barbara Ransby, and Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington; Sirota's extremely articulate and provocative presentation challenges orthodox thought including some liberal conventional wisdom. A conversation between the hardened yet still-optimistic Sirota and the quick-witted, oft-cynical Joravsky promises to be a delight.
The event is only steps from the Loyola "L" stop and CTA bus stops. The Simpson Center is on the SE corner of Winthrop and Sheridan. Visitor parking is available at the parking structure on the NW corner of Winthrop & Sheridan (enter at Sheridan-Kenmore), and street parking should not be too tough since school is out for the summer.
Update: About 100 people turned out for this event, quite a response for a beautiful Saturday with the Cubs playing the Sox. The conversation was lively and entertaining; I only wish it had been videotaped. I've started reading the book and would recommend it.