Meet the interviewees who share their stories and perspectives.
OSCAR BROWN, JR.
OSCAR BROWN, JR. was, according to the Los Angeles Times, the most hyphenated figure in show business: poet-singer-songwriter-actor-playwright-producer/director-lyricist and humanitarian. In addition to writing and producing such plays as Big Time Buck White and Kicks & Company, Brown composed lyrics to the hit songs “Dat Dere,” “Work Song,” and countless others. He also hosted radio and television programs, including several on PBS.
TOM BURRELL was CEO of Burrell Communications, one of the largest multicultural marketing firms in the world. After coining the phrase “Black people are not dark-skinned white people,” Burrell acquired accounts for Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Procter and Gamble, American Airlines, Allstate and Toyota, to name just a few. Winner of countless awards, Burrell is now retired and developing his talent as a musician.
WENDY CLINARD performs and teaches flamenco dance and – in Chicago – heads Clinard Dance, a contemporary dance company rooted in flamenco.
TED COHEN was chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago. Author of a book on the philosophy of humor, Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters, he was famous for finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.
CLIFF COLNOT is a jazz and classical music composer, arranger, producer and conductor. For many years he conducted the Civic Orchestra of Chicago as well as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Contemporary MusicNOW ensemble. He is currently a faculty member at the DePaul University School of Music.
ANDREA COSNOWSKY, formerly a Nashville songwriter, now serves Congregation Etz Chaim in DuPage County, Illinois, as Senior Rabbi.
EIGTH GRADE STUDENTS
BARRETT DOSS, at the time of her interview, was an eighth-grade student at the University of Chicago Lab School. As an adult she is a film and theatre actor whose roles include Rita Hanson in the Broadway production of Groundhog Day.
Fellow eighth-grade students interviewed for this book were:
ERWIN DRECHSLER is a chef and former owner of the eponymous restaurant, Erwin.
BILL HORBERG is a Hollywood film producer known for such films as Cold Mountain, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Searching for Bobby Fischer, among others. He is married to artist Elsa Mora, who also appears in this book.
CHARLES JAFFE is a psychiatrist in Chicago, practicing for over twenty years at the Rush University Medical Center.
RICK KOGAN is a journalist and radio/television host in Chicago. He has authored eight books about people and institutions in his hometown, including one about the famous Billy Goat Tavern.
BILL KURTIS is a television journalist, narrator, documentary producer [remove extra space] and news anchor with a 30-year career at CBS. He also wrote the books On Assignment, Death Penalty on Trial, and Prairie Table Cookbook. His credits as a documentarian and narrator are too numerous for even one page.
DAVE LIEBMAN is a world-famous saxophonist and flutist. In 2010 the National Endowment for the Arts gave him a Jazz Masters lifetime achievement award. Currently, he teaches at the Manhattan School of Music and offers clinics and master classes at schools around the globe.
BLANCHE MANNING is a law professor and federal judge in Chicago. She is also known as a talented jazz saxophonist.
DON MEADE, known as The Jazz Griot, entertained and educated future generations by sharing his unique stories and intimate knowledge of the giants of jazz. The Donald Meade Legacy Society, in conjunction with the African American Jazz Caucus, has established a significant award in his name.
ELSA MORA is a visual artist. Originally from Cuba, she now lives in the United States where she is married to film producer Bill Horberg, also featured in this book. Her artwork, in a variety of mediums, reflects on universal issues of identity, connectivity, and survival.
NATALIJA NOGULICH is an actor with hundreds of film and television credits. She portrayed Josephine Hoffa in the film Hoffa and is best known for her performances as Vice Admiral Alynna Nechayev on several iterations of the Star Trek series. In addition to teaching at the American Film Institute and other universities, she wrote a historical novel, One Woman’s War.
JEWEL TANCY is a singer-songwriter based in Chicago.
STUDS TERKEL was an author, broadcaster, actor and historian, known for his many books of interviews including Hard Times and Working, which became a Broadway show. He was one of Chicago’s cultural icons, with a radio show that ran for generations on the radio station, WFMT, which is famous for its arts and classical music programming.
PATTI VASQUEZ, aka Lipstick Mom, is an internationally known standup comedian as well as a radio and television personality. She currently hosts the show Pretty Late with Patti Vasquez on the AM radio station WGN. Additionally, she founded an organization called With Kind Words that provides healthcare consultation and promotes compassionate communication practices.
BOB WILLEMS works as a consultant for non-profit organizations, developing fundraising campaigns, websites, and strategic online planning.
YOU, the reader. Your personal experiences, views and biases will play into how you read and interpret the stories and thoughts of others. Be mindful to listen with an open mind as this is a chance to explore your own ideas as well.