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‘Woodstock at 50’ headlines DePaul Humanities Center’s fall season

Events also celebrate Apollo 11, ‘Horror of the Humanities’ with Ari Aster

Woodstock at 50 poster
The DePaul Humanities Center presents ‘Woodstock at 50’ on Oct. 7 as part of the 2019 fall season. (Image by DePaul Humanities Center)
​CHICAGO — Two hours of peace and music, and the arts and humanities, to commemorate the golden anniversary of the Woodstock music festival, will be onstage at DePaul University Oct. 7. Presented by the DePaul Humanities Center, “Woodstock at 50,” an Aquarian exposition, pays tribute to the spirit and ethos of the iconic 1969 concert at Max Yasgur’s New York farm. 

Other events that are part of the DePaul Humanities Center’s fall season include an interactive exploration of space and a discussion of the Apollo 11 program on Oct. 14, and an interactive Halloween exhibit, paranormal stage show, and screening of supernatural horror drama “Hereditary” on Oct. 28. All events are free and open to the public and will take place on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus, in the Student Center, Room 120, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave. 

“Scale” is the theme for this year’s programs and lectures. “The year of scale is an attempt to look at the many different meanings of ‘scale’ and how they intersect the arts and humanities,” said H. Peter Steeves, a professor of philosophy and director of the Humanities Center. 

“We’ll be thinking about the meaning of the Woodstock festival that unexpectedly drew close to half-a-million attendees in 1969, and NASA’s Apollo missions — the largest-scale technological undertaking in human history,” Steeves said.

“The Horror of the Humanities” returns this year in its seventh installment featuring a screening of “Hereditary” and a conversation with Ari Aster, the writer/director of the film as well as 2019’s “Midsommar.” “New this year will be ‘The Humanities Séance’ in which I will attempt to conjure the spirit of an historical figure you might have studied in college in a humanities course,” said Steeves. If all goes as planned, he hopes the “spirit will manifest and interact with the audience as well.”

Details of the fall season:

Woodstock at 50 — An Aquarian Exposition: Two Hours of Peace and Music … and the Arts and Humanities
Oct. 7
7-9 p.m. — Musical performances and lectures

It’s been 50 years since the iconic 1969 Woodstock festival took place on Max Yasgur’s farm, and in celebration, the DePaul Humanities Center is assembling an event to capture the festival’s spirit. Live musical performances from local Chicago-area bands and those who were present in 1969 will be accompanied by lectures from those who were at the original Woodstock event. Discussions will focus on the ways in which music and culture influence each other, and how Woodstock created lasting changes in the politics, art and music of America. The first 100 guests receive a tasty gift. 

Guests include: 
  • Robert A. Leonard, professor of linguistics at Hofstra University, and one of the founders of American rock and roll and doo-wop group Sha Na Na that performed at Woodstock.
  • Ellen Sander, author of “Trips: Rock Life in the Sixties,” rock critic, and an attendee of the 1969 Woodstock festival.
  • Gerardo Velez, a seven-time Grammy-nominated multi-platinum recording artist who was Jimi Hendrix’s percussionist at Woodstock.
There will be live performances of songs originally played at Woodstock by:
  • Alec Beard
  • Phallon Boyd
  • The band Common Allies
  • Erin Hogan
  • Mark Kassa
  • Gretchen Malitz
  • The band Sunshine Boys
  • Sadie Webb
The 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11
Oct. 14
6-7 p.m. — Interactive “Lunar Gallery” exhibit on the science, art, and humanities of the Apollo program
7-9 p.m. — Lectures and discussion

Science got us to the moon but the arts and humanities shaped the Apollo program and its dream. The DePaul Humanities Center celebrates the golden year anniversary of Apollo 11 with an evening of lectures and exhibits. The interactive “Lunar Gallery” with over 20 exhibits invites attendees to walk in moon-gravity, pilot a lunar lander simulator, eat “astronaut food,” take home a photo of their shoe-print in “lunar soil,” encounter a real moon rock, and view an assortment of NASA technology used in the Apollo missions. Discussions will focus on what the moon landing meant from the perspectives of the arts and humanities. 

Guest speakers include:
  • Susan G. Finley, one of NASA’s longest-serving women who works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, began her career as a “human computer” during the 1950s and 1960s, and whose mathematical calculations helped make spaceflight and the moon landing a reality. 
  • Mia Fineman, curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and curator of the exhibition “Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography.” 
  • Rick Houston, co-author of “Go, Flight! The Unsung Heroes of Mission Control, 1965-1992,” a celebration of the engineers, scientists and NASA staff who made the moonshots possible. 
Horror of the Humanities VII: Hereditary
Oct. 28
5-5:30 p.m. — Avant-garde Haunted House, an interactive Halloween exhibit
5:30-5:45 p.m. — Humanities Séance
5:45-7:50 p.m. — Film screening of “Hereditary” (2018)
7:50-9 p.m. — Ari Aster, the film’s writer and director, in conversation with Humanities Center director H. Peter Steeves

The DePaul Humanities Center’s seventh-annual Halloween event features a screening and celebration of Ari Aster’s masterpiece, “Hereditary,” followed by a conversation with the writer/director.  The avant-garde Haunted House is returning this year with even more offerings. With nearly two-dozen exhibits to choose from, attendees can have their tarot cards read, meet a “real” ghost, take home a free silhouette portrait of their shadow self, have horrific poetry written on the spot about a topic of their choosing, encounter an animated exorcist, and learn about the horrors of everyday life as well as those within the history of the humanities. 

A new addition this year is a séance show in which the spirit of a great humanist will be conjured to manifest and interact with audience members.

The DePaul University Humanities Center aims to create visibility of the work in the arts and humanities, and foster discussion among the greater community, according to Steeves. Learn more about the center and upcoming events at:


H. Peter Steeves

Media contact:
Carol Hughes