2022-2023 Creative Living Season

Creative Living is thrilled to welcome you to the 59th season of inspiring and enlightening speakers.

Order by August 13 to retain your 2021-2022 series seats. Call or visit the Woodstock Opera House.
Programs begin at 10 a.m.
in the Woodstock Opera House. Coffee and conversation offered at 9 a.m.

Rebecca Makkai
How Fiction Meets History
October 20, 2022

Finalist for The Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, The Great Believers, is a dazzling novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss. Author Rebecca Makkai has fashioned the story of a community of friends and family shaped by the AIDS crisis. “It was hugely important to me that I get the details right,” she says, “even though I was writing fiction.” Makkai reveals how meticulous research and in-person interviews with survivors, activists, doctors, nurses, journalists and historians allowed her to render this moving portrait, depicting the role art plays in making sense of and girding us for both the horror and the beauty of our lives.

Riva Lehrer
Golem Girl: The Looking Glass Looks Back
November 17, 2022

Portraitist and writer Riva Lehrer, born with spina bifida, grew up aware of being judged for her appearance. Disability was the fuel for her work and the engine of her career; but not until she met a community of self-assured disabled performers, writers, visual artists and academic theorists—all engaged in creating a new framework in which to view the impaired body—did Lehrer become “Golem Girl.” The unique persona, also the title of her award-winning memoir, is her aesthetic, intellectual, political and emotional response to disability—“radical visibility” for which she also advocates as a teacher at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Northwestern University.

Jay Bonansinga
Storytelling Secrets from The Walking Dead
January 19, 2023

Master storyteller Bonansinga is the author of the New York Times best-selling series of blockbuster Walking Dead novels as well as dozens of other works of suspense, horror, young adult and historical narrative. His first novel, The Black Mariah, was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award. The Chicago Tribune calls him one of the most imaginative writers of thrillers. Here’s your chance to learn about the art of storytelling—how to indelibly stamp your story onto the memory of readers or casual listeners. Along the way, Jay describes his own career as a novelist, screenwriter, director, and videogame story creator and explains why he dismisses the advice to “write what you know.”

Alison Hawthorn Deming
A Woven World: On Fashion, Fishermen and the Sardine Dress
February 16, 2023

Only a daring poet, who happens also to be a superb essayist, would try stitching together two endeavors so seemingly disparate as high-fashion dressmaking and ocean-edge fishing. Inspired by an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, A Woven World is part memoir and part cultural history. Alison Hawthorne Deming’s song of praise to the beauty and fragility of human making celebrates the fading industries and artisans that have defined communities for generations. At a time when so many forces work to unmake the world as we know it, Deming will speak about the role of makers in mending the fabric of life whenever it frays.

Michael Weber
The Broadway Musical: America's Own Art Form
March 16, 2023

Over the past 100 years, Broadway musicals have evolved from escapist entertainment to become great works of art. Tapping a lifetime of knowledge, Porchlight Music Theatre's Artistic Director Michael Weber sketches the art form’s transformation—from the bold beginnings of its Golden Age with Show Boat in the 1920s through the watershed era of Oklahoma!, the electrifying West Side Story and acclaimed Cabaret to today's mega hits Les Miserables, Wicked and Hamilton. Along the way gain insights into the shows you love and discover some you may have yet to enjoy. 

Oscar Tatosian
Handwoven Oriental Rugs from Ancient Times to Today
April 20, 2023

Director of Chicagoland’s internationally renowned, third-generation business Oscar Isberian Rugs and Honorary Consul for the Republic of Armenia in Chicago, Tatosian takes us on a journey across history told through the craft of handwoven rugs. From the mountain regions of ancient Armenia and Anatolia to Persia and China, these rugs came to the West—first to Europe and later to post-Civil War America—as art forms and desirable décor. A robust commercial market emerged at the beginning of the 20th century and continues today. With rugs from his collection on hand to illustrate, Oscar shares his knowledge and personal stories from travels around the world in search of these treasures.

Past Speakers Include
Miguel Cervantes, Robert Rodriguez, Bill Odenkirk, Anna Celenza, Judy Collins, Mary Badham, Rebecca Eaton, Dr. Temple Grandin, Maya Angelou, Billy Collins, Carol Marin, Charlie Trotter, Phil Ponce, John Bredar, Dr. Michael Roizen, Beverly Sills, Martha Stewart, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Rick Kogan, Wally Phillips, Joan Benny, Rick Steves, Studs Terkel, Joseph Epstein, Amy Dickinson, Ann Patchett, Geoffrey Baer, Rick Bayless, John Callaway, Scott Simon, Robert Wittman, Bill Kurtis, Sarah Paretsky, Gene Siskel, Eddie Ross, Leslie Hindman, Jeffrey Lyons, Beekman 1802 - Josh Kilmer-Purcell & Brent Ridge

See brochures from our past 59 seasons