Providence. (Photography by Randy Hull/Grizzly Photo)
Highlights from the latest alumni news columns. Log into the Alumni & Friends Web Community using your CNetID and password to browse all alumni news by class year.

The win in their sails

Randy Landsberg, SM’91, helped crew Providence, the Mackinac Trophy­–winning boat in the Chicago Yacht Club’s 104th annual Race to Mackinac. Providence, whose owners include Greg Miarecki, AB’94, JD’97, finished ahead of 145 other boats in its division, covering the 333-mile course in 37 hours, 28 minutes, and 47 seconds—43 minutes faster than the second-place team. The oldest freshwater distance race in the world, the Race to Mackinac follows the historic course from Chicago’s Navy Pier to Mackinac Island, Michigan.  

“Daring and funny new voice”

Jon Kern, AB’02, received the 2012 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for his play Modern Terrorism, or They Who Want to Kill Us and How We Learn to Love Them. The prize—awarded in memory of screenwriter, playwright, and stage director Arthur Laurents and his longtime partner Tom Hatcher—provides $50,000 to the playwright as well as $100,000 to the hosting theater to defray production costs. A dark comedy about fictional 21st-century hipster terrorists, Modern Terrorism, which premiered in October at the off-Broadway 2econd Stage Theatre, was cited for Kern’s “explosively daring and funny new voice” and the aplomb with which he melds the global and the personal. Kern also won the Van Lier Fellowship in playwriting from New Dramatists in 2010—and recently began writing for The Simpsons.  

Cultural exchange

Maya Pillai, AM’12, brought the sights and sounds of India to Chicago students last summer through a $10,000 grant from Davis Projects for Peace. Pillai, a native of Bangalore, India, collaborated with the South Side organization Global Girls to produce a summer program introducing young women to Indian history and culture. With classes ranging from henna application to Indian cooking and various field trips, including an outing to a local theater for a Bollywood film, the project laid the groundwork for a trip to India where the girls will learn about Indian dance. Davis grants support projects of International House students worldwide.  

Roth’s literary life story

Novelist Philip Roth, AM’55, has signed a collaboration agreement with literary biographer Blake Bailey, granting unrestricted access to Roth’s archives, personal papers, taped interviews, and unpublished writings. Roth, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of more than 20 novels, including Portnoy’s Complaint and American Pastoral, has also agreed to extensive interviews with Bailey, whose previous subjects have included John Cheever and Richard Yates, for a biography to be published in 2014 by W. W. Norton.  

Baderbräu’s back

It all began with a question: “What­ever happened to Baderbräu?” Rob Sama, AB’93, fondly recalled the South Side–brewed pilsner from his College years and decided to spearhead the beer’s rebirth. Baderbräu fell victim to bankruptcy in 1997 and disappeared from the city’s taps—and from the German Embassy, where it had been the beer of choice. With help from former colleague and South Side native Joe Berwanger, Sama acquired the Baderbräu trademark and tracked down the original recipe from the pilsner’s creator, Douglas Babcock. Under Babcock’s direction, Sama secured the original yeast strain from its cryogenically frozen holding cell and set to work resurrecting the brew to its foamy glory. Baderbräu recently received a rating of 89/100 from Beer Advocate magazine.  

Applause for a peacekeeper

Paul Fagen, AM’98, received a 2012 Unsung Heroes Award from Communities In Schools, a national dropout-prevention organization. A clinical social worker and student supports manager for Communities in Schools of Chicago, Fagen led the creation of Keep the Peace, a conflict resolution club that teaches students to identify and resolve sources of school violence.  

Starring Studs Terkel as himself

Studs Terkel, PhB’32, JD’34, was famous primarily for his oral histories and his radio shows. But for two years, in 1950 and 1951, Terkel was famous for something history has not preserved very well: his own sitcom. Studs’ Place featured Studs as the owner of a diner, with his employees as regulars. The show was not only live but unscripted; the cast improvised the dialogue based on a set story line. Most of the episodes are lost. The few that survive are kinescopes, created by pointing a 16 mm camera at the monitor. Eleven episodes were thought to have been preserved that way until Terkel’s son found two more in his parents’ basement. The recently discovered episodes were screened in September at Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications.