Literature’s Lineage: Descendants of Writers Share Family Stories
“I sustain myself with the love of family.” –Maya Angelou
Join us in celebrating the literature and lineage of some of the writers whose typewriters are on display in our special exhibit Tools of the Trade. Typewriter collector Steve Soboroff, who loaned more than a dozen typewriters to this exhibit, will discuss his love for typewriters and his collection, which is on display for the first time in Chicago. Speakers include Christie Hefner (Hugh Hefner’s daughter), Colin Johnson (Maya Angelou’s grandson), Laura Siegel Larson (Jerry Siegel’s daughter), and Nora Brooks Blakely (Gwendolyn Brooks’ daughter).
Explore this exhibit with access like never before and learn more about your favorite writers from the very people who share their DNA.
STEVE SOBOROFF is the President of the Los Angeles Police Commission and has long been known as a business leader and public servant who brings people together to get positive results. He is past Chairman and CEO of Playa Vista, and a current member of the Board of Directors of The Weingart Foundation. He is a senior fellow at the UCLA School of Public Policy, a member of the Board of Councilors to the USC School of Public Policy and the past Chairman of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at LMU. He is a member of the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission and was the driving force behind bringing Staples Center to Los Angeles. He also loves typewriters.
CHRISTIE HEFNER is the former Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., as well as a passionate advocate of freedom of expression, social justice and equal rights and opportunities for women. She was the first woman elected to the Chicago Chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization, and is a founder of the Chicago Chapter of Women Corporate Directors which works to increase the number of women serving on corporate boards. In 1991, Hefner was inducted into the Women’s Business Development Center Hall of Fame for “opening doors and building opportunities for all women entrepreneurs.” She presently serves on the Civic Advisory Committee of the Better Government Association and the board of the D.C.-based Center for American Progress Action, the leading progressive public policy think tank.
COLIN JOHNSON is an entrepreneur and a self-proclaimed Corporate America survivor after a twenty-year career in enterprise telecommunications. Leaving Corporate America four years ago he now lives in Los Angeles, CA and is focused on building for-profit positive impact businesses and taking action that improves the world. He co-founded Caged Bird Legacy LLC after the passing of his grandmother Dr. Maya Angelou to ensure her life work continues to positively change the world. Colin is also the founder of Plan V Foods LLC, a food company developing turnkey plant-based solutions for traditional retail food service.
LAURA SIEGEL LARSON is the daughter of Jerry and Joanne Siegel, the co-creator of Superman and inspiration for Lois Lane respectively. She became a reporter for several Los Angeles TV and radio stations and a West Coast Correspondent for CNN and Jerry and Joanne nicknamed her “the real Lois Lane in the family.” She was also an Executive Producer for the Walt Disney Company’s News Division with hands-on creative involvement in more than 30 News Specials and 120 Mini-Series. During her career Laura won more than 100 state, national and international awards including 13 Emmys, a Writers Guild nomination and commendations from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Criminal Justice Panel and the California Bar Association. Currently Laura and her sons are working on a book and documentary about her father’s writing career and his pursuit of author’s rights.
NORA BROOKS BLAKELY is an artistic director and playwright. She is also the president of Brooks Permissions, a permissions firm which manages the use of literary works by Gwendolyn Brooks. A former teacher, Blakely also founded the Chocolate Chips Theatre Company on the south side of Chicago. As the company’s producing artistic director, Blakely worked closely with students of Chicago Public Schools and wrote original plays such as Brother Man, A Few of My Sisters, and A Day in Bronzeville: Black Life through the Eyes of Gwendolyn Brooks. Blakely later founded the Aurora Performance Group, a troupe dedicated to honoring Gwendolyn Brooks’ memory through the performance arts.