For her latest book, Ape House, author Sara Gruen spent a lot of time hanging out with the bonobos at the Great Ape Trust, an Iowa research facility devoted to understanding the past and future of culture, language and intelligence by studying apes. The six bonobos there communicate with humans, via American Sign Language, among other methods.
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They dont let you in easily, because a lot of people want to see them. Its not a zoo; theyre not on display, theyre not trained seals, says Gruen, who jumped through a lot of flaming hoops to get there. But the final step was the approval of the apes themselves. For that, Gruen brought presents. I brought a big bag of stuff, she recounts. It worked. Spending time with the apes was integral to writing her book: Ape House follows the lives of a colony of similar but fictional apes after the clinic where they live is firebombed and the reality-show media circus that follows. Spend time with Gruen tonight at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street, where shell read and discuss her book beginning at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 303-436-1070 or go to www.tatteredcover.com.
Wed., Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m., 2010