December 16, 2018
Garrison Keillor returns to Crooner’s with singer Christine DiGiallonardo & pianist Richard Dworsky. Shows at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
New York, NY
December 2, 2018
A mini Prairie Home reunion featuring Garrison Keillor, Rob Fisher, Fred Newman, and Heather Masse and Christine DiGiallonardo.
November 3, 2018
Garrison Keillor performs with duet partner Lynne Peterson and longtime collaborator & pianist Richard Dworsky.
5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
A live performance at the Brady Theater
Long Beach, CA
A live performance at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center
by Dorianne Laux
They are kissing, on a park bench,
on the edge of an old bed, in a doorway
or on the floor of a church. Kissing
as the streets fill with balloons
or soldiers, locusts or confetti, water
or fire or dust. Kissing down through
the centuries under sun or stars, a dead tree,
an umbrella, amid derelicts. Kissing
as Christ carries his cross, as Gandhi
sings his speeches, as a bullet
careens through the air toward a child’s
good heart. They are kissing,
long, deep, spacious kisses, exploring
the silence of the tongue, the mute
rungs of the upper palate, hungry
for the living flesh. They are still
kissing when the cars crash and the bombs
drop, when the babies are born crying
into the white air, when Mozart bends
to his bowl of soup and Stalin
bends to his garden. They are kissing
to begin the world again. Nothing
can stop them. They kiss until their lips
swell, their thick tongues quickening
to the budded touch, licking up
the sweet juices. 1 want to believe
they are kissing to save the world,
but they’re not. All they know
is this press and need, these two-legged
beasts, their faces like roses crushed
together and opening, they are covering
their teeth, they are doing what they have to do
to survive the worst, they are sealing
the hard words in, they are dying
for our sins. In a broken world they are
practicing this simple and singular act
to perfection. They are holding
onto each other. They are kissing.
“Kissing” by Dorianne Laux. Only as the Day is Long: New and Selected Poems. W. W. Norton & Company, 2019. Used with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of André Aciman, (books by this author) born in Alexandria, Egypt (1951). He was Jewish, and during World War II his family had thought they would have to go to a concentration camp. They did not, but after the war there was a lot of anti-Semitism in Egypt. Young Aciman was forced to learn anti-Semitic songs in school, and the family’s textile family started losing business. So they left for Europe and eventually America, where Aciman went to school and became a writer. And he wrote a memoir about his childhood, Out of Egypt (1995), which got great reviews and won the Whiting Writers’ Award. His book Call Me By Your Name (2007) was adapted into a hugely successful indie film in 2017.
It’s the birthday of the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, (books by this author) born in Petrovichi, Russia (1920). His family immigrated to the United States when he was three years old, and his parents opened a candy shop in Brooklyn. He spent most of his time working in the family store, and he was fascinated by the shop’s newspaper stand, which sold the latest issues of popular magazines. When his father finally relented and let him read pulp fiction, Asimov started reading science fiction obsessively.
He started writing science fiction as well. He published his first story when he was 18, and published 30 more stories in the next three years. At age 21, he wrote his most famous story after a conversation with his friend and editor John Campbell. Campbell had been reading Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature, which includes the passage, “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which has been shown!” Asimov went home and wrote the story “Nightfall” (1941), about a planet with six suns that has a sunset once every 2,049 years. It’s been anthologized over and over, and many people still consider it the best science fiction short story ever written.
It’s the birthday of British crime novelist Mo Hayder, (books by this author) born in England in 1962, who writes about Detective Inspector Jack Caffrey in graphically violent, best-selling thriller novels like Birdman (1999), The Treatment (2002), Ritual (2008), Skin (2009), Gone (2010) and Wolf (2014). She said that her mother, who’s “very anti-violence”, was so shocked after reading Birdman that “she didn’t speak for a week.”
Hayder said: “In most crime novels the violent act, usually the murder, is the engine. Take that away and there is little left to drive the story along. So I do get a little cross with authors who aren’t precise about the violence they’re using to create tension because I feel they’re being dishonest with their readers. If people don’t like the blood and violence in my books, fine, they can always close the cover and put it aside and maybe read a romance instead.”
On this date in 1974, President Nixon signed a law setting the national speed limit at 55 miles per hour. The Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act was a response to an oil embargo put in place by the Arab members of OPEC — the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries — in protest of the United States’ support of Israel. Gas prices went up 40 percent, block-long lines at the pumps were an everyday occurrence, and it wasn’t uncommon to see signs reading “Sorry, no gas today” in front of your local filling station.
The western states, with their wide-open spaces and straight highways, complained bitterly about the new national law, but they complied. Gas prices continued to be high even after the embargo was lifted a couple of months later, and Americans began to look overseas, to Japanese cars that were smaller and more fuel-efficient.