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
To Anthea, Who May Command Him Anything
by Robert Herrick
Bid me to live, and I will live
Thy Protestant to be;
Or bid me love, and I will give
A loving heart to thee.
A heart as soft, a heart as kind,
A heart as sound and free
As in the whole world thou canst find,
That heart I’ll give to thee.
Bid that heart stay, and it will stay
To honour thy decree:
Or bid it languish quite away,
And ‘t shall do so for thee.
Bid me to weep, and I will weep
While I have eyes to see:
And, having none, yet I will keep
A heart to weep for thee.
Bid me despair, and I’ll despair
Under that cypress-tree:
Or bid me die, and I will dare
E’en death to die for thee.
Thou art my life, my love, my heart,
The very eyes of me:
And hast command of every part
To live and die for thee.
“To Anthea, Who May Command Him Anything” by Robert Herrick. Public domain.
Today is the Feast of the Epiphany. The word “epiphany” comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “manifestation” or “striking appearance.” Before Christianity, the word was used to record occasions when Greek gods and goddesses made appearances on earth.
In the Eastern Church, which includes the Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches, today is a general celebration of God’s becoming man. It includes celebrating a whole host of things: the birth of the baby Jesus, the revelation of Jesus’ divinity to the rest of the world — like to the Magi visiting from Persia — and most importantly in the East, Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River.
Centuries after the Eastern Orthodox Church began celebrating the Epiphany, the Roman Catholic Church decided to start doing so too. But for some reason, the Western Church really latched on to this image of the Persian priests bringing gifts of frankincense, myrrh, and gold to the infant Jesus, guided from their homeland of Iran by a shining star. The Magi are mentioned only in Matthew’s Gospel and he never specified how many magi there were — just that there were three gifts. In 1857, the Reverend John Henry Hopkins Jr. wrote some lyrics for a seminary Christmas pageant, a song that begins: “We three kings of Orient are / Bearing gifts we traverse afar / Field and fountain, moor and mountain / Following yonder star.”
Around the time that Irish writer James Joyce (books by this author) was defecting from the Roman Catholic Church, he was investing secular meaning into the word “epiphany.” In his early 20s, he drew up little sketches, sort of like “prose poems,” in which he illustrated epiphanies. He explained to his brother Stanislaus that epiphanies were sort of “inadvertent revelations” and said they were “little errors and gestures — mere straws in the wind — by which people betrayed the very things they were most careful to conceal.” He also wrote that the epiphany was the sudden “revelation of the whatness of a thing,” the moment when “the soul of the commonest object … seems to us radiant.”
It was a literary device that James Joyce would use in every story in his collection Dubliners (1914), a technique that he would become known for and that many modern writers would emulate. Joyce’s Dubliners ends with a story set at a party for the Feast of the Epiphany, “The Dead,” and the story ends: “His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”
It’s the birthday of the author of the best-selling book in Alfred A. Knopf’s publishing history: Khalil Gibran, (books by this author) born in the mountain village in Bsharri, Lebanon (1883). When Gibran was a boy, his mother decided to leave her alcoholic husband and take her four children to America. They settled in Boston, where they had relatives, and it was there that a charity worker noticed that Gibran appeared to be artistically gifted. Members of the aristocratic Boston society found him charming, and they began inviting him to social gatherings, where he discussed philosophy and poetry.
One day, a man named Alfred A. Knopf was invited to a gathering at Gibran’s apartment. Knopf was just starting up a publishing company, and when he saw how fascinated people were with Gibran, he decided to offer the man a publishing contract. Gibran’s first two books with Knopf weren’t very successful, but his third was a book called The Prophet (1923), which eventually was translated into 30 languages and has been read all over the world since.
It’s the birthday of novelist, critic, and photographer Wright Morris, (books by this author) born in Central City, Nebraska (1910). In 1940, he set out on a 15,000-mile tour around the United States, taking photographs along the way. He focused on capturing the inanimate objects of rural America. He took pictures of tiny churches, grain elevators, and farm implements as well as the clothing in closets, the objects in dresser drawers, and the decorations on mantelpieces.
Morris eventually began to use his photographs to inspire his fiction. In 1946, he published The Inhabitants, a collection of photographs of American houses with a series of stories written in the voices of people who might have lived in those houses. He went on to publish more than 30 books of both fiction and photography, and he won the National Book Award twice, for his novel The Field of Vision in 1956 and his novel Plains Song for Female Voices in 1980.
Today is the birthday of Barry Lopez (books by this author). He was born in Port Chester, New York (1945), and grew up in Southern California and New York City. He’s written several books of nonfiction, which often deal with the relationship between human culture and the physical landscape, like Arctic Dreams (1986) and Of Wolves and Men (1978). He also writes fiction; his most recent novel is Outside (2014).
Lopez wrote, “Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion.”
It’s the birthday of novelist Elizabeth Strout (books by this author), born in Portland, Maine (1956), to a family that had lived in that state for eight generations. Her her first novel, Amy and Isabelle (1998), was made into a TV movie by Oprah Winfrey. Her collection of linked short stories, Olive Kitteridge (2008), won the Pulitzer Prize, as well as Italy’s Premio Bancarella award. She’s the first American author to win that prize since Ernest Hemingway. In between those two books, she wrote a best-seller, Abide With Me (2006).
Strout said: “I write pieces, and move them around. And the fun of it is watching the truthful parts slide together. What is false won’t fit.”
Her most recent book is Anything is Possible (2017).