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
I Will Make You Brooches by Robert Louis Stevenson. Public domain. (buy now)
I will make you brooches and toys for your delight
Of bird-song at morning and star-shine at night.
I will make a palace fit for you and me
Of green days in forests and blue days at sea.
I will make my kitchen, and you shall keep your room,
Where white flows the river and bright blows the broom,
And you shall wash your linen and keep your body white
In rainfall at morning and dewfall at night.
And this shall be for music when no one else is near,
The fine song for singing, the rare song to hear!
That only I remember, that only you admire,
Of the broad road that stretches and the roadside fire.
Today is the birthday of the creator of Curious George, H.A. Rey (books by this author), born Hans Augusto Reyersbach in Hamburg, Germany (1898). As a kid, he spent a lot of time at the zoo, drawing the animals. In 1939, he and his wife, Margret, both German Jews, were living in Paris when World War II began. They were at work on a new book featuring one of Hans’ animal drawings: a mischievous monkey named Fifi. “It seems ridiculous to be thinking about children’s books,” Rey wrote to a friend. “[But] life goes on, the editors edit, the artists draw, even during wartime.” By June 1940, the Nazi invasion was imminent, so Hans built two bicycles out of spare parts, and the Reys gathered whatever they could carry, including the collection of monkey sketches for the book manuscript. They fled Paris two days before the Nazis invaded, and rode 75 miles in three days, which turned into a four-month journey that took them to Lisbon, then Rio de Janeiro, and finally New York.
The first book, Curious George, as the monkey was now called, was published in the United States in 1941. George went on to become an international sensation. Margret Rey explained the little monkey’s success this way: “George can do what kids can’t do. He can paint a room from the inside. He can hang from a kite in the sky. He can let the animals out of their pens on the farm. He can do all these naughty things that kids would like to do.” H.A. Rey’s explanation was even simpler: “I know what I liked as a child, and I don’t do any book that I, as a child, wouldn’t have liked.”
On this date in 1966, the Metropolitan Opera House opened in New York City. It replaced the old building at 39th and Broadway. The new building is the centerpiece of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and it seats 3,800 people. An additional 195 operagoers may stand, if they’re willing. Marc Chagall painted two 30-by-36-foot murals for the lobby, which also boasts 11 crystal chandeliers in the shape of starbursts. There are 21 matching chandeliers in the auditorium; they retract up to the ceiling during performances.
The official opening of the new opera house also marked the debut of Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra. Opening night of the opera was, by most accounts, a giant fiasco. The production was overwrought and the stage was so overloaded with props and people that the brand-new turntable was broken. Star Leontyne Price was trapped inside a pyramid at one point. But the opera house survived its inauspicious beginnings. When the opera season is over, it also houses the American Ballet Theatre.
It’s the birthday of the scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., (books by this author) born in Keyser, West Virginia (1950). He said, “When I was a kid growing up, my friends wanted to be Hank Aaron or Willie Mays. I wanted to be a Rhodes Scholar.”
He went to junior college for a year and then to Yale, and he was the first African-American ever to win a Mellon Fellowship to study at Cambridge, where he earned his Ph.D.
He moved back to the United States, and he was hanging out in a bookstore in New York and found the novel Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black. Published in 1859, it’s the story of a biracial girl named Frado who is abandoned by her white mother and becomes an indentured servant to a Massachusetts family. Our Nig was attributed to Harriet E. Wilson, and for a long time the book had been dismissed as a sentimental novel written by a white man under a pseudonym. But Gates did some research and he was able to prove that Harriet Wilson was in fact a black woman, whose own life was similar to that of her main character. Gates’ unearthing of Our Nig made his name as a scholar, and he has been a prominent academic and writer ever since. Some of his books include Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars (1992), Colored People: A Memoir (1994), The Trials of Phillis Wheatley (2003), and Black in Latin America (2011).
It was on this day in 1620 that the Mayflower set sail from England. There were 102 passengers on board. Although we usually think of the Mayflower as being filled with a persecuted religious group called the Pilgrims, in fact they made up less than half of the passengers, and they called themselves “Saints” — it wasn’t until later that they were called Pilgrims.
The “Saints” were religious separatists who had broken away from the Church of England. In 1607, many of them left for Leiden in Holland, which was much more tolerant of their religious ideas, but they were still excluded from jobs and land ownership, and they struggled to make a living.
Only 35 passengers on the Mayflower were the Leiden Separatists, or “Saints.” The rest of the 102 passengers were recruits from England. They were mostly families who were going as entrepreneurs, to be planters. The “Saints” referred to these people as “Strangers.”
They had 65 miserable days at sea, most of it below deck because the weather was so awful. And the Mayflower didn’t make it to Virginia, but instead was blown off course and ended up on Cape Cod. The passengers decided to settle there, but they were forced to remain on board for more than a month just off the coast of Massachusetts, while leaders went ashore to explore, trying to find a good spot for a settlement. In the meantime, the “Saints” and the “Strangers,” despite a lot of friction, agreed to jointly sign the Mayflower Compact, a governing document that was more or less a social contract, in which everyone agreed to follow certain rules and laws so that they could all coexist.
It was only many years later, in 1840, that someone dug up a description that William Bradford had written about the original “Saints,” who had left Leiden, a place that he called “that goodly & pleasante citie which had been their resting place for near 12 years; but they knew they were pilgrimes, & looked not much on those things, but lift up their eyes to ye heavens, their dearest cuntrie, and quieted their spirits.” And so the Leiden separatists came to be called Pilgrims in retrospect, and that term came to be applied to everyone who was on board the Mayflower, both “Saints” and “Strangers.”