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
Terms of Endearment by Sue Ellen Thompson, from The Leaving: New and Selected Poems. © Autumn House Press, 2001. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
Sweet biscuit of my life,
I’ve been thinking of your smile
and how I’d steal a little bite
of it if you were here; of the delights
I’ve known in the alleyway between
the whitewashed storefronts of your teeth;
of how I’ve pressed one smithereen
after another of mille-feuille, mousseline
of late-night conversation upon your lips,
forever poised at the brink of kissdom,
their slightest sigh enough to lift
a tableskirt. Perfectest pumpkin
in the patch, your heft on mine
is what I crave, your brows so fine
I could not carve them with a steak knife.
You have the acorn eyes
of the football season, the ass
of an autumn afternoon, of boys en masse
in soccer shorts. Yours is the vast
contained candescence of a Titian under glass,
it is the gold leaf laid
by February sun, the lemonade’s
pale wash in August. Should you fade,
like sun on windowsills crocheted
with shadow, then suddenly gone dark,
your face will leave its watermark
upon this page, which is already part
of love’s confection, our little work of art.
It’s the birthday of Robert Pirsig, (books by this author) born in Minneapolis (1928). He’s the author of the cult classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (1974), a book that has sold more than 5 million copies, which is a lot for a book on philosophy.
It’s an account of his road trip from Minnesota to California, and his quest to reconcile Eastern and Western philosophical traditions. The book begins:
“I can see by my watch, without taking my hand from the left grip of the cycle, that it is eight-thirty in the morning. The wind, even at sixty miles an hour, is warm and humid. When it’s this hot and muggy at eight-thirty, I’m wondering what it’s going to be like in the afternoon.
“In the wind are pungent odors from the marshes by the road. We are in an area of the Central Plains filled with thousands of duck hunting sloughs, heading northwest from Minneapolis toward the Dakotas. […] I’m happy to be riding back into this country. It is a kind of nowhere, famous for nothing at all and has an appeal because of just that. Tensions disappear along old roads like this.”
It’s the birthday of writer Alice Sebold (books by this author), born in Madison, Wisconsin (1963). She grew up near Philadelphia — and she says that she was the “weird” one in an otherwise normal, suburban, middle-class family. Her older sister was smart and talented, but Alice fell between the cracks. She was turned down by the University of Pennsylvania even though her father was a professor there.
She ended up at Syracuse, and during her first semester of college, she was attacked and raped near campus. Sebold tried to piece her life back together — she helped bring her rapist to trial and got him convicted with a maximum sentence; and she went back to college, where she was mentored by Raymond Carver and Tess Gallagher in the creative writing program. But after graduation, she floated around all over the country, did too many drugs, worked a series of jobs, and made halfhearted attempts to write but never finished anything. When she was in her 30s, she got a job as the caretaker of an arts colony in California. It was there, in a cinderblock house in the woods with no electricity, that she finally started to write seriously. She applied to graduate school and wrote a memoir, Lucky (1999).
Her breakthrough was her first novel, The Lovely Bones (2002), the story of a 14-year-old girl who is raped and murdered and narrates the whole novel from heaven while looking down on her family and murderer. It remained on the New York Times best-seller list for more than a year. Her most recent book is The Almost Moon (2007).
It’s the birthday of writer and activist Fanny Wright (books by this author), born in Dundee, Scotland (1795). She published her first book when she was 18. She and her sister visited the United States in 1818, where they traveled alone throughout the new country. A few years later, Wright published Views of Society and Manners in America (1821). She settled in America and became an outspoken champion of radical political views: She opposed slavery, supported workers’ rights and sexual freedom, fought for access to public education, and worked to get religion out of politics. She had plenty of enemies — she was labeled “the great Red Harlot of Infidelity,” “the whore of Babylon,” and “Priestess of Beelzebub.” Most frequently, her critics just described her as “masculine.” One acquaintance wrote of Wright: “In person she was masculine, measuring at least 5 feet 11 inches, and wearing her hair a la Ninon in close curls, her large blue eyes and blonde aspect were thoroughly English, and she always seemed to wear the wrong attire.”
It’s the birthday of the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize: public health worker, community organizer, and social activist Jane Addams (books by this author), born to a wealthy Quaker family in Cedarville, Illinois in 1860.
She suffered from depression and went to Europe, thinking it would help. She visited a settlement house in London, a place that offered social services to the poor. She was deeply impressed by it, and after founding an experimental house like this in England, she returned to the states to establish one on the South Side of Chicago in the 19th Ward, a neighborhood full of poor immigrants from Russia, Greece, Italy, and Germany. It was in an abandoned mansion formerly owned by Charles Hull, and so she called it Hull House. It had a communal kitchen, a day care, a library, and a little bookbinding business.
Women boarded at Hull House, and it was also a neighborhood center, a performing arts center, and a space where book club meetings and classes were held. Two thousand people showed up each week from the area, and Hull House grew to add a dozen more buildings. Addams wrote about it in some of her books, including Twenty Years at Hull House (1910).
Addams was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement, fought for immigrants’ rights, and lobbied for labor reform. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
She’s the author of several books, including The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets (1909) and Peace and Bread in Time of War (1922).