Las Vegas, NV
May 20, 2020
Garrison Keillor hits Las Vegas with a new solo show!
April 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor comes to the Rochester Civic Theatre for a night of stories, songs, poetry, and humor. Tickets $50 and up
February 19, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 2 of 2. Tickets $30+
February 18, 2020
Garrison Keillor with Heather Masse at the Dakota. Night 1 of 2. Tickets $30+
I Have Thoughts that Are Fed by the Sun
by William Wordsworth
I have thoughts that are fed by the sun:
The things which I see
Are welcome to me,
Welcome every one –
I do not wish to lie
Dead, without any company.
Here alone on my bed
With thoughts that are fed by the sun,
And hopes that are welcome every one,
Happy am I.
Oh life there is about thee
A deep delicious peace;
I would not be without thee,
Stay, oh stay!
Yet be thou ever as now –
Sweetness and breath, with the quiet of death –
Be but thou ever as now,
Peace, peace, peace.
“I Have Thoughts that Are Fed by the Sun” by William Wordsworth. Public Domain. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, born in Detroit, Michigan (1939). By the time he was 30, he was $300,000 in debt and it seemed like his career as a filmmaker was over. Then he was offered the job of directing a mobster movie: The Godfather (1972).
The first city-to-city television broadcast took place on this date in 1927. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover was in a studio in Washington, D.C., and an audience sat in an auditorium in New York City. The broadcast began with a close-up of Hoover’s forehead because he was sitting too close to the camera. He backed up and said, “It is a matter of just pride to have a part in this historic occasion … the transmission of sight, for the first time in the world’s history.” He also said, “All we can say today is that there has been created a marvelous agency for whatever use the future may find with the full realization that every great and fundamental discovery of the past has been followed by use far beyond the vision of its creator.” He was followed by a comedian performing jokes in blackface.
It is the birthday of Marjory Stoneman Douglas (books by this author), the American conservationist and writer who told the world about the Florida Everglades. She was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota (1890). Her parents divorced and she grew up in Massachusetts with her mother’s family.
She graduated from Wellesley College as Class Orator, and soon afterward, her mother died. She drifted around the country working department store jobs, failed at marriage, and eventually reunited with her father who was editor of The Miami Herald. There she became what she wanted to be: a writer. She produced novels, books of short stories, plays, poems, hundreds of articles, and she won an O. Henry Award.
She is most remembered for her book The Everglades: River of Grass (1947), published the same year that Everglades National Park was dedicated. In the book, she dispels the myth that the Everglades is a swamp, describing it as a broad shallow waterway that sustains several species, many endangered. She also described the people, politics, and money surrounding Florida’s population explosion, which helped pass legislation to protect the Glades. It also helped her start the organization Friends of the Everglades.
When she was 103, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. When she died five years later, her ashes were spread over the Everglades.
On this day in 1969, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down laws prohibiting private possession of obscene material. Exactly 21 years later, a display of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs opened at Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center, causing the Center and its director to be indicted on obscenity charges.
It was the first time a gallery faced prosecution for the content of the work it displayed, and it meant that the Center could be fined $10,000, and its director jailed for a year.
A jury acquitted both a few months later. By that time, the exhibition had drawn bigger crowds than for any other in the city’s history. More than 81,000 people came to see Mr. Mapplethorpe’s photos in Cincinnati before the exhibition went on to Boston.
It’s the birthday of poet William Wordsworth, (books by this author) born in Cockermouth, England (1770). The philosopher Bertrand Russell summed up Wordsworth’s career this way: “In his youth, Wordsworth sympathized with the French Revolution, went to France, wrote good poetry, and had a natural daughter. At this period he was called a ‘bad’ man. Then he became ‘good,’ abandoned his daughter, adopted correct principles, and wrote bad poetry.”
He wrote much of his best poetry during his 20s: “Tintern Abbey,” “She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways,” “Ode: Intimations of Immortality,” and “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” He wrote about ordinary things and private thoughts, the view from a bridge, daffodils. His friend Samuel Coleridge published him.
But by the time he reached middle age, his collections of poetry were best-sellers. And when he was 73, he became poet laureate of England.
It’s the birthday of the singer Billie Holiday, born Eleanora Fagan in Baltimore (1915) to teenage parents. She was never professionally trained, but by the time she was 18, she had spent more time performing in clubs than performers twice her age. When she recorded with Benny Goodman, her career took off, and she went on to work with Artie Shaw and Lester Young, who gave her the nickname “Lady Day.” She struggled with relationships, and addiction, but her apartment in the Bronx was always open to unemployed musicians, and she left a plate on the table that held money for food and subway fares. In her autobiography she wrote, “Singing songs like the ‘The Man I Love’ or ‘Porgy’ is no more work than sitting down and eating Chinese roast duck, and I love roast duck.”
Studs Terkel saw a performance of Holiday’s in 1956, and he wrote: “When she went into ‘Willow, Weep for Me,’ you wept. You looked about and saw that the few other customers were also crying in their beer and shot glasses. Nor were they that drunk. Something was still there, that something that distinguishes an artist from a performer: the revealing of the self. Here I be. Not for long, but here I be. In sensing her mortality, we sensed our own.”
She died at age 44.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®