February 24, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Crooners. Shows at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Fergus Falls, MN
February 23, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at A Center for the Arts. 7:30 p.m.
Detroit Lakes, MN
February 22, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Historic Holmes Theatre. 7:30 p.m.
St. Cloud, MN
February 21, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Pioneer Place on Fifth. 7:30 p.m.
February 20, 2019
“Old Friends” Garrison Keillor, Christine DiGiallonardo, Richard Dworsky reunite at Paradise Center for the Arts. 7:30 p.m.
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.
All night there isn’t a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.
My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing;
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.
“Travel” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Public domain. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of the man who wrote Doctor Zhivago (1957), Boris Pasternak
(books by this author), born in Moscow (1890). His father was a painter and his mother was a famous pianist, and they encouraged his love of literature from a young age. He spent hours alone in his bedroom reading the classics of Russian literature — Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, and Pushkin.
In the early ’30s, he began work on his masterpiece, Doctor Zhivago, an epic novel that follows the lives of more than 60 characters through the first half of 20th-century Russia. He finally finished it in 1955 and smuggled it out of the Soviet Union to a publisher in Italy.
Pasternak said at the time that he knew he was signing his own death warrant, but he felt he had to go through with it. The novel came out in 1957. It was immediately banned in the Soviet Union, but it became an international bestseller, selling 7 million copies worldwide. The next year, Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, but he was forced to refuse it. He spent the last two years of his life living in a writers’ colony, satisfied with the knowledge that his novel had been published, even if he couldn’t see a printed copy. He died in 1960. In 1989, his son finally accepted the Nobel Prize in his behalf.
It’s the birthday of Norwegian journalist Åsne Seierstad (books by this author), born in Oslo (1970). She’s best known for her work The Bookseller of Kabul (2003), which was an international best-seller.
After college in Norway she began a nomadic existence. She went to China to study Chinese and to Berlin to learn German, Moscow to work for a news agency, and to Belgrade to live in an artists’ colony. She also lived in Mexico, France, and Italy. She’s fluent in five languages, and is “okay,” as she puts it, in four more languages.
After September 11, 2001, she spent six weeks in rural parts of Afghanistan with the commandos of the Northern Alliance, traveling on the back of trucks and in military vehicles, and sleeping on stone floors and in mud huts. She rode into Kabul with the Northern Alliance in November 2001. She found a great bookstore, a place owned by an Afghan man who was well-educated and loved to talk about politics and writing.
She told him about her idea of writing a book about his family. She asked if she could live with him and his family, and follow them around, in order to write this book. He agreed, and she moved in with his extended family in February 2002. She stayed for three months.
The book she wrote about his family, The Bookseller of Kabul, was a huge success. The New York Times called it “the most intimate description of an Afghan household every produced by a Western journalist.”
But the thinly disguised bookseller of Kabul, Shah Mohammed Rais — “Sultan Khan” in the book — was not happy about the way he had been portrayed, and flew to Norway to launch his own publicity campaign. He wrote his own book, called Once Upon a Time There Was a Bookseller in Kabul (2007). It’s about how two Norwegian trolls visit Afghanistan with preconceived notions, and then abuse his family’s hospitality in order to frame a colorful, detail-oriented portrait to fit those preconceived notions.
It’s the birthday of playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht (books by this author), born Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht in Augsburg, Bavaria (1898). He studied philosophy, drama and medicine at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich where he first experimented with writing poetry and plays.
His first major runaway success was The Threepenny Opera (1928), a creative collaboration with composer Kurt Weill. With Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, Brecht sought asylum in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, and journeyed across Russia and Persia. He eventually settled in Santa Monica, where he wrote more than 50 screenplays in six years, but only one of them was accepted: Hangmen Also Die (1943), an anti-Nazi film that came out in the middle of World War II.
In 1947, he was blacklisted by the studios when he was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee, who accused him of being a Communist sympathizer.
He made his way to East Germany in 1949, and went on to run the Berliner Ensemble, which soon became the country’s most famous theater company. Brecht died of a heart attack in 1956 at the age of 58, and is buried in Berlin.
He wrote: “Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.”
On this date in 1846, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — also known as the Mormons — left Illinois for the West after their founder Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob in June 1844.
The Church’s new leader, Brigham Young, believed that the saints would never be accepted in the United States, distrusted as they were for their views on polygamy and other matters, and he set his sights on the Southwest, which was at that time still part of Mexico.
The first vanguard reached the Salt Lake Valley in July of 1847. Young himself first glimpsed the valley three days later, and said, “This is the right place.” Within a week, he had preliminary plans for the layout of a city, and had chosen a location on which to build a new temple. But the goal of escaping to Mexico to get away from American interference was only briefly met; Utah became a U.S. territory in February 1848.