March 28, 2019
Garrison Keillor heads to Steele County for a solo performance to benefit the Historical Society. 7:30 p.m.
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.
by Barbara Crooker
To make good gravy, you must be patient,
let the juice settle to the bottom, let the fat
float to the top in all its golden light. Skim
it with a thin spoon, take its measure. Equal
it with flour, sprinkle with salt, speckle
with pepper. Stir constantly in the roasting pan,
making figure eights with a wooden spoon.
Scrape off strips of skin, bits of meat; incorporate
them in the mixture, like a difficult uncle
or the lonely neighbor invited out of duty.
Keep stirring. Hand the wooden baton
to one of your daughters; it’s time for her
to start learning this music, the bubble and
seethe as it plays the score. One minute
at the boil, then almost like magic, it’s gravy,
a rich velvet brown. Thin it with broth,
stir in chopped giblets, then pour into
its little boat, waiting with mouth open.
Take up your forks, slide potatoes, stuffing,
gravy, into your mouth, hum under your breath.
Oh, the holy family of gravy, all those
little odd bits and pieces, the parts that could
be discarded, but aren’t; instead, transformed
into a warm brown blanket that makes
delicious every thing it covers.
“Gravy” by Barbara Crooker from Line Dance. © Word Press, 2008. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It was on this day in 1913 that the Armory Show opened in New York City, the first comprehensive exhibition of modern art in this country. At the time, American art was dominated by the ultra-conservative National Academy of Design, which had no interest in non-representational or experimental work. In 1912, a group of artists had gotten together and formed the Association for American Painters and Sculptors. They traveled to Europe to collect art for a show that they planned to publicize very well. They brought home work by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Cézanne, Wassily Kandinsky, Vincent Van Gogh, and many other artists.
The opening reception was on this day in 1913, at 8 p.m., by invitation only. After that, anyone could come if they bought a ticket — a visit to the show cost one dollar for adults and 25 cents for children. It was the event of the season. The show stayed up for a month, and by the time it moved on to Chicago on March 15th, it was estimated that 100,000 people had attended — 10,000 on the closing day alone.
Even Teddy Roosevelt had something to say about the Armory Show. He apparently walked through the rooms waving his arms and shouting, “That’s not art! That’s not art!” at various paintings and sculptures. He wrote an article about the show, and he said: “There is in my bathroom a really good Navajo rug which, on any proper interpretation of the Cubist theory, is a far more satisfactory and decorative piece.”
It’s the birthday of economist Thomas Robert Malthus, born in Surrey, England (1766). In 1798, he published a pamphlet called An Essay on the Principle of Population, in which he argued that the human population of the earth was growing at a faster rate than the food supply, and that war, disease, and famine were necessary in order to prevent overpopulation.
It’s the birthday of crime novelist Ruth Rendell (books by this author), born in London, England (1930), author of an extremely popular series of detective stories starring Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford. Wexford, as Rendell put it, is not a glamour figure. He’s overweight, sloppy, slow-moving, and tempted at times to stray. But in the end, he’s a faithful husband and a thoughtful, sensitive, articulate man, and readers love him. Inspector Wexford appeared in new mysteries until Rendell’s death in 2015; the final installment was No Man’s Nightingale (2013).
During her lifetime, Rendell also wrote dozens of standalone novels including Dark Corners (2015), plus short story collections, novellas, and even a series of novels written under the pseudonym Barbara Vine. She never tried to hide the fact that she wrote as both Ruth and Barbara; in fact, she described the two mindsets as being different: Ruth was “tougher, colder, more analytical,” and Barbara had “a softer voice speaking at a slower pace, more sensitive perhaps, and more intuitive.” Barbara was Ruth’s middle name, and she said she had been called both all her life.
It’s the birthday of Chaim Potok, (books by this author) born in the Bronx (1929). His parents were immigrants from Poland, and he grew up in a strict Orthodox Jewish culture. When he was about 14 years old, he happened to pick up a copy of Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, and it changed his life. He said, “I lived more deeply inside the world in that book than I lived inside my own world.”
Potok went on to write about boys who were in conflict between religious community and mainstream, secular society in books such as The Chosen (1967) and The Promise (1969).
It’s the birthday of science fiction writer Andre Norton, (books by this author) born Alice Mary Norton in Cleveland, Ohio (1912). She wrote spy novels and adventure stories, and she legally changed her name from Alice to Andre in 1934 because she thought she could sell more copies as a man than as a woman. Then she got asked to edit an anthology of science fiction writing, and she decided to try writing science fiction herself. Her book Star Man’s Son (1951) was a success, so she turned her attention to that new genre, and she became a best-selling and beloved author. When she died in 2005 at the age of 93, she had written more than 100 novels. Many of her books were for young adults, and they were some of the first young adult science fiction novels to be embraced by adults as well.