April 27, 2019
Garrison Keillor celebrates National Poetry Month with poems & song at a benefit for Performing Arts of Woodstock.
CROONERS SUPPER CLUB
April 14, 2019
At 76 years old, Garrison Keillor makes his solo nightclub debut! 5:00 p.m.
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.
by Ellie Schoenfeld
Sometimes I am still surprised
that you do not call, pissed
that you send no emails.
The trouble with the dead
is that they stay dead.
They consistently fail to show up
for even a single cup of coffee.
I think you are still
at home in England.
I want death to be like England–
you go there for awhile
but then you come back.
“Note” by Ellie Schoenfeld from The Dark Honey: New and Used Poems. © Clover Valley Press, 2009. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (books by this author) (1913), an activist who became known as “the First Lady of civil rights” after she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in 1955. This act instigated the legendary Montgomery Bus Boycott, which helped end racial segregation on public transit across the country.
It was on this day in 2004 that Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook (at first called “the facebook”). The social media app and website’s name comes from the student directory book with names and photos that is distributed to incoming students at many universities. In the fall of Zuckerberg’s sophomore year at Harvard, he created a program called FaceMash that displayed two women students’ photos side by side and asked people to rank who was hotter. While writing the software, a slightly drunk Zuckerberg wrote blog entries including this one: “Yea, it’s on. I’m not exactly sure how the farm animals are going to fit into this whole thing (you can’t really ever be sure with farm animals …), but I like the idea of comparing two people together.”
In the site’s first four hours online, the photos were viewed 22,000 times. The site was shut down by Harvard a few days later — not only was it so popular that it overwhelmed the server, but also there was plenty of outcry over privacy violations, since Zuckerberg had acquired the photos for FaceMash by hacking into Harvard’s photo directory.
A couple of months later, Zuckerberg began writing code for a site that would allow students to view each other’s photos and some basic personal information. This site, TheFacebook, was launched on this day in 2004 at www.thefacebook.com. More than a thousand students signed up within 24 hours, and after a month, half of Harvard’s undergraduates had signed up. Zuckerberg was in trouble again, this time with three seniors who claimed that they had hired Zuckerberg to create a similar site, but that the sophomore had stolen their idea. Several years later, they reached a multimillion-dollar settlement.
Membership in TheFacebook was restricted to elite colleges in early years: at first, only Harvard students could sign up for it; then it was expanded to include students at Yale, Columbia, and Standord in 2004; then all Ivy League and Boston-area schools. In 2005, Facebook dropped the “the” from its name, and in 2006, Facebook membership was opened to everyone aged 13 and older with a valid email address. In 2010, The Social Network, a movie recounting the early years of Facebook, was released. Now the platform has a worldwide total of about 2.27 billion monthly active users.
It’s the birthday of Betty Friedan, (books by this author) born in Peoria, Illinois (1921). She’s the author of The Feminine Mystique (1963), a book that The New York Times described as being “widely regarded as one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.” Friedan wrote about what she called “the problem that has no name,” found particularly among educated suburban women in the years after the end of World War II, women who were leading ostensibly idyllic domestic lives as busy housewives and mothers and yet who felt inexplicably unfulfilled, unhappy, and restless.
“The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night — she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — ‘Is this all?’
“For over fifteen years there was no word of this yearning in the millions of words written about women, for women, in all the columns, books and articles by experts telling women their role was to seek fulfillment as wives and mothers.”
Friedan once led tens of thousands of women — and quite a few men — down New York’s Fifth Avenue and over to the New York Public Library in a strike for women’s equality. She held signs that said things like “Don’t Cook Dinner — Starve a Rat Tonight!” and “Don’t Iron While the Strike Is Hot.”
She went on to write several more books, including a memoir, Life So Far (2000). She also died on February 4, in 2006, her 85th birthday.
It’s the birthday of theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (books by this author) born in Breslau, Germany (1906). He was a star student who earned his doctorate in theology when he was just 21. In 1930, he went to New York City to study at Union Theological Seminary. He didn’t think much of the school, but he loved the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, where he taught Sunday school, learned gospel music, and started to think about the role of social justice in Christianity.
He went back to Germany, and he was ordained in 1931, when he was 25 years old. But a couple of years later, Hitler rose to power, which caused a huge rift in the German Evangelical Church. The big debate was not about Hitler’s racist policies toward Jewish people, per se, but whether the Church should continue to convert and baptize Jewish people. Bonhoeffer opposed the pro-Nazi contingent within the Church, and he was outspoken in his opposition to the Nazis and Hitler especially. Two days after Hitler was inaugurated as the chancellor, Bonhoeffer — who was then 26 years old — got on national radio and gave a speech about the danger of following any leader who demanded a cult-like following, saying that such a leader could easily become a “misleader.” The German authorities cut him off during his speech.
From then on, he worked tirelessly to oppose the Nazi regime. He wrote essays and gave lectures about the obligation of the Church to fight social injustice and to fight for non-Christians as well as Christians. He worked to publicize the truth about what was happening under the Nazis, sending updates to his friends and contacts outside of Germany, because he was afraid that the international community would believe the propaganda by powerful Nazi supporters in the German Evangelical Church. In 1933, he turned down a position in Berlin in protest because only Aryan pastors were allowed to serve. He had succeeded in forming a splinter group within the Church called the “Confessing Church,” which was opposed to the Nazi regime, but slowly more and more of his friends within the Confessing Church cowed to Hitler’s influence.
By 1939, the situation had gotten so dire, and Bonhoeffer’s opportunities were so limited, that he decided to leave Germany and come to the United States, where he had been offered a position at Union Seminary. As soon as he got there, he changed his mind, convinced that he was being a coward. He went back to Germany and started working as a double agent. On the surface he was working for German Military Intelligence, for the Abwehr, the rival to the Schutzstaffel (or SS). In reality, Bonhoeffer was spreading information about the German Resistance, as were many other members of the Abwehr, including its leader. Despite a lifetime of pacifism, Bonhoeffer finally joined in the attempt to assassinate Hitler, convinced it was the only option.
He was arrested in 1943 on much smaller charges of misusing his position as an intelligence agent. He was in prison for 18 months, where he continued to write, and his writings were smuggled out of prison and later published as Letters and Papers from Prison.
In 1944, after an attempt to assassinate Hitler failed, the extent of Bonhoeffer’s work in the resistance movement came to light. The SS uncovered the extent to which the Abwehr was working to undermine the regime, and Hitler ordered them all executed. Bonhoeffer’s final message was to a friend and bishop in England: “This is the end — for me the beginning of life.” He was killed on April 9, 1945; three weeks later, Hitler committed suicide, and one month after Bonhoeffer’s death, Germany surrendered.