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+
by Julie Cadwallader Staub
I am 52 years old, and have spent
truly the better part
of my life out-of-doors
but yesterday I heard a new sound above my head
a rustling, ruffling quietness in the spring air
and when I turned my face upward
I saw a flock of blackbirds
rounding a curve I didn’t know was there
and the sound was simply all those wings,
all those feathers against air, against gravity
and such a beautiful winning:
the whole flock taking a long, wide turn
as if of one body and one mind.
How do they do that?
If we lived only in human society
what a puny existence that would be
but instead we live and move and have our being
here, in this curving and soaring world
that is not our own
so when mercy and tenderness triumph in our lives
and when, even more rarely, we unite and move together
toward a common good,
we can think to ourselves:
ah yes, this is how it’s meant to be.
BLACKBIRDS by Julie Cadwallader Staub from Wing Over Wing. Paraclete Press, © 2019. Used by permission of Paraclete Press in Brewster, Massachusetts. (buy now)
It’s the 100th birthday of writer and comedian Frank Muir (books by this author), born in Ramsgate, England (1920). He didn’t go to college, but he joined the Royal Air Force and wrote some radio comedy shows to entertain soldiers. He got a job writing for the comic actor Jimmy Edwards. Edwards teamed up with the actor Dick Bentley for the BBC radio show Take It from Here Muir hit it off with Bentley’s writer, a man named Denis Norden, and Muir and Norden went on to write and perform together for more than 50 years. After years of writing for radio and television, they started appearing on the radio literary game show My Word! and its spinoff, My Music.
Frank Muir was 6 feet 6 inches, spoke with a lisp, and always wore a pink bow tie. He published a memoir, A Kentish Lad (1997), as well as humorous books like An Irreverent and Almost Complete Social History of the Bathroom (1984), and a novel, The Walpole Orange (1993).
He said: “Strategy is buying a bottle of fine wine when you take a lady out for dinner. Tactics is getting her to drink it.”
And: “Wit is a weapon. Jokes are a masculine way of inflicting superiority. But humor is the pursuit of a gentle grin, usually in solitude.”
Today is the birthday of Christopher Guest (movies by this screenwriter), born in New York City in 1948. He’s best known for writing and starring in “mockumentaries” like This is Spinal Tap (1984), Waiting for Guffman (1996), Best in Show (2000), and A Mighty Wind (2004). He is married to actress and producer Jamie Lee Curtis.
It’s the birthday of the novelist William S. Burroughs (books by this author), born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1914. He didn’t like his wealthy St. Louis community, and he didn’t like Harvard. He kept a ferret and a .32-caliber revolver in his dorm room. He signed up to join the Army, but he got a psychiatric discharge. He worked odd jobs and then moved to New York City, where he met the Beat writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg before they were known. They experimented constantly with drugs, and Burroughs became addicted to morphine and sold heroin in Greenwich Village to support himself.
His first work, the memoir Junky, was published in 1953, and he wrote many more novels, including Naked Lunch (1959).
It is the birthday of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Robert Hofstadter, born 1915 in New York City and best known for his research on the nucleus of the atom. He was the son of a salesman and attended the City College of New York. Hofstadter wanted to major in literature and philosophy until a physics professor told him, “the laws of physics could be tested and those of philosophy could not.” He won the Kenyon Prize for outstanding work in physics and mathematics in 1935.
Hofstadter went on to measure the precise size and shape of the proton and neutron, the particles of the nucleus, winning the Nobel Prize on December 10, 1961, for presenting the first reasonably accurate picture of the structure and composition of atomic neutrons and protons.
It’s the birthday of the playwright John Guare (books by this author), born in New York City in 1938. His family had always had connections to the entertainment world: he had two great-uncles who had been in vaudeville; an uncle who was the head of casting for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; and his father had been an assistant to the playwright George M. Cohan.
He’s written many plays, including Muzeeka (1967), The House of Blue Leaves (1971), Landscape of the Body (1977), and his best-known work, Six Degrees of Separation (1991).
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®