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.
A Distracting Thought
by Ellie Schoenfeld
The other night
I meant to offer you
a ride home.
But then you hugged me
and I got distracted
by your warm neck
and the way it made me want
to take you home with me.
I forgot about the ride
but I remember about your neck––
my nose and lips
pressed up against it,
stay there longer,
to see where that
could take us.
“A Distracting Thought” by Ellie Schoenfeld from The Dark Honey: New and Used Poems. © Clover Valley Press, 2009. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
George Herman “Babe” Ruth, “the Sultan of Swat,” was born this day in 1895 in Pigtown, Baltimore, Maryland. He had a rough start in life, the son of a saloon keeper and lightening rod salesman and his wife Katherine, both of German ancestry. Young George spoke German as a child. Only one of his seven siblings, his sister Mamie, survived infancy.
At age 7, George was sent to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage. Some accounts say that following a violent incident at his father’s saloon, the city authorities decided that this environment was unsuitable for a small child. Although St. Mary’s boys received an education, they were also expected to learn work skills. Babe Ruth became a shirt-maker. He would adjust his own shirt collars, rather than having a tailor do so, even during his well-paid baseball career.
It’s the birthday of the man who wrote, “Come live with me and be my love / And we will all the pleasures prove” — Christopher Marlowe, (books by this author) born in Canterbury, England (1564). He was in London, writing for the theater, by 1587 at age 23. He’s the author of plays such as The Jew of Malta (c. 1590) and Dr. Faustus (c. 1594), and he was one of the most prominent playwrights of his lifetime.
Today Marlowe’s appreciated for establishing blank verse as a standard form of poetry. Blank verse is non-rhyming verse often written in iambic pentameter.
It’s the birthday of journalist Michael Pollan, (books by this author) born in Long Island, New York (1955), author of the popular books The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006), How to Change Your Mind (2018), and In Defense of Food (2008), in which he elaborates upon his guiding principle: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Once, she and her husband had been out driving and saw a cow on the side of the road struggling to give birth. The calf was coming out the wrong way — and probably wouldn’t have survived, so she and her husband jumped out of the car to help deliver the calf. She wrote a poem about it, “The Birthing,” which appeared in The New Yorker magazine in October 2006. She wrote:
“With his whole weight he pushed the calf back in the mother
and grasped the other leg tucked up like a closed wing
against the new one’s shoulder.
And found a way in the warm dark to bring both legs out
into the world together.
Then heaved and pulled, the cow arching her back,
until a bull calf, in a whoosh of blood and water,
came falling whole and still onto the meadow.”
It’s the birthday of lexicographer Eric Partridge, (books by this author) born on a farm near Gisborne, New Zealand (1894). He was a good student, and he started teaching school at the age of 16. He fought in World War I, finished college, and went to graduate school at Oxford. He became a professor, and taught in England for a few years.
As a professional writer, he went to the same desk in the British Library every single day for about 50 years, and there he wrote books like A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (1937), A Dictionary of the Underworld (1949), and You Have a Point There: A Guide to Punctuation and its Allies (1978).
It’s the birthday of one of the earliest self-help writers, Walter B. Pitkin, (books by this author) born in Ypsilanti, Michigan (1878). Despite dropping out of college, he was offered a position as a professor at Columbia University, and he taught psychology, philosophy, and journalism there for about 40 years.
His books include The Psychology of Happiness (1929), Life Begins at Forty (1932), A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity (1932), Take it Easy: The Art of Relaxation (1935), and Road to a Richer Life (1949).
It was on this day in 1937 that John Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men was published (books by this author). At first, Steinbeck called the book Something That Happened, but then he read the poem “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns, and was struck by the lines: “The best laid schemes o’ mice and men / gang aft agley, / An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, / For promis’d joy!” So he retitled his work Of Mice and Men.
Steinbeck had worked in California as a farm laborer, and he wanted to write about the terrible conditions he witnessed. Of Mice and Men tells the story of two laborers who are best friends: Lennie, who is big and strong with limited mental capabilities, and George, who is small and smart and looks out for Lennie. Steinbeck made sure that the novel was tightly plotted and heavy on dialogue, ready to be adapted to the stage.
Sometime in the spring of 1936, Steinbeck’s puppy chewed up half of the manuscript. Steinbeck was furious, but a couple of days later, he was able to write to a friend: “Minor tragedy stalked. My setter pup, left alone one night, made confetti of about half of my ms. book. Two months work to do over again. It sets me back. There was no other draft. I was pretty mad but the poor little fellow may have been acting critically. I didn’t want to ruin a good dog on a ms. I’m not sure is good at all. He only got an ordinary spanking with his punishment flyswatter.”
He was forced to start over, but work went quickly again, and he managed to get the work to his publisher a few months later. When Of Mice and Men was published, it had already been chosen by the Book-of-the-Month Club, and got great reviews. The famous playwright and director George S. Kaufman offered to produce it as a play, and Steinbeck spent a week at Kaufman’s Pennsylvania estate, where the two men worked on adapting the work for the stage. The play was a huge hit.