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+
The visible and the in-
by Marge Piercy
Some people move through your life
like the perfume of peonies, heavy
and sensual and lingering.
Some people move through your life
like the sweet musky scent of cosmos
so delicate if you sniff twice, it’s gone.
Some people occupy your life
like moving men who cart off
couches, pianos and break dishes.
Some people touch you so lightly you
are not sure it happened. Others leave
you flat with footprints on your chest.
Some are like those fall warblers
you can’t tell from each other even
though you search Petersen’s.
Some come down hard on you like
a striking falcon and the scars remain
and you are forever wary of the sky.
We all are waiting rooms at bus
stations where hundreds have passed
through unnoticed and others
have almost burned us down
and others have left us clean and new
and others have just moved in.
“The visible and the in-” from MADE IN DETROIT by Marge Piercy. Published by Alfred A. Knopf. Copyright © 2015 by Marge Piercy. Used by permission of The Wallace Literary Agency, a division of Robin Straus Agency, Inc. (buy now)
Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett on this date in 1881 in New Mexico Territory. Billy the Kid, née William McCarty Jr., was born in a poor Irish neighborhood in New York City. When he was 14, after his father died, McCarty and his mother moved out to the New Mexico Territory. His mother died of tuberculosis the following year. Four years later, after some time as a horse thief, McCarty was going by the name “William Bonney,” and he was working for a rancher, John Tunstall. Tunstall decided to open a store in Lincoln County, which had until then been monopolized by a wealthy businessman named Lawrence Murphy. It set off a power struggle between the two factions of cattle ranchers, each side with its own lawyers and criminals. Tunstall was killed by a sheriff’s posse in 1878, and Billy the Kid, who had been quite close to Tunstall, retaliated by ambushing and killing the sheriff and a deputy. He went on the run for two years, was captured, and escaped the jail again. Finally, the new sheriff, Pat Garrett, heard he was holed up at Fort Sumner, about 140 miles away. With two deputies in tow, Garrett ambushed Bonney at the fort and shot him. Bonney was 22 years old.
The life and death of Billy the Kid inspired numerous books — the first of which was written by Pat Garett himself—as well as novels, poems, dozens of movies, and songs by artists like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Aaron Copland, and Marty Robbins.
Today is the birthday of Swedish director and writer Ingmar Bergman, born in Uppsala (1918). His father was a very strict Lutheran minister who gave out harsh punishments for even the smallest childhood misdeeds, and Bergman lost his religious faith by the age of eight. When he was nine, he traded his toy soldiers for a “magic lantern,” a rudimentary projector, and began putting on shows.
He studied theater in college, and made his way into the film business in 1941, rewriting screenplays. Over the next decade, he wrote and directed more than a dozen movies. His first big international success came in 1955, with Smiles of a Summer Night, which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries followed in 1957.
Bergman became known for making films about mortality and isolation. In a 2004 interview, he admitted that he couldn’t watch his films anymore because he found them depressing. He influenced an entire generation of young filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese, who said, “If you were alive in the ’50s and the ’60s and of a certain age, a teenager on your way to becoming an adult, and you wanted to make films, I don’t see how you couldn’t be influenced by Bergman.”
It’s the birthday of the man who wrote the first big cowboy novel, Owen Wister (books by this author), born in Germantown, Pennsylvania (1860). He went to Harvard, studied music in Paris, and became a lawyer in Philadelphia. He became ill and needed to rest for the summer, and went to Wyoming and became fascinated by the Old West. He used that fascination to write The Virginian, which made the cowboy into an American literary hero and set the standard for all Western novels to come. It also made famous the line, “When you call me that, smile.”
Today is the birthday of Woodrow Wilson — aka “Woody” Guthrie, born in Okemah, Oklahoma (1912). Woody Guthrie never finished high school, but he spent his spare time reading books at the local public library. He took occasional jobs as a sign painter and started playing music on a guitar he found in the street. During the Dust Bowl in the mid-1930s, Guthrie followed workers who were moving to California. They taught him traditional folk and blues songs, and Guthrie went on to write thousands of his own, including “This Train Is Bound for Glory.” In 1940, he wrote the folk classic “This Land Is Your Land” because he was growing sick of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.”
Woody Guthrie once said: “I hate a song that makes you think that you’re not any good. […] Songs that run you down or songs that poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or your hard traveling. I am out to fight those kinds of songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood.”
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