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 Naomi Shihab Nye
Dear Abby, said someone from Oregon,
I am having trouble with my boyfriend’s attachment
to an ancient gallon of milk still full
in his refrigerator. I told him it’s me or the milk,
is this unreasonable? Dear Carolyn,
my brother won’t speak to me
because fifty years ago I whispered
a monkey would kidnap him in the night
to take him back to his true family
but he should have known it was a joke
when it didn’t happen, don’t you think?
Dear Board of Education, no one will ever
remember a test. Repeat. Stories,
poems, projects, experiments,
mischief, yes, but never a test.
Dear Dog Behind the Fence, you really need
to calm down now. You have been barking every time
I walk to the compost for two years
and I have not robbed your house. Relax.
When I asked the man on the other side
if you bother him too, he smiled and said no,
he makes me feel less alone. Should I be more
worried about the dog or the man?
“Alive” by Naomi Shihab Nye from Transfer. © BOA Editions, 2011. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
On this day in 1987, the musical Les Misérables (The Miserable Ones) opened on Broadway. It’s based on Victor Hugo’s (books by this author) novel by the same name. Both follow the lives of several — mostly poor — characters in early 19th-century France.
French songwriter Alain Boublil got the idea to produce Les Mis in 1978, while attending the musical Oliver! in London. He shared his idea with composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, who said, “Let’s do it.”
The 1980 Paris production was a success. When Les Mis opened in London in 1985, it was a blockbuster. It crossed the pond to New York two years later. Americans embraced the show with equal enthusiasm.
The New York production won eight Tony Awards in 1987. It ran 16 years, making it the third-longest-running Broadway musical. The London show has never stopped, and is now the world’s longest-running musical.
It’s the birthday of children’s author Virginia Hamilton (1934) (books by this author). She was the youngest of the five children Kenneth Hamilton and Etta Perry Hamilton raised on a farm near Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Hamilton’s grandfather, Levi Perry, was an escaped slave. He came to southern Ohio via the Underground Railroad in the late 1850s. Virginia was named for her grandfather’s home state.
Virginia grew up in the embrace of a large extended family. Hamilton called her parents “unusually fine storytellers.” They encouraged her to read — and were not surprised when the child began writing her own stories.
Hamilton wrote 41 published books for children and young adults, including The House of Dies Drear (1968), The Planet of Junior Brown (1971), M.C. Higgins, the Great (1974), Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush (1982), and Her Stories (1995). M.C. Higgins, the Great, an Appalachian coming-of-age tale, was the first book ever to win the “grand slam” of children’s literature: the Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. During her career, Hamilton won almost every award that exists for children’s literature.
Virginia Hamilton died of breast cancer on February 19, 2002.
Virginia Hamilton said: “There are three things I can remember always wanting: to go to New York, to go to Spain, and to be a writer. It feels nice to have done all three. I haven’t had to want anything for some time.”
It’s the birthday of poet and author Naomi Shihab Nye (books by this author). She was born in 1952 in Saint Louis, Missouri, to Miriam and Aziz Shihab. Nye’s late father was a Palestinian immigrant from Jerusalem, and her mother is German American.
Nye grew up in Saint Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas. Nye’s literary work reflects her travels and her experiences in a family of mixed religions and cultures. She explores diversity in all of her poetry and fiction. She weaves personal stories against backgrounds of cultural confrontation.
Nye has written and edited nearly 30 books of poetry and fiction for children and young adults, including the picture book Sitti’s Secrets (1994), the poetry anthology This Same Sky (1996), the novel Habibi (1999), and the book of poems You and Yours (2005). She has won many awards and honors for her writing, including four Pushcart Prizes.
Nye wrote, “To me the world of poetry is a house with thousands of glittering windows. Our words and images, land to land, era to era, shed light on one another. Our words dissolve the shadows we imagine fall between.”
It’s the birthday of playwright Edward Albee (books by this author), born Edward Harvey in Washington, D.C. (1928). He was adopted at two weeks old by Mr. and Mrs. Reed Albee of Larchmont, New York, and that is where he grew up. He was exposed to theater from a young age because it was the family business: not as performers, but as part owners of a national chain, the Keith-Albee Organization. His family expected their son to enter a business career, rather than an artistic one, but young Albee had other ideas. He had a falling out with his parents when he was 20 and moved to Greenwich Village; he never spoke to his father again, and he didn’t speak to his mother for 17 years.
After dabbling for some years in fiction and poetry, he completed his first play, The Zoo Story (1958), when he was 30. He’s best known for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962), which was his first Broadway play and a runaway hit.
Today is the birthday of Dave Eggers (books by this author), born in Boston, Massachusetts (1970). He grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois, and wanted to be a cartoonist. When he was in college at the University of Illinois, both his parents died of cancer within six months, and he was completely on his own at the age of 21. He later said: “On the one hand you are so completely bewildered that something so surreal and incomprehensible could happen. At the same time, suddenly the limitations or hesitations that you might have imposed on yourself fall away. There’s a weird, optimistic recklessness that could easily be construed as nihilism but is really the opposite. You see that there is a beginning and an end and that you have only a certain amount of time to act. And you want to get started.” He was also made the guardian of his eight-year-old brother, Christopher, so he had to drop out of college to support the family, and wrote about it in his best-selling memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000).
Eggers is the founder of the literary magazine The Believer; the literary journal-cum-website McSweeney’s, and the non-profit literacy center 826 Valencia. His newest work, The Parade, comes out this month.