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 Limits of Magic
by Anita S. Pulier
The concert hall
is full of gray heads and
I might well be one of them
but I cannot be sure
as I have not seen my hair
Olga my colorist
conjures a chemical hue
to match a color that
exists only in memory
and she does what she can
this skinny Russian girl
stuck behind a salon sink
stirring potion after potion
for heads of thinning
she is talkative and cheerful
hoping for good tips from
the limits of her magic
and want to prove
what good sports
they can be
despite the cruelty
of the process
that brings them together
“The Limits of Magic” by Anita S. Pulier from Perfect Diet. © Future Cycle Press, 2011. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
On this day in 1872, Victoria Woodhull became the first woman to run for President, nominated by the Equal Rights Party in New York City. She ran though she was 34 and the Constitution says you must be 35 to be president, and women did not yet even have the right to vote.
“They cannot roll back the rising tide of reform. The world moves.” She said: “I am a free lover. I have an inalienable, constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please.”
With her sister, she was the first woman to operate a brokerage firm on Wall Street. They were among the first women to found a newspaper.
It’s the birthday of Fred Astaire, born Frederick Austerlitz in Omaha, Nebraska (1899). He and his sister, Adele, made their professional debut in a brother-sister vaudeville act, starring in a string of hit musicals on the Broadway and London stage. Then, Adele married and Fred went to Hollywood where despite his large ears, weak chin, and receding hairline, he made 31 movies, ten of them dancing with Ginger Rogers.
Astaire demanded and was given autonomy over the dance sequences in his movies and he insisted that the song and dance be integrated into the plotline and that a dolly camera film a dance routine in as few shots as possible, typically with very few cuts, so the audience followed the dancers and choreography in their entirety.
Astaire said, “Ginger had never danced with a partner before me. She faked it an awful lot. She couldn’t tap and she couldn’t do this and that … but Ginger had style and talent and improved as she went along. She got so that after a while everyone else who danced with me looked wrong.”
It’s the birthday of Maybelle Carter, born in Nickelsville, Virginia (1909). When she was 18, she and her cousin Sara and brother-in-law A.P. Carter cut an audition record in Bristol, Tennessee, for Ralph Peer of the Victor Talking Machine Company. Also recording that day was Jimmie Rodgers, “The Singing Brakeman.” It was the beginning of commercial country music in the United States. Maybelle was the guitarist, and she used her thumb to play melody on the bass and middle strings, and her index finger to fill out the rhythm, what she called “scratch style” guitar.
Through the years, the Carters recorded many traditional songs, including “Wabash Cannonball,” “Wildwood Flower,” “Keep on the Sunny Side,” and “Will the Circle be Unbroken.” Their first release for Victor was “Wandering Boy” which starts:
Out in the cold world and far away from home
Somebody’s boy is wandering alone
No one to guide him and keep his footsteps right
Somebody’s boy is homeless tonight
Out in the hallway there stands a vacant chair
Yonder’s the shoes my darling used to wear
Empty the cradle, the one that’s loved so well
How I miss him there’s no tongue can tell
It was on this day in 1893 that the Supreme Court ruled that the tomato was a vegetable, not a fruit. The Tariff Act of 1883 said that a 10 percent tax had to be paid on all imported vegetables. The importers argued that according to the dictionary definition of fruit — the structure that grows from the flower of the plant and holds the seeds — a tomato was a fruit. The government read the definitions of “eggplant,” “squash,” “pepper,” and “cucumber” — all of which, like tomato, are fruits in the botanical sense — but which are considered vegetables. Justice Gray delivered the opinion of the Court: “Botanically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of a vine, but in the common language of the people, they are vegetables which are usually served at dinner in, with, or after the soup, fish, or meats, and not, like fruits generally, as dessert.”
The problem is that “vegetable” has no actual scientific or botanical definition — it is a culinary term.
It’s the birthday of novelist Bel Kaufman born in Berlin, 1911. She grew up in Russia, immigrating to New York City at the age of 12. She went to Hunter College and Columbia to work toward her master’s degree.
She taught in the New York public schools for about 20 years and from that experience, she wrote one of the most famous novels about American public schools: Up the Down Staircase (1965), the story of Sylvia Barrett who set out to teach in a New York public school and ran up against bureaucracy and impossible students.