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 W.S. Merwin
Where I dug the logs into the rise
to make the steps along the valley
I forget how many years ago
their wood has dissolved completely now
disappearing into the curled slope
gone without my seeing it happen
while the green clouds of the trees have grown
above their mingled shadows
yet I set my feet down in the same
places I did when the steps were there
without even thinking about them
Father and Mother friend upon friend
what I remember of them now
footholds on the slope
in the silent valley this morning
Wednesday with few clouds and an east wind
“Footholds” by W.S. Merwin from The Moon Before Morning. © Copper Canyon Press, 2014. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
On this day in 1541, the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto came upon the Mississippi River. De Soto had been a slave trader in Nicaragua and joined Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru and became a very rich man. He landed on the west coast of Florida with 600 troops and traveled across the Appalachian mountains in search of gold and silver. Under cover of darkness on May 8, 1541, after building flatbed rafts, de Soto and his troops crossed the Mississippi River. He spent another year of searching in vain for gold and died of a fever on May 21, 1542, and he may have been buried on the banks of the Mississippi.
The first glass of Coca-Cola, which originally contained cocaine, was sold for 5 cents at a soda fountain in Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, GA on this day in 1886. It was a drink developed by Dr. John S. Pemberton, a wounded Civil War veteran who had developed an addiction to morphine for pain relief. Seeking a non-alcoholic cure for his addiction, he developed a number of elixirs and came up with Coca-Cola, which he accidentally mixed with carbonated water.
The exact recipe for Coca-Cola is still a trade secret. It no longer contains cocaine, just caffeine.
It’s the birthday of Gary Snyder, born in San Francisco (1930), a Beat writer of the 1950s who went to Japan and spent twelve years in a Buddhist monastery.
Gary Snyder said, “As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth. They go back to the Neolithic: the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe.”
Today is believed to be the birthday of the legendary bluesman Robert Johnson, born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi (1911). In 1937, at the age of 26, he recorded twenty-nine of his songs over the course of two recording sessions including “Love in Vain,” “Sweet Home Chicago,” and “Mississippi Delta Blues.”
He had two photographs taken of himself around the same time. Those were the only recordings he made and the only photographs taken of him in his lifetime, and he died the following year, at the age of 27. Rumor spread that Robert Johnson had met the devil one night at the crossroads of two highways and sold his soul in exchange for his skill at the guitar.
It’s the birthday of Naomi Klein, born in Montréal (1970). She is a journalist who looked at huge corporations like Nike, Disney, and Wal-Mart, and the power of their brand names to sell an image as much as a product. So she wrote a book about it, No Logo (1999), which became an international bestseller and a manifesto of the anti-globalization movement. The next big bestseller was The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007). Her latest book, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, will be published in September.
It’s the birthday of Andrew Svenson, born in Belleville, New Jersey, in 1910. In 1948, he joined the Stratemeyer Syndicate, which produced several popular book series for kids, most notably Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. He wrote several books for the Bobbsey Twins, Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, and Honey Bunch series. He also created three original series of his own: The Happy Hollisters, The Tolliver Family, and Bret King.
He said, “The trick in writing children’s books is to set up danger, mystery, and excitement on page one. Force the kid to turn the page. I’ve written page one as many as twenty times. Then in the middle of each chapter there’s a dramatic point of excitement, and at the chapter’s end, a cliff-hanger.”