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 Caroline Johnson
“The car is a lethal weapon,” my father swore
to me when I was getting my driver’s license.
Still I went on, laughing at him, driving to the most
dangerous places, pushing the accelerator
as fast and hard as I could.
I received my stack of speeding tickets,
and my father threatened to remove
my name from the insurance policy.
“The car is a lethal weapon,” he said again.
Thirty years later, my brakes go out while
driving on a busy Chicago expressway.
I read the billboards, numb, unable to stop.
I get my car fixed, then we take the keys
away from my father, who is struggling
from years of Parkinson’s disease.
“The car is a lethal weapon,” I tell him,
but he still wants to drive.
Caroline Johnson, “Dangerous Driving” from The Caregiver. Copyright © 2018 by Caroline Johnson. Used by permission of The Permissions Company LLC on behalf of Holy Cow! Press, www.holycowpress.org. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of political humorist Art Buchwald (books by this author), born in Mount Vernon, New York (1925). He said, “If you attack the establishment long enough and hard enough, they will make you a member of it.”
It’s the birthday of poet Robert Pinsky (books by this author), born in Long Branch, New Jersey (1940). His parents wanted him to be an optician like his father, but he chose to go to college, the first person in his family to do so, and became a poet.
He said: “I think that if an audience for any art is having a good time, they are willing to suspend the need for comprehension for a while — that’s part of the pleasure. […] And if it doesn’t sound good, it is boring even if we understand it. That’s the trouble with a lot of boring art: you understand the stupid cop show, or the tedious sitcom gag, too soon and too completely. Same for the stupid middlebrow poem.”
It’s the birthday of the man who designed St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, architect Christopher Wren, born in East Knoyle, England (1632). In addition to his accomplishments as an architect, he knew Latin, he could draw, he did work in medicine and mechanics, he was a brilliant mathematician and astronomer, and a philosopher, too.
And he had impeccable manners. He particularly disliked swearing. When he was overseeing the construction of St. Paul’s, he issued this official order: “Whereas, among laborers, etc., that ungodly custom of swearing is too frequently heard, to the dishonor of God, and contempt of authority; and to the end, therefore, that such impiety may be utterly banished from these works, intended for the service of God, and the honor of religion. It is ordered, that customary swearing shall be a sufficient crime to dismiss any laborer that comes to the call; and the clerk of the works, upon sufficient proof, shall dismiss them accordingly. And if any master, working by task, shall not, upon admonition, reform this profanation among his apprentices, servants, and laborers, it shall be construed his fault; and he shall be liable to be censured by the commissioners.”
It’s the birthday of the poet Arthur Rimbaud (books by this author), born in Charleville, France (1854). He wrote all of his poetry in the space of less than five years, from age 15 to 20. His father, an army captain, deserted the family when Rimbaud was six. His mother was a devout Catholic and strict disciplinarian. She hovered over him as he did his homework, and she walked him back and forth to school well into his teenage years. Rimbaud was a gifted and brilliant student. He published his first poem when he was 15, and ran off to Paris, where he spent two weeks living homeless and hungry, roaming the streets.
He sent some of his poems to the poet Paul Verlaine, who was so impressed with the 16-year-old Rimbaud that he sent the boy a one-way ticket to Paris to visit him. The teenage Rimbaud and the married Verlaine soon became lovers, which scandalized the established literary scene in Paris. The two were inseparable for a year or so, and then, in 1872, they got in an argument, and the drunken Verlaine fired a few gunshots, one of which hit Rimbaud in the wrist. The police arrested Verlaine, and Rimbaud was forced to testify. The trial was humiliating, and Rimbaud disappeared from public life. He wrote one more book, called A Season in Hell (1873), and then at the age of 20, his literary career came to a close. He died of cancer in 1891, at the age of 37, and Verlaine published his complete works four years later.
Today is the birthday of Monica Ali (books by this author), born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 1967, to an English mother and a Bangladeshi father. The family moved to Manchester, England, when she was three years old. She dabbled in writing, but felt constricted by the short-story format and tried to work up the courage to tackle a novel. She finally found the push she needed when her grandfather died. “There’s something galvanising about a funeral,” she told The Observer in 2003. “I felt the need to not put things off any longer. And I sent my husband outside with the little ones, and I drew the curtains against the sun, and I started then.” She’s the author of four novels; her first, Brick Lane (2003), was short-listed for the Man Booker prize and later made into a film in 2007. She was named one of Granta’s “Best of Young British Novelists” before the book was even released, based on a peek at the unpublished manuscript that was making the rounds. Her latest novel is Untold Story (2011).
It’s the birthday of cabaret singer Adelaide Hall, who broke into the big time with her wordless solo on Duke Ellington’s “Creole Love Call,” born in New York City, in 1901.
She later explained her long and successful career in show business. “This is how you do it, my dear,” she said. “You get to know the musicians. You’re in the places where they are. And then you ask them if you can sing a song. Be very charming, not too pushy. And be prepared. Know your song, know your key. And sing it. And then someone will hear you and take you out to dinner and give you a job. And there you are.”
It’s the birthday of composer Charles Ives was born in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1874.
His music is considered modern classical and is often termed “inclusive” because he saw no reason to exclude any style of music — Brahms, church hymns, college songs, Beethoven, gospel, singing at revival meetings, sounds of nature, military marches, ragtime — so long as it expressed his ideas.
He said, “Awards are merely the badges of mediocrity.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®