Fort Lauderdale, FL
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Fort Lauderdale, FL for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard. A performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Peekskill NY. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unite us.
West Bend, WI
Garrison Keillor brings his show to West Bend, WI for a performance of sing-a-longs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Big Top Chautauqua, Bayfield, WI
Garrison Keillor and his Prairie Home Friends (Fred Newman, Heather Masse, Rich Dworsky, Richard Kriehn & Dan Magraw) bring their show to Big Top Chautauqua for a performance of night of laughter, song and The News from Lake Wobegon.
by Adam Possner
The flu vaccine cannot
give you the flu, I tell him.
It’s dead virus, there’s
nothing alive about it.
It can’t make you sick.
That’s a myth.
But if we bury it in
the grassy knoll
of your shoulder,
an inch under the stratum
corneum, as sanctioned by
in a white-coated ceremony
presided over by
my medical assistant
and then mark the grave
with a temporary
the trivalent spirit
of that vaccine
has a 70 to 90 percent
chance of warding off
the Evil One,
and that’s the God’s
Adam Possner, MD “Myths Dispelled.” © 2012 Adam Possner, MD.
Today is the birthday of the actor and director Lionel Barrymore, born in Philadelphia (1878). He was born Lionel Blythe — “Barrymore” was his parents’ stage name. Maurice Blythe and Georgina Drew Blythe were both actors, and raised their kids to tread the boards as well. Lionel was the oldest, and his sister, Ethel, and brother, John, also became successful thespians. Lionel appeared in his first play at the age of six but he didn’t seem to have the knack of it. He went through a rebellious phase and decided to study art in Paris instead.
He returned to acting just as the new film industry was getting underway. His first movie was The New York Hat (1912), for which he received 10 dollars a day. Two young actresses named Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish were his co-stars and it was the first script written by Anita Loos. He starred in and directed a number of silent movies and signed a deal with MGM in 1925. He appeared in many popular films of the 1930s including Grand Hotel (1932), Dinner at Eight (1933), and You Can’t Take it With You (1938), but he had arthritis, and by the end of the decade it was so bad that he had to use a wheelchair. He and his wheelchair appeared in the perennial classic It’s a Wonderful Life (1946); Barrymore played Henry Potter, the mean-spirited banker who was ranked number six on the American Film Institute’s list of the 50 greatest villains in American movies. Barrymore also directed several movies, composed musical scores, and played Ebenezer Scrooge in an annual radio play of A Christmas Carol for many years.
Lionel Barrymore, who once said, “Half the people in Hollywood are dying to be discovered and the other half are afraid they will be.”
It’s the birthday of the writer who once said, “All I want is to be the Jane Austen of South Alabama.” That was Harper Lee (books by this author) (1926), the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), which introduced the characters of Scout Finch and her father, lawyer Atticus Finch, to the world. The novel examined race relations in the American south and is still required reading in many high schools. It took Lee several drafts and two and half years to write the book, which won the Pulitzer Prize. It’s since sold over 40 million copies and has never been out of print.
Harper Lee grew up in Monroeville, Alabama and, except for when she moved to New York City for a few years after college, that’s where she lived all her life. Her childhood best friend was Truman Capote who would grow up to be a writer too. Lee’s father was a prominent lawyer and he bought Lee and Capote an old Underwood typewriter and they’d spend hours dictating stories to one another. Capote wrote a novel called Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948), and based the character of Idabel Thompkins on Lee. When Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, she based the character of Dill on Capote. She even helped Capote with the extensive research for his nonfiction book In Cold Blood (1966), a story about a real-life murder, but they later had a falling out.
To Kill a Mockingbird, which was originally titled Atticus, made Harper Lee famous but she didn’t like doing interviews or having her photo taken. She said, “Well, it’s better to be silent than to be a fool.” Not everyone was a fan of the novel though. Her fellow writer Flannery O’Connor snipped, “It’s interesting that all the folks that are buying it don’t know they’re reading a child’s book.”
It’s the birthday of playwright Robert Anderson, born in New York City (1917) and best known for Tea and Sympathy about the relationship between a prep school boy and his housemaster’s wife. It debuted on Broadway in 1953, directed by Elia Kazan, and has gone on to be a staple of high school theater productions.
Anderson based the play on his own experiences at elite private school Phillips Exeter where he, too, fell in love with an older woman. After sunbathing with a male professor the student in the play faces accusations of homosexuality from his peers. Attempting to shield him from harm, the lonely wife ends up beginning a romantic relationship with the boy. It took Anderson years to finish the play and then to even get it produced, and he was once so despondent about his writing that he tacked a sign above his writing desk that read, “Nobody asked you to be a playwright.”
It was one of the first plays to tackle the subject of sexual orientation and prejudice, which was taboo at the time. Tea and Sympathy has become famous for its bittersweet, final line, when the wife tells the young man, “Years from now, when you speak of this, and you will, be kind.” Actress Deborah Kerr, fresh from kissing Burt Lancaster in the sand in the film From Here to Eternity (1953), played the housemaster’s wife. The play was a huge hit and Kerr even starred in the film version.
Robert Anderson went on to write several more plays including You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running (1967) consisting of four one-act comedies. It was such a hit that it ran for more than 700 performances and ushered in an era of onstage nudity. Actor Martin Balsam did the honors.
About being a playwright Robert Anderson once said, “You can make a killing in the theater, but not a living.”
It’s the birthday of chef and author Alice Waters (books by this author), born in Chatham, New Jersey (1944). She was 27 years old with no restaurant experience when she opened Chez Panisse, her Berkeley restaurant centered on fresh, local ingredients. She wanted to create food like that she had experienced in France, where friends sat down together for long meals prepared by generous hosts. But at first she was a little too generous — in the first year of its operation, Chez Panisse gave away $30,000 worth of wine to guests and staff.
Waters has written many books, including In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart (2007). She wrote, “Our full humanity is contingent on our hospitality; we can be complete only when we are giving something away; when we sit at the table and pass the peas to the person next to us we see that person in a whole new way.”
It’s the birthday of author and poet Carolyn Forché (books by this author), born in Detroit (1950). In 1978 Forché went to El Salvador, and a year later, the country erupted into a civil war. Forché traveled around the country, meeting revolutionaries and military leaders, documenting the suffering she saw everywhere. She returned to the United States and tried to publish her new poems about El Salvador but publishers refused. They didn’t want political poems. Some agreed to publish the collection if she would tone her poems down, or include ones less political to balance them out. She said, “I thought of the work I was doing as a matter of ethics rather than politics as I understood it, and the purpose of my poetry was poetry.” Finally, with the help of novelist Margaret Atwood, Forché found a publisher and her book The Country Between Us (1981) was a best-seller. Her lastest book is In the Lateness of the World (2020).
She said, “No one is a great poet because she is a miserable drunk. No one is a great poet because he has had a nervous breakdown. Suffering, however, can be experienced as a curse or a blessing; the luckiest is the one who can experience it as a blessing.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®