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+
Things That Cannot Die
by Paige Riehl
A spoon in a cup of tea.
Letters in yellow envelopes,
the way a hand pushed lines
into the soft paper.
A white shirt draped
over her chair.
An open window. The air.
Call of one blackbird.
Silence of another.
My love for you, I say.
My love for you infinity
times a million, my son says.
Sounds of piano notes
as they rest in treetops.
The road from here to there.
Grief, that floating, lost swan.
“Things That Cannot Die” by Paige Riehl from Suspension. © Terrapin Books, 2018. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
Construction began on the Berlin Wall on this date in 1961. After World War II, Germany had been divided up by British, French, Soviet, and American occupying forces. The city of Berlin lay completely within Soviet territory, but it was also divided. Soviet forces controlled the eastern part of the city and the country, and they were increasingly concerned about locking it down against the democratic West. The border was porous after the war, and millions of East Germans emigrated west in search of greater opportunities. By 1961, they were leaving at a rate of a thousand per day.
So in the early hours of the morning, East German soldiers quietly began laying down barbed wire: a hundred miles of it just inside the border of East Berlin.
Opha Mae Johnson became the first female Marine on this date in 1918. Just the day before, the Secretary of the Navy had announced that women would be allowed to enlist as reservists, for stateside clerical duty during World War I. This was to free up male soldiers for combat duty overseas. The next day, 18-year-old Opha Mae Johnson was the first one in line. More than 300 women enlisted during World War I to serve as secretaries and cooks, until the U.S. Marine Reserves were disbanded in July 1919, nearly a year later.
Dr. Michael Shadid established the first cooperatively owned and operated hospital in the United States on this date in 1931 in Elk City, Oklahoma.
Using as his model the established Oklahoma tradition of farm cooperatives, Shadid envisioned a cooperative hospital that would be supported by the farmers’ annual membership fees. Doctors would be paid a salary out of those fees, and in return they would provide basic preventive care that poor farmers were not usually able to afford. But other local doctors were worried about losing their business. They wrote in to the newspapers accusing Shadid of fraud, and calling him a foreigner who was trying to tell Americans how to manage their health care system, even though he had emigrated from Lebanon 30 years prior. He almost lost his medical license for the unethical solicitation of patients. But the farmers who relied on the hospital rallied behind Shadid. “We think more of the few dollars invested in the Community Hospital than any investment we have ever made,” said one farmer.
It’s the birthday of the first man ever to print a book in English, William Caxton, born in Kent, England (1422). He was a wealthy trader and merchant, and also a part-time linguist and translator. He was living in Cologne, Germany, when he translated a book about the history of Troy.
The printing press had been invented about 25 years earlier, but it had only recently started to spread beyond Germany. Caxton realized that the new technology of printing would make the job of distributing his book a lot easier. So instead of copying the book by hand, he printed The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye in 1475.
He eventually went back to England, where he established the first English printing press. He printed all the available English literature, including Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (c. 1478). For a long time, people in England called printed books Caxtons.
It’s the birthday of sharpshooter Annie Oakley, born Phoebe Ann Mosey in Woodland, Ohio (1860).
When Buffalo Bill Cody’s famous Wild West Show needed a new performer, Oakley volunteered to audition, and she became the star of the show.
At 90 feet away, she could hit the thin side of a playing card that someone tossed in the air and then hit it six more times before it fell to the floor. Annie Oakley could shoot the wick off a burning candle or the ashes off the tip of her husband’s cigarette. One of her fans was Sitting Bull, the chief who had defeated General Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. After seeing one of her performances, he was so impressed that he offered to pay for a photograph of the two of them together.
And it’s the birthday of director Alfred Hitchcock, born in London (1899). His father was a greengrocer — and a strict man. Once, when the five-year-old Alfred misbehaved, his father sent him to the police station and they locked him in a cell for a few minutes to teach him a lesson. Hitchcock was so terrified that he was afraid of the police for the rest of his life, and he rarely drove a car so that he could not be pulled over. Hitchcock directed great suspense and horror films, including Rebecca (1940), Notorious (1946), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960), and The Birds (1963).
He said: “A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission, and the babysitter were worth it.”