Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Frankfort, KY 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 bring their show to Maryville, TN for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
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
Palm Desert, CA
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard bring their show to Palm Desert, CA for a performance of holiday songs, humor and The News from Lake Wobegon.
Town Hall, New York City
A Prairie Home Companion American Revival comes to Town Hall in New York City with Christine DiGiallonardo, Heather Masse, Rob Fisher and the Demitasse Orchestra, Rich Dworsky, Walter Bobbie, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
No Coward Soul is Mine
by Emily Brontë
No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven’s glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.
O God within my breast,
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life—that in me has rest,
As I—undying Life—have Power in Thee!
Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men’s hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,
To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of immortality.
With wide-embracing love
Thy spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.
Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.
There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou—Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.
“No Coward Soul is Mine” by Emily Brontë. Public domain. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of British philosopher John Locke (books by this author), born in Wrington, Somerset, England (1632). He believed in Natural Law and that people have Natural Rights, under which the right of property is most important. He wrote: “… every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has any right to but himself.” He believed government exists to protect those rights and he argued in favor of revolt against tyranny. His ideas were a foundation for much of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
John Locke said, “The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.”
Today is the birthday of jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker, born in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1920. He’s one of the fathers — along with Dizzy Gillespie — of the jazz style known as “bebop,” although he never really liked to label it that way. “Let’s just call it music,” he once said.
When he was seven, his family crossed the state line and moved to Kansas City, Missouri, a town with a rich musical heritage. Parker first learned music in the public schools, playing the baritone horn in the marching band. He switched to the alto sax when he was 15, and he loved it so much that he dropped out of school to be a full-time musician. He played in nightclubs for a few years and then moved to New York City in 1939. He supplemented his income by washing dishes. He made his first recording in 1940, with Jay McShann’s band. Later he joined Earl Hines’ band, and then Billy Eckstine’s.
Throughout his adult life, Parker struggled with alcoholism and heroin addiction, and his attempts to get clean were usually short-lived. He was arrested for heroin possession in 1951 and lost his cabaret card — a license to perform in New York nightclubs — as a result. Even when he got the card back a year later, clubs wouldn’t hire him. He tried and failed, twice, to commit suicide by drinking iodine. Parker died in 1955; the official cause of death was listed as pneumonia and a bleeding ulcer, and the coroner estimated his age to be “between 50 and 60.” He was 34.
Charlie Parker, who once advised aspiring musicians: “You’ve got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.”
It was on this day in 2005 that Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast near New Orleans. Before it reached land, it was the strongest hurricane ever measured in the Gulf of Mexico, with winds of up to 175 miles per hour. But by the time it hit New Orleans on this day, it had lost some of its strength. The wind damage was much worse in parts of Mississippi. Early on, most people thought New Orleans had dodged the bullet. But two reporters from the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper got a tip that there might be a leak in one of the levees, so they rode bikes out to the levee of the 17th Street canal. They never even made it to the levee. One of the main streets on their route was filled with rushing water, more than seven feet deep, and it was rolling south toward the rest of the city. More than 80 percent of the city was eventually flooded, about 140 square miles, which is seven times the size of Manhattan. The water rose higher than 14 feet in some places.
The Times-Picayune editor Jim Amoss wanted to publish a newspaper despite his staff’s evacuation from the city. He knew that the Times-Picayune hadn’t failed to publish on a single day since the Civil War. They eventually set up a new office in Baton Rouge and reporters on the staff continued working and writing even though many of them didn’t know what had happened to their homes or even their families. By September 1, the newspaper had begun printing the paper again, and they delivered it free to shelters and hotels around the city. On Friday, September 2, reporters brought copies of the newspaper to the Convention Center, where many people had been living for days. Witnesses said that the people at the Convention Center wept at the sight of their hometown newspaper. The Times-Picayune eventually won two Pulitzer Prizes for its Hurricane Katrina coverage, including a gold medal for meritorious public service.
Today is the 68th birthday of Newbery and Scott O’Dell Award-winning young-adult writer Karen Hesse (books by this author), born in 1952 in Baltimore, Maryland. In an interview for Scholastic, Hesse says that when she was a girl she dreamed of all the things she could and wanted to become: an archaeologist, an ambassador, an actor, an author. She remembers thinking of herself as someone who was good with words. Her fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Datnoff, believed that the perhaps-10-year-old girl in front of her had what it would take to become a professional writer, and because the teacher believed, the girl did too. Hesse says it took almost 30 years for that dream to come true, and still isn’t sure if that marks her as “extremely patient or just plain stubborn.”
When she began college it was at Towson State as a theater major, but she left two semesters later for the University of Maryland, where she earned a degree in English and double minors in psychology and anthropology. Sometime after college, Hesse married and had two children and, in the tradition of so many artists before her, worked her way through a vast array of jobs: waitress, nanny, agricultural laborer, typesetter, proofreader, substitute teacher, and book reviewer, among others. But she kept writing, in all the spaces around her day jobs, producing stories and poems and book after book. Her first attempt at getting published was a failure, a rejected novel about meeting Bigfoot, but her second idea hit and in 1991 Hesse published her first book for young-adult readers, Wish on a Unicorn.
Hesse very often writes literature that grows out of a historical setting. In the course of writing a children’s book about rain, Hesse began researching times and places where people desperately needed and wanted precipitation; from this grew the novel for which Hesse won the 1998 Newbury Medal and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Out of the Dust, the story of a girl living through the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.
Hesse might suggest that interest and the catalyst for a story can come from anywhere — she frequently listens to National Public Radio, and it was from an interview on the program Fresh Air that the idea for her 1996 novel, The Music of the Dolphins, grew.
Sometimes Hesse tackles disturbing subjects for her younger readers. In The Cats of Krasinski Square, Hesse portrays life in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II, and in Witness, she takes on the concentrated racism of the Ku Klux Klan, which was reinvigorated in the 1920s and, in Hesse’s story, is trying to take over a small Vermont town. Of Witness, Kirkus Reviews writes: “What Copland created with music, and Hopper created with paint, Hesse deftly and unerringly creates with words: the iconography of Americana … beautifully written, and profoundly honest.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®