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+
Song of Myself, 8
by Walt Whitman
The little one sleeps in its cradle,
I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies with my hand.
The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill,
I peeringly view them from the top.
The suicide sprawls on the bloody floor of the bedroom,
I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair, I note where the pistol has fallen.
The blab of the pave, tires of carts, sluff of boot-soles, talk of the promenaders,
The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb, the clank of the shod horses on the granite floor,
The snow-sleighs, clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of snow-balls,
The hurrahs for popular favorites, the fury of rous’d mobs,
The flap of the curtain’d litter, a sick man inside borne to the hospital,
The meeting of enemies, the sudden oath, the blows and fall,
The excited crowd, the policeman with his star quickly working his passage to the centre of the crowd,
The impassive stones that receive and return so many echoes,
What groans of over-fed or half-starv’d who fall sunstruck or in fits,
What exclamations of women taken suddenly who hurry home and give birth to babes,
What living and buried speech is always vibrating here, what howls restrain’d by decorum,
Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made, acceptances, rejections with convex lips,
I mind them or the show or resonance of them—I come and I depart.
“Song of Myself, 8” by Walt Whitman. Public domain. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of blues, soul, and gospel singer Etta James, (works by this artist) born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles (1938) to a single mom who was 14 years old. Etta sang in gospel choirs in Los Angeles, moved to San Francisco, sang doo-wop, and was discovered there by the famous Johnny Otis when she herself was just 14 years old. He asked her to sing a song with him called “Roll With Me Henry,” and he was so impressed that he took her down to Los Angeles to record with him — without telling her mom. They renamed the song “The Wallflower,” and she nailed it perfectly on the first take in the recording studio. It became a big hit, shooting to the No. 1 spot on the R&B charts in 1955.
It was in 1960 that she first sang the song she’s now most famous for–“At Last.” The song was written 20 years before, and it had been performed by the Glenn Miller Band in the 1940s, but her version is by far the best known, and it’s considered her signature song.
She wrote about her musical career, struggles with drug addiction, and her mysterious young mother who loved Billie Holiday, in a highly praised memoir, co-authored with David Ritz, called Rage to Survive (1995). She wrote about her mother, Dorothy:
“I call Dorothy the Mystery Lady. She was Miss Hip, a jazz chick, a let-the-good-times roller who wore midnight cologne and told me, when I was barely old enough to understand, that in a former life she had been a white woman with red flowing hair and bright freckles, a powerful and fearsome queen who had put some people to death. I believed her. But in this life she was a light-brown-skinned beauty who wore short skirts and fishnet hose and platform shoes with ankle straps. Her face was fabulous. Her body was voluptuous. Like the Billie Holiday song says, men flocked around her like moths to a flame.”
It’s the birthday of Virginia Woolf, (books by this author) born Virginia Stephen in London, England (1882). Her father was the editor of a popular series of reference books, The Dictionary of National Biography, and Woolf later said that she had been cramped in the womb by the weight of those heavy volumes. From an early age, her father gave her access to his extensive library, and he taught her “to read what one liked because one liked it, never to pretend to admire what one did not.”
After the death of both her parents, she moved with her siblings into the unfashionable but cheap neighborhood of Bloomsbury, which soon became the literary and intellectual center of England. Woolf’s brother hosted evening meetings that came to include D.H. Lawrence, T.S. Eliot, Aldous Huxley, and others. Woolf suffered most of her life from bouts of depression, and one doctor prescribed long walks as a remedy. It was on these walks that she conceived of many of her novels, including Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927). These novels employed new brands of stream of consciousness, distinct from James Joyce and others. She said, “On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®