October 21, 2023
Carolina Theatre, Greensboro, NC
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Greensboro, NC. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
September 28, 2023
Crest Theatre, Sacramento, CA
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Sacramento, CA. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
September 17, 2023
The Caverns, Pelham, TN
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to The Caverns in Pelham, TN. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
August 27, 2023
Big Top Chautauqua, Bayfield, WI
Garrison Keillor and his Prairie Home Friends return to Big Top Chautauqua in Bayfield WI. Singalongs, stories, duets, comedy and a hot band. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
August 7, 2023
Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Ctr, Old Saybrook, CT
Old Saybrook, CT (2nd show)
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Old Saybrook, CT. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free
by William Wordsworth
It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquility;
The gentleness of heaven broods o’er the sea:
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder—everlastingly.
Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham’s bosom all the year,
And worship’st at the Temple’s inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.
“It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free” by William Wordsworth. Public domain. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of Vera Rubin, the American astronomer who discovered dark matter; she was born in 1928 in Philadelphia. She told an oral historian that she traced her interest in astronomy to her childhood when her bedroom wall was lined with windows and she became fascinated by the movement of the stars. Despite her male high school physics teacher’s admonition that she “stay away from science,” she majored in astronomy at Vassar College, graduating in 1948. She described creative discoveries as happening when one gets “hung up on these little interesting things.” Many have said her discovery of dark matter should have won her a Nobel Prize; she never received one.
Exactly 48 years after her own college graduation she told the graduating class at Berkeley, “Each one of you can change the world, for you are made of star stuff, and you are connected to the universe.”
It’s the birthday of mystery writer Raymond Chandler (1888) (books by this author), born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, before his Irish mother took him to England so he could get a proper education. Chandler’s novels explored the tough, lawless, and luxurious side of Los Angeles through the sharp narration of his most famous creation, wisecracking, chess-playing private eye Philip Marlowe, who made his debut in Chandler’s first novel, The Big Sleep (1939).
He was educated at preparatory school in England and studied international law in Germany and France before moving back to Britain. He mostly wrote poetry, managing to publish 27 poems and short story called “The Rose-Leaf Romance” before moving to Los Angeles (1912) where he found work as a tennis racket stringer and a bookkeeper at a creamery. Chandler enlisted in the Canadian air force and spent time on the front lines in France during World War I. When he returned to L.A. he took a well-paying job in the oil industry, but drank too much and had affairs with the office secretaries, so he was fired after a year.
Running low on money he began reading pulp mystery magazines and studying the formula for stories. He said Americans were “a big, rough, rich, wild people, and crime is the price we pay for it.” He liked the lack of pretension in the pulps and the tight restrictions on word length and subject matter suited his style. He published his first mystery story, “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot,” in Black Mask magazine in 1933. It was popular, and he began churning out more stories.
It took him three months to write his first novel, The Big Sleep (1939), which was made into a film with William Faulkner writing the screenplay and Humphrey Bogart cast as Philip Marlowe (1946). When asked about the character of Philip Marlowe, he said:
“He must be the best man in his world and good enough for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things.”
Chandler’s second novel was Farewell, My Lovely (1940). His clipped British upbringing mixed with American vernacular proved popular with readers, who ate up lines like “He had a heart as big as one of Mae West’s hips” and “It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.” Poet W.H. Auden and novelist Evelyn Waugh were big fans, but critics found his work somewhat distasteful. A reviewer from the Washington Post called his books “rambling at best and incoherent at worst” and others cited the “moral depravity” of a fictional L.A. filled with crime, prostitutes, cheating spouses, and murder.
Raymond Chandler wrote eight novels, including The Little Sister (1949) and The Long Goodbye (1953), before he died in 1959. All of his novels except for one have been made into films. Philip Marlowe has been portrayed onscreen by James Garner, Danny Glover, Powers Boothe, and Dick Powell.
Chandler was nearly penniless when he died. He’d returned to drinking after the long illness and death of his second wife, Cissy. He wrote The Long Goodbye while she was dying and many consider this his masterpiece due to its blend of hard-boiled cynicism and lyrical sentiment.
Chandler worked hard to improve his writing style as he aged but he couldn’t catch a break from the critics, saying:
“The thing that rather gets me down is that when I write something that is tough and fast and full of mayhem and murder, I get panned for being tough and fast and full of mayhem and murder, and then when I try to tone down a bit and develop the mental and emotional side of a situation, I get panned for leaving out what I was panned for putting in the first time.”
He and Cissy are interred side by side. Their shared gravestone reads, “Dead men are heavier than broken hearts,” a quote from The Big Sleep.
On this day in 1929 the Fascist government in Italy banned the use of foreign words. Regional dialects were still so prevalent when Mussolini came into power in 1922 that no more than 12 percent of the population of the unified state spoke straightforward Italian. The regime wanted to promote unity and a strong national identity, so anything that was seen to undermine these things was a cause for concern. French and English words and phrases were particularly popular; where possible the government required the use of the Italian equivalent and, if one didn’t exist, they made the foreign word as Italian as possible. Wine from Bordeaux became known as Barolo; a movie, formerly known as “il film,” was now called “la pellicola.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®