St. Michael, MN
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director CHANGE: JULY 4, 2021, 4:00 PM Le Musique Music Room 4300 O’Day Ave. NE, St. Michael, MN 55376 $42/$15 Due to the extreme heat, we have moved this concert […]
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director July 2, 2021, 7:30 PM BIG TOP CHAUTAUQUA, BAYFIELD, WI Reserved $60/$52/$42 SOLD OUT Live Stream available (only 7/2 7:30PM) The Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua is a 900-seat […]
Just Added: Stillwater, MN 6-29
GARRISON KEILLOR and some friends from Prairie Home Poetry, Stories, and Classic Duets Featuring: Prudence Johnson Bob Douglas and Adam Granger Dan Chouinard, music director JUST ADDED June 29, 2021, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM THE AVALON, STILLWATER, MN St. Croix Boat & Packet Co., 525 Main Street South, Stillwater, MN 55082 DINNER, CRUISE, […]
Las Vegas, NV
May 20, 2020
Garrison Keillor hits Las Vegas with a new solo show!
by April Lindner
Turn the knob. The burner ticks
then exhales flame in a swift up burst,
its dim roar like the surf. Your kitchen burns white,
lamplight on enamel, warm with the promise
of bread and soup. Outside the night rains ink.
To a stranger bracing his umbrella,
think how your lit window must seem
both warm and cold, a kiss withheld,
lights strung above a distant patio.
Think how your bare arm, glimpsed
as you chop celery or grate a carrot
glows like one link in a necklace.
How the clink of silverware on porcelain
carries to the street. As you unfold your napkin,
book spread beside your plate, consider
the ticking of rain against pavement,
the stoplight red and steady as a flame.
“Supper” by April Lindner, from Skin. © Texas Tech University Press, 2002. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of British mystery writer Dorothy Leigh Sayers (books by this author), born in Oxford in 1893. She was one of the first women to graduate from Oxford University, which she did in 1915, with a degree in medieval literature. Her first two books were volumes of poetry published in 1916 and 1919; she published her first mystery novel, Whose Body?, in 1923 and it featured Lord Peter Wimsey, a witty aristocrat who solved mysteries as a hobby. Lord Peter is featured in 11 novels and two collections of short stories.
She worked as an advertising copywriter from 1922 to 1931 and came up with the “zoo” series of Guinness ads, which have become classics. She’s also credited with coining the phrase, “It pays to advertise.”
On this day in 1983 Pioneer 10 passed outside Neptune’s orbit and became the first man-made object to leave the solar system. Designed for deep-space exploration, and launched March 2, 1972, the spacecraft passed safely through the asteroid belt (no small accomplishment considering some of the asteroids are the size of Alaska), took the first close-up pictures of Jupiter in 1973, and sent back data about the solar wind in the far reaches of our solar system. The mission — which was originally expected to last only 21 months — was officially ended in 1997, after 25 years, although NASA’s Deep Space Network continued to pick up signals for several more years. Pioneer 10 sent its last, faint communication back home in January 2003.
Even though its communications system is no longer operational, Pioneer 10 continues on its way to Aldebaran, the star that forms the eye of the constellation Taurus; it should make it there in about two million years, give or take, according to NASA.
Today is the birthday of English novelist and diarist Frances (Fanny) Burney (1752) (books by this author). She was born in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, the daughter of a music historian. She didn’t learn to read and write until she was 10 years old, but once she did learn she wasted no time in putting her skills to work writing plays, poems, and songs. Her mother died when she was 15 and her father remarried that same year; her stepmother didn’t think writing was a suitable hobby for young ladies, and Fanny burned all of her early work.
When she was 16 she began keeping a diary, a practice she maintained for more than 70 years. She was a keen observer of society and manners, and her journals recount visits by such luminaries as Dr. Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, David Garrick, and Sir Joshua Reynolds — all friends of her father. She also described the Battle of Waterloo, the madness of King George III, and her own mastectomy, performed without any anesthesia beyond a single glass of wine.
Her first published novel, Evelina, or the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World (1778), was a comedy of manners, informed in large part by her own observations and experience as a young woman in society. She published it anonymously and disguised her handwriting, afraid that publishers would recognize her hand from her work as her father’s literary assistant. The novel was a great success, and she followed it with a second — Cecilia, or Memoirs of an Heiress (1782) — which would inspire Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813). Burney succeeded in making novel-writing an acceptable enterprise for women, and she paved the way for many 19th-century social satires.
Burney went to the court of King George III and Queen Charlotte in 1786, and she served as “Second Keeper of the Robes” for five years. She was unhappy in her post, since she was too busy to write novels, though she kept up with her diaries. When she was released from service she married French expatriate general Alexandre d’Arblay, and proceeds from her third novel, Camilla, or a Picture of Youth (1796), paid for a house for the newlyweds. In 1802 they took their young son to France for a brief stay that ended up lasting 10 years due to a renewal of the Napoleonic Wars. She recorded it all in her diaries, and her account of the Battle of Waterloo may have provided Thackeray with material for Vanity Fair.
She wrote one more novel, The Wanderer (1814), and several plays, only one of which was staged in her lifetime. And near the end of her life she dedicated herself to publishing her father’s memoirs and to organizing her sizable collection of diaries and personal papers. She died in 1840 at the age of 88.
On this day in 1967, President Lyndon Johnson named the first African-American justice, Thurgood Marshall, to the Supreme Court. Marshall argued and won his first Supreme Court case at 32, Chambers v. Florida, which dealt with undue police pressure on suspects. In 1954, his victory in Brown v. Board of Education overturned the ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson, which had set the “separate but equal” policy of school segregation. The Supreme Court unanimously agreed that, in practice, the facilities designated for black students were inferior in every aspect. He was right at home in the liberal-leaning Supreme Court of the 1960s, but over time the demographic of the court changed, and by the end of his tenure he was known as “the Great Dissenter.”
He once said, “I intend to wear life as a loose garment,” and described himself as a hedonist who didn’t have time for pleasure. He enjoyed poker and bourbon and pigs’ feet, and placing two-dollar bets at the racetrack, and never took himself too seriously. One famous anecdote tells the story about a white family, tourists, who accidentally got on the justices’ elevator in the Supreme Court building. Marshall was already on the elevator, and they mistook him for the elevator operator. They told him their floor, and he replied, “Yessir, yessir.” It was only when he got off with them that they realized who he was, and he watched their reaction in amusement.
He was a self-described “hell-raiser” in school, and his teacher used to send miscreants to the basement to study the Constitution. “I made my way through every paragraph,” he said. His was the dissenting voice at the 1987 bicentennial celebration of the Constitution; while other speakers praised the document and the founding fathers’ foresight, he said:
“The government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite ‘The Constitution,’ they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago. … The men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 could not have envisioned these changes. They could not have imagined, nor would they have accepted, that the document they were drafting would one day be construed by a Supreme Court to which had been appointed a woman and the descendent of an African slave. ‘We the People’ no longer enslave, but the credit does not belong to the Framers. It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of ‘liberty,’ ‘justice,’ and ‘equality,’ and who strived to better them.”
Although he had once said, “I have a lifetime appointment and I intend to serve it. I expect to die at 110, shot by a jealous husband,” he retired from the court in 1991 due to ill health. A reporter asked what was wrong with him. He answered, “What’s wrong with me? I’m old. I’m getting old and I’m coming apart.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®