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+
by Ruth Stone
All things come to an end;
small calves in Arkansas,
the bend of the muddy river.
Do all things come to an end?
No, they go on forever.
They go on forever, the swamp,
the vine-choked cypress, the oaks
rattling last year’s leaves,
the thump of the rails, the kite,
the still white stilted heron.
All things come to an end.
The red clay bank, the spread hawk,
the bodies riding this train,
the stalled truck, pale sunlight, the talk;
the talk goes on forever,
the wide dry field of geese,
a man stopped near his porch
to watch. Release, release;
between cold death and a fever,
send what you will, I will listen.
All things come to an end.
No, they go on forever.
“Train Ride” by Ruth Stone from In the Next Galaxy. © Copper Canyon Press, 2002. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
It was on this day in 1910 that federal authorities officially established nearly 1 million acres of Montana land known as Glacier National Park. The park’s mountains began forming nearly 170 million years ago, and the stones on their face contain some of the most well-preserved early-life fossils found anywhere on Earth. The park’s namesake refers to the 150 glaciers that existed at the time of its formation in the early 20th century. Only 25 still exist today. Experts predict that by 2030, all glaciers in the park will be gone due to climate change.
Today is the birthday of American modern dance pioneer Martha Graham (1894), who once said: “No artist is ahead of his time. He is his time; it is just that others are behind the time.”
Graham was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, but it wasn’t until she moved to Los Angeles in her teens that she began dancing. She choreographed more than 180 works. Her best-known work, Appalachian Spring (1944), was in collaboration with composer Aaron Copland. Copland had no idea what the piece would be about, only that Graham told him she wanted an “American theme.” He was surprised, when he completed the score, to find out the title of the work: he’d never set foot in Appalachia. Other works drew on Greek mythology and biblical stories. Graham danced with her company until she was 75 years old. She died in 1991.
The Diamond Sutra was published on this date in A.D. 868 — it’s the oldest printed book in the world to bear a date. It is a Chinese translation of a Sanskrit holy text, and its full title is The Diamond That Cuts Through Illusion. The book was printed using wood blocks, one block to a page and seven pages total, bound together in the form of a scroll. It’s not very long, only about 6,000 words, and the whole thing can be recited in 40 minutes.
On this day in 1997 the chess-playing computer Deep Blue beat human chess champion Garry Kasparov. Kasparov won the first game easily. And in the second game, he laid what he considered to be a foolproof trap for the computer — but the computer didn’t go for it. It made a completely unexpected move. That rattled Kasparov, and he was confused even more when the computer’s next move was a really bad one. Kasparov was visibly frustrated, and eventually got up and left the stage, forfeiting the game. It turns out that that unexpected move by Deep Blue was probably due to a glitch in the software. It was faced with so many choices that it couldn’t decide, so it just picked a move at random.
In game six, with the match tied at two and a half games each, Kasparov misplayed his opening. Deep Blue took advantage and defeated him in 12 moves.
Deep Blue has retired and now lives in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
It’s the birthday of Irving Berlin (1888). Berlin was born Israel Isidore Baline in Imperial Russia. Berlin’s family settled in New York City, renting a basement apartment on Cherry Street that had no windows and no hot water.
Berlin only had two years of schooling; his father died when he was young and he had to hawk newspapers to help his family. It was while selling the Evening Journal that he began memorizing the songs drifting from saloons and restaurants. He discovered that when he sang, people tossed coins in appreciation. He began plunking out his own tunes on the piano at night, one of which became “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1911). Berlin recorded the song and it became a hit, sparking a national dance craze.
He went on to write 19 Broadway shows, and a great many shows that stuck around after the shows had closed, including, “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “White Christmas,” and “God Bless America.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®