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
West Bend, WI
Garrison Keillor brings his show to West Bend, WI for a performance of sing-a-longs, 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. A performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Peekskill NY. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unite us.
Big Top Chautauqua, Bayfield, WI
Garrison Keillor and his Prairie Home Friends (Fred Newman, Heather Masse, Rich Dworsky, Richard Kriehn & Dan Magraw) bring their show to Big Top Chautauqua for a performance of night of laughter, song and The News from Lake Wobegon.
by Linda Pastan
When the Earl King came
to steal away the child
in Goethe’s poem, the father said
don’t be afraid,
it’s just the wind…
As if it weren’t the wind
that blows away the tender
fragments of this world—
leftover leaves in the corners
of the garden, a Lenten Rose
that thought it safe
to bloom so early.
In the pastel blur
of the garden,
from their delicate
shoulders, as petals
wash down the ditches
rivers of color.
and by the front
shade of purple
and lavender lilac,
my mother’s favorite flower,
sweet breath drifting through
the open windows:
perfume of memory-conduit
Linda Pastan, “The Months” from The Last Uncle. © 2002 Linda Pastan, published by W.W. Norton and used by permission of Linda Pastan in care of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc. (firstname.lastname@example.org). (buy now)
Skylab was launched on this date in 1973. It was America’s first space station. It served as a solar observatory, a microgravity lab, a medical lab, an Earth-observation station, and a proving ground for new technology that enabled humans to survive in space: microgravity toilets, showers, and sleeping bags — among other necessities — were developed or perfected on Skylab.
Skylab was launched without a pilot or crew; its first crew rendezvoused with the space station on May 25. They spent 28 days in space, which broke the previous record for the duration of a space flight. Their record didn’t stand long, however; its second crew was in space for 59 days. Skylab’s third crew spent 84 days in orbit, and their record remained unbroken until a crew spent six months aboard the Russian space station Mir in the mid-1990s.
Everything the Skylab astronauts did as part of their daily routine was considered “data.”
Their day started at six in the morning when the three crewmembers would check for the day’s orders from Mission Control. Then they would use the bathroom, weigh themselves, and eat breakfast. They took turns at the daily science chores — including serving as the medical “guinea pig” to study the effects of space travel on the human body. The workday lasted until eight in the evening, and then they enjoyed a couple of hours of free time before their 10 p.m. bedtime. They often spent that leisure time just looking out the window, although once in a while they would devise their own informal experiments. Astronaut Jerry Carr, a member of the third crew, said, “It was such an interesting thing to turn loose a blob of water to see what you can do with it.” They recorded their little experiments and saved them to show American schoolchildren a little bit about what life in space was like.
The Skylab crews also had to contend with equipment malfunctions and unexpected repairs, and some of these required a spacewalk. Jack Lousma, a member of the second crew, described it at Skylab’s 40th-anniversary celebration, “From outside you can see the entire Earth in a three-dimensional perspective. You’re riding along on this ‘magic carpet.’ There’s no vibration, no sound, and a sunrise and sunset every hour and a half. You just want to stay out there.”
Skylab was occupied for just less than eight months. Its final crew returned to Earth in early February 1974, and left Skylab in its orbit. Jerry Carr said, “There was a certain small amount of sadness when we left, realizing we were going to be the last crew to inhabit the spacecraft. It had hung together beautifully for us, and we kind of hated to leave it. But, of course, we were also looking forward to going home.” After so long in space it took the astronauts a little while to adjust to life with gravity: they would often just drop things rather than setting them down, because they expected them to simply float away.
NASA expected Skylab to remain in orbit for the next ten years or so. But a high level of solar activity heated the Earth’s atmosphere and caused more drag on the space station than scientists had expected. They predicted that it would break apart and fall to Earth sometime in 1979. Skylab’s demise was a huge media event: people sold Skylab re-entry merchandise and took bets on when and where the first piece would hit the Earth. Two San Francisco newspapers offered competing prizes for the first piece of Skylab delivered to their offices. As it happened, most of Skylab’s remains landed on a sparsely populated region in western Australia or in the Indian Ocean. Seventeen-year-old Stan Thornton of the Australian town of Esperance collected the San Francisco Examiner’s prize for the first retrieved Skylab piece.
Skylab paved the way for the International Space Station, which was developed with the aid of Carr and his fellow crewmember Bill Pogue.
[I]n those years when the Old West was passing and the New West was emerging. It was a time when we still heard echoes and already saw shadows, on moonlit nights when the coyotes yapped on the hilltops, and on hot summer afternoons when mirages shimmered, dust devils spun across the flats, and towering cumulus clouds sailed like galleons across the vast blueness of the sky. Echoes of remembrance of what men once did there, and visions of what they would do together.”
Hal’s grandfather was a blacksmith and his father a newspaperman. Hal followed in his father’s footsteps and moved all over the country working for local papers — he started out at his father’s paper in Flagler, Colorado, a town of 750 people, and he ended up at the New York Times in 1937. One day he submitted a piece about the English oak tree to the editorial page and it was accepted. After that his nature editorials were a staple in the Times. He published one every week and by the time he died in 1978 he had written 1,750 nature editorials — the last of them published the day before his death. Borland kept a New Yorker cartoon on his office wall showing a man brandishing a newspaper and shouting, “Here’s another of those crackpot editorials about the voices of frogs shattering the autumn stillness!”
Borland published quite a few books, too, including When the Legends Die (1963) and Sundial of the Seasons (1964).
Thomas began writing radio plays in the 1940s to supplement his income. Under Milk Wood grew from a story he’d written for the BBC (1945) called “Quite Early one Morning” and was inspired by an early morning walk Thomas had taken in New Quay, Cardiganshire, in West Wales. On his walk he began imagining the voices of the townspeople. He determined to write what he called “a play for voices,” for the radio. Under Milk Wood is set in a small Welsh fishing town called Llareggub, which is “bugger all” spelled backward. The play spans one day and one night in a town filled with prostitutes, ghosts, drunkards, and bigamists like Polly Garter, Captain Cat, Organ Morgan, Mrs. Willy Nilly, and No Good Boyo. The title of the play refers to the forest that looms on a hill above town where villagers go for illicit sexual encounters. Dylan worked on the play for eight years.
When he arrived in New York for the reading he was still tinkering with the beginning and he didn’t have an end. He was also drinking and smoking heavily. Finally his literary agent locked him in a room until he finished the play, then painstakingly copied the new pages for the actors, jumped into a cab, and shoved the pages in the actors hands minutes before the curtain rose. Dylan himself performed two characters, that of “First Voice” and Reverend Eli Jenkins.
At the last minute someone decided to record the play and single microphone was placed on stage. This is the only known recording of Under Milk Wood with Thomas as part of the cast. Several months later Thomas fell into a coma from excessive drinking and died. Under Milk Wood was his last significant piece of writing.
The play was adapted for a film version starring Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Peter O’Toole (1972). It’s been produced as a ballet by the Independent Ballet of Wales (2008) and was the primary influence for the Kinks album We Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968).
In Under Milk Wood, Dylan Thomas wrote, “There’s the clip clop of horses on the sunhoneyed cobbles of the humming streets, hammering of horse-shoes, a gobble quack and cackle, tomtit twitter from the bird-ounced boughs, braying on the Donkey Dawn.”
On this day in 1607 the London Company explorers from England landed in what would become Jamestown, Virginia, the first English settlement in the New World. The colony lay on the banks of the James River, 60 miles from the mouth of Chesapeake Bay.
It was on this day in 1804 that Captain Meriwether Lewis (books by this author) and Lieutenant William Clark set out from St. Louis, Missouri, on their overland expedition to the Pacific Coast and back. They were very different men. Clark was levelheaded and easy going. Lewis was romantic and ambitious and prone to depression. On the day they set out, William Clark wrote in his journal, “Rained the fore part of the day. … I Set out at 4 o Clock P.M., in the presence of many of the neighboring in habitants, and proceeded on under a jentle brease up the Missourie … a heavy rain this after-noon.” Meriwether Lewis wrote on the same day, “We were now about to penetrate a country at least two thousand miles in width, on which the foot of civilized man had never trodden. I could but esteem this moment of my departure as among the most happy of my life.”
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®