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.
You made us this fabulous pizza
Like the one in the café in the streets a-
long the Mississippi that day in New Orleans.
With ground sausage and rice and beans.
We’d gone to church that morning. It was Sunday
And we heard a band playing on Burgundy
Street and sat in a café and drank red wine
And held hands in the Louisiana sunshine.
It was beautiful, I felt the angels hover
As the brass band marched down the street,
Me with my hand on your leg, you, my lover,
Your fine clothes, the sandals on your feet.
How simple life is. We hear music. We are fed.
We sit close to each other with angels overhead.
Rozel Hunt, “A Peaceful Day on a Shaded Porch.” Reprinted with permission.
Today is the birthday of Malcolm X (books by this author), born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska (1925). When he was four years old and living in East Lansing, Michigan, white supremacists set fire to the family’s home. The East Lansing police and firefighters—all white—came to the house when called but stood by and watched it burn. When he was six, his father was murdered. Police declared his death a suicide, which invalidated the family’s life insurance policy. Little’s mother never recovered from her husband’s murder and entered a mental institution when the boy was 12. When he was 14 he told his high school teacher that he wanted to be a lawyer. The teacher told him to be realistic and consider a career in carpentry instead. Little dropped out of school the following year.
He was arrested for larceny in 1946 and, while in prison, an older inmate encouraged him to use his time to educate himself. Little began checking out books from the prison library and when he found his vocabulary too limited for some of them, he copied out an entire dictionary word for word. He also began a correspondence with Elijah Mohammad, the founder of the Nation of Islam, and once released became one of their most prominent organizers. He took the surname “X” to symbolize his lost African heritage.
But in 1964 Malcolm X broke with the Nation of Islam when he learned that his mentor was having multiple affairs, contradicting his own teachings. Seeking clarity, Malcolm that year made the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Here, for the first time, he related to people of all races, and returned to America with a new message. He stopped preaching the rigid separatism that had been his trademark, and instead called for people to work together across racial lines.
At the end of 1964, over many conversations, Malcolm X dictated his life story to the writer Alex Haley. The book was almost finished when, in February of 1965, Malcolm X was shot and killed while speaking at a rally at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. He was 39 years old. A few months later Alex Haley published The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965). It has since seen over 40 editions and sold in the tens of millions.
In 1891 Wilde had been introduced to a dashing young Oxford student named Alfred Douglas. Known as “Bosie” by family and friends, Douglas was indulged, indulgent, and dangerously indiscreet, so when Wilde and Douglas became lovers it was a badly kept secret. But Wilde was completely in Douglas’ thrall and did not seem to care.
Douglas introduced Wilde to the underground world of gay prostitution in Victorian London, which Wilde found dangerous and thrilling. Wilde began to wine and dine the young working-class men who worked as prostitutes. In De Profundis, a 50,000-word letter he later wrote to Douglas from prison, he found the underground “like feasting with panthers; the danger was half the excitement.”
The intimate friendship between Wilde and Douglas did not please Douglas’ father, the Marquess of Queensberry, who was known as a brute, a boxer, and an atheist. He warned Wilde several times to never be seen in public with his son again and each time Wilde was able to calm and assure the Marquess. But when the Marquess left his calling card at Wilde’s gentlemen’s club with the inscription, “For Oscar Wilde, posing somdomite [sic],” it was Wilde who flew into a rage and, against the advice of his friends, decided to sue the Marquess for libel. The only way for the Marquess to avoid a conviction was to prove that his accusation was true.
The Marquess unleashed his lawyers to dig into Wilde’s private life, and the number of witnesses and evidence they gathered in support of Wilde’s homosexuality was staggering. Wilde didn’t help himself on the stand either. He often gave irreverent answers, as was his manner, and they made the case against him look worse. For instance when the prosecutor in the case pressed Wilde about whether or not he had ever kissed a certain servant boy, instead of saying, “No,” he said, “Oh, dear no. He was a particularly plain boy — unfortunately ugly — I pitied him for it.”
The Marquess was acquitted at trial and almost immediately a warrant was issued for Wilde’s arrest on charges of sodomy and gross indecency. His friends advised him to go to France but Wilde, tired and sad, said, “The train is gone. It is too late.” He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to two years’ hard labor. At first he was imprisoned in London, but when he fell ill, in part due to the hard labor and terrible conditions in prison, he was transferred to the prison in Reading.
He was released from Reading on May 19th and he left right away for France where he penned his final work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol. He published the poem under the pseudonym C.3.3, which had been his prison number. He died alone and penniless in France three years later.
Wilde said, “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”
He said, “Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.”
It’s the birthday of playwright Lorraine Hansberry (books by this author), born in Chicago (1930), the youngest of four children. Her father was a prominent real estate broker and active in the fight against segregation. When Hansberry was eight her parents bought a house in a white neighborhood. The house came with a restrictive covenant which stipulated that it couldn’t be sold to a black person, so Hansberry’s father arranged for a white co-worker to buy it for him. Once the family moved in they were subjected to violent harassment from many of their white neighbors. Her father filed discrimination charges and the case went all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court which declared restrictive covenants unconstitutional.
Hansberry decided to become a writer after she saw a performance of Sean O’Casey’s play Juno and the Paycock in college. She moved to New York, took some writing classes, and went to work for Paul Robeson’s magazine Freedom. She wrote her first play, A Raisin in the Sun, in 1957. It was inspired by her family’s experience with racism in that white neighborhood in Chicago. The play opened on Broadway in 1959 and it was a big success, going on to play for more than 500 performances over two years. It was the first Broadway play to be written by a black woman. For most of the audience it was the first time they had seen the life of a regular black family portrayed on stage or in film.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®