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+
Wondering What It Was Like
by Jack Ridl
Walking around our little town, I would
look at the front doors, sometimes see
a figure walking past a window, sometimes
watch as a light was turned out. Once, invited
to a friend’s farm after school, riding the bus
to his stop and then walking across the snow
to his front porch and then walking in and
seeing his mother reading a book, I felt
something in my blood. She hugged us,
told us to hang up our coats, and
come have a “little something to tide you
over until dinner.” Something in that house
calmed every word. Something lay calm
on everything: the broom leaning against
the sink, the pot on the stove, the tables,
cups, books; peace even seemed to lie within
the rugs. His mother called us to the window
and said, “Look!” There was a male cardinal,
black chin against its violent red, sitting
on a snow-covered branch. And then I saw
the tractor, snow piled on its metal seat,
and then the wind-sculpted snow drifts.
Reprinted from “Wondering What It Was Like” from Saint Peter and the Goldfinch by Jack Ridl. © Copyright 2018 Wayne State University Press, with the permission of Wayne State University Press. (buy now)
On this day in 1906, the Orville and Wilbur Wright were granted a patent for the “flying machine.” The brothers first flew a heavier-than-air flight craft in 1903 and spent the next several years improving their design. The opening of the 1906 patent reads, “Be it known that we, ORVILLE WRIGHT and WILBUR WRIGHT, citizens of the United States, residing in the city of Dayton, county of Montgomery, and State of Ohio, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Flying-Machines.”
It is the birthday of the first openly gay man elected to public office. Harvey Milk was born in Woodmere, New York (1930). He was the younger of two boys and was teased as a child for his big ears and big nose. He played football in high school, studied math in college, and wrote for the college newspaper. He later joined the Navy and served on a submarine rescue ship during the Korean War.
He moved from job to job after leaving the Navy. He taught high school, became an actuary, worked on Wall Street. He moved to San Francisco in 1969 and fell in love with the city, which had become a hub for gay men. He met his lover Scott Smith in San Francisco, and after a roll of film Harvey dropped off at a camera shop was ruined, the two decided to open a camera store with the $1,000 they had between them.
One day when a state worker visited Castro Camera and informed Milk that he owed $100 in state sales taxes, he was outraged. After weeks of complaining at various state offices, he got the fee reduced to $30. But he became upset again when a schoolteacher came into the shop to rent a projector because the equipment in the schools did not function. And he got so angry watching then-Attorney General John N. Mitchell say, “I don’t recall” during the Watergate hearings that friends had to restrain him from kicking the TV.
Milk’s increasing outrage led him to run for city supervisor in the 1973 election. He was a hippie with no money and no political experience, and while his savvy media skills earned him attention, he lost the election. Undeterred, Milk built coalitions with organized labor over the following two years and ran again for city supervisor in 1975. This time he decided to cut his long hair, wear suits, and give up his support to legalize marijuana. Milk lost again, but this time the election was much closer. His spirits buoyed by the narrow loss, he ran for the California State Assembly. He lost.
But Milk had found his passion in politics and he ran for city supervisor again in 1977. He campaigned on civil rights issues, but he also advocated for less expensive child care facilities, free public transportation, and the creation of a civilian board to oversee the police. He won by 30 percent and his election as the first openly gay man elected to public office made national headlines.
One of the other supervisors sworn in that day with Milk was Daniel White, a former police officer and firefighter. But after 10 months of service, White resigned saying that the $9,600 per year wasn’t enough to support his family. But then a few days later, he changed his mind and asked to be reinstated. The mayor originally agreed but then changed his mind, choosing to appoint someone who better represented the area’s growing diversity.
So on November 27, 1978, just before the press conference announcing his replacement, White snuck into City Hall through a basement window, walked to the mayor’s office and shot and killed him. He then ran into Milk in the hallway, asked to see him privately for a moment, and then shot him five times including twice in the head at close range. Senator Diane Feinstein heard the shots and was the one who identified the bodies.
California has designated today Harvey Milk Day.
He said, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”
It’s the birthday of comics writer Hergé (books by this author), born Georges Prosper Remi in Brussels, Belgium (1907). He created a beloved comic strip about a boy whose life is full of adventure: The Adventures of Tintin. Tintin is a Belgian reporter who is accompanied by his fox terrier Snowy (“Milou” in French.) The two go everywhere — Soviet Russia, Palestine, Tibet, and even the moon. Hergé wrote 23 Tintin comic books. He published the first when he was just 22 years old, and he was working on a 24th book when he died in 1986 at the age of 83. The books have sold close to 350 million copies.
It’s the birthday of writer Arthur Conan Doyle (books by this author), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (1859). He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and there he met Joseph Bell, his favorite professor. Bell taught his students how to make a successful diagnosis through observation and deduction.
After graduating, Doyle opened his own practice and wrote fiction in his spare time. In 1887, he published A Study in Scarlet, a mystery featuring a character based on his old professor: the detective Sherlock Holmes. He ended up writing 56 short stories and four novels with the famous detective, including The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902).
Doyle said, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
And Sherlock Holmes said to his sidekick, Dr. Watson, “You have a grand gift for silence, Watson. It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.”