A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Akron, OH with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Scranton, PA with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
Keillor & Company with Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard and Dean Magraw bring their show to Spokane, WA for a performance of classic love songs, poetry, The News from Lake Wobegon, and a conversation about Why You Should Go On Getting Older
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, TX with our favorite regulars, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman. Additional guests to be announced.
New Philadelphia, OH
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Kent State University. Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon.
The Emperor of Ice-Cream
by Wallace Stevens
Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.
Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.
“The Emperor of Ice-Cream” by Wallace Stevens. Public Domain. (buy now)
It’s the birthday of comedian Groucho Marx, born in New York City (1890). In 1908, he began acting with his brothers Harpo and Chico, and they became famous as the Marx Brothers. He was known as the most talkative Marx brother, and he’s famous for his snappy insults. He said, “Marriage is a wonderful institution. That is, if you like living in an institution.” And, “I have nothing but confidence in you, and very little of that.” And he said: “I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.”
It’s the birthday of Nat Turner, born a slave in Southampton County, Virginia (1800). He learned to read, studied the Bible diligently, and became a preacher who spoke of self-respect and justice, urging his fellow slaves to rebel against their condition of servitude. He believed he was divinely chosen to deliver them from bondage. In February of 1831, he took a solar eclipse as a sign from God that the time for revolt was at hand, and began to prepare, declaring, “I should arise and … slay my enemies with their own weapons.” Beginning on August 22, he and his followers began a rebellion, and killed between 55 and 65 white people in two days. On August 23, they fought and lost a battle with state and Federal troops. Turner escaped, but was captured on October 30. At his trial, he admitted to leading the rebellion but pleaded “not guilty.” He was executed on November 11.
Today is the birthday of Modernist poet Wallace Stevens (books by this author), born in Reading, Pennsylvania (1879), an insurance executive for the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1955 for Collected Poems (1954). He was the son of a wealthy lawyer and was educated at Harvard before entering New York University Law School.
Stevens’ first book, Harmonium (1923), came out when he was 44. He had a penchant for odd imagery, strange humor, and syntax that irritated many fellow poets and critics. Irish-American poet Shaemas O’Scheel actually said Stevens’ poems were “nauseating to read.” Stevens seemed not to care. He said, “The poem must resist the intelligence. Almost successfully.”
Stevens stayed with Hartford Accident and Indemnity until the day he died, saying, “It gives the man character as a poet to have this daily contact with a job.” He said he got most of his ideas on his daily walks. He traveled often to Key West, Florida, a place that appears in many of his poems, but he stopped going after getting into arguments with poet Robert Frost on Casa Marina (1935) and having a fistfight with Ernest Hemingway (1936).
When asked about the meaning of the poem, Stevens answered, “It wears a deliberately commonplace costume and yet seems to me to contain something of the essential gaudiness of poetry; that is the reason why I like it.”
Wallace Steven’s books of poetry include Ideas of Order (1936), Owl’s Lover (1936), Parts of a World (1942), and Collected Poems (1954). He’s now considered one the world’s finest Modernist poets.Wallace Stevens said, “After one has abandoned a belief in God, poetry is the essence which takes its place as life’s redemption.”
The comic strip Peanuts made its debut on this date in 1950. Its creator, Charles “Sparky” Schulz (books by this author), was born in Minneapolis in 1922, and grew up across the Mississippi River in St. Paul, where his dad owned a barbershop near the corner of Snelling and Selby Avenues.
The strip ran in seven newspapers when it debuted on this date in 1950. It got off to a slow start its first year, but it picked up steam after a book of reprints was published. By 1960, it ran in hundreds of papers, and Schulz had won the most prestigious award in the cartoonists’ pantheon: a Reuben. And in 1969, NASA named its command module “Charlie Brown” and its lunar module “Snoopy.” At its peak, the strip ran in more than 2,600 papers, and was read by more than 350 million people in 75 countries.
Charlie Brown’s dog first appeared in the third installment of Peanuts. Snoopy was inspired by a black and white dog Schulz had had as a kid. His dog’s name was Spike — the name Schulz eventually gave to Snoopy’s desert-dwelling cousin. The strip wasn’t explicitly political, but its creator was clearly aware of the changing times, and commented on issues like New Math, the Battle of the Sexes, and trends in psychotherapy. Peppermint Patty, an athletic tomboy from a single-parent household, made her debut in 1966. Schulz introduced Franklin, the strip’s first African American character, in 1968 after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.; Franklin’s father was a veteran of the Vietnam War. The 1960s counterculture also inspired another beloved character: Snoopy’s friend Woodstock, the little yellow bird, whose speech bubbles contain nothing but a series of vertical lines.
Schulz suffered a stroke in November 1999; he was also diagnosed with colon cancer. He announced his retirement in December, and died at home on February 12, 2000 — the night before the final Peanuts strip appeared in the papers.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®