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+
It was a small Christmas, stockings full of candy and also toothpaste and soap, and Swedish meatballs with lingonberries and mashed potatoes and creamy gravy. The wind whistled outside, the tree sparkled, and though we weren’t what you’d call “joyful,” we were in good humor and sweet to each other, and admired each other’s presents, the electric footbath, the brilliant scarf, the woolen shoes, the earbuds, and peeled our Christmas oranges.
In the late morning lull, we attempted to watch the Netflix “California Christmas,” which was a lull even duller than the one it was meant to fill. It topped the TV charts and was as bad as a movie can possibly be. It died quietly before our eyes and I imagined its enormous viewing audience was mostly made up of the bedridden and the imprisoned. My daughter said that girls she knew liked to watch movies with their friends on smartphones, each person watching a different movie, a scene I could not imagine.
It was one of those moments when you hear the bells toll. Gone are the golden nights at the Ritz or the Roxy, hundreds of us absorbed in the action on a huge screen, our mouths full of popcorn, surrounded by others transfixed in the same magic spell, and we hold hands with our sweetie and remember the times when we sat in the back row where certain liberties could be taken — nobody gets transfixed by a screen the size of a credit card and if the two of you are watching two different tiny flicks, he a shoot-’em-up, she a weeper, how will each of you know when to take liberties?
Will Hollywood rise from the dead when the pandemic ends? It must. Truly. I decided it was my duty to sit down and write a screenplay for a movie to hold a theater of young people transfixed for a hundred and ten minutes, but it’s no use, I’m too old and comfortable, too well-married. I live with a woman who sits across from me at the breakfast table and reads the paper and tells me what I need to know from it, which takes her five minutes, and leaves me free to think my own thoughts. I spend less time worrying about our democracy than I do trying to remember Natalie Wood’s costar in “Splendor In The Grass.” (Warren Beatty.) William Inge wrote that movie and he felt entitled to torture beautiful Natalie and throw her into a loony bin because he was an alcoholic gay male suffering from depression. I don’t have that privilege, having had a happy childhood. I write a scene and it’s two people remembering their childhoods. No drama. Dishes need to be thrown, tables overturned.
The world belongs to the young, and I am old and in the way, just like the U.S. Senate. A crucial legislative body holding considerable veto power and it represents the grandpas of middle America. The Founders imagined it as a council of wise leaders, which, if you look closely at Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Charles Grassley, and Dianne Feinstein, do you see? I don’t. The body would be improved enormously by introducing an age limit — say, 65. I speak as a 78-year-old, keenly aware of my own slippage. Without the woman across the table briefing me on important matters, I’d be wandering in the dark.
The chance of crucial political reform in my lifetime is less than the chance of the Statue of Liberty reclining in a hammock, especially with millions of Americans convinced that the Democrats stole four states. Democrats used to be adept at stealing but mainly in Chicago and the Bronx, and the Democrats of today couldn’t steal a small car if the keys were in the ignition and the motor were running. I know these people. They are too delicate for larceny.
So we are awaiting January 20, when a cheerful Irish optimist will walk into the woods full of Proud Boy senators determined to reverse an election stolen by Georgia and Pennsylvania communists. If it were a movie, you know that Joe would triumph. Bug-eyed chinless Mitch versus Joe? No contest. The man has a smile as big as an umbrella. The nation is waiting for that. We’ll be dancing in the rain and then putting the clouds far behind us and walking on the sunny side of the street to where treetops glisten and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow.