The Tropics Steel band draws from Caribbean styles such as Calypso, Reggae, SKA, Soca, pop and others. The leader is Jahbee who has played many Caribbean styles for decades, including a stint with Shangoya, popular Reggae group from the Twin Cities.
Novelist Marlon James kicks off the series with a reading from his new book, A Brief History of Seven Killings. Described by the New York Times as “sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex,” James’ new book uses the 1976 assassination attempt on Bob Marley as a springboard to explore Jamaican society and culture. James teaches creative writing and English at Macalester College in Saint Paul.
William Swanson joins the series to discuss his new book, Stolen from the Garden, the thrilling true crime story of the 1972 abduction of Virginia Piper, one of the largest kidnap-for-ransom cases in the history of the FBI. Drawing on government documents and exclusive interviews with family members, the book provides the first comprehensive account of the sensational kidnapping and its long, eventful aftermath. Swanson is the author of Dial M: The Murder of Carol Thompson and Black White Blue: The Assassination of Patrolman Sackett.
Wang Ping and James Lenfestey return to the Fireside Series for an exploration of China through poetry and prose. Wang’s latest collection of poetry, 10,000 Waves, gives us the voices of Chinese farmers and factory laborers, revolutionaries, writers, artists and craftsmen. Inspired by the work of a T’ang Dynasty poet, Lenfestey chronicles his trek to China’s Han-shan, or Cold Mountain, to pay tribute to the writer who retreated there and took its name in Seeking the Cave: A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain. Wang Ping is the award-winning author of several collections of poetry, essays, and works of fiction, and is a professor in the English Department of Macalester College. James Lenfestey is a former journalist who has also written four collections of poetry and a book of personal essays.
2: 00 p.m.
West African dance and music.
Writer and comedian Lorna Landvik joins the series to read from her new novel, Best to Laugh, which follows her latest irresistible character, Candy Pekkala, from Minnesota to Hollywood as she pursues her dream of becoming a comedian. Landvik taps her own adventurous past as a comic performer and writes in her classic style—sometimes so funny, you’ll cry; sometimes so sad, you might as well laugh; and always impossible to put down. Landvik is the best-selling author of many novels, including Patty Jane’s House of Curl, Tall Pine Polka, and Mayor of the Universe. She has performed stand-up and improvisational comedy around the country and is also a public speaker, playwright, and actor, most recently seen in an all-improvised, one-woman show Party in the Rec Room.
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Dance instruction begins at 6 p.m.
Celebrate Mardi Gras with cajun music and dance at the library! The DL Cajun Trio plays Cajun music from the prairies and bayous of SW Louisiana. Two steps, waltzes, blues with Cajun accordion, fiddle, guitar and French vocals.
Author Allen Eskens adds some literary chills to the series when he reads from his twisting and evocative mystery The Life We Bury, called a “masterful debut” in a starred review by Publisher’s Weekly. When college-student Joe Talbert’s writing assignment introduces him to a convicted murderer, he has no idea that it will send him tumbling into the heart of a thirty-year-old mystery that will threaten to end his life. In addition to his writing life, Eskens is a criminal defense attorney with over 20 years experience. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Minnesota, and a Juris Doctorate from Hamline University School of Law. The Life We Bury is his first book.
This joyful, interactive concert features traditional and contemporary Hawaiian songs and hulas on the theme of fresh water, or wai. Join the members of Lau Hawaiian Collective on this journey through the sweet, poignant, rollicking music of the Hawaiian Islands with singing, 'ukulele, hula 'ili'ili (hula with water-washed pebbles), kīkā (guitar), and kīkā kila (lap steel guitar), and stories from Hawai'i's past and present.
Linda LeGarde Grover closes the series by sharing her powerful debut novel of love, hardship, and family bonds: The Road Back to Sweetgrass. The book follows a trio of American Indian women, from the 1970s to the present, observing their lives intersect on the fictional Mozhay Point reservation. Grover connects the sense of place with the experience of Native women who came of age during the days of the federal termination policy and the struggle for tribal self-determination. She is associate professor of American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a member of the Bois Forte band of Ojibwe. Grover is also the author of the short story collection, The Dance Boots, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize.