Sunday, February 8, 2009

Upcoming Lincoln events you won’t want to miss

When I set out to do this blog four months ago, I knew there would be a lot to share before the bicentennial, but I don’t think I realized how much I wouldn’t have time to share. I’ve missed out on sharing a number of events I wish I could have. The days are only so long. On many of them I’ve been not only burning the candle at both ends, but sometimes I think it’s spring tentacles and I’m burning it at the ends of all of them, too.

Here are four events which are special to me, and I think you’ll enjoy them, too. Why are they special? It’s because in one way or another, I like to call the people involved with each of these my Lincoln friends. I wanted to share more about all these events, but time just got away from me. I’ll give you a “Reader’s Digest” version and hope to follow up with more later.

In the next few days, you’ll want to catch a Virtual Book Signing wherever you are, a play if you can make it to Bloomington (Ill.) and a couple of cool bicentennial events in Springfield with people whose work I admire.
  • Virtual Book Signing with Ronald White and Catherine Clinton
  • Lincoln’s in Town! original production, Bloomington (Ill.)
  • Emancipation and the Dream of Freedom - From Slavery to the White House with Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King, Springfield (Ill.)
  • Chris Vallillo, Abraham Lincoln in Song, Springfield, Ill.

Virtual Book Signing
Daniel Weinberg of Chicago is the owner of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop. He’s got a gift a store owner needs – the ability to make a person feel as if they are important to him – whether it’s in an author interview, at a signing of his own book or in the hallway at a scholarly event. Yet, somehow I feel that even if he weren’t a merchant who knew that anyone could someday be your customer, he’s still just be this all-around kind and very pleasant guy.

Weinberg hosts Virtual Book Signing, and this Saturday, Feb. 14 at noon, he’ll have two of the authors on his show whom I first met or heard speak at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s opening symposium in 2005: Ronald C. White, Jr., author of A. Lincoln: A Biography, and Catherine Clinton, author of Mrs. Lincoln: A Life.

You won’t want to miss these interviews, but if you do, be sure to go back to the website later to see them online.

Lincoln’s in Town!
I really wanted to tell you a whole lot more about this next production. Robert Bray is an Illinois Wesleyan University professor, whose work I’ve used over and over through the last 18 years as I’ve studied the literature and history of Illinois, including Lincoln. He and writer Nancy Steele Brokaw are the playwrights for a new play about Lincoln’s time in McLean County (Ill.)

Here’s the information from the play’s website. I have much more to share with you, but I’ll have to do it as a follow-up piece later. I think you’ll still enjoy hearing about it. In the meantime, if you’re in the area, you oughta come. It will be a great show, but don’t wait. Tickets are really selling well.

Lincoln's In Town! is an original dramatization of Abraham Lincoln's sojourns in Bloomington, Illinois. This show, which includes an annotated booklet, was designed for Lincoln buffs, school children, and everyone in between.

The play follows Lincoln's Bloomington career from his initial appearance as a newly-minted lawyer through all of his best known legal and political appearances in town - including the famous 'Lost Speech' of 1856.

The storytellers of the production, a grandfather and his young grandson, wait at the recreated Bloomington train depot for Lincoln's train to arrive in town. The stories they tell come to life before the audience's eyes, and include a story-telling Lincoln entertaining the town children, a rollicking courtroom scene, tense political debating and plotting with Leonard Swett, David Davis and Jesse Fell, a memorable haircut with Billy the Barber and Asahel Gridley, a quilting bee gone awry, and much, much more.

Lincoln's friends and experiences in Bloomington, his 'second hometown,' helped to shape the man who saved the nation. Learn how all that happened in a true historical celebration on stage at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, February 13-15, 2009.

Lincoln's In Town! is a commissioned project of the McLean County Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. It is produced by Holiday Spectacular, Inc.

Emancipation and the Dream of Freedom - From Slavery to the White House
This Springfield event is part of the Bicentennial festivities there. I just had to tell you about it, because two of the three are the most believable characters you’d ever want to meet – and just plain really neat people, too. The third might be, too. I just don’t know who the presenter is or, obviously, anything about him.

Stop by the Lincoln Home Historic Site in Springfield on Friday, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m or Saturday, Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. to see Frederick Douglass (Michael E. Crutcher, Sr.), Harriet Tubman (Kathryn Harris) and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Crutcher and Harris play their roles so well, that you’ll think you’d stepped back to Lincoln’s time. Be sure you don’t’ miss this.

Abraham Lincoln in Song
While you’re at Lincoln’s Home on Saturday, Feb. 14, be sure not to miss my west central Illinois buddy, songster Chris Vallillo with Rocky Maffit with his program "Abraham Lincoln in Song." The performance is at 1 p.m.

And that’s not all
I wish I could share all the other cool Lincoln Bicentennial events I’ve read and heard about with you, but I’m just plain tuckered out, as a Southern Uplands frontierman like Lincoln might say. This is it for now. I’ve got a big week ahead of me.

Be sure to follow me on twitter. I had some technical challenges today (translate: didn’t know what the heck I was doing), but I think I’ve got a work-around. I should be back in business tomorrow. And, who knows, if I have insomnia, you may even see some surprise blog posts from me this week.

In the meantime, this is what we’ve been anxiously awaiting. This week really is the Bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth. Enjoy it, celebrate it, learn from it. To find events in your area, please visit these websites:

Don’t forget to send a birthday card
It’s still not too late to send Lincoln a birthday card, you know. Try to do an original card rather than store-bought. As soon as I get this posted, I’m going to make mine!

No comments: