Bill Murray recently performed an evening of literature and music accompanied by virtuoso friends Mira Wang on violin, Vanessa Perez on the piano, and Jan Vogler on Cello.
In addition to reading from Hemingway, Whitman, Cooper, and Thurber, perhaps the highlight of the evening was a section from Huckleberry Finn . The Chicago Sun-Times reported,
And there was more, including Murray’s fine rendering of the iconic section of Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (later paired with a riff from Henry Mancini’s “Moon River”) in which Huck and Jim, the slave hellbent on freedom, drift along the Mississippi on a raft, and Huck is what we might now say “woke.”
And the Chicago Tribune:
And then there were two big set pieces that touched on contemporary American political and social issues in extremely subtle ways — a 15-minute chapter from Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” in which Huck relates how he enabled the slave Jim to sail to freedom (the cellist’s “Moon River” was the inspired accompaniment), and “America” (from Bernstein’s “West Side Story”), with emphasis on the line “Puerto Rico’s in America.”
If there was any doubt, Murray showed that he earned his Mark Twain award.
There will be a piece on the recently-discovered and completed Mark Twain fairy tale on CBS News Sunday Morning tomorrow, October 1. Martha Tichener interviewed John Bird, who discovered the fragment at the Mark Twain Papers, Bob Hirst, director of the Mark Twain Papers, and the Steads, the husband and wife team who completed the story and illustrated it for Doubleday/Random House.
The New Yorker has just published an online story about the Mark Twain fairy tale, discovered by John Bird and completed by a husband and wife couple, the Steads. Their changes to Twain’s notes are raising a bit of controversy. Reactions from Twain scholars Shelley Fisher Fishkin and David Bradley: