Be Here. Aloha!

Time traveler Sarah Vowell pops briefly back into the present for the Denver Post’s Pen & Podium lecture series tonight, taking a break from Hawaii circa 1898, which she’s been researching for her next book, Unfamiliar Fishes, due out in March 2011.

In The Wordy Shipmates, her unlikely bestseller about the New England Puritans, Vowell wrote, “The only thing more dangerous than an idea is a belief.” She was speaking of John Cotton in 1630, “telling these about-to-be-Americans...that they are God’s new chosen people,” but she might say the same of the American imperialists who annexed Hawaii (and Puerto Rico and Guam, with attempts on Cuba and the Phillippines) nearly 300 years later, who were as dangerous to Queen Lili’uokalani and her people as the Puritans were to the natives they encountered in the land they believed was God-given. And it’s not lost on this time traveler that Lili’uokalani’s “Aloha ‘Oe” lived to provide the soundtrack for the we-are-the-leaders-we’ve-been-waiting-for inaugural parade that sent native Hawaiian Barack Obama to the White House. Vowell will tie the loose ends of these leis together tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 2344 East Iliff Avenue.

And, since the Denver Post Charities project supports youth literacy programs, during the Q&A after the lecture, you might want to ask Vowell about the 826 NYC writing center and Superhero Supply Co. in Brooklyn, where she’s president of the board of directors. Tickets to the evening are $39 to $52; for more information, call 303-871-7720 or go to www.newmancenterpresents.com.
Mon., Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m., 2010

 
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