For Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain, wit was always mightier than the sword. The prolific American writer inspired — and continues to inspire — writers, teachers, comedians and the occasional politician (his favorite) to this day.
As a homage of sorts to Twain, St. Mary’s College of Maryland will host “An Evening with Roy Wood Jr.” on Friday, April 12, in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic and Recreation Center. Wood will be the 13th lecturer for the annual Mark Twain Lecture Series on American Humor and Culture at the campus.
Ben Click, and English professor at the college who runs the Twain lecture seres, said he looks for a variety from year to year when he books guests, trying to bring in not just comedians but also writers or other public speakers. He also wants the lecturers to be people who talk about current or relevant issues.
Perhaps most importantly, the lecturer should have some connection to the American author Mark Twain, whether it be biting social commentary or witty prose.
“The way he paces his storytelling — he’s very Twainian in that regard,” Click said of Wood. “He offers a lot of breathing room to give people a chance to think about” his commentary, the professor said.
Click compared Wood’s storytelling to that of Twain, saying, “Twain was big on the pause,” and often let a story “bubble along” as he worked his way to a resolution.
Wood is well known across stage, television and radio. In 2015, he became a correspondent on Comedy Central’s series, “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.” In 2017, he was named the new host of Comedy Central’s storytelling series, “This is Not Happening,” which will launch a fifth season soon, according to a release from the college. His first Comedy Central one-hour stand-up special, “Father Figure,” premiered in 2017 along with an extended uncensored album of the same name. His second one-hour stand-up special, “Roy Wood Jr.: No One Loves You,” is underway now.
Wood, a native of Birmingham, Ala., began his comedy career in 1999 at the age of 19 while attending Florida A&M University. In October 2006, Wood made his network television debut on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” according to the release. In 2008, he appeared on HBO’s historic “Def Comedy Jam” and was later selected by America as one of the top three finalists on “Last Comic Standing” on NBC.
The Twain lecture series has featured several other comedians from “The Daily Show,” including Larry Wilmore, John Hodgeman, Aasif Mandvi, Sarah Vowell, as well as radio personality Peter Sagal, authors Firoozeh Dumas, David Rakoff and David Sedaris, and others.
Ticket prices for the Twain lecture are $10 for general admission and $5 for Arts Alliance members. Current students and faculty/staff will be admitted free. Advance reservations for tickets are required at www.smcm.edu/twain-tickets. Pre-ordered tickets can be picked up at will call in the recreation center beginning at 5:30 p.m. the evening of the event.
The doors open at 7 p.m. and all seating is first come, first served.
Celebrate Black History Month in Mechanicsville
The eighth annual Black History and Dinah K. Somerville Scholarship Celebration, sponsored by the St. Mary’s County Black History Coalition, will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church social hall, located at 28297 Old Village Road in Mechanicsville. This year’s theme will be “black migrations,” and the keynote speaker will be Wauchilue Adams. For more information, contact Francis Bonds at 301-385-2201 or at email@example.com or visit the website www.smcbhc.wixsite.com/smcbhc.
New lighthouse exhibit on display in Piney Point
A new exhibit titled “Offshore Lighthouses of the Potomac Rive.” debuts at the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Historic Park this month. The temporary will run until January next year, and includes three interpretive panels with information regarding all 14 lighthouses on the Potomac River. This exhibit is part of an educational program under the supervision of the Chesapeake Chapter of the United States Lighthouse Society and is on loan to St. Mary’s County’s museum division. The goal of the program is to educate the public about the history of the lighthouses offshore on the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River, both existing and those no longer standing.
Job fair coming up
The Arc Southern Maryland will hold a tri-county job fair on Wednesday, Feb. 27, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the agency’s St. Mary’s office, located in Breton Market Place at 25470 Point Lookout Road, Unit H, in Leonardtown. Meet with recruiters to help find available positions and interview on site. A variety of positions are available — from entry level to management — to work making a difference for people with diverse abilities. Walk-ins welcome, but an appointment saves time. Bring copies of resume and fill out an application in advance at www.arcsomd.org/join-our-team. Contact Kelly Ashby for appointments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
History presentation planned at church hall
The presentation “From Newtown to Georgetown: Connections and Legacies” will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 6:30 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall on Newtowne Neck Road in Leonardtown. The speaker will be Adam Rothman, a Georgetown University professor, and desserts and coffee will be served. Sponsored by Newtowne Manor House Committee. For more information, contact Sarah Matisick at 301-247-7416.
Easements acquired in Rural Legacy Program
The Board of Public Works recently approved Rural Legacy Program grants totaling $2.1 million that will provide dedicated state funding to permanently protect working farms and forests, and provide vegetative stream buffers to improve water quality and bolster climate resilience in designated areas across the state, according to a release from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Working through local governments and private land trusts, the DNR acquires conservation easements from willing landowners to preserve large, contiguous tracts of land that contain valuable agricultural and natural resources.
One project funded was in St. Mary’s County, according to the release. Southern Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Board will acquire easements totaling more than 245 acres, which will protect valuable agricultural and forest lands, plus more than 9,500 linear feet of riparian buffers along a tributary of the St. Mary’s and Potomac rivers.
CHS Class of 1969 plans to hold its 50th reunion
The Chopticon High School Class of 1969 is planning its 50th class reunion for the fall of 2019. Members or teachers of this class can update contact information to receive announcements for the festivities by contacting Sarah Blackistone Richardson at 240-925-1119 or TheMightySBR@msn.com, or Norwood Graves 301-848-9525 or Saramy1@verizon.net.
Museums seek to buy penny press machine
The Friends of St. Clement’s Island & Piney Point Museums have launched a fundraising effort to provide the St. Clement’s Island Museum Store with a penny press machine. Once available, the press will provide visitors with a unique souvenir to commemorate their visit.
A pressed penny is one which has been flattened or stretched and embossed with a new design. The machine is a unique souvenir maker and will allow visitors the fun of selecting their choice of four designs, inserting the coins and cranking the wheel to elongate the penny. Designs being considered are: St. Clement’s Island on the Potomac River, the Piney Point Lighthouse, Drayden African-American Schoolhouse and Blackistone Lighthouse on St. Clement’s Island. Eventually, a second machine will be considered for the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum.
The museum store is raising funds to purchase the $4,000 machine. While the Friends organization and the museum store will cover half of the cost, they are also seeking a major sponsor and hoping to raise the rest of the funds in the form of donations. Interested sponsors are encouraged to contact Jayne Walsh, museum store manager. Donations can be made at St. Clement’s Island Museum or Piney Point Lighthouse Museum, through the Friends’ Facebook donation site at www.Facebook.com/FriendsSCI, or via check sent to either museum.