Thanks to everyone who turned out to see me at beautiful Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis last night, and thanks to Tom, Kim, Mitch and everyone else at the Center of the American Experiment for putting together the event.
Dave Thompson hosted his drivetime gig on Twin Cities NewsTalk live from Orchestra Hall for the two hours before the show, and, if you click here, you can hear me talking to him about halfway through the first hour. Alternatively, you can see our radio interview with visual accompaniment below:
On stage, we talked about doom, debt, Ebola, ISIS ...all the laugh-a-minute stuff. It was good to see so many old friends in the crowd. Twila Brase of the Citizens' Council for Health Freedom was there:
@MarkSteynOnline Thank you for a brilliant presentation with so many funny biting quips. Time to "burrow in."
As was Powerline's John Hinderaker*:
@MarkSteynOnline was on fire in Mpls tonight! Never miss a chance to see Mark live, he's the best.
Suzanne and Branden take that "never miss a chance" thing seriously. They came all the way from Utah, with their daughter Izzy, and in matching "Viva Steyn!" T-shirts.
Backstage, the star of the show was Michele Bachmann, my favorite member of the House of Representatives. It was a long line-up for photographs, and there's always a danger of things getting out of hand:
Just had to pry
@MarkSteynOnline off my fiancé @RachelHorn7 in the photo line. #reddress
So, while the line waited patiently, Congresswoman Bachmann served as celebrity usherette chit-chatting with Minnesotans till I was ready for their close-up. I thought it was constituent service, working the room, etc, but, alas, Michele is not seeking re-election next month and so is in her last few weeks in Congress. And at the very end of the photo line, when Jana, the superbly efficient photographer, asked if she could have a picture with me, the Representative for the 6th Congressional District was happy to step in:
Great to see
@MicheleBachmann pitching in & taking a photo of the photographer & @MarkSteynOnline @followcae dinner
~Michele Bachmann's good humor was all the more remarkable given that the head-hacking savages of ISIS have chosen to star her in their latest video. Last month, the congresswoman gave a characteristically trenchant speech:
You kill their leader, you kill their council, you kill their army until they waive the white flag of surrender. That's how you win a war.
She's right, of course. Right now, ISIS is like the coolest soccer club on the planet. It's a far stronger brand than al-Qaeda, and if they're not shattered, and seen to be shattered, and humiliated, there will be terrible consequences.
ISIS, however, did not like the cut of her jib, and excerpted the speech in their video - but with Michele's face and hands all blurred out, so that none of the jihad lads would have to look at the horror of an uncovered woman. Their loss.
It takes a rare courage to speak as honestly about these issues as Michele Bachmann does, when you live in a state that has supplied more soldiers for ISIS than any other in America. I will miss her forthrightness in Congress, which could use more of it. But I was delighted to see her friendly face last night - and without that blurry ISIS look.
~After Minneapolis, I have a couple of days home in New Hampshire before getting on to serious book launch duties later this month for this autumn's must-read: The [Un]documented Mark Steyn. I'll be signing the book on October 25th at the 2014 Freedom Summit, live in the belly of the beast in Chicago. Other speakers include Sean Hannity, Dana Loesch, Bobby Jindal, Katie Pavlich, Edward Klein, and more, so it should be a lively event. You can get more details and reserve your tickets here. I got to enjoy Chicago during the Conrad Black trial, and it turned out my favorite restaurant in the Windy City was the same as Barack Obama's (Spiaggia). If you're in the general vicinity, come and say hi at the Freedom Summit, and I promise to sign every book laid in front of my poor bleeding stump of a hand.
The [Un]documented Mark Steyn hits bookstores in ten days' time. You can order now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Indigo-Chapters in Canada, and other retailers: at Amazon Canada, it's already bubbling under the Politics Top Ten (although there's a lot more than politics in it). In good times, I spend my royalties on Cartagena hookers like the White House aides do, but this year, alas, they're going toward the more humdrum task of keeping me afloat in the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century. The next big date for that is in the DC Court of Appeals on November 25th. I can't promise I'll be signing books in the well of the court, but maybe in the corridor.
*UPDATE! More from John Hinderaker at Powerline:
Mark was as funny, as perceptive and as fact-filled as always, but in addition he struck me as more impassioned than I have ever seen him. Maybe it was my imagination, but I attribute the passion to the fact that the hour is getting late.
Indeed it is.