Doug Stanton and Rhoda Janzen Lit Up the City Opera House Stage at the Traverse City National Writers Series

Doug Stanton turned writing into a performance art last night at the City Opera House in Traverse City—and along the way did his part to elevate sauerkraut’s wow factor in the well-heeled world of hors d’oeuvres. Stanton, New York Times best-selling author of In Harm’s Way and Horse Soldiers, shared the stage with author Rhoda Janzen for the second in this season’s Traverse City National Writers Series.

Stanton’s relaxed, on target-questions and Janzen’s readings from her laugh-out-loud yet thought-provoking memoir, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, were (arguably) only eclipsed by Janzen’s shimmery top and enviably-long, black-stockinged legs stretched, though she tried to sweep them neatly to the side, really pretty far across the stage.

The evening opened with a reception in the elegant City Opera House lobby featuring food of Janzen’s Mennonite youth—including sauerkraut, a Mennonite staple that has played its role in her family’s open attitude about flatulency—and a cash bar serving local wines.

The packed house (nearly every seat in on the opera house floor was taken) loved the duo who moved through discussions of the life-journey that led Janzen to write her memoir, punctuated by Janzen’s readings of Stanton’s favorite passages.

Stanton, his wife Northern Express investigative reporter Anne Stanton (Anne, didn’t get a chance to tell you last night but loved your little black dress!), and Traverse City attorney Grant Parsons launched the Traverse City National Writers series to inspire area writers and to help fund a scholarship program for young writers.

The evening closed with Mennonite-inspired applesauce cake and brownies served in the lobby as Janzen made rounds through the crowd. We all left the refreshingly entertaining event burping, farting and satisfied. Amen.

Here’s to Mary Karr April 18 and Tom Brokaw on May 12 (wonder what they eat?). Click for more about Janzen and the Traverse City National Writers Series.
Watch a video of Stanton talking about the series.

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