Atlanta, GA

Friday, September 8, 2017
8:00 p.m.

A live performance at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Atlanta, GA with Heather Masse, Fred Newman, and Rich Dworsky and the Road Hounds

Prairie Home Love & Comedy Tour. Two-plus hours of stories, love duets, Guy Noir, Cowboys, poetic outbursts, and our famous Singing Intermission at which the Eager & Able-Bodied stand and sing around the campfire. Garrison Keillor celebrating his 75th, with the extraordinary Heather Masse, sound-effects genius Fred Newman, Richard Dworsky and the Road Hounds.

Ticket information →

On the Road to Mandalay (click image)
That Time of Year softcover by Garrison Keillor!

That Time of Year coverThe "revised" softcover version of  Garrison Keillor's memoir, That Time of Year: A Minnesota Life will be available wherever you get your books on March 7, 2023.  It is available for pre-order in our shop now.

From the author:
I sat down and looked at my memoir THAT TIME OF YEAR when it came out and was put off by the sadness, the opening chapter about how much I missed doing “A Prairie Home Companion,” so I sat down to fix it. That’s why a writer shouldn’t read his own work. But I did and so I sat down to cheer it up a little and wrote a new first paragraph.

I am a Minnesotan, born, bred, well-fed, self-repressed, bombast averse, sprung from the middle of North America, raised along the Mississippi River, which we spelled in rhythm, M-i-ss-i-ss-i-pp-i, a sweet incantation along with the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23 and our school fight song about v-i-c-t-o-r-y. We sang it with a sense of irony, knowing we weren’t winners in the eyes of New York or L.A. or even our football rivals, but we were proud of our North Star State, the flatness, the fertile fields, the culture of kindness and modesty, our ferocious winters, when white people become even whiter, and to top it all off, we were the origin of the Mighty Miss. Wisconsin wasn’t, nor North the

Dakota. It was us and strings of barges came up to St.Paul to haul our corn and beans to a hungry world.

I wrote a new preface and a cheerier first chapter, which came (literally) from the heart I having undergone heart surgery at Mayo to replace a leaky mitral valve and I felt good. I did this for readers who missed the hardcover edition, to give them a lift, and also myself. The revision led to SERENITY AT 70, GAIETY AT 80 and a new book in progress, CHEERFULNESS. It’s a happy phenomenon, an author still ambitious at 80, and I give credit to my wife Jenny. If I were teaching Creative Writing today, I’d teach my students the importance of marrying the right person.

Garrison Keillor

From the Publisher:
With the warmth and humor we've come to know, the creator and host of A Prairie Home Companion shares his own remarkable story.

In That Time of Year, Garrison Keillor looks back on his life and recounts how a Brethren boy with writerly ambitions grew up in a small town on the Mississippi in the 1950s and, seeing three good friends die young, turned to comedy and radio. Through a series of unreasonable lucky breaks, he founded A Prairie Home Companion and put himself in line for a good life, including mistakes, regrets, and a few medical adventures. PHC lasted forty years, 750 shows, and enjoyed the freedom to do as it pleased for three or four million listeners every Saturday at 5 p.m. Central. He got to sing with Emmylou Harris and Renee Fleming and once sang two songs to the U.S. Supreme Court. He played a private eye and a cowboy, gave the news from his hometown, Lake Wobegon, and met Somali cabdrivers who’d learned English from listening to the show. He wrote bestselling novels, won a Grammy and a National Humanities Medal, and made a movie with Robert Altman with an alarming amount of improvisation.

He says, “I was unemployable and managed to invent work for myself that I loved all my life, and on top of that I married well. That’s the secret, work and love. And I chose the right ancestors, impoverished Scots and Yorkshire farmers, good workers. I’m heading for eighty, and I still get up to write before dawn every day.”

 

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Marriage is a game and two can play it

BANK STOCKS SKID was the scary headline days ago sending shivers of 1929 and old newsreels of breadlines on Wall Street and Dorothea Lange photographs of migrant women and naturally the thought of a Crash makes me think we need to go out for entertainment, of which New York has plenty.

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks are playing at Birdland, a 12-piece band reliving Twenties stomps and blues with Vince’s bass sax honking at the head of the formation. The New York Phil is playing Messiaen’s Turangalîla symphony. There’s an Emo Ball with DJs playing disco hits and an All-Night Singles Party at which ladies drink for free. (How do they make sure you’re single? Or a lady?)

The Met is doing “Lohengrin,” so you could sing along (“Here comes the bride, big, fat and wide”) and then go to a club that offers Afro-Caribbean dancing from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Friday night. Four hours of German mysticism followed by euphoric dancing and then go out for waffles and sausage: what better way to get financial distress off your mind?

The Missus and I will be going to the Phil for the Messiaen, which is 80 minutes long and has an enlarged orchestra with maybe eleven percussionists. I married up, she’s a professional musician, and she loves Messiaen, and I will sit quietly and write in my program:

The composer O. Messiaen
Caught the measles and almost was gone
But was saved by physicians
To compose compositions
That go on and on. And then on.

She also loves to look at art, which I can take or leave and mostly leave. I go to museums to overhear conversations between couples, usually the woman telling the man, “You don’t like it, do you” and he says, “It’s interesting,” and she seizes on his lack of enthusiasm for the splashy canvas he’s looking at, thinking “I could’ve done that,” and she says, “If you’d just take the time to learn something about art, you’d enjoy it more,” as if this is a personal failing on his part.

The guy majored in economics, he’s on track to become a vice president at Amalgamated Linguini, they vacation on the Cape, the kids are in private schools, and suddenly she wants him to be an art critic and talk about ambience, brushwork, and chiaroscuro? And she walks on to the next piece as he follows her like a dog on a leash.

I find this more interesting than anything on the walls, the competitive aspects of marriage. Women’s ace card is the eye roll; they learn this by the age of 14 and use it on their mothers, and then on the husbands.

My sweetie has an eye roll that makes the room spin. Due to the fact that I’m an author and have so much on my mind, I have a hard time finding my glasses and keys and phone, even shoes, and she rolls her eyes and I have to sit down and put my head between my knees until I can see straight.

I go to the Met and am naturally drawn toward sculptures of naked people, some of which the Met places near the entrance so as to pull in folks from the Dakotas and Wisconsin where nudity is rather rare, big Roman figures with proud buttocks and muscular thighs and naked women standing tall and proud, but I only give the statuary a sidelong glance as she leads me toward the Egyptian pottery exhibit. She is fascinated by it. I am fascinated by her and the fact that she is interested in things that bore me to tears. Such as myself.

I’m rather tired of myself, if you want to know the truth, I’ve heard all my good lines dozens of times, but a few days ago when I stepped out of the shower and had to go to the hall closet to get a towel, she walked in and saw me and smiled. This was a smile you could take to the bank and it showed interest on her part, maybe not 100 percent but more than 7.5. “You’re dripping water on the floor,” she said but she said it softly and she didn’t roll her eyes. She didn’t rip the towel off me and hurl me onto the bed but she was very nice to me the rest of the day. That’s all I can say for now. Wild horses couldn’t drag the rest out of me.

Thanks to Lutherans I skipped ballet

I talked to a friend last week whose Lutheran church in Minneapolis is trying to attract people of color. Lutherans have been white for centuries, coming as they did from Scandinavia and Germany, countries that were never great colonial powers and didn’t grab big chunks of Africa and Lutheranize the indigenous people. Some Lutherans are more gray than white, but if you go to a Lutheran church you sense a monochromaticism due to the fact that people in the pews tend to be descendants of Lutherans, the faith was handed down, it’s like farming — most farmers grew up on a farm — not many Manhattanites develop a passion for soybeans and head for North Dakota to buy 400 acres and a John Deere.

“I know that,” he said, “but still.”

It’s a complicated subject.

I grew up in Minnesota, which is a Lutheran culture. Even Catholics are Lutheran, they tone down the glitzier aspects of Romanism and speak in flat tones and don’t make big sweeping hand gestures and the incense is simply Glade air freshener. Even the atheists are Lutheran. It’s a Lutheran god they don’t believe in. Of course, one shouldn’t generalize but Lutherans without exception are very polite and never say anything harsh about anyone — “I don’t get it” is as harsh as they get — and if you take them to a dreadful play, “It was interesting” is as negative as they’ll go.

They are dutiful people who, if you put on a party they stand off to the side and discuss public education and infrastructure needs and around 9:45 p.m. they start to clean up the kitchen and put things away, even while other people are opening a third beer and singing “I Saw Her Standing There.” Personal charm is not high on their list, they associate it with insurance salesmen. They do not express personal preference, and when offered a choice of desserts, they say, “Either one is fine, whatever, makes no difference to me, I’m happy either way, whatever you have more of.” This refusal to make choices is responsible for the very high rate of Lutheran strangulations.

The low point of their year is the summer vacation. She wants to go to California and he prefers Washington, D.C., so they compromise by going to the Happy Bison Motel in Bismarck, a warehouse surrounded by forty acres of asphalt and semis going by all night, and the air conditioner sounds like a power lathe. They go because her cousin lives nearby whom neither of them likes. And they are good and glad to get back home.

The question I ask myself is, “Do people of color really and truly wish to enlist in this army?” It isn’t just a religious faith, it’s a culture.

I’m not putting down Lutherans. There are advantages to being one. I read a review last night of two books by ballet dancers, both women, about the cruelty of the Swan Lake world, the physical pain, the abusive ballet masters, the starvation required to attain impossible physical perfection, the endless mindless repetition, and it struck me that, growing up in Anoka, Minnesota, among Lutherans, we didn’t know a leg extension from a dining room table. Had I grown up in the Hamptons or Boston I might be writing my own miserable memoir about suffering at the hands of choreographers, leaping around in black tights and hoisting skinny women up over my head while standing tippy-toe, and as you can see it didn’t happen. I am a comfortable guy with a good appetite and no back problems.

Growing up among Lutherans also helped to deter me from committing tax fraud, soliciting state officials to commit election fraud, fomenting an insurrection, and perpetrating big lies, which means I’m not waiting for the phone to ring, someone calling to tell me I’m under indictment in several different jurisdictions all at once, facing a long summer in courtrooms, dreading the thought of being led away in an orange prison outfit.

Instead I went to church Sunday and said the prayer of contrition for my sins, which include pride, envy, and sloth — I seem to have gluttony and lust under control for now though maybe that’s pride speaking — and afterward I shook hands with people in the pews around me. We’re Episcopalians and it’s New York so there’s a variety of people around, but people are people. Some of them may be secretly Lutheran, I don’t know, we don’t ask. God loves them all.

 

The worst play I ever saw: a landmark

I went for a walk in the park Wednesday and saw crocuses blooming and cherry trees budding and high school gym classes out running and it really seemed as if spring is coming to New York, a great city that deserves a break. An excellent story by William Finnegan in last week’s New Yorker opens a window on the Democratic incompetence and squalid corporate corruption that frustrates all attempts to replace Penn Station. Every Democrat should read it. This hellhole sits in Midtown making millions of people miserable, and nobody in power holds out any prospect of success, meanwhile the Democratic Party is plagued with progressives out to prove their purity by winning defeat. I live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, populated by liberals who read the Times religiously and grieve for the sorrows of the world and then comfort ourselves with an $8 croissant and a cup of premium Ecuadorian rain-forest coffee with oat milk. As an old lib, I felt obliged to go to a play Wednesday night about homelessness, which had no story line, just a good deal of suffering onstage (then in the audience), some shouting, weeping, most of it incomprehensible, but the audience worked diligently to appreciate it and gave it a partial standing ovation. The Times, of course, gave it a rave review (“heartbreaking”) and the critic, who had the advantage of having read the script, managed to find a sort of narrative, but to us groundlings, it was ninety minutes of sheer misery, like sitting on the floor of Penn Station waiting for a train and being hustled by panhandlers and crazy people, but given our upbringing, we felt guilty for not enjoying it. Well, I refuse to go to the theater and pay to be punished. The theater is for entertainment. It can be light or dark but it must have a story and be comprehensible and engage the audience and take them someplace. The Times critic found it meaningful that the actors glared at the audience — it “implicates the audience,” he said. Well, I’m not implicated: I didn’t write this play. I’m not responsible for making hundreds of people waste an evening. I grew up in Minnesota so I was brought up to be nice. I have never raised my voice except at athletic events. I do not complain to the person at the drive-up window that the onion rings seem to be day-old rings. When I call to refill a prescription, I say “Thank you” to the clerk and I’m gratified if, instead of “No problem,” she says, “You’re welcome.” It means she was brought up as I was. “No problem” is a brush-off. “You’re welcome” is a kindness. But I am ashamed of myself for not walking out of that play. My fellow Minnesotans may imagine New Yorkers as pushy and rude but they’ve never ridden the C train during rush hour with a hundred people in a lurching car standing a few inches from each other and avoiding contact. An exercise of extreme delicacy. Sometimes a homeless person comes into a car and makes a pitch for money. People listen. But the homeless person needs to have a story that is understandable and succinct, and if it is, people will put money in the hat. It’s not enough to just glare at people. I go to church and if, one Sunday, Father Dylan lashes into us for our indifference to the poor, I will accept it up to a point if the man seems Spirit-driven, shouts, weeps, is passionate to the point of lunacy. But I won’t pay $75 to go to the theater and be glared at. That’s just privileged people flagellating themselves with dental floss. The social justice movement is very appealing. There’s no need to march and carry signs — that ended decades ago — now you just check the boxes and click on LIKE and you’re in. This is likely to wipe out comedy and lead to more dreadful theater, perhaps a play about climate change in a theater full of smoke and the thermostat set at 105. Actors moving through the audience jabbing people with plastic forks. Raise the minimum wage to $15. Fix the health care system to provide drug rehab. Rebuild Penn Station. Enough with the charades. Be real.
A Prairie Home Companion An Evening of Story and Song Humor Love & Comedy Tour Old Friends Poetry Prairie Home Christmas Show Solo Songs Stories The Gratitude Tour
Schedule

March 28, 2023

Tuesday

7:30 p.m.

The Pace Center, Parker, CO

Parker, CO

Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Parker, CO. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.

March 30, 2023

Thursday

7:30 p.m.

Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek, CO

Beaver Creek, CO

Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Beaver Creek, CO. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.

March 31, 2023

Friday

7:30 p.m.

Avalon Theater, Grand Junction, CO

Grand Junction, CO

Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Grand Junction, CO. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.

April 27, 2023

Thursday

7:30 p.m.

Cary Memorial Hall, Lexington, MA

Lexington, MA

Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Lexington, MA. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.

April 29, 2023

Saturday

7:30 p.m.

Park Theatre, Jaffrey, NH

Jaffrey, NH

Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Jaffrey, NH. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.

April 30, 2023

Sunday

7:00 p.m.

Paramount Hudson Valley, Peekskill, NY

Peekskill, NY

Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Peekskill NY. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unite us.

July 6, 2023

Thursday

8:00 p.m.

Sellersville Theatre, Sellersville, PA

Sellersville, PA

Garrison Keillor and Robin & Linda Williams come to Sellersville, PA for an evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon.

buy tickets
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The Writer’s Almanac for Monday, March 20, 2023

The Writer’s Almanac for Monday, March 20, 2023

Today is the Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Emily Dickinson said: “A little Madness in the Spring / Is wholesome even for the King.” Mark Twain said: “It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

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A Prairie Home Companion: November 16, 1996

A Prairie Home Companion: November 16, 1996

Digging deep in the archive for this 1995 gem from The Town Hall in New York City, with Al Franken, Alice Playten, pianist Jaki Byard, and the cast of Radio Gals.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, March 19, 2023

Today is the birthday of novelist Philip Roth, born in 1933. In 1959, when he was 26 years old he published his first book, a novella and short stories titled “Goodbye, Columbus”. It won the National Book Award. In 1969 he wrote a best seller “Portnoy’s Complaint”, which is entirely made up of a monologue delivered by a patient, Alexander Portnoy, to his analyst.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, March 18, 2023

The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, March 18, 2023

Novelist John Updike was born on this day in 1932. His literary career had him write more than 50 books, including novels, poetry, short stories and many newspaper columns. He said, “No amount of learned skills can substitute for the feeling of having a lot to say.”

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The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, March 17, 2023

The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, March 17, 2023

Today is the birthday of novelist and children’s author Penelope Lively, her novel Moon Tiger (1987) won the Booker Prize. In Moon Tiger, she wrote: “We open our mouths and out flow words whose ancestries we do not even know. We are walking lexicons. In a single sentence of idle chatter we preserve Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Norse: we carry a museum inside our heads, each day we commemorate peoples of whom we have never heard.”

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The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, March 16, 2023

The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, March 16, 2023

“The books we enjoy as children stay with us forever — they have a special impact. Paragraph after paragraph and page after page, the author must deliver his or her best work.” – Sid Fleischman, born on this day in 1920. He won the Newbery Award in 1987 for his novel “The Whipping Boy.”

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The Writer’s Almanac for Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The Writer’s Almanac for Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Today is the Ides of March, the day Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by conspirators in 44 B.C.E. The Roman Senate felt Cesar was a threat to the Republic, and had tyrannical leanings. An assassination was planned where only senators were allowed to be present, knives easily concealed in the drapery of their togas. Despite warnings Caesar went to meet the Senate. Upon arrival he was set upon, and murdered. The assassination that was meant to save the Republic actually resulted, ultimately, in its downfall. It sparked a series of civil wars and led to Julius’ heir, Octavian, becoming Caesar Augustus, the first Roman emperor.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Tuesday, March 14, 2023

The Writer’s Almanac for Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Today is the birthday of Sylvia Beach, born in Baltimore, Maryland (1887). In Paris, she founded an English-language bookstore and lending library called Shakespeare and Company, on the Left Bank of the Seine. It opened just as the “lost generation” was discovering that city, and it became a central feature of the Parisian literary scene of the 1920s. Beach also published books, including the first — blue and white — edition of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” in 1922.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Monday, March 13, 2023

The Writer’s Almanac for Monday, March 13, 2023

A big day for science, March 13 2003 – The journal “Nature” reported the discovery of the oldest known fossilized human footprints, 350,000 years old. And on March 13, 1781, English astronomer Sir William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus.

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A Prairie Home Companion: February 21, 2015

A Prairie Home Companion: February 21, 2015

A 2015 broadcast from Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul with Aoife O’Donovan, Emily Miller, and the Steel City Jug Slammers.  

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Writing

Marriage is a game and two can play it

BANK STOCKS SKID was the scary headline days ago sending shivers of 1929 and old newsreels of breadlines on Wall Street and Dorothea Lange photographs of migrant women and naturally the thought of a Crash makes me think we need to go out for entertainment, of which New York has plenty.

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks are playing at Birdland, a 12-piece band reliving Twenties stomps and blues with Vince’s bass sax honking at the head of the formation. The New York Phil is playing Messiaen’s Turangalîla symphony. There’s an Emo Ball with DJs playing disco hits and an All-Night Singles Party at which ladies drink for free. (How do they make sure you’re single? Or a lady?)

Read More

Thanks to Lutherans I skipped ballet

I talked to a friend last week whose Lutheran church in Minneapolis is trying to attract people of color. Lutherans have been white for centuries, coming as they did from Scandinavia and Germany, countries that were never great colonial powers and didn’t grab big chunks of Africa and Lutheranize the indigenous people. Some Lutherans are more gray than white, but if you go to a Lutheran church you sense a monochromaticism due to the fact that people in the pews tend to be descendants of Lutherans, the faith was handed down, it’s like farming — most farmers grew up on a farm — not many Manhattanites develop a passion for soybeans and head for North Dakota to buy 400 acres and a John Deere.

Read More

The worst play I ever saw: a landmark

In case you’re wondering why I was not in church Sunday morning, I was in the Omaha airport at 6:30 a.m. waiting for a flight back to New York, listening to an announcement that unattended baggage would be confiscated, eating a breakfast croissant and blueberry yogurt, drinking coffee, which came to $19.74, which happens to be the year I started doing my old radio show.

I grew up Sanctified Brethren, so it was odd to wind up in comedy, but my mother loved Jack Benny and Lucille Ball, so there’s the hitch. I started the show to amuse her, and I succeeded. And the one Saturday night in Omaha did too. A tall woman and I sang love duets while a piano player with wild hair kept the beat and I did octogenarian stand-up and the audience accepted this pretty well.

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Bill Hinkley and Judy Larson – The Family Car

Bill Hinkley and Judy Larson – The Family Car

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The old man’s winter weekend

In case you’re wondering why I was not in church Sunday morning, I was in the Omaha airport at 6:30 a.m. waiting for a flight back to New York, listening to an announcement that unattended baggage would be confiscated, eating a breakfast croissant and blueberry yogurt, drinking coffee, which came to $19.74, which happens to be the year I started doing my old radio show.

I grew up Sanctified Brethren, so it was odd to wind up in comedy, but my mother loved Jack Benny and Lucille Ball, so there’s the hitch. I started the show to amuse her, and I succeeded. And the one Saturday night in Omaha did too. A tall woman and I sang love duets while a piano player with wild hair kept the beat and I did octogenarian stand-up and the audience accepted this pretty well.

Read More

Thinking about that woman in Kentucky

I was down in Frankfort, Kentucky, last week and sat in a café one morning and a fortyish woman in a white uniform approached and said, “What can I get you, Hon?” and I, being a Northerner, was rather touched because female food service workers up North don’t go around Honning male customers. I’ve been Deared a few times but only by women older than I and they may have Deared me from dementia. Once a waitperson in Minneapolis Friended me and I almost spilled my coffee.

(Notice that I don’t refer to them as a “waitress.” The “-ess” is a diminutive, it’s a patronizing relic of male dominance; she is a Waitperson, even though that term could be mistaken as “Weight Person,” meaning “fat lady.” Anyway, female service personnel in Minnesota do not address a man as “hon” or any other term of affection and if he addressed her as Hon, he could be arrested, handcuffed, and taken downtown.

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I missed out on the big storm regretfully

I flew down to Florida for a few days and regret missing the blizzard in Minnesota. I love snow, but I’m afraid of slipping and falling and joining the Joint Replacement Society, whereas in Florida you’d only slip on a banana. I needed to walk and take long strides, which facilitates clear thinking. And what I think, after a brisk walk, is that Florida is a lovely place if you don’t have anything to do and want to be with other people who don’t either. The major industry is relaxation. The bars open at noon, people have a few screwdrivers and go home and take a two-hour nap and watch a golf tournament and then maybe read Instagram or hang out with their iguana. The air conditioning is so cold, you have to wear a parka indoors. There is background music everywhere. Every lobby has a television on that nobody’s watching, music that nobody’s listening to, an environmental drug to keep people from thinking.

Read More

So much is known but mystery remains

We’ve learned something about privacy lately, namely that it doesn’t exactly exist. The case against the man accused of murdering four students in Idaho shows that cellphone tracking and ubiquitous surveillance cameras make it possible for law enforcement to learn a great deal about a person of interest. Spy satellites enable intelligence agencies to focus in on you as you park at the drive-up window and see how many Egg McMuffins you ordered and whether you take your coffee light or black. And a defamation lawsuit against Fox has subpoenaed internal memos showing that the network’s top stars managed to forget what is fact and what is not and why they should care.

There’s no getting around the fact that we’re more visible than we can imagine and if you care to be paranoid, you now have a reason to be, though in fact the spyware is gathering so much data, gazillions of gigabytes, more than anybody can analyze, and so there is safety in confusion.

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SING ALONG (July 2022)

The sun come up, it was blue and gold
The sun come up, it was blue and gold
The sun come up, it was blue and gold
Ever since I put your picture in a frame

Read More

We get around correctness by means of comedy

I am an American and the bacon cheeseburger with onion rings is my source of sustenance, just as I prefer baseball to soccer or a republic to a monarchy. My sweetie serves me locally sourced non-GMO tofu with artisanal farro, which I regard as cattle feed but I eat it knowing that she is right and it is good for me.

Wives tend to be right about 87 percent of the time and this high incidence of correctness can be hard to get used to; a man may start to feel that marriage is a correctional institution. I put on a suit the other morning and she said, “You can’t wear that, people will wonder how can his wife let him go around looking like that.” She said the pants were not the same shade of black as the jacket. I couldn’t see it. I guess I’m so occupied with the environment and economic justice that I don’t have time to worry about matching colors, but I put on a different suit. I don’t want to be a public spectacle unless people are buying tickets to see it.

Read More

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Whether solo or accompanied by Richard Dworsky, Heather Masse, Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard, Dean Magraw, or others, Garrison Keillor delivers an extraordinary, crowd-pleasing performance.

Garrison Keillor’s celebrated radio broadcast A Prairie Home Companion ran for forty years. He wrote the comedy sketches and more, and he invented a “little town that time forgot and the decades could not improve.” These days, his shows are packed with humor and song, plus the audience-favorite News from Lake Wobegon. He has written dozens of books — recently, Boom Town (a Lake Wobegon novel), That Time of Year (a memoir), a book of limericks, and Serenity at 70, Gaiety at 80 (reflections on why you should keep on getting older). Garrison and his wife, Jenny Lind Nilsson, live in New York City.

Trained as a jazz singer at the New England Conservatory of Music, Heather Masse is equally versed in a variety of traditions — folk, pop, bluegrass, and more. As member of Billboard-charting group The Wailin’ Jennys, she has performed at hundreds of venues across the world. She was a frequent guest on A Prairie Home Companion, both solo and with The Jennys. One reviewer rightly lauded her “lush velvety vocals, capable of melting butter in a Siberian winter.”

 Prudence Johnson‘s long and happy career as a singer, writer, and teacher has landed her on the musical theater stage, in two feature films (A River Runs Through It and A Prairie Home Companion), on a national radio show (several stints on A Prairie Home Companion) and on concert stages across North America and occasionally Europe. She has released more than a dozen recordings, including albums dedicated to the music of Hoagy Carmichael and Greg Brown, and a collection of international lullabies.

 For 23 years, Richard Dworsky served as A Prairie Home Companion’s pianist and music director, providing original theatrical underscoring, leading the house band, and performing as a featured soloist. The St. Paul, Minnesota, native also accompanied many of the show’s guests, including James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Yo-Yo Ma, Sheryl Crow, Chet Atkins, Renée Fleming, and Kristin Chenoweth.

 Dan Chouinard is a St. Paul-based honky-tonk pianist, concert soloist and accompanist, street accordionist, sing-along enabler, Italian and French teacher, and bicycling vagabond. He’s been writer and host of a number of live history-with-music shows broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio and Twin Cities Public Television. He played on a dozen live broadcasts of A Prairie Home Companions plus a half dozen APHC cruises, and served as rehearsal pianist for Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, and Lindsay Lohan on the 2005 APHC movie. He’s featured on a number of recordings with Prairie Home regulars Peter Ostroushko, Prudence Johnson and Maria Jette.

 Composer/arranger/producer/guitarist Dean Magraw performed and recorded extensively with Ukrainian American virtuoso Peter Ostroushko over several decades, and he has worked with some of the finest musicians in the North America, Europe, and Japan. As one of his collaborators commented, “Dean Magraw’s guitar playing transcends, transports, and lifts the soul to a higher level as he weaves, cajoles, and entices every note from his instrument.”

Recent reviews:

“Fans laughed, applauded and sang along throughout Sunday night’s two-hour show” -Jeff Baenen, AP News

“His shows can, for a couple of hours, transform an audience of even so-called coastal elites into a small-town community with an intimacy only radio and its podcast descendants can achieve” -Chris Barton, LA Times

“[Keillor is] an expert at making you feel at home with his low-key, familiar style. Comfortable is his specialty.” -Betsie Freeman, Omaha-World Herald

 

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