October 21, 2023
Carolina Theatre, Greensboro, NC
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Greensboro, NC. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
September 28, 2023
Crest Theatre, Sacramento, CA
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Sacramento, CA. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
September 17, 2023
The Caverns, Pelham, TN
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to The Caverns in Pelham, TN. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
August 27, 2023
Big Top Chautauqua, Bayfield, WI
Garrison Keillor and his Prairie Home Friends return to Big Top Chautauqua in Bayfield WI. Singalongs, stories, duets, comedy and a hot band. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
August 7, 2023
Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Ctr, Old Saybrook, CT
Old Saybrook, CT (2nd show)
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Old Saybrook, CT. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
I was a big shot at one time, which I knew because when I went to work at the office, twelve people suddenly got very busy. I had a popular radio show and I pulled the plug on it not wanting to become a living legend, a last connection to broadcasting’s past when music came on big black vinyl discs and everyone had an ashtray on their desk.
I left Minnesota because there were so many middle-aged people there who loathed the sight of me because they’d been forced by their parents to listen to my show on long car trips and I was afraid one of them might throttle me so I moved to Manhattan where I felt very safe. Now my office is my kitchen and it’s just me and the coffeemaker and the toaster, and eventually my sweetie walks in and says, “What are you doing up so early?”
Doing the same thing I did when I was important. I do a sort of ventriloquism in which I talk in the voice of old relatives who are all dead, but the voice is in my head, and as long as I keep using it, I keep them alive. I also stay sane. Twitter is not part of my world, I am not an influencer, I used to drive under the influence but don’t anymore.
I interrupted writing for a while today to have a Zoom meeting about estate planning with a couple lawyers in Minneapolis and for a discussion centered on my own demise it was a lot of fun. We laughed a lot.
They mentioned “legacy” and I laughed. What legacy? There’s no such thing. Scripture promises resurrection but it isn’t specific about the form we’ll take, whether vegetable, mineral, gas, or spirit, meanwhile here I am on a sunny day in New York, sitting at a café on Columbus Avenue and watching the passing humanity, the great variety of gaits, brisk and propulsive, ambling, toddling, sidewalk surfing, window shopping, touristy uncertainty, geezerly gimpiness, and the aimless shuffle of people like me whose heads are full of irrelevancies.
What’s on my mind is family history, the seven children of James Keillor and Dora Powell, and in all of Manhattan there’s not a single soul who has the slightest interest, nor should there be. Heredity, the streaks of tragedy, the guarded secrets, a family of good gardeners and Bible believers, sworn to modesty, dry humor, intensely loyal.
My dad once drove up to Anoka to see his brother Lawrence who was president of the First National Bank. I asked him if he had an appointment. He said, “I don’t need an appointment, he’s my brother.” And when he got to the bank, Lawrence put everything aside and they sat down and talked. That was my family in a nutshell.
James was not a good farmer. He’d go out cutting hay, holding the reins in his right hand and a book in his left. He was of another world. Dora was a schoolteacher and demanded that we make the grade. I’m descended from them, careless and ambitious at the same time. I sit in the café eating salad and remember going to Lawrence’s where he and Dad and Eleanor sat around the piano and sang “It Is Well with My Soul” — “in our ancient ruined voices,” Eleanor said, and that was the end, within a few years they were all gone.
I’ve been telling stories all my adult life and this is one that mystifies me: where did we come from. My shelves are packed with books I’m no longer interested in but I had a dream last night in which I visited James and Dora on their farm after the house burned down and saw their seven kids and little Eleanor had a terrible fever and the family sat praying for her — a fleeting dream but I would give anything to revisit it. I feel the same way about the picture of my mother, 17, with sister Elsie and friend Dorothy, three girls in summer dresses standing holding their bikes by Lake Nokomis in 1932, so happy — I want to ask her, “Do you realize you’re going to have six kids and not much money and they’ll cause you a lot of problems? Is this really what you want? I’m a writer, I can send you to Hollywood. You’re very charming, very funny. What he loves about you, millions of others would love too. What do you say, kid?” And she gets on her bike and wheels away.