Friday, December 22, 2006

A Prairie Home Companion-- Feelin' Good is Good Enough

...It's rare that we get to meet our heroes and she-roes in the flesh but one day I got to meet three of 'em at once (one of the latter and two of the former) when I covered (what we now know was) director Robert Altman's last film before he passed, A Prairie Home Companion...for me, the initial draw was Garrison Keillor who's weekly Public Radio show that the film was based on and named after, so I took the gig but the way things worked out, when I got to the hotel, I found out that I'd be in a press roundup with Keillor, Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin which was a bonus..."what's the musical connection, punk", you ask? Well, I listen to public radio a lot when I'm writing and I got hooked on Keillor's radio show by accident because it was just on the radio station I checked on the regs when I moved back to LA to pursue what I'm doing now...over the weeks, I found that there's a wealth of traditional American music like jazz, bluegrass, etc. that, though it gets overlooked, is picked up by a grip of artists all over the world...from Australia to Austria but the music wasn't the only thing that pulled my coat on Keillor's show that has been broadcast on public radio since March 1978...

...younger heads might grouse that their grannies listen to this show and if yours does, then she's a lot hipper than you give her credit for because, if you love music, you'll be all about this show...if you write, you'll dig on the stories from Lake Woebegon, Guy Noir and the skits and sometimes the topics Keillor touches will touch you in ways you won't foresee-- like it did yours truly...

...in December of 2003, it was Christmas all kinds of things were going wrong and I pushed through all that with the help of this one story, check it out when you have the time because Keillor was at the top of his form on this one...of note: it was the story of when he'd first arrived in NYC, ostensibly, to become a writer for The New Yorker that really put the hook in me-- you can find that in the News from Lake Wobegone segment (1:44:55 on broadcast timer) when concert pianist Emanuel Ax performed Claude Debussy's "Claire de Lune" at the end of the tale, I was steeled on the whole concept and I've been listening to dude's shows on the weekend every since...you should check it because there's always something new to learn...about ourselves.

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