Off the Air

A collection of press clippings, special projects or appearances including Garrison Keillor.


Garrison Keillor on Poetry

Garrison recently talked with MPR's Kerri Miller about his new collection of poetry, O, What a Luxury, pondered why many poets write about bleakness, and issued a challenge to anyone who wants to write poetry:

Other recent interviews on the new collection of light verse include: NPR's Scott Simon, Steve Kraske of KUCR, and FOX4 in Kansas City.


Garrison Keillor on KSTP

During rehearsals for our 2012 season opener, Garrison talked with Mark Saxenmeyer of Twin Cities TV station KSTP about the show and life in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Watch the two interview segments below and visit the KSTP website to see the complete video from their conversation (Part 1, Part 2).


Part 1


Part 2


Garrison Keillor and Gary Eichten

On January 13th, Garrison joined Minnesota Public Radio newsman Gary Eichten as one of Gary's final guests on the Midday program before he retires. They took a few calls, shared stories about MPR's early days, and discussed the value of "sheer, blind luck." Listen below:


On October 21st, John Lithgow joined Garrison at the Fitzgerald Theater for a conversation about his new book Drama: An Actor's Education. Today, Minnesota Public Radio's Midday program aired highlights from the event. Here's the audio:


Summer Love Tour: Summer's End in Memphis

PHC staffer Ella Schovanec is on the Summer Love Tour with Garrison, Fred Newman, Andra Suchy, Heather Masse, Sara Watkins, and The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and will update us periodically from the road.

sun-SL-2011.jpg

Our last stop of the tour brought us to the birthplace of the blues and rock-and-roll, Memphis, Tennessee. It was in Memphis that Elvis Presley recorded "That's All Right (Mama)" at Sun Studio in 1954, and it was where W.C. Handy introduced the world to the blues. Richard Kriehn, Peter Johnson and Gary Raynor visited Sun Studio and walked the famous Beale Street -- a riot of juke joints, blues halls, neon lights, catfish po' boys, liquor and ribs.

In the spirit of Beale on Sunday night, the band paid homage to the great hits of Sun Studio -- "Great Balls of Fire," "Love Me Tender," and "That's All Right (Mama)." It was a memorable end to the Summer Love Tour under the moon and the stars. A great thank you to all for coming to the show, we'll miss all of the fans and the beautiful music every night. The folks in Memphis aren't the only ones with the blues.


Summer Love Tour: East Bound and Down

PHC staffer Ella Schovanec is on the Summer Love Tour with Garrison, Fred Newman, Andra Suchy, Heather Masse, Sara Watkins, and The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and will update us periodically from the road.

Our Summer Love Tour brought us to Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Friday, an antebellum beauty. We knew we were in the heart of Dixie, surrounded as we were by southern hospitality: sweet potato pie, bacon-wrapped steak, and gravy as a condiment at every meal.

The Tuscaloosa Amphitheater is right next to a huge, dark M&O wooden train trestle. It was built in 1898 and looked mighty rickety to our eyes, but the locals assured us that freight trains still crossed it daily. But the only train we heard Friday night was coming from our sound effects man, Fred Newman. Garrison and Sara Watkins sang some powerful duets under a nearly full corn moon, and Sara joined Richard Kriehn for a fiddle medley that fired up the chilly night. Almost Fall, the evening air has a real bite to it, but Indian summer lingers on and we have Chattanooga, Tennessee ahead of us.


Summer Love Tour: Kansas City

PHC staffer Nic Vetter is on the Summer Love Tour with Garrison, Fred Newman, Andra Suchy, Heather Masse, Sara Watkins, and The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and will update us periodically from the road.

Great show in Kansas City, especially once it hit dusk and the big Missouri sun settled down a bit. I didn't get a chance to eat any of the famous KC 'cue, not that I would have because I'm the token vegetarian of the group, but surely the thick, sweet sauce would complement mock duck or other soy based meat analogs quite nicely. We're on our way back to Minneapolis for the weekend for the State Fair show, so the tirelessly working crew and performers will have a chance to sleep on a bed that isn't perpetually in motion. I have to say, though, there's a lullaby quality to the the hum of the highway and shifting gears whilst being rocked in a contained dark cradle-like bunk. The occasional rumble strip massage adds a soothing effect. I haven't slept better in years.


Summer Love Tour: The Great Frontier

PHC staffer Ella Schovanec is on the Summer Love Tour with Garrison, Fred Newman, Andra Suchy, Heather Masse, Sara Watkins, and The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and will update us periodically from the road.

Lest you think that it's all work and no play on the Summer Love Tour, Monday was our day off in Alaska. Some people went on a plane ride to Denali, while the rest of us steamed ahead to Seward, AK by train and then hopped on a whale-watching cruise. We got some great shots of marine life -- otters, puffins, humpback whales, orcas and sea lions -- before heading south to Kansas City.


Summer Love Tour: Fairly Colossal

PHC staffer Ella Schovanec is on the Summer Love Tour with Garrison, Fred Newman, Andra Suchy, Heather Masse, Sara Watkins, and The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and will update us periodically from the road.

We did our show Sunday afternoon from the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, Alaska. The grandstand was beyond oversold, the rare Alaskan sun shined down on us, and the performance was magnificent -- the twin powerhouses of Heather Masse and Sara Watkins blending with Garrison Keillor to make exquisite trios and Fred Newman's sound effects echoing off the purple mountains all around us.

The main events at the Alaska State Fair are the vegetable weigh offs and they are quite hefty -- I saw a 74-pound head of cabbage as big as a border collie and I was told that there would be a 1,700-pound pumpkin rolling into the fair on Wednesday. How does the biggest state in the U.S. also grow the biggest produce you ask? In this 'land of the midnight sun,' the crops get about 20 hours of light during the summer, so vegetables turn titanic and the grass and trees glow neon green with all that extra chlorophyll.

The fair was dizzyingly crowded for a state that's otherwise devoid of people (1 person per square mile to be exact), and the Alaskans were parading their fried foods around like prizes. They chop up their baseball bat-sized zucchini here and deep fry it, I tried deep fried peaches over ice cream, and golden halibut nuggets, a chili-covered corn dog, a bbq chicken parfait (better than it sounds), raw beet juice (as bad as it sounds), glazed donut burgers, and a bucket o' mini donuts. We stocked up on enough grease to last us the winter, or at least until we make it back to the Minnesota State Fair on Friday.


PHC staffer Nic Vetter is on the Summer Love Tour with Garrison, Fred Newman, Andra Suchy, Heather Masse, Sara Watkins, and The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and will update us periodically from the road.

After being out west in big sky country, I've decided twilight is my new favorite time of day. The enormous sky puts on a great show with the vivid painted colors and incredible cloud layers absorbing the reflections of the setting sun and then the finale of LED quality stars as night falls. But the locals in Bend and Boise are used to this scenery every day and so came to be entertained by our show, and they all seemed to be having a really good time.

Hailing from the tundra we're used to extreme temperatures changes on a seasonal cycle, but out in the high desert the fluctuations happen every day. It was about 101 dry degrees at the peak of the day in both Oregon and Idaho, and felt even hotter because the dry air was stagnant and didn't have a breeze to speak of. In Eagle, the clear 40 degree Boise River flowed behind the stage and people were out in their skivvies taking a dip and the audience came in guarded against the sun in their desert hats and polarized shades. When 101 suddenly dropped to what felt like under 60 degrees, I was woefully prepared in my shorts and t-shirt and flip-flops.

At the Boise airport, Sam and Thomas had to equally distribute the weight of all the equipment between 43 bags and road boxes to make sure they were under 100 pounds, the logistics and pressure of which would make any lesser men crumble to their knees -- and it was all before 7 am. They eat logistics and pressure for breakfast. Needless to say the equipment filled the dual prop plane that we took to Seattle and it's kind of a miracle we were able to lift off the ground, but it all got transferred to a 747 for the flight to Anchorage.

As we descended through the cirrus clouds over Alaska, it was an amazing sight of vast natural beauty for miles and miles and miles -- the greens are greener and the glaciers are so huge and white and you can tell the water is clear from 5,000 feet above. Pat pointed out that he must have counted at least 10,000 lakes in just a 50 square mile radius, which kind of makes our state motto seem slightly pathetic in comparison. We'll just have to see how their State Fair holds up to ours, which as far as I know, is the best. Stay tuned.

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