From Minnesota Monthly


July 2001

Dublin. Berlin. New York. West Lafayette, Ind. The cast and crew of A Prairie Home Companion® have taken their show around the world. Now that another tour season has (almost) ended, we asked some of our resident globetrotters to share their best travel tips-from how to beat jet lag to where to find the best meals to how to pack your clothes wrinkle-free. You'll want to read these helpful hints before your next trip!

Crashing on the Plane
Rich Dworsky, leader of The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and music director
I'm often sleep-deprived on travel days. To catch up on my rest while flying, I bring along my airline sensory deprivation kit: ear plugs, night mask and favorite feather pillow (which squishes up nicely into my carry-on bag, so I don't look like a big baby walking through the airport).

With bags looking so similar these days, it's easy for someone to accidentally walk off with your luggage. Add something distinctive to identify yours. I once created a giant happy face on the side of a hard-shell case using yellow tape. No fear of theft after that.

It's forgivable to read People magazine in airports and doctors' offices. So indulge and enjoy

Getting Over a Layover
Tim Russell, cast member
Be creative when you're stranded. We once missed a connection from Memphis to Knoxville-an eight-hour delay. We rented a car and went to Graceland-a worthwhile pilgrimage if ever there was one. … "Thank ya, thank ya very much."

Get a "rollaboard" piece of luggage-one with a suit compartment-that won't raise the ire of the "bag nazis." Fill it with no more than two outfits. Don't overpack; you won't see the same people more than twice anyway. Throw in your underwear, socks (stuff them in your dress shoes), T-shirts and toiletries. Bring a second small travel bag that straps on to the rollaboard for your camera, books, magazines, travel documents, etc. Rollaboard overhead, travel bag underneath. Bon Voyage.

Jet Lag Remedies
Sue Scott, cast member
Since I struggle with motion sickness I can feel jet lagged flying from St. Paul to Chicago! I use all the holistic remedies: seaband wrist bands, ginger tablets, sugarless peppermints (which actually do settle the stomach). I try to drink a lot of water on the plane and sit over the wings (the steadiest place).

I always travel with my super echinacea drops, chewable vitamin C, Advil, etc. The worst thing on the road is … getting sick, being in a strange town and trying to find a drug store or health food store that carries all this stuff.

When I pack I put all of my show clothes on hangers and then put individual plastic dry cleaning bags over each item. (Our illustrious producer, Chris Tschida, taught me this.) Works like a charm. Things can be scrunched up in the suitcase for hours and they completely straighten out once they're unpacked!

Cheap Chinese Eats
Alan Frechtman, marketing director
Being the "public" radio guy that I am, I'm always trying to eat well but not spend a week's worth of pledge money. In New York, on 44th St. off of Broadway, is Ollie's Noodle Shop-some of the best Chinese food east or west (depending on which way you fly) of the Yangtze River. The food is tasty and downright cheap for the amount you get.

When I find I have a few hours to kill at the airport, I visit as many men's restrooms as I can and scrawl on the wall tiles the name of our radio show, the time and the local station that airs it. As marketing director, I consider that part of my job.

Best Bar, Best Book
Kathryn Hauser, assistant to the music director
The greatest bar I ever found on the road is Jimmy's Corner in New York's theater district. I never would have known about it if not for the stagehands at The Town Hall. Jimmy's is a normal, working-person's bar, and not all fancy and tres chic like every other place in midtown Manhattan.

The best book I ever read on an airplane was A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. It is hilarious and has an excellent conversational flow to it. I could pick it up, read a few pages, put it down, pick it up again, forget what page
I was on, and not care when I realized I had already read that page, because it was so funny.

Shoe Away Pickpockets
Gary Raynor, bass player for The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band
Most of the hotels we stay in cater to business travelers-people either on expense accounts, or carrying more cash or head room on their credit cards than me-so when I'm looking for restaurant recommendations I don't ask the concierge, but the service staff: the doormen, the guys carrying the bags up to the room, etc. When walking around the towns and stopped at a light, I ask anyone waiting to cross with me. Even people who don't speak English will like to try their high school stuff on Americans.

If I'm in a city for more than a few days, one way to keep in touch with my family back home is to take pictures, have them developed to a disc and send them as attachments to email.

My ironclad travel rule: Never check anything at the airport. If the airlines can possibly lose your stuff, they will. If it doesn't fit in a couple of carry-on bags, then you don't need it. I carry extra cash in my shoes. That may seem weird, but good pickpockets can separate you from anything except your feet.


Deodorant
Cinnamon Altoids
Fresh shirt and undies
Bank card
Gerber all-in-one tool set
Toothbrush/paste

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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