Elenas's Farewell Luncheon
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

On Tuesday, July 29, the staff of A Prairie Home Companion held a fashion lunch at La Grolla, on Selby Avenue in St. Paul. The occasion was to wish staff member Elena See a fond farewell, as she departs for graduate school in Maine. Some of the fashionable highlights:

Thomas Scheuzger
Thomas Scheuzger
Kate Gustafson
Kate Gustafson
Kathryn Hauser
Kathryn Hauser
Sue Scott
Sue Scott
Kathy Roach
Kathy Roach
Andrew Palmer
Andrew Palmer
Chris Benson
Chris Benson
Deb Beck
Deb Beck
Tiffany Hanssen
Tiffany Hanssen
Russ Ringsak
Russ Ringsak
Elena See
Elena See

Engineer Thomas Scheuzger was wearing trousers from the Classic Levi Strauss Denim 1873 line. He chose the 550s, in indigo. He coupled this with a limited edition Beefy T-shirt in heather grey, from the Perry Greene Kennels in Waldoboro, Maine, the purported "home of the chinook." He accessorized the ensemble with shoes by Rockport, Pro-Walkers in a nice tumbled black nubuck, which perfectly matched his belt by Columbia.

The Fitzgerald Theater's Katie Burger selected a pair of Tommy Jeans, of the Hilfiger line, which she purchased with the money she received by returning a pair of Liz Claiborne slacks her parents gave her for Christmas. She imagines that the Tommy jeans make her look young and hip (but not "hippy," or for that matter, "hippie"). We think she succeeded! The jeans were accented by a sporty striped T-shirt and blue suede sneakers from Land's End.

Prairie Home Production's Kate Gustafson wore a cool Chris Banks design, reminiscent of a 1960s elegant beach soiree. The delicate summer peach top was flippantly tied and reflected a certain luminosity picked up by the tiny peach and yellow flowers in her ankle-length black skirt. Open-toed black sandals were not only summer-appropriate, but were also a gateway to the most recent addition to Kate's fashion life—pedicures!

Albert Webster was the very picture of "Summer Stage Manager," with a print shirt from Terre Fini, shorts in his work color from Jacques Penet, and sandals imported from across Lake Michigan. Albert's outfit says: "I'm resting up for the Rhubarb tour."

Producer Kathryn Hauser showed up in a basic black above-the-knee skirt from Express, matched with a baby blue brocade chemise discovered at the Finders Keepers boutique during a recent shopping spree in Bend, Oregon. She completed the ensemble with a daring pair of black leather mary jane shoes by John Fluevog, with peek-a-boo slingback heels (not pictured). Her serious, all-business attire says "Let's do lunch," while the sassy footwear says "You're buying!"

A Prairie Home Companion favorite Sue Scott, never one to disappoint at a fashion event, played it safe, yet stunning, in a black thin-strapped tank top with a matching sweater, paired with a tropical print long wrap skirt. She playfully adorned her feet with black thong sandals.

Office coordinator Kathy Roach's layered outfit had a look of unity and coordination. It is made of natural fibers—linen and cotton—which are cool, absorbent, and unfortunately, wrinkle very easily. The predominantly snow white ensemble included a knit lightweight pullover shell, a sheer woven floral loose fitting over-blouse with a pointed collar and long sleeves, and a solid colored bias-cut skirt. The floral design was a bouquet of bright colors, including lemon chiffon yellow, azure blue, spring green, lime green, coral, and watermelon pink. Delicious!

The Writer's Almanac production assistant Andrew Palmer's outfit was notable for its stately casualness. The T-shirt, in crepuscular blue and Klondike gold, was acquired directly from the Carleton College bookstore, in a remote corner of rural Minnesota. The Columbia cargo shorts, in Ghana green, were as practical as they were flattering, perfect for storing Kleenex, pocket knives, or spare Writer's Almanac poems. All of the material is cotton, bringing a sense of unity and a hint of formality to what may appear to be an arbitrary selection of garments from Andrew's dirty clothes pile.

The Fitzgerald Theater's Chris Benson is stunning in a plaid blue collared T-shirt from Dayton's (not Marshall Field's) and olive drab hiking shorts, compliments of his brother-in-law, a professional athlete with a Nike endorsement deal. He accessorized with brown Propét walking sandals and matching leather belt with Leatherman Super Tool in coordinating dark brown case.

Office manager Deb Beck, ever the professional, looked summer cool in her classic low-calf length khaki skirt, which worked well to hide the summer maladies of poison ivy, bug bites, and ever-present rock climbing bruises. She topped off the look with the always-elegant black tank and never-out-of-style black sandals.

Comedy College producer Tiffany Hanssen's summery look comes directly from the Target boutique and included a sun-kissed yellow cotton dress with pink sparkling slides and matching handbag. While left feeling slightly exposed, she worked happily and continually on her malignant melanoma.

Driver Russell Ringsak's ensemble was a traditional American riding outfit. His black pants, 100 percent cotton, were hand-crafted in the U.S.A. and featured a tasteful grey leather patch on the belt line above the left rear pocket. The pocket was embossed with the words "Harley-Davidson Motor Cycles." The red T-shirt was modified by the wearer himself—the sleeves and neck had been trimmed off—for a more provocative look. It read "Broken Spoke Saloon" on the front and "Sturgis Motor Works" on the back (not pictured). The black leather vest is vintage 1995 and comes from the annual Sturgis rally in South Dakota. It was crafted by an unknown artist and featured adjustable leather ties at the sides. He accessorized his couture with medium hikers from Timberland, sunglasses from Serengeti, and sunblock from Banana Boat.

Producer Jason Keillor displayed traditional miner's clothing, popularized around San Francisco by Levi Strauss. This 19th-century fashion statement continues to grow in its usefulness and appeal.

Jenny Lind Nilsson was fabulous in a blue linen blouse, silver bracelet, and white cotton trousers. Like the aforementioned Kate Gustafson, Jenny's toes were also freshly pedicured.

Garrison Keillor's outfit was exclusively from the Land's End collection, known for their dependable high quality. An A+ every time.

Finally, our guest of honor, departing production assistant Elena See, emerged in a strappy sundress, which is a little out of character for the demure Miss See. The sundress is cool enough even for the hot Minnesota summer sun. The festive colors of red and orange are not generally worn by redheads, however, with her short hair and spunky attitude, Elena has the panache to pull it off. Her clunky black sandals are comfortable, yet stylish, and offered a bit of realism in an otherwise over-dramatic and other-worldly summer look.

It was a beautiful day, a beautiful lunch, and a fitting tribute to such a beautiful person. Good luck to you, Elena!

—the staff of A Prairie Home Companion and Prairie Home Productions.

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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