Guest Biographies
SATURDAY, April 5, 1997


Julia Sweeney
Roy Blount Jr.
Kate MacKenzie
Rick Paul
Rachel Schlafer-Parton
Dr. Tom Weaver


A native of Spokane, Julia Sweeney attended the University of Washington in Seattle and graduated with degrees in European history and economics. She became an accountant for Columbia Pictures and realized that acting was her true calling. Sweeney spent four seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, where she became known for the ambiguously gendered character Pat. She has been seen on television and film in numerous other roles, including guest-starring roles on Mad About You and Hope and Gloria. Her film credits include Pulp Fiction; The Coneheads; Honey, I Blew Up the Kids; Stuart Saves His Family; and It's Pat! In 1992, Hyperion Books published It's Pat! My Life Exposed, which Sweeney wrote with Christine Zander, her co-writer on Saturday Night Live. Sweeney studied at the Groundlings Theatre in Los Angeles and performed for four years there. During this time, she co-wrote and starred in the play, Mea's Big Apology, which the LA Weekly named 1988's Best Written Play. A few years ago, she wrote a one-woman show, God Said Ha!, which she performed in L.A. and other cities before opening it on Broadway last fall. In its review, The New York Times raved about Sweeney and said that "on stage she has found the showcase for her real calling: storytelling."

Roy Blount, Jr. is a humorist, sportswriter, poet, performer, lecturer, dramatist, and the author of more than a dozen books. Blount grew up in Decatur, Georgia, received his bachelor's from Vanderbilt and his master's from Harvard. After a brief stint in the Army, he was a reporter, columnist, and part-time English instructor in Atlanta before becoming a writer and editor for Sports Illustrated, where he worked from 1968 until 1975, when he became a freelancer. He is currently a contributing editor for The Atlantic and Men's Journal, and he tells us that his pieces have been published in 111 different publications, including (the old) The New Yorker, Playboy, Vanity Fair, GQ, Life, TV Guide, Vogue, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, and Organic Gardening. His work has also appeared in 104 books, including The Best of Modern Humor, The Elvis Reader, The Ultimate Baseball Book, The Sophisticated Cat, and Roy Blount's Book of Southern Humor, a compendium of Southern writing. In 1992, Blount covered both major party conventions for Comedy Central-he reported on other television coverage, live from a Barcalounger. For various other media, he's covered the Civil Rights movement, the Ku Klux Klan, Saturday Night Live in its prime, and Elvis' funeral, work that's taken him to every U.S. state except three and to China and Uganda. He has also made forays onto the stage. His one-man show at the American Place Theatre was described by The New Yorker as "the most humorous and engaging 50 minutes in town" and it was later expanded into Roy Blount's Happy Hour and a Half. In films, he has portrayed himself as reporter, Truman Capote, and an irate grocery shopper.

Kate MacKenzie has been a favorite guest of A Prairie Home Companion since 1981. For many years, she was lead singer of Stoney Lonesome, with whom she recorded six bluegrass albums, toured Japan and North America, and was featured in the public television series, Showcase. With the Hopeful Gospel Quartet, MacKenzie has recorded a live album from Carnegie Hall, performed at folk festivals in Scotland and Denmark, and performed on PBS' Austin City Limits. Her work with A Prairie Home Companion has included coast-to-coast tours, farewell and reunion shows, 20 Disney Channel television broadcasts, the 1993 Book of Guys tour, and a recurring dramatic role as Sheila, the Christian Jungle girl (wild, yet pure). Her first solo album, Let Them Talk (Red House Records), was on the National Bluegrass Charts for 10 months. MacKenzie's success with Let Them Talk was noted in The New York Times, which grouped MacKenzie in "the new wave of strong female voices." A new recording, Age of Innocence (Red House), was released last fall. In a few weeks, MacKenzie and her band, the Homeboys, can be heard at their pre-tour show: Thursday, April 17 at the Maplewood Community Center.


Our Joke Show
Musicians:

Tongue-clucker Rick Paul comes to us from Peshastin, Washington. At about age five, he started tongue-clucking songs such as How Much Is That Doggie in the Window and You Are My Sunshine. Although he has tongue-clucked in front of his family and in cars and shower stalls, tonight marks Rick Paul's public tongue-clucking debut. Once the debut is done, he goes back to Peshastin and his day job: marketing manager for a commercial millwork company.

A resident of Luttrell, Tennessee, Rachel Schlafer-Parton, sent a tape of her syringe-playing to A Prairie Home Companion's "Talent From Towns Under 2,000" contest. A sign-language interpreter by day, Schlafer-Parton plays flutes, hammered dulcimer, guitar, spoons, and other instruments for a musical trio called Farr Horizons. She started playing syringe after a series of allergy shots forced her to become more familiar with the instrument.

Dr. Tom Weaver has tooth-tapped previously on A Prairie Home Companion: in January 1976 he won $25 in PHC's "Mouth Off" contest. He's appeared on the program several times since then: his performance of the William Tell Overture on his teeth was noted in the 1991 Time magazine article about Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion. A physician and a resident of St. Cloud, Minnesota, Weaver started tooth-tapping in the '60s while watching Sky King on Saturday-morning television.


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).

Available now»

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