War Memorial Opera House
San Francisco, CA«archive page
TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions…..Guy Noir, Private Eye.
GK: It was January and I was trying to leave San Francisco and get back to St. Paul but the security line at the airport was slow due to the number of people with metal in their bodies. (ALARM)
FN: Step back, remove any metal on you, okay?
SS: You've gotta be kidding.
FN: Otherwise we're gonna have to pat you down.
SS: You lay hands on me and you're history.
GK: They should've had an express line for the unpierced, but no (ALARM)
FN: Step back, try again.
GK: So I stayed for another week. Why not? I hadn't seen the king Tut exhibit and there was a club in the Mission where these—you know— well that's what I was told anyway—I was curious. (BRIDGE)
Besides, it was cold in Minnesota. It's cold in San Francisco, too, but mainly in the summertime. I was down at Sam's Grill on Bush Street, enjoying the fried clams when I ran into another private eye, name of Sam Spade.
TR (BOGART): Hey Noir. See you made it back. What happened? Some dame throw you over? Or you just like fried clams?
GK: What happened to me? What happened to you, pal? I thought you moved to LA
TR (BOGART): Why would I want to go live in a parking lot? This is my town, Noir. You looking for work?
GK: I might be.
TR (BOGART): I might have something for you over in Berkeley.
GK: Oh yeah?
TR (BOGART): Somebody started up a zoo and the neighbors are upset. Can you take care of it?
GK: You don't want it?
TR (BOGART): I never go over there anymore on account of I once fell hard for a Berkeley girl. English major. She used to read Shakespeare to me. "Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments." Then she found some impediments. And now whenever I walk down Telegraph Avenue I burst into tears.
GK: I understand, believe me.
TR (BOGART): Wish I did. (BRIDGE)
GK: So I went over to Berkeley to meet Cal Barkley, the neighbor of Becky Bixby who'd started the zoo.
FN: It's an outrage. Animals in cages. Did you know that Berkeley has a Freedom of All Species law?
GK: No, sir.
FN: First in the nation. We think that if you can only control an animal through cages or leashes, then something is terribly wrong with the relationship.
How would you feel if someone were leading you around on a leash?
GK: Depends on what she's wearing.
FN: This zoo is not in compliance. But the city won't do anything because Becky Bixby's best friend is Brooke Backstrom. She's Bert Bacharach's bookkeeper and she ran the Berkeley for Barack campaign.
GK: Where would I find Becky Bixby?
FN: At the Bangkok Bakery.
GK: In Berkeley?
FN: You bet. (STING)
GK: Miss Bixby owned the Bangkok Bakery, which was next-door to the Berkeley Botanical Blanket shop.
SS: Hi. Becky biked to Bakersfield on her motorbike so I'm running the bakery. You care for a blackened broccoli bisque baked on bricks?
GK: Becky Bixby doesn't sound like anyone from Bangkok.
SS: Brooklyn. She's Bert Bacharach's bookkeeper. Buxom gal, sort of a Sandra Bullock look-alike but with buck-teeth and a beautymark on her beak.
GK: I thought Brooke Backstrom was Bert Bacharach's bookkeeper.
SS: I'm Brooke Backstrom.
GK: You're a Berkeley grad?
SS: Wrote a book on Bix Beiderbeck's effect on Samuel Beckett and Bertolt Brecht. How about breakfast? Buckwheat bean-curd pancakes with bok choi biscuits? Buckwheat kills bacteria better than broccoli. You know that?
GK: How much for the biscuits?
SS: Two bucks.
GK: Too much bad cholesterol. I'd need a bicarbonate with that. So what's with the Zoo?
SS: How about a botanical blanket? Got black blankets from the Balkans, biodegradable, and also botanical Birkenstock bikinis and burkas.
GK: Birkenstock makes burkas?
SS: In Berkeley they do. Buy a Birkenstock burka and get a free box of Bics.
GK: Bix Beiderbecke?
SS: Bics pens.
GK: No. Thanks.
SS: You don't want to break bread?
SS: Why not?
GK: Because. (STING) I was getting nowhere at the Bangkok Bakery so I went to the neighbor on the other side, who ran a shop called Cal's Cat Clinic.
TR (SOFT-SPOKEN): Hi. I'm Cal. (MEOW) And these are clients of mine. This is Meow Tse-Tung. (MEOW) And this is F. Cat Fitzgerald. (MEOW) And this is Cat Stevens. (MEOW)
GK: You only treat male cats?
TR: Yes. I offer a neutering service.
GK: I see.
TR: It's a painless laser process and all I do is just calm the cat so he doesn't leap up in my face easy, boy easy, easy (CAT PURR) and then we snip them off (BUZZ OF LASER, AND TWO SOFT PLOPS) see how that works?
GK: I wasn't looking that time.
TR: Neutering is very good for a male cat. After they're neutered, they're so much happier and better adjusted. I am very evangelical about neutering. I think it's the answer to so many of our problems.
GK: Why do you say "our"?
TR: Male aggressiveness is the cause of so much of what's wrong in our world. Easy, fella. Easy. (CAT PURRS) Easy, honey. Daddy's going to help you now. (BUZZ OF LASER AND TWO SOFT PLOPS)
GK: Nice to meet you, Cal.
TR: Don't rush off. Care for some deep-fried oysters?
GK: These are oysters?
TR: Yes. Deep-fried in cornmeal batter.
GK: They look rather small for oysters.
TR: They're delicious. Try some.
GK: No thanks. (FOOTSTEPS) (STING) The Zoo was called Community of Life and there was a cougar there (SFX) and a Corgi (SFX) and two cormorants(SFX), a camel (SFX), two cats (SFX), a condor (SFX), a cockatoo (SFX), a chinchilla (SFX), and a crocodile (SFX). They were wandering around a backyard through the bushes, and a woman was feeding them.
SS: Hi, I'm Becky Bixby.
GK: Thought you'd gone to Bakersfield.
SS: I'm back.
GK: Just came to investigate the Zoo, Becky.
SS: Not a zoo. It's a community of life.
GK: Okay, but Berkeley has a Freedom of All Species Act that forbids restraints.
SS: You see any restraints?
GK: So you're saying these animals are here of their own will?
SS: Ask any of them. Talk to the camel.
GK: You got a minute to talk?
FN (CAMEL): Sure. Call me Joe.
GK: You like it here, Joe?
FN (CAMEL): Compared to the Sahara, it isn't bad.
GK: You get enough food?
FN (CAMEL): Get food, water, get health care, working a 30-hour week, get vacation. Free child care. Not bad.
GK: Okay. Just checking. (FOOTSTEPS) Excuse me.
FN (COCKATOO): Who? Me?
GK: You're a cockatoo?
FN (COCKATOO): I am.
GK: You happy here in Berkeley?
FN (COCKATOO): Couldn't be better. I'm the head cockatoo at the Bangkok Bakery. All the bok choi I can eat and I entertain at banquets.
GK: What do you do at banquets?
FN (COCKATOO): I breakdance. (COCKATOO BREAKDANCING) (INTO BRIDGE)
GK: I liked Berkeley. And there was work for me. Plastic bags are outlawed here. Just paper. You take your paper bag to the farmers market and buy locally grown vegetables off the back of a pickup. But some people prefer to buy foreign vegetables in shrink wrap, and they're willing to pay, so I became a smuggler. Driving into town after dark, selling Chilean apples laced with pesticides, giant squash pumped up on growth hormones.
TR (RICO, WHISPER): Hey? You got cheese?
GK: Got Chinese cheese.
TR (RICO): Organic?
GK: No way. Want me to cut you some?
TR (RICO): Sure.
SS: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions…..Guy Noir, Private Eye.
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).