January 16, 2010
War Memorial Opera House

San Francisco, CA

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GK:  We're in San Francisco at the War Memorial Opera House — It's a compact city of about 46 square miles, about 9 by 5, which makes it friendly to the bicycle (BIKE PASSING, PEDALING, SQUEEZE BULB HORN) even though it's hilly — the city provides bike catapults — here's a bicyclist riding onto a catapult platform (BIKE BRAKES) and he's all set (YO. DUDE) (CATAPULT RELEASE, FLIGHT OF BIKE, SQUEAK OF TIRES) and up he goes to continue his journey (BIKE). You've seen some of these hills in movies, and always with a car racing down them (CAR ACCEL, FLIES OFF HILL, SQUEAL OF TIRES, CAR ACCEL, SHIFTS DOWN, FLIES OFF HILL, SQUEAL OF TIRES, CAR ACCEL, LONG FLIGHT, SPLASH IN WATER, SEAGULLS RISE UP) . The Opera House is on Van Ness and it's near here they hold the annual Running of the San Francisco Symphony in which musicians run through the streets and (BASSOON, RUNNING) and there goes a bassoonist there, and the musicians run with no pants on and they're chased by Chihuahuas (SFX) and there goes a cellist (SFX, RUNNING) with Chihuahuas on his heels (SFX) and a tympanist (SFX) with a chimpanzee (SFX), and a tuba played by scuba diver (SFX) in flippers— it's an old tradition and like a lot of old traditions, nobody remembers how it got started because it was back during the era of hallucinogenic drugs. Same with the Bay to Breakers run and Critical Mass and Robert Burns's birthday when everyone goes around in a plaid skirt

GK: ….(BAGPIPES PLAY "I LEFT MY HEART IN S.F."). It's a festive town because everyone is in a minority here (KOTO MUSIC) and since there is no majority, nobody is responsible — we Anglos are a minority (ANGLO MEN: HAPPY HAPPY ANGLOS ARE WE, ONE BIG CAUCASIAN MINORITY. FEEL NO GRIEF, FEEL NO SHAME — NUTS TO YOU WE'RE NOT TO BLAME.  W-A-S-P. YES!!!!) — babies are a small minority, there aren't very many of them (BABY CRY) which is sad for the babies, but a baby grows up tough in San Francisco.  Ever so often a baby will reach down and release the brake on a buggy and (BUGGY ROLLING, BABY HAPPY, CARS HONKING, BABY SINGING, BUGGY ROLLING FASTER. MOTHER RUNNING FAST IN HIGH HEELS, "HONEY?/ HONEY???". CABLE CAR GOES BY) And those babies grow up to be skateboarders going down Lombard Street (Board Cornering With Long Wavey "Whoaaaaa-Whooaaaa-Whooaaaa"). You can't be afraid of gravity in San Francisco. Home of high-class panhandlers (PAN HANDLER: "SPARE 5 BUCKS FOR A CUP A CHAI? AND 10 FOR A COUPLE OF CROISSANTS?"). A city of dramatic stories and so naturally it loves opera, in all forms.

(La Donne Mobile (PERFORMED ON POPPING CORKS — BY SINGING DUCKS —  ON ESPRESSO MACHINE — BY BOAT HORNS) —Chinese New Year is big here (FIRECRACKERS, ROCKETS), and Anglo Days

GK:    (MARCHING FEET. MEN: GIVE ME SOME MEN WHO ARE CAUCASIAN MEN, WHO KEEP THEIR FEET ON THE FLOOR……) and so is Robert Burns's birthday. San Franciscans in plaid skirts, marching down McMarket Street, (BAGPIPES, MARCHING FEET) and throwing linguini and scallops to the crowd (WHOOPS, SQUORTS) — we don't know why — it's a tradition started back when we were younger and did things like that.

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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