April 24, 2010
The Town Hall

New York, NY

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Volcano

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GK: The eruption of the volcano in Iceland opened up thousands of jobs in the arts last week.

SS: You mean the volcano known as Eyjafjallajokull (EYE-a-fyat-la-jo-kutl)?

GK: Right, the volcano in Iceland. It spewed millions of tons of ash over Europe which shut down trans-Atlantic flights and that meant that the Italian tenor Martino Mozzarella was stuck in Naples (TR, ANGRY ITALIAN ON PHONE) and had to miss "Rigoletto" at the Met and his part was sung by Fred Newman.

FN (SINGS): Nessun dorma, nessun dorma.

GK: How'd it go, Fred?

FN: It was beautiful. I loved it. I was a spearchucker in "Aida" so I know my way around a stage. And the music is not that hard. Not that hard.

GK: How were the reviews?

FN: We got pounded.

GK: Sorry.

FN: But I don't care. I never read reviews.
GK: That's a good idea.

FN: They called it "pitiful self-indulgence on a scale that beggars the imagination" — Oh well. Who cares. They're just not that into my style.

GK: — The English actress Gwendolyn Smythe-Aspic couldn't make it over to do "My Fair Lady" so Sue Scott stood in for her.

(MUSIC)
SS (SINGS, COCKNEY):
All I want is a five-room flat
Somewhere spacious to hang my hat
Furnished with a welcome mat
If only he would marry me.


GK: The English violinist Vivian Birdwhistle (TR ANCIENT ENGLISHMAN WITH BIG JOWLS) was unable to make his date at Carnegie Hall playing the world premiere of the Kropotkin Concerto Umbilico so Andy Stein filled in.

(POSTMODERN VIOLIN CADENZA)

GK: So how did it go?

AS: For what it was, it wasn't that bad. Me and the orchestra— we all got to the end at about the same time. So—who can complain?

GK: European artists trapped over there due to the Icelandic volcano spewing tons of ash into the sky.

TR: The volcano Eyjafjallajokull (EYE-a-fyat-la-jo-kutl), you mean.

GK: That's the one. And now that the spewing of ash has diminished, the Europeans will be returning to the U.S. to conduct our orchestras and sing in our opera companies and act on our stages, and American artists will return to what they've been doing for years.

FN: My name is Fred and I'll be your server tonight. Our soup tonight is an artichoke bisque with an effusion of avocado and our fish tonight is a steamed grouper served on a bed of basmati rice with medallions of parsnip. And for dessert, an Icelandic chocolate volcano.

GK: Does that have an Icelandic name?

FN: The volcano? I don't think so. It's just a big mound of cake with chocolate flowing out.

GK: Spewing?

FN: You eat it with a spoon.
GK: But it doesn't have an Icelandic name? A hard-to-pronounce Icelandic name?

FN: Icelandic is not that hard to pronounce.

GK: Are you Icelandic?

FN: No. Not at all. But the language is very beautiful.

GK: What about the volcanoes?

FN: You mean Eyjafjallajokull?

GK: Yes.

FN: A piece of cake.

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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