Cherry, June 18, 2011

Interlochen Center for the Arts

Interlochen, MI


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Cherry

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GK: The National Cherry Festival is July 2 in Traverse City, with three cherry competitions, cherry-picking, cherry pit spitting, and cherry pie-eating. Which our very own Fred Newman will compete in this year although he's lost his taste for cherries (INDIGESTION), due to an unfortunate incident involving sleepwalking and an entire jumbo-jar of maraschino cherries (EATING, WAKING UP, GAGGING), but he is the champion three years running and the No.2 guy is a French Canadian (TR FRENCH, GUTTURAL) named Jacques LaRoque and Fred feels it's important to keep the trophy in the U.S. The cherry picking is a free-form event. You have to get all the cherries off the tree any way you can. Some competitors use cherry-picking dogs (PACK OF DOGS BAYING), some use a chainsaw (SFX), others simply shake the tree (SFX), Jacques LaRoque uses a 40-horsepower shop vac (TR, SFX), and Fred, being an American guy, uses explosives (SFX). The cherry pit spitting is done while you hang upside down by your ankles (SFX) and they give you ten pits and then swing you over a canyon (SFX), blindfolded, and you're spitting for distance (SFX) and also for accuracy, trying to hit a pie tin that is fired from a catapult (CATAPULT WIND & RELEASE, FLIGHT OF PIE TIN, SPIT, BWANGGG). Last year Jacques LaRoque lost the contest only because he spat the cherry pit so far that they couldn't find it (TR, SPIT), so this year there will be pit-locating sonar (SFX) and Jacques is very confident of victory. (TR ARROGANT LAUGHTER).

GK: And then there is the pie-eating contest. Monsieur LaRoque has a big advantage, an enormous mouth (TR ROAR) and he can stuff an entire pie in it (SFX) and swallow it whole (SFX) ---- whereas Fred, who was well-brought-up, was trained to use a knife and fork and take small bites (SFX) and to maintain an interesting conversation while he eats (FN: So---- lovely weather we've been having----perhaps we should go for a bicycle ride after supper) and to chew with his mouth closed. If you did, of course, you'd lose the contest, you have to shovel it in fast (SFX) Which goes against Fred's upbringing and when he does, he can hear his mama say (FN: Where were you brought up? In a barn?) And he feels shame and humiliation (LOW SHAME NOTES).

So this year Fred will again compete for the U.S., in his red-white-and-blue jump suit, in a contest for which he has lost his appetite (NAUSEA), competing against this hairy-legged Quebecois (TR GUTTURAL FRENCH) for the title of King of the Cherries.' (TRUMPET FANFARE). And now this year for the first time a woman is competing for King of the Cherries. (SS MANLY WOMAN: Get out of my way. Watch yer back, watch yer back. Coming through.) Her name is Sherry Smith and she's big and loud and she grabs that cherry tree and shakes it hard (SS ROAR, SFX) and she can spit a pit so it hits the lit cigarette of a British critic (SS SPIT, FN CRY OF PROTEST: I say, what was that!). And when it comes to pie-eating, she is a human vacuum cleaner (SS ROAR, SFX).

GK: And meanwhile Fred, sickened at the thought of ingesting cherries (GROAN) and encumbered by a genteel upbringing (FN MOTHER: One bite at a time, honey. Chew with your mouth closed.) must go out and uphold American honor against overwhelming odds. Jacques LaRoque has been leaving threatening messages on Fred's voice mail (FN: Hello. I'm not near the phone now but leave your name and number and I'll return your call as soon as possible. Have a nice day. BEEP. TR FRENCH BREATHING)— It's the Traverse City Cherry Triathlon coming up July 2nd and ---- by the way, new rules this year ----- the pie-eating contest will take place on a trampoline. (FN: Oh no!!!!) Blindfolded. Sherry Smith was Camp Trampoline Champ at Baptist Bible Camp at Grand Coulee Dam. (BOUNCING, SS CRIES: Yes! Yes! Yes!) Oddsmakers have Fred a 3-to-1 underdog in early betting. How do you feel, Fred? (FN: Not good. Stomach's been sort of rocky lately. NAUSEA) Good luck to you in Traverse City for the triathlon.

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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