Joy, December 17, 2011

The Town Hall

New York, NY


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Joy

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(SING)

I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day in the morning.

TR: I grew up in Winthrop, Minnesota, and was married to Evelyn for 37 years until she died and the first I ever laid eyes on New York City was last year when I came out to check up on a niece in Brooklyn. She’s a documentary filmmaker with a day job in a nursing home. I brought her a jar of my homemade blackberry brandy and she didn’t care for it but a friend of hers who’s in marketing thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread and she paid my way to come and sell the stuff at the Union Square Holiday Market under a big sign said ORVILLE’S HOMEMADE BRANDY, A SURE CURE FOR COUGHS, and to make a long story short, we sold 18,000 jars of blackberry brandy. I had made 100 jars but Melissa found some brandy in Brooklyn that was sort of like mine and she bought a truckload of pint jars and she printed up labels that, doggone it, looked hand-written. So it was a big hit and she got me a distribution contract and set up a factory in Guatemala and last year we did 200,000 jars of Orville’s brandy and I just bought me an apartment in Tribeca. I like it. I’ve got two dogs and a personal trainer and I’m all set.

TR: My niece is really depressed. She wants to find a husband and make documentary films. That’s the problem, wanting something----- I never wanted to be in retail sales and I never cared for blackberry brandy. At all. The way to get what you want is to not care one way or another. Just wait for a miracle. Merry Christmas.

And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the bells on earth shall ring,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

SS: I came to New York fifteen years ago to escape from my family and get into theater, and I’ve done some stuff but I’m still waiting for my big break. Anyway----- I found a one-bedroom apartment. A sublet. Eighty-seventh and Amsterdam, $500 a month. I know---- unbelievable. It’s a condo and it’s owned by a 96-year-old woman named Esther Larson who went to a nursing home and that’s how come the low rent. The rules of the condominium association say: no renters. None. So ---- what I’ve done is to dress up as Esther Larson, put on a white wig, put on old lady makeup, go around shopping and so forth ---- because the condominium association is very strict about this rule. I’ve become Esther Larson. She was a member of Advent Lutheran Church on 93rd and Broadway, so I go to church, and----- as a way of getting into the role ----- I became a believer.

SS: I was a total atheist but I really really need this apartment. So I went to church and ----- one Sunday morning, I just felt this sort of transformation or something. I always believed in the power of theater and now I have experienced it. I came to New York to be an actor and instead I have become an elderly Lutheran lady named Esther Larson. It’s a miracle. Praise God. Merry Christmas.

And all the Angels in Heaven shall sing,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the Angels in Heaven shall sing,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

FN: I grew up in Boston and let’s just say that Christmas was very very intense for me and I ’ve been in therapy for twenty-seven years working through some of those memories so every year I go to Martinique to get away from it and focus on sunshine and good feelings and----- my big problem is oranges. There always was an orange in my Christmas stocking, growing up, and so ---- for me ----- oranges carry a lot of baggage. My parents gave me oranges, and books, and all I wanted for Christmas was a chemistry set so I could make explosives and blow up things. I kept asking for it and they never gave me one. So ---- every Christmas Eve, on Martinique, I go down to the beach (SURF, GULLS) and I take a bucket of oranges and I stick cherry bombs in them and I throw them out over the water (HE THROWS, THEN EXPLOSION),

FN: ...it’s really therapy for me, it’s very cleansing, I’m discarding a lot of bad memories (HE THROWS, THEN EXPLOSION), I make the cherry bombs myself and they’re powerful, you can feel the explosion fifty feet away (HE THROWS, THEN BIG EXPLOSION), I take an orange and all the neglect and the loneliness of childhood I put into that orange and then (HE THROWS, THEN BIG EXPLOSION) and I came down to my last orange and I put my bad memories of Christmas into that orange and I threw it high in the air (HE THROWS) and suddenly out of the water (DOLPHIN) an enormous dolphin rose and caught the orange in his mouth (SFX) and I waited for the bomb to go off and it didn’t. The dolphin ate the orange (SFX) and nothing happened. And then I realized I had put a cherry in the orange. A Bing cherry. It was a miracle. Merry Christmas.

And all the souls on earth shall sing,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
And all the souls on earth shall sing,
On Christmas Day in the morning.
Then let us all rejoice again,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
Then let us all rejoice again,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

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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