Garrison Keillor February 6, 2011
Garrison Keillor Charms
By Glen Creason
Locals were lucky once again to sit at the red running shoed feet of the master storyteller Garrison Keillor at the Performing Arts Center over the weekend. Anyone who has ever held a microphone in front of a group of any size must bow down to this wonderful humorist, who in my humble opinion is the foremost public speaker in the land. Even the awesome Bill Cosby doesn’t have Keillor’s versatility who sang, told stories and recited great poetry in this superb two hour banquet of the spoken word. After struggling with some health issues a couple of years ago that threatened his performance schedules Keillor is back and better than ever, this time with musical accompaniment ala the Prairie Home Companion radio show he invented and made hugely popular. Not just any accompanists but the excellent Robin and Linda Williams whose talent stood tall even next to the towering Maestro Keillor.
There are so many reasons to love this man’s show from the sincere humility that peppers his droll stories to the ad libbing that on this afternoon included two absolutely brilliant recitation send-ups of
The first bit of humor was a recitation about Atheists which covered the bases and took no sides despite Keillor’s longtime relationship with the Episcopalian and Lutheran churches. Along with the crisp reading of “Hello Stranger” by Robin and Linda he won over the happy crowd with “the Cerritos Song” that I wish I had on my Ipod. He told long stories like ones about his family trip west where they forgot him in a
When Robin and Linda were not singing sweet harmonies they were laughing with the rest of the delighted audience at more stories including the hilarious differences between the world of raising a child forty years ago and the world of raising a child now which Keillor can surely testify to since he has a son 42 years old and a daughter who is 14. Yet, not everything in the show is completely light-hearted, since the man is a great student of great poetry which he recited with ease, grasping lines from Tennyson like we might recite a line from a Four Tops song. As host of the terrific “Writers Almanac” on Public Radio, Keillor is a man of great intellect who has put it to work entertaining and edifying the American public for four decades. In the intimacy of the Performing Arts Center he just came to real-life much to the delight of this adoring crowd.