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A Prairie Home Companion at Sea - Day 6

August 18, 2006

More of Donna Fox's adventures at sea with public radio's most beloved host.

July 19 Ketchikan, Alaska

Our last stop in Alaska, can it be over so soon? We have about three hours to go ashore. We opt not to do an excursion today and find ourselves watching a man fishing from a bridge in the center of town lose his large Alaska King salmon to a harbor seal.

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Then we get a tip from a couple who has been on all the other excursions we have taken to go see Dolly's House on Creek Street. It seems that Dolly, 5'9" and about 200 pounds, "entertained" gentlemen from 1919 until 1954 when the brothels were shut down by the city. She lived in this house until the last year and a half of her life. It has been restored to what it looked like before she went into a nursing home. Supposedly all the furnishings and clothing belonged to her. A fascinating step back into the wild years of Alaskan history.

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The afternoon found me sitting in the Crow's Nest at the Songwriters' Show. Try to imagine sitting 12 feet from Pat Donahue, Rich Dworsky, Dan Newton, and Robin and Linda Williams listening to them perform their own songs. Pat had us in stitches with his "Would You Like to Play the Guitar?" to the tune of "Swinging on a Star". Click here for the lyrics of "Would You Like to Play the Guitar?" Robin and Linda's "Traffic Light" struck a responsive chord. Here are the lyrics: Click here for lyrics of "Traffic Light". Dan entertained us with his amazing playing and lyrics. What can I say that I haven't already about Rich Dworsky? He is so gifted. The five of them did a round robin for an hour and a half.

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Tonight's show was the last APHC for the cruise. How bittersweet it is to know that tomorrow is our last day together. The audience gathers about 45 minutes before show time and begins to sing, using the songbook put together by APHC. About a half hour later Garrison appears in his tux and takes a seat among the audience to sing along. When it is show time, he opens by remarking on the fact that we had sat there for 45 minutes singing and entertaining ourselves.

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One of the best parts of watching APHC live is watching Garrison throw out lines that require sound effects. Fred was busy being birds, whales, seals, walruses, boats, helicopters, floatplanes, the ship's commodes (a very distinctive sound), and so many more. He did throw up his hands when Garrison called for a sperm whale! It was neat that Loren's suggestion to Fred that he do the two different sounds that the Maasdam and Zaandam commodes made were written into the script.

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The klezmer band, Kosher Red Hots, rocked the place. Such energy! Redd Volkaert Band with Cindy Cashdollar wowed us with their playing.

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And of course, we were highly entertained by all the cast and the regular spots such as Powdermilk Biscuits and The Ketchup Advisory Board.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at August 18, 2006 10:08 AM


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