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The Witch's Voice

Coming out of the broom closet.

Chess on the Net

An online community where those with the best moves always mate.

In the Valley of the Kings

Breaking new ground in Egypt -- and on the Web.

Autumn Tapestry

The traditional art of weaving -- in code.


What better place for bibliophiles, bibliopoles, bibliotaphs, and bibliomaniacs to congregate?

Car Talk

It's not just on NPR.

The Official Guide to Bedlam

The teeming, chaotic, utterly bizarre world of popular music on the Web -- brought to you by MTV and Yahoo!.

Shakespeare's Theatre

A multimedia tribute to the reopening of the Globe.

Classically Inclined

A refreshingly fundamental approach to classical music.

For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.
Prairie Home Companion

October 1, 1997

Rodents in Lake Wobegon, names of the dead listed in the phone book, possible sightings of the Virgin Mary in dead flies -- such are the concerns of the online fans of Garrison Keillor, the long-time host of the Minnesota Public Radio show "A Prairie Home Companion." What's unusual here is that Keillor actually jumps into the fray, regularly hosting chat forums and posting answers -- ranging from deadpan to goofy to serious -- to his readers' and listeners' questions. "I'm glad you asked," Keillor replies to a man seeking advice on Garrison Keillorchemical-resistant socks, "I'd try an inexpensive white work sock, the kind that comes in a pack of ten."

"A Prairie Home Companion" on the Web is vintage Keillor. In October, for example, the genial radio host will be making appearances online every Wednesday during his lunch hour to attend to such topics as "What Garrison Keillor needs to know about women" and "What Garrison Keillor needs to know about Lutherans and Catholics." The questions may not be pressing and the forum topics may seem inconsequential, but from a man who says about his books, "I only wanted to write stuff that would make readers laugh ... even if they were on airplanes at the time and there was turbulence," this is the real thing.

There is substance to the site, however. Most compelling are the "Netcasts": live weekly audio-visual broadcasts of "A Prairie Home Companion" from the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul, Minnesota. For loyal listeners of the radio version of the show, too, the site is a useful resource, making available broadcast dates, guests, and venues, starting Writers almanacwith the 1995-1996 season and continuing on into 1998. And the "Performance Rundown" of every show since January, 1996 -- complete with a minute-by-minute schedule ("12:58 HOWLING? WHOOPING BLUES, 15:59 APPLAUSE") and RealAudio clips -- allow online browsers to sample bygone performances.

All of this may only whet fans' appetites, of course, but tickets to upcoming shows can be purchased online. And when the troublesome question of what socks to wear to the show comes up, there's now a solution: log on to the Web and ask Garrison Keillor himself.

Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
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