A Prairie Home Companion Segment 10 for April 5, 2014
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TR: (ANC) A dark night, in a city that knows how to keep it's secrets, but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions.....Guy Noir, Private Eye.

GK: It was April and there were intimations of spring in the air. Dogs were thrilled by a world of smells. People who'd been going around with headphones on for months took them off and were looking around with interest and not that glazed look of musical hypnosis. And a woman on West 86th Street actually smiled at me. A New York woman. I would've fallen down in a faint except I was late for a meeting with an agent named Sol Hoopii who had a band he wanted me to manage.

TR (NY): It's a bluegrass band called Loose Change. Two guys and a girl. Serena and Steve and Carl. They've been kicking around for awhile and now they're extremely hot and I want them to get even hotter.

GK: Bluegrass. I know nothing about it. TR (NY): No problem. I just want you to watch over them. They're very needy. Here----- listen to a cut from their new album.

SARA w NC: He's not that smart so I call him Rocky Top, He's stoned most of the time And there ain't no hair on rocky top, And I know he's mine. Rocky top, you'll always be Pure virility. Good ole rocky top, Hop on top of me. Down in Tennessee. (MUSIC FADE)

GK: Kind of suggestive, huh. TR (NY): It's adult bluegrass. First R-rated bluegrass band in America. I got em a gig at the Tom Tom Room at the Iroquois Hotel. They open Friday night. It's gonna be big.

GK: You sure? TR (NY): For years bluegrass bands have been trying to put out this Baptist Boy Scout image and everybody knows how wild they are. Loose Change is just letting it all hang out. People love it. Listen to this-

SW & CT: Late in the evening about sundown High on the hill and above the town Uncle Pen took his fiddle out of his pants You could hear it sing, you could hear it dance.

TR: Well, bluegrass always had murder and adultery in it, so why not sing about consensual relations.

GK: I met the band Loose Change at Virgils barbecue- Serena, Steve, and you must be Carl.

CT: I am-And I love bluegrass, I hate to be dragging it through the dirt. On the other hand, I like having money. I just wish we didn't have to compromise our integrity. On the other hand, I've gotten used to paying $300 for a haircut. I don't know that I can go back. (BRIDGE)

GK: Their new record was coming out the night of the Tom Tom gig, called "Down In The Valley With You".

ALL THREE (SING): I go down in the valley with you Doing the things we used to do I want to see your underwear Good Lord, let's go astray. Oh darling, let's go down. Go to town, come on down. Oh darling, let's go down Down in the valley with you. (BRIDGE)

GK: It's a funny business, the one that there's no business like. That night, Carl took his purebred Persian cat, Bonjour for a walk (SFX) and a photographer was there

SS: Hey over here. SFX) and the cat got spooked (SFX) and Carl said-

CT: Shut up, ya ugly dust mop, or I'll show you how we play cat Frisbee! (CAT)

GK: And that was the clip that got onto Twitter. A man threatening a cat. He was brought in for questioning. The cat was taken into custody by social services. The clip appeared on all the network newscasts.

CT: Shut up, ya ugly dust mop, or I'll show you how we play cat frisbee-

GK: We arranged for Carl to hold a press conference.

CT: Last night was the worst night of my life. I have always loved cats. But last night, due to my taking a prescription drug whose side-effects include dementia, I showed insensitivity to a fellow creature and I will feel bad about that for the rest of my life. I am hereby donating $10,000 to the Cat Foundation.

GK: But it wasn't enough. And the next day I stopped in at the Tom Tom Room and the manager Tony Antoinette gave me the bad news.

FN (NY): I had to cancel, Guy. Too much pressure. Cat Stevens called, and Bertha Kitt and Katz's Deli, Kitty Russell, Tom Waits, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise and I booked a singer named Shoshana Swanson.

GK: You couldn't use my guys for an opening act, maybe?

FN (NY): They're poison right now. They're radioactive. I mean, you go off and attack a cat-

GK: He didn't attack the cat. He maybe raised his voice----

FN (NY): Whatever. Don't matter

GK: Used to be, an artist got in trouble, there'd be a mention in a gossip column, two days later it had blown over. Now there's a video online, ten million people look at it, and it stays up forever, and even if you had painted the Sistine Ceiling while composing the Mass in B minor, you would be known for that one dumb thing you yelled at somebody with a video camera. (BRIDGE)

GK: Sol Hoopii, as you can imagine, was hugely irked at me.

TR (NY): You were supposed to babysit them, not let him go abusing a cat. New York loves animals.

GK: He just yelled at the cat. TR (NY): Yeah, well, don't make me come over there and yell at you, Noir. Get that band a gig at the Tom Tom Room. Whatever you need to do. Or else. (BRIDGE)

GK: So I went to the Tom Tom room to see Shoshana Swanson's act. She was a chanteuse who, instead of the Gershwin/Styne/Sondheim songbook, sang songs that Generation Xers remembered from Montessori.

(SULTRY): A B C D E F G Wish that U were here with me H I J K LM N I will say it once again O P Q R S T U Simply cause you know it's true V W X Y Z Wish that you and I were we.


GK: Shoshana had a huge fan base that nobody knew about, people who had warm memories of early childhood and also immigrants who had been through English as a Second Language. There were men hanging on her every word, grown men, who seemed transported by her singing and some of them had brought rugs and lay down on the floor as she sang.

(SINGS): Wash and brush and poop and flush That is how we start the day. Floss and comb and let's go home And use your words, okay? Floss and wash and poop and wipe. Put on your socks, the ones with stripes. Put on your pants and your shirt. And you can have your peach yoghurt. (AUDIENCE CLAMOR)

GK: Shoshana Swanson's manager was a battleaxe named Prudence Pritchett and I accosted her in the hotel lobby

SS: Shoshana is Shoshone, sir, she's from Cheyenne. Went to St. Sharon Shoshone School and spent summers singing to Shropshire sheep in the Shell Mountains.

GK: But Shoshana isn't a Shoshone name.

SS: Shoshana's Shoshone name is She Who Snowshoes Sure-Footedly. And she's not only Shoshone, she's also Cheyenne, Snohomish, Suquamish,Swinomish, Shinnecock, and Shakopee.

GK: Where did Shoshana study?

SS: She studied voice at Vassar, then switched to shorthand at Swarthmore, and advanced semantics at the Massachusetts Institute of Systematic Linguistics. Spent sixteen months as an exchange student in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

GK: Well, do you think she'd be willing to maybe get an opening act. I happen to have a terrific bluegrass band called Loose Change.

SS: Is that the band that beat up on a cat?

GK: They didn't beat up on it- there were voices raised.

SS: The answer is No. N-O. Okay? (BRIDGE)

GK: Loose Change lost their homes, they moved to Far Rockaway. They found other work. Serena got a cooking show on TV.

SW (SLOWLY): As we bring the water to a boil and then put the macaroni into it, we are grating the cheese into a bowl which we'll pour onto the macaroni when it's cooked.

GK: And Steve became a horse whisperer.

SeanW: (WHISPER) You are a beautiful horse and you are just about to become the father of a baby horse. (WHINNY)

GK: And Carl became a comedian in a little club called Comedian's Corner out in Canarsie.

CT: Hey I used to be a banker but I lost interest. Okay? I used to be afraid of pole vaulting and then I got over it. Right? I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me. There is a hole in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it. (BRIDGE)

GK: Shoshana Swanson soon dropped the Swanson and then the Shana and she became one of those one-name stars, like Cher or Beyonce or Madonna. She played enormous arenas and thousands of people came and they brought blankets and everybody got a glass of milk and warm cookies.

(SINGS): Let's be friends Let's share our things Recess - oh yes- I'll meet you by the swings

GK: There were rumors that she didn't care for cats, or dogs, or fish, or birds, but her publicist managed to keep it out of the papers. (THEME)

TR: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but one man is still trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions, Guy Noir, Private Eye.