Flipping through the radio dial and landing on A Prairie Home Companion without the proper context can be an interesting experience. Garrison Keillor's quirky live radio broadcast could feature just about anything. One minute, it might be a skit about a squirrel obsessed with vacuuming the floor, and by the time your dishes are done, the show has moved on to an excellent bluegrass band. Keillor's poetic interludes range from the serene to the bizarre, and the guests are all over the map: Paula Poundstone, Emmylou Harris, and Martin Sheen all dropped by this year. If that sounds a bit like throwing color at a wall to make a painting, don't worry — it's exactly what a live variety show should be. The format was once well respected, but is now only practiced by a few. Keillor and his gang carry the torch well, and they don't slack on the “live” part of live variety. A Prairie Home Companion is on the road often, although it only comes to San Francisco about once a year. Don't miss your chance.
Sat., Jan. 11, 2:45 p.m., 2014