Florida, Detroit...Winter

April 8-Spring?

by Lenny Hughes

We're tearing down the famed Ohio Turnpike and the snow is getting thicker. And it's April. Springtime! Cherry Blossoms! Green trees and warm weather.

T.S. Eliot was right again: it does seem cruel. I think William Carlos Williams called it the "slattern of seasons."

Just look at Lewis, strolling from the Bus to a turnpike truckstop. He never did like winter.

Fuck winter

But it's Spring! "When the world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful."

Just two weeks ago, we were in sun-choked Florida. I left in the midst of the Blizzard of '18. We hardly had a flake all winter, and right when I had to leave, we got hit with a Big One. Mine was the only flight on the board at National that made it out.

My house was snowbound, compared to the marina view from my hotel in Sarasota.

First stop was Fort Pierce, on the east coast. It was originally established as a fort during the second Seminole War. Now it's a pleasant enough little town, and Shirlee, our host at the Sunrise Theatre (everything has sun in it) was welcoming as ever.

Florida route

No snow


Sunrise Theatre

But a few people in the crowd weren't so sociable. A few of them spilled into the lobby when John started in on Trump, trying to get their money back. Even more of them tumbled out when Lew started talking about The Donald's love for Putin.

After a few angry words at the defenseless Merch Table, they drew the line at confronting the security guards, and left without further incident.

WHY would Trumpees come to a Lewis Black show?

Why does it snow in springtime?

Sarasota was quieter. We drove across the state in the dark of night, and got there early enough for a good night's sleep. Except that "Casablanca" came on the movie channel, and I was hooked.

Next day, Lewis and I walked around the historic town. Oriole fans could especially feel welcome there, since the Bird's training camp is nearby.

Orioles' training camp

Beautiful in places, but like so much of Florida, Sarasota's becoming choked with new development. Managed to hit some antique stores that are still left. In a thrift store, Lewis generously bought me a Davy Crocket flatware knife for the Hugheseum and gave them a big tip, since the place benefits abused and/or homeless women.

We split up, and I found a good bookstore and bought an obscure memoire by our Asheville friend Thomas Wolfe, chronicling his tours of National Parks.

Florida books

The show at the cavernous Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall proceeded without a scuffle. Okay, one fight broke out.

But it was over something between patrons, and not from anything Lew or John said.

Last show down south was in Daytona Beach, right past the storied Daytona Speedway.

We got to see our old high school friend Charlie Rock, who just retired from a professorship in economics at Rollins College down there. Charlie's one of the funniest people we know, as you can see in Lewis's face during dinner on The Bus after the show.

Daytona Speedway

Lew & Charlie

After a break over Easter, we all reconvened in Chicago, and headed off to beautiful Joliet, Illinois. Actually, it is a nice looking town, despite its notoriety for housing the prison made famous in "The Blues Brothers."

We were in the gorgeous Rialto Square Theatre, just off the historic Route 66. Lew cast off his fear of catching the flu, and did a signing after the show, JUST for the experience of sitting in the towering marble lobby.


Rialto Square Theatre

The Rialto is also haunted. One legend tells of a couple who tumbled from the balcony.

And other accounts tell of a mysterious woman, possibly an actress, who appears as in a cloud all around the place. The house manager told me she has felt her. And a techie said a friend actually snapped a picture of the haunt before she disappeared in a blur.

Yesterday, we headed to Detroit, and the Fillmore. That's where they taped Lew's show "Stark Raving Black," which won the Grammy that year for comedy. The taping took place just a few months before I joined up the crew for this long, winding road that began for me in Atlanta.

I watch some of the show, and caught Lewis's unsubstantiated attack on cats, and John's explanation of his religious conversion to Gwyneth Paltrow.


The Fillmore

John Bowman

Disgusted with cats

My old friend from The Post was there. Allan Lengel works at an online paper, and he got a rare interview with John, which you can see onwww.deadlinedetroit.com.

We're fast approaching Greensburg, Pennsylvania, for the final show of the weekend. I'm skipping the next weekend, which rolls from Rochester, Minnesota, to Springfield, Missouri. I had enough of Minnesota Vikings fans during last season's playoffs anyway.

Besides, I know the cats are watching and waiting for my homecoming.



And Spring is in the air.

--Yer Pal,