Weekend Update

May 13-The Last Hurrah

by Lenny Hughes

We're heading into the home stretch. One more show, tonight in Santa Rosa, and we're all cutting out for several months.

Started this weekend in the remarkable Mission Inn of Riverside, California. I'll be talking about that in a post-mortem I'll send in a couple days.

But since I have been off the grid for a few weeks, I wanted to bring you up to date. When last we talked, we were rolling into St. Louis for a great night at the opera house. The Marx Brothers couldn't have been funnier than Lewis and John.


St. Lewis

 

Last week, the guys landed in California for several shows, but I stayed home and patrolled the homeland, chasing a dog that's been using my yard as his personal litterbox and chasing down human dogs who use my street as their personal garbage can.

My last romp, a couple weeks before, was in the Midwest, where we started out in Peoria, Illinois, a hoppin' place, as you can see from its breathtaking skyline.


Peoria

 

After that, we got to spend some time in Chicago, another great city, as you probably know.

Distressing to find, the best used bookstore in town is closing this summer, a victim of the on-line revolution. Selected Works Used Books and Sheet Music has been my favorite stop on Michigan Avenue. Owner Keith Peterson was naturally melancholy, but fatalistic, about the whole affair. He'll be packing up this wares-and his wonderful cat Hodge, who is the main character in a couple locally written novels I snagged, along with a few other priceless artifacts.


Up Michigan Ave

Selected Works Used Books & Sheet Music

Peterson & Hodge

Hodge

 

The store is in the wonderfully venerable Fine Arts Building, like so many of the glorious structures around the city. Of course, there are the glass monstrosities around, like Donald Trump's abomination, which now sports his name (despite numerous objections from preservationists and other people of taste).

 

I had to stop in Billy Goat Tavern for their famous cheeseburger, the place where immortal columnist Mike Royko used to hang out, and the original spot John Belushi and Company used to spoof on “Saturday Night” (“Cheezborger, cheezborger-no Coke: Pepsi.”)


Billy Goat Tavern

Cheezborger

John Belushi

 

Our night at the iconic Chicago Theatre, was crazy. The place is huge, and it was a sell-out. People were actually line up around the block, and John and Lew didn't disappoint them. Sporting his stylish wig, John explained how his elementary school teacher showed how Michigan is shaped like a mitten. (He looked a little different roaming the streets of the Windy City, sans wig.) Meanwhile, Lew ranted his sermon on, among other things, how the Old Testament gets misinterpreted by Christian scholars.


Chicago Theatre Marquee

The Crowd

John's Birthplace

John in Chicago

Lew Onstage

 

We ended that weekend in Indianapolis at the ornate Murat Theatre. A high-school prom was taking place in the basement, and a monsoon was roaring outside when we loaded out.

Next day, I hit the airport and caught some of the Indy 500 memorabilia on display prefiguring this month's race (which features Formula One driver Fernando Alonso, who of course I'll be rooting for).


Indycar

Indycar Info

 

Right now, we're cruising the Interstate 5, through a massive grove of almond trees on both sides of the road, a few miles past the spot on 46 where James Dean had his fatal crash.


Dean's Place

 

More about California and the Final Weekend later. Gotta prepare for the Big Show.

Happy Mother's Day Eve,
Lenny