That Time I Got Kicked Out of the HOUSE of BLUES in CHICAGO

I just received this direct message from Pat Benatar’s marketing team (clear the decks for 4/22 my friends…)…

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo at The Arcada Theater in St. Charles, IL 4/22/15

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo at The Arcada Theater in St. Charles, IL 4/22/15

…and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the last Pat Benatar concert I attended. That was the fateful 1990s night that I and my crew got kicked out of the HOUSE of BLUES in Chicago.

My partner in crime and BFF since 7th grade, Marovich, (see this link for reference) came to the concert with her daughter Shorty C-Spice’s 3rd Grade teacher, joining me and my friend Marlot Cheetah. (I should add, “Marlot Cheetah: The-‘t’-is-silent” is her bad 1960s Elvis Jungle Room name – mine is “Silkie Pantera.”) We four were in high spirits, ready to get our ’80s on.

Marovich had some Club Level membership, which was really lame, because there was zero stage visibility from there. We decided to head down to the floor and party with the rest of the unwashed masses. I should add, Marovich’s little brother (who, by default, is my little brother, whether he likes it or not) had recently become employed as the lighting designer there. He was working that night, and his electronics boards were on the main floor level, out in the open, and rather exposed. This data comes into play a little later.

I had one of my infamous big purses on my arm and a beer in my hand, carefully swaying to Pat Benatar’s impressive, operatic voice range. Out of nowhere, this couple in front of me turned around and threw a beer in my face. It was the strangest thing. I had no altercation with them, I wasn’t standing too close to them, and I had said and done nothing to provoke such aggressive behavior.

I didn’t know Shorty C-Spice’s 3rd Grade teacher very well, but that night I learned one important detail: She has a hair-trigger temper. My plan was to ignore the whole thing and continue on with the concert. 3rd Grade Teacher’s plan was to start a brawl.

3rd Grade Teacher retaliated. She screamed some salty language while throwing her sticky cocktail at them. As I stood there swaying to “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” ironically, the couple in front of me was chasing Shorty C-Spice’s 3rd Grade teacher into the front lobby. By the time I got there, the muscular, Italian boyfriend had 3rd Grade Teacher’s arms pinned above her head to the wall as his girlfriend was hitting 3rd Grade Teacher with her best shots, right in the stomach. It had escalated from zero to crazy town in a matter of seconds. Marlot Cheetah jumped right into the fray, and the muscular boyfriend threw her down. She hit her head, hard, on the metal railing. I can still hear the clanging sound. It was so horrible, frightening, and out of control. By the time the can’t-be-reasoned-with meathead security team arrived, we were all asked to leave. The beatings were clearly one-sided, and despite Marovich’s elite Club Level membership, nothing could be done. We were OUT.

The next day our baby brother called, cursing us. He spent his morning  cleaning his lighting electronics boards with Q-tips and rubbing alcohol. A sticky, mixed drink targeted for 3rd Grade Teacher somehow landed directly on his boards. He has since retaliated, and this triggered a never-ending practical joke war with “our” baby brother. There’s no end in sight.

To this day, I still wonder what prompted this couple to throw their beer at me? It’s one of those unresolved conflicts to which I’ll never know the answer. I hate that it still rents space in my brain.

Come to think of it, Pat Benatar should pay us to attend her next concert…

And our baby brother Johnny Rock Star weighs in.

…And our baby brother Johnny Rock Star weighs in.

 

 

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Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you reading this (who celebrate) are having a Christmas filled with family, laughs, good health, and prosperity.

This is the 2nd year for our unorthodox Christmas tree made of books, but it suits us, and so far, Jonesy (our new hairless alien cat) hasn’t attempted to climb it:

Our Christmas Tree Made Solely of Books

Our 2nd Bibliophile Christmas Tree, Topped with “The Nightmare Before Christmas” lamp (out of shot). Foreground: Jack with Jonesy the Hairless Cat

Dave’s favorite gifts this year–which he bought for himself–were two limited edition books: Walt Simonson’s Man Hunter: Artist’s Edition, and Mark Schultz Xenozoic Tales, Artist’s Edition. The Tee Fury tees I bought him–guaranteed for Xmas delivery–still haven’t arrived.

Jack and I will be making our pilgrimage to invade Strongsville, Ohio tomorrow in a 3-car caravan with my first cousins to visit my cousin Greg & his family; Greg’s an Illinois ex-pat and my go-to person for plays and concerts (it seems that bizarre and unsettling incidents occur whenever I go with anyone besides Greg. I mean, who but me gets kicked out of The House of Blues during a Pat Benatar concert for wearing someone else’s beer and not fighting back?!?).

This Ohio trip means four days of playing Euchre and poker until the sun comes up, the incessant beat of ’80s music blasting in the background, Greg’s gourmet cooking, disses we only tolerate from fellow McDonalds, and lots of laughs. My cray-cray cousins are some of my favorite humans in this whole wide, wide world of sports (and they even share my reverence for Blazing Saddles, a script we recite in unison, verbatim).

To the three sets of aunts and uncles who spoiled Jack rotten this Christmas, we can’t thank you enough. I am proud of the fact that the cheapest gift Jack received–from me–made one of the biggest impressions on him:

Jack's favorite Xmas gift from me: The Sound F/X Machine

Jack’s favorite Xmas gift from me: The Sound F/X Machine

I felt it was any 10-year-old’s rite of passage to deploy a sound f/x machine, which is sure to be a big hit with the cousins in Ohio…and sure to be confiscated by the 4th Grade teacher in less than a month. (I guess I’d better buy that back-up version.)