Sunday, August 17, 2008

Baby, Let Me Take You Where The Action Was

The joint up top is right off Southwest Highway and Central Avenue, and the place was likely there in some form before SW Highway (Illinois Route 9) was conceived, because the diagonal street kind of straightens out for a bit before becoming diagonal again, heading out towards old Route 66. (I write this as I listen to Jimmy Ellis, a CD mix that Bob sent me last year, kinda fits my mood). Its a tavern right now, no name on it and the Old Style sign is gone. I was there maybe twice in the early 80s, and the story around here is that the place was a brothel decades ago. I can believe that, because before big buildings started popping up all over this century, this place was by far the hugest building (it stretches far back to the other side of the lot), and it wasn't that long ago that where I am writing this from was nothing but farmland. Before it was torn down, the place next door to me was built in 1946 and it covered lots on the next block. Its still a cool building, but I'd dig getting a look at the upstairs layout, but I wanted to do that when I was at Graceland, too, where I'd expect to see a mummified Gladys Presley). And then...there's the De-Lux Motel at, coincidentally, SW Highway and Cicero. Years ago, a sign like a sideways cross read UNIQUE LOUNGE. I was there in the mid-80s also, and its been cleaned by the cops pretty good. Twenty years ago, you knew damn well why there were motel rooms in the first place. I'm trying to think of a movie that could help you imagine the inside of this place, the closest I can come is TRUCKSTOP WOMEN, and that still isn't it. Faded green stools by the bar, burgundy love seats and women that looked garish with most of the light coming from the juke box selection signs. It was the time of New Wave and no meth or crack. Just a room full of unfiltered cigarette smoke and men and women who worked hard at their jobs, the men likely truckers on their way for the long haul the next day.