Footsteps of the Blues Brothers

A week ago I got back from a brief visit to Chicago. While there, I saw much that was cool and interesting. In a small way, though, even after The Field Museum and The Art Institute and the astonishing Driehaus Museum, it feels like the highlight of the trip was actually this:

The Hon. Richard J. Daley Plaza

Someone should install a plaque memorializing the Bluesmobile here

Somehow, it just felt particularly appropriate that this was essentially the last notable “sight” before we descended belowground and boarded the train back our suburban hotel. Yes, The Honorable Richard J. Daley Plaza. “That’s where they got that Picasso.”

That Picasso


This, of course, is where the remarkable Odyssey of the Blues Brothers reached its conclusion, with their breakneck flight up the stairs to the Cook County assessor’s office and payment of back taxes for the orphanage.

I love that movie. It’s tremendously entertaining, and I would argue even a true classic. But it’s also special to me, on a personal level, because it’s one of the few things that my entire family loved. We had and have rather divergent tastes, particularly in the case of my late father and me. Reliable sources of shared enthusiasm for us included 1) college sports teams within the state of Iowa, and… 2) The Blues Brothers. That’s pretty much it. But at least we could always enjoy The Blues Brothers together, when it was on, which thanks to TBS seemed to be about 3-4 times per week for many years. We even saw the otherwise best forgotten sequel Blues Brothers 2000 in the theater, together, which along with the soundtrack album just about makes that disaster’s existence worthwhile. At least to me.

Dan Ackroyd may indeed have lost the plot in recent years (or decades), but I’ll always deeply appreciate his invention of this story. As I’ll always appreciate revisiting it, usually in video form but sometimes, once in a while, in person… Earlier on the same day in Chicago, we were strolling along the riverwalk, and I glanced to my right and realized “this is definitely Lower Wacker Drive.”

That made me smile, too.

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