Friday, July 3, 2009

Injustice at the Hall!

Ok, not really. But more about that later.

Great trip to Cleveland this week to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Nathaniel and his friend Pete Holohan made what they describe as their first sojourn there (of course, counting on that time in the future when they themselves will be inducted).

We started off things right with a Monday night visit to Progressive Field (f/k/a Jacobs Field, or "the Jake"). A short walk from our hotel room, we settled into some great seats right behind home plate. Pete treated us to burgers and waffle fries (well, he slipped me the cash later, but I had to fork over the actual $$ to the concessionaire because I bought a cold frosty one). The Indians were playing the White Sox, and there were quite a few Sox fans (good thing, it wasn't very crowded there, by St. Louis standards). Just the day before, the Indians and Cardinals had made a trade, swapping everyday player Mark DeRosa for reliever Chris Perez and a player to be named later. From the Indians' perspective, the other player better be named sooner rather than later.

Perez entered for the Indians in the top of the 9th, with the Tribe trailing 2-0. He hit the first batter in the head (had to be removed from the game). Then he hit the second batter in the head. Then he walked the bases loaded. They left him in for some inexplicable reason. He got a couple of outs, but along the way coughed up three. Then wild-pitched in the fourth. As he left with two outs and the Tribe down 6-0, he was lustily booed off the field. Then of course Cleveland plated 3 in the bottom of the ninth, which would have been enough to win the game (pre-Perez). Oh well. We had fun--we certainly didn't care! We did notice the ridiculousness of that crazy mascot Cleveland has.

Then on to the main event Tuesday--a short walk in the other direction was the RRHF. It's a really cool building designed by architect I.M. Pei. The streets have giant Fender Stratocaster sculptures to lead the way and whet the appetite. A modest Michael Jackson figure was in front of the hall, where people had laid little mementos, but there was no real MJ memorial set up yet (I'm sure it will come).

We entered and Pete and Nathaniel posed for the obligatory entry photo (forgot to check it out at the end--just now remembered--I was going to spring for the photo this time). You can't take photos inside the hall (bummer!), but it was the right tone from the beginning. Before you enter the exhibitions and get your wristband, there is a neat display of guitars, with about six Jerry Garcia guitars (these boys are real Dead-Heads, so that got them going), a Kurt Cobain guitar, and a Jimi Hendrix guitar, among others. (I don't think they were as impressed as I was with the Johnny Cash and Chet Atkins guitars there, but oh well.)

Then we parted ways and I let the boys ramble and explore. We'd bump into each other periodically and exchange the "did you see" this or that conversations, and then go to respectively check out what the other party recommended. I think they particularly enjoyed seeing the original lyric sheet for Hendrix's Purple Haze, Jeff Beck's well-worn Telecaster:

and the signature display (instead of plaques, like the baseball Hall of Fame, the inductees have their signature on a wall in the induction hall; the signatures are white against a black background and the lighting is quite cool). Pete and Nathaniel violated the no picture rule once, telling me they couldn't resist getting their picture beside the display of the little statuette the inductees receive when they get in. That was neat.

But the "injustice" they marveled at (2 really) was that neither Nirvana nor the Red Hot Chili Peppers had been inducted. There was a big Springsteen thing going on ("two whole floors to Bruce Springsteen?!?!" they said, "but no Nirvana??? Metallica is in but not the Peppers??"). The rules of induction are that you are not eligible until 25 years after your first record release. My dispassionate pleas to them that, they probably are right on the cusp of those numbers, don't worry, they'll get in, was not enough for these boys. Then we hit the gift shop. They were very reserved shoppers, opting mainly for some cool posters (the Who and the Grateful Dead for Nathaniel).

A late afternoon swim, then dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, which itself had some pretty darn cool memorabilia. We googled Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and found the dates of their first releases, and when we found they were almost, but not quite, at 25 years, I think they felt more reassured. That, and getting their picture taken next to Jimi Hendrix's purple pants, which were on display at the restaurant.

A lazy day on Wednesday, sleeping in, trotting briefly down to the Science Center, then on the plane back, and voila, what a trip. Thanks to the Holohan family for taking us to the airport and then feeding us pizza on our return. Really one of the best parts of the trip was the "debriefing"--the boys are great, well-suited for each other, but VERY quiet (they retired to their room (we had a pretty large suite that worked out nicely, I slept on the fold out couch in the main room), and I looked in to see what they were doing and they were reading books!!). But it was so great to hear them just buzzing about the whole trip to Faith and Michael, Pete's mom and dad.

Bad dad--I also suggested a return trip (senior trip, anyone?) to the induction ceremonies in a few years. The clips they had of those ceremonies looked pretty darn cool! (Prince jamming on While My Guitar Gently Weeps with Tom Petty? C'mon!)