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Thursday, May 24, 2012 04:40 am

Memorable Memorial Day weekend

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The Backliners play Thurs, May 24, at the Quaker Steak and Lube Bike Night, 5-10pm and Sun, May 27, in the Curve Inn beer garden for the Battle of the Bars Bikini Contest, 6-10pm.

Ah yes, here we are at the official kickoff of the summertime season. Once known as Decoration Day, we now have Memorial Day and it’s become a weekend. So as it sits, we are off to enjoy and indulge, taking in the extra fun with all the gusto we can muster.

First let me make a correction and a few more comments about the recent mayoral gaffe on early festival closings. My apologies to Jim Leach for stating he was associated with WTAX – what was I thinking? Leach is the news director and brains behind the only local talk radio station in town and that is WMAY 970. The other station does broadcast St. Louis Cardinal games, but also manages to air several programs of what I’ve come to call “wight wing wadio.” They’re really entertainment and opinion programs masquerading as factual, actual news and are embarrassing and frustrating to hear. But I digress. Thank you Jim Leach and WMAY for the fine local aspects and interesting attitudes of your daily programs and my apologies for a dumb mistake and poor proofreading on my part.

The fallout from the mayor’s original small festival curfew statement from two weeks ago still reverberates through the downtown streets. When I spoke with DSI director Victoria Ringer at the Old Capitol Art Fair on Sunday, she expressed full solidarity with all the festivals, big or small. Thank you, Victoria. Alderman Sam Cahnman worked behind the scenes to support the events in his ward. I ran into SOHO organizer Eric Welch at a get-together later in the day and he was very thankful and grateful to be allowed to continue the SOHO Fest as originally planned and attended the city council meeting last week to express those sentiments. He also intends to observe a moment of silence at 9:30 each evening of the festival as a reminder of what nearly happened. I like it.

For those looking for exciting and invigorating experiences this Memorial Day weekend, look first at the long and comprehensive list in your Illinois Times calendar. A few highlights include Salute of Springfield’s incredibly large “Mile Lot Party” celebrating the famed Springfield Mile motorcycle race held across Peoria Road from the bar at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. SoS presents The Posse on Friday, Hat Trick on Saturday and Sunday features Power House. The Curve Inn hosts the Budweiser Battle of the Bars Bikini contest on Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. with our friends The Backliners as music guests. From what I gather this is a competition of female bartenders wearing bikinis and the winners get cash prizes and braggin’ rights. Could this become a Battle of the Sexists? The Blues Hawgfest on Saturday starting at 7 p.m. at the Capital City Bar & Grill sponsored by Michael E. Rapier Surveying, Inc. supports the good work of the Rutledge Youth Foundation. With bands Tombstone Bullet, Lady Carole & Her Knights, the Mojo Cats and Robert Sampson with Blues Gumbo donating their time and talent, this event is free to the public, but please purchase raffle tickets to support the cause, because you might win your very own Harley “Hawg” motorcycle.

On Friday enjoy an intensely quiet night of jazz and blues at Norb Andy’s with crooner deluxe Johnny Owens and experience the old inimitable atmosphere with a new tasty menu. Thursday, May 24, is the venerable Bob Dylan’s birthday and I’m celebrating by asking performers at my open mic at the Tin Can Pub to do a Dylan tune. I challenge all players at the many Thursday open stages to dedicate one to the bard of Hibbing who opened many doors for the singing, songwriting artists of our generation.

And now, forward toward the summer of 2012.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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