Another thing I like is music. I like all kinds of music but classic rock is my favorite. While I'm prepping for card shows, I regularly listen to my cassette tape collection that I began in the 1970s. I also have several hundred vinyl records but I need to set up my turntable. I have several hundred CDs along with hundreds of songs in my iPod. There was a time when I essentially listened to music 24 hours a day. Now I probably listen to music a good five or six hours a day either while commuting to and from work, at work, or at home working in my baseball card laboratory.
I don't listen to music at card shows but I get to listen to all sorts of great stories. I really like to hear stories. I've found that everyone I meet has a great story or two to tell, which is one of the reasons I decided to study journalism 25 years ago. I've discovered that the two best places to hear good stories are cards shows and corner taverns. I don't spend much time in taverns any more since I gave up drinking. Though, card shows are a lot like corner taverns. There are regulars that line your table, just like taverns where regulars line the bar. The baseball card dealer is like the bartender and there are discussions on just about every subject. I've had some great discussions in the past about music with Will and Dave at the Orland show. Will has seen some great concerts, especially when he was in the army in the 1970s. Will gave me John Densmore's book about the Doors that I still need to read. Dave has also seen great concerts and once lent me a fantastic blues CD that had a video documentary on the 1960s and 1970s Chicago Blues scene.
Thanks to a discussion on my "Simon and Garfunkel" blog, I learned today that in addition to collecting a wide variety of vintage baseball, football and basketball cards, Northwest Side Chuck is a big music fan and saw some great bands in the 1970s like ELO at the long-shuttered Uptown Theater. The Uptown Theater is located next to the famous Green Mill tavern at Lawrence and Broadway on the far North Side of Chicago. I've always wanted to go to the Uptown Theater but it has been closed since 1980.
Another thing I like is Chicago history and I have read just about every book I can find about the city's history. I've also explored every nook and cranny of Chicago at one time or another (I have a few stories to tell myself). The Uptown Theater is a great piece of Chicago history and when I hear people talk about the concerts they attended at the Uptown it gives me a little glance into that piece of history I never got to experience.
Another important spot for Chicago culture and music history is located just west of the Uptown Theater at Clark and Lawrence. At this spot, for about 83 years sat the Rainbo Gardens. Slime ball developers tore down this amazing place and replaced it with condos in 2002. Developers are the bane of any history buff. They consume history and rob generations of important landmarks and links to our past. Though, I'll save my full-on developer rant for another time.
In the Chicago history books I've read, the Rainbo Gardens plays host to numerous important events. When it opened in 1921, the Rainbo Gardens was the largest nightclub in America. Chicagoans saw the greatest Vaudeville acts of the era at the Rainbo Gardens. One of the greatest Vaudeville Acts was created there when after a performance by Larry Fine, Moe Howard asked him to join the Three Stooges. Over the years, the Rainbo Gardens played host to all sorts of sporting events and musical performances, many broadcast live over the radio.
In the 1950s, the Rainbo Gardens was converted into an ice rink where the Chicago Blackhawks practiced during their Championship season of 1961.
In the late 1960s, local rock and roll promoters started to book bands there and called the venue the Kinetic Playground. It was known for an amazing light show and to have the most amazing rock and roll bands of the time. For just five bucks, concert goers got to see triple bills with the likes of Frank Zappa and the Mothers, Fleetwood Mac and The Small Faces. Other bands that played there include Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Grateful Dead, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Joe Cocker, The Byrds and Vanilla Fudge. I've only read about the Kinetic Playground and I have seen some of the psychedelic concert posters from the era. I was just a toddler when it was happening.
When I reached high school in the early 1980s, the place was called the Rainbo Roller Rink. I spent a lot of time there and even saw a few punk rock bands there. I remember some of the bands tried to recreate the Kinetic Playground light show. I appreciated the effort but the real The Kinetic Playground is the stuff of legend. I've never met anyone who went there until today at the Orland baseball card show when Rick started to nonchalantly talk about seeing Led Zeppelin there.
My jaw dropped. You think you know a guy after seeing him a few times every month for eight to 10 years. I had no idea!!! Rick is my new hero. Rick was 16 years old in 1969 and saw dozens of bands at the Kinetic Playground. Rick was also at every concert venue in Chicago at one time or another, not just the Kinetic Playground. He said he saw all the bands of the era except for the Beatles. He said big weekend festivals like Woodstock were common place during that time. He said he went up to Stevens Point, WI, in the summer of 1969 for a festival where admission was just $3 and some of the bands that played included Led Zeppelin, Taj Mahal and Santana. He said it was amazing. In one area there were booths selling acid, pot, and pills. In another area there was a pond where everyone stripped naked and bathed by the third day of the festival.
"I didn't ever want to go home, I wanted to live there!" Rick said.
Rick said he saw the Rolling Stones in 1972. The Stones video above is for Rick. Thanks for the stories Rick!!!
Like the Kinetic Playground, the Thanksgiving show at Orland used to be special. Not so, any more. While I had a better show than a few weeks ago, I didn't do nearly as well as the previous several years at the Thanksgiving show. We used to get a lot folks from out of town who were visiting family. I don't think we had any out of town customers today. This show really needs some sort of spark. I'm not sure what, but it needs something to infuse a little energy.
Though, I did sell a few cards. A regular got things going by purchasing a group of 1971 Topps baseball, including a Harmon Killebrew. Dan picked up a 1963 Topps Warren Spahn, a '63 Topps Yankees team card and some 1971s. I'm bringing some 1971-72 hockey for Dan at the December 9 Orland Show. A regular purchased some 1982 Topps baseball, including a Ricky Henderson and a Mike Schmidt.
Another regular purchased my 1961 Topps Mickey Mantle MVP card along with a 1962 Post Mickey Mantle, and 1972 and 1973 Joe Namath cards. My main Orland autograph hound purchased some 1964s to send out for signatures. Chris picked up a 1968 Topps Johnny Unitas and some 1961s. Larry picked up some 1969s. Northwest Side Chuck picked up some 1962 Post. A very nice lady, who is a new customer, purchased some 1975 Topps and a 1958 Topps Willie Mays All Star.
Bill, who has become one of my best customers at Orland, purchased a 1953 Topps Yogi Berra and an Early Wynn along with a 1958 Topps Roberto Clemente. Rick, after telling his amazing stories from the 1960's, picked up a 1969-70 Topps Wes Unseld, a 1958 Topps Vada Pinson rookie, and some 1971 high numbers. A new customer purchased a 1982 Topps Bill Buckner. One of his sons purchased some 1977 Topps baseball while his other son purchased some 1970 Topps Cubs. Another father and son team rounded out my day by picking up some 1960 Fleer football.
On the buying front, I picked up a large group of 1968 Topps baseball. I also picked up a large box of 1970's basketball cards. A few other guys came to the table with cards to sell but I just didn't have the funds today.
So it is December 7, as I write this blog. One day I'll catch up. Thanksgiving was a double-bill weekend with Bloomingdale on Sunday. I hope to have the Bloomingdale blog shortly. This weekend is the December 9 Orland show. I just finished the first of two 1972 Topps baseball binders. I started some 1970-71 O-Pee-Chee hockey. All in all, I should have a bunch of new inventory for the Orland show. Now that everyone is done with their Thanksgiving festivities, I'm hoping for a nice big crowd on Sunday. Speaking of Sunday, no Saturday show in Orland this month. Both shows are on Sundays. See you there!!