Recently I had the special pleasure of escorting the charismatic linchpin
of the famed "
Sisters of Stone" around for her second tour of the
Southwest,
JoJo Starbux.  The alto of  the trio, she spends her time now
traveling around the world hoping to find Elvis Presley!   The
Sisters of
Stone are no longer touring due to Party Barbie's quest to start a solo
career  in Florida.  JoJo and Molly Mophead still make rare appearances
together playing small venues wherever suits their fancy.  They have had
concerts together in such far-flung places as Greece, Paris & Pittsburgh.  
The "
Sisters" still enjoy a large fan base and I orchestrated appearances at
the Getty Center in Los Angeles and Tortilla Flat in Arizona.  This way
they would be able to experience a wide range of experiences in the
Southwest while JoJo could search all of the rumored hiding places of her
hero, Elvis.

The SteelCactus Entertainment Group was engaged to see to all of the
arrangements.  This  entailed
lodging, food, transportation and
entertainment.  SteelCactus, the premiere touring host of the Southwest!  
JoJo had brought her touring partner, Molly Mophead and her fantastically
gifted son, MC Joey P, the rap sensation.

I had dismissed her delusions of grandeur of seeing Elvis at first, but it
became painfully apparent that she was as serious as a coyote with an
Acme rocket strapped to its back.  This would be no easy task.  Juggling
the entertainment schedule of a Rap Superstar, an Elvis seeking Grandma
and the incomparable Molly Mophead would be akin to finding the Man
on the Moon...in a cave...without a match!

I decided to play along with her quest and convince her that the places
that we'd visit there would be a remote possibility that Elvis could, maybe,
found there.  She was skeptical of my intentions when the first thing I
suggested was a s
pring training baseball game.  "Elvis didn't play
baseball?!"  I countered with, "Well Elvis did live in Memphis and
Memphis is in Tennessee and the Chicago Cubs have a minor league
there!  Besides, there is always a chance he'll sing the National Anthem."  
The smirk on her face told me
she wasn't buying it but she knew Joey
would like it so off we went.  Ahh, it was a beautiful day for the ballgame!  
An exciting Cubs vs. Padres game, the
Budweiser Clydesdales were there
and
a player threw a ball up to the girls to have them sign it.  Needless to
say, no Elvis.

After the game we went to
WestGate for a bite to eat.  I took JoJo to
Jimmy Buffet's  Margaritaville hoping this would ameliorate the sting of not
seeing Elvis at the ballgame.   But she was no Parrothead.  We moseyed
over to the
Saddle Ranch for a bite to eat and came across a bad Elvis
imitator.  He sang "Hound Dog" for us but didn't even know all the  words
to "
Suspicious Minds."  She was getting frustrated but I reminded her
that people have been looking for Elvis for decades with no luck.  We
went and saw the
Dueling Piano guys but they only knew how to play
Jerry Lee Lewis.

I got her to cheer up by buying her
Coldstone Ice Cream but I knew
tomorrow we better be hot on the trail of Elvis, or she would really be
giving the SteelCactus Entertainment Group a bad name.  All night I
fretted on what could be done and needless to say. I was "
All Shook  
Up
."

That night after a lot of tossin' and turnin' with my "
Teddy Bear" I realized
that I might be  able to prove that Elvis went to
China with Richard Nixon
and returned there after his "death."  So we ventured down to the
Chinese
Culture Center in downtown Phoenix and  inquired with some of the old
timers there.  We spoke with one
old-timer who did remember Elvis being
there with Nixon but stated that Elvis had left China with the words, "
I'm
So  Lonesome I Could Cry
."  So we toured the gardens and bought
tasty pastries.  This was  becoming "
The Impossible Dream!"

There was only one other place in the Phoenix area that Elvis might have
been found,
Scottsdale.  Scottsdale was a hub for the celebrity jet setters
and people who like to get lost.  We poked around the
Arts Festival,
shopped at
Mexican import stores, found some "Burnin' Love," met the
bag ladies and rode on a wagon train.  For a second JoJo thought she saw
someone who could have been Elvis but it was just some idiot with a
surfboard in the desert.

That night we
dined at "Divine Diane's Ristorante."  After a magnificent
meal we
caught up on old times and were entertained by Layla.  She sang,
"
Hound Dog."  JoJo had something else on her mind though, "A Little
Less Conversation!
"  Where are we going to find Elvis?"   "Okay, Okay
JoJo, "
Don't Be Cruel."  I know where to go...Los Angeles!"  If Elvis is
still  around he's got to be there!"

The next day we were packed and on our way to LaLa Land and
Hollywood.  I had barely left their resort when I was
nabbed by a speed
camera!  The Boss wasn't going to like this!  If I don't pay the $181 fine
I'll be doing the "
Jailhouse Rock."  However, I'm still considering a  fight
with Big Brother.
The uneventful 5.5 hour drive to Los Angeles is broken up by the amazing sight
of the Indio Windmills.  No photo or video can capture the amazing scope of
the literally thousands of windmills that line the road for miles on end.  It is an
environmentalist's dream and possibly a look into the future of sustainable
energy.  One day, you will have to see it because I have no pictures.

After dipping through the south end of Death Valley you start to see the farms
of California followed soon by the traffic and too soon after that, graffiti.  They
have barbed wire the road signs to keep the graffiti artists at bay...to no avail.  
The Garmin tells us to take another road other than I-10 which stretches from
Jacksonville, Florida to L.A. and on Route 60 you wend your way through the
hills of paradise that beckon people to California.

But soon you are on the 101 and passing the Hollywood sign, Ventura
Highway, Sunset Strip and reaching our first destination, Hollywood Blvd.

Hollywood has had a bit of a resurrection since the new
Kodak Theater where
they hold the Academy Awards.  Oh sure, Hollywood still has its share of
weirdness and strangely talented  individuals walking around but you can
always find a
minor celebrity hanging around and maybe even a major one.

But it is Elvis that we are in search of and we begin our search at the World
Famous
Mann's Chinese Theater.  Here are the hand and footprints of the most
famous people who ever walked the earth.  Elvis must surely be here! An
imprint of Elvis' "Blue Suede Shoes" would surely bring a smile to JoJo after our
grueling trip.  We find
George Burns, Jim  Carrey, Danny Kaye and believe it
or not
Colleen Moore!  But there is no Elvis!  At this  point, not even Mickey
Mouse can cheer JoJo up.

We decide to peruse the boulevard looking for Elvis' star on the
Hollywood
Walk of Fame.   We actually found it!  It mocks us as the points all point to all
corners of the Earth.  Elvis could be anywhere!  I try to cheer JoJo up by taking
her to the
Hollywood Souvenir store and buying her a shirt.  Unfortunately, their
Celebrity Wall does not even have a picture of  him!  As I was deciding to buy
the shotglass or the kitchen magnet, I heard JoJo scream in delight.  I ran over
to find her and Molly molesting a larger than life plaster Elvis and singing  the
Elvis classic "
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You."  Oh boy!  This delirious
quest took on a whole new dimension.  
I had tripped over the threshold of the
Twilight Zone!

Obviously the long drive had gotten to her.  We needed a break so I suggested
that we all relax with a bite to eat at the
World Famous Mel's Diner.  Sitting in
the same diner where  "
American Graffiti" was filmed we had malts and burgers
to the tunes of Elvis.  The nostalgia  was pungent and
JoJo was digging for
jukebox money.  Amongst the photos of Sinatra,  Bogie and Chico Marx we
found a photo of
JoJo in her youth with her floozy girlfriend.

After a trip of
browsing the 3rd Street Promenade it was off to the
"
Heartbreak Hotel" for a  restful night of shuteye and please...only "If I Can
Dream
."

I figured if Elvis is still alive he still
had money so we headed to Rodeo Drive.  
We
searched all the stores; Chanel, Hermes, Valentino but still no Elvis.  This
lady said she had seen  Elvis recently at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where they
filmed "
Pretty Woman."  JoJo  stopped for a photo opportunity but the staff
had reported that "Elvis has left the building!"

After a failed attempt to buy Elvis memorabilia at a yard sale in Beverly Hills it
was time for  the Sisters performance at the
Getty Center (Another Shot).  
After a show stopping show in which the Sisters sang their ethereal smash hit,
"Yinz Warshed My Babushka!" JoJo gazed forlornly over the panoramic view
of Los Angeles and cried, "If we don't find Elvis, he'll never be  found!"  MC
Joey D put his arm around her and told her, "
Don't worry Ma, I've got a map!"

The
gathering storm clouds told us it was time to go and I was starting to feel as
if this was "
The Impossible Dream."  But as we drove to Malibu I had a
brainstorm.  Elvis' best movie was "
Blue Hawaii."  He most certainly had to
eat at
Duke's!  Duke's Hawaiian Eatery was a  landmark, they must have a clue
there!  Nope, we
found menus, rocky beaches, whales and  great food...no
Elvis.
FINDING ELVIS
There were two other places to search for Elvis and one had to be the Santa
Monica Pier.  We walked its breadth and depth looking for any sign of the
King but all we found were
surfers and sunset.  I could feel the despair JoJo
was feeling.  I made her smile by telling her that tomorrow was Venice Beach
and nobody who could fake their death could resist it.  Elvis would have to be
there.

Bright and early we were at Venice Beach.  The Sisters posed for an album
cover and JoJo considered buying a new bong but we really had no idea what
Elvis would look like these days.  Here was a
prospect and another but she
quickly rejected them as Elvis wannabes.  For a moment she was convinced
that this
man at Muscle Beach was him but then realized  it wasn't.  While
sitting on the park bench, I got a call from one of my contacts who reported an
Elvis sighting in the Superstition Mountain area...just outside Phoenix!  I told
JoJo and  the girls to
hit the beach now because we're going home!  "There's
No Place Like Home
."  JoJo was so excited!

After a "
Return to Sender" trip back to Phoenix and after a restless night we
drove to the  
Superstition Wilderness.  We stopped at the Museum to find out
what we could and it was like "Viva Las Vegas!" we hit it big.  It just so
happens that Elvis had filmed the movie "Charro"
on location at the
Apacheland Studios right here!  We found his photo amongst the stars that had
filmed here also (
2nd Row - 3rd from Left).  And to top that the Chapel that is
prominently featured in the film was right here!  
JoJo couldn't wait!  We
entered the
Chapel and it was a shrine to Elvis Presley!  JoJo was "Crying in
the Chapel
" (Charro Poster).

Of course he was somewhere in the Superstition Wilderness!  You can go in
there and never be found.  The Lost Dutchman's Mine of Gold has never been
found after the deaths of a hundred people searching for it.  If you want to fake
your death and get lost from society, this is the place.  We
enquired further at
the old ghost town,
Goldfield.  The old timers had heard rumors that Elvis was
camping out on the banks of the Canyon Lake trying to relive his old western
movie days.

We decided to check out the town of
Tortilla Flat, (Pop. 6) because it was the
last outpost of humanity in the desert.  JoJo was so sure her quest had almost
come to an end.  
The  excitement made her delirious!

The far reaches of Canyon Lake were only accessible by boat.  So we
chartered the
Dolly  Steamboat and ventured out with our binoculars and high
hopes.  We searched among the
flora and fauna, high and low and over and
under the saguaros.  The amazing terrain of the area could hide a Mammoth.  
JoJo was starting to get discouraged until I spotted a  camp...could it be?

As we were nearing the shore it occurred to me that if it hadn't been for Elvis
bringing the music of the African-Americans to the mainstream, white people
would have remained in the world of waltzes, polka and country western.  
Elvis truly did save our world! Elvis was a King!  Now I fully understood why
her son had fallen into the world of Rap superstardom.  It was a
pure
extension of his Mother's love for Elvis!

We edged closer to the shore.  Could it possibly be?  Then I heard JoJo
scream,  "Oh my "
The Promised Land!""  There, perched under a tree,
amongst the scrub of the desert, was the
King of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley.