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 spring 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
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.
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.