With the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's induction circus coming to town, the question on everyone's lips — particularly anyone without tickets to the sold-out concert at Public Hall on Saturday — is Where do I go for the best rubbernecking? It would have been a much simpler question to answer when Swingo's Celebrity Inn was still around. A central locale in the rock-star movie Almost Famous, it was the spot in Cleveland for groupies. "You could find any kind of girl there," venerable rocker Eddie Money fondly recalls. "It was like the United Nations of ass."
Now a Comfort Inn, the place is unlikely to see much action this time around. But concerts by former Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan at House of Blues and the tribute show to the inductees at the Beachland on Friday are good possibilities to turn up a celebrity or two.
Likewise, it wouldn't be surprising if a Beastie Boy popped up at Questlove's late-night DJ set at the B-Side Liquor Lounge on Saturday. Maybe they'll even stop by Touch's tribute to the Beasties and old-school hip-hop the same night. Their proximity to downtown always makes Peabody's and the Harp other possibilities for impromptu drop-ins.
Then again, by the time you've reached Rock Hall induction status, you've already done your share of partying. You need a stronger heart than Bret Michaels' to keep that up for several decades. Celebs could very well be chilling somewhere lower-key. When the stars of The Avengers were in town last summer, they were spotted in Tremont — not at the fancy Parallax or Lolita, but at unassuming Edison's Pub.
Maybe some will wander down to the Hard Rock Café, which is hosting an exhibit across the way in Tower City Center featuring Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, and GNR memorabilia, as well as a section spotlighting late Plain Dealer music writer Jane Scott.
Safe bet that luminaries coming to town will be staying at one of the classier downtown hotels, like the Renaissance on Public Square or the Ritz-Carlton. While our lawyers have encouraged us not to tell you to stake out the lobby, we can tell you that the Ritz restaurant Muse is featuring a "sizzling" four-course Chili Peppers dinner on Friday night and a Rock & Roll Sunday brunch that could attract a gaggle of hung-over rockers with their shades up and their guard down.
If you give up on star-hunting, there's plenty of places around town getting into the spirit of induction week — from Sushi Rock, which has concocted a specialty roll and cocktail, to Great Lakes Brewing Company, which is showcasing a lineup of music-themed brews. (On Saturday, Great Lakes will turn into a '50s-era diner, complete with malts and old-school eats.)
At Thursday's Free Concert for Cleveland at the Q, you'll probably have enough trouble spotting Kid Cudi and George Clinton on the stage, let alone an incognito Rod Stewart at the concession stand.
Your odds might improve at the Concert for Cleveland After-Party at Fortress Nightclub on West Ninth. It starts at 9 p.m., features the music of DJ Knyce, and is free to anybody with a Q ticket.
Also on Thursday, Happy Dog will serve up the New Soft Shoe — Brent Kirby's All-Star Gram Parsons tribute, featuring a rotating cast of guest stars. Count on them to stir up a fight over why Parsons can't get any Rock Hall love.
Other activities and celebrity-magnets are sure to be announced (or subtly revealed) throughout the week, leaving you little excuse to sit around the house — or to stalk a Chili Pepper, for that matter.