I'm fairly certain that Walt Disney's ghost is tormenting me. How else to explain why I still can't gain entry into La Cava del Tequila, the hip new watering hole in Epcot's Mexico Pavilion? I've been to Epcot three times since La Cava opened last August, and every time the line has been out the door. Rumor has it that Disney wasn't sure the bar would work. But it has become a minor phenomenon. The infamous "Drink Around the World" pastime has since gone counter-clockwise; you now start in Canada, with a long, lingering final stop for top-of-the-line tequila in Mexico.
Last Saturday, at Epcot's annually stunning International Flower & Garden Festival — the bacchanal of botany, classic rock and Mouse Ears that runs until May 16 — I was stuck in another epic La Cava queue. Making matters worse, there was a festive woman mingling about who wouldn't leave me alone. Normally, I appreciate getting hit on, especially as I approach 40 with all the grace of Wilford Brimley on roller skates. But this woman was driving me batty. Plus I was already late for the José Feliciano gig over in the America Pavilion.
But the line wouldn't move, and neither would Tammy Tequila. I was trying to be as repellent as possible: "I have 10 kids." "My fiancee is a black belt." "I kill people for money." But alas, TT wasn't going anywhere. So I split, once again denied a chance at Disney tequila. Lame.
But I'll be back. Maybe even in the next couple of months. And why not? Epcot is the best park at WDW, and the Flower & Garden Fest is one of Dizzy World's best bets. The topiaries are fiendishly clever. There's a Pixie Hollow to tire out my 10 children. And once again, the Flower Power concert series offers up the beloved, if a tad dusty, lords of AM-radio entertainment. Here's the musical rundown. I'm eyeing that Davy Jones show. "Look out, here comes tomorrow . . ."
Epcot's Flower Power concert series lineup:
Today: Paul Revere & the Raiders
Friday-March 21: David Cassidy
March 26-28: Starship featuring Mickey Thomas
April 2-4: Tony Orlando
April 9-11: Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone
April 16-18: Ricky Nelson Remembered featuring the Nelsons
April 23-25: Atlanta Rhythm Section
April 30-May 2: Fran Cosmo (former lead singer of Boston)
May 7-9: Davy Jones
May 14-16: Chubby Checker & the Wildcats
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A Lodi question
Last week, I had the chance to chat with John Fogerty, who's playing a postgame show at Tropicana Field on April 24. I'll run the full interview with the Creedence Clearwater Revivalist closer to that Rays-Blue Jays tilt. But I wanted to share this story with you guys. At the end of the interview, just before John hung up, I blurted out a question I've always wanted to ask him. Has Fogerty ever performed the 1969 CCR classic "Lodi" while he was actually in Lodi, Calif.? After all, it's not the most flattering song. ("Oh Lord, I'm stuck in Lodi again.") Here's his answer.
"No, I've been close, but I have never actually played in the town of Lodi, California. I've also been close to a couple of the other Lodis in America. That story is a metaphor, of course. I never actually played a seedy little country western club in Lodi. I'm not sure if it ever even existed.
"As close as I ever came to getting stuck in Lodi was in the early '70s. We had what they called 'the energy crisis' and you were allowed to get gasoline every other day according to the letters on your car license plate. One day, I was coming back from a fishing trip and realized I was really low on gas. It happened because you couldn't buy gas every day and I realized I better get gas. So I pulled over into the right lane of the freeway to the next off-ramp and realized all of the traffic was backed up from the off-ramp all the way on to the freeway — and this was an off-ramp leading to Lodi, California! The other people that were backed up were in the same predicament as me. They were almost out of gas, and there was one gas station in town giving gas to the correct cars. So I literally almost got stuck in Lodi."
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The St. Patrick's Day Playlist
When I was a senior at Syracuse University, there was a popular, and totally dunderheaded, bar sport called the Bladder Burst. On St. Patrick's Day, a pub would cram in as many over-21 students as fire-marshally possible. Then the bar would start pouring free beer. There was just one rule: As soon as anyone, male or female, left the establishment or used the washroom, the free beer would end. Syracuse football players — thick-necked, corn-fed linemen — would block the bathroom and the exit. Sometimes, the Bladder Burst would last an hour; sometimes not. Now I had a true love of beer but a perilously small bladder. So three minutes into my first Burst, I was in trouble; 10 minutes in, I was in tears. I told my friend Kevin, a clean-cut, well-attired Long Islander, about my condition and he said, "Bathroom? Absolutely not!" I started to panic. My eyes bulged. I couldn't confront the footballers; they'd kill me. So as everyone crooned joyous drinking ditties, I frantically hatched a plan. That's it! I'd use a cup! Genius! Making sure no one was looking, I turned to the wall and, with great stealth but really unfortunate aim, missed the plastic cup entirely — and hit Kevin instead. My friend, as was his right, proceeded to beat me about the head and shoulders for the dousing. Even worse? Maybe two minutes later, a sorority sister charmed her way past the giant footballers and used the bathroom. The Burst was over. Eighteen years later, I'll once again be spending St. Patrick's Day with my pal Kevin. We're going to a spring training game. I'll nurse a Pepsi. It's for the best.
1 When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, Bing Crosby
2 Danny Boy, Sam Cooke
3 The Foggy Dew, Sinead O'Connor & the Chieftains
4 Forever Yellow Skies, the Cranberries
5 The Unicorn, the Irish Rovers
6 Green, Green Grass of Home, Tom Jones
7 Streams of Whiskey, the Pogues
8 Wild Night, Van Morrison
9 A Pub With No Beer, the Dubliners
10 The Luck of the Irish, John Lennon