At the Jim Belushi show, the big star: My coworker, Patty

by DGO Web Administrator

When I saw Ringo Starr and his All-Star Big Band, it was not the ex-Beatle I walked away infatuated with, it was Peter Frampton. When I saw Texas country legend Ray Wiley Hubbard, it was his guitar player Jeff Plankenhorn I rushed to talk to afterward. How often has it happened to you: You go to a show with a big-name headliner, but someone else steals the show and that’s who you tell all your friends about?

That was last Saturday. We were at the Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts show with the near-capacity crowd at the Community Concert Hall. Besides the big guy himself and perhaps Sacred Heart and Durango resident extraordinaire John Rubano’s singing, dancing, and raucous emceeing, the star of the show was … Patty Templeton?

But that’s what happened. For about four minutes, Patty, my DGO partner in crime, owned the stage in her Freddy Kreuger sweater. She had the crowd in a frenzy, and Belushi looking over the top of his sunglasses, most likely saying, “Who is this?”

But let me back up a bit. It was clear early on that Belushi is not so much a singer as he is a performer. Ten minutes in, during one of the opening tunes, the house lights went up and Belushi was out working the aisles, singing in people’s faces, lifting women from their seats to give them a twirl. Later, he told an apocryphal joke about his 15-year-old son getting caught with naughty S&M pictures on his computer, leading he and his wife to wonder how to punish the boy, you know, because they couldn’t exactly spank him. He plucked one woman from the dance floor for a little mano y womano serenade. And during one song, he lifted his shirt to slap and comically expose his heftiness, then spinning around to shake his XL-ence, before doing everything in his power to get a yellow-shirted male security guard to join him onstage to do the same.

At some point, Patty left her seat to make her way closer to the stage to get some photos. Between shots, I could see her skippin’ and skankin’. Then Belushi announced that he would be looking for four women – always with the women, this guy – to join him on stage. But they had to be real, true, serious dancers, he stressed, because they would have to get after it in a real, true, serious way. As these words came out of his mouth, I knew – just knew – Patty would be among them.

Sure enough, Patty was suddenly onstage with a dance-off imminent. The first three danced and twirled and shook it and the audience rewarded them kindly. Then it was Patty’s turn, and it was like everything went into double-time with her montage of every popular dance between 1920 and 1950. With her jackknife clipped to the top of her right combat boot, she did The Pony, as well as The Swim. She even trotted out some skanking and a little of The Twist. She spun around, flailed around, and swung her arms all the ways arms can go. She touched her toes, straightened her legs, then theatrically ba-boomed her backside in Belushi’s direction, all after her phone – previously perched in her waistband of her pocketless pants – had migrated halfway down her leg. Belushi motioned to the band to keep playing to give Patty more stage time.

During the post-concert meet-and-greet, Belushi bellowed, “Patty!” at first sight of the showstopper. He claimed it was the first time he had kept the band going longer to accommodate a single dancer during that particular stage bit. Later, Patty said the feat had nearly made her lungs explode.

It’s not often you get to hear a guy you’ve seen so much in movies and on TV play some seriously tight rock ’n’ roll and then shake his hand afterward. But who knew that in the stories I’d tell in the days after that, Belushi would be so overshadowed by the person I sit next to at work?

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