In March, a pilgrimage was undertaken to the SP Holy Land of Chicago.
I had never been, but as a Smashing Pumpkins fan, it's necessary to visit as many holy sites as possible. Of all places to go (the Metro, Billy's old house in the 90's, etc?) I chose the most currently relevant, active and alive place to go - Madame Zuzu's Tea House and Antique Shop, or as I have affectionately dubbed it in honor of Billy's interest in professional wrestling - Madame Zuzu's T-HOUSE OF PAIN.
Settled in the midst of the village of Highland Park, it is a welcome establishment. As a non-resident, I got the impression that it lends much to the neighborhood in terms of something actually going on. The neighborhood seems to be generally quiet with the exception of what is going on from time to time at Zuzu's.
All goodies sold were organic. At first I was suspicious of how they would taste, but they were all amazingly delicious. I especially recommend the brownies, which are exceptional with the Yoga herbal tea, which I had. My wife had the Lemon Berry Meritage, which was fruity, sweet and good. And my boy had a cookie.
What I was particulalry impressed by were the collection of antiques sold inside. They are all from Billy's personal collection. As is known, he is an avid antique collector and on band tours, he can often be found antiquing in the various cities he is in, as time allows. I was highly tempted to buy something just because it was from his personal collection and had been touched by His Holiness. It could be some small relic to return home with from my pilgrimage. But - most of them were too expensive for me to drop any money on. I did, however, find another item for the reliquary - Black Cat Sage, sold at the counter, which is just bundles of sage grown in Billy's backyard just a few blocks away.
On a personal note, there is a picture in Madame Zuzu's that I immediately recognized and was astonished to find. In the back, by the bathrooms, there is a small table with a picture on it of a girl sitting on a bench, looking up into a tree where a bird is singing. I have seen that picture my entire life, as I grew up with it in my mother's house, where it still hangs. I have never seen that picture anywhere outside of my mother's house - but I travel thousands of miles to Madame Zuzu's, and it hits me in the face. I took it as a karmic affirmation. Coincidence? Maybe. Either/or. But whatever the case, it meant something to me.
Unfortunately, we just missed Billy. He DJ'ed at ZuZu's that very night, but we were unaware and so didn't make the plans. It wasn't until we were back at the hotel and browsing the internet that we realized what we had missed. Oh well, next time.
If you go to Zuzu's, I do recommend going to the Chinese restaurant across the street - simply because they have two sushi rolls that are named after Billy. Billy roll 1 and Billy roll 2. Where else can a SP fan enjoy that kind of homage? Not far away is also the famous "Oceania Tower" which appears on the cover of Oceania. Details and location can be found in this link: http://highlandpark.suntimes.com/news/tower-HPN-04172014:article