Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chris Farley Day July 18th 2008

My big summer excursion this year was to East Troy Wisconsin for a Jimmy Buffett concert. Having heard about the Wisconsin Historical Society having a new exhibit Chris Farley Remembered I decided to combine the trip and make it into two days . Being in Madison and a Chris Farley enthusiast I researched his old stomping grounds and made an agenda for the day. Along for the journey was my very lovely wife Ashley, my best friend since High School Joe and his wife Christin and rounding out the group was my brother Chris. So on a beautiful Madison morning we left our hotel and crammed into our 2002 Pontiac Sunfire.
Our first destination for the day was Our Lady of Queen Peace Church which ended up to be a bust, somehow we ended up at a church with the same name in the next town over. But after speaking with the church practitioners(?) they advised us on where to continue and off we went to our second (first official) stop Resurrection Catholic Cemetery (2705 Regent St., Madison, WI, 608-238-5561) where Chris lies in the mausoleum. Chris's father, Thomas J Farley, lies a little further down the hallway in the center on the left side.
After seeing the final resting places of two deceased Farley men, we walked outside and found a street sign that bares their name.
After contacting Melanie Conklin at The Capital Times, she advised me one of Chris's favorite hangouts was State Street Brats (603 State Street, Madison, WI, 608-255-5544) . Although Ash & I are vegetarians, the food did not disappoint. We had grilled cheese and waffle fries (and of course I had a couple of beers). The rest of the gang enjoyed the restaurant's namesake.
The girls took a 30 minute shopping spree on State Street while the boys found their way upstairs and played spot the difference at the bar. While we left Joe spotted Farley's picture in the entrance.
We then made our way over to the Wisconsin Historical Society (30 N. Carroll St., Madison, WI, 608-264-6555) for the exhibit, but not without a little scare. I parallel parked on a steep street which sat on the upper banks of Lake Mendota. On our way out I had to go down the hill towards the lake to pull a U-ey (I have never spelled that word out before) . On the way down I shrieked "Honey, NO BRAKES!!!" My brother, sitting shotgun, swung open his door and nearly barrel rolled out of the car before I actually braked and said "Just kidding." The funny/sad part was he planned on watching all of us plummet over the rocks and strait into the lake as he never seemed to reach for seat lever to let the three people in the back seat out to safety. That seemed to show how much he cared about our well being.

Making it to the museum, with a little less trust in my little brother, Joe dropped a twenty in the donation box and off we went to the display case, yes only a display case of Chris Farley stuff. I thought there would be more. But don't get me wrong, the case did not disappoint. As you can see from the pictures below it did in fact highlight Chris's life. A few of the items that I am highlighting is a jacket from the Matt Foley skit, his football jersey and Rugby coat, the Tommy Boy and Black Sheep jackets, the apparently heavily rewritten script for Edwards & Hunt, later to become Almost Heroes and my favorite piece was the letter from Dave Letterman, asking Chris to come on the Late Show, which as I understand it is very rare for David to do.
After having the desire to make Joe's twenty go farther we decided to explore the rest of the museum and then we were off to Chris's childhood home...which we never found, but I did locate it on a realtor's website. Below is the picture and here is her email if you are interested in buying
We filled up on expensive gas and drove to the Chris Farley Foundation (1213 N. Sherman Ave., #215, Madison, WI). For one reason or another I had in my head the foundation would be an office with a secretary, Tom Farley in the back making arrangements and posters of Chris Farley (like this one)ready for the taking. Unfortunately it was nothing like was a UPS Store, but my wife did find Tom's box.
And we also discovered Aberg avenue, you may remember that road name from Beverly Hills Ninja. “You try catching a cab in the middle of winter dressed like that on Aberg Avenue.”
Through my research I discovered the original location of where, back in 1986, Chris got his start in improv comedy. The Ark Improv (I don't think this link is current) was located at 220 North Bassett St., Madison, WI, is now home to Quick Clean laundromat. My brother and I found a spot where Chris more than likely performed.
The story goes Farley #59 didn't always get a lot of playing time, so in order to impress the girls after the game by appearing he had played the whole time, he would often run and dive in the mud on the sidelines. There was no mud on the field during our trip, but we did find Edgewood High School (2219 Monroe St, Madison, WI) and that infamous football field.
Before dinner we wound up finding Our Lady of Queen Peace Church (401 S. Owen Dr., Madison, WI) where the funeral service were held and attended by Chris Rock, Lorne Michaels, Dan Ackroyd, George Wendt and many others.
When Tom Arnold made the trip from the cornfields of Iowa to the cow pastures of Wisconsin, Chris decided to bring his guest to one of his favorite places in town, Skip Zach's Avenue Bar (1128 E. Washington Ave., Madison,WI 608-257-6877). Although the atmosphere was busy and the appearance was homely my brother and I found the plumbing to be perfect. On our way back to the table we came across proof that Tom and Chris were there (see below).
The Avenue Bar brought me a final joy to the day, deep fried cheese curds. I had never before enjoyed these bite sized treats and boy does Skip Zach know how to make 'em. A full fun Chris Farley day was had by all (well at least by me), and it was time to head back to the Extended Stay Deluxe. As I lifted the seat to let Ashley in the back of the car I couldn't help but wonder is this the end of my fascination...or just another beginning. Well, with plans in the work for Chris Farley day Chicago version next year, I can honestly say this fascination with Chris Farley is going to be around for quite a while.

To view the complete set of pictures from our journey please visit this link:


Anonymous said...

Thanks for going on this trip. As a HUGE Chris Farley fan, I plan to go on the same trip this fall. It looks like you had a lot of fun.

Jason said...

Good work Jon! Your journey was well documented, informative, and well! I suck at this kinda stuff. Anyway, you did a good job and I liked the pictures and stuff. Wow, I feel like a real horse's patoot.

Anonymous said...

Again, thank you for documenting your trip so well. I'm going through Madison this summer for a business trip and there's no way I can drive through without visiting these sites. I'm sure it goes without saying but I am an enormous Farley Fan. Been watching him since I was little. Your site is going to really help me figure out where to go and what to see, so thanks!