Two thoughts, as we watch Columbus Drive transform into a wall of portable toilets. One, must be
time. Two, where on Earth did that word come from?
Legend and Encyclopedia Britannica have it that founder and
claims to have named the festival Lollapalooza back in 1991 after hearing the word—usually used to describe an exceptional thing, person or event—in a
Michael Ray, assistant editor at Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., isn't so sure.
"The story Perry's been sharing with people for years is he heard Moe say the word in a Three Stooges short, but a good amount of time has been spent looking into whether anyone can come up with the actual episode. To the best of my knowledge, no one has actually come up with a source."
Horror show icon Svengoolie even posted a challenge on his blog, Ray says, asking Stooges devotees to offer up the seminal film. Nada.
So is Perry Farrell pulling our leg?
"That would be in character." Ray says. Or …
"In Perry's mind, (the Stooges episode) could have happened," he laughs.
Stooges or no Stooges, the word was already an antique by the time Farrell stumbled upon it. Merriam-Webster says the word dates back to 1896. The Oxford English Dictionary lists multiple uses, with multiple spellings, throughout the early 20
Among them: "Saturday night we had our final parade with the fireworks finish, and it was a lallapalootza!" from 1904 humor novel "I'm from
(They Had to Show Me)" by Hugh McHugh. And "Though I had long ago forgotten the background, characters, and plot, I distinctly remembered it as a lollapaloosa," from an October 1951 edition of the New Yorker.
Attaching the word to a gigantic, internationally known music festival, though, gave it new life.
"People have developed this positive association with '-palooza' and it's kind of become shorthand," Ray says. "It always turns up around holiday shopping season—you have various sale-apaloozas and game-apaloozas."
To say nothing of Kidzapalooza, the family-friendly festival within the larger music fest, Comicpalooza, an annual comics convention in
, Aquapalooza, a multi-location boat festival held every July, and Beach Palooza, an obstacle course/running event held every summer in numerous cities. Plus Bacon Palooza, Parentspalooza, Doggiepalooza and the myriad others you've no doubt come across.
The word also ushered in a naming trend for other music festivals, Ray contends. "Whether it's Sasquatch (held in
state in May) or
, (held in
in June) you see people trying to set their festival apart with their own nonsense word."
We asked Tribune film critic
whether he recalled Moe uttering "lollapalooza" on screen.
An admitted non-fan of the Stooges, he did not. But, he said of the annual music festival, "At least Farrell didn't name it 'Nyuck-Nyuck.'"