FIRST OFF . . .
In a fashion Texans might have been proud of, the Lone Star Cafe, a New York City music hangout and Texas-style honky-tonk officially recognized by the Lone Star State, closed with tears, beers and Rebel yells Saturday, bringing to an end 12 years of music history. Performing before audiences that have contained everyone from sports heroes to Wall Street titans to royalty, some of the biggest names in the music business have either headlined there or gotten up from the audience to join in on a few songs. Among those who have graced the stage at the Lone Star are: Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, Keith Richards, James Brown, Roy Orbison, Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Steve Winwood. James Brown revived his career with a series of dynamic performances there and later credited the club in his autobiography. John Belushi and Dan Akroyd formed the Blues Brothers during late-night Lone Star jam sessions with various blues bands. Club owner Mort Cooperman said he was closing the club because the landlord raised the rent on the prime location to more than $1,000 a day. Cooperman has opened another club called the Lone Star Roadhouse in mid-town Manhattan, but long-standing fans said there can only be one Lone Star Cafe.