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Peace and Love from Ringo
Ringo Starr got some bad news on his birthday.
Preservationists in England announced that his birthplace in Liverpool would be demolished, saying it does not have sufficient link to the Beatles to be saved.
Bummer. But at least Starr got his birthday wish. He had asked that, at noon Monday, everyone make a peace sign and say, "Peace and love."
Starr himself hosted the first Peace and Love Day in Chicago outside the Hard Rock Hotel. He had originally wanted to have the "peace-in" at Buckingham Fountain, but city workers were still cleaning up from Taste of Chicago.
So about 200 Beatles fans crowded the sidewalks outside the hotel instead, waiting in the heat and drizzle on South Water Street for further instruction.
"Ringo invites me to his 68th birthday party, I'm coming," said Neil Blum, 50, of Glenview, who was at the front of the flock with his son Brian, 24.
Noon came and went, and no one flashed a peace sign. In fact, some of the people who gathered for global unity got downright cranky as press photographers cut in line.
But all was forgiven when Starr arrived with wife Barbara. "What could be wrong?" Starr asked. "Peace and love. What a great birthday gift. It's a happening."
Some of the people who waited the longest saw the least -- just Starr's extended fingers in black shirt cuffs, or the top of his shorn head. They sang "Happy Birthday" in his general direction.
Starr, whose latest album is "Liverpool 8," is in town for the Midwest leg of his All Starr Band's tour. He'll perform Sunday at Charter One Pavilion.
It was difficult to quantify whether the event had any effect on even local peace. Sheamus Mannion, desk sergeant at the Police Department's 10th District, didn't sense any out-of-the-ordinary vibes.
"Same as always," he said.
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