JOLIET — Dan Aykroyd and James Belushi aren’t putting the band back together.
But they will perform for 90 minutes as Elwood Blues and Brother Zee Blues on Aug. 19 at the Old Joliet Prison, 1125 N. Collins St., Joliet.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Old Joliet Prison and the Joliet Area Historical Museum.
“He [Dan Aykroyd] made a significant donation of his time to come out and do this performance,” Greg Peerbolte, CEO of the Joliet Area Historical Museum, said. “He’s already extended the city a great deal of his own personal generosity. We’re really excited and touched by that.”
Aykroyd and Belushi’s performance highlights the museum’s inaugural Blues Brothers Con, a two-day event Aug. 19 and 20 that will include a free screening of “The Blue Brothers” 1980 film the night of Aug. 20, as well as entertainment and food.
Food includes orange whips, dry white toast, and wicked pepper steak, Peerbolte said.
What about four fried chickens and a coke?
“We’re hoping we can find a vendor who can do, at least, a variation of that,” Peerbolte said.
And because there’s “lots of space in this mall,” as Elwood quipped in “The Blues Brothers”, the 16-acre prison will be zoned into different Blues Brothers experiences.
The Soul Café will offer live art demonstrations and DJs. Find food and vendors on “Maxwell Street.” “Bob’s Country Bunker” will include a stage and chicken wire, Peerbolte said.
Attendees are invited to dress as characters from “The Blues Brothers.” And make sure to check out the Bluesmobile car show, Peerbolte said
“We’re encouraging anyone who has a Bluesmobile to contact us and bring it out,” Peerbolte said
Blues Brothers Con also will feature live musical blues performances by Chicago bluesmen Toronzo Cannon and Curtis Salgado – “Curtis” in the film is named for Salgado, according to a news release from the museum.
Features for Aug. 20 are an ecumenical Gospel music service and, later, performances by blues veterans Mondo Cortez & The Chicago Blues Angels and Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, according to the release.
The ecumenical service pays homage to the Triple Rock Baptist Church scene in “The Blues Brothers,” Peerbolte said. But it also “reclaims” the prison for the community, he said.
Peerbolte said people may wonder how “something as tragic and horrible as a prison” can become a community gathering space.
But consider John Belushi, who symbolizes both tragedy and joy, he said.
And, through celebrating “The Blues Brothers” history with the prison, the community can celebrate the prison “as a place of art” and a place where all the stories, good and bad, are told, he said.
Speaking of stories, Peerbolte is hoping the museum can collect people’s personal stories as they relate to “The Blues Brothers.”
Peerbolte himself said he first saw “The Blues Brothers” with his family while they were on vacation in Branson, Missouri.
“It’s a special movie,” Peerbolte said. “We hope people will be able to share those experiences and pass on how special that was for them.”
As Elwood said in the movie, “Remember, people, that no matter who you are and what you do to live, thrive and survive, they’re still some things that make us all the same.”
And on Aug. 19 and 20, that will be the shared love of the iconic film and “The Blues Brothers” culture it inspired.