The recent Lowell Memorial Auditorium performance of the "Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack Show" -- a recreation of the legendary Las Vegas impromptu stage gatherings of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop -- was a hit, with the audience lapping up the songs and off-color humor of the 1960s. At one point, Sandy Hackett (the son of the late great comedian Buddy Hackett) cracked a joke about Lowell.
"How can this be a destination city if it doesn't even have a hotel? We had to stay in Toooooksberrrry. Who ever heard of Toooooksberrrry?" he guffawed.
The audience loved it. I laughed too. But Hackett's observation during a one-night stand cut right to the bone: Lowell needs a downtown hotel to complete itself.
It's a priority if Lowell is going to be taken seriously as a place to visit on any level.