Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Paradise Fragment: Tom Waits! Tom fucking Waits!

Why settle for some know-it-alls despair when the dead may dance to the fiddle hereafter, for all anybody knows?

--Wendell Berry

Tom Waits! Tom fucking Waits is at Hibbleton! He walks up in his little hat, skinny jeans, a beat up jacket, with his haggard face. This art opening features artwork by his daughter, Kellisimone Waits. We didn’t think Tom would show up. But we hoped.

He walks up real nonchalantly, walks past me into the gallery.

“Hello,” I say.

“Hey,” he growls.

There are a handful of people I would pay money to meet in my life. Crispin Glover, David Foster Wallace, president Obama, a few others, and Tom Waits. I didn’t have to go see him. He came here. To our little gallery on Wilshire in downtown Fullerton.

He looks around at the artwork. I watch the faces on the people in the gallery. A lot of double takes. Some people boldly go up to him, ask for his autograph, to take a photo with him. I kind of feel bad. He probably gets this all the time. Though I can’t say I blame them.

A little later, standing outside, I introduce myself and shake his hand. I shake hands with Tom Waits.

“How do you like Fullerton?” I ask.

“Oh, it’s a nice little town,” he growls.

I’m not sure what else to say. I’m a little star-struck, like the time I met Drew Barrymore. I walked up to her and said, “You’re Drew Barrymore.”

“Yep,” she said. And that was it.

A bit later, Bill Pullman shows up. Bill fucking Pullman. Independence Day, Lost Highway, Spaceballs.

I walk up to Bill, introduce myself.

“I loved you in the movie Zero Effect,” I say.

“Thanks a lot,” he says, “That’s not one people mention too often.”

“I had this friend in high school who had your entire Independence Day speech memorized.”

He laughs a little, and smiles his signature Bill Pullman smile. He’s a cool guy.

I want to ask him what it was like to work with David Lynch, but I don’t.

I watch as the gallery gets more crowded. People are sending out facebook messages, tweets, texts...Tom Waits is at Hibbleton!

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