After setting up my little display space yesterday, I headed home. Since this is what I was greeted with on the way home...
...today I decided to do something I've never done in L.A. I took the Metro Rail. Yes I did. And it was great. No gas required, no traffic, no $12 parking fee and it took me right where I wanted to go for only $1.25 each way. This is what it looks like inside one of the stations...
I was having an excellently fun time at the Expo today. Meeting lots of cool people, and running into lots of people I know. And then I heard that Slash was going to be signing his book in the autograph section.
Hmmm. I thought it might be cool to show him my book.
Since the autograph area is pretty close to where my little borrowed space is, I walked over there to check out how it worked. Ugh. They had a bunch of signing tables at the back of the room with roped aisles stretching out for the length of a block. There were lists of authors for each aisle and tons of people lined up to get autographs of authors I'd never even heard of. Can you imagine how many people would be lined up for Slash? Hoards. No way was I going to wait an hour or two in a long line and have 2 seconds to say 'hi, I know you're here for your book, but why don't you check out my book?' Oh well. Maybe another time.
At that point, I needed to head over to the South Hall to show someone my book. But in the back of my mind I thought maybe I'd see if I could find out who published Slash's book. Maybe. And maybe I'd drop a copy of my book for them to pass on to him. Then again, maybe not. Chances are he wouldn't get it. Nah, he definitely wouldn't get it. Forget it.
It's a bit of a trek from the West Hall to the South Hall. And during a Book Expo there's always a chance of running into interesting characters along the way. Like an elephant...
Or a staggering red something with vision problems...
Then I started thinking about my daughter, not even questioning why these odd characters brought her to mind. I thought about calling her. I don't know why, I just did. And within 30 seconds, while I was still walking up that very long hallway, my phone rang.
Guess who it was?
We were chatting as I walked and I asked her if there were any books she wanted me to pick up for her. That's the great think about the U.S. Book Expos - the publishers give out tons of books that aren't even out yet. Anyway, she had just finished reading Middlesex and was wondering if the author had a new book coming out. I told her I'd check. Then asked her if she knew who published his book. She said it was Harper Collins.
By this time I was in the South Hall. Oddly enough, I looked up and saw the Harper Collins sign hanging from the ceiling about ten yards in front and a little to the left of me. I responded with, "Hey, I'm really close to their booth. I'll go check for you right now." And seconds later, after I made a quick left and was rounding the divider into the Harper Collins booth, I caught sight of someone that looked something like this...
Oh My God You Have Got To Be Kidding Me. It's Slash. W.T.F.
There he was, standing there, no commotion around him...just hanging out in the Harper Collins booth. I guess Harper Collins is his publisher. I didn't give it a second thought. I walked right up and stood a few steps away from him while he finished a conversation with some girl and then I said "Hi."
First I congratulated him on the award he received a couple of weeks ago at a charity event and I heard the sets he did with Steven Tyler (they played Whole Lotta Love for freakin' sakes) and Alice Cooper was ridiculously amazing. Not that I got to go or anything since it was a charity event that cost a kabillion dollars but that my son got to go because his g.f.'s mom runs the friggin' charity. That would be the same charity that I donated all that stuff to, including the Limited Edition book that they just collected a bunch of money for in their online auction...but hey, I'm not bitter that he got to watch this very cool show (with Slash smokin' on the guitar) from a sofa situated a few feet away from the stage. Nope. Not bitter at all.
After I told him how amazing my kid told me the show was, I whipped the copy of my book out of my bag and told him I was glad I ran into him because I wanted to give him my book. He looked at the book and was quite taken aback - and then said he wasn't sure at first what I was pulling out of my bag, but he was thankful it was what it was (do you think he thought I had a gun or something?). I should know it's never a good idea to pull something out of a bag and spring it on a famous person when they have no idea who you are or if you're going to pull out a poisonous snake.
I signed the book for him and he was happy to give me a copy of his book and sign it for me (before any of those poor shlubs who were waiting in that long line for him). We talked a bit more about the charity event (yes, the one I didn't get to go to) while he flipped through my book. I told him I had shot Alice Cooper in Vancouver when he fell off the stage (for those of you who don't know, that is a somewhat historic moment in rock history) and I also lamented that not only did my son get to go to the charity event (Nope. I'm not bitter.) but that he was shooting musicians now. That was when he said to me, "Don't worry about it. You're the one that got the good stuff." How nice was that? Thanks for the vindication, Slash.
As if that wasn't enough of a compliment from this larger than life rock star, as he thanked me for the third or fourth time for giving him my book he said, "If you hadn't given this to me and I saw it somewhere I definitely would have bought it." How nicer is that? Thanks for the endorsement, Slash.
Just in case you think I'm completely full of shit, I did the obsessed stalker fan thing and got this...
I read the opening pages to his book on the Metro Rail home...and so far it's very good. Turns out his family lived in Laurel Canyon in the early 70s. His mom was a clothing designer for musicians and actors. He wrote that Joni Mitchell was often around their house. Sheesh. I was working with Joni on my first book in the late 70s. It's quite possible that I ran into his mom, and maybe even him, way back when.
As usual, there's a little kicker to this story.
After running into Slash, I totally forgot to ask one of the Harper Collins reps about the Middlesex author. I just left their booth in a purple haze. But I did go back there a while later - after I trekked back to my booth to get another copy of my book - after I met up with Badfinger author Dan Matavino. ..and guess what? Harper Collins didn't publish Middlesex.
Looks like one of my guardian angel musicians put those words into my daughter's mouth... maybe they also wanted Slash to have a copy of Everybody I Shot Is Dead. 'Cause this kind of thing happens to me way too often to be coincidence.