Tom Waits was in town over the weekend. He showed up at the National Hispanic Cultural Center for what was set-up to be a Q&A Friday but seemed more like a surreal example of planning an event for the purpose of not having it. Tom received an award of some sort, but the exchange happened so fast I'm not sure what it was for. Then the “interviewer,” Duke City Shootout sponsor Christopher Coppola, explained there was going to be a special treat. Unfortunately the special treat had nothing to do with the piano sitting a few feet away on the stage. Instead Tom picked an obscure Fellini film, “Toby Dammit,” for the audience to screen.
“Did you have a rough childhood,” a man asks Toby. “No, my mother always laughed when she hit me.” And Tom, sitting a few seats away from me, laughed real loud.
When the film ended, there was a Q&A with Tom about his career as one of the great independent artists of our time and why he chose to screen Fellini's film … not! Actually, after the film credits rolled, the evening ended ,seemingly, before it ever started. One of the organizers admonished folks to buy a Duke City Shootout t-shirt on the way out. I would have bought two, instead of none, if the event wasn't such a disappointment.