straight to the source

1

I saw the Rolling Stones in Vegas last Friday night and they were awesome. Jagger was amazing — a focused and streamlined presence stalking the stage. There was no hint of caricature about him, or the Stones, or the show in general — it was like going right to the Source of all those songs you’ve heard over and over again all those years growing up — where ‘Satisfaction’ wasn’t yet another tired rendition by a garage band or wedding singer, but a kind of revelation.

They did a rendition of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ which alone was worth the ticket price (and the trip out to Vegas).

If I have to grow old, I want to do it like Jagger…

2

Went to the premiere of SYRIANA, which my friend Randall (pseudonym) produced. (His company’s mandate is to make ‘socially relevant’ films — they also did NORTH COUNTRY, GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK and the documentary MURDERBALL). Saw George Clooney and Matt Damon at the cocktail party the night preceding — rather nice-looking men, those two — but there were two other men who really snagged my attention. One was Stephen Gaghan, the writer-director, whom I’ve greatly admired ever since I saw TRAFFIC (several times) and read the screenplay (several times). He was, in my brief conversations with him, extremely sweet, which is exactly what I expected him to be: “I’m going to read your novel,” he told me. (Will he really? Who knows? I was charmed.)

The other guy looked to be in his forties or so — dark-haired, brown-eyed, suave and rumpled at the same time, a red scarf round his neck. I kept glancing at him, wondering if I should recognize him from someplace — in crowds like these and in cities like LA, that nagging “do I know that person?” feeling could mean that, yes, you actually have met this person somewhere and should go say hello or, no, you’ve only seen that person onscreen somewhere and your subconscious has tagged his face as ‘familiar’ — either way, it’s an irksome feeling, akin to that name or word or memory that’s at the very tip of your tongue except you can’t — quite — get it. I noticed him again at the premiere’s afterparty, and was finally driven to ask someone next to me, “Who is that guy? Why do I feel like I should know him from somewhere?”

He turned out to be the real version of the character George Clooney plays in the movie — Bob Baer — who also wrote the book SEE NO EVIL on which the movie is based. So I was bemused by that. Wondering: so I somehow, and very vaguely, recognized him through his Clooney copy, registered the truth through the Hollywood illusion? I regret now that I didn’t just go up and talk to him; he seemed like a pretty cool guy.

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