Musical Insurgency
Volume 4 Book 2 of
Living in the Bonus Round
(Part 8)
Tom Cruise 2004
Tom Cruise signs autographs at UCLA.

[ Book 4-1 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]  [ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ]
[ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ] [ Pt 12 ] [ Pt 13 ] [ Pt 14 ]  -- [ Book 4-3 ]

October 26, 2004.
Tom Cruise Almost Meets Steve.
One of the things I love doing most in this city is being chauffeur for author/journalist/firebreather David Ehrenstein to movies or movie-related events. Not because I necessarily want to see the movie, but just to hang out with him. He is one of the most erudite persons I know. Plus, he knows everything about movies. To spend an hour with him is to hear stories about all the greats in the days of yore. Last night the conversation was Christopher Isherwood and the new book about his life.

The event we were attending was "A Conversation With Tom Cruise."

It was a beautiful but slightly chilly night. I forgot to bring a jacket along so I pawed through the trunk and found a shirt crumpled in the bottom. I threw it over the other shirt I was wearing and suddenly I looked like a model from the showroom at Abercrombie & Fitch where EVERYTHING is wrinkled.

David Ehrenstein
David is wearing his press hat!

Down the hallway to the front of Royce Hall.

The front portico of Royce Hall.


Entertainment reporters Jerry Penacoli and Billy Bush.

Tom Cruise on the press line.
Tom Cruise arrives at the press line.

Tom Cruise

After standing in front of the press line and posing for photos, he moved over to our side and started signing autographs for fans that were lined up.

Tom Cruise poses with fans.

Tom CruiseTom Cruise.

Tom Cruise

After snapping as many pictures as I could, I had to take our cameras back to the car because they weren't allowed into the reception. And I wanted to get to the reception. Since this whole event was being sponsored by DreamWorks I calculated that there would be food.

I was correct.

It was a strangely ecclectic mix of foods, all the way from Asian to friend cheese to "minced squab in lettuce cups."

That piece of information was related to me by a young woman dressed from head to toe in black. All of the wait staff was dressed in black. I got into the reception early enough that the food was just out there for me -- and no waiting line.

So I see these a little pile of brown meat-looking chunks congealed in a sauce sitting on lettuce pad. Hmmm, I think.

Suddenly a female voice is behind me saying proudly, "Minced squab in lettuce cups."

Lettuce cups? It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud.

I went over to the bar where this beautiful bartender asked me what I wanted. I said, "I would like Diet Coke, please. I mean what else does one drink with minced squab in lettuce cups?" The beautiful bartender laughed.

I sat down with David introducing myself to the man he was talking to as "David's chauffeur." As we continued talking, waiting for Mr. Cruise to make his appearance that we were not allowed to photograph, he asked me about myself. I told him that I was a theatre composer with a show about to move off-Broadway. He lit up saying that the UCLA musical theatre program gets way more applicants than there are spots for. Then he gave me his card. He's the Dean of the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television! We talked about doing an appearance for their students.

Then David, who's also a big theatre queen, chimed in and pretty soon we were dissecting the state of musical theatre, analyzing Sondheim's "Follies" -- which Daivd and I agreed is the best musical ever. Except maybe for "Gypsy."

Anyway, we filed into Royce Hall, had really good seats in the middle. Lots and lots of students. On the stage Chris Connelly interviewed him and showed scenes from his movies. David described it as James Lipton Lite. It was okay but I got bored after about an hour. I didn't want to say anything to David so it was to my great relief that he suddenly leaned over and said, "You wanna get out of here? This is really boring."

I was in the aisle before he finished the sentence.

I love El Lay.

[ Book 4-1 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ] [ Pt 12 ]
[ Pt 13 ] [ Pt 14 ]  -- [ Book 4-3 ]

© 1996-2004 by Steve Schalchlin.
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