Sunday, September 21, 2008

Provenance

I work for a performing arts organization. Normally, when working in and around artists backstage, I'm so busy dealing with whatever is going on that there isn't time to take photos backstage. And, its sort of an unwritten rule that you don't ask for photos/autographs when you're trying to get work done.

But, last spring we had a date with Willie Nelson. When they showed up at the hall, they announced they would like to borrow an air compressor. They played a rodeo the night before, and they needed the compressor to "blow off" the dust from the rodeo off their equipment. My co-worker called me to see if I could bring S's air compressor in. I was coming in for the later part of the day, and its a well known fact that S has a tool for everything, so it was a pretty normal thing for her to call me to ask me to bring something like this.

So, I called S and asked him if he minded if I took his air compressor to work. He said, "Sure, just get Willie to sign it." This was his way of joking, knowing I would never ask for a signature.

But, as the day went on, Willie's manager set out a table to place items from all sorts of people for Willie to sign on the way back to his bus after the show. Photos and record albums, mostly, and a couple of guitars littered the table. They came from fans, other performers, etc. So, I thought, what the heck - I'll put S's air compressor on the table.


Willie signing other people's memorabilia.

His manager asked what it was and if we wanted Willie to sign it - I said, sure if he will, my husband would be thrilled. So, after the show, here comes Willie. He signs everything on the table with a black sharpie - including the air compressor, but with a silver paint pen. I shot the photo below with my camera phone of him signing the device.


Willie signing the air compressor.

When Willie signed the compressor, he said, "I signed an aerator once before, but never an air compressor - this is the first one." Then, he ambled out the door and back to his magical bus.

I told S that if Willie happened to sign that compressor, we had to agree it wouldn't in any way change the ability of the compressor to be used as a tool. He said fine. But, somehow, I don't think its been used since said signing. So, that photo is our provenance, so to speak, that this actually happened. And, this is our little brush with a Texas Legend.

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