By John King Tarpinian: Harlan Ellison did a talk and signing for his two “new” books, Pulling A Train and Getting in the Wind at La Luz de Jesus Gallery and Soap Plant on Hollywood Boulevard. Harlan first went next door for a haircut at Sweeney Todd’s Barber Shop.
The talk got started a little after 3:00 p.m. with Patton Oswalt “stalling for time” as Harlan made his way through the crowd to the podium. They did some shtick, then Harlan took over. He was his usual precocious self, very up and very entertaining, talking frankly about his life and taking questions, which he answered with his customary aplomb. Harlan could have gone on for hours but he was prompted to start the signing since there were a bazillion people waiting for him to take pen in hand.
Harlan was very generous with his signing — for each of his new books that you bought he’d sign two additional items. I heard secondhand that one person bought 64 copies of the new books and Harlan signed them all. People had many of Harlan’s classics they brought and many more pulps and anthologies.
I gave well wishes to Harlan from many mutual friends, including our own Mike Glyer. Made sure he knew we were having a birthday party for George Clayton Johnson the next day, etc. Many had as private a conversation as one can have at such an event.
When I left a little after 7:00 p.m. there were still about a dozen people left awaiting their audience. I’d say Harlan had a good day and enjoyed himself and so did the crowd.
[Editor’s note: Click link to see Patton Oswalt’s excellent photo of Harlan in the barber chair showing off the knife he told KPCC’s John Rabe he’d use on the barber if he tried to give him a pompadour. Since Ellison, in fact, got the pompadour, I have to wonder what the barber was carrying…]