RIP Thin White Duke

Bowie1

This Bowie fellow. Wow.

He was always the guy all the “cool kids” found first. In every one of his many reincarnations. A high school friend, Stan Guthrie — first kid in my circle who talked him up. Always the first.

Profiling future Bonnaroo Music Festival impresario Ashley Capps in Knoxville back in the last century, his best friend told me everybody could tell Ashley was different because he was the first in town to hear of Bowie. And was skipping school to find a way to get to his first U.S. shows.

Here’s my David Bowie story. I interviewed Iman, his wife — ridiculously cool, for a model — in the early 90s in NYC when that Godawful “Exit to Eden” (1994) movie came out. Striking woman.Witty, off-the-cuff, a good match for a “rock god.” She told jokes about their life together, jokes with real warmth.

The next year, 1995, I was in New York for the NYFilm Festival, which only showed critics two movies a day back then, leaving an out of town writer with a whole day in NYC to fill to justify the expense of traveling there. So I would pack in indie movies already open there after the day’s screenings. In and out of dark theaters into bright Sept. days gave me migranes. So I’d don New York Raybans (the sunglasses equivalent of a “New York Rolex,” for those hip enough to know what those are) before leaving the theater. I ducked into Larry Clark’s notorious “Kids,” the talk of the town, at the basement Lincoln Plaza multiplex. I stayed through the credits, started out, forgot my notebook, dashed back in to retrieve it and put on my shades, and left as the lights went down for the next show.

In the foyer, well, hell, there’s that Iman again! I smiled at her and she smiled back as an usher ushered her in. Behind her, this other skinny guy in Raybans was strolling in, bowed head, just taking them off — sneaking in to avoid the “celebrity-in-our-midst” distraction. He looks up, startled, at “Who is this other person in Raybans in a darkened movie theater?” Oh. Just me. We exchange a look and a smirk. Him oozing cool, as you’d expect. Me, blushing at wearing sunglasses when I will never wear’em as well as the Thin White Duke. RIP.

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