Last week I sang at Kirk Douglas’s house in Palm Springs, CA.
They wanted me to sing Sinatra songs. I was told not to mention the gig, to keep it hush-hush. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know where I was singing until the day of the show. When I found out, I Googled Kirk Douglas…
He was a huge movie star back in the day. My favorite film of his was Spartacus (directed by Stanley Kubrick), where he plays a slave. I loved Spartacus. Kirk Douglas is now 100 years old. As I was driving to his house, I was thinking…
I hope nothing bad happens. I mean, what if he kicks the bucket when I hit the high note at the end of “New York, New York”? That wouldn’t be good.
When I got to the house, I found out Kirk Douglas was not there, but was alive and well somewhere else, thank goodness. A Palm Springs preservation group had rented his place for a big party. The house is what they call mid-century modern–one story, rectangular, glass walls, white floors and lots of yellow and orange and lime green.
There was a pool outside shaped like the letter “K”, and beyond that, a pool house, and a tennis court, where a martini bar was set up. When guests arrived, the women were dressed in evening gowns, and the men were dressed in suits and tuxedoes.
I was dressed as Kirk Douglas in Spartacus.
The party was outside by the pool and the martini bar. It was a very cool shindig. And it got a lot cooler. When the sun went down, the temperatures dropped into the mid-40s, which is about 20 degrees below normal. Folks were freezing, huddling around portable heaters placed around the pool, and standing in front of the outdoor fireplace. One guy got too close and his hairpiece caught on fire and we had to throw it in the pool.
I was standing on the patio, far away from any source of warmth. It was so cold I could have blown smoke rings when I exhaled. Frost was starting to form on my eyebrows. I was considering setting my pants on fire just to stay warm.
It wasn’t that bad. It was actually quite fun. Seriously. The coolness brought people together, in a cuddly kinda way. Towards the end, Suzanne Sommers showed up. She stood by the side of the stage and listened, and when I finished my song she yelled, “You’re cute!”
I felt so cheap, like a piece of meat!
Not really. She said it in a fun and funny way. The party was a blast; when it was over the hostess gave me such wonderful compliments. She had heard me sing at Leonardo DiCaprio’s house (formerly Dinah Shore’s place), and booked me for this party.
I thanked her, packed up, and drove back to the Slim Shack, heat on full blast. It was so hot the hair on my legs got singed. I started thinking of the chain of events that led to the Kirk Douglas party…
I got the Kirk Douglas gig because the lovely hostess heard me sing at the DiCaprio house party. I got the Leonardo gig because someone heard me sing at the Barbara Sinatra party. I got the Barbara party because someone heard me sing at Frank Sinatra’s house. And I got the Frank party because someone heard me sing at La Rue, a little wine bar not far from the Slim Shack.
When I’m not doing Slim Man concerts, I sing at La Rue. It ain’t Carnegie Hall, but I’m having a blast, singing the Rat Pack stuff a couple nights a week.
My Dad used to say “If you’re not gonna do it right, don’t do anything at all.”
Which is why I didn’t do anything for the first half of my life.
But when I started doing the Rat Pack songs, I went all in. I try my best to do those songs justice. Plus…you never know who might be listening. Right?
A couple months ago, a friend brought out a film producer to hear me sing at La Rue. I gave producer dude a copy of the Slim Man Cooks cookbook. He gave it to his partner who is a book publisher.
The guy dug the cookbook, and I signed a publishing deal last week.
You never know, Slim People.
Who loves ya?