So I was at WonderCon (San Francisco) last week, manning the Cool Jerk table and all the things that entails — selling books and T-shirts, doing sketches, chatting with readers and making new friends, Tweeting and texting updates to Darlene (she opted to stay in San Diego so she could join me in Phoenix next month).
A couple of petite women wandered up to my table amid a small flurry of traffic. They started leafing through my Cool Jerk books and after a few seconds, the one closest to me dressed in pink and green gestured to the covers of my books and asked, “So are you a fan of The Capitols?” (the reference: The Capitols did the song “Cool Jerk” in 1966)
My face widened in a smile, “No, I’m much more of a Go-Go’s fan.” The gal who asked the question smiled back. (the reference: The Go-Go’s covered “Cool Jerk” on their 1982 album “Vacation.”)
We chatted the usual comic-con small talk back and forth across the table for a minute or two. “Are you having a good convention?” “How many times have you been to WonderCon?” “Has it started raining outside?” “Are you here all three days?” Her answers led me to think I might be talking to a fellow professional, as she said she’s been to the San Diego Comic-Con International a few years in a row and that it’s good to chill out at WonderCon where she can just walk around and have fun. I glanced down at her badge but it was turned around, so her identity remained a complete mystery. But I had a gut feeling, brought on by her answers and a familiar, distinctive squeakiness in her voice that I didn’t quite place when we first started talking. I waited until she was looking away and I said one word.
She turned around and said, “Yes?”
Yes, this whole time I was talking to Jane Wiedlin. Guitarist of The Go-Go’s. And I sincerely had no Clue up until about 30 seconds into our chat. (I wonder if someone were filming this, at what point I had my “a-ha” moment… and if it was even noticeable)
I continued with my conversation. “At the expense of being a dork, could I get a photo of you, please?” Jane not only said yes, but came around to my side of the Cool Jerk table. She introduced me to her sister, who graciously took a photo of us. I took another one for good measure. Afterward we continued chatting about comics. She said she’ll be at SDCCI promoting her comic — Lady Robotika — coming out this summer. I told her to come by Small Press and say Hi again.
Photo by Meg Wiedlin
As they were leaving, I said “Hold on a sec.” I gave Jane the display copy of the ladies’ Cool Jerk tank with narrow strappy straps as a thank you for the decades of good music. I asked her to wear it in good faith and promote Cool Jerk — whether lounging around or washing the car, etc. She said, “Oh! I’ll probably have to wear something underneath it,” as she held it up to her small frame and laughed.
Jane rocks (you can tell by the secret double devil-horn hand gestures)!
Jane Wiedlin. How ’bout that. Anyone who’s known me for more than a few years knows I adore The Go-Go’s. I even have an autographed Go-Go’s poster on the wall next to my Mac that I got in San Diego at a 1999 reunion concert.
I texted Darlene immediately afterward and we laughed loud about it, because Darlene has an otherworldly ability to lock in and remember faces in some cyber-techo-organic mental database. SHE would’ve known that was Jane Wiedlin 20 yards away. God as my witness (and Jane, if you’re reading this, I’m crapping you not), it took me a minute of conversation — WELL AFTER I mentioned I was a Go-Go’s fan — before I realized who I was talking to.
A couple days later I’m back in San Diego, and I know I have to write a blog about this. I wanted to verify Jane’s sister’s name, but the Internet wasn’t very helpful in that regard. So I Tweeted her and asked, “@janewiedlin I’d like to give credit to your sister for taking a photo of us at #wondercon; Meg, right?”
A little while later Jane replied, “Yes, Meg! I love my CJ dress, wearing it as nightie.”
WHAT HAVE I DONE…?!? Fellas (and a bunch’a you ladies, don’t deny it), I apologize — if it weren’t for Cool Jerk, Jane Wiedlin would be sleeping in the nude.