In January I left a story on the Adult Entertainment Expo to go to do my LA Times column on the Vegas based reality show Pawn Stars. Going from porn to pawn is just part of a day’s work. Rick Harrison, the owner, was the sort of wonderful eccentric and brilliant autodidact Nevada business libertarian who uses special skills to create an amazing offering. His store is a wonderland. I am glad I wrote the column and the team there is amazing.
But I will never be going back to that pawn shop. Jealousy does something to a person inside that is ugly. And, I am jealous. I am sure, despite what Criss Angel fans may think, I have never been jealous before of anyone I’ve written about in Vegas. That ends today. I am so jealous of “Pawn Stars” Chumlee that I am sputtering with something crossed between admiration and pure hate.
As any of my longtime readers know, I am a borderline obsessed Bob Dylan fan. Obviously, I have never met or interviewed the reclusive singer. He plays Vegas once a year and according to the Dylan grapevine usually never checks into his hotel room, only stays with the bus. As you can see in the clip, near the bus is where Chumlee manages to track down the greatest songwriter to ever live for an autograph on an album. And, he asks Dylan to sign not just any album, but a disc that is itself an inside joke to Dylan and his fans: “Self-Portrait.” “Self Portrait” came out in 1970 and features such monstrosities as Dylan crooning “Blue Moon.” The original Rolling Stone review of Self Portrait opened “What is this shit?”
In the clip, Dylan seems a little surprised at seeing a pristine preserved copy of his 1970 debacle. He probably has not looked at “Self Portrait” in decades. But he makes no comment to Chumlee on the recording.
I know most people will think this clip is staged for television. And, I am far too jealous now to ask Chumlee if that is true. But Dylan is not that way and does not need the press. And my guess is if Rick Harrison is a big enough fan to own “Self Portrait” in a collector condition he would have gone himself to meet the master for an autograph. This was a fool’s errand achieved with a fool’s luck. But still I am jealous, jealous, jealous.