Hell of a weekend: Bernie Brillstein, Bernie Mac and now Isaac Hayes -- all late greats now, all well before their time. Of Bernie Mac, I was a big fan (NSFW, incidentally, not at all); "15 roles to remember," which is a legacy. Brillstein I got to know a few years back, when he came through Dallas with Martin Short to promote Jiminy Glick in Lalawood, which Brillstein produced. Brillstein was a grizzly bear and a saint, a mensch in the business of bastards. He gave me his business card and demanded I use it, which I did on several occasions. He always called back; he always had a story, or a dozen, to share.
Hayes too was a force, of course. I recall well our first encounter in 1995, when he came through Dallas to promote his first album in seven years. Perhaps it was the exhaustion -- he hadn't been on the meet-and-greet circuit in decades -- but ours was a particularly memorable exchange, because Hayes opened up on that May afternoon about the "love of my life," who, as it turned out, used to work at the Anatole Hotel, which Hayes could see from his window at the old Stouffer Hotel on Stemmons Freeway. "I've had many involvements, some very intense," he said at the time, staring at the hotel across the highway. "But that girl that was at the Anatole" --he paused -- "I let her get away. It was my fault." Like I said, hell of a weekend. --Robert Wilonsky