Smoky-voiced Los Angeles-based torch siren, who heats up the Mod Club (722 College) for Justin Rutledge Wednesday (May 9). $16.50. 416-588-4663, 416-870-8000.
What's been your strangest encounter with a celebrity?
I was waiting for a parking space in Hollywood, near a popular restaurant. This black Mercedes had its tail lights on, so it seemed like the car was about to pull out. I waited and waited, but it didn't move. Finally, I pulled up alongside it and used the international sign language for "Are you leaving your parking space?" Rather than brush me away, Matt Dillon rolled down his window, stopped talking on his cell and very politely informed me he wasn't actually leaving. I was blushing when I pulled away. I really didn't expect it to be him.
Which song do you wish you'd written?
There are so many, but OutKast's Hey Ya is definitely one of them. I always feel like dancing when I hear it. It's a great pop song and obviously made them incredibly rich. I'm not sure it'd fit on any of my records, but I wish I'd written it.
Which living artist whom you've never met would you love to collaborate with?
Everyone who comes to mind is someone I've met (if only briefly) or Bob Dylan. I don't really want to collaborate with Dylan, but I do think he'd like me and want to be friends. Other than that, people like Merle Haggard or George Jones, but I'm not sure we'd make good matches in writing or singing. Maybe I could bring something to Conor Oberst. I'm older than him, after all, and I think some of his songs are quite beautiful, but others need a little editing. I could help him edit, and then we could sing together.
Who would you like to see playing the lead role in the film The Eleni Mandell Story?
I think Alida Valli (from The Third Man) could bring just the right balance of melancholy and humour to the part. I also think I look a little like her, but she's much better looking. Unfortunately, she died.
What's your biggest regret?
Actually, I have three regrets: 1. Not accepting Ramon's invitation to become his dancing partner, because I was too shy. (He did teach me some salsa moves!) 2. Not going to the awards ceremony in seventh grade for "best found art object," cuz I was sure I'd lose. Tony Duquette was the judge, and I won. 3. Not staying at the L.A. Weekly Awards when I was nominated with Elliott Smith. I was sure I'd lose, and we both won. He died a few months later, and I wish I'd been there to share the award with him.