Jeff Goldblum, the actor, musician, and in the words of Pitchfork, "a sort of sentient, benevolent meme," graced Phoenix Fan Fusion with his tall, peculiar presence on Saturday, May 25.
At 66, he's achieved a sweet spot of stardom; he's a respected performer who doesn't take himself too seriously to embrace his unlikely popularity with much-younger generations, who buy shower curtains with his face on them and pen thirsty tweets about him.
Movies like The Fly, Jurassic Park, and Independence Day gave rise to a perception of Goldblum as intelligent, verbose, intense, and dryly funny. To the extent that what audiences see during a convention panel can truly reflect a celebrity's real personality, the real Goldblum seems to match the image.
Though the discussion with host Andrew Goodwin only lasted 30 minutes and didn't include any live questions from the audience, there were plenty of moments to savor.
Here are the most Jeff Goldblum things that happened at the Phoenix Fan Fusion Jeff Goldblum panel.
When he immediately began seducing the audience.
Goldblum, looking trim and hip in all black, took the stage to plenty of applause and a fair bit of screaming.
"Who’s out there?" he said, squinting against the lights. "I want to meet each and every one of them. Do I get to take pictures with all of them at some point? Have I already met some of them and I’ve signed some of your things? They’re so beautiful."
Later, when the lights came down a bit, he gushed: "I’m so happy to see all of you. ... There are 3,000 people here, you say. Three thousand of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen in my whole life. Phoenix."
When he invited everyone to his jazz shows.
In between acting projects, Goldblum finds the time to play piano in his jazz band, Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra (their album, The Capitol Studio Sessions, came out in November). In fact, Goldblum left Phoenix later on Saturday so he could perform with the group at the Bottle Rock music festival in Napa the next evening.
But in case no one could make it up to northern California, he issued a general invitation to the crowd to come see him in L.A., where the band performs on Wednesday nights at Rockwell Table & Stage when Goldblum is in town.
"Come on over there from 8:30 to 11, or however long you can stand it," he offered. "And tap me on the shoulder, because it’s very intimate. I get to meet everybody, and I usually take pictures with everybody, and talk to everybody, so come on over."
When he pondered the meaning of Phoenix Fan Fusion.
"Phoenix Fan Fusion? That’s what the name of this entire weekend is? Well, wait a minute. Where’s the fusing come in? We are fusing. This is a fusion. You and me. Ohhhhhhhhh.
"This is like The Fly when I get into that pod and there’s a fly there, and at the end of this weekend we will become one organism. All of us. Yes. We will melt into each other like candle wax when left out in the Phoenix sun, in the Arizona sun. We’ll melt together, and just become one big candle ... mmm ... and then we’ll light ourselves on fire."
When he shared his brilliant ice cream idea.
Among Goldblum's current projects is a new television show by National Geographic that will air on Disney's upcoming streaming service, Disney+. It's called The World According to Jeff Goldblum (yes, really), and according to Jeff Goldblum, "there are 12 episodes all about, oh, everyday things, about which we may tell you interesting science, history things, and future possibilities, and then my personal and unusual experiences with people involved in those things."
One episode Goldblum already has taped took him to Burlington, Vermont, to hang out with Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of ice cream fame. Cohen and Greenfield are known for championing causes such as prison reform and marriage equality through their ice cream flavors.
Goldblum said, "They’re activists ... they have a great deep conscience, and they’re very good and wonderful, wise men, and they’ve already done ice creams that have to do with helping climate change challenges and stuff.
"I said, 'Hey, what about an ice cream called Noam Chomsky Something. Chomsky Crunch.' Ben Cohen said, 'Jeff Goldblum, you’ve got something there.' He liked that idea. So, if you see something in your freezer, supermarket in these coming months, Noam Chomsky ice cream, that was my idea."
When he got profound for a minute.
Goldblum's stylist, Andrew Vottero, has given him a wardrobe makeover that has earned him attention and praise. But he segued from his obvious delight in his stylish threads into some surprising and meaningful thoughts on life.
"Now I’m getting things that are a permanent collection. I don’t think I’m going to get rid of a lot of other stuff. I got some cool stuff. We’re all coming and going, I guess. I’m not going to keep it forever. What do I need it for?
"That’s why we have to capture every moment. We have to appreciate every moment. That’s why right now, this is kind of a meditation for me. I’m looking at you, and I’m so grateful and appreciative, and I’ll never forget this moment right here where I see your gorgeous eyes staring back at me. Just being in this room at this point, it’ll never happen again like this."
When he offered to take his clothes off.
In lieu of a live Q&A, Goodwin asked Goldblum some questions that Fan Fusion had solicited on Facebook.
In addition to questions like, "What was it like wearing the wolf costume from The Three Little Pigs?" (answer: We really didn't get an answer; instead, we got a digression about Shelley Duvall, David Bowie, and Nashville), one contributor asked, "Could you pose shirtless in the photo op like you did in Jurassic Park?"
Goldblum virtually purred, "Wild horses couldn’t stop me from taking my shirt off. I will try to disrobe at least partially while we’re photographing."
When he contemplated his "daddy status," then married everyone in the audience.
Several of the questions Goodwin read were of a particularly thirsty nature, including "When did the 'daddy' status kick in?"
"I know literally, in real life, I’m a dad. I’m a daddy to young Charlie and River, three and a half years ago and two years ago, respectively. But I think you mean daddy something else," Goldblum said, his voice lowering seductively. "Zaddy and daddy, zaddy and daddy. I’m trying to maintain it and enhance it every day."
Another question Goodwin read contained a marriage proposal.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Goldblum responded, "I love your attention. It’s not weird at all. I find it sweet, sweet, sweet. And I can’t marry you because I have but one wife, Emily, and we’re happy as two clams. … So I wish I could marry each and every one of you. I can conduct, I can do this, officiate our fusion marriage, in the spiritual cosmic realm right now, vow myself to each and every one of you, and now we’re married."
When he gave one lucky fan a parting gift.
Goldblum's time was almost up, so Goodwin ended the session with a surprise giveaway: a pillowcase with the actor's face on it, which Goldblum signed and tossed into the audience. (If you want your own unsigned version, you can get it here.)
As he left the stage, he said to the crowd, "I love you so much. I love you to itty-bitty pieces. Thank you so much. Thank you for coming out. We’ll see you soon."