You can call Blair Tindall anything you like — and there are those who have, publicly and repeatedly (cough Lee Breuer cough)— but you can't call her conventional. Last year's Post and Courier Spoleto Overview critic, a longtime New Yawk resident, moved to the West Coast on a whim last summer after the publication of her eyebrow-raising first book, Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music. And then, two and a half weeks ago, the former professional concert oboist got married — eloped, in fact — to a fella she met in September. Her new husband? Bill Nye. Yeah, that's right: Bill Nye the Science Guy.
I hadn't heard from Tindall since I wrote about her and her book following Spoleto last year, and when I shot her an e-mail last week asking her to bring me up to speed on the West Coast and life in general, she replied instantly with the news.
"I got married all of a sudden," she wrote. "A guy read my book and started stalking me in September. At first I was resistant, since it started the third day I arrived in LA. But then I realized he was a great, if very nervous, suitor. And we had a lot in common."
On the weekend of Feb. 3, apparently, Nye was speaking at a seminar in L.A. called The Entertainment Gathering, sharing the podium with people like Jeffrey Katzenberg (DreamWorks SKG co-founder), Chris Anderson (editor of Wired), Jon Stewart (yeah, that one), Jill Sobule, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, and David Blaine, among many others. Tindall says she went to hear her boyfriend's presentation, planning on getting an oil change and doing some grocery shopping afterward.
Instead, she writes, she decided to stay for lunch, which they had with Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life. "He took one look at us and offered to marry us during the afternoon seminar. It sounded like a darn fine idea."
An hour later the two were married in front of a crowd that included other seminar presenters like Dean Kamen (he invented the Segway), architect Frank Gehry, Nina Zagat, Matt Groening, and Craig Venter (he decoded the human genome). They drove into Santa Monica, bought rings, and returned for the evening seminar and reception. "And by weird coincidence, Yo-Yo Ma ended up playing because he happened to be there, too."
Nye and Tindall's hasty hitchin' was reported on CNN, ABC News, and in newspapers around the nation (though not in The Post and Courier). Tindall says she and Nye have a more formal wedding date set for May 13.
As for whether her plans later that month include a return trip to Charleston for another gig as the P&C's Spoleto Overview critic, she says the newspaper has invited her back, but she's not certain whether she'll be doing an encore.
In the meantime, she's working on a book about midlife happiness, based on the lives of people who came into their own after 40 (she's in her mid-40s, Nye's 50, and neither has been married before). She's doing a film treatment of Mozart in the Jungle and also working on another screenplay, "and I took up soprano sax instead of oboe, and also swing dancing."
The moral of this story, obviously: don't have lunch with Rick Warren unless you're prepared to make a lifetime commitment.