It’s warm today in Los Angeles — 65 degrees and only 11 am. The cold snap (evening temps in the 40s, which felt like 30s due to winds) is over for now. Soon it’ll be March, and then comes April and May. And then the fifth anniversary of the 6.19.13 death of James Gandolfini. I’m mentioning this because this morning I happened to re-read one of the ugliest comment-thread pile-ons in the history of this column. It followed a plainly-written “this is how it happened” piece about my having “crashed” (in a vague manner of speaking) Gandolfini’s funeral service at Manhattan’s St. John The Divine on 6.27.13.
For two days I was seething with rage while coping with a broken heart. The ugliness amazed me although a few commenters, at least, understood and respected the fact that I attended out of love and respect. Variety‘s Stephen Gaydos said it best in 6.28.13 post: “Wells is a huge [Gandolfini] fan and so he paid his respects to a guy who was talented and died too young. Those are the facts. The rest is cockatoo chatter.”
At the end of a local ABC News report about the funeral[above], the anchor guy states that “the funeral was closed to the press.” The beat-down I received that day was partly about my having claimed that press wasn’t invited (or at least that I wasn’t) and that I had to circumvent stern-looking women with clipboards who were checking names, etc.
Here it is again: “I got hated on big-time for tweeting about having crashed James Gandolfini‘s funeral this morning at Manhattan’s St. John The Divine. Yes, I flippantly used the term “funeral crasher!” because that’s what I was. But it’s the singer, not the song. The haters ignored the fact that I (a) asked for God’s forgiveness in having crashed, (b) ascribed my crashing success to the intervention of angels, and (c) said that I crashed with reverence and respect for James, David Chase and all the “made” Sopranos guys. The rush-to-judgment pissheads simply weren’t listening. They never do. They’re scolds…shrill finger-wagging scolds going “tut-tut!” and “no, no, no!”
“I didn’t crash Gandolfini’s funeral like some giggling monkey, and I didn’t take the subway up there this morning with the intention of crashing. I crashed it solemnly like some devoted choirboy or Sopranos family soldier. I just grimmed up and shuffled up the cathedral steps and…well, go ahead and laugh but I honestly believe that I got past security because some angel from heaven who lived in my area of New Jersey when he or she was mortal happened to look down from heaven at that moment and said ‘whoa, wait up…he’s okay…fuck it, let him through.’