Thursday, August 07, 2008

Paul McCartney Is So Cool

From Suburban Chicago News:

JOLIET - Paul McCartney in Joliet?

Tony Contos couldn't believe it either, but after viewing the security tape at the Joliet Area Historical Museum on Saturday afternoon, he's sure the former Beatle was there.

"He's a real celebrity who just wants a regular day," Contos, the executive director of the museum, said.

And by all accounts, Sir Paul was given a regular day. He arrived incognito with New England socialite Nancy Shevell in a 1989 Ford Bronco and parked in a lot across the street, prompting a manager at the museum to flag him down, explaining that he could be towed for parking in the private lot. He then pulled into the museum's front circular drive, and that's when the manager, Elaine Stonich, realized who was visiting.

As she tells it, she turned to him and said simply "It is you." He responded yes, and entered the museum's Route 66 exhibit. He and Shevell watched a short movie about the Mother Road and took in a weaving demonstration, where the presenter barely recognized him and later wondered whether she may have been in the presence of deceased fellow Beatle George Harrison.

"You could see on the tape he was paying a lot of attention to the demonstration," Contos said. "He was very engaged in what the lady had to say."

McCartney apparently declined any pictures, but was spotted later in the day at a gas station along Route 66 in Springfield, where he granted a picture with a group of five guys.

On Tuesday, London's Telegraph newspaper confirmed that the 66-year-old former Beatle and the 47-year-old Shevell were taking a trip of the road together.

"The road trip was Nancy's idea as a way of them getting to bond and spending time together - just the two of them," the paper quoted a source as saying. "They've been talking about the holiday non-stop and were so excited. It's the perfect way for them to both get away from it all and really get to know each other. Paul even packed his guitar."

While at Joliet's museum, McCartney signed just two autographs - a personal one for Stonich, and another on a posterboard of the Route 66 shield Stonich keeps as a guest log.

On that one, he wrote "P McCartney London, England, .U.K." all of it printed, except for the word "London," which was written in cursive.

"I just wanted him to have the perfect Route 66 experience," Stonich said. "I'm afraid if people knew he was doing it, he wouldn't get the full experience."

Contos said he's "proud" the employees didn't make a huge deal of the legend's visit.

Very classy behavior, all the way around.