Everyone has celebrities they adamantly adore. For some, they’re heroes of westerns like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, while for others they’re sex symbols like Angelina Jolie and George Clooney.
For a certain group of people, there is one man who perfectly embodies all that a celebrity should be — stylish, charming, talented and a tad eccentric.
That man is Pittsburgh-native Jeff Goldblum.
Artisan, a tattoo shop, art gallery and cafe on Penn Avenue, held its first of what will hopefully be many celebrations of the pop culture icon July 13 — the day which Pittsburgh City Council declared “Jeff Goldblum Day” in 2004.
Goldblum is not the only native celebrity to earn a day in their honor — hundreds of others, including local rapper Wiz Khalifa on Dec. 12 and baseball star Dick Groat on June 12, are on the list.
Ultimately, what was supposed to be a small event with a few tattoo specials was made much more by the business owners and patrons excited to celebrate all things Jeff Goldblum. Artisan was not the sole business involved in making Jeff Goldblum Day a success — Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville sold out tickets to a “Secret Jeff Goldblum Film” to finish the day.
Shauna Burd, business manager of Artisan, said she worked in conjunction with tattoo artist Matt McKelvey to organize the event after McKelvey met Goldblum earlier this year and felt inspired.
“Jeff Goldblum Day. Why? Why not?” Artisan owner Jason Angst said in an interview with WTAE. “He’s funny, he’s strange, he’s eccentric.”
More than 2,000 people had marked themselves as “interested” on the event’s Facebook page by the time of the celebration. Multiple news media outlets attended, including news channel WTAE and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“I was very surprised by [the interest in the event]. I originally thought it was just going to be a couple different tattoo flash ideas and maybe a couple of friends, but it’s become so much bigger than that and it’s lovely,” Burd said during a free moment between T-shirt sales and tattoo sign-ups.
Goldblum — who was born in 1952 in West Homestead — caught fame after starring as Dr. Ian Malcolm in the original “Jurassic Park” (1993), a role which he reprised in multiple sequels, including this year’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” His celebrity status has evolved in recent years to that of a pop culture icon due to his idiosyncratic and quirky behavior and style.
The actor describes himself as an avid Pittsburgh Steelers football fan and starred in a production of “The Music Man” at the Benedum in 2004 — the catalyst for the original Jeff Goldblum Day. He also celebrated his Pittsburgh roots as the star of the 2006 mockumentary film “Pittsburgh,” which follows the star around the City trying to secure a green card for his girlfriend.
It was not hard to find people who excitedly gushed about just why they had such an ardent love for the 65-year-old actor. Nicole Palmer — a Pittsburgh resident native to Morgantown, West Virginia — was waiting in line for a tattoo with many other guests as she shared how she first became a Goldblum fan.
“I remember watching ‘The Fly’ when I was really young and it was one of the first horror movies that really terrified me,” Palmer said. “I’ve kind of been obsessed with him ever since.”
While Goldblum himself didn’t show up at Artisan for his special day, representations of him could be found everywhere throughout the building. A cardboard cutout of the Grandmaster, Goldblum’s character in the 2017 blockbuster “Thor: Ragnarok” stood in the back, ready to appear in photos with cheerful event-goers.
Three coffee drinks were made specifically for the event, including a classic cafe latte with a twist of turmeric, honey, almond milk and cardamom, making it “The Goldblum Latte.” Another, “Must Go Faster,” was focused on fueling the caffeine aficionado with numerous espresso shots. The final drink, titled “Life … Uh … Finds a Whey,” was made with sweetened condensed milk and espresso.
Not far from the espresso bar, guests waited near a table where Artisan barista Alicia Hull gave astrological compatibility readings comparing attendees’ Zodiac signs with the actor’s to determine how well they would get along romantically. Few seemed to mind or mention that Goldblum has been married since 2014. Hull described herself as a long-term Jeff Goldblum fan and said she got involved with the event from connections made while working at Artisan.
“I thought I could combine both [astrology and Jeff Goldblum] into one really strange thing that would be right in line with the kind of things Jeff Goldblum would want to see at something celebrating him,” Hull said.