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Aimee Mann, Billy Collins dish on each other

Aimee Mann and Billy Collins first met at the White House.

She, the tall, blond singer of literary proportion and often tragic tone, still laughs at the thought: "We met at the White House, which is a sentence I may never utter again."

He, the poet of everyday life and the wondrous world around us, would like a revision: "I'd like to say we met at White Castle having a burger one night, but we actually met at the White House, which sounds like a big residential name-drop."

Billy Collins And Aimee Mann At Wells Fargo Center

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Hosted by President Barack Obama in 2011, the salon tribute to American poetry landed all over the map: Steve Martin was there with his banjo, Common with his street rhymes and Alison Knowles with her Fluxus performance art.

But somehow the two to really hit it off were the 53-year-old L.A. singer and the 73-year-old East Coast poet.

Apropos for the setting, Mann sang "Save Me," one of the songs she's most famous for, along with "Voices Carry," the 1980s hit from 'Til Tuesday, the band in which she sang.

Collins, the former U.S. Poet Laureate, made the Obamas laugh with "Lanyard," a deceptively simple poem about much more than braiding plastic strands at summer camp.

As performers are wont to do, they talked about performing together one day. But, unlike most performers, they actually meant it.

A few phone calls later and now they're embarking on an unlikely three-date mini-tour up the coast from Malibu to Santa Barbara to Santa Rosa.

Before they share a stage at the Wells Fargo Center tonight, we asked each one to talk about the other.


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