David Byrne & My Tattoo Manifest Destiny


Show photos by Marc Fong //

Editor Note: Dara Shulman shares her story from the William Onyeabor tribute show at The Warfield in San Francisco May 6th. View the setlist here.

Manifestation: Making something, anything, everything happen because you want it. You think about it. You put your energy, your being into making this happen. 

I am a David Byrne fanatic. When I first listened to the Stop Making Sense album freshman year of high school, my life was changed forever. Byrne’s music reached a part of my soul that I didn’t even know existed.  Fourteen years later, my passion for his music has only amplified.

I saw David Byrne perform last year with the incredible St. Vincent and my mind was blown. Last night at The Warfield in San Francisco, I made my way to the very front row mid-show, stood directly in front of Byrne, and lost myself.  Atomic Bomb, a hodge-podge of musicians including Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip, Kele Okereke from Bloc Party, Pat Mahoney from LCD Soundsystem, Sinkane and many more played tribute to William Onyeabor as part of a fourteen-piece conglomeration.  I started off dancing with my friends, but then I needed, felt compelled by everything in my being to get closer to Byrne. I had already made a pact with myself, my manifestation, to get David Byrne to sign my left ankle two days ago. 

I held up my ticket with “I love you David” ballpoint pen-written upon it, hoping to get his attention to get an autograph. He is so damned professional that he did not flinch. I know we made eye contact (my bright orange shirt matched his bright orange hat), but he was so focused on his performance — I absolutely respect that. 

When the show was over, I could barely move. I just spent an hour standing inches away from a musician that quite literally changed my life. It was hard to breathe.  A roadie was kind enough to give me a set list taped on the speaker: fuck yeah.

Minutes later, I went to the stage door.  I chatted with the roadies and stage crew, “Any chance I can meet Mr. Byrne?”  While they saw my enthusiasm, there is only so much they can do. So, I waited. A member of the band came out. I introduced myself and congratulated him on a fantastic performance. “Is there any way I can meet David Byrne? I am a die-hard fan.”

He was kind enough to give me a wristband to go to the after party down in the basement of The Warfield.  “Put this on, relax, grab a drink and enjoy yourself.” “Okay.” Meanwhile, I’m freaking out in my head and trying to catch my breath and comprehend what was about to happen.

I walk downstairs, play it cool and meet a few of the musicians. I’m looking around and accidentally stumble into a white-clad shirt David Byrne.  Oh damn.  “Excuse Mr. Byrne….I am a huge fan; your music changed my life, may I have your autograph?” He very sweetly agreed to sign my set list.

“Is it okay if I take a picture with you?” “Sure.” “Can I put my arm around you?” “Yes.”  “Mr. Bryne, I walked down the aisle at my wedding to “Naïve Melody”, this is absolutely amazing to meet you.” He chuckled but was so polite. I stuck around a little because I needed to get him to sign my ankle: this was my manifestation.  I hung back, I didn’t want to be obnoxious and pushy.  He saw me again and asked me to take a picture of him with some other fans.

“Of course! Can I ask you one more favor? Can you please sign my ankle?” I lifted up my leg with my jeans rolled up. “Do you want to sit down?” “Nope, I can balance, go for it!” I put my hand on his shoulder and with my ballpoint pen he signed my ankle. He said, “A ballpoint pen is weird.” “That’s all I have Mr. Byrne. Thank you…” I exited quickly.

Holy fucking shit.
Dreams really do come true.  Tomorrow, I will be getting his signature tattooed to my body. 

UPDATE: Manifested


Atomic Bomb


  1. constantly i used to read smaller articles that also clear their motive, and that is also happening
    with this article which I am reading here.

  2. Great post! Please check out my blog http://queenzey.wordpress.com/

  3. Woman up, tatooskis are for drunken sailors.

  4. Such a lovely story. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Good luck forever

  6. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  7. Sweet!

  8. 🙂

  9. Kate Donoff says:

    SO JEALOUS right on Dara!

  10. Get it girl!! Go Dara!!

  11. Johnny Salami says:


    Your friend posted this stupid tattoo thing on reddit. She refuses to try to talk you out of it.

    It’s not that amazing a story, and it’s a downright dumb tattoo. Don’t do it. So you met some guy you think is cool. Ok. That’s fun. But you’re not a god damn teenage girl. Settle down and wash your ankle.

    • Man, you really are ‘ants at a picnic’ if I have ever seen it.

    • did you see when you comment it says “let’s hear your positivity…” Thanks for your strong concern about someone you never met about a action or body that isn’t yours and we get it your vote is no. Now lets get back to how awesome this is about making things happen! When do you ever get to go to a concert and make your way backstage and meet your idol. Against all odds! Its amazing!!!!

    • I freaking LOVE the Talking Heads and love this story..Sharing.. My takeaway from this whole story is ALWAYS carry a sharpie

    • Jhonny Salami—it’s three years later, and let me tell you, Italian Mean Lover, I LOVE my tattoo and I love my story. I’m honored to have met Mr. Byrne. I hope your meat is treating you well, sweet troll, as you are probably the only one who is playing with it. Cheers to great music, admiration, and freedom of whatever I want to put on my body!

  12. Aaron, click on “dreams really do come true” to see the autograph…

  13. Great story……but a photo of your ankle and the autograph must be included or I call BS 😉

  14. What a great show! Amazing Dara!

  15. Can’t believe that really happened last night! I’ll never doubt your manifestations again!

  16. What an amazing story. It’s always great to meet your heroes. I saw the show in Brooklyn which inspired this post:http://wp.me/p4uiWF-5L

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