Thursday, May 10, 2007


It's been almost two weeks since the Michael Penn concert at World Cafe Live, so I think it's about time to wrap this little blog party up.

Honestly, most of you would best be served to just look at the photos and leave it at that. Nothing too revelatory to follow, I'm afraid. But fear of being tedious never stopped me before, so why should it now?

As if to prove that point, I resort to a flashback:

A few weeks before the show, I got the grand idea to put together a copy of the tribute CD that the Pennlist members had compiled last fall, Look What the Fans Drug In, and give it to MP.

I had been meaning to make liner notes booklets for my husband and myself anyway...

And it seemed appropriate that somebody should give a copy to the man who inspired the project. So I anointed myself "somebody."

But ultimately, the decision was made because I'm always looking for some excuse to get into a project that will let me avoid cleaning my house.

Plus, for whatever reason I like to "collect" clip-art that interests me, so I had a virtual folder full of stuff that seemed semi-appropriate...that I could work in with the liner notes text.

Sample pages: A tuning fork -- self-explanatory.
The illustration on the right was originally captioned "boy listening to microphone"

Of course, not being a graphic designer by any means, it took far longer than I I turned into a regular Martha Stewart assembling the darn thing with my paper cutter and various grades of paper.

But did it I did, and for a totally done-at-home effort the booklets turned out pretty okay.

All this background to say that I was even more nervous than usual as I stood in that meet-and-greet line, with my self-inflicted mission to hand these CDs over to MP.

Back to post-show:

As the line of fans thinned out, Esteemed Husband and I made our way over to Michael. I babbled something or other as I presented the tribute CDs to him...luckily, he was super-gracious...and I was super-relieved.

And we did the obligatory photo thing:

I'm wearing 3 1/2 inch heels and these two lovely blue-eyed lads still tower over me...

So...MP bid us adieu with a thanks for coming...we walked off...and realized -- we hadn't had our Palms & Runes.. and MHJ reissue CDs signed.

I believe the expression you're looking for here is, "Duh!"

To the back of the pack we went, to wait for a second audience.

Among the folks hanging out after the show was Philadelphia's own superb singer/songwriter Jim Boggia -- who opened for MP at The Point (RIP) in April 2005.

Michael Penn, Jebin Bruni & Jim Boggia (looking sharp in his pinstripes)

Jim has also opened for Aimee Mann (as part of Four Way Street) which is how I first became aware of him. Highly recommend his CDs "Fidelity is the Enemy" and "Safe In Sound."

But I digress...

Eventually we got back up to MP and I asked him an irrelevant question or two (I'm under contractual obligation to say insignificant things to people I admire.)

No need to go into specifics except to say that he was kind enough to answer me and go into a fair bit of detail, which was nice.

My body language betrays my nervousness -- the arms crossed protectively...

...the semi-crazed expression, which I suppose is better than fully-crazed. I have no freakin' recollection of what I was demonstrating -- if anything -- I'm half-Italian, so I don't need a reason to talk with my hands.

And here's where I destroy any remaining shreds of credibility:

I'd be disappointing those who expect shallowness if I neglected to dissect Mr. Penn's appearance this time 'round.

To summarize: he looked quite fine.

Females (and other admirers of men's fashion) may care to read on:

His white shirt, vest & jeans combo worked very well for him. I may be prejudiced as I was also wearing a white shirt, vest & jeans - I'm a big fan of the vest -- although MP is much trimmer than I and thankfully his shirt didn't involve ruffles like mine did.

As a matter of fact, at some point during a tuning interlude in the show a woman yelled out, "Nice vest!" I'd like to point out that that was not me, although if I were the type to yell things out during a show...well...I probably would have yelled out a song request...but anyway, she was correct...

Most impressed when MP came out after the show wearing a long corduroy jacket (maybe one would call it a "topcoat." In the International Male catalog, a jacket of that length would probably be called a "duster." Not that I ever studied the I.M. catalog in my single days or anything...)

The garment in question. Spencer was showing MP how that evening's World Cafe Live menu was superimposed over his photo, btw.

Whatever you call it, the jacket looked terrific. Love that jacket. Covet that jacket. The overall effect with the vest was simply splendid.

The last time Michael Penn played Philadelphia, my inner fangirl made a point of mentioning how his close-cropped hair was particularly flattering.

It was longer this time - at least on top -- but (as a purely objective critic) it not only looked quite nice, but was more appropriate with his outfit than shorter hair would have been...

Yes, Michael, you have my stamp of approval on your hairstyle. You can now go about living your life freely with that knowledge.

More importantly than the superficial crap, MP appears to be a genuinely nice person. Which isn't required for a great night of music, but certainly appreciated. His stage persona is self-deprecatingly witty...he can rib an audience member ever so gently when they deserve it...and after the show he was patient with and attentive to his fans.

In summary...all was good. Good (okay, it was great) music, good venue, good fans, good tablemates, good husband (mine, I don't know about yours...but mine is pretty darn sweet.)

I leave you with a photo of our little Pennlist assemblage, taken shortly before we disbanded for the evening:

Spencer, Kristen (displaying the MP emblazoned menu) Sasquatch, Merujo, Yours Truly & Esteemed Husband

As Spencer, Esteemed Husband & I walked back to our vehicles, a cargo van honked as it passed us on the street. I turned around to see the passenger-side window roll down and someone wave to us.

Who was it? That I leave to your imagination...


At May 11, 2007 12:12 PM, Anonymous Ceilisundancer said...

I've got to get speakers with this computer (Or break down and take your word for it and buy one ofMP's cd's). But, yes, quite dapper is MP. Even before you delineated each piece of clothing and hair follicle that does look right w/ said outfit:) Glad you all had such fun! -- Robin

At May 11, 2007 12:32 PM, Blogger Cyn said...

Each hair follicle? LOL. Be glad I didn't go down to the molecular level -- I do pride myself on being thorough.

At May 11, 2007 11:15 PM, Blogger Merujo said...

Your "International Male" reference made me choke on my drink, laughing! Somehow, I've been placed on their mailing list (this happened when I lived in Russia, too, so I think this is some joke, courtesy of a friend.) I never knew before that there was such a huge market for mesh t-shirts and banana hammocks.

At May 12, 2007 1:13 PM, Blogger Cyn said...

I'm glad my reference amused you - my main purpose was to elicit that type of choking-on-ones-drink response. So I'm quite pleased with myself ;)

The catalog should have come with a warning sticker that read: For Entertainment Purposes Only.

At May 14, 2007 7:25 PM, Blogger radiocynic said...

Ooh, a rare opportunity to make a fashion comment.

I must point out that I don't believe that any straight guy has ever allowed himself to glean any actual information from the International Male catalog, other than perhaps the wonderment of "who wears this stuff?"

'Cause I don't really think any of our gay friends or acquaintances wear that stuff either, so I suppose it might just indeed be for your aforementioned entertainment purposes.

I would venture, rather, that those of a certain age (such as I, and perhaps Mr. Penn as well) might know the term "duster" from the J. Peterman catalogs of a decade-and-a-half ago... Hipper (at the time anyway), and somewhat less sleazily drawn.

Ah, the important issues.

At May 14, 2007 7:56 PM, Blogger Cyn said...

You may be correct, Sir Radiocynic. I will proceed to studying the history of the term "duster" and report back to you.

Regarding J.Peterman: the "brand" has recently been resurrected -- perhaps just online. I've gotten e-mails...the problem is, whatever entity involved is trying to recreate the writing style of the original but failing miserably --none of the over-the-top panache of the old catalog.

In other words, it's now goofy descriptions poorly written as opposed to goofy descriptions interestingly written.


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