WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship, and Musical Theater by Marc Acito. It is fantastic! It’s funny, as the title may lead you to believe, but it is also very touching. It’s the only book I’ve ever read about Play People (or “dramies” as we called them in my neck of the woods). I can NOT recommend this book highly enough. It is absolutely wonderful.

Jason Adamo. http://www.jasonadamomusic.com I missed his show tonight at the Cat Club, but I will be hitting up his set in Trudy’s backyard next spring.

WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON: I had the best weekend last weekend! I flew out to Chicago (from here in LA) to 1) visit my friend michelle and 2) let matt nathanson rock my socks off!

I don’t know that i can tell the story better than michelle did in her blurty (http://www.blurty.com/users/shellyjanuary) but i am going to do my best to tell my side of it! Haha I will warn you ahead of time, it is going to be LLLOOONNGGG so you may wanna read it in shifts.

My flight left at midnight and got in at 6:20. I had breakfast at Chili’s in the airport to let michelle sleep in a little bit more. They serve regular, denny’s-style breakfasts at the airport Chili’s. Weird. But good. I had lots of coffee.

At 8 am, michelle came and picked me up and we went back to her house. We hung out with her mom and walked her dog. Her mom made us more coffee and of course i partook. 🙂 It was very domestic! We went and saw her library and talked to the people that she works with. I got to meet this sweet high school kid that works in the kids section that is totally into theater. I love theater people, or “dramies” as I affectionately term them.

We went to Kmart and got some last minute things and while we were there i started to feel REALLY strange. The combination of being up for more than 24 hours at that point and all that coffee made me feel really lightheaded and shaky. We had an hour and a half before we could go check into the motel and i asked if michelle would be totally offended if i spent that hour and a half taking a nap. 🙂

I curled up on Michelle’s bed with her lovey-dovey kitty and tried to make myself fall asleep. I never really was able to nod off completely, but i did get some awesome alpha-state rest, and got up at 2:30 feeling great. Michelle and I got dressed and went over and checked into the lovely La Quinta Inn. We got our things and headed over to the train.

When we got off the train downtown, we stopped and had a bite at Mickey D’s. Grilled Chicken Sandwich. Yummy! We crossed the river and got in line at the House of Blues. As fate would have it, who should be in line in front of us but my friend Mark from Matt’s board! (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=pottyboomy) We hung out and talked in line, the three of us. One cool thing that happened was that at one point, four or five fire trucks pulled up, with their lights on and some sirens, but we never did find out what was going on.

We go inside the venue, which is security-nazi central. I managed to sneak in my digital camera, though, by sticking down in between my boobs. Yeah, i got skillz. Or, you know…big boobs, at least. 🙂

We ran into Emily (etscore) waiting for her friends. She joined us and we proceeded upstairs. We managed to grab (thank you, mark) what i truly believe were the sweetest seats in the house…the four barstools closest to the stage, Aben side. I got to meet Connor from Matt’s board (ccronks). Dude is 6 foot 10!!!! Being only 5 foot 2 myself, I could not help but be fascinated. I asked him if I could come stand next to him, and he graciously agreed. Standing next to him was so incredibly cool! I only came to just above his waist. AWESOME!

I really, REALLY wanted to ask him if we could take a picture together, but, yeah. That shit must get real old. 🙂 So I refrained. I felt really bad asking him all these questions about what it’s like to be that tall, but I just couldn’t stop. And he was such a sweetheart about it, even though he must get sick to DEATH of all anyone wanting to talk about being his height.

Later in the show, between sets, we got a chance to chat about other things, like his major in school and the fact that he tapes live shows. I think live tapers are so fantastic, they provide such an incredible service to the music community and they invest a lot of their own money in it. So, thanks, everyone that does that! 🙂 Anyway, as it turns out, Connor is only 20 years old! He struck me as someone much older. He has a very confident and down-to-earth demeanor. Anyway, I bought him a coke (well, he paid, i just walked to the bar and got it) because he couldn’t come to the bar area and I felt SSSOOO OOOLLLLLDDDD. Arg. I actually felt sick to my stomach thinking about how long it’s been since I couldn’t go up by the bar. 🙂 Anyway, I really enjoyed meeting and talking to connor, he’s one of those people that you chat with for a while and you feel like you want to chat with more, because they just have really good things to say. I hope i see him again, maybe at other shows.

Emily’s friend, singer/songwriter Matt Hoffer (http://www.matthoffer.com) showed up with his girlfriend and they hung out and seemed to enjoy the show.

The opener was Kyle Riabko, 16 year old blues playin’ hottie kid. Mid-Riabko, Michelle leans over to me and says, “Is that Frans over there?” (http://www.scottfrans.com) As it turns out, it was. 🙂 I have to explain who Scott Frans is. He posts on MSM, that is how Michelle and I were aware of him. He is aware of Michelle. He, however, has no fucking clue who I am. Ironically, I have (for many months now) harbored a celebrity-crush on him, although he is not technically famous, only internet-famous. I can’t help it. He’s just so damn cute! And he says clever things. I mean, like the title of his website…”Can’t We All Just Be Frans?” That’s clever.

Hell, I don’t know. Pheremones. That’s my new explanation for everything.

Anyway, Michelle and I decide to go over and pay homage to the cuteness that is Scott Frans (Michelle would probably have called it something more like “Say Hello” but that’s boring). On the way over, who should we run into but another SoCal kid vacationing in Chicago for the weekend…Chandler! He was with his new friend from work, Jen. He has not been signed on to AIM at ALL this week so I have not gotten the opportunity to grill him about whether or not she is his girlfriend, but if she is not, he should definitely try to get all over that action. She was a TOTAL cutie and a complete sweetheart. You know how with some people, you just get an immediate vibe from them that makes you feel comfortable with them, makes you feel like they are a good person? Jen was like that.

Also, she complimented me on my new black knit poncho. So the girl is in. 🙂

I have to say about Chandler that, after meeting him, I really do get why all the chicas from MSM are wanting to date him (or wanting to have him marry their daughters LOL). That kid radiates a certain charisma. He’s a sweetie, but it’s more than that. He makes you feel important when he talks to you. He’s got game, is basically what I’m trying to say! haha

We told Chandler that we were on our way to go see Frans, and (much like woodland animals in a children’s story) we all decided to proceed together. We got over to where Scott was standing and introduced ourselves. Um, can I just say that I don’t know what I thought Scott’s accent might sound like, being that he’s from North Carolina, but I did not envision anything quite as lovely as reality. We stood and chatted with him and Chikako for a few minutes, then headed back to our places because Mark was saving our seats for us.

I must be honest (considering the chances of Scott reading this are slim) and say that I was all a-flutter. My face was hot. I had butterflies. I’ve had sex that wasn’t actually quite as good as meeting Scott Frans. 🙂 Damn, what is the matter with me? Haha I’ve got such the “internet celebrity crush” goin’ for this kid.

Graham Colton Band came on. They were cool. A bit loud for me, but I liked “Jessica” and “Cigarette”. Then Matt came on. (http://www.mattnathanson.com) Oh, man. Matt rocks me so hard. Full band is so great. I have to be a bit blasphemous and say that, to be honest, I DO miss it just being matt and fish. But acoustic, intimate music is my taste. So nothing against the band. They do, indeed, RAWK.

Best part of the night? “Amazing Again” I love this song from the depths of my soul. I don’t know exactly why. Matt has songs that showcase his lyrical genius to better advantage than this one. He has songs that, objectively, I would have to say rock just as hard or harder than this one. But something about this one just gets me for some reason.

“And all the wan, hip, full-lipped lovers, they’re locked against one another and I waiver, uncomfortable in my skin.”

AW. Awesome.

Matt had Jason come up and sing some heavy metal song I didn’t recognize (sorry, Bert, just not into that kinda thing!). Emily leaned over and said, “Oh, man, the one night no one’s taping! The one night no one could bring a camera!” So I confessed that I had used the twins to smuggle in a camera and she borrowed it to take some pics. I was really paranoid about getting my camera taken away, and finally snatched it back. They are completely fucking serious about security there, to a point beyond all reason. The photos are posted at matt’s board, when I get a chance, I’ll link them here.

When the set ended (without encore, I might add, HOB nazi bastards!) Matt did not come out to the merch table. That was the one disappointment of the night. I mean, I know you go to a concert for the music and all, but I REALLY want to get a poster signed for my student that wrote matt a letter, and I didn’t get to do it at the Greek (he was pissed off and walked straight out LOL) and then didn’t get to do it when I flew out to chicago, either. It’s just disappointing.

Although, apparently some people did wait out in the cold by his van for two hours to meet him. STALKERS! Haha. I’m kidding. Except that I’m totally not.

Well, Mark is going to try his hardest to get a poster signed for me so I can send it to my student. Although he forgot about me at the TLA tonight (thanks a LOT, buddy!) there is still the 12th. 🙂

Speaking of Mark, this is when the interesting part of the evening begins. 🙂

Mark’s stoner friend had bailed on coming to the concert and Mark was supposed to stay with him that night. So, of course, not wanting to see him sleeping on the street, I invited him to come stay at the lovely La Quinta with us. We hiked for a freakin’ MILE or more back to his car (there is a difference between North and South, sweetie) and got underway, finally, after only one small incident where Mark scared the living daylights out of a guy trying to get some cash from an ATM.

OK, can I just say that Mark is clinically insane? And when I say clinically, I mean that I have used my professional judgement to make that diagnosis. And I have based it on his driving. The swerving. The singing. The stopping to talk to random people. The fooling around on his laptop while trying to drive. The more swerving. Michelle feels that most of this was a show he was putting on to get a rise out of me, and, well, it worked! I’ve been in car accidents (too many for my liking…although, how many would be to my liking? So that makes no sense. Point is…more than one) Even if it’s wussy, the crazy driving freaks me out.

Have I mentioned that Mark was making his Matt-following pilgrimage across the midwest in a “stolen” rental car? (In the sense that he wasn’t supposed to take it out of NY and here we were in Illinois) A rental car he was using because he crashed his other car. Yes.

Anyway, we made it to the train station parking lot in one piece (respectively) and picked up michelle’s car. We spent the next hour or so searching for an open coffeeshop and finally got some grub at Denny’s. After that, we went to Wal-Green’s to get some throat spray for Mark and did not come out for 45 minutes due to Mark’s total OCD and not being able to find a Matt live show CD he wanted to give to the clerk so he had the need to shuffle through his CD case not once, not twice, but one hundred and thirty seven times. 🙂

(Just an aside…Mark to me as we are headed up to the front of the store with cold medication, “What’s your feeling on stealing?” haha)

We get back to the hotel, and I have to admit, Michelle is right, Mark and I got into a little argument (or rather, I just got pissed off at Mark. Haha) because it took so long to get back to the hotel when I had been saying all night that I wanted to go back and drink and hang out and he kept finding other shit for us to do. But that all got smoothed over, and I wasn’t pissed at him anymore.

It ended up being a moot point, anyway, because he and I wound up staying up until about 10 or 10:30 in the morning talking. At about 6 or 7, we had said that, okay, it was late, we would lay down and try to go to sleep. But then we were laying there, all snuggled up and cozy, and it just felt really nice to lay there and talk. (at this point I had had two bacardi silvers and the driving incident was a distant memory LOL) So, the point being, no sleep was had until about 10:30 am. It was so cool, because Michelle would wake up for little 5 or 10 minute intervals and participate in the conversation, then fall asleep again. Very fun.

Mark is just such an interesting, entertaining guy. He’s different from anyone I’ve ever met, and his perspective fascinates me. I told him he needs to come visit me in LA. I would absolutely love to show him all the sights and get his take on them. I guaratee it would be a fresh perspective. The nicest thing about Mark, though, is like Michelle said, under all those quirks there is an indefinable likability about him that you just can’t put your finger on. He’s a sweetie, I’m glad we’re friends.

At 12:15, Michelle wakes me up. At 12:40, I woke Mark up. At 1:00, we BARELY made the checkout time.

We head to IHOP for breakfast (although it is 1:30 pm, dammit, we just woke up, it’s BREAKFAST!). I got to have my Harvest Grain N’ Nut Pancakes. So Good!!!!

Michelle and I wanted to go to the movies then and see The Forgotten. Mark decided it wasn’t really his kinda movie and he wanted to go off in search of his stoner friend anyway, so we left each other then.

Michelle and I went back to her house and got on the internet. That’s right. She was on her computer, I was on my handheld. It doesn’t get any better than that, babe. 🙂 We’ve known each other through posting for a year. I flew 2000 miles to visit her, and we sit across the room posting to each other. Internet Geeks Unite!!!!!

(About the Internet Geek club…if you have a blog, you’ll be considered…if you have a webpage, you’re in. If you have more than 5000 posts on any one message board, you are DEFINITELY in!)

We saw The Forgotten (kinda good but mainly weak. The best thing about the movie was definitely the company!) and then we went and ate really good ice cream at a local chain.

Then (sob!) time to go back to the airport. Michelle and I parted ways, until her California trip at least (AKA – Melanie acts as an enabler to help Michelle stalk Orlando and Iaon).

It seemed longer than a weekend. Possibly because I made the decision to forgo sleep. 🙂

Nice introduction to Chicago!