Stephanie Who?

I went to a CD release party this summer for a group called Four Eyes. I had seen them play at Humphrey's, and they reminded me of the Beatles, Squeeze, and Elvis Costello. The party was at Lestat's coffee house on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights. Lestat's was packed, and the temperature in the room was about 20 degrees warmer than outside.

The cover of Four Eyes' new CD, Sweet on the Vine, was a picture of a girl eating an apple. Singer Mark DeCerbo later introduced the girl as his daughter, a teenager who was there with her boyfriend.

I met a guy at the show who looked like Robert Plant (my friend thought he looked more like Gene Wilder). He was the president of the record company and was there to promote Four Eyes. He went onstage and talked about his record label and then local musician Jose Sinatra took the stage to open for Four Eyes. Looking like Elvis, Neil Diamond, and Liberace rolled into one, Sinatra had the crowd laughing when he compared releasing a CD with having a baby.

The food at the event included appetizers, pizza, quiches, and fruit, and waiters served iced drinks called Quivertinis -- three different flavors of ice cream (strawberry, peach, and lemon) in a martini glass. I overheard a woman next to me say to her friends, "It's like a snow cone, but with flavor."

When Four Eyes took the stage, DeCerbo said, "It takes a village to throw a party," and then the band launched into songs from their new record. "Neophyte in Flight" and "Add Water" were two crowd favorites.

Before leaving, I talked with local musician/music writer Bart Mendoza, but my friend was talking to a cute woman, so I joined them. The woman acted like she recognized me. I felt stupid when, after hearing her talk about her band, I asked, "Are you a musician?" She said, "Josh, you saw me perform last month!" I then realized she was Steph Johnson, whom I had met. I said, "Well, you look different than you do when you're on stage." (That excuse might work if I were talking to Buckethead, the guitarist who plays with a KFC bucket over his head.)

After driving my friend home from the Four Eyes gig, I headed to a party in Mission Valley at the Milano Coffee Shop. Lezley brought bottles of wine for everyone to drink and then tried to get you to join the wine club that sends her the bottles each month. Someone said to me, "Record clubs are for music lovers. This is a club for alcoholics."

I saw a tall woman who looked familiar to me walk into the Milano. She told me that I looked familiar too. Her name was Stephanie, like the girl from the previous party. But not remembering this Stephanie was more embarrassing -- we had gone on a couple of dates a year ago. We sat together and went back and forth on who didn't call whom and why. I remembered that on one of our dates she took a phone call from a guy she was seeing. I reminded her about that. She thought I was mad at her for taking a call while on our date. I told her that I didn't mind that, but that I was bothered when she called him "honey" and then told the guy she was "just out having lunch with a female friend." She 'fessed up, and we laughed about it.

Lezley offered cheeses and fruit to accompany the wines, and Christopher, the owner of the Milano, served small sandwiches. The patio where we were seated was in front of a gym, and I felt gluttonous eating a chocolate-covered strawberry as several people running on treadmills watched me through the big windows. We were three feet apart, and they were losing the weight I was gaining.

I met a dentist at the wine tasting who introduced his wife and another woman standing with them as "the two women I'm sleeping with." Both women looked shocked.

There was a lady in her 50s at my table who knew something about every topic that was brought up. When Stephanie and I talked about Street Scene, the lady told us how much she loved the White Stripes and other contemporary bands. She had been to many wine tastings and seemed to know a lot about wine, so I asked her what to look for. She said, "There are five S's of wine. I can't remember them all. Swirl, smell, savor...maybe I've had too much wine, that's why I can't remember." She liked the wines Lezley brought and was surprised they were so inexpensive.

Lezley presented the wines, gave us the pertinent info on them, and, as a person nearby said, "poured a full glass, not just a small sample."

Anyone interested in this wine club can contact [email protected]

Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.

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