Sunday, August 4, 2013

Tom Shillue's "In Vogue"

The newest installment of Tom Shillue’s “12 in 12” series is here and, just like it promises on the CD cover, there are some really funny stories waiting to be discovered. “In Vogue” opens with a reading from one of my favorite sources of Shillue’s comedy: the diary he kept as a teenager. So intentional and serious at the time they were written, I’m sure Teenage Shillue would be shocked to find Adult Shillue mining his deep thoughts for comedy. What a goon.

Shillue moves on to share some of his high school adventure with his two pals Grover (the common thread between the two tracks found on the album) and Bob Martin. The Potsie and Ralph Malph to Shillue’s Richie Cunningham, they joined in on adventures both clothed and naked. In the moonlight. Singing three-part harmony. But totally not gay. Weird? Sort of. Funny? Yep.

Thus is a theme of sorts on “Soup Can,” the first of the two cuts on the CD. When Shillue and his pals weren’t (literally) fishing for an Andy Warhol autograph, they (excluding Shillue) found themselves on separate occasions on a series of dates with a strange French man named Jean Baptiste who promised en evening of fine wine, fine cuts of meat, and not having to pay for it. Again, not gay, but the wine and food were free, so why not. 

The second track of the album is called “Shoe Shine” and it is storytelling at it’s funniest. In fact, and I know this is a bold statement, it may be the single funniest track of Shillue’s entire “12 in 12” series so far. We start in Massachusetts with Shillue working for his Dad at the Dairy Barn (named as such so Mr. Shillue wouldn’t have to pay the 2.5% franchise fee to the DQ bigwigs), selling "DB Bars" and "Blizzids" along with a new staff of Chinese workers whose work ethic put the previous teenage employees to shame.

Shillue and his pal Grover (who wants to be an ah-tist!) decided to take a trip to New York City and it ended up being the weekend one could only dream about. From scoring alcohol despite being underage thanks to some very convincing European accents to attending a posh fashion gallery event to a night dancing with a model and inadvertently inventing a dance craze that swept the nation, Shillue, his overcoat, and fedora did indeed make a splash in the big city. 

And that’s not even the best part of the night. 

It’s a real whirlwind of a story and it’s hard to not share in Shillue’s excitement as the details unspool. I won’t spoil it by giving away all of the details - like which of the Duke boys was in attendance - but I can assure you you’ll enjoy hearing what went down that magical evening. Although Shillue assures us he was a dorky teenager, if his high school chums knew what happened that fateful night in the big city, they’d all have to agree he is just the opposite. That Shillue guy is definitely In Vogue.

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