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Originally published June 3, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 3, 2007 at 2:00 AM

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Pennie Lane is in my ears, and in with Heart

The column you are about to read was excruciating to write. Let's be honest. They can't all be gems, all right? It's not every week that...

Seattle Times columnist

The column you are about to read was excruciating to write. Let's be honest. They can't all be gems, all right? It's not every week that someone calls with a hot tip about Blake Lewis' underwear. Some weeks, the most exciting thing to happen is Lindsay Lohan going to rehab. I've heard it all before, I've heard it all before.

My girlfriends invited me to go camping over Memorial Day weekend. I was so desperate for material, I actually considered it — until they clarified that it would not be "glamorous camping." Hmm, not that desperate. And how many celebrities would I run into in the woods, anyway? Other than Tom Skerritt? That was an inside joke. I see that man everywhere. Most recently, at the SIFF opening gala last Thursday.

So I opted out of a trip into the wilderness, preferring instead to spend the weekend before my deadline in a mild state of panic. As vacation spots go, I don't actually recommend it.

I did have one interesting conversation last week. (Yes, just the one. So when I talked to you, I was probably not listening and only pretending to take notes.) It was at EMP, and the occasion was the presentation of the inaugural EMP/SFM Founder's Award. Which is to say, it was an intimate dinner with live entertainment by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. They were honored for their "profound influence on popular music and their groundbreaking work as female artists." They had a profound influence on my high-school dances.

Upon arrival at EMP, I asked, who's here? The real Pennie Lane is here, someone said. You know, the real-life Kate Hudson character from "Almost Famous." She was blond, with pink lipstick, and had just returned from Cannes. Her real name is Pennie Trumbull, and she lives on a farm with a vineyard outside Portland.

"I love it there," she said. "Bands come and visit, and we have bonfires and parties."

Can't you just see it?

I love it when life is like the movies.

Pennie said she was "extremely humbled" by her depiction in Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical film, and recalled of those days: "None of us were as cool as we wanted to be."

She had come back from Cannes especially for the EMP event.

"I've always been a Heart fan, from the '70s," she said. "I have the greatest admiration for Ann and Nancy Wilson." Crowe, of course, is married to Nancy Wilson.

One of the farm boys in Pennie's neighborhood had starred in a Gus Van Sant short at Cannes commemorating the film festival's 60th anniversary. So she took him and three of his brothers — ages 15 to 24 — to Paris. At the end of 12 days, "everyone knew the Parson brothers," she said. "Everyone fell in love with them. ... We had the best time."

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Can't you just see it?

The Parson brothers of Portland. Almost famous.

And look at me now: Almost finished.

Till next week. Panic.

Girl About Town appears every Sunday in Northwest Life. Pamela Sitt: 206-464-2376 or psitt@seattletimes.com

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