the writing and photography of Neil Kramer


(photo of Wilco concert by JMaloney on flickr)

One thought I had at the end of last night’s terrific Wilco concert at the Greek Theater is that everyone loves it when the object of desire is “hard to get.” No one likes a person too eager or too desperate. Why else all the encore shtick at every single concert?

Here’s the script. The band plays their last song and leaves, but the lights stay off. Everyone knows the band is coming back for another song or two, but first is the ritual wooing. The crowd stands and goes crazy, they clap in unison, lights flicker, girls scream “Encore! Encore!” and then — one by one — the band members return, almost as if they were caught in the middle of undressing, but decided to come back for one last song, out of the goodness of their heart, because the audience was crying for them.

So, when men don’t call you women back right away after a date, don’t blame the man — blame bands like Wilco. Where do you think we learned this technique of making you beg for our attention?

I really hope you all have enjoyed reading “Citizen of the Month” over the last two years. This will be my final post (not really).  I  have to go. Thank you, Blogosphere! I love you!

(you know what to do)

(you are going to call for an encore, right?)

(you know I’m just joking. I’m still blogging, but I will look like an ass if no one says “Encore!”)

(this really isn’t funny anymore)

(I bet you would say “Encore” for Dooce!)

(Hey, women actually throw their bras at Tom Jones! — not that I’m getting greedy)

And thanks, Danny for inviting me!


  1. Non-Highlighted Heather


  2. butterfly


    Encore! More posts! Encore!

  3. Neil

    Wait a minute. This idea is turning on me. Why do I now want Non Highlighted Heather MORE than someone throwing a bra at me? I think she knows something about men. Are we always doomed to follow the one who couldn’t care less about us…

  4. LVGurl

    You totally faked me out. I was weeping bitterly at the thought that you threw in the blog towel.


  5. Finn

    I was going to throw my panties, but…

    It’s been fun. Bye!

  6. Neil

    Does this post seem like a pathetic way to gain attention from women?

  7. alissa

    (raises flickering lighter into the air)

  8. Rhea

    Maestro, encore! Encore!

  9. Neil

    OK, no more comments. I can’t believe I wrote this. Too embarrassing. I’m supposed to look like I don’t give a shit, not WANT attention. Eh, screw it. Do it anyway. Who am I fooling?

  10. psychomom

    I don’t wear panties, so……

    See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya!

  11. Rattling The Kettle

    “Does this post seem like a pathetic way to gain attention from women?”

    *This* post? No. The entire blog? Yes. 😉

  12. Neil

    That is true, Rattling. Why do we blog? Why does Wilco play? Why do men run for Senator? Who do we go to the moon? Why do the Greeks fight the Trojans?

    Yes. So, they will throw us their panties.

  13. Sassy

    I’d throw something as well but my house is such a mess that the only thing I can find is a moldy sock. I don’t think that would have the same effect.

    If I say something like ‘Oh Baby, don’t go, I don’t want to live without you’, would that work?

    Nah, your right, it’s over the top…

    Why can’t I ever seem to find that middle ground between complacence and psycho-obsession?

  14. pocketCT

    I like what ozomatli does at the end of their show the best. Instead of the usual stomp stomp applause and then encore they break down the instruments to more portable ones and start a conga line in the crowd. In NYC on my birthday they even did the hokey-pokey which although sounding consummately corny was super fun. So if you want I will yell encore but I would rather a kitchy line dance.

  15. sassy

    Neil-y-poo? Did my eyeballs turn a number on me or am I your blogcrush?

    L’il me? (:

    Sorry about the moldy sock, I’m gonna have to find something more appealing. Which would be a bit easier if my husband would get off his ares and do the stinkin’ laundry.

  16. By Jane

    okay, i bought it – a momentary frisson of –‘oh no……..’

  17. Not Fainthearted

    Oh, Neilochka.

  18. Katie


  19. sizzle

    jealous that you got to see Wilco. 🙂

    don’t you dare stop blogging.

  20. melanie

    so you liked Wilco? I am so glad you got a chance to go. a wee bit jealous.

    now, I don’t throw panties. but if you come back you can sign my copy of your blog… i will flash ya! 😆

  21. Otir

    Well Neil, have I already told you the difference between taking the French leave, and the Jewish leave ?

    I guess all know that to take the French leave is to leave quietly without saying goobye. Well, taking the Jewish leave is to say goodbye to each and everyone in the room, hug the host at the doorway, start a story while the other guests are leaving behind you, and… never leave.

  22. nabbalicious

    Whenever a band does an encore, I secretly hope that instead of clapping, the audience will just start silently gathering their things and leaving. Well, except for Wilco. They can do whatever the hell they want. But everyone else. Yeah.

    You had me going for a second!

  23. butterfly

    I want my bra back, jerk!


    [Now you totally want me, don’t you? Men are sad…]

  24. Neil

    Butterfly — It’s totally true. You seem so much more interesting now that you blew me off.

  25. Non-Highlighted Heather

    Wait a minute. This idea is turning on me. Why do I now want Non Highlighted Heather MORE than someone throwing a bra at me? I think she knows something about men. Are we always doomed to follow the one who couldn’t care less about us…

    I have many points in response to this..

    1. Honey, if I threw my bra it would brain you and leave you in a pool of your own blood. Bras made for those of us a bit more voluptuous aren’t exactly light.

    2. Every woman in this comments box knows as much about men as I do. As long as I feed you, keep the beer cold, and let you play with my boobs, you’re content. Not brain surgery.

    3. I do care. I super care. But I don’t go for the coy man ploy.

    4. To Pocketct: Ozo!! Woooot!!

  26. girlanddog

    I swear I had a little heart attack when I read that this would be your last post. Here’s a thong… Catch!

  27. Bre

    Should I open up my cell phone (it’s totally the new lighter) and sway?

  28. Caron

    I used to go see a band where the fans would chant, “Sh*t, F**k, Damn, Get Off Your Ass and Jam,” to entice the band back. Do expletives work with you?

  29. Lenny Harris

    So did you run into Dooce at the concert? I read she was there.

  30. Two Roads

    I don’t do encores anymore because the band expects them. Encores were reserved for superb performances. Now you get a mediocre concert with the band saving something good for the encore. Show me the love during the concert and you will be duly rewarded at encore time!

  31. Juliness

    Oh, ok. Encore, dammit!!

  32. Neil

    Lenny — I had better things to do than stalk bloggers at the concert. Like looking for Sandra Oh one section over.

  33. Neil

    Non-Highlighted Heather — You need to watch this funny reality show on VH1 called “The Pickup Artist.” It is about the world’s greatest “pick-up artist” giving his secrets to a bunch of dorky guys. He’s always telling them to play “hard to get.”

    Has anyone else watched this? I can’t wait to blog about this show.

  34. butterfly

    In the few minutes of The Pickup Artist that I have caught — the guy makes my skin crawl with his fuzzy hat, black eyeliner and sleazy sneer — I’m afraid that if I watch for too long, I might catch Hepatitis C or something. Yikes! But what really kills me? His name is…wait for it…wait for it…MYSTERY…ugh. 😉

  35. plain jane

    I didn’t know who/what Wilco was; I thought you were going to another art show. Duh.

  36. Paul

    More! More!
    Do you take requests? Know any Kylie? No? Oh well …
    I do find the ‘encore built into the set’ a bit twee. Prince has been a breath of fresh air on his recent gigs in London .. encores are earned, not a given!

  37. August

    First of all, I’m so jealous that you got to see Wilco, and at the Greek, none-the-less. Glad you had a great time.

    Bands making you scream for them to come back when they already are, is kind of like a person opening a present that they registered for at their shower and acting completely surprised by it.

    Please don’t stop blogging Neil. I have only recently discovered your greatness and I don’t think I could go on if you ever stopped entertaining me daily.

    PS… Your Star Jones post above is hilarious.

  38. Elisabeth

    OK, being the mild intellectual snob that I am, I have to mention that Pascal wrote somewhere that the chase is always more rewarding that actually obtaining the object of one’s desire. OK, this probably has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    But then, there’s also the old story of the masochist who asks the sadist to hurt him, and when sadist answers “no,” the masochist says “say it again.” (has to do a bit with your reaction to the first comment to this entry, Neil.)

    Now I really think that I did digress…

  39. tamarika

    Thunderous applause: “MMMMMMOOOOOORRRRRREEEEEE!!!!!!”

  40. Danny

    I always laugh at those faux-departures but at least Wilco pretends to end their show after a long performance so what comes after seems like an added treat even though everyone knows it’s pre-planned. I swear I’ve seen some performers who are out on stage for 20 minutes and then say thank you and leave and finally come back for another hour’s worth of show which is pretty ridiculous. I do think leaving the stage and coming back adds to the drama of the event no matter how fake it is but there’s also a practical reason–they can run to the john and also wipe their sweat off–did you see how much sweat drummer Glenn Kotche produces?

  41. Postmodern Sass

    There isn’t always an encore. I’ve been to shows where the crowd’s enthusiasm after the “main” performance was so weak that the band didn’t come back on. What’s really pathetic is if they do, even when not summoned. I’ve also seen bands do three encores because the crowd simply kept demanding them to come back. But the coolest was Jah Wobble and the Invaders of the Heart, who toured on their first album, and after playing all the songs on it, and coming back for an encore where they did one cover song, the crowd kept stomping and cheering, until finally JW said, “Er, we don’t have any other material, sorry. If you like, we could do the whole set again?” The crowd went bananas, and the band did the whole set over again.

  42. abbersnail

    Your analysis of the “boy doesn’t call girl” situation MIGHT be your million dollar idea. Seriously. Book deals abound! I can feel it, Neil.

    Oh. And ENCORE. Even though I’m writing this comment about a week late. Super.

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