On Outlook Portland, David Bragdon answers the question: <i>"What happened to the real Penny Lane?"</i>

Oregonian TV critic Peter Ames Carlin reviews public-affairs show Outlook Portland - now hosted by Metro President David Bragdon. Previously, it was hosted by Nick Fish who withdrew when he declared his candidacy for the Portland City Council.

AlmostfamousMost recently, Bragdon got Pennie Trumbull to talk about her life in the 1960s and 1970s... an interview that, if it were on network primetime late-night, would have been a major "get".

Still, Bragdon's favorite mix of eccentric lives and actual civic content came with the May 25 episode, which featured Oregon Sesquicentennial marketing director, Pennie Trumbull. The first half of the show focused on the various events to come during next year's celebration of the state's birthday.

Then the conversation took an unexpected turn. Trumbull, whose colorful life includes stints as an elite collegiate fencer and as publicist for Timothy Leary, has long shied away from talking publicly about the years in the late '60s and early '70s she spent traveling among the world's most famous rock 'n' roll stars. Known then as Pennie Lane, she made friends all over the world, one of whom turned out to be Cameron Crowe, a young Rolling Stone writer who went on to become an acclaimed film writer and director.

When Crowe decided to make a movie based on his rock experiences, the 2000 release, "Almost Famous," included a character named Penny Lane, who was based on Trumbull. "Almost Famous" was a popular and critical hit and earned Kate Hudson, who played the role of Penny, an Academy Award nomination.

Trumbull never mentioned her connection to the renowned groupie Pennie Lane, largely to shield her parents from feeling embarrassed about her youthful exploits. Until her visit to "Outlook Portland," at any rate.

"This is the only time I've had this conversation," she said on the show. "And I'd only do it for you, David Bragdon. You're a rock star."

Watch the interview. (The "Pennie Lane" discussion starts about two minutes in...)


  • James X. (unverified)

    The way she claims to be "the real-life Pennie Lane. Yes, she does exist!" clearly suggests she's trying to be confused with the Penny Lane from the Beatles song, which is just a street in Liverpool.

  • geoffludt (unverified)

    Is this the kind of progressive "news, commentary, and gossip" we can expect to see here on blueoregon now that the presidential primaries are over?

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)

    If David Bragdon only did this interview than his time in office has been well spent. Everyday I see boomers in Oregon playing respectable adults, but I was there, and I saw you during the wild years. Who do you think you're kidding? Our group went from not being able to tell our parents to not being able to tell the next generation either for fear they'd act like we did. It's only annoying when I hear a boomer pontificate like Mother Theresa when I know if we saw a highlight reel from the past, it would make Britney, Lindsay, and Paris all blush. Explaining the rock and roll years has always been difficult. The universe worked under different metaphysical laws back then. I liked the way Penny Lane still didn't say it, but said it all. I found the air of respectability about such a wild time to be deeply entertaining. (I also bet David Bragdon asked her about Jim Morrison.) Oh well, you can get back to politics now. A true Oregon legend has spoken.

  • (Show?)

    Geoff... Gossip. Check.

  • (Show?)

    Please note that David Bragdon is a "tail-end" boomer, what I guess some demographers are now calling Jonesers for reasons obscure to me, but at any rate he would have been 10 or eleven in 1970 I think, and despite the demographers' cutoff of 1964 for the numerical "baby boom" probably has more in common with the oldest "Gen Xers" e.g. Barack Obama, than with Bill or Hillary Clinton type boomers. Theres a kind of demarcation by things like, can you remember the Howdy Doody Show when it wasn't in re-runs (if not, late boomer), or were you in your 20s when Thirty-Something was on t.v., but over thirty when the media started identifying Gen X with 20-somethings?

  • (Show?)

    Off on a tangent... springing off of Chris' fascinating comment.

    Having been born in 1964 I have always been uncomfortable with being lumped in with either the "baby boomers" or "Gen-Xers," neither of which really describes me very well. Which is where Generation Jones comes in. Born in 1961, Obama is a fellow Joneser.

    That said... those demographic labels don't always do justice to those born within their limits. I'm the middle-born of three brothers - each two years apart in age. Despite our closeness in age we were each influenced very differently based on exactly when we came of age. My older brother picked up on the vibe of the late 60's which went entirely over my head. I picked up on the early 70's vibe while our youngest brother doesn't seem to have been influenced by anything pre-80s. All of which seems to me to have more to do with the rapidly evolving American culture during the late 60's and early 70's than anything else.

  • mn (unverified)

    Who was the "famous rock star" she moved to L.A. to live with?

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