Now that I've got enough parts, and soldered the right ones to each other, I've got an Arduino controlling a few short lengths of EL Wire. I'll make a separate page for the complete saga, but the short story is this: I started with sparkfun's EL Escudo, soldered on header pins, used a transformer from coolight.com, used EL wire from a starter kit, soldered JST connectors on the EL wire, attached to USB for power.
I keep zapping myself, reminding me that, "volts hurt, amps kill." It's surprising when it gets you, but it hasn't done any permanent damage. :)