The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Tale of 2 (American) Cities, Part 1: NYC

I apologize for not writing, flat out, I've been too creatively stunted from depression to post. I actually update my Surviving Retail blog pretty regularly, it's easy to do when I've already written the whole book.

After my weekend trip to Los Angeles, I realized that only good things can happen if I do productive things that I love as much as I can. Writing is at pretty much tops on that list. So I'm going to talk about my experiences in the two iconic American cities: New York City and Los Angeles. Today, New York; Tomorrow, Los Angeles.

I first went to NYC about 10 years ago, basically for just a few hours. The glow as I approached Times Squares started a few blocks away and steadily grew into a nearly blinding brilliance. At 10:30 at night. A gossamer banner of Uma Thurman hung down the entire length of a nine story building advertising her upcoming blockbuster, um, The Avengers. After the deafening thud it would make at the box office it would be gone, a 90 foot Uma Peel merely a happy memory.

The second time I visited was just a couple years ago when I went with a team of friends to try out for The World Series Of Pop Culture. I got a better taste of the city this time, getting to travel in it's famed subway and drink at a honest-to-god Lower East Side dive. The actor that played Zed in Pulp Fiction happened to be there. We found out after my friend Fred, who was a small town boy making his first trip to THE big city, ran into the man he associates with brutal sodomy waiting for him to get out of the tiny men's room.

The next time I went was solo to try out for the pop culture edition of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". I decided to walk from the Port Authority to Peter Jennings Boulevard, where the audition was, by way of Times Square. The afternoon sun rendered the overbearing lights useless but it still was visual overload.

But the people are the real sight to see in this citiest of cities. Of course there are many attention seekers vying for you,like this guy:

but that's not what I mean. I'd go into some of the stores along the way and all of the retail workers in the studio stores all had the same look on their faces, basically saying wordlessly, "This job isn't NEARLY as cool as I thought it would be." I walked by the MTV studios during the famous TRL, but it was during a commercial or something. When they'd get the signal they would all go completely apeshit; but as I walked by they couldn't have looked more bored if they had showed them Woody Allen movies. If it wasn't for the barricade and extra police, I could have passed them without knowing they were there. I got a look at some of the signs that these girls were waving- or would when told to- and they looked awfully similar, same size, same writing just different messages: "Marry Me, Justin!", "John 3:16" or whatever.

The juxtaposition of Central Park's greenery with the rest of the city stopped me in my tracks, but just me. The thousands of people fast-walking their way through the city mostly kept their heads down. They may have been once wide-eyed like me, but their wonder had been blunted by the numbing of repetition. That's why New Yorkers are so famously blase; if you can get bored there, you can get bored everywhere. Some try to find the perfect coffeehouse or bookstore to soak up bits of obscurity before the rest of America ruins it for them.

For them the magical power that New York City has on me is a natural result of my touristness. So be it.

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