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!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities: Part 2, L.A.

I made my first trip to Los Angeles the weekend before last, my first real trip anyway. About 4 years ago I drove to Long Beach then to Malibu, driving through L.A. both ways. I saw the Queen Mary, the Hollywood Sign and THE mall that spawned the "Valley Girl", but nothing else. Both L.A. and N.Y.C. are centers of the very popular culture that pollutes my mind so I can't remember the correct way to perform CPR. But the sheer pervasiveness of the entertainment business in Los Angeles makes it impossible to avoid.

On the way back from the airport, my friend Anna and I got breakfast at a Silverlake diner. Driving back to her house, we passed by the place where the cover photo from Elliott Smith's Figure 8 was shot, a studio owned by the Black Eyed Peas, the place where the finale of Grease was filmed, the street from the end of No Country For Old Men
and Eric Stoltz's house from Pulp Fiction. Mind you, we didn't make some special trip to see these things, this was just the way home.

I went to Grauman's Chinese and The Kodak Theatre right next to it were the Academy Awards are held and right next to THAT was a mall, all in the same block. It was a nice outdoor one with a huge courtyard, but it's still a mall. I'm sure the employees of the Virgin Megastore get Oscar night off.

Winding through the courtyard was a ribbon of Hollywood related anecdotes attributed to various anonymous sources, and I was shocked how honest some of them were. Some, flat out, did not have the happiest of endings and some were like: "I tried to be a director, but more people complimented the food I made for my release parties than my directing, so I became a caterer." The ribbon led to, I shit you not, a monument of a casting couch.

The sign that the guy is standing in the way of says, "The Road to Hollywood- how some of us got here."

I walked about 6 blocks or so and in that space I saw three separate crews filming and somebody that sounded A LOT like Alicia Keys practicing at S.I.R. studios (She actually played in L.A. the next day, so...)

Anna I went to see Jeanane Garofalo at the World Famous Improv, but not a lot of other people showed up. We had a great time and I actually ruined one of her jokes; she asked "Who was the Rock Of Love guy?"
"Bret Michaels," everyone said.
"Who's the Attorney General?"
I said, "Mukasey."
"I wasn't ready for that, usually I hear crickets when I say that."
The only other famous person I saw was the guitarist for The Plimsouls, if you saw the movie Valley Girl as much as I have that's kind of a big deal.
Oh, and I finally got to sing Pulp's "This Is Hardcore" karaoke. I was awesome.

Despite the attempts to change the aspects of their cities that are less than positive to potential tourists, all the commercialization and gentrification in LA and NYC are a lot like those "One Day Install" bathtubs where they're just putting a new facade over the mildew of it's true nature. That might seem like a harsh metaphor but I mean it as life that exists regardless of any attempt to cover it up and that's what I love about both cities.

I almost forgot,if you've never been frightened by Scientology before, you will be after you visit Los Angeles.

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