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, June 26, 2008

The Immigrant Labor Arts Project

My friend Johanna has started The Immigrant Labor Arts Project to pay day laborers their regular rate to paint pictures. The art they've created is worth seeing and if you feel so inclined, you can donate to keep the project going.

The Immigrant Labor Arts Project

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

School Of Rock 2: The Year After

I just heard that they might do a sequel to School Of Rock. You see, I still like Jack Black and I loved that movie. Honestly, just the fact that he's half of Tenacious D would give him cred with me that not even The Pick Of Destiny could erase. To read screenwriter Mike White's interview that I linked to earlier, it might be a little more bitter than sweet.

I think I loved School of Rock so much because it came from the same energy that I approached music. The essential quote from the movie when Dewey tells the kids how important their rock band project is:"And it may sound easy... but nothing could be harder. It will test your head... and your mind... and your brain, too." That accounts for much of the joy I've gotten out of music, the shear unexplainable "YEAH!" that you get from playing music. I haven't played in a very long time and I miss that a lot, although my enthusiasm has been a double edged sword. It's created some thrilling rock moments and some sonic missteps but the pluses (in my non-objective opinion) outweighed negatives, but not many people joined us at our shows. This would not stop us from giving it our all; in fact we rocked out so hard the night before in front of four people, The Milk-O-Matics Damon's guitar didn't work at our huge outdoor gig we played the next day. Dude, that's what happens when you test your head, mind and brain.
If I was going to write a script for this movie, I would paint my version of a realistic portrait of what would happen in the wake of the events from the first movie. They'd get some attention for their age, more than that shitty band that won the contest at the end (that's what I loved about the bad contest, in the movie as in real life, the best band doesn't win any battle of the bands). However, after the first couple of things that don't go their way and they hear "no" a few times, the band will lose a few under committed members, if not break up outright. A couple members may form their more "serious" musical project soon after, I'm guessing the bass player and the guitar player (dude wrote Mooney Suzuki quality songs in Junior High!). They have some ups and downs but realize that if they make the music they like, they'll have at least one fan, themselves.

It's not as sad as it sounds.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin, Man!

I am so pissed off. Fuck that motherfucking cocksucker. Who does that cunt think he is dying when we still need him? Shit.

Oh, I almost forgot, tits.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Phoenix:It's F*#kin' Hot

No, seriously, really hot. For anyone not familiar with the unique heat a desert summer hits you with, it's difficult to relate. The people I've talked to say, "But isn't it a dry heat?" Yes, when they say, "With the heat index, it feels like 100 degrees!", here it actually IS 100 degrees. Or it would be if it got cooler around here, today it was 113; as of 10:30 tonight it was a brisk 101 degrees.

In a normal summer, temporary relief can be had by a fleeting breeze. Here no such luck, breezes just bring another wave of heat, even at night; like God opened a gigantic oven door.

Sun here is like the sand at the beach, despite your best efforts to prevent it, it gets in where you least expect it. I constantly find myself with a low level burn on my head on days where I wear a hat and have only spent a half hour out of the shade. The homeless people- who are plentiful and aggressive- looked like they've been straight-up braised from all their time outdoors.

Did I mention that I want to move back to D.C.? Yes, I do. I've got a job, but I need a place to live and I would prefer to live with people I know. E-mail me at

Monday, June 16, 2008

People Behind the Music Forgot

The VH1 series Behind The Music was like video crack for a music geek such as I. As I've mentioned before, it's worse in one way, you can't tape crack to smoke it later.

However, my geekiness gives me the ability to call bullshit on some aspects of their version of the rise and fall of some of music's biggest artists.

1. Cliff Martinez and Jack Sherman- The big theme of The Red Hot Chili Peppers episode was the musical brotherhood between the original members before the death of guitarist Hillel Slovak. They fail to mention that this line up was only together for their third album, The Uplift Mofo Party Plan. Jack Irons and Slovak left the Chili Peppers when their more "serious" band What Is This? got a record contract with MCA. How did they do? I bought their album from the dollar store where I used to work. They replaced them with Martinez and Sherman for their first album and Slovak returned for their second.

2. Michel'le- The first honest-to-God pop hit that Dr. Dre was responsible for was for when he rapped on and produced her top 10 single "No More Lies". She also bore him (and later, Suge Knight) a child. Don't you think she deserved at least a mention on his episode?

3. Ed King- On the Lynyrd Skynyrd episode, a lot more is made of King's replacement, Steve Gaines, who died in the tragic plane crash that also took the life of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant after being in the band a year. King played and co-wrote on their first three albums, yet he gets no mention at all. Another fun fact, he also played bass in The Strawberry Alarm Clock ("Incense and Peppermints").

4. Sly Stone- The fact that there is no Sly Stone Behind The Music is- in my opinion- is nothing short of a travesty. Something tells me that the fact that Sly is inconveniently still alive and probably not willing to participate in any way may be the reason. His story has all the elements of the classic BTM episode: hard work leads to stratospheric fame leads to the inevitable drug-fueled decline, not to mention truly groundbreaking music. When people wonder what music someone like Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin might have made, they might look at Sly- who did live- and realize they might not be making music at all.

VH1, make it so.

Thanks for indulging me.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why Couldn't It Have Been Bill O'Reilly?

The sad and sudden death of Tim Russert is sad on a couple of different levels; there's always the tragedy of such a seemingly decent guy dying an untimely death then there's the symbolic loss for political journalism. There where three men that you could count on asking the hard and relevant questions to those in power if given the opportunity: John Stewart, Bill Maher, and Tim Russert and Russert was the only reporter of the three.

Meet The Press is the absolute gold standard of political interviewing, if you look bad on Bill O'Reilly or Stephen Colbert you've fallen victim to their gimmicks to generate humor both unintentional and intentional, If you look bad on Meet The Press, it was your own fault. Tim never missed an opportunity to show his guests their own hypocrisies and always did it with class.

I almost didn't write this post, but once I did, I knew what the title would be. Bill O'Reilly is in many ways the anti-Russert, he constantly slays the truth for his ego's sake, hoping we'll believe it if he shouts loudly enough. He's afflicted with the disease that many of us- of every political stripe- have; it's true because we say it is, facts be damned. He calls his show "The No-Spin Zone" when you can practically dry your clothes in his actual, factual spin.

Getting a journalist to report the truth is like getting a politician to tell the truth; you'd think it's their job, but they'll go out of their way to prove you wrong. Meet The Press was the real no-spin zone; Tim Russert didn't have to say it, he just did it. Now there's one less reporter doing his job by telling politicians they're not doing their's.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Five Reasons Internet Lists Suck

1. They're instant arguments, this is probably the main reason why they're so popular. The varieties of the "Most awesome/lame things of all time" are absolute in format and often ranked arbitrarily by a self proclaimed expert (or experts). It doesn't help that people that read them treat these lists like they are last discussion on the subject. "How could you have a list of 'Awesome Welsh People' and not include Bonnie Tyler?" Somehow, Bonnie Tyler remains Welsh and Awesome regardless of her placement on a list saying so.

2. They assume that someone gives a shit about your opinion, which is essentially what most of these lists are, opinions. This is indicative of the larger societal problem of the overall shortage of humility and treating our opinions like facts. There is no shortage of shouting these days, let's give listening a try!

3. They generate bad vibes by the bushel. From the subjects of the list to the "flaming" from the commenters, the anonymity of the internet allows us to indulge that little voice inside us that discretion prevents us from saying out loud. Discretion, now that's something we can use more of these days!

4. I can't get enough of them. As much as I've bitched about them already, I read them all the f'n time. I can't believe that they left Red Sonja of a list of "Breast" Marvel Characters and Married With Children off a list of TV Shows That Wore Out Their Welcome.

5. I'm not in any of them.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

At Long Last: Barack!

When I endorsed Barack Obama a year and a half ago, I didn't think he had a chance, I just honestly respected the man and thought he would make a great president. After all of the (inevitable) mud-slinging, I still do. In the past week or so, I've seen him accused of suppressing votes, being a terrorist Muslim sleeper agent, a murderer and a closeted homosexual, and that's just by Clinton supporters(mind you, not by any credible member of the Clinton team).

He's not perfect, far from it and he's-gasp- had to play politics occasionally. The best metaphor I can think of is when I explain my preference for Apple Computers. I end up taking a lot of shit when some new Apple thing doesn't work right. I say,"I never said they where perfect, just that they're better." The "Barack is our savior" meme is not one that I or any other Obama supporter would subscribe to, it's just another attempt for the press to do our thinking for us.

Obama is just better.

(I apologize for not attributing and linking to the people I referred to, I've been sick. If you google "obama gay sex" or something, I'm sure it'll pop up.)