Tag Archives: bowery ballroom

Live from the Pete & Pete reunion show, or: Growing up is for blowholes

Photo via Flickr's Chloe Lee. Click through for more!

On Friday, the creators and entire principal cast of The Adventures of Pete and Pete reunited for one of the first times since the show ended in 1996 which, in case you forgot how old we are, was nearly 20 years ago. The show featured the first-ever live performance of The Blowholes, the fictional supergroup created for the episode about little Pete’s favorite song, featuring Marshall Crenshaw (aka the meter reader), Syd Straw (Ms. Fingerwood!) and little Pete. And it was Kreb-tastic! Here’s them covering the show’s theme, “Hey Sandy” (for which Straw is reading the lyrics off a sheet of paper):

Among the revelations at the reunion:

-Toby Huss (Artie) was the guy in the Mr. Softee suit.

-At one point, Iggy Pop went up to Hardy Rawls (Dad Wrigley) and said “That guy who plays Artie, he’s kind of a weirdo, huh?”

-Alison Fanelli was the only non-blonde, non-monotone actress to read for the part of Ellen. She handed in a resume on a piece of notebook paper with a picture attached. They hired her because of her cute unprofessionalism.

-While filming one day, the crew couldn’t find little Pete on set. Turns out he was in Iggy Pop’s trailer learning to play bass. He was about 12.

-Ms. Fingerwood was originally named something else (which I can’t remember, sorry!), but Nickelodeon deemed it too dirty. So they went with Fingerwood, which was less dirty somehow?

-All the cast and crew commented on how funny it was to see the gang all growns up: “It’s weird to see the Petes drunk on beer,” Straw told the crowd.

-The creators, buoyed by the burgeoning indie rock credentials of the show wanted to use a Pixies song (probably Wave of Mutilation, they said) in one episode. But they didn’t get to use it because it was too damn expensive.

-All the guest stars came through connections the show’s crew had to the downtown manhattan art scene in the 90s.

-Ellen is still totally crushable.

-Nick opposed the use of “blowhole” as one of the show’s standard insults. But as it was just officially defined as a fleshy hole for breathing, they had no grounds to stand on.

-Toby Huss IS a crazy bastard. And it’s great.

And now, let’s reflect why this was such a BFD:

I’ve revisited Pete & Pete a few times over the years, especially as the DVDs were released a few years ago, but it probably never really hit me until last week just how much of an influence it had on own strange maturation. I had grown up watching Nickelodeon, and Pete & Pete landed in that pocket of television where Nick was experimenting with the idea that it was OK to be weird, that it was perfectly acceptable to not want to be a grownup, to live in that world where the gross aesthetics of Ren and Stimpy and the slimy sounding names (like Slurm and Fingerwood) were perfect projections of the kid imagination, before it had been corrupted with pop culture and over-education.  Continue reading

Actual Occurrences: The punk rock island we once knew and loved

[Here's the deal with this post: I wrote this more than a year ago with intentions of posting it here, then on a whim sent it off to NY Press, who responded that they would love to run it in the 8 Million Stories section. And, after a few follow up emails of reassurance ... they never did. So whatever. But while wandering around the Brooklyn waterfront yesterday, we happened to pass by Ted Leo at the promenade, so in this blog's grand tradition of letting no unpublishable work go unpublished, I decided to pull it up from the graveyard and post it. NOTE: all time-sensitive elements are related to Nov. 2009, just shy of a year since I first moved to Brooklyn.]

I have found the nexus at which punk rock musicians and struggling journalists who’ve written about them collide, and it is TJ’s.

Yesterday at reg in the midst of the inescapable writhing mass-of-humanity shitshow that is a sunny Sunday afternoon at Brooklyn’s favorite grocer, I was ringing up the purchases of a young, groovy looking couple in refreshingly good spirits considering aforementioned shitshow that often causes much grumbling among other customers (note: YOU ARE HERE ALSO TAKING UP SPACE).

The girl looked at my name tag which lists my hometown as “Hilton Head, S.C.” and asked me how long I’ve been in New York, if I came directly from South Carolina, etc.

The guy turned to her and said, “Oh, that’s where we played that show that they said it was like the ‘first punk show’ ever.”

Strange gears began to come alive and click together in my head as an improbable slide of memory pushed in reminding me that, not only had I heard that comparison before, but — hold on a second — I wrote it.

Turns out the guy was Marty “Violence” Key, the bassist for Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, who I interviewed last year before their head-explodingly nonsensical (but awesomely embraced by the five punksters on Hilton Head, four of whom worked at the newspaper) appearance at Stages on the island.

It included this:

Question. We did a little bit of research, and we think this may be the first punk show in Hilton Head history.

Answer. I used to go out with someone who lived on Hilton Head. I used to actually go down there a lot and visit her and we’d hang out and see shows in Savannah.

But there was one night where some ska band that I actually knew from New York was playing at like some crazy frat bar, and we went. And I remember her being so freaked out, like, ‘God, this is so weird, there’s actually a band that’s not like the String Cheese Incident or Widespread Panic or something that’s playing here.’

Wow, but I would have figured since then, that since there are kind of ‘punk’ shows everywhere, I’m surprised to hear that I’m the first.

Q. How does that feel?

A. It’s exciting. It’s auspicious. I had no idea. Continue reading