My Name Is Peter

Some Thoughts on Some Things

The handsome young English lad to the right is Oliver. He is awesome, a great friend, and I can’t imagine my life without him in it. He also happens to be a manager. And not just any kind of manager. A truly great manager.

An avid music lover and fan of all kinds of music, Oliver is a music manager. And what makes him truly great is that he actually cares about his clients, about their work, about their careers, and about the music industry in general.

Sure, if you were to ask your average agents or managers in any field in Los Angeles about their work, they would tell you how much they love their clients, how much they love what they do, how they live to hear great music or watch great films, or read great books or scripts. But most would be equivocating… at least to some degree.

But Oliver is different. You see, he works with a range of artists – from well-known, hugely successful acts, to younger, unsigned and yet extraordinarily talented performers just breaking into the mainstream. It is with the younger, unsigned artists that Oliver truly shows how good, caring and conscientious he is.

Any agent or manager with a major client is going to spend a great deal of time servicing that client. Oliver is no exception. But what separates him from the rest of of the pack is that he actually spends a great deal of his own time working with his newer, unproven clients. He will leave work and spend nights and weekends shooting videos for these acts. As in he holds the camera. He talks to his acts everyday, encouraging them, guiding them, planning with them, giving them notes on new music and ideas on new looks. Oliver even edits videos and reels together, posts them to youtube and dailymotion, and designs and refines posters and artwork.

He is a creative jack of all trades – an artist himself, and one of the hardest working and most passionate people I know.

And that is why Oliver is truly great at what he does, and why people love to work with him. And that is also one of the many reasons I love him.

Check out Fan III – one of his clients – and one of my favorites!

A couple of days ago, I was really moved by this ad from Equality Maine. What a wonderful, positive, clear, truthful and simple message! Well done, Equality Maine! Thank you for finally putting a very real and human face on a very real and human issue.

After watching the ad, I thought back to the No On 8 movement here in California, which was in full swing about a year ago. All the effort, the millions of dollars spent, and the calculated messaging on both sides, led only to anger, misunderstanding, resentment and fear. Ironically, it wasn’t until the sad day that Prop 8 passed that the gay community really banded together as one. We joined each other in the streets as a community to march peacefully and let our voices be heard. We finally had the courage to abandon the careful façade that focus groups and highly-paid PR firms asked us to adopt to avoid “scaring” conservative voters. We finally stood up and showed the world that we were real people with real lives, real loves, and real values.

During the fight against Prop 8 and in the days following its passing, I grew increasingly angry and saddened. What right did these people have to tell me how to live my life? I wasn’t making road trips to their communities and holding up signs, or trying to legislate their lives! I took everything personally. The proponents of Prop 8 told lies and half truths. Some of them even went so far as to go door to door and use the confusing Prop 8 language to mislead bewilders voters, who were actually against Prop 8, into voting in favor of it. Their fear mongering and anger seemed to know no bounds. Their Christian minds appeared to have made an unspoken deal with the devil that the end would justify the means.

I was horrified. After all, this was the 21st Century! I wanted those awful, disgusting people to be put in their place. I wanted them to be embarrassed and shunned by their communities. I wanted justice and retribution, and yet I saw none. The world seemed to quietly return to business as usual after we had been hung out to dry.

And now, I have a very different outlook. I realized something after watching the Equality Maine ad. I looked again at these angry, bigoted, fearful people screaming at the top of their lungs to protect “traditional marriage” in this country. They have, in reality, walled themselves into their own personal hell. They have become so limited and stunted by their fears and their contempt that I pity them. After all, they’ve decided to trade love for hate, tolerance for fear, and in their judgment of others, have reaped judgment unto themselves. What really have they gained?

The world is growing and changing constantly. We as human beings must grow and change along with it, or we will be left behind. Forget marriage being “redefined.” The world redefines itself every moment of every day. As citizens of the world, we are in a state of flux. There is only one constant in our lives, and that constant is Love. Marriage is simply about love. Two people wanting to declare their love for one another. Instead of looking at Marriage Equality as a redefinition of marriage for the few, why not look at it as a means of expanding a simple and profound blessing for the many?

Just Because…

August 20th, 2009

I love her. Go ahead. Watch this and try not to smile. I dare you.

What’s Really Going On Here?

August 18th, 2009

Last night I was on the phone with a good friend who was dealing with what turned out to be a relatively minor dilemma. To be fair, it seemed major at first because it involved good friends, emotions, and finances, and it only became minor once perspective had been reestablished.

But after he and I sorted out the issue at hand, we began talking about a series of situations we’d both encountered – as well as situations our friends have encountered – where we had truly overreacted to what turned out to be a very simple reality. Why did we do the things that we did? What motivated our actions? Why did we need to recruit a supporting cast for what ultimately was a very insignificant and uninspired drama?

It reminded me of a tennis lesson I had taken when I was 12. The instructor would hit the ball to wherever I wasn’t on the court. If I was on the left side, he’d hit it to the right. If I was at the back of the court, he’d hit a drop shot that landed at the front. And every time he’d hit me a ball, I would react in a dramatic and frenzied manner.

I would sprint at full throttle to wherever the ball landed, come to a screeching halt while over-crowding the ball, flail ridiculously to get my racquet back, and either return the ball directly to him or hit it into the net. Then, we’d repeat the same pattern over and over again. Always off-balance, I could never quite get myself back to my center court ready position.

Finally, he stopped playing and asked, “What’s really going on here?”

I had to think a moment. “We’re playing tennis,” I said, confused.

“No. I am playing tennis. I don’t know what you’re doing,” he fired back. “The game of tennis is very simple. I hit a ball over the net. It bounces on your side. You hit it back to my side, ideally where I am not standing. That’s the game of tennis.”

“Yeah. I get that,” I retorted, indignantly.

“No, you don’t. What you’re not getting is that all you have to do is put your racquet back, calmly move to the ball, and hit that single ball back over the net. There is nothing else going on there on your side of the court. The way you’re reacting, you’d think there was an army chasing you, trying to stop you at all costs from returning not just one ball, but a hundred of them. And then, after all the unnecessary gyrations you go through, you make my life easier by hitting the ball right to me.”

I had to stop for a moment and think about how I had been approaching what I believed to be a very complicated and intricate game. My flailing and sprinting about was really doing nothing other than making me look and feel like a crazy, flailing person. Once I had allowed the perspective of a very wise tennis instructor to sink in, the noise in my head began to quiet.

And so now, when I can remember that tennis lesson in the midst of what I believe to be a very complicated and involved situation, I ask myself, “What’s really going on here?” Nine times out of ten, I realize that I am about to act like a crazy, flailing person in the midst of a very simple reality.

I remember that the best thing I can do is calmly move to the single ball on my side of the court and hit it back over the net the best way I know how… and then wait for the next shot.

Therapy Dogs

August 17th, 2009

My friend Johnny educated me not too long ago about a little known loophole on airlines for service dogs. That’s him in the picture with his sweet and adorable Greyhound, Zoe.

Now, I have always thought that in order for a one’s beloved pooch to qualify as a service dog, the service dog in question would have to be of a certain breed with documentation of specific training and skills. And its owner would have to have a documented physical need for the dog.

Well, we can all breathe a sigh of relief because that just isn’t quite so. At least not any longer.

With a note from your licensed therapist, doctor, or psychaitrist attesting to your mental and emotional need for a canine companion, you too can bring your dog on board a plane, snag yourself a bulkhead seat, and ride in therapy dog style all the way to your destination. I believe there are breed exceptions, like no pit bulls, but for the most part, you and your therapy dog can enjoy your own special bonding time at 35,000 feet.


Natalie Raps

August 16th, 2009

LOVE this. It’s been around awhile, but it never gets old for me…

On Health Care…

August 12th, 2009

I am not an expert on health care by any stretch of the imagination. But like most Americans, I am very concerned about it. Things need to change. And they need to change quickly. Record numbers of Americans and American families are uninsured or under-insured. That is not OK.

I personally have a problem with huge corporations profiting off the lives of human beings. I always have. Maybe I have always been naive. That’s OK. I know that there is no simple answer to this crisis. The insurance companies would argue that the for-profit, capitalist system of health care in this country has been directly responsible for the major, lifesaving technological breakthroughs we have had in this country over the past century. And they do have a point.

But now, we must face some hard facts. We must come to terms with the fact that our current system of health care no longer works, and we are long overdue for a huge overhaul. It is about time we got to work!

I borrowed the picture above from The New York Times to make a simple point. My Dad has always said in business meetings, “If you don’t have a positive solution or a positive idea, I don’t want to hear you speak until you do. Tell me how I can, not why I can’t.” In this case, I could not agree with him more.

Stop yelling! Stop crying! Stop grandstanding! And stop being roadblocks to positive change! If you have good ideas, let’s hear them! Your representatives are holding town hall meetings because they want to explain things, and they want to hear ideas. They are not there to endure endless tirades about what’s wrong with this country and what life was like when you were little.

Look, it is very simple. Change must come. Maybe Obama’s plan is a good option. Maybe it isn’t. But if it isn’t, then offer some ideas to your representatives. Ideas on how to do it better. Don’t just be a pawn in some crafty health care company’s pocket. Don’t adopt their PR messaging and lobbying as your own point of view. Do some real investigating yourselves! Take ownership of your lives and become true American citizens!

If you can’t do that, then stop talking and go home. Please.

Thank you, Mr. Clinton

August 5th, 2009

The dramatic release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee yesterday still gives me chills. It’s like that final moving scene of one of those suspense thrillers starring Richard Gere or Claire Danes!

But in all seriousness, I am so thrilled, happy and relieved for the young journalists and their families. Read this article from the New York Times for a thorough and incredibly interesting account of what happened behind the political scenes to secure the women’s release.

Of particular interest to me was the comment by a “former official” that Kim Jong-il was ultimately motivated to release Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee as a “reciprocal humanitarian gesture” to a note Mr. Clinton had sent as President when Mr. Kim’s father had passed away.

It never hurts to do the right thing and reach out on a very human level to another human being, no matter who he or she is or what he or she has done. You never know when that humanity will be returned.

Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D

August 3rd, 2009

This morning I was relieved to discover that I do, in fact, consume more than enough Vitamin D on a daily basis. Call off search and rescue. Crisis averted.

But in case you were wondering, adults should get between 400 and 800 IU per day of Vitamin D. Though, apparently, much more than 1000 IU per day isn’t so great for us, so be careful!

I get my Vitamin D from direct sunlight, fish oil capsules, my multivitamin, fatty fish like salmon, and fortified soy milk. Check it out for yourself, and make sure you are getting an adequate supply of Vitamin D everyday.

Good stuff.


August 3rd, 2009

Oh wow.