Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

WHAT’S GOING DOWN—REDUX: The Century plus a decade, in Review

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

I don’t know what redux means, but it’s sort of what I once saw for a souped up version of Apocalypse Now, and I wanted to add a little prestige and good company to my stuff. I mean, isn’t that my prerogative as a woman? Okay, I’m a man, but what the heck? So with this What’s Going Down—Redux video, with a budget of zero, I added a whole bunch of the lyrics, trying to get a handle on the ‘Motion’ program in Final Cut Pro—a video editing system, and called it REDUX. Plus I wanted to change the world. That’s proved more difficult.

I think it’s okay, though (the video I mean—the world needs constant care and vigilance), and believe you me, it’s being watched by nearly nobody, at the speed of sound. But not for long. Okay, maybe for long.

But if you pass it around and they pass it around, and so on, we can catch up to Britney Spears 70 million plus viewings of Womanizer. Even saying her name means most will go there even before pressing on below.

WHAT’S GOING DOWN REDUX

Along with JFK, G W Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Hitler, Stalin, Kissinger, Mao Tse Tung, Martin Luther King, Oswald, Mossadegh, Allende, Fred Hampton, J Edgar Hoover, Colin Powell, the Bail Out, Wolfowitz, Allen Dulles, Castro, some Saudi Arabian Sheik, Saddam Hussein, that North Korean dictator whose name I can’t remember, Jimmy Hoffa, Idi Amin, that incredibly brave unknown hero from Tienanman Square and a few others, the video also stars my dear friends Gina Chiarelli (Grace) and Paul McGillion (Dominic) from See Grace Fly. It is a little history, and the remarkable madness of What’s Going Down and has been going down, this century.

As crazy as it sounds, the ‘clown’ being in the left hand corner on the selected picture below was purely coincidental. Youtube picks from the song three possible frames in total (there are 30 frames every second). This is one of the three. What else could I do?

Don’t get too depressed. Your voice continues on. Love will always continue on. We might even be eternal. And I was just experimenting with video and sound and graphics.

Lots of love,

Pete

EVER-BLESSED IN INDIA: No slumdogs, no millionaires, just countless beautiful people

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I just posted a little video for a song called Wide Open—a video filmed on the Gulf Islands off the coast of Vancouver.

This video, for a song called Ever-blessed, is from footage I took while in South India in December of ’08 into January ’09. India is so much more than slumdogs and millionaires, my god. Not a good person was to be found in that Academy-Award winning film, save the resilient heroes. In my experience in India, we only found good, interesting, beautiful, colourful, hospitable, devoted, generous people—everywhere.

I don’t mean the opposite sort of people don’t exist there—of course they do—but you get my point.

We almost only found people who, regardless of their religion, got along—indeed, took pride in getting along. That is the deeper essence of Hinduism—that we are eternal, and where we have to be, and individual souls (atmas) on a journey. Therefore do not proselytize unless asked.

We met beautiful, emotional, resilient people who stand everyday in the wild, paradoxical madness and beauty of a timeless country, and live with great dignity against sometimes serious odds.

In Alleppey (in Kerala), for example, the rice farmers are right up against rising backwaters on the edge of the man-made banks—probably worsened by global warming. Their livelihood is threatened after thousands of years of cultivation. In many places mere inches of safety keep their houses from being washed away. Yet they carry on with unstoppable belief.

People—sisters and brothers, all atmas—were so open to my beloved and me. So much beauty: the people, the temperature, the urgency to support oneself, the resilience against the modern world and history, the colour, the pure veg food, the endless conversation with the divine (subtle, pleading, devotional, silent), the traditional music, sitars or flutes against a tabla back-drop. Transportive.

And the trip was deeply enriched by my affection for the Vedas, and Hindu metaphysics, and so much teaching from many sources, but in particular from six or seven years of yoga philosophy classes and kirtans with Jeffrey Armstrong (Kavindra Rishi).

Jeffrey, who lectures on the subject all over the world (he’s off to Holland tomorrow), is utterly addicted to the Vedas and a remarkable, unstoppable teacher and mentor. How much fun was it bringing that knowledge into conversation, meditation, and into temples?

In India, after meeting a man named Anantu who ran an organic farm, and was reading a book called The Quantum Enigma, which is the butting up of physics against consciousness, a famous line from quantum theory came to me, and with a few changes, seemed to sum up India:

“Anyone who thinks they understand India, doesn’t understand India.”

That resonates for human nature, and the human journey, too. What a ride. And what a beautiful time we had in south India.

I’ll write more about the trip and the shots in the video later, but for now, here’s a link to the video. I hope you like it.

Lots of love to you,

Pete xoxo

WIDE OPEN on MAXIMUM MTV ROTATION!

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Sneak preview. Okay, not really. Do I wish this was a hot pick from Rolling Stone Magazine, or a ‘Classic’ from Musical Express, or on high rotation on MTV? Well, I don’t really think about it. In fact I’m aware of them only slightly more than they are of me. Hey, man, I’ve been off the charts in every sense of the double entendre for several epochs.

Nonetheless, ol’ Pete finally made a video, of Wide Open, about as simple as you can do it, totally based on Michael Jackson’s Thriller—although let’s be honest, a notch up.

As of today on youtube, one day in, 62 people have watched Wide Open, and 70,184,779 people have watched Britney Spears Womanizer. I’m not kidding, 70 million, or more than twice the population of Canada.

As for Wide Open, the makeup artist didn’t show, but the forest did, and so did the ocean and the weather. The rest, as they say, is anything but history.

Thanks to the multi-talented, wonderfully beautiful Jennifer Rashleigh and Samantha Reynolds, who were a dream—and we all took turns carrying the boombox in search of light. I paid the 16 bucks for batteries—and dammit, it’s my camera.

Press here for a 44 year old with a dream—who’s still not sure what that dream is. But surely it has something to do with being wide open. Here’s to being yourself. Or, to quote the song, “You are beautiful!”

Love ya!

Pete

A Vida E So Uma: MOZAMBIQUE and the SPIRIT of LIFE

Monday, October 13th, 2008

When I was in Mozambique (Kenya, Malawi and South Africa), I think two years back now, I went to this little clubhouse kind of place where kids meet to talk about topics of the day, and for community. They also gathered to become more aware of the truths and falsehoods about HIV/AIDS—whose treatment in Mozambique, despite the efforts of many great people, was minimal in terms of reaching the infected population.

For example, for a multitude of reasons—access, education, poverty, infrastructure etc—at the time only 2 or 3% of pregnant women were taking the relatively simple access drugs during delivery (let alone the rest of the time) to help prevent the spread of the virus to the newborn child. We talk about this in Hope In The Time of AIDS (actually, not in this excerpt—but a few of the tragic statistics are here).

Anyway, these wonderful kids at the clubhouse in Mozambique (Moputo) had a guitar and I borrowed it and in this hot little room just started playing.

The resulting music is on film but I don’t have the footage, unfortunately. One day. But the kids, maybe a dozen of them, just started singing along, ad lib counterpoint, and I made up a song on the spot called My First Day In Mozambique. It was rhythmic and sweet, and the experience wildly inspiring and fun. One day, when I find it, I will post it.

Then two of the boys took the guitar (they were about 17 or 18, I think) and sang, which was also filmed. I always wanted to make a video out of it, but I haven’t had easy access to the film. But I do have a recording of it, which I will post here. It was sang with great love and passion—even though the guitar wouldn’t stay in tune! They were amazing—as humans so often are—and I don’t even know their names.

But here’s an mp3 of their beautiful song. The lead singer wrote it. One day, hopefully, there will be a video of them playing, to accompany it. The joy will be clear.

Here are the lyrics in the Portugese original:

A vida é só uma

A vida é só ma
A vida irmãos é só uma
A vida é só uma
Vamos viver a vida
Porque a vida é só uma
Quando ela escorrega não se apanha

Irmãos Moçambicanos dêem as mãos
Sejamos um por todos e todos por um
Unidos ao mundo inteiro seremos fortes
P’ra juntos combatermos o inimigo
SIDA você não tem chance
SIDA connosco não podes

Coro

Vamos viver com jeito
Nós amarmos com jeito
Porque a vida é muito bela
Porque a vida é só uma

And in English:

WE ONLY LIVE ONCE

We only live once

We only live once
Brothers, we only live once
We only live once
Let’s live our life
Because we only live once
If you miss out on life there is no second chance

Mozambican brothers, let’s hold hands
One for all, all for one
United with the world we will be strong
Together we will fight the enemy
AIDS, you have no chance
AIDS, against us you can’t win

Chorus

Let’s live with care
Let’s love with care
Because life is beautiful
Because we only live once

Lots of love to them, and you, and joy, kindness and compassion,

Pete xox

And just because I like to post it, and it reminds me of the wonder of being alive, Wide Open.

JT and them Steamroller Blues

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

I was going to post a Chomsky essay, but didn’t. The bandwidth of politics is so limited, yet so influential. Curious, that.

I’ve been a huge James Taylor fan since I first fell in love and first got depressed (they were almost simultaneous). I also learned a lot of my guitar playing—which is a bit of an insult to James—learning his songs, and his tunings.

Anyway, this is a version of Steamroller Blues from about 1970, I think. James was, by all accounts, in the early grip of heroine, but he’s still as smooth as ever (or maybe that’s why).

I post this because not only is the intro very funny, his self-parodying ad-lib in the middle of his own non-solo is about the funniest self-parodying in the middle of a non-solo I’ve ever heard. God love him. Hope it brings back some sweet memories. And don’ kid yourself, he can play that acoustic guitar.

Working like a dog (a dog that works hard) here in Vancouver,

Lots of love to you—that you may be feeling rich in spirit, in this crazy human journey.

Pete

And something even sweeter, Carolina In My Mind, with a whistling intro.

Heck, and one of my own…uh, how about Jean Paul Sartre?

For those intrigued, here’s the whole Wide Open CD (I have a couple more, too). Feel free to download. Petexo

INTELLECTUAL SELF-DEFENSE AND THE CURIOUS ART OF SANITIZATION: The LEGACIES of MARTIN LUTHER KING and MUHAMMAD ALI

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

“So often in America we have socialism for the rich and ragged free enterprise capitalism for the poor.”
—Martin Luther King

Through research I have come to see just how deeply hated Muhammad Ali was by the vast majority of Americans in the mid-1960s (for instance he was loudly booed in his 1965 rematch, as Champion of the World, when he fought Sonny Liston a second time), and how we have forgotten that fact.

It is therefore with interest that I read today Mike Marqusee‘s piece for the Guardian on Martin Luther King’s legacy, where he points out the same effect of historical eradication.

It seems if we sanitize the right aspects of a “hero’s” past, citizens slowly forget just how much ‘Power’—whatever that is exactly—and the media loathe and will counter freedom of speech, non-violence, racial and economic equality and so on, when they are outside the acceptable boundaries of certain ideological and economic interests.

An excerpt:

It’s testimony to the awkward power of Martin Luther King’s life and work that so much effort has gone into sanitising his memory. Today he’s commemorated as an apostle of social harmony, a hero in the triumphant march of American progress. But at the time of his death 40 years ago today, his increasingly radical challenge to war and poverty had made him deeply controversial, spied on and harassed by his government, feared and loathed by millions of Americans…

I use the word Power advisedly, to be sure. I could not believe what big-name sportswriters wrote about Ali, too, in the mid-sixties. In Nat Fleischer’s Ring Magazine, Ali was still being called Cassius Clay in 1972.

In 1966 Ali was not named Fighter of the Year because of his negative influence on American youth. At the same time, I have read so many times how Ali’s words made a black person literally feel beautiful for the first time in their life—but that is not the influence sought, evidently.

Ali may have effected the willingness of some young kid (many with limited freedom in their own town) to be drafted and contribute his body, mind and machine gun fire to the invasion and all-encompassing demolition of a country he knew nothing about. Or as Ali himself summed up with profound if accidental concision in early 1966:

“I ain’t got no quarrel with no Vietcong.”

Black soldiers on the front lines in Vietnam largely opposed Ali’s and Martin Luther King’s anti-war stance in 1967, and they largely agreed with them by 1969. And so goes life, when enough is just too damn much, at least for those in the line of fire.

Or to quote George Orwell:

All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.

My point is how strangely anti-Establishment dissidents (and I use the word Establishment advisedly, too) in the past are glorified in the present by that same Establishment—leading us all, by not knowing the history, unable to recall why and how they were despised in the first place.

And if you think ‘Power’, under pressure, has changed, well, yes, Barbara Lee again.

In Acts in the New Testament, one could conclude many early Christians (or perhaps radical Jews) lived communally, and shared everything!—those socialist freaks.

Put another way, as David Rovics sings, Who Would Jesus Bomb? (I felt tears well up as I listened).

I feel the same head shake (but in the opposite direction), as I have written lately, with the legacies of Tiger Beat teen T-shirt pin-up Che Guevara and others amongst certain counter-culture folk.

But hey, that’s just moi.

Another excerpt from Marqusee:

In 1967, [King's] opposition to the war in Vietnam had been denounced by mainstream civil rights leaders and liberal opinion-makers, including The New York Times. While he agreed with the militants that the [Civil Rights] movement had to enter a new, more ambitious phase, he continued to advocate both non-violence and inter-racial alliances.

“We don’t enlist races in the movement. We enlist consciences. And anybody who wants to be free, and to make somebody else free, that’s what we want.

Marqusee’s article is here.

Expand, my friends, expand…it’s such a big world out there, with billions of others similarly-confined by their human nature (and then all that follows). Lots of love to you and yours, in joy and solidarity,

Pete

And here’s Wide Open, you beautiful sisters and brothers, here and gone.

SHOCKINGLY OFTEN, IN CONVERSATION AND HISTORY…

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

So many moments and comments keep coming up (say, Tibet, Iraq, Darfur and events historically), that relate to what Naomi Klein writes about in her remarkably clear and profoundly researched book The Shock Doctrine, that I thought I would post this blog one more time.

It talks about Charles Ferguson’s Iraq documentary primer on Iraq—No End In Sight—and then finishes with an excerpt and a link from an interview Naomi Klein gave about her book. I hope it resonates more than shocks, and inspires more than shocks.

By the way, dear sisters and brothers, don’t be fooled by the title No End In Sight. Everything changes, everything comes to an end. Everything re-news. Re-grows. More beauty, more kindness, more solidarity and love is possible in every moment, every action. Take a deep breath and begin today.

The blog is here.

A ten minute informative and punishing film rebuttal by Charles Ferguson to a Paul Bremer III op-ed in the NY Times is here.

Naomi’s interview is here.

And while we’re at it, here’s an interview with Stephen Lewis, Naomi’s father-in-law and (positive) crusader for Africa. Imagine the conversations at their dinner table.

An excerpt:

You know, it embarrasses me when people say, “Oh he’s such a great humanitarian” or “person of compassion.” I’m no more a person of compassion or with humanitarian instinct than anyone else in this world—or certainly in Canada.

I’m driven ideologically. My entire life has been filled with the conviction, which I imbibed from my father in particular, that you’ve got to spend a part of your life fighting social injustice and inequality or there’s no point being on the planet.

For me, the AIDS virus is the ultimate expression of social injustice and that’s why I’m so mad about it. Because it’s so profoundly wrong. I’m neither animated by spiritual inclinations, and nor do I retreat into them. For me, it is frankly my own social philosophy, my own ideology. I just think the struggle for social justice is the most important struggle there is. If AIDS violates it, then you fight AIDS.

And in case you feel overwhelmed, may I say that life remains an extraordinary experience of stunning beauty and overwhelming acts of kindness and love, so here’s a couple of songs celebrating said mystery and beauty.

Wide Open.

Naked Love.

Little Dreamer.

Free downloads! And lots of love to you and yours,

Pete

FOR THE BENEFIT OF ANIMALS and US, too

Monday, March 10th, 2008

It was a joyful gig on Saturday night in White Rock—an assortment of wonderful talent and heart, gathering to celebrate my dear and multi-talented friend Larry Anschell and the 20th Anniversary of his Turtle Recording Studio. At the same time we had the privilege of raising money for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

The performers were Kirk Maurice, Allison Crowe, Jason Mitchell, Jordan Carrier and a band called Yuca.

I opened up the night with a short little set list and a reading from Understanding Ken—the Big Bums, as usual. What can I say? I’m making a film these days, and I’m swamped in the research.

WISE OLD LADY OF LOVE

WIDE OPEN

BE BRAVE TONIGHT

MR NEANDERTHAL AND THE GHOSTS OF LOVE

BLUE

An excerpt from UNDERSTANDING KEN

Being on stage is certainly a trip: trying to stay connected between my organic sound and the amplified sound; staying with the song and the crowd; with myself; trying to give a part of myself, an idea, a desire; yearning to encourage creativity, joy, solidarity and, finally, knowing I have no control over the results of such desires.

Just imagine having control over the results of your desires. That, my friends, would be a full-time job. It brings to mind God.

Still, performing on stage is a wondrous, uncontrollable energy—even more so with one happily drunk person with questionable rhythm, hootin’ and hollerin’ at the all the wrong moments, which should be interesting given that the set was recorded.

SPCA

And being a benefit for the SPCA (and Mr Kite—Beatles joke), I even got to mention—sweetly!—that the billions of animals raised and killed yearly in factory farms actually feel as much suffering, misery and cruelty as our pets would feel if they were raised and slaughtered under the brutally perverse factory farm cycle of hell.

It all makes one wonder about the understandable yet utterly compartmenalized outrage over animal cruelty found in the news today about, say, Michel Vicks’ dog-fighting ring or the recent cock-fighting ring revealed in Surrey, BC—in between commericals for Big Macs and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Oh, I despise the dog-fighting/cock-fighting cruelty too, to be sure, but it is a feather on the scale of the misery that takes place in factory farms for our eating pleasure in this remarkably contradictory, paradoxical world.

With that, why not finish with a sweet note: the trailer for The Peaceable Kingdom. Check out the ram or lamb or whatever it is, bounding across the field upon being released back to freedom, at 2:08. I know, animals for food don’t feel, that’s just instinct. Heck, I’m mostly instinct!

See a clip here.

Love to you—and may all beings be a little bit happier,

Pete xoxo

20th ANNIVERSARY TURTLE RECORDING BENEFIT CONCERT FOR THE SPCA AND THE SHEER WONDER OF TALENT AND BEAUTY

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

“As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.”
—Tolstoy

On Saturday March 8, 2008, at the Coast Capital Playhouse (1532 Johnston Road, White Rock, British Columbia) I’m playing (heck, I’m kickin’ off, six-strings and all…) the second night of a two-night, Friday/Saturday concert celebrating the 20th anniversary of my dear and brilliant (and non-pet-eating) friend Larry Anschell’s Turtle Recording Studios, which has recorded countless wonderful artists over the years (and me too).

I mention animals because the concerts are also a benefit for the Surrey SPCA, which is a beautiful thing—being that I hate the thought of animals suffering, which is why I don’t eat them—because in this day and age, they suffer brutally getting to our plates.

I think of it this way: Love me, love my dog. And love my dog, love all animals that feel pain, cruelty, suffering and fear (cows, pigs, chickens etc) just like my dog would feel pain, cruelty, suffering and fear were I to put the little fella through a slaughterhouse/factory farm.

For the record, I don’t have a dog, but you get the bark of my bite. I’ve heard that factory farms produce some 95% of all the meat humans eat. But enough about me and some nine billion animals every year—in the States alone. I believe it’s thirty billion chickens world-wide (considered the worst treated animals on the planet), but who’s counting? Okay, okay, enough already, back to the concert…

THE MIRACLE OF TALENT

The night(s) should be fantastic. I am constantly, repeatedly and mind-blowingly overwhelmed by the amount of talent and beauty out there circling this little blue planet. I don’t know the entire line up—I know Allison Crowe, Cozy Bones and Jason Mitchell—but I am assured they are wonderful, and they will be.

The line-up:

Goby Catt & the Catt Pack, Allison Crowe [see below], Critical Element [I just listened to them, they’re funky, man], Dreams of Treason, Kurtis Dengler, and Cozy Bones [beloved in White Rock, but I couldn't find their site] (Fri.); and Pete McCormack [struggles out of the gate, but the kid's all heart], Kirk Caouette [couldn't find his site], Allison Crowe [see below], Jason Mitchell [great, beautiful singer songwriter—check out full songs at his myspace], Jordan Carrier [founding member of Cozy Bones, just released a new CD], and Yuca (Sat.)

Now I can say this: I just saw/heard a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Halelujah by Allison Crowe, who is playing both nights and will blow your mind with her sound and phrasing. I just sat there with my jaw hanging open, thinking if she opened her mouth wide enough, I might just see the divine Vedic goddess of creativity and beauty Saraswati peek out and smile, with a stamp on Her forehead/third-eye saying: “Official Talent: Never Contain.”

And if that’s not enough, she expands upon the inspiration of the inimitable Ani Difranco’s Righteous Babe Records and starts her own independent record company by the undeniably perfect name of Rubenesque Records [for more about great women, see my previous blog].

Check this out—so beautiful.

I’ve got to open for that miracle! (recorded at Turtle Studios, incidentally). I think I’ll just bring my broom and sweep the stage. Ah, but not so fast, my friends—that’s right, not so fast, because I believe too. And anyway, Allison’s going to hear my songs and want to cover them, no doubt about it. It’s what they call a shoo-in. I’ll let her too, if she’s got a good heart. A good heart is very important.

Allison even covers the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Darlin’ Be Home Soon. I thought my sister and I were the only people who knew that song, let alone went crazy for it. Note to reader: we actually swoon for the Joe Cocker version.

In the meantime, here are a couple of my ol’ and young chestnuts. Download them for free if you like ‘em, send ‘em to people you don’t know, or sprinkle them on your salad.

Be Brave Tonight

Wide Open

Feel If You Want

Naked Love

Little Dreamer

The Woman I Love is Crazy

Shark Attack

Blue

I’ve got to hear these songs as I post them, and they’re such a map of my heart. God I love life. (All three of my triple-plastic selling CDs can be found and downloaded here.)

Here’s my one and only video, a 2008 special (for a chuckle, notice the difference between my hits and Allison’s hits on youtube, and then send me lunch money—cash—in a brown envelope marked “Keep it up.” Incidentally, when my work goes viral, it means I’ve got the flu).

More importantly, check out Darfur in Ten Minutes, Colonialism in Ten Minutes or HIV/AIDS in Africa.

I am indeed a fortunate soul. Love more. Seriously, way, way more

Pete xoxoxo

PS Speaking of rubenesque, like the painter Reuben Kincaid (I know, I know, it’s a joke), I’ve always had this wonderfully life-affirming affection for large bottoms. You got a problem with that? Even in semi-autobiographical fiction: This, live, from Understanding Ken, about a ten-year old Canadian boy visiting the United States (Spokane, WA) for a hockey tournament circa 1973.

And more love. xox Okay, okay! One more song: Shine. Jiminy.

LOOKING AT CLOUDS WHILE WALKING GENTLY ON A BEING’S BACK

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Again, I’ve been so busy with research and planning and so on for the Ali project, that I haven’t had time for writing. But I did play a little concert on Friday night, and read a poem before singing. I read the poem because of what happened that Friday, early afternoon.

I was on a panel as a writer/blogger, and afterwards—on a stunningly beautiful Vancouver day—I was suddenly overwhelmed by a cloud. Don’t ask me to explain too much. I’ve never been mesmerised by a cloud before, nor do I do hallucinogenics. But this thick white billowing beauty with the sun glistening off it, and the occasional sun-drenched sea gull zooming by, yelled out to me, and I felt quite filled with emotion.

A few thoughts followed? Why a cloud? Why me? How are we related? Why such a great life? Why such a difficult world? Why so much beauty? Where exactly is the bus terminal? and so on.

Anyway, I found the bus terminal, and I sat down—grinning evidently, because it was pointed out to me by a fella in the seat in front of me, and I was asked why. Never too uncomfortable, I said, “Well, this might sound strange, but I was overwhelmed by a cloud.”

Get this. It turns out the guy was was a professor of meteorology at UBC. What are the odds? 2-1? And who totally understands. he says, “Yeah, well, we’re from the same energy system.”

Not only that, he works in the area that actually asks if the earth is a living organism—and of course it is! So we talked about the wonder of organization in an entropic system, increasing photosyntheis as the Spring approaches, James Lovelock (whom he knows) and the Gaia hypothesis, and the similarities between a cloud and a human, energetically speaking.

This led me to pulling out a poen that I’d recently written—I seldom read poems to women on buses, let alone men. I only read half of it, actually, but this is it now, in its entirety (and I read it at the gig):

Sing your song with all your breath
For all of this from birth to death
Is held in flow by pure vibration
A subtle taste of liberation
An all-pervasive cosmic song
Invisible beings sing along
Then hum the song to you and me
A divine fragmented melody
An endless kiss, an invitation
Veiled by body’s limitation
But when in bursts we hear that song
We see the soul in everyone
At least a flash if not the whole
For pure vibration is the soul
So if you find your song’s off course
Listen closely for the Source
And if you still can’t find the key
Sing for all divinity
Enter into pure vibration
Divinely blessed imagination
Your beingness is not delusion
That’s another soul’s confusion
And even if they don’t agree
They never give up trying to be
An individual, with a theory
That alone should make you leary
But let’s get back to pure vibration
Forgetting is my limitation!
And know that every song you sing
Is from the Source of everything
Not nothingness but ecstasy
Not void but wild divinity
Not “you” as “we” are understood
But pure vibration personhood
A thought barely conceivable
A dream and yet retrievable
Hid behind shadows and light
A pure vibrational delight
A concert with a trillion acts
Why else scientific facts?
Why else love songs and atheists?
Why else this life with all its twists?
I do not mean to cause offence
But we’re kept alive by intelligence
We’re not just matter rubbed together
A result of dirt and stormy weather
We are here by pure vibration
As Einstein saw in contemplation
Held in tune by a soul much greater
To who we all sing now or later
An ode to vast intelligence
A soul like us in every sense
Save magnitude and lack of doubt
So smile within and sing without
Let pure vibration be your song
To the One who’s sung you all along

I mentioned the conversation at the gig, too. The crowd seemed quite amused (plus, due to
entropy, I probably embellished).

Then I sang a few songs. It was sort of a sexy night, discussing the 64 arts of the Kama Sutra, so here’s the set list:

Learning How God Loves
Naked Love
Wide Open
Be Brave Tonight
Ever Blessed

And a request for Wise Old lady of Love.

It’s a fantastic crowd—the only one in the world that knows the words to my songs. I love singing those songs, live, and thinking we are an organism living on an organism, and so on, and so on, and so on until you feel endless gratitiude for the fact that you have your own place.

As for our own little universe, I have heard that of all the cells withing us and around us (stomach bacteria etc), only 5 to 10 percent of these cells are actually us. The others are hosting on me, like us to the earth.

Love to you,

Pete

COMPOSING/DIRECTING: How To Salvage A Crap Film With A Good Score

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Okay, that’s not the real title. But Steven Spielberg did once say the music from Jaws (John Williams) was thirty-percent of the film right there. Now I’m not sure if there’s a formula for blockbusters (I sure haven’t found it), but the importance, pressure, intensity, revelation and joy of scoring a film can not be underestimated. Cued at the the right time, with the right mood, a film moment can be profoundly elevated. It can also be bled dry.

However the process works, it is a remarkable marriage of the elements—video and sound—and the people working on the film—director and composer. I’m part of a talk called “The composer/director collaboration,” with Dennis Burke, a great talent and a great guy, who did the score for both See Grace Fly and Uganda Rising.

It should be fun—and hopefully inspiring, revealing and informative:

Emily Talks, at the Emily Carr Institute on Granville Island in Vancouver, as part of the ECI Spring Speaker Series.

Pete McCormack and Dennis Burke

“The Composer/Director Collaboration”

Thursday February 28
7:00 pm

All talks in Lecture Hall 301, South Building

Director Pete McCormack and composer Dennis Burke discuss the collaborative process in
filmmaking, moderated by John Sereda.

Sponsored by the Guild of Canadian Film Composers, Department of Canadian Heritage Creators’ Assistance Program and the SOCAN Foundation.

FEBRUARY 23rd

And just in case you missed the earlier blog, I’m on a blogging panel (a very cool and diverse panel, it seems) at the popular Northern Voice 2008 Weblogging Conference, February 23, 11:30-12:10, in Vancouver, called From Book to Blog or Blog to Book.

From book to blog or blog to book: how authors use blogs to attract publishers’ attention and to connect to each other, to readers and to the media.

…among other things, clearly.

Lots of love to you,

Pete

Oh, and here’s a link to a recent video, well, just because. The opening line is my grandmother, around the spry ol’ age of 97.

VIDEO MADNESS! POP QUIZ! SEA MONKEYS! Yes, and WHAT’S GOING DOWN! in full colour!

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Sodom and Gomorah? That was very bad. This is definitely worse.”
—Lily McCormack, aged 97 (1897-1999)

Yes, I’m busy with several things…but, dammit, I had to get familiar again with Final Cut Pro editing and what the?—a video! That’s right? With the help of a few friends, that ol’ rapscallion Pete McCormack’s got a big time vid! That’s right, big time! Not only that, a video wih a pop quiz and big prizes! That’s right, big prizes!

Hope you like it. If you don’t, I’ll cry. If you like it a lot, spread it like a bad virus until we all get famous. I’m serious—because it’s time time to figure out, my friends, just what’s goin’ down,

WHAT’S GOING DOWN

Oh, here’s the quiz:

Trick questions for info nerds. Name the people in the video at:

1) relatively easy at 30 seconds, 2) tough one at 51 seconds, 3) 1:37, 4) a pretty easy one at 3:36, and 5) 3:43

Zero Answers Right: Great affection for being a good sport.

One Right: Free downloads and limited affection.

Two Right: Free downloads and the respect of certain “acquaintances” who may or may not be reliable—depending on how you define the word.

Three Right: Undercover bookstacker position at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. with borrowing benefits and a 10% discount transit coupon.

Four Right: A seat on the National Security Council (and three new “connected” friends who you probably shouldn’t trust—but at least you have an ear to the President).

Five Right: Liberation in the religious path of your choice, more free downloads and a can of Wilson tennis balls.

For all 22 original hits, original stars, and all my hits, including “The Night Chicago Died” on K-Tel’s “Sound Explosion”, press here absolutely free by midnight tonight! That’s right, midnight tonight!

Some of the superstars on the song-that-will-not-die-thanks-to-video include:

Gina Chiarelli and Paul McGillion (thespians superb), Martin Howard (funky-time guitar), Robbie Steininger (eight-string mandolin smokin’ solo among other tricks), Candy Churchill (background vocals), Brent Gubbels (big bad bass), Tim Hardy and Eric Hogan (absolutely crucial technical Video support), Jesse James Miller (supplier, Studio B editing suite), Paul Baker (song mixer—and recorder of my most recent CD), E. Larry Lynn (director of photography on the Paul and Gina footage—and that one shot of Stalin from his earliest reel) and to former and present day leaders for their good-humoured cooperation, participation and financial support.

Which brings to mind the great adage: “No video is an island—nor is it a peninsula.”

Love to you and yours. And even with all this madness in the world going down, see if you can’t strike a bold asana and love even more—and then even more,

Pete xoxo

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IN SPITE OF OURSELVES: JOHN PRINE, a NEANDERTHAL MAN, a SANSKRIT CHANT and a SHARK ATTACK

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

My dear friends, if you’ve had a difficult day, and you’re tired of my high-falutin’ transcendental jabbering, I think this wonderful song might be just the cure. Ladies and Gentlemen, the inimitable John Prine with Iris DeMent.

Tell me it didn’t make you smile, I dare ya….

Okay, okay, I can’t compete with John Prine, but what the heck, one of my songs—I can’t leave my self out, it’s my blog, for the love of ego! For proof that hearts have been broken all the way back to Homo erectus, of all people: press here for Mr Neanderthal and the Ghosts of Love.

Okay, and one more with a twist and a chant towards enlightenment and desperation, a cross between transcendental love and trans-incidental love. Ladies and Gentlemen, a Shark Attack for your listening pleasure,

Lots of love to you. Seriously, tons and tons of love.

Pete