Pete Petrisko's Admiral of Phoenix

I've recently returned from an expedition in the deepest hinterlands of neighboring Tucson. During the last several months, I have not only studied the inhabitants, but have lived among them, learning their ways and adopting their local customs. While there, I made a series of discoveries that may even surprise big city folk such as yourselves.

These Tucsonans, as I call them, speak a strange dialect that include such idioms as "please" and "thank you". Not because you yourself did anything to make them especially pleased or thankful in any civilized way as we are to understand it, but because it is the polite thing to do. Can you imagine that, my sophisticated friends? The po-lite thing to do!

You may have heard, so let me be the first to confirm the fact, that Tucson has an impressive collection of street potholes. But much like the 4th Ave hippies, they are potholes of a gentle persuasion.

That said, I must clear up one outlandish rumor right now. I have heard it said that Tucson has no sidewalks. This is simply not true and, furthermore, I would add it is also patently false. It is an unfortunate reality, but a reality nonetheless, that the red-brick sidewalks of downtown Tucson don't draw the same kind of attention as their white counterparts in Phoenix. They don't feel the need to blind you with their glaring concrete whiteness. They have no desire to melt your shoes three hours after the sun goes down. That is not the way of the noble red-brick "sidewalk".

On many occasions, I observed large groups of local inhabitants gathering in their downtown area for cultural celebrations. There seems neither rhythm nor reason to these frequent gatherings of artistic celebration, until we realize we are observing a savage people. They gather to celebrate their meager bounty and to enjoy the simple pleasures life has to offer. Yesiree, that's small-town Tucson for you!

A peculiar notion popped into my head during my voyage, while thumbing through the large collection of 78rpm records at PDQ Records & Tapes, as it hit me: Tucson has a dusty old city quaintness, while Phoenix has more of a "quaint Los Angeles struggling against the darkness" feel. Neither city is better than the other. They're just different. Every able-minded person can see this plain as day. Then some make the right choice, while others remain in Phoenix. But both cities are equally good. To each his own, I say, so there's no need for judgment here.

And with that, I bid you a fond adieu.

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Artist: Pete Petrisko
Medium: Literary

From a monologue performed during the First Friday Night Live debut show (Sept 2011), in character as The Admiral - a late 19th century pith helmet-wearing explorer - who returns to the big city of Phoenix. It displays the iconic Phoenix attitude...

The countdown to Best of Phoenix begins! Last year, we profiled 100 Creatives who made a mark on the local arts scene. This year, we'll have 100 creative representations of Phoenix. No scope or requirement on medium or size -- we'll include photography, painting, sculpture, video, installation, literary, and more. What do you see when you Imagine PHX?

Imagine PHX, so far:

100: Steven Revering's Westward Ho
99: Jon Ashcroft's Suspended in Geography
98: William LeGoullon's Table
97. Jason Hill's Phoenix Financial Center


Arnold Guerrero's Camelback Mountain


Sean Deckert's Ginae vs. the 12th Street Gang

And, hey! It's lunch time. Check out Chow Bella's 100 Favorite Dishes for some foodie inspiration. 

Have a suggestion for a Phoenix icon by a local creative? Leave it in the comments section or email Claire.Lawton@newtimes.com

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Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

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