For six years, I’ve done PR and penned the Weekly Mix for Illegal Pete’s. It all began when I was doing music publicity for a record label, and gave a round-table talk on PR for Ben Desoto’s “The Conversation” music industry shindig at Forest Room 5. There was a guy in the audience asking a lot of questions; it turns out that he was Pete Turner, owner of Illegal Pete’s. I met him and Virgil after the talk, Pete asked me what to look for when hiring a publicist, and then essentially I got hired. After my first “interview,” I came back buzzed off two beers at Lola, and my husband knew this was going to be a fun job.
But then I instantly got pregnant. Virgil secretly knew right away, but was able to keep his mouth shut. So our relationship was different than we had imagined: less of me going to events and partying as the social butterfly, more of me working from home with children hanging off of me. I even moved to New Mexico for two years, and Pete let me keep my job.
My boss, Pete, is devoted to making the lives of people around him better. He’s given the entire company two raises, with a third on the way, in a crazy experiment to see how well he can pay his restaurant industry employees and still continue to make a profit. It’s going really well; the company just continues to grow, and we save money we’d otherwise be spending on turnover.
But my favorite part of the job is my work at the Burrito Fairy. What began as an extra task for me, hooking up touring bands with free food at our restaurants, has become an essential part of my job that can be really fun, hilarious, important and sometimes frustrating–I’m essentially on call for emergency burritos. I don’t know how many family trips to the aquarium have been interrupted by some band texting me in all caps, in desperate need of free burritos. But it’s totally worth it. Here’s what I had to say in Westword about the program, and why I think the Burrito Fairy is not just a novelty, but is necessary: