Monday, March 20, 2017

Pheaturing Veronica Swift and Phile Alum Stephanie Nakasian

Hey, everyone, good morning and welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Happy technical first day of spring. If you don't already have a fear of flying, you definitely will after hearing this story. Comedian Nicole Byer was not laughing when she got a disgusting surprise while on a recent Delta flight. As Byer unwrapped a blanket provided by the airline, she discover that it has definitely been used before... as toilet paper. Yes. Byer literally discovered human feces in her Delta Airlines-provided blanket. And before you ask... yes, it was one of the blankets that comes pre-wrapped in a bag that is supposed to signify that the linens inside have been properly cleaned and folded. Jokes aside, this is truly so unsanitary. Sure, people often talk about how airplanes are flying tin cans full of germs, but this is next level. Delta did end up responding, but Nicole wasn't buying it. Looks like Delta has some shit to sort out... literally.
During an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," comedian and actor Tim Allen said that being conservative in Hollywood was a lot like living in Germany during the 1930s, "Time" reports. "You’ve gotta be real careful around here," he said, acknowledging his own sheepishness to admit that he attended the inauguration. "You get beat up if don’t believe what everybody believes. This is like ’30s Germany. I don’t know what happened. If you’re not part of the group, 'you know what we believe is right,' I go, 'Well, I might have a problem with that.'" So, in this analogy, as an outsider is Allen saying that he's a persecuted Jew and liberals are Nazis because they're the prevailing majority in Hollywood? Because that is a pretty bad analogy considering that the right harbors a faction of actual Nazis (the Alt Right). Additionally, throwing around references to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust should be avoided for the most part, especially when you're a rich person living in Hollywood. His defensiveness cropped up after giving a meandering answer to whether or not he attended the inauguration. "I was invited, we did a VIP thing for the vets, and went to a veterans ball, so I went to go see Democrats and Republicans," he said, before finally adding, "yeah I went to the inauguration." Well, if you're really ashamed to admit something, maybe that's a sign that what you did was a less-than-honorable thing. Allen currently plays an outspoken conservative on the sitcom "Last Man Standing" and is generally comfortable admitting his right-wing political leanings. But when talking with Kimmel, he seemed a bit nervous and defensive. "I'm not attacking you," Kimmel said, laughing at Allen's long-winded explanation. "I'm a comedian, I like going on both sides," said Allen. But it sounds like he's already determined which side he's on.
Mulan is the next Disney movie in line to get the live-action treatment, but the new version probably won't include everyone's favorite part of the movie: the very badass "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" song and montage. That's because the director, Niki Caro, doesn't plan to include any songs in the updated movie. In an interview with Moviefone she confirmed this update, saying "from what I understand, no songs right now, much to the horror of my children." Beauty and the Beast, the entertainment giant's most recent live-action remake which premiered on March 16th, is a full-fledged musical, but io9 points out that the Cinderella remake from a few years ago didn't include any songs, so this decision isn't entirely earth-shattering. And while this could still change, maybe it's best to not get our hopes up. For now, just pour one out and add "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" to your gym playlist.
A Tennesee woman named Deshania Ferguson posted a picture on Facebook of a sign that pissed her off in a nail salon. The sign read, "Sorry, but if you are overweight, pedicures will be $45 due to service fees for pedicurists. Thank you!" Along with the picture Deshania Ferguson wrote, "Went to get my nails done on Overton Crossing and Frayser Blvd and this is what they have up… so rude," followed by a bunch of angry face emojis. Who even determines who's "overweight"? It's such an arbitrary judgment! Is the salon planning on figuring out the BMIs of its customers? Local news station WREG went to the salon, but the sign had reportedly already been taken down. The owner of the nail salon, Son Nguyen, denied that the Facebook picture had been taken in his salon, even though the walls and floor allegedly matched, saying "[the salon in the photograph] could be anywhere."Nguyen did say, however, that he denies service to anyone "severely overweight," citing the extra work for the manicurists and damage to his chairs. He admits that customers have gotten upset with him over his policy. Really, you don't say.
J.K. Rowling has won numerous awards for the Harry Potter series, but maybe we should consider giving her an award for her sick Twitter burns. Rowling has a history of putting Donald Trump in his place, and now she's done it again. On Friday, a video of Donald Trump meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel went viral after he awkwardly refused to shake her hand. The video quickly went viral, because let's face it, it's awkward AF. Many people on the internet quickly chimed in with commentary on the non-handshake seen 'round the world, but master-of-Twitter-shade J.K. Rowling's caption may have been the winner.

Stay tuned for Donald Trump's 3am tweet storm about the "failing Harry Potter books." ("Boy wizard? SAD!")
Speaking of J.K. Rowling, she has a new Harry Potter book coming out and I have the exclusive title and book cover here.

I bet it's a very good one. I'll wait for the movie. You know, over the years people have made fun of my name calling me "Pervert." Well, there's a lot worse names to have, people.

See what I mean? Hahahaha. CNN has reported what President's Trump next executive order is...

Not the Jedi! Noooo!!! So, have you guys seen the movie Arrival? I haven't yet, but after seeing this pic from it I kinda want to.

A lot of people are on spring break right now and sometimes those times end in compete failure.
Like the guy who trusted someone to rub sunscreen on his back...

It should say "I suck at choosing friends." And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Startling Similarities And Differences Between Donald Trump And The Beast 
5. His shirt temper and erratic behavior tend to alienate others.
4. Though physically hideous, he possesses a kind heart and a good soul.
3. His massive head is matted with an unruly tangle of fur.
2. His only friends are members of his staff, who live in perpetual fear of him.
And the number one similarity or difference between Trump and the Beast is..,
1. He is on a quest for one true love to last a lifetime.

This is a pretty lame Mindphuck. If you spot it let me know. Alright, so, my son and I were recently talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together when he was little. That show has changed quite a bit since he was a kid. Again here's the pheature called...

Bert is starting to regret accommodating Middle East war refugees.

SHOCKING NEWS: Donald Trump is still pissed at Alec Baldwin for playing him on "Saturday Night Live," according to "Entertainment Weekly." In a Fox News interview that previewed the other night, the president was asked to choose from three of his nemeses which one he would "fire." Get it? Because he used to "fire" people on his show "The Apprentice" and now he is the president and has a lot of power and we should all be afraid! LOL! “Chuck Schumer, the president of CNN [Jeff Zucker], and Alec Baldwin. If you had to fire one person right now, who would you fire?” Fox host Jesse Watters asked the president of the United States of America. Trump of course put some serious thought into answering this monumentally important hypothetical question. And... surprise! He wants to fire all three of them. "I think the Alec Baldwin situation is not good," he said. "Chuck I’m very disappointed in, because he’s a guy who should make deals for the people... instead he’s just an obstructionist. So, I’m disappointed in him. And Jeff Zucker, I mean, I got him the job. And CNN is just, you know, fake news." He continued: "who would I say? I just, I don’t want to say, but I will say I’m disappointed in all three. I think the portrayal of me is ridiculous." Trump has made no secret of the fact that he has a huge chip on his shoulder over Alec Baldwin's portrayal of him on "Saturday Night Live." But luckily for Donald Trump, Baldwin might not be doing the impression for much longer. Because as they say in comedy, you only roast the ones you love. And Alec Baldwin loves Donald Trump like I love going to Wawa craving their mashed potatoes and they are out.

The 58th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Phile Alum and author will be a guest on the Phile a week from today... next Monday.

Bracketology refers to the rigorous scientific process of "throwing some upsets" into your otherwise cookie-cutter NCAA tournament bracket.

This is pretty cool... today's pheatured guest is a jazz singer who has a new CD out called "Lonely Woman." She is joined by her mom, and Phile Alum here and I think it's pretty cool. Please welcome to the Phile Veronica Swift and back to the Phile... Stephanie Nakasian.

Me: Hello, ladies. Steph, welcome back to the Phile... Veronica, welcome to the Phile. How are you both?

Stephanie: As well as can be expected trying to re-define our lives without Hod.

Me: So, I have to mention Hod O'Brien... your husband and father who I was honored to interview for the Phile. I was so sorry to hear he passed away back in November. He was an amazing talent and I am sure even a better family man. I lost both of my parents from cancer in 2000 so I know what you went through and are going through. My dad was a musician but I have no musical ability except the kazoo but you two both have amazing talent as well and got to perform with Hod and record with him. Those are memories you both will share forever, right?

Stephanie: So many great performance moments. Hod and I went to 13 countries, 10 islands, 33 states... amazing especially all the touring with Veronica with us... as a family on stage... since she was 9. He was a humble, sweet, caring man... never made a call for a gig... just practiced and honed his craft and composed great music.

Me: And you're doing okay, Veronica?

Veronica: It’s been a whirlwind of ups and downs after having graduated and lost my father, and now moving to NYC and starting my string of steady gigs. I’d say all in all I'm in a good place.
Me: Stephanie, you met Hod in the 80s... it was jazz music that brought you guys together, right? 

Stephanie: Well, both our families lived in Charlottesville, Virginia... I was a banker at the time in New York... I went to hear him play at Gregory's not far from where I lived in New York. He taught me jazz.

Me: When you had Veronica did you know she was gonna have an amazing talent in her own right? 

Stephanie: Pretty soon... she was hearing sounds... all sorts of sounds and picked up language and music right away... was composing songs at a young age. Two songs she wrote at 3 or 4-years-old Hod recorded... "Kingdom Song" and "Good Guy Bad Guy." Amazing she was on stage with us and on her own at 9... recorded first CD at 9 with Richie Cole then 13 with Harry Allen, etc.

Me: Veronica, how old were you when you started to sing?

Veronica: I was 9-years-old when I started appearing professionally on major stages and festivals. I toured not only with my parents but a youth jazz band I played trumpet in as well called the Young Razzcals Jazz Project led by Dave Adams. He gave me the opportunity to record, tour, and perform with revered artists at the Telluride Jazz Festival which yielded many other opportunities to come.

Me: Do you remember your first album when you were nine? What was it called?

Veronica: Yes, that album is called “Veronica’s House of Jazz” and there is a collection of vocals classics like "Twisted" as well as a couple tunes that fit a child of that age like “I Like to Fuss” from the childrens’ comedic song compilation album by Sandra Boynton and Michael Ford. This album not only is really hip I feel, but is perfect when introducing jazz to children and I still use these albums when teaching young children to sing and scat.

Me: I actually found the cover of the CD on-line but didn't know it was your first one... or what it was.

Me: Awe. Stephanie, you are a teacher, right? At University of Virginia? What do you teach again?

Stephanie: I am a voice instructor at UVA in Charlottesville near where we live and at the college of William and Mary in Williamsburg... teaching non-classical voice students... about 40 per semester... mostly astrophysicists, lawyers, doctors etc, not music majors. They're great young people and a lot of good singers... also have two books I wrote... one on jazz and one on singing... and do workshops around the world and at music conferences (20 states).

Me: The first time you were where was when one of your books was on the Phile's Book Club I believe. Veronica, did your mom teach you or did you go to other classes?

Veronica: When it comes to jazz voice I never took lessons from my parents or anyone else. Really as a singer the more important skills are harmony and ear training. This I got form my trumpet lessons with John D’Earth. There was also opera training in my high school years which I thank for my ability to sing for days on end without fatigue. But in all honesty, listening to and transcribing the great instrumentalists is the best form of lessons, as this is how the great singers (such as Anita O’Day and Ella) learned.

Me: What music did you listen to growing up? I am sure you were surrounded by jazz growing up. 

Veronica: I believe the mere exposure as a baby was largely responsible for my picking up bebop language very much how you learn to speak your first language (copying the sounds you hear and listening to your family speaking to you). But my own interests in jazz didn't appear till much later, as a child I was mostly listening to classical music. To me, Bach Debussy and Stravinsky were most other kids’ Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.

Me: Did you both like the same music? Is there anybody either of you like but the other doesn't?

Stephanie: Ha... we do like the same music... DNA maybe. I'm not as into the heavy metal stuff but i'm an old fart now... it's pretty good stuff she's doing in that genre... very musical... just loud. I'm actually not an opera person... she adores it we pick the same tunes alot and she has decided to perform many songs I have recorded.

Me: You like heavy metal, Veronica?

Veronica: As I went through my years at University of Miami, I started to gravitate towards the dramatics and theatrical genre of Hard Rock (ala Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson). I would say that even though my mother understands how I would love this style, she herself is not a fan, just because of the screaming. But to me, jazz is an art of subtlety and I don’t get to let out my dramatic side when performing jazz. So I wrote a rock opera which mixes the styles of metal and opera (both very dramatic musical styles). This allows me to stay sane and balanced, and I would like this opera to be performed on stage or in film.

Me: My son is a big Alice Cooper fan. It's cool you like rock music.

Veronica: I idolize the theatrical finesse and heaviness of Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson. Luckily, I had a manager interested in my rock project who managed Manson in the 90s when he lived in Miami. Thanks to John Tovar I got to meet Manson and hang with him for a night and all we did was talk about metaphysics, romantic poets, and he really showed interest in my project. I hope to have him as part of my opera.

Me: Veronica, did you read the interviews I did with your parents for the Phile? Your mom always talked about you.

Veronica: No, I haven’t, why don't you send them to me, I would love to read them!

Me: I will. Steph, you're very proud of your daughter, right?

Stephanie: Of course... she's amazing... talented and grounded... kind to people and wise for her years she's always creating... that's what I love and she's a great storyteller. That's what makes her strong on stage.

Me: Veronica, you mentioned you went to University of Miami which your mom told me. Go Canes! It's all about the U!! Did you have a good time time?

Veronica: Well, I had a mixed experience. Without going into detail I was very lucky to have some of the best teachers like John Hart, Larry Lapin, and Whit Sidener. I was placed in instrumental ensembles where I got to use my voice not just as a singer would use the voice. I was a horn, and that's where I really got to challenge myself. Through the University Shelly Berg brought such amazing opportunities and I feel extremely blessed to have had him as a part of my education, and now professional career. But it was extremely difficult to manage my career and school life, this brought tension amongst other professors. Not to mention I lacked a social life.

Me: Did you graduate? What was your major?

Veronica: I graduated December 2016 with a Bachelor of Music.

Me: So, where are you living now?

Veronica: After I graduated I moved in with my mom to support her at this hard time without dad, while at the same time also looking for NYC apartments (a daunting task). But I found one, the perfect spot on 157 and Broadway and I move in March 26th.

Me: Very cool!!! I think it's cool you both perform shows together... you both seem so close. Is there anything you ever disagree with?

Veronica: I don’t think so. We just play our tunes and swing hard. What else is there? Stephanie: Sure... she's 22... ha! But we have a great relationship I treasure it... especially now that Hod is gone. She is his legacy and I get him through her.

Me: Okay, let's talk about "Lonely Woman." First of, I don't think you are lonely. Why that album title?

Veronica: Well, the life of a touring musician is very much lonely. Half the time I'm in a hotel room by myself and working on charts (if I’m not already working on charts at my home). And as I mentioned before, I sort of lack a social life. Each minute I am actively seeking my next goal and thinking about the hustle, booking, practicing, and more and more it seems there’s no time for anything social.

Me: Are their all originals on the album?

Veronica: There is one original. The tune is called "Bisky," and it was my first jazz original. I like to include an original on each record of mine. 

Me: How did you chose which songs to record? 

Veronica: Since this was my first record as a more mature young musician (compared to my first two... age nine and thirteen, I wanted to include a plethora of jazz styles. I included my favorite vocalese “Room 608/The Opener” (Horace Sivler/Jon Hendricks). I wanted to pay homage to my favorite Composer... Cole Porter, and had a number of his tunes on there. Also I wanted to honor one of my favorite singers- June Christy... and sing a couple numbers she liked to do, with my own flair. “Lonely Woman” (the title track) is probably the most intimate song and Emmet Cohen really sings on the keys on that number. 

Me: So, did you hand pick the band for the album?

Veronica: Yes, and these were cats I played with as a high school Veronica. Daryl and Matt especially have been there from the beginning. It was like having my family (and I didn't have my family on this record). 

Me: It's cool both your parents are on the album with you. Was that our idea? 

Veronica: I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Me: Steph, your last album was "If I Ruled the World"? 

Stephanie: My last album was "Show Me the Way to Get Out of This World" recorded with a great pianist from Williamsburg, Harris Simon, Chris Bridge on bass and the wonderful Billy Williams on drums... it's a very good CD if I do say so myself.

Me: Are you working on another album?

Stephanie: No, busy producing for Veronica... she's going to record a funk CD in June. I'll do another when the spirit moves me. Right now i'm just trying to regain my footing after being caregiver for Hod for 1 1/2 years... helping him through cancer, touring, writing his book, seeing his old friends. My my turn now... I'll figure it out... when I do I'll tell you. I am working in Charlottesville with guitarist Randy Johnston who now lives there... he's great and is taking me in new directions.

Me: Do you have a lot of recordings that Hod did that weren't released?

Stephanie: Possibly... our friend Joop in Holland says he has some. That 1986 recording was one Hod loved and hoped it could be on CD... so I was helping to help him realize that dream before he died.

Me: Veronica, so you have a boyfriend? What does he think of your music?

Veronica: I don't date.

Me: So, what's next for you two?

Veronica: Well, I can’t speak for my mother, but at this time it is important that we sort of reset our professional clocks since so much of our career had centered around the family band. But I need to focus on my weekly gig at Birdland and start to think as a professional adult and merely survive. 

Stephanie: Kitano March 25th as Double Vision... can't wait with Tardo Hammer Trio... Paul Gill and Andy Watson.

Me: Veronica, did you do a lot of musical theater in the school?

Veronica: I didn't in high school, but in college it was very difficult to fit it in my schedule. I hope to take part in musical theater in my professional endeavors as well.

Me: What musicals did you do?

Veronica: I was in "Seussical," "West Side Story," "Beauty and the Beast," "Phantom of the Opera," "Avenue Q." As one of the few dancers in high school I was mainly cast in the featured dance roles. Never a singing role. HA! Can you believe that?

Me: Didn't you do "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"? Who did you play?

Veronica: I did take part in the annual "Rocky Horror Picture Show" shadow cast production, and I was cast as Dr. Frank N. Furter four years in a row. Man, how I will miss that! My claim to fame.

Me: I am so glad to have you both on the Phile. Will you both come back again soon?

Stephanie: Anytime.

Veronica: Of course, whenever you’ll have us! I’m sure that by next year, a LOT will transpire and that it would be interesting to document the change.

Me: Cool. Mention your website and anything else you want. All the best, continued success, you two. Don't ever stop singing!!!

Stephanie: Never!

Veronica: Besides jazz singing, I also write musicals and one particular one I will bring into my jazz show and record the songs form that. Keep a look out! You can see what I'm up to and where I’m playing and reserve tickets to my shows at and make sure to check out my Twitter VSwiftjazz, and Instagram @VeronicaSwift. It’s not in the cards to stop singing.

Me: Great! It's so great to have you both here, ladies.

Stephanie: Thank you, Jason. Hope some of your readers will come to Kitano to hear our mother-daughter act or check out other performances scheduled on websites and Veronica will be at Birdland in NYC every Saturday in April except the 15th at 6pm... come and hang and introduce yourselves to us. Ciao, keep swinging!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Veronica and Stephanie for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Monday with Phile Alum and author Jeremy Croston. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Pheaturing Neil Sheasby From Stone Foundation

Hey, everybody, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. How are you? If you just haven't spent enough time learning about Princess Diana. In a letter back to the Royal household while on her honeymoon, she wrote that "the honeymoon was a perfect opportunity to catch up on sleep," "The Telegraph" reports. The royals, they're just like us! She wrote the letter while aboard the Royal Yacht Brittania, which honestly sounds like a great place to get some z's in, as boats are very boring and there's not much to do on them except eat, sleep and do the pose from Titanic off the bow. And you gotta respect a woman who prioritizes getting those requisite eight hours of shut-eye in. That's self care at it's finest. As things unfortunately did not work out with Prince Charles (the two separated 11 years later in 1991, and then divorced in 1996), I'm glad she was at least looking after herself and getting some rest while on that godforsaken boat. The letter was addressed to her personal secretary, Jane Parsons, who I like to imagine was a close gal pal of the princess, and was one of 25 correspondences, all of which are auctioned set to be auctioned off next month in Gloucestershire. Other letters further enforce that Princess Diana was a lovely person. She wrote letters to "everyone in the office" thanking them for her 21st birthday present, as well as offering her sincere "gratitude at having such a wonderful collection of people looking after us." After she had her first baby, she wrote to the staff saying that she hoped they were not "exhausted, overworked and underpaid." What a gem. Hopefully more sweet anecdotes will be revealed as the letters are sifted through.
Love her or hate her, you've got to admit that there's never a dull moment with top Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway. Whether she's talking about microwaves spying on you or fabricating events of mass violence, you can always count on her to be as unhinged and absurd as the man who hired her to get him elected. And it turns out that even a humanizing profile of Conway in "New York" this month doesn't skimp on the details of her enduring weirdness. In particular, people were fixated on an account of how she conducted herself at a fancy Washington, D.C. restaurant in the presence of the reporter writing about her. "Conway was definitely enjoying herself at Lupo Verde, an Italian restaurant on 14th and T, where she and Cypher found their way to a table I was sharing with a friend and sat down across from us. I’d invited Conway on a whim and didn’t expect her to show, so by the time she arrived with her entourage, the entrée we had ordered to share, a steak, was sitting on the table. Conway gestured to the plate and asked if she could have some. 'Sure,' we said, 'of course.' She then reached her hand across the table and, rather than the steak, picked up the roughly seven-inch-long decorative scallion resting on top. Then she tilted her head back and put it in her mouth, like a sword swallower on Coney Island or a snake eating a mouse. About ten minutes later she remarked that she thought it was a piece of asparagus." What in the world... how do you... why would she... WHAT? Maybe this is just because she hadn't had a full night's sleep in the past nine months. Maybe she'd never seen a vegetable before. Or maybe she's from a different planet. In any case, she's basically in charge of the country. Wheeee!
As if he could get any grosser, Paul Ryan discussed his fantasy about cutting Medicaid as if it were a lofty career aspiration at an event hosted by conservative magazine "National Review" on Friday, Vox reports."We’ve been dreaming of this since I’ve been around," Ryan said to the magazine's editor Rich Lowry, of the unbelievable opportunity they currently have for cutting a social health care program for families and individuals with limited resources." He then went on to further confirm just how much of a frat bro he was during college by clarifying with, "since you and I were drinking out of kegs." Wow, Paul Ryan drank out of kegs? Very cool. Very relatable. Not. I think if I overheard that conversation as I walked over to a keg during college I would have promptly screamed and left. Other things Paul Ryan has been trying to make cool since he was sipping out of solo cups include: the idea that social programs hurt people instead of helping them. In a 2014 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Ryan warned his listeners of the dangers of social assistance programs, because it makes joblessness too comfortable. "The left thinks this is a good thing. They say, ‘hey, this is a new freedom... the freedom not to work.’” But they’re “making a big mistake here. What they're offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul." Sorry, Paul Ryan, but who are you to talk about empty souls? The American Health Care Act (that's TrumpCare) would make Medicaid cuts that cost 14 million people their healthcare coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office. It would also make the quality of healthcare offered by Medicaid worse, Vox adds, as it would limit the per capita spending on the millions that do rely on Medicaid. Just your daily reminder that very wealthy and self-interested people are currently running the country.
As a graduating triplet, you know you've got an opportunity to tell a story in your senior quote. And even though twins, and to a greater extent triplets, are genetic freaks who should scare everyone who encounters them, the Durham triplets are merely endearing. They used their senior quote to tell a knock knock joke. The Durhams are a decidedly benign trinity. They had every opportunity to write a coded political message. Something like, say, "Fight" "The" "Power." But not everyone's a yearbook activist. They just went with...

Really makes you wonder how you'd use this opportunity yourself, if you also had two genetic replicas to help you tell a parting story to the rest of the senior class. Maybe "I" "Like" "Turtles"... if your triumvirate was especially hilarious. On second thought, maybe the Durhams' joke was fine. So just appreciate the Durham triplets for their simple use of the quote section. They didn't aim for the moon and land in the stars, they just sorta aimed somewhere in the general vicinity of a tree and hit the branch. These kids are going somewhere average.
It's not just the intoxicating nostalgia that's got us thinking the 90s were way better than the twenty-teens (?). A new study shows that adults are having sex fewer times per year on average than we were 20 years ago, "The Guardian" reports. After surveying nearly 27,000 individuals, researchers found that adults "were having sex seven fewer times annually in the early 2010s compared to the early 1990s, and nine fewer times compared to the late 1990s." I want to unpack this for a moment, because what this means is that the late 90s were peak season for trips to Bone Town, USA. Yes, even though the early 90s were still better for sex than the 2010s, the late 90s were even better. Now, this is mere speculation, but is it possible that the dawning of Y2K made people wanna freak all the time because they figured they were all gonna die anyway? I am no scientists but I think I could be onto something. Now, if we are indeed having less sex, does that mean we're less horny, less attractive, or less social? Maybe. But is that so bad? "It is very possible that for young people this is a conscious life choice," said Ryne Sherman, co-author of the study from Florida Atlantic University. The study also noted that millennials use social media and online streaming more than previous generations, but if you're trying to tell me people would rather scroll through Instagram than screw, I'd say it sounds like you're comparing apples and oranges. That being said, millennials are getting married later, and the study pointed out that being single longer can lead to having less sex, and that those in committed relationships have sex more frequently. The study also offered up some expected though depressing news about the correlation between having sex and aging: "for each year after the age of 25, adults, on average, had sex 1.18 fewer times a year, corresponding to a fall from about 80 times a year for those in their mid twenties to about 20 times a year for those in their mid sixties." It's all downhill from here, folks!
Hey, so I just told you about the Durham's yearbook quote... well, it reminded me of another story. This is not a set of quadruplets, but they had the same opportunity as the Durham's.

So, once in awhile Disney... the greatest company to work for ever... changes their looks of their characters to keep up with the times. I kinda like the new look for Pocahontas, even though I don't think he real Indian princess looked like this.

President Trump has yet written a new executive order... I wonder what this one says.

Hey, that's a good one. So, I have been telling you that "The Washington Post" added a slogan to their masthead and it says, "Democracy Dies in Darkness." Well, the original masthead was supposed to be this...

I started off this entry talking about Princess Diana, which reminded me of this pic I saw of the Queen holding a product that I do. Not. Like. At. All.

One word: ugh! Everybody is so excited about that new movie Beauty and the Beast. I'd rather go see this movie...

Those crazy people at Fox. Hahaha. Well, as you may know, Rachel Maddow revealed Trump's 2005 tax returns the others day. If you don't see it, it looks like this...

Well, it kinda gets to the point. It's Sunday... I wish I had this album to listen to...

Hahahaha. Alright, so, as you know by now I live in Florida and there's some crazy shit that happens hear that happens nowhere else in the Universe. That's why I have this pheature called...

Well. Here's some nightmare fuel for you. Florida resident Monica Dorsett was going about her business recently, driving her car, probably listening to her favorite playlist, when all of a sudden a snake started to emerge from her car's air vents. Yes, a live snake. Monica's daughter Kristina posted photos of her mom's vehicle invader to Twitter. Her tweet quickly went viral. "I was on a four-lane highway and I all of a sudden see the snake coming out of the vent near my left hand," Monica told Buzzfeed News. "It took me a second to realize... that is real." Uh. What? WHERE DID IT COME FROM?! Monica exited the highway and pulled over to deal with the snake. She accidentally captured a video of herself fighting it off and posted it to Facebook. It's hard to tell what's really happening, but it sounds like she's totally keeping her composure. Or maybe not. WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO KEEP YOUR COMPOSURE? She ended up slamming the door on the snake, and her husband came to help her deal with the situation. The story had people on Twitter vowing never to drive again. Even Monica herself says she still feels on edge every time she gets in her car. “I’m not opening those vents for a long time,” she told Buzzfeed. Her daughter Kristina, who tweeted the photos like this one..

said the incident didn't shock her too much. "Florida is just weird, it would happen,” she told Buzzfeed. Can't argue there. Don't you think live snakes mysteriously appearing in people's air vents is taking it a little too far, Florida? Off you go.

Hahahahahaha. That's the stupidest Mindphuck I think I ever posted here. What the hell? It is funny though. But still. If you spot it, and if you don't you are blind, please let me know. Okay, so my son and I were talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together when we were kids and how much that show has changed now. So, once again, here is...

Ernie learns the hard way to not be late on drug money.

Chuck Berry 
October 18th, 1926 — March 18th, 2017
Johnny B. Dead.

The 58th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Phile Alum and author will be the guest on the Phile next Monday.

Today's guest is a Phile Alum and bass player for a fantastic band from England called Stone Foundation whose new album "Street Rituals" comes out on CD on March 31st. Please welcome to the Phile... Neil Sheasby.

Me: Hey, Neil, welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

Neil: Okay. Thanks. Like most, I am looking forward to brighter times ahead.

Me: I have to say, Stone Foundation is one of my favorite bands I discovered since I started interviewing people on this blog 9 years ago. Your band is very unique and cool, and have come a long way since you guys formed. You must be very proud of the band, right?

Neil: I am proud of all we have achieved thus far and also what Stone Foundation seems to mean to people, there appears to be a genuine appreciation for what we do which is humbling and heartening. 

Me: You and the bands lead singer Neil Jones formed the band, am I right?

Neil: Correct, almost 20 years ago now, it’s been a long trip.

Me: Did you two know each other prior?

Neil: Only through being in different bands, Neil’s previous group supported mine at a gig in London and that’s how we first met up.

Me: How long has Stone Foundation been a band?

Neil: As I said, we formed the idea for the band and started writing songs together around 1997 but it took us several very long years to find a settled line up and one that could share our vision for our ideas.

Me: Neil, you play bass in the band. I don't know if I asked you this before but how did you chose that instrument?

Neil: Yes, I’m that rare breed that actually wanted to play bass!! I was a massive Jam fan and Bruce Foxton was an early influence, as kids (still at school) we started a band and everyone put their hand up for the cool instruments, bass was left and I didn’t mind giving it a crack...

Me: Do you remember what the first song you learnt was?

Neil: A guy who still to this day lives on the estate where I was bought up had a Rickenbacker bass (as I did too only difference was he could actually play his!), he was a punk kid called Cooky and he was good enough to take me under his wing and show me a few Jam bass lines, the first one I can remember mastering properly was “Start.”

Me: Last time you were here was in 2014 when "To Find a Spirit" came out. Since then you released "A Life Unlimited." I have no idea why I didn't have you on the Phile then. I apologize. Anyway, on that album there's a sing called "Beverley." I have to ask, who is Beverley?

Neil: Beverley is the title of a film produced by Cass Pennant. Cass approached us to do the theme title for the film, after reading the script we agreed and so the song is based around the movie, in particular it’s lead character “Beverley”... It was a welcome challenge for us to write that way, I enjoyed it.

Me: Ahhh. Neil, how has the band changed since the founded it until now? A few different members, right?

Neil: Yes, I think it’s inevitable with such a big line up that the personnel will change slightly over the years and different records require different moods, etc. In saying that the core members of the band... Myself, Neil, Phil Ford, Ian Arnold and Rob Newton have been together for quite a number of years now, it’s mainly been the horns that have changed, a bit like Time Lords we have to re-generate them every so often! These new boys seem fairly settled though so we are hoping to have a steady line up for the foreseeable future ahead.

Me: How many people are in the band now, Neil?

Neil: Eight in the live band.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your new album... first of I think it's so fucking cool that Paul Weller produced it and plays on the album. I have to show this pic of you and Paul in the studio...

Me: Was that a high thrill for you?

Neil: Absolutely, it’s kind of surreal to end up working and collaborating with someone who was the core reason you started a band in the first place. We soon got past that though, I think you have to in order for the sessions to work. We soon found a musical bond.

Me: Did you know Paul prior, Neil? I think you did as he is friends with another Phile Alum Mark Baxter who you also know.

Neil: Not really, not personally. Bax made that connection for us really, he’d been giving Paul our last couple of albums and obviously he thankfully liked them which lead to us working together.

Me: How did Paul get to be the producer of "Street Rituals"?

Neil: It wasn’t anything that was pre planned it just kind of worked out that way. Initially the sessions started because Paul approached us about finishing a song he had that was destined for another project but once he heard the results of what we did with it he invited us down to his studio to work on more ideas which before we knew it transcended into a complete album, I think he enjoyed the whole experience as much as we did, there was certainly a mutual respect and we really enjoyed the experience of creating new music together.

Me: Where was the album recorded, Neil?

Neil: Paul’s place, Black Barn Studios.

Me: Did you and the other band members write the songs on the album? I am guessing Paul contributed to some of the writing.

Neil: Paul co-wrote two songs with us ("The Limit of a Man" and "The Colour Of...) all the other songs myself and Neil Jones composed.

Me: Okay, I know you are a fan of Paul Weller... but I have to ask what do you prefer... The Jam, Style Council or his solo stuff? I think personally The Style Council is my favorite band he was in.

Neil: I love(d) them both in equal measures. I was lucky to see The Jam live a few times and I never missed a Style Council tour, I was a massive fan. If it wasn’t for The Jam I’m not sure I would have picked up an instrument or formed a band but I came to the Jam as a kid halfway through around 79’/ 1980 whereas I was with the Style Council from day one, they felt like my band!! I have amazing memories from both periods.

Me: Apart from Paul Weller, there's two more guests on the album... William Bell and Bette LaVette. I heard of William Bell but not LaVette. Tell the readers who these two are and how did they get to be a part of the album.

Neil: Well, both artists are soul/rhythm and blues legends, voices that we grew up in awe of and certainly not ones that we ever thought we would one day have singing on our records. William is synonymous with the great Stax Records label and Bettye cut records for Atlantic/Atco label recording many hits in the Muscle Shoals sound studio, they are both steeped in musical history. William just recently won a Grammy award. We just approached them via their respective managers, sent them the ideas we had for them to sing and thankfully they liked what they heard, understood what we were after and accepted our invitation to be part of the "Street Rituals" record.

Me: How long did it take for the album to be recorded, Neil?

Neil: Not that long to be honest, although we took a year to finish it, most of the songs were recorded over a few days at a time, in total it probably only took us 6 or 7 days to record the bulk of the songs, very fast. Most of what you hear is no more than 2 or 3 takes with the backline all playing live together then we recorded horns and strings separately.

Me: I love the cover of the album... where was it taken?

Neil: Thanks. Electric Avenue in Brixton.

Me: Brixton! My dad lived there when he was a kid. I have to tell you a story about Electric Avenue sometime. Was the camera man on top of a very tall ladder or a building?

Neil: A train bridge that looked down at the market.

Me: You guys are touring behind the album which is cool. I know you have done a lot of shows with Stone Foundation. Do you have a favorite?

Neil: Fuji Rock festival in Japan was fairly wild, It’s all there on YouTube, that was a very special gig. I always love playing in Scotland and London too, great audiences...

Me: Any plans on touring America?

Neil: We are trying to sort that situation out at the moment, hopefully soon.

Me: Neil, you're a dad of two boys, am I right? My dad as you know was a musician and when I was a kid I paid attention to his career and asked a lot of questions and loved Foghat's music... I still listen to his music now. Are your boys interested in your band and career?

Neil: I have three boys. Yes, they seem to appreciate what I do and are very proud of me, they all have a keen interest in music themselves, we all fight for stereo time in the house now days.

Me: I unfortunately have no musical skills but I play a mean kazoo... are the boys learning any instruments?

Neil: Lowell is a good drummer and he can sing too, he’s always singing actually. My eldest, Mason, was very involved in the drum and bass scene over here, he’s an MC but I think his tastes are mellowing now he’s in his twenties.

Me: By the way, on the next Stone Foundation album if you guys need a kazoo player... just saying. LOL.

Neil: I will bare it in mind.

Me: Okay, one of my favorite musicians of all time is Graham Parker... did I read he recorded with you guys? Or am I imagining that?

Neil: No, that’s correct, Graham featured on a tune called "The Night Teller" from our previous album "A Life Unlimited." Me and Neil are big fans so that was a buzz too and he is a lovely geezer too.

Me: I remember seeing this pic of you, Neil and Graham now...

Me: So fucking jealous. Doing this blog I get to once in awhile interview my favorite people, such as Graham Parker and Chas Hodges who will be on the Phile again real soon. Are you a fan of Chas & Dave?

Neil: I don’t actually know anyone who doesn’t like Chas & Dave... a national institution!

Me: Last time I interviewed Chas, which was a month ago or so, I mentioned Graham and he said he didn't know who he was. Do you think he was joking?

Neil: I’ve no idea, it’s possible I suppose.

Me: Next time I interview Chas what is something I should ask him, Neil?

Neil: Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers or Heads, Hands & Feet??

Me: Okay, cool. I'll write that down. Stone Foundation has been putting out a lot of music every few years, which I love. Are you guys already planning what's next?

Neil: Yes.

Me: Do you see Stone Foundation being around for a long time?

Neil: I can’t see why not, as long as we remain relevant and have an audience then we’ll keep on keepin’ on.  

Me: Neil, I always enjoy it when you are on the Phile. Go ahead and mention your website, sir.


Me: Will you come back when the next release comes out?

Neil: Of course, always a pleasure.

Me: Thanks again, and keep making great music. All the best!

Neil: Best wishes.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Neil Sheasby for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with jazz singer Veronica Swift and her mom who is a Phile Alum... Stephanie Nakasian. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

Monday, March 13, 2017

Pheaturing Phile Alum Christine Leakey

Hi there, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. How're you? I am Jason, star of the movie Kong: Numb Skull Island. Most people recover from deadly diseases better than I recover from daylight savings. I'm all confused today.
Last week, Wall Street's famous Charging Bull encountered a challenge in the form of SHE or the Fearless Girl. The new statue, created by artist Kristen Visbal and commissioned by asset management firm State Street Global Advisors, appeared on the occasion of International Women's Day and will remain there through March as a call for the finance industry to address its gender inequalities. (Unfortunately, SSGA itself is part of the problem, but that's another story.) But the girl hadn't been in place for more than a day before some Wall Street douche took it upon himself to defile it, much to the amusement of his equally douchey Wall Street friends.

Yeah, dude. Way to go. Because now and forever, you are a symbol of rape culture. And that comes from the first family of New York. This is why we can't have nice things.
On March 11th, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was shopping at the Apple store when he was approached by a woman who had a few questions for him. The woman, named Shree Chauhan according to the "New York Post," tweeted a video of the question/no answer session along with the text, "Asking @PressSec questions in Apple Store since he doesn't like the press." Her post has since gone viral, getting over 400,000 views on the video app Periscope. Chauhan wrote about the experience on Medium, and said that Spicer made a racist remark to her while she was filming. Chauhan asked Sean Spicer questions like, “How does it feel to work for a fascist” and “Have you helped with the Russia stuff?” He initially replied, “We have a great country." but mostly seems to be trying to ignore Chauhan. But then she asked, “Have you committed treason too? Just like the president. What can you tell me about Russia?” Sean Spicer allegedly said, “It’s such a great country that allows you to be here.” Speaking to the "Daily Mail," Chauhan said, "He could’ve said, 'Such a great country that allows dissent.' There’s a lot of ways that could’ve been said. To have someone who speaks for the president of the United States tell me to my face that I shouldn’t be here and I was born here... that is a real thing." In her post on the self-publishing platform Medium, Chauhan wrote, "I am still stunned by the boldness of having my citizenship threatened on camera. I was not polite. But when does being impolite mean that I should be thrown out of the United States of America? The country I was born in, the country I was raised in, the country I love despite its flaws." By the way, I'm not sure what Sean Spicer was buying at the Apple Store, but it's a given that he'll eventually tweet his password to it.
I think it may be kind of a crazy idea to buy your 3-year-old expensive designer shoes when they'll probably just ruin them by, you know, being a 3-year-old. One mom in the U.K. disagrees. And when her 3-year-old daughter came back from a playdate with pen marks on her £325 (almost $400 U.S.) shoes, she sent the other mom a bill. No, this isn't a joke. The mom, Sarah Louise Bryan, appeared on ITV's "Good Morning Britain" to explain why she thought charging her friend for her daughter's ruined shoes was justified, especially since the toddler owns around 60 pairs of shoes. Host Piers Morgan wasn't convinced. He blasted the mom, saying, "Your 3-year-old daughter has 60 pairs of shoes, you send her in a £325 pair of booties to your mate’s house and she gets a few pens marks on it... which, by the way, happens to 3-year-old girls, I’ve got a 5-year-old girl, they get pen marks, they draw... and then, when she comes back with pen marks, you have the audacity to send her an invoice." When the mom asked Morgan what he would do if his child, God forbid, came back from a playdate with marks on their designer shoes, Morgan responded, "What would I do!? I wouldn’t be buying my daughter £325 pairs of shoes to start with!" After Morgan labeled Bryan's sending a bill "preposterous" and called her "the worst kind of parent," the mom broke down in tears."This is nothing to do with my parenting and it is not fair other than bullying," she said. "You know, when I was younger I got abused and everything." Okay, sure. That's terrible, and obviously we don't know what her parenting is really like. But it doesn't quite explain sending your friend a £325 bill for toddler shoes. Does it? I don't know.
Remember the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen intern scandal of 2015? I barely do either, but "ET" reports that they've finally settled with all the interns who claim the Olsen twins never paid them, or paid them less than minimum wage. When the claim was initially made in 2015, 40 past and present interns stepped forward to sue the Olsen's Dualstar Entertainment Group, which backs their fashion lines, in a class action lawsuit in New York Supreme Court. Since then, the number of interns who are eligible for the payout has increased to 185, and the settlement that was reached today requires the Olsens pay up to $140,000. Maybe that sounds like a lot to you, maybe it doesn't. But that sum means that Dualstar is required to pay each intern who claims and qualifies for compensation just $530, according to a preliminary document that was released last week. Considering that most of these interns probably worked for the Olsens' company for weeks or months, it really doesn't seem like a big payout. One former intern who was a lead plaintiff in the case against the company said in court documents that she was working 50 hours per week doing "the work of three interns" and that she was talking with her boss "all day, all night." I would love to see a list of what these interns buy with the $530 checks they'll be receiving now that they're two years older, smarter and wiser... and hopefully not taking unpaid internships anymore. I hope they do something more fun with it than buy overpriced mod-looking furniture from West Elm.
Food Network show, "The Pioneer Woman," has come under fire after a clip from its second season resurfaced recently. The clip features chef Ree Drummond making a joke about Asian food that many are deeming racist. In the clip, Drummond "pranks" her friends and family by presenting a tray of Asian-style chicken wings. Everyone seems shocked and appalled that she is serving Asian food. "Where are the real wings?" questions one man. "I don't trust them," declares another.But surprise! Drummond was only kidding. She pulls the tray of "real" chicken wings (with buffalo sauce) out of the oven. "I'm just kidding guys, I wouldn't do that to you," she says.Um, what? Needless to say, folks aren't too happy. Hey, "The Pioneer Woman." Everyone's food is real food, okay? Cool.
Two things. Beauty and the Beast will feature at least a passing reference to an openly gay character, which is (somehow) a Disney movie first. Because of this, a movie owner in Alabama will ban Beauty and the Beast, which is (hopefully) the dumbest thing you'll hear in your life. Hearing this news, tweeters made the same joke over and over again. And it's a solid joke. "Imagine boycotting Beauty and the Beast because of a gay character while being totally cool with a teenage girl falling in love with a buffalo." "Some people are boycotting Beauty and the Beast for having a gay character but the girl falls in love with a BUFFALO?? Homophobes are ridiculous." Again, props to the joke. Good joke. But here's the proof everyone's plagiarizing it and rewording it to score their own meaningless Internet points. Beast is no buffalo. Well, he's partly buffalo. But his face just as easily screams boar. Or bear-goat. You're telling me everyone's coming to buffalo consensus and on one's saying bear-goat? Seriously, the joke's good, the joke's on point, and my sincere apologies for doing this. But to set the record straight, there's this article from The Disney Wiki. And again, this is annoying. Beast is not buffalo. "The Beast is not of any one species of animal, but a chimera, a mixture of several animals. He has the head structure and horns of a buffalo, the arms and body of a bear, the eyebrows of a gorilla, the jaws, teeth, and mane of a lion, the tusks of a wild boar, and the legs and tail of a wolf." I know, and I've already apologized for saying, "well actually" through my nose. But... "He also has blue eyes, the one physical feature that does not change whether he is a beast or a human," adds the Wiki, which is apparently based on a 2010 interview with the Beast's original Disney animator, Glen Keane, on animation website Animated Views. In that interview, animator Glen Keane described the genesis of the character. "I started to draw. I said, 'I like the massiveness of this buffalo head,' and I sketched out the weight... I said, 'But the brow of the gorilla,' and I drew the brow there. 'But then the muzzle of this wild boar,' and then the mane of a lion but the body of a bear, and then the legs of this wolf." Really, at the end of the day, the Beast is a human. And he's stuck in a buffalo/gorilla/lion/boar/wolf body. I'm sorry. Now go make your jokes, they're great.
So, with the success of the movie Logan and the movie La La Land, Marvel is coming out with yet another Logan movie.

Hugh Jackman can sing so it might be pretty good. President Trump has signed yet another executive order. I wonder what this one is...

I don't understand. A few weeks ago I told you that "The Washington Post" has added a slogan to their masthead that says "Democracy Dies in Darkness." Well, they had other slogans they were gonna use. Like this one...

Hmmm. So, in there past I have shown you what people look like they are looking at the Phile on their computer. Well, here's another one...

He looks almost like he enjoys it. In honor of International Women's Day last week I have to show you this...

It's totally true. Okay, so, you know I live in Florida, right. Well, there's stuff that happens in Florida that happens no where else in the Universe. So, once again here is...

It's been nine years since Casey Anthony's daughter, Caylee, went missing, and six years Anthony was acquitted of murder charges. "I'm still not even certain as I stand here today about what happened," she told the Associated Press in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was her first interview since Caylee's death and the widely-followed trial. "Casey Anthony knows that much of the world believes she killed her 2-year-old daughter, despite her acquittal," writes reporter Josh Replogle, "But nearly nine years later, she insists she doesn't know how the last hours of Caylee's life unfolded." The public remains skeptical of Anthony's innocence despite her acquittal. During the trial, she could not account for the month her child was missing before the remains were discovered. Anthony's defense later insisted that Caylee accidentally drowned in a pool, for which there were no eyewitnesses. Anthony told Associated Press that she views herself as "Alice in Wonderland, with the public as the Red Queen." "The queen is proclaiming: 'No, no, sentence first, verdict afterward,'" she says. "I sense and feel to this day that is a direct parallel to what I lived. My sentence was doled out long before there was a verdict. Sentence first, verdict afterward. People found me guilty long before I had my day in court."Prosecutors proved Casey Anthony to be a liar, convicting her of four counts of lying to police (two counts were later dropped), but failed to prove her guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, and aggravated child abuse. However, the Florida Department of Children and Families later concluded that she was responsible for the death of her child, with the circuit judge later theorizing "that Anthony may have killed Caylee accidentally when she was using chloroform to calm her."Today, Anthony admits that she lied to the police about a whole bunch of things pertinent to the case including "telling two people, both of them imaginary, that Caylee was missing." "Even if I would've told them everything that I told to the psychologist, I hate to say this but I firmly believe I would have been in the same place. Because cops believe other cops. Cops tend to victimize the victims. I understand now... I see why I was treated the way I was even had I been completely truthful." She said, "Cops lie to people every day. I'm just one of the unfortunate idiots who admitted they lied." Anthony now "lives in the South Florida home of Patrick McKenna," the lead investigator from her defense team who works as a private detective. She also works for him, doing online investigative work. McKenna was the lead investigator for O.J. Simpson, with whom Anthony sees "a lot of parallels." "I don't give a shit about what anyone thinks about me, I never will," she said. "I'm okay with myself, I sleep pretty good at night."

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. It's a stretch of a Mindphuck I have to say. Well, my son and I were talking about how we used to watch "Sesame Street" together when he was a kid. That show is not the same as it used to be. So, once again, here is...

"Go on, Big Bird, step on that Jew! Maybe of you step harder, he'll squeal! Come on, Jon, just tell us! Where do you hoard your coins you stole with your Jewish magic?!"

Early Tuesday morning, Donald Trump surprised a group of young students taking a tour of the White House. That honestly sounds terrifying for them. But apparently the group of young Republicans from Georgia were super-excited to meet the President. They even screamed like tweens at a Justin Bieber concert. It turns out, you really never do know what surprises may await you on a White House tour! Because when the President posed for a photo opp with his arms outstretched, he didn't realize there was someone behind him. Someone very important.

Correct, that is a painting of Hillary Clinton on the wall, looking as regal and presidential as ever. It's almost like a sign reminding us that she won the popular vote and, in an alternate reality, might still be president.

The 58th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Phile Alum and author will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick's Day is a cultural holiday which Irish people act exactly like their stereotypes.

Today's guest is a Phile Alum whose new album "Wanderlust Wishing Well" is now available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile, the lovely... Christine Leakey.

Me: Christine, welcome back to the Phile! It's been so long! How have you been?

Christine: Yes, it has!! Thank you for inviting me back, Jason. I’ve been busy as always.

Me: I know you're from Canada... are you still living there?

Christine: Yes.

Me: Your new album was recorded in Los Angeles though, right? What made you record it there?

Christine: I have friends and family in Los Angeles and my friend Fernando Perdomo made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and so I recorded my album at his studio mostly. He and I had collaborated before and we knew we would work together again. It was great to go to L.A. to record as well since I had time away from home to be completely focused on recording.

Me: Did you record it in the oldest recording studio in the world or something like that?

Christine: Most of the album was recorded at Reseda Ranch Studios owned and operated by my friend and music prodigy, Fernando Perdomo. Parts of the album were recorded at one of the oldest sound studios in the world and quite possibly the oldest in the world. It was created by the Pacific Electric Company sometime around the birth of the 20th century. It has been owned by some legends in the past including the inventor of the time code, Bruce Scott and Liberace. It still has its original foley stage which I utilized for "Je Danse Dans La Discotheque Avec Toulouse Lautrec" and I also recorded some of my final vocal takes there. I first visited the studio ten years ago and knew I’d work there one day so it feels great to have experienced it. The current owner is Craig Parker Adams and it’s called Winslow Court Studios which is located beside the oldest building in Hollywood on Sunset Blvd beside a famous cemetery. I love experiencing history and using real sounds vs samples so to me this is one of the best kept secrets in Hollywood. And small portions of the album were also recorded within some of the musicians own home studios as well as a studio here in Hamilton called Blue Tilt. I incorporated 26 musician friends including myself from Canada and the U.S. as well as Europe.

Me: Did you chose that studio for a reason?

Christine: I’m sentimental and love history and it is important for me to work with people who are kind and professional and excellent at their craft. I chose to work with Fernando and Craig and the rest of the people involved because they are talented, they are friends (some old friends and some new friends) and I wanted a stress free happy process.

Me: You're using PledgeMusic to release the album, am I right? What made you go this route?

Christine: Yes, I chose to go this route because my album is a year late to launch due to both of my dogs dying last year. It was quite costly and extremely heart breaking. I am releasing "Wanderlust Wishing Well" on two tone translucent blue vinyl and CD. The vinyl is costly so here I am! I’ve never gone this route before to launch a pledge campaign which can feel pretty daunting but with dedication and the realization that I can’t always do it on my own and essentially it’s all pre-sale along with some amazing things I’ve created. I wasn’t sure which site to go with, Kickstarter, Indie Go Go or PledgeMusic. Dave Kerzner (who I was working with for 2 years... I designed his album art for "New World," sang on two of the tracks and created close to a dozen of his music videos which are used for live concert projections and some are online but I digress...) He suggested PledgeMusic for me based on knowing what my project was about and weighing in the pros and cons of all three. I like that PledgeMusic lets you keep what you raise so you don’t have the pressure of having to meet a target goal in order to receive your pledges and people can purchase multiple items in your store. It also meant a lot for me to give a portion (which I’m increasing from 5% to 10% once I reach my base goal that I’m now at 55%) of what I make to Urban Wildlife Care which is a local wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release back into the wild. Now that my pledge page has been happening for 3 weeks and will be going for another 4, I’m enjoying the experience very much. You can view it here:  

Me: The album and artwork and everything is done already though, right?

Christine: I’m done the album cover art and am working this week on the rest of the album art for the vinyl which is going to be adapted to the CD packaging. I did a photo shoot a year ago in Ohio with two wolves, one fox, one skunk and an incredible photographer who happens to be deaf. It was an amazing experience. I made a friend and I’m very pleased with the results. The outside cover is me with wolves walking in a creek with a slate rock bottom. I have incorporated illustrated elements as well surrounding the photograph which will flow throughout the rest of the album art. The back is going to depict a journey encountering wildlife. The inner sleeve has a painted portrait of me underwater with sea creatures that I commissioned Antonella Sigismondi to paint and the back of the inner sleeve I’m still working out in my mind. I will put credits there and I’m deciding on any lyrics or a link to download lyrics since I want the limited space to be more focused on telling a story visually. The record is a two tone blue translucent splash vinyl with the centre label designed like a wishing coin. The limited edition vinyl comes with a wolf root chakra wishing coin. The vinyl is underway with manufacturing and I’m waiting for the test pressings so I’ve got time to finish this without feeling rushed. Those four panels will be adapted to a four panel cardboard wallet package for the CD edition.

Me: The album is on iTunes now, but is the pledge to release it on CD and vinyl?

Christine: Yes, the album is digitally available on iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, Amazon and more and that is correct, the pledge is for the vinyl and CD. I had hoped to launch the campaign sooner but with everything that snowballed from the loss of my dogs and taking on small freelance design projects (graphic design is my profession), everything took longer.

Me: So, what are some of the things we get if we pledge?

Christine: Things I’ve created mostly. I wanted it to be special. Maple syrup I tapped myself which already sold out wildcrafted grape syrup that I also made from foraging in the forest… I have designed animal chakra wishing coins, custom made fairy doors, I’ll write a song, or cover a song, or hand draw my lyrics creatively… Made to order t-shirts and aprons, en caustic art incorporating my previous album’s artwork and I may add more for this current album’s art… we’ll see. House or Skype concerts, I’ve even got 20 more of my hand sewn sleeve edition of "Tapping Trees In A Trinket Box Of Treasure" on there… Graphic design by yours truly… I’ve been preparing for a year for the campaign.

Me: What's this about maple syrup? You made your own maple syrup? Is this something you have done for awhile, Christine?

Christine: I’ve been tapping trees to make maple syrup for the past two years now and I should be out there tapping again this year but I may only do a bit since the weather got mild early and during this very busy time for me. I’ve always wanted to tap trees and make maple syrup since I was a little girl going on school field trips to the sugar bush. My last album name as you know was "Tapping Trees In A Trinket Box Of Treasure" and my song from that album called "The Man With The Golden Heart" is about my late Uncle John who had C.O.P.D. but wanted to visit the sugar bush. He went early one morning with his band mates who were two elderly ladies. Their band was called Cheers. He caught pneumonia from the experience and passed away. It was heart breaking. I wanted to create things as well for my campaign that weave into the themes of my music.

Me: You are very creative and arty, making posters, websites, videos, CD covers... you do it all. You are busy all the time, right?

Christine: Pretty much but it can be overwhelming. I tend to be a one stop shop which some of my design clients have loved about me. Designing and creating for my own projects though is far more challenging because it’s tough to put me knowing all my diverse interests and complexities into one idea which is why I wind up being so intense about it.

Me: What's your favorite thing you do?

Christine: Spending time on the water and in nature. I find it very grounding.

Me: Okay, so, I watched the videos you made for this album and enjoyed them and the songs. I have to talk about "Walks Like An Angel" first... the whole video is you swimming in what looks like a lake. I have a screenshot here of it...

Me: What the hell? Was that that filmed?

Christine: The video for "Walks Like An Angel" was filmed back home where I grew up in the heart of the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River which is shared between Canada and the U.S. One of my hometown friends has an island (which isn’t uncommon for back home) close to the international bridges where we filmed me. The currents are very strong near the bridges and the first day of filming was used with a go pro that distorted my body oddly. It was difficult to shoot because we were on the side with the strong currents. The photo still of me shows the weeds swayed over because of the power and I was swiftly floating away. So the second day we used my waterproof Ricoh that has a setting to remove distortion that occurs underwater. (Much better than a go pro in my opinion) and we shot on the other side of the island without the currents. One shot is in the video on the current side between a tiny island and the main island where I’m wearing a longer sleeve dress. My friend had to go to mainland to run some errands but had built a super long custom selfie stick that we rigged my camera to and so the parts of me above water I filmed alone with that.

Me: Was the water cold, Christine?

Christine: It was the first day of autumn but not cold until toward the end I started to shrivel like a prune and had blue lips. I’m used to this weather though. The water was probably 70ºF or at lowest 68. The air those days was around 72ºF.

Me: You're a very good swimmer, but was it hard to swim in that water?

Christine: No, but I have swam since I was three and somehow I’ve trained myself subconsciously to be so relaxed that I’m very buoyant. For years I have enjoyed endurance swimming across a lake and back whenever possible which was around 1.5 miles to do. It sounds intimidating but it was not. A two time cancer survivor in her 80s used to accompany me and my mother. The secret to that so we could socialize while swimming is to wear flippers.

Me: How long did it take that video to be filmed?

Christine: Over the course of two days around 4 hours.

Me: Whose idea was to make that video?

Christine: My idea.

Me: I have to ask, were they a lot of bugs and snakes there?

Christine: No. But I’m not afraid of bugs and snakes anyway. I grew up camping since I was an infant and my Aunt Bunny taught me to catch snakes without harming them and wear them around my neck. I wore one once around my neck had a pet baby snake for a day when I was little. I found it in the woods and it would slither in and out between my fingers. I spent hours with it before letting it slither off. I still enjoy spending time with wild things I encounter. Because of this during a trip to Costa Rica in 2000, I almost stepped on a bush master snake and was not at all weirded out or scared by it. My guide was clearing a path with his machete and was impressed by my calm as I got close to photograph it, but not too close. They are one of the most venomous snakes in the world.

Me: Who did the under water photography for that video? Did they enjoy it? Then again, did you? 

Christine: My friend Sandy MacKenzie shot the under water swimming footage of me and I shot the above water scenes using a selfie stick. Linda Perhacs was filmed by her friend Augustin Palm in Topanga Canyon. And then I put a bit of footage of my dogs who died at the end which I shot.

Me: One of the videos you made is a fun whimsical circus theme that I loved but you're singing in French. Being from England I don't know what I think about that. Hahaha. What's the title and was is the English translation?

Christine: I wrote that song waaaay back in 1994 and had written a bunch of silly lyrics in French for it. My mother who is French told me it’s not grammatically correct at the time and I told her it’s okay because it’s poetry. I decided to leave most of the lyrics out to give space to the strangeness of the circus inspired song. I wanted it to feel more surreal. So to translate what is there, the title for starters "Je Danse Dans La Discotheque Avec Toulouse Lautrec" means I dance in the disco with Toulouse Lautrec. Ou est moi and Ou est toi mean Where is me, Where is you. So I really should have said "Où sont moi" and "Où sont toi." Sont means are and est means is but I left it how I wrote it when I was younger. The English parts you understand when the music slows… It’s time to go to sleep so rest your head. Creep up the stairs and crawl into your bed. Dream of sweet lollipops sugar plums and ice cream. Candy coated clowns and flying kites with Christine. While singing la la la la lullaby parts, I had Timur sing a Japanese prose that I paraphrased in English: Sleeping in clouds, dreaming in spring. There is a back story of inspiration that brought me to write the song… I am half French and from pre-school days had a special obsession with that part of my heritage. I used to ask my mom to please only speak French to me from the age of 3. She wouldn’t so in protest, I created my own pseudo French language that I would speak and I even later made a dictionary for it which I wish I had kept. French culture also fascinated me. Toulouse Lautrec as you likely know of but in case you don’t, he was a little person during the late 1800s artist who spent much of his time at the Moulin Rouge creating artwork of the dancers and he made many great posters. I used to take books out of the library about him in grade five and six and grew up always hoping to go to the Moulin Rouge thanks to my mother telling me about the venue from a young age. I did a French project on it as a child as well where I designed a food menu and finally visited in 2001 where I saw a massive aquarium emerge from the floor revealing a nearly nude woman swimming with large boa constrictors who were supposed to be interested in trying to drown her but they had their own idea that day, they just wanted out of the tank. If only I had a video camera earlier that day because I watched a mini truck pull up across the street from the Moulin Rouge and a man got out of the truck opened the back hatch and in single file along with a conductor wand, he led an entourage of mini horses up to my knees across the street in the middle of traffic and into the Moulin Rouge. They were part of the act that evening. It’s an impression forever imprinted in my brain. It would have fit well into a video for the song. For this song however, I chose to work with Sandra Powers who did a marvelous job creating the video. She’s brilliant and I’ll have you know she now works for Disney! Her partner, Timur Bekbosunov sings opera on the song and is in the tub scenes. The green gorilla is Matthew Setzer from Skinny Puppy, the skeleton is Brett Loudermilk from Spiegelworld (he’s best known for his sword swallowing and made it on the Penn and Teller show which I thought was pretty rad.) And the Toulouse character in the video is my friend Mario Marin.

Me: Then there's the video for "Twinkle" which has you running around like an animal in the woods. That video looked like it was a lot of fun except there was a fox in it. I love foxes... Robin Hood is my favorite Disney character but I don't know if I would of stood next to a fox as close as you did. Were you scared? Where did you get the fox? People don't give them as pets, right?

Christine: The video was shot by my friend here in Southern Ontario but the fox footage is from a shoot I did with a fox that was rescued from a fur trade in Ohio. I’ve incorporated these animals since I’m giving 5% of all my pledge campaign sales to a local animal rescue called Urban Wildlife Care. They rescue, rehabilitate and release injured animals back into the wild.

Me: Speaking of animals, the album cover has you standing with two wolves. Was that photoshopped or were they actually with you?

Christine: They were with me! I did a photo shoot as well with two wolves that are ambassador wolves who are brought to schools to educate children about the often misunderstood creatures.

Me: Where did you get these wolves from?

Christine: They are ambassador wolves from Ohio who tour schools and live a happy and healthy life.

Me: Why wolves, Christine? You know they could be dangerous, right?

Christine: I didn’t find being with them to be dangerous at all. I respected them and found them to be sweet while fully aware of their power. They are definitely majestic creatures. There were three handlers with the wolves and as mentioned they are ambassador wolves. It felt very safe.

Me: Again... were you scared?

Christine: No.

Me: What made you chose wolves for the album cover?

Christine: I love wolves. I love all creatures and wanted to incorporate animals just as I did with my previous album. I also wanted to incorporate water since my last album incorporated earth and so water is throughout this release’s imagery. I’m standing in a shallow creek with them. Their presence is vital in sustaining a healthy nature balance. Too often all wild animals are misunderstood ore even feared. Too often wolves have been wiped out like the Washington pack for example because farmers were having problems with them and yet there are simple solutions to keeping wolves at bay from livestock. One way that has been proven effective is playing the sound of howling wolves on a loudspeaker. The wild pack will believe it to be another packs territory. Wolves are crucial to our health to honour and respect them. Domestic dogs are their descendants. How can any pet lover not love a wolf.

Me: You really like animals I take it... proceeds of the new album goes to Urban Wildlife Care as you said. What can you tell is about that charity?

Christine: Urban Wildlife Care is a not-for-profit that is local to me in Grimsby, Ontario. They rescue, rehabilitate and release native wildlife who have been injured or found. The founder, Cara Contardi is an Authorized Wildlife Custodian who cares for approximately 500 animals annually. She receives hundreds of phone calls from the public as well. Cara is also an animal acupressure practitioner. UWC plays an integral role in community education and they work in cooperation with the local Animal Control, the Humane Society, Ministry of Natural Resources and other non-profit organizations, local animal services and veterinarians. Funding is relied solely on public donations and fundraising events. 5% of each pledge goes to UWC and once I reach 100% of my base goal the rate I’m giving UWC will increase to 10%. So far I have achieved 55% of my personal base goal so thank you for sharing about this because the impact will help to save animals lives.

Me: Alright, back to the album... how does this album compare with "Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure”?

Christine: Great question! Both albums mostly feature music I had written previous to an injury that left me unable to play for years which we had discussed in previous interviews. I am wired to finish what I start and so both albums are essentially me documenting my art. It has been a priority for me to take care of this unfinished business before moving forward with music however it may take me. I’ve written hundreds and now a dozen more have been given justice in the studio which is great! Unlike "Tapping Trees In A Trinket Box Of Treasure," "Wanderlust Wishing Well" has some upbeat songs integrated with some dreamy songs. It’s a dynamic album featuring music inspired by several genres. Both albums have been deemed unique by others who have also said it’s like a new genre in itself. Because I recorded the album in Los Angeles, I restricted myself to a certain timeline and budget to follow. It isn’t quite as polished but I’m pleased with the results.

Me: There's a lot of people playing on the album with you, am I right?

Christine: That is correct! Including myself, there are 26 musicians involved.

Me: Are they all Canadian or from all over the world?

Christine: They are from several cultural backgrounds including, Cuban, Italian, Egyptian, Sri Lankan, British, Sicilian, Spanish, Irish, French, East Indian, Kazazksthanian. Ten are Canadian and some of those nine moved here from Italy, England and India and one now lives in Italy. There are 16 Americans on the album, some of those were born elsewhere including Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka.

Me: It took five years between albums... and I see why... you're busy and you put a lot of detail into everything you do. You're a perfectionist, am I right?

Christine: Yes, so it’s very difficult that I didn’t make a larger budget and find more time to go over the new album with a fine tooth comb. I could have spent another two weeks perfecting it and yet, it’s fine how it is as well. I hear things others wouldn’t. I couldn’t have gone even deeper in arrangements but I’m feeling really good about it. In Los Angeles, I spent two weeks recording in June 2014, then in 2015, a day in March, a day in April and three weeks in June. In between the 2014 and 2015 sessions, I worked with people in Canada on their parts. I wanted to release the album in 2016 but my dogs passing impacted the release time as did taking on some freelance work and co-writing a book that I was approached to be a part of thanks to how I hashtag on Instagram.

Me: So, is it gonna be at least five years before your next album comes out?

Christine: I’d like to make another album but I don’t know for certain on a timeline. I do know that if I lived locally to Fernando this album could have been finished entirely in 2014 and probably released in 2015. I need to let this new album have some breathing space. I do have my song list ready for album three though so if any label or person interested in funding this would like to see it happen faster, get in touch!

Me: I have to ask you about a few other projects you worked on... one is a book called "Sheet Music: The Diary of a Songwriter." That's a book that a lot of other people took part in as well as you. What is the book about and who approached you to be part of it?

Christine: I was approached to take part in it within a month of joining Instagram in late summer 2015. They were looking for women in music who had been faced with sexual injustice in the music industry. At first I declined a few times since I didn’t really want to focus on something that wasn’t positive but after much steeping and realizing that my voice could be a positive voice and potentially empower someone to realize their worth and not fall into some trap that wasn’t comfortable for fair, I decided to take part. Unfortunately I’ve dealt with some circumstances but I always said no and absolutely didn’t put up with anyone trying to persuade me to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. I’m proud for being strong and I state that when you walk away from something to not worry because the cosmos will bring you something else. Just stay focused and dignified. The person behind the book is a reputable behind the scenes guy and multi-Grammy Award winner in the mainstream music industry, Devine Evans. He promised me the book would be done tastefully and he shared a story with me over the phone on what sparked his reason to create the book. One of his close friends whom he regards as a sister was raped in the music industry and he has two daughters. He doesn’t want his children to grow up in a world where this sort of issue is tolerated. There are more than 100 women involved globally and each have shared their own story.

Me: I should interview him... what do you think?

Christine: I think you should interview Devine. I feel that the book hasn’t reached its full potential yet. I had flown to California for a photo shoot we did for it at Henson Studios and then flew down for the pre-Grammy Valentines Day book launch party at the Avalon Theatre. I got to sing backup for an indie band named St. Beauty from Janelle Monae’s Wondaland label one of the women from St. Beauty is also in Janelle’s back up band. Janelle came out to our rehearsal and the show dressed to the nines of course! It’s another world musically from what I’ve ever experienced but it was exciting and I got to meet some very interesting women from all over the U.S., England and St. Lucia. Devine is a producer and so he wound up creating an album to accompany the book which I got to sing backup for one of the songs. The song is also like nothing I have sung on before but the message is an important one. To learn more about the book check out the website:

Me: Was writing for it fun, Christine?

Christine: I wouldn’t describe it as fun. I would say empowering and vulnerable at the same time.

Me: And another project you worked on recently is an album called “To Love the Bee Gees: A Tribute to the Brothers Gibb." Do you love the Bee Gees?

Christine: Yes, I love the Bee Gees. They did so much and had many great songs and styles over the course of their career.

Me: You did the artwork for it but you didn't record a song, right?

Christine: I designed the album art but I didn’t get to record a song for it but would have loved to had I found out about the project sooner. Chris Price who’s on my album did a song for it along with some pretty prominent names in music like Isobel Campbell, SheLoom (Eric Matthews), Emitt Rhodes, Mary Margaret O’Hara, The Silver Seas and many others.

Me: If you were gonna record a Bee Gees song what would it be?

Christine: "Turn Of The Century" since that one wasn’t done on the compilation and if someone wants me to record that, you can pledge me to do a cover on my pledge site!

Me: So, what's your next big project you're working on?

Christine: Replenishing funds since making an album is so costly! I’m working on a test project to hopefully get hired at an eco-friendly company. I’m bartering with a drummer on his medical herb products… My goal though is to keep making music videos for my songs. An animation artist, Chris Minzz will be creating an animation for the song, "Kissy Poo." And I’m working on getting some shows booked once the vinyl is out in the U.S.A. and Canada. I probably do too much…

Me: I am so glad I finally had you back on the Phile. I hope this was fun, and I hope you'll come back again soon. Will you?

Christine: Absolutely! It’s always a pleasure to chat with you about music, Jason.

Me: Mention your website and anything else you wish and I wish you continued success. Take care. 

Christine: My pledge campaign is:,,,,,

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Christine for a great interview! The Phile will be back next Sunday with Phile Alum Neil Sheasby from Stone Foundation. Spread the word, not the third. Don't let snakes and alligators bite yo. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker