Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pheaturing Erica Monzon From Ledaswan

Hello, and welcome to the last entry of the Phile for 2011, the year we lost money. When I say we I mean the country. So, did you hear President Obama bought about $200 worth of Christmas presents at Best Buy. Then it got awkward when he asked the Geek Squad if they fix economies. The New York Daily News reported that Obama bought the Wii game “Just Dance” for his daughters, Sasha and Malia. Or in other words, the New York Daily News  ruined the fun of opening presents for Sasha and Malia. In a new interview, President Obama was asked to describe Michelle, and he used the words “beautiful, smart, and funny.” When asked how he picked those, he used the words, “she’s, sitting, and right-next-to-me.” This is crazy, Jules Manson, the failed Tea Party Candidate, called for assassination of  the President and his daughters. If he'd said that kind of shit about GW Bush, he would have had his own show on MSNBC by now. The Disney parks have been so busy this week, with mostly Asians and Indian people. They must've cleaned those countries out. Don't expect to get anybody on the phone if you are having problem with your computer, they are all here in Orlando. Cheetah the chimpanzee, who acted in classic Tarzan movies in the early 1930s, died of kidney failure Saturday. Tarzan said, "Me Tarzan... you dead". Seriously, out of the four of them (Tarzan, Jane, Boy and Cheetah) who would've thought the Chimp would survive the longest? He Cheetahed death for a long, long time. He wasn't into watching animal shows on television, but he enjoyed watching all the color and movement when football appeared on screen. It's not known whether Cheetah had any favorite teams. He was a big Tebow fan. Speaking of Tebow, the Broncos are cashing in big time on him. Did you see the ad for what they're selling? Check it out. 

I have no idea what that is. LOL. well, it's been a crazy year, and my brain is overloaded. I could only sum up my year as...

Okay, 2011 has been a crazy year for news, so with the help from LEGO I have been looking back at some news stories this year. And today, I will finish up with 3 stories. In August, rioters clashed with police in London, Birmingham and Manchester, as local businesses and buildings were looted and damaged.

New Zealand beat France in the final of the Rugby World Cup.

That's hardly big news, but oh well. And finally, tributes were paid across the web to Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, who died aged 56.

Well, it's defintely been a strange year for politics and over the year I have had both Democratic and Republican guests talk about certain issues. So, here, one more time, is a politician to talk about this past year. Please welcome back to the Phile, Chair of the Democratic National Committee... Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Me: Hello, Chairwoman, welcome back to the Phile, and Happy Hannukah. So, how can we sum up 2011 political wise?

Debbie: Hello, Jason, if you follow political news like I do, you may remember this year for its GOP horse race: who was up, who was down, who had an "oops" moment. But that's not how I'll remember it.

Me: How will you remember it?

Debbie: I'll remember it as a pretty incredible year for Democrats. 

Me: Really? Was it that? 

Debbie: Just in the last week, we've seen solid evidence that health care reform is working: 2.5 million Americans are now insured thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows young adults to stay on their parent's health insurance, more than double the number previously estimated.

Me: And the troops leavinmg the war in Iraq is one, right?

Debbie: Yes, the war in Iraq has come to a responsible end. Because of the veterans provisions of the American Jobs Act and the Hiring Heroes Act, which provide tax incentives to businesses who hire veterans in need of work, our troops coming home and all our veterans know that they can get the help they need in finding work and supporting their families.

Me: That's great. These are the kinds of fights Democrats are waging...

Debbie: And winning. They're crucial victories, but they don't happen without you.

Me: So, what about next year, ma'am?

Debbie: Next year, the stakes will be even higher. 

Me: How so? Oh... there's the election. Duh.

Debbie: Yes, next year's election will be huge, that's for sure but the work we did in 2011 shows just what a grassroots campaign can do. Across the country this year, Democrats worked together and fought critical statewide battles on the ground.

Me: Like what, ma'am?

Debbie: Well, in Mississippi, folks worked tirelessly to protect a woman's right to choose and soundly defeated the Personhood amendment, which would've made abortion illegal, including in cases of rape or incest, and even banned some forms of birth control.

Me: And in Maine?

Debbie: Up in Maine, statewide Democratic groups worked together to overturn the state legislature's recent ban on allowing people to register and vote on the same day -- a nearly 40-year tradition that's helped the state have some of the highest voter turnout rates in the country.

Me: Anywhere else?

Debbie: In the bellwether state of Ohio, the state Democratic party and progressive allies collected more than 300,000 signatures to stop a law that would greatly reduce how and when Ohioans can early vote -- and put it up for a statewide vote next year. Thanks in part to thousands who were able to cast their ballots early, Ohio voters in November successfully repealed a collective bargaining law that would've stripped away the rights of teachers and firefighters to negotiate for important benefits and working conditions.

Me: So, there's ways to get the economy working again. 

Debbie: Ways to go to get the economy working for everyone, and there's much more work to be done.

Me: With all that, there's a lot to smile about. 

Debbie: Correct. We've worked together at the national level to make change that's going to affect millions of lives every day, like repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and we've banded together in our states and communities to stand for our party's principles. It's what Democrats do.

Me: And the GOP is ready to screw it all up, right?

Debbie: Yes, Jason, or every victory we've had this year, the GOP is ready and waiting to reverse it. Repealing health care reform, reinstating "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," restricting voting rights, and putting Personhood amendments on the ballot in other states are all things the other side has promised to do if given the chance.

Me: Debbie, keep up the good work, have a safe New Year and please come back on the Phile throughout 2012.

Debbie: Thanks, you and your readers as well. 

Robert Downey Jr. insists on maintaining the Jennifer Aniston hair for his interpretation of Sherlock Holmes. It's a greasier, messier mop this time around, but it's still there, floating on top of the detective's complicated genius skull. And director Guy Ritchie isn't about to mess with the fluffy anachronism. It worked before; it'll work again. Sort of. About that "before" moment: it was a speeding-motorcycle take on the venerable detective and it played with its source material in a way that updated Holmes for contemporary audiences while simultaneously giving Guy Ritchie a chance to push his subversive take on the "guy movie." In most of his earlier films, Ritchie has overseen a world of handsome thuggery where women are mysteries and mostly beside the point, while men are brothers and/or adversaries but never not the most fascinating creatures in the room. It was also okay if they gazed into each others' eyes and touched. So here, you expect the moment where Holmes beckons, "Lie down with me, Watson," after pushing the new Mrs. Watson (Kelly Reilly) from a moving train. He's demanding Watson do this in order to save his friend's life... there's gunfire coming... as well as for never-stated-yet-easily-read bonding purposes. And that is signature Guy Ritchie. The man was married to Madonna for a reason. This time around, though, everything is a little less fluffy, a little more mechanical. The always maze-like plotting involves an evil proto-military-industrialist (Jared Harris) who seeks to create war in order to make a fortune. And getting to the bottom of his dastardly plan means that Holmes and Watson must team up with a Romany woman (O.G. Dragon Tattoo lady Noomi Rapace, looking crazily out of place in hair jewels and gowns) as well as an occasionally naked Stephen Fry. He plays Holmes's brother Mycroft and is never not serving up a side helping of Effete Smartypants Guy in a movie that occasionally forgets to provide it. That downsizing of idiosyncratic detail might be the price of success. It was a pleasure, in the first movie, to get inside Holmes's steampunk-computer-brain and watch his deduction skills displayed in (almost) three dimensions. Learning that he was also a martial arts/kickboxing ass-kicker didn't hurt either. But it never dominated his weird sense of style or his funny, needy attachment to Watson. Here everything feels just a little less oddball and a little more ready to give in to typical action movie demands. In the end, Holmes purists will most likely remain as annoyed as they were by the first movie and new fans will still have a convoluted good time. But what's really important... Ritchie maintaining his own sense of style and his main character not turning into a slightly less grubby and somewhat more literate version of Captain Jack Sparrow, is a future mystery only the inevitable sequels will solve. From 1 to 10, it gets a 10, and yes, I will be buying it.

The 8th artist to be pheatured in the P.P.A.G. is Phile Alumni Alexis White and this is one of her pieces of art.

It looks like a bunch of penis'... I have to ask her about that. Alexis will be a guest on the Phile this Sunday, in the first entry of 2012.

Okey dokey, the last guest of the year is the lead singer for the San Antonio band Ledaswan whose third EP "NUM83R5" is now available on CD and on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Erica Monzon.

Me: Hello, Erica, welcome to the Phile. How are you? 

Erica: I'm doing well. Trying to stay cool in this Texas heat!

Me: So, I think I interviewed half the female singers from Houston... Tish Meeks, Staci Butler, Sheila Swift, and now you. Actually, there's a lot more of you girls, right? 

Erica: No, there use to be two girls in Ledaswan, but we just recently got a new bassist and his name is Lalo Rodriguez.

Me: Are you a part of the GoGirls thing as well? And for new readers of the Phile, explain what that is, Erica. 

Erica: I have been a long time supporter for sure! I use to be a member and plan on becoming one again this year. GoGirls is a resource for female musicians trying to make music a full-time career or even those that are already doing it. They have cool incentives if you are a member I would highly recommend to other female musicians.

Me: It seems like all you girls have or had your husbands in the bands with you. If my wife or I were in a band, we would not have each other involved. We would kill each other. Is your husband in the band? 

Erica: My husband is in Ledaswan.

Me: I knew there was some kinda relationship. Who else is in Ledaswan with you? 

Erica: David Monzon which is my brother-n-law... Jaime's brother, Eduardo (Lalo) Rodriguez, and Nick Ochoa.

Me: I have to ask you about the band name, Erica, where did it come from? 

Erica: I like to leave it up to people to find their own meaning of the band name themselves, I think it's better that way.

Me: Good job you didn't name the band Ledahoes. Anyway... how long have you guys been performing and been in a band? A few years, right? 

Erica: I have been playing guitar, singing and writing for about 12 years. With the band since 2004.

Me: I was going to ask you what the deal is with the songs with numbers in the title, Erica, in your new release... "25 Years", "Six Is Better", "A Missing Fifth", "The New Sixties"... and then I was like duh, the album is named "Numbers". Did you set out to make a whole album about numbers originally? 

Erica: We didn't originally set out to do this. But all our titles had numbers in them when they were working titles... and then we decided to keep the working titles and call the EP "NUM83R5". We also are demoing for "NUM83R5 Vol. 2" EP for release next year.

Me: I know, the real spelling is N.U.M.8.3.R.S. Very clever. Who thought of that? And does the number 83 mean anything? 

Erica: Thank you, it's actually N.U.M.8.3.R.5  at the end. Even more clever. eh? I think it was just an idea the band bounced off one another.

Me: Oh, sorry, yeah, five at the end. You must of been a fan of "Lost" with the numbers thing. I was going to say it's weird, with all the number references but I could talk with all my 'PH' crap. I wish I can go back and change that. It's annoying. Anyway, the EP is split up in two parts, right? Two parts. There goes the number thing again. Why did you choose to do that, and not just one whole album? 

Erica: We wanted to keep things fresh for 2011 and just try something different. I can't really say different because bands do that more and more nowadays. But after "NUM83R5 vol. 2" we will release a full length. We also wanted to keep people anticipating new music so that's another reason.

Me: This past April you kids played at SXSW, which seems like pretty much everybody I interviewed has played. Did you have fun and meet any cool people, or see any cool bands? 

Erica: SXSW is always fun. We saw the Sounds and Phantogram some of my favorite bands.

Me: Was that the first time you played there? 

Erica: No, we've played there the past couple years.

Me: I noticed on your website you have a blog, Erica. Do you do the writing for it? If not, who does? 

Erica: Sometimes I do, sometimes Jaime does and even Lalo our bassist.

Me: I watched the video you did... what song was it for again? A number song I am guessing. Was it fun to do, and will you be making more? 

Erica: We did the video for "Faulkner". It was a lot of fun. We had a house party and invited fans of the band and friends to shoot the party scene. And I did the story board for the video. We also released a new video this past Summer for "What a Way Two Drown."

Me: Erica, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Tell the girls I said hello, and if you can recommend anybody else, please do. Go ahead and mention your website. 

Erica: There are a few female fronted bands in S.A. that I would like to recommend. Heather Go Psycho, Girl in a Coma, Nancy Silva Project, When Words Attack, the Great 85, and Say Revenge... I'm sure there's more but those are the ones off the top of my head. Sure

Me: By the way, you are the 257th interview on the Phile, Erica. How's that for a number? Anyway, I wish you a lot of luck and come back anytime, okay? Maybe soon I can have all your girls on here at once. Whatcha think? 

Erica: That would be rad!

Me: Take care, and keep rocking. 

Erica: Thank you!

There. Another year's worth of Phile's done. Thanks to everybody I have interviewed this past year, everyone who helped me get an interview and to you, the phaithful reader. Thanks today to Erica and Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Alright, the Phile will be back on January 1st with a new logo and the guest as I said will be Alumni musician and artist Alexis White. Then on Monday it's Michael Arcos from the band Jane Jane Polluck, and next Wednesday it's Mark Dean from the cool band Dark Mean. Did I get that right? Yep. So, until then, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Here's to 2012, have a safe New Years. Bye, love you, bye.

No comments: