Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pheaturing Angela Easterling

Hello, kids, and welcome to the Phile for a Sunday. Did you set your clocks forward? Man, I normally get up at 8 a.m. to to do this thing, but now the clocks were moved an hour it's really seven a.m. And I am up. So, let's get our Spring on.  Ten states had their big primaries. Everyone says the big money's on Mitt Romney. I mean literally. He's so rich that money oozes from his pores. Romney spent five and a half million bucks on TV advertising in the Super Tuesday states. Meanwhile, Ron Paul put a sticker on a light pole. Mitt Romney's been out on the campaign trail even though he's suffering from a terrible cold. I'm not surprised he's sick. It's very unsanitary to keep putting your foot in your mouth like that. It didn't help matters that Romney kept blowing his nose into $100 bills.  Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver were seen shopping together. Apparently she said she wanted something Swedish made and Arnold was like, "Swedish maid?"  There is an HBO movie coming out about the 2008 presidential election. Apparently John McCain is very unhappy with the way he was portrayed. He said he came across as a clueless and angry man. No one had the heart to tell him he was watching the toaster.  So, yesterday Logan and I went to see John Carter. It was really good, but I thought it was about the character from "E.R.". John Carter is not to be comfused by the movie Jimmy Carter. Lost in 1980, found aimlessly wondering around Mars.  Someone hacked into actress Christina Hendricks' phone and put naked pictures of her on the internet. What? What am I doing? here I am working on this blog when I could be searching for naked pictures of her. I am an idiot! Stupid Phile!  So, it seems a lot of people are coming out of the wood work to run for President this year. This one seems awfully odd. 
So, at Walt Disney World... the greatest place to work ever, they sell a number of diffeent things. I thought this Little Mermaid poster was kinda odd that they would sell. 

The other day Apple unveiled “The New iPad” to the drooling media. But for all the press coverage, most reporters missed some of the most important new features of the wonder product. Not the Phile.

And now for some sad news...

8 May 1938 – 10 March 2012
His funeral procession will form in a continuous loop with just one side and one boundary component.

Okay, so a friend of the Phile, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the Democratic National Committee wanted to come on and talk about something she thinks the Phile readers should know. So, please welcome to the Phile once again, Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a pheature I call...

Me: Hello, Debbie, welcome back to the Phile. So, what did you want to talk about? 

Debbie: Did I tell you last week Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was getting ready to sign the "ultrasound bill"?

Me: I don't remember. What is that bill exactly? 

Debbie: It's an atrocious proposal that would force all women considering abortions to get ultrasounds and require their doctors to ask if they'd like a picture.

Me: I don't you did, Debbie.

Debbie: Well, he signed it.

Me: And the bill wasn't stopped?

Debbie: We didn't stop the bill this time, but we did make sure the entire country knew exactly what was going down in Virginia.

Me: Are there other bills similar? I think you talked about one bill about birth control.

Debbie: There are 450 other bills on birth control and abortion in state legislatures across the country. With a far-right faction of the GOP holding a majority in many of them, it's unclear how many we can stop. But let me just say this: We need to be prepared to win in November.

Me: And you are going to keep fighting, right?

Debbie: As long as women's rights are being attacked, we're going to keep fighting back... in Congress and in the states.

Me: How are you guyts gonba fight this?

Debbie: We're taking on this fight both nationally and in the states. 

Me: And in Virginia? What happened with that?

Debbie: In Virginia, it meant helping to fund the state party's rapid response communications team. They pushed back on the ultrasound legislation, supported the Democrats who opposed it, and publicized peaceful protests of it at the capitol. That work helped put this bill on the national radar.

Me: Well, I live in Florida, is something similar gonna happen here? Any other states?

Debbie: Right now, New Hampshire, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, and many other states are considering similar legislation.

Me: And correct me if I am wrong, but isn't there something big happening in the Texas legislature?

Debbie: The Texas legislature is in the midst of a bitter fight to eliminate state support for a wide range of women's health services. They've already eliminated two-thirds of their funding for women's health, closing more than half of the state's Planned Parenthood and other clinics. And now they're voting to reject aid for the Medicaid Women's Health Program. They claim they're doing this to fight abortion, but what they're actually doing is denying hundreds of thousands of women access to basic health care.

Me: Hmmmm... Clearly, this fight is about more than abortion and birth control, Debbie.

Debbie: I won't stop speaking out across the country about a woman's right to make her own health care decisions, and Democrats in the states won't stop pushing back against these bills.

Me: I hope you won't stop fighting either. Thanks, Debbie, for coming on to the Phile and explaining this. You are welcomed back anytime.

Debbie: Thanks, Jason. 

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, kids. She is great. Okay, I have a Phile reader and friend who also wanted to come onto the Phile and talk about soemthing really important to him. He is a young man with austism and he wants to address something. So, please welcome to the Phile for the first time... John Toomey.

Hi, my name is John Toomey. I would like to tell you a little about myself. I was born in Michigan in 1983. I moved to Florida working for a major theme park in 2004. Through my life in school I was bullied and had no friends at all. However, no one knew, including my parent's, that I have a type of autism called Aspergers Syndrome. People were calling my faggot and gay. I am not any of those things and it shouldn't matter anyway. I was misdiagnosed at the age of 3 as ADHD. I didn't know I had autism until I was 16. Since I was 8, I have been dreaming and thinking about doing a TV series or to have my own show. I saw things about bullying on TV and the internet and I think that is not enough. I see and keep seeing more people being bullied outside of schools as well, handicapped or not. I see every day, at work, and when I am out in public the same thing. I started to think I would like to host some kind of talk show TV series that centers around someone with autism, someone who was being bullied, and someone showing friendship, like me. I am coming to any because I see that some people understand this and like to help. I was hoping that someone would help because almost each and everyone has a caring heart. What I am asking is for any one's help or any one that you may know, who can or would be able to help me make this dream a reality. This talk show idea would be along the lines of "Mr. Rogers", "Oprah", Ellen DeGeneres, and Rachael Ray, combination of all four. My television program would feature people of all ages. Anyone who appears on my show would be my friend from any walk of life. They would display his or her work or job. I think of each and every one of you as a friend. We are all different in many ways whether we are handicapped or not. I don't where know to start or where to begin. I have been thinking about moving to California or New York to do my program, but I don't have the money to do so. I know that you all are busy. I hope that anyone who reads this might be able to help in some way. If someone could meet me to talk about how I felt and feel, I will be more than happy to do so. I know that a lot of you like to surprise people in all sorts of ways. As you can see, I am also opening this up to anyone who may read this as well. Keep this in mind that you are you, and I am me. Just know and understand that I want to display that people with autism CAN do things. What I have already done in my life, I feel is great. I have worked at McDonald's in the drive-thru, met Bob Barker and have been a contestant on "The Price is Right" (Go to YouTube and type "Price Is Right Autism"), and now I work at a major theme park. At one point for 3 years I gave tours to about 150 people at a time. I don't know what is next. Maybe this talk show idea I have been dreaming and thinking about will happen. I hope someone or any one whom maybe reading this, does respond in some way. Your friend, John. 

Thank you, Toomey. And good luck. 

The dead-inside Pirates of the Caribbean franchise may still be vacuuming up money globally for Disney, but creatively it ceased all coolness activities around the time of the underwater skeleton army and the guy with the tentacle-face. It could go on forever but it shouldn't.  What should have been good news, then, was a ready-made franchise just sitting around waiting in some very old books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, about a guy named John Carter of Mars. All they had to do was make sure it was well made, didn't cost a quarter of a billion all by itself and market it properly to let potential audiences know the story's impressive pedigree. Except it did cost a quarter of a billion to make. And have you seen the trailer? No, not the coherent, meaningful one cut together by a fan on YouTube. I mean the official trailer, the one that makes absolutely no sense, doesn't explain why you should even want to go see something about a guy named John Carter and, worst of all, comes off like another attempt to sell audiences something like Prince of Persia. Somehow, in all the lead-up time, nobody bothered to make the decision to tell ticket-buyers that everything they ever loved about sci fi/fantasy/action/adventure films like Star Wars and Avatar, or the idea of a man being able to fly like, say, Superman, all found its origins in the John Carter stories. It's like they're trying to fail before it even gets to theaters. Good thing the movie itself is awesome.  Yes, it's full of worn tropes thanks to decades of inspired borrowing from every other great adventure that made it out the gate first, but those ideas have been given an infusion of fresh energy by director Andrew Stanton (WALL-E, Finding Nemo) and a huge team who all worked on making sure that the old-fashioned idea of going to Mars wasn't going to bore you into a two-hour nap. So when burned-out Civil War soldier John Carter winds up on on the angry red planet (a medallion whooshes him there, just fyi) caught between rival warring races, aided by a princess, helpful aliens and a heroic lizard-dog, you'll brush off that nagging "seen this somewhere before" sense of familiarity.  And it doesn't hurt that it all looks great, engages your brain, sense of humor and emotions while delivering spectacular fight sequences, spaceships and creatures (personally, I was really into the giant, white, four-armed battle-apes). It's packed with just about everything except Ziggy Stardust and those spiders of his. Smarter still was the casting of non-household-names like Taylor Kitsch from "Friday Night Lights" and Lynn Collins from, well, a lot of stuff where she never fully stood out before. Look, you'd never heard of Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford or Carrie Fisher before a certain point either.  The other day a friend whose kids are all boys said to me, "I want this to be the kind of movie where my sons leave the theater punching each other." He's in luck, because the best praise I can give to this exciting popcorn blowout is that his kids are going to wrestle each other into a dangerous backseat driving distraction, giving him the opportunity to say every Dad's favorite threat, "Do I have to pull this car over?"  I give this movie a 9, and I will be buying in when it comes out. 

The 17th book to be pheatured in the P.P.B.C. is...

It's available on Amazon and Jim Korkis will be a guest on the Phile next Wednesday.

Today's guest is a singer songwriter is a good looking red head like myself. LOL. Her new fantastic album "Beguiler" is now available on iTunes, and Amazon. She'll be next appearing at Bentz Kirby Alien Carnival House Concert in Greeenville, South Carolina on March 15th. Please welcome to the Phile... the wonderful Angela Easterling.

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

Angela: Great, thanks for having me!

Me: I have to ask, as I have four tattoo's myself, what is that tattoo on your arm? For a minute I thought it was the Aerosmith logo. Do you have any other tats?

Angela: That is my only tattoo and it is my logo that appears on all my CD’s. It is actually wings and a halo (for my name, Angela) with stars because I’ve always liked stars; and a horseshoe which represents country music.

Me: I downloaded your new CD "Beguiler" from iTunes and really liked it. How do you compare this new CD to the other two you released?

Angela: This is my 1st band CD, in which all the songs were written to play with the guys who play with me in my band (The Beguilers). My other two albums were recorded with session players, so it was fun to get in the studio for the 1st time with my own band and play the tunes we had been doing at our shows. Also, much of the tracking on "Beguiler" was done live with everyone playing together, to try to capture that energy.

Me: I was surprised to find out it was produced by a Phile Alumni who I interviewed a few years ago, Will Kimbrough. When did you first meet Will?

Angela: I have been a fan of Will’s for quite sometime and especially liked his production work on Adrienne Young’s albums. I emailed him and asked if he might be interested in working with me and to my surprise, he emailed back right away! I went to meet with him in Nashville and we really hit it off. He produced my last album “BlackTop Road” and I knew immediately I wanted to work with him again, so I asked him to produce “Beguiler” also. Will is great, down to earth, and amazingly talented. It is a blast to work with him in any capacity.

Me: Will has worked with Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris and Jimmy Buffett. I take it you are fans of all those people. Who are your main influences and who did you listen to growing up? 

Angela: Growing up, I listened to vocalists such as Judy Garland and Julie Andrews, songwriters such as the Gershwins and Rodgers & Hammerstein: classic musicals and American Standards, which I still absolutely adore; in fact, I would say that Rodgers and Hammerstein are my favorite songwriters of all time. I did a lot of theatre and wanted to go to NYC and be on Broadway. I didn’t really start listening to Roots/folk/rock songwriters until I was about 16 and then I fell in love with Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, The Indigo Girls, etc. and began to feel like I wanted to try to write my own songs. So I got my 1st Guitar and I did! Later, I started getting into Emmylou Harris, Neil Young, the Byrds, CS & N, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, The Carter Family, etc. and all of that has been an influence on my music. I would say probably my two biggest influences overall are Emmylou Harris and The Indigo Girls.

Me: Did you always want to be a singer, Angela?

Angela: I always loved to be onstage, whether it was singing or acting. And I’ve always been drawn to music and loved to sing all the time.

Me: Where are you from? 

Angela: Greer, South Carolina.

Me: Roger McGuinn said some very nice things about you I read. Roger lived in Orlando for awhile. Where did you meet him?

Angela: I actually started talking to him on Twitter and he heard some of my music and really liked it. We emailed a little bit too. I’ve only met him in person once, backstage at one of his shows. I am still amazed that he even knows who I am much less that he likes my music! He is such an amazing and influential artist. It is quite an honor.

Me: Have you ever played or been to Orlando?

Angela: We went to Orlando to Disney World a couple of times when I was little, but that’s the only time I’ve been there, that I recall.

Me: Okay, let's talk about the CD. Where did the name "Beguiler" come from and what does it mean?

Angela: I named my CD after my band because they really inspired the music on the album. The band name came first, then the album name. My friend Dani Lacey-Baker came up with that name. I was asking folks on Twitter & Facebook for band name suggestions and that was hers. I loved it. To beguile means to enchant, to charm. It can also mean to deceive in some contexts and that deception is a much-covered topic on my album.

Me: So, your band is called Beguilers as well. Who is in the band with you, Angela?

Angela: Brandon Turner my lead guitarist and Jeff Hook is the drummer. We have worked with several bass players but the main bass player right now is Franklin Wilkie.

Me: I love the CD, especially the song "Happy Song", which is odd as I am not the happiest person. What is your favorite song on the album?

Angela: Thanks!! It is hard to pick a favorite, because it is hard to be objective about my own work, but I guess I would say “Maria, My Friend”. I really am so proud to have written that song and it was what got me selected as a Telluride Troubadour Finalist last year. I also really love “The Fish & The Bird” which was written by Brandon, my lead guitarist.

Me: Did you write the other songs yourself? I don't think there's one cover on the album, is there?

Angela: Brandon wrote "The Fish & The Bird", and the final song "Anchored in Love" is an old traditional gospel song. I wrote the other 10 songs.

Me: One of your songs is "Johnstown, Pennsylvania". What is that song about? It is known for it's three major floods. Have you been there?

Angela: The song is about a devastating flood from 1889 in which over 2200 people died. I would encourage anyone to look it up and read about it, it is a fascinating piece of American history that is often overlooked. I have been to Johnstown several times and developed a great friendship with many folks there. It is a special place to me and I always love the chance to play there.

Me: So, Vintage Guitar Magazine said, and I quote, "If Steve Earle was reborn a girl, he'd be Angela Easterling". What do you think of that quote?

Angela: I would have never thought I would be compared to Steve Earle, but wow, that is amazing, I am both humbled and proud. It made me feel like I must be doing something right!

Me: I wonder what Steve would think? Did you ever meet him? I am trying to get him on the Phile, and if I do, I will ask him what he thought of the quote.

Angela: I met him once after one of his shows, but unlike Roger McGuinn I highly doubt Steve knows who I am, LOL. I hope he would be okay with the quote and wouldn’t be offended by it.

Me: I have to mention the album cover, it looks cold, and you are standing on the boat, were you afraid you would fall in? I would've been afraid. Anywhere, where was that picture taken?

Angela: It was FREEZING. We were on Lake Hartwell on the SC/GA border. It was 2 days after Christmas and it had just snowed. I wasn’t that afraid I would fall in... I think it was so cold, the cold was all I could think about. I was just trying not to fall OVER! I couldn’t feel my legs, they were so cold.

Me: You have another out called "Mon secret". That album is full of songs in French, right? Are they new songs?

Angela: These are a combination of new songs and older songs, all original, written by me and my friend Marianne Bessy.

Me: What made you decide to sing in French? Do you speak French?

Angela: I studied French in school and always loved the language. My friend & co-writer Marianne is French and I couldn’t have done this project without her. We wrote one song together and it turned out so well, we decided to do a whole album. I wanted to do it because it seemed like a good opportunity to do something different: Americana music in French. It was a real challenge but a lot of fun and I’m very excited and pleased with the results. It is such a beautiful language and brings out a different, softer quality in my voice. 

Me: Angela, thanks for being on the Phile. Please come back again, you are an amazing singer. Go ahead and plug your website and I wish continued success. And if you speak to Will, tell him I said hello.

Angela: My website is and folks can also check me out on Reverbnation: and Youtube: My music is available in all the regular places: Amazon, iTunes, CDbaby, etc. Thanks again for the interview!

Me: You're welcome, and come back again soon.

Alright, kids, that about does it for another entry. Before I go I have to tell you my son Logan is participating in a charity walk this Thursday for the Make A Wish Foundation of Central Florida. If any of you Phile phans could donate, even if only a dollar or two, it would be greatly appreciated. He is so incredibly excited to raise money for these kids. Here is the link to his page... Alright, that said, thanks to my guests Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Toomey and of course Angela Easterling. Her album is great, and I hope when her next CD comes out she'll come back on the Phile. Meanwhile, the Phile will be back tomorrow with Alumni Maureen Davis from The Flutterbies. Then on Wednesday it's author Jim Korkis and next Sunday it's musician Lee Abramson. Last Wednesday I said there's gonna be a Friday entry with Alumni Jeff Cameron but that might happen on Thursday. We'll see. Anyway, spread the ord, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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