Monday, August 13, 2012

Pheaturing Anna Estrada

Hello, kids, welcome to another entry of the Phile. And no, this is not me.

Or is it? LOL. His teeth look better then mine.  And then there's Congressman Paul Ryan. On the plus side, he has piercing blue bedroom eyes. On the minus side, he's a heartless smirking bastard, and the only people who can stand him are heartless smirking bastards. And Mitt, you already have that vote locked up. When Romney and Ryan call themselves "America's Comeback Team," they mean they want America to come back to 1860. Paul Ryan made all his interns read Ayn Rand. So I guess we know where he stands on torture. Ryan seems like the kind of guy you could have a beer with, just before he takes your Medicare away. Ryan has strong, unbreakable beliefs: Like the poor have it too good and billionaires just need a break.  So, did you hear Randy Travis was accused of driving while intoxicated and threatening to kill state troopers after the country singer crashed his car and was found naked and combative at the scene? Do you know how long those DUIs will stay on his record? Forever and ever, Amen.  That Mars rover sent out another message back to NASA. It said, "I wish George Lucas was alive to see to see this... LOL... sorry, I meant I wish his artistic integrity was alive to see this." The rover sent back a new photo from Mars, and here at the Phile, I was lucky to get a copy of it.

That's nice, no wonder Mars needs women.  Did you watch the Olympic closing ceremony? It was like a group of high people sat down in a room and came up with ideas for this closing ceremony and no idea was turned down. It's funny, we sent a rover to Mars and Mars sent a rover to us.

Watching the closing ceremony, I was thinking, why is it only featuring music from "Now! That's What I Call Music volume 3?" And kids, don't worry. The Brits at the stadium were forced to watch "Animal Practice" before The Who & the closing of the Olympics ceremony too.  Okay, so yesterday I was gonna show you this picture of a Taco Bell and McDonald's having their own competition but thought I might be crossing the line with the context of the picture. I asked you to let me know if I should show it and it's literally 50/50. So, as soon as the tie is broken I will either show it to you or not. I do have to say though, it's pretty gross. But some people like that kinda thing. Yesterday I showed you just a small part of the pic and with it you might be able to figure it out. Here it is again...

I will show you this though. A Phile reader went to Sturgis and sent me this photo.

How come she was never at a Foghat show I went to? Alright, and now for some sad news.

Joe Kubert
Sept 18, 1926 - August 12, 2012
Drawn to the grave.

Well, on the Discovery Channel as you probably know, it is Shark Week. And coincidentally, the Phile has its own shark. I introduced him yesterday and thought what the hell, might as well invite him back. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hello, Feargal, welcome back to the Phile. So, how it it in the ocean?

Feargal: Okay. Did you know the ocean gets its saltiness from the tears of misunderstood sharks who just want to cuddle?

Me: No, I did not know that.

Feargal: It's true. So, do you want to hear some jokes?

Me: Not really... but go ahead.

Feargal: Why do sharks wear shoes?

Me: I don't know.

Feargal: Sharks have feet.

Me: Well, you do, but I don't know any others that do.

Feargal: Why do sharks live in the ocean and not the sky?

Me: Um... not sure.

Feargal: The sky is Jet territory.

Me: I don't get it. Oh, wait, it's a "West Side Story" reference.

Feargal: Did you hear about the aquarium owner? His shark was worse than his pike. LOL.

Me: That was horrible.

Feargal: I will leave you with the a knock knock joke. Knock knock.

Me: Who's there?

Feargal: A shark.

Me: A shark who?

Feargal: A shark who just ate your family and now I'm going to eat you. Bye, everybody, until next year! Dah-dum, dah-dum.

Me: Feargal the Shark, everybody, the Phile's lamest character yet.

Exploding heads, cheesy one-liners, bulging eyes, Johnny Cabs, nose excavations, and mystical conjoined twins. There was a lot to like about the original Total Recall. This version gets rid of all of that "personality" and seems to be representative of what studio films seem to think we want... a story that used to have something unique and intriguing about it, changed enough to seem worthy of redoing, but lacking any real oomph of its own past special effects and cool stunts. There's plenty of bright, shiny stuff to look at and impressive punches and kicks, but the movie never gets fun.  Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a factory worker longing for something that's just outside his understanding. He has a home, and a nice wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale), but whatever is hovering on the edges of his thoughts, beckoning to him, is just too quiet and elusive for him to put a finger on. Like all wanderers do, he seeks excitement in a questionable way by visiting the Rekall center, which sends you on a virtual vacation. When the poor Rekall workers start attaching electrode thingies to his head, it all starts to go horribly wrong, and all of a sudden Douglas realizes he knows how to kill people and do parkour. It doesn't go unnoticed by the bad guys in town (how could it, when Colin Farrell kills about a hundred of their men in a matter of minutes?). Douglas realizes his whole life is a lie constructed by the bad guys to make him forget all the dangerous things he knows that could throw them out of power.  If you have to remove yourself from the confines of your sweltering home for some air conditioned relief, this movie will suffice. There are fantastic, seamless effects of a Blade Runner-type world that looks completely different than our own. People have cell phones implanted in their hands (with the only problem being what do you talk on to ignore your manicurist?). You can also exhale, because one of the few things that carries over from the original is the chick with three breasts. Whew. The cops and cars look vaguely borrowed from I, Robot but that's fine, because they all looked cool back in 2004 too. But the only thing that nabbed me about this movie were the visual effects.  The changes they made to the story weakened everything outside of the visual elements, though. With exception of Beckinsale playing the hired-wife role and doing some spectacular fighting (as usual), I knew very little about anyone else in the film. As is usually the case these days, I didn't care about any of it. Melina (Jessica Biel) was some kind of badass with some kind of history with Douglas, but other than that, she just looked good in cargo pants. That's all I got. Douglas seemed to fight for whatever his instincts told him, but when it came to the climax of the film, I didn't really get the sense that the masses were in danger (he had no reason to scream "Give da people de air!"). The rhythm was just action, bad guys mumble something vaguely threatening, running, action, good guys try to get a plan together, running, more action, etc. Nobody's eyes bulged out, but Colin Farrell did take a knife to his own hand and ride in a flying car. This is just the usual soulless update to a slightly stupid but memorable film. From 1 to 10, it gets a 6 so I will not be buying it. Here's some trivia for you kids, though. My dad wrote the theme song for the original film but someone screwed up and never got it to the studio in time or soemthing, so it wasn't used.

The 22nd artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery is someone named RobotrobotROBOT. Here is one of his pieces...

RobotrobotROBOT will be a guest on the Phile a week from today.

Today's guest is a talented singer whose latest CD "Volando" is now available on iTunes. She'll be next appearing at Panama Hotel in San Rafael, California on August 17th. Please welcome to the Phile... Anna Estrada.

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

Anna: I’m doing wel1, but I must apologize. I promised to get back to you a while ago and I’ve made you wait. 

Me: That's okay, I make a lot of people wait. Okay, first things first, what's this you were on "America's Most Wanted"? Is this true? 

Anna: Not only is it true, I actually appeared in TWO episodes! In the first I played a social worker arranging an adoption, and in the second I was a cannery worker on the job when a crazed shooter came through firing a gun. 

Me: How long have you been acting, Anna? Do you do a lot of TV work? 

Anna: I haven’t done any acting since the late 90s. I was at a point in my life where balancing work, motherhood and art (acting) was very challenging. I met someone and making that relationship work seemed very important, so I took a full time job and stopped acting. Still miss it at times. 

Me: You're also an anaesthesiologist... did I spell it right? I have no idea what that is... what is it? 

Anna: It’s spelled “”. What I do is make sure that a patient having surgery can have that surgery in a pain free environment. 

Me: Oh, that anesthesiologist. I should of known, I've been in the hospital for a number of procedures many of times. Did you go to school to do that, Anna? 

Anna: Oh yes! I went to college for four years, and then I went to medical school for four years. After that I did three years of training, one year as an intern and two years as a resident. 

Me: No, Jason, I just walked in and started to put people to sleep. I am an idiot, of course you went to school. So, apart from being a blogger I am a Space Port Agent, that's cool, right? 

Anna: It sounds cool!!! What does a Space Port Agent do? 

Me: Different jobs, like making sure people get on their Starspeeders in time. Okay, let's talk about your new CD "Volando", which I got a copy of and really like, but I have to admit, I like the English sang songs better, as I know what you're singing. LOL. Were your other albums done half and half as well? 

Anna: Yes they were. Don’t know if it was exactly 50/50, but it was a combination of English, Spanish, & Portuguese. 

Me: Anna, what is your first language? 

Anna: That’s an excellent question, one that I’ve given a lot of thought. When I think about the first exposure we have to language, it must be the first words you hear from your mother. In my house that was Spanish... So that must be my first language. BUT… I had a sister that was six years older than I was, and we had a television set, so I think I had a heavy exposure to both languages and probably started out speaking them both at the same time. 

Me: And what do you like better, singing in English or Spanish? 

Anna: That’s an impossible decision! All the songs I sing demand to be sung. Wouldn’t sing them if I didn’t love them. 

Me: Where are you from, Anna? 

Anna: I was born in San Diego. At around age eight my family moved to Tijuana, B.C., Mexico, just across the border from San Diego. We lived on that side of the border for about three years before moving back to San Diego. Except for two years in Mexico City and four years in Minneapolis, I lived in Southern California until moving to the Bay Area in 1986. 

Me: On the new CD you do one song twice, in Portuguese and Spanish. Why in both languages? 

Anna: It’s a song initially recorded by one of my favorite Brazilian artists, Lenine, and first started singing it in Portuguese. When we got ready to go into the studio I decided to translate the words into Spanish. The lyrics are beautiful and I was hoping they would reach a wider audience with the Spanish lyric. 

Me: The song is "Paciencia". What does that mean? 

Anna: Patience. The lyrics talk about everything needing for more calm, and the body more soul, but life doesn’t stop; time seems to accelerate, the world spinning faster every day, people expecting so much from the world, and the world would like to see us to show more patience. It’s about living in the moment because life is so rare, so precious. It’s a beautiful song. 

Me: What do all your Spanish songs mean in English? 

Anna: Many things, Phile, many things. “Cuando Vuelva A Tu Lado” means “when I return to your side”; “Al Empezar El Beguín” is a translation of Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine” (very accurate one btw); “Mais Que Nada” means “more than anything”; “E Preciso Perdoar” means “it’s necessary to forgive”; “Dueño De Mi Corazón” means “owner of my heart”. 

Me: On the album cover there's a bird, so is "Volando" Spanish for bird? Feather? Wing? Fly? 

Anna: “Volando” means flying. 

Me: Where did the name of the album come from? 

Anna: My first CD was called "Soñando Vuelos", which means “dreaming flights”. Because it’s my third CD, and I’m no longer “dreaming” of taking flight with my music, but now I’m starting to fly. It fit with the photo on the cover. A fencing teammate of mine was doing an internship in Kenya last summer and took photos of the wildlife there, including that bird. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? It’s a “lilac breasted roller”. 

Me: Now, what got me really wanting to interview you, Anna, is I am a huge Beatles fan and on the album you do a Beatles medley of "Happiness Is A Warm Gun/She's So Heavy". What made you decide to record those two songs? 

Anna: I’ve always loved “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” and when I first approached Ray about doing a medley the song I had in mind was “For No One” . I thought the power shift would be interesting. In "Happiness..." there is a sense of powerlessness in the girl who’s “well acquainted with the touch of a velvet hand”, while in "For No One" “she no longer needs you”. But from the beginning Ray wanted to use “I Want You”. When he said he wanted to use bass, marimba, and accordion, it was hard to imagine, but once he mocked it up it sounded incredible and it took on a whole different feeling. It began to feel compelling, like an addiction. Q: Is this the first Beatles tracks you ever recorded? Yes it is. 

Me: Were you a Beatles fan growing up, or have you been into jazz pretty much all your life? 

Anna: I actually started out listening to classical music, got really intrigued by folk music, didn’t really get interested in jazz until my late teens. Plus, the whole time I was exposed to a lot of popular music from Mexico. 

Me: You also do one of my mum's favorite songs... I wish she was alive to hear it. How did you go about and choose to do "Everybody's Talking" by Harry Nilsson? 

Anna: The song had been in my radar because of the movie Midnight Cowboy, but my arranger and guitarist, Ray Scott, gets credit for this choice. He had seen a documentary called Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talking About Him) and he just got obsessed with doing it. He suggested we do it as a samba, and I knew the first time we performed it live that we needed to record it. All our audiences love this song! 

Me: Are you aware a lot about Nilsson's songs? 

Anna: I had vaguely been aware of him for years. The Beatles had mentioned him several times and I remember when John Lennon had gotten into that fight at the Troubadour in L.A. that he had been with Nilsson. But after Ray told me about the documentary. I had to watch in on Netflix, and it was amazing! Amazing to see how much music he created, how respected he was among his fellow songwriters, and how ironic that the song he is so remembered by is one that he didn’t even write. 

Me: Oh, I also have top ask you about "Pure Imagination", the song from the original Willy Wonka movie. I am guessing you are a big fan of that movie, am I right? 

Anna: I never saw the movie until the 1990s. My daughter was a big fan of Roald Dahl’s books and that’s how I ended up seeing the movie. That’s a great moment in the film. 

Me: Okay, I just read that you are also into fencing. That's not putting up a fence, but the fencing you do with a sword. Do you do it professionally? I think I have a picture of you in your fencing garb.

Anna: I am definitely an amateur, but very devoted to the sport. 

Me: Do you do fencing in the Olympics? 

Anna: LOL. No, but I watched our Olympic fencers, and one of my teammates is hoping to represent the USA in Rio.

Me: How long have you been fencing and what made you get into it, Anna? 

Anna: My daughter took it up and she suggested I try it. It’s a difficult sport to watch, because the actions are fairly quick, so it’s easier to grasp what is happening if you do some fencing yourself. 

Me: Did you ever get hurt doing it? 

Anna: I fell and broke my wrist once. I’ve had knee issues (partial meniscal tear) at different times, but it’s not clear if it’s the fencing or aging knees, and never bad enough I had to stop. Had very bad plantar fasciitis one season. Sometimes “tennis elbow” flares up but it gets better with rest. 

Me: My son wants to do it and he's 12, is that a good idea? 

Anna: I think it’s a great sport. It’s very physical and mental at the same time. It’s a combination of technical skill, tactics and mental toughness. If he wants to do it you should definitely let him try it. It is so much fun! 

Me: What does your daughter think of your singing and fencing? And is she your only child?

Anna: I have one daughter. She’s the one who introduced me to fencing, so she understands why my love for fencing. She’s acted herself in the past (her first time on stage was in a show I did when she was five) and probably understands that my singing is in many ways closely related to my acting. 

Me: Anna, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back on again and be safe. Go ahead and plug your website and anything else. All the best, and like I said, be safe. 

Anna: People can visit my website to listen to music sample and for news about upcoming shows, or they are welcome to contact me with questions at The CD is available on iTunes, CD Baby, or Amazon. Thanks for your time, and again, please forgive me for the delay in getting back to you.

Me: No, problemo, Anna. Take care.

Okay, there you go, another entry of the Phile done. Thanks to Anna Estrada for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday where we continue Alumni Month with Alumni Toots from Toots and the Maytals. Then on Monday it's artist RobotrobotROBOT. The week after that is two Alumni... Adam Bentley from The Rest and Christine Leakey. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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