Hey there, welcome to the last Phile entry of 2012! That really goes without saying as it's the 31st. Man, what a year it has been, with me almost canceling the Phile back in Spring because I had too many computer problems, to me breaking my humerus in four places. But that's enough about me... for now. There were a lot of phamous people have died this year. Hell, there were two big deaths on Christmas Eve. Thanks, Santa! I wonder which crusty old codger is going to have their ticket punched before the ball drops tonight. Speaking of which, this being our first "Dickless" New Years Eve in Times Square. Tonight on "Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve"... why do they still call it that? He's gone, and it's not rockin'. Anyway, tonight on the show they'll have Carly Rae Jepsen, Taylor Swift and PSY performing. So, that means I won't be watching. So, Kim Kardashian is pregnant... the world knows and cares. Hilary Clinton has a blood clot in her head... no one even notices. Funny how Republicans think Hilary Clinton faked almost dying but can't believe George W. Bush faked being president. I mentioned this yesterday I think... Tim Tebow and actress Camilla Belle have called it quits. The rumor is, she caught him not having sex with another woman. Well, kids, we got a lot to worry about. Tonight we go over the fiscal cliff. I woke up this morning thinking, wait a minute. One more day til the fiscal cliff? Where is Superman? But you shouldn't be worried. You should have faith in our representatives in Congress and the Senate. Here's what happened in Washington today. The Republicans and the Democrats got together. They rolled up their sleeves and then they took a break. Ireland is coming out with its own version of the show “Cheers.” Yeah, a sitcom about people who sit around drinking at a bar all day... or as they call that in Ireland, “Reality TV.” So, back to the fiscal cliff... a lot of people still don't understand what it means. So, I'll explain it for you with one picture.
Get it now? A Phile reader was in the store the other I was in the store the other day and noticed this and sent it to me. I don't get it.
Okay, I really do get it. A lot of people were born in '69. LOL. I haven't been to England in a few years, but it seems things have changed. Thatcher would never have done anything like this.
I wanna talk about movies in a minute, but next year there's a new Superman movie coming out. If I was making a Superman man movie, it would look like this...
Okay, granted, it would be called Woman of Steel. A lot of people asked me how my year was, well, it was kinda crazy. So, I hooked my mind up to the computer and it read my thoughts all year. So, here, kids, is my year in review.
Oh, one more thing before we move on... yesterday I think it was I said I didn't know what Gangham Style was, and a lot of you readers felt you should try and tell me. But, I figured it out. It's dancing in a rain of cocaine with two hot chicks.
And now for one of the most popular pheatures on the Phile.
If you see it email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And now for a special new pheature I call...
The holidays are coming to an end, and so is the year 2012. That means that the next year is upon us, as well as a brand new year of movies to look forward to and anticipate. So, here is my list of phlicks I cannot wait to come out...
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
I know it’s probably a little difficult to look a full year into the future, but when it comes to the new adventures of Middle-earth, I know at least a few of you can’t blame me. While An Unexpected Journey has had its detractors and a few irreconcilable differences with the Lord of the Rings trilogy already, it’s hard to say that we’re not at least looking forward to the next stage of Bilbo’s adventure to slay the dragon. And with a vocal performance from Benedict Cumberbatch to boot, what’s not to like about what’s still coming?
While the Tom Cruise sci-fi actioner might look unremarkable from a concept level, the recently released trailer showed a big-budget thriller that looks like it could be one of the more distinctive sci-fi/action films of the last decade. While some people might be turned off by Cruise’s involvement to a degree, I don’t think there’s a lot of controversy when it comes to his involvement in science fiction (granted, this comes from someone who really enjoyed Minority Report and some of you might not share that sentiment).
World War Z
Yeah, I share the feeling on flesh eaters with some of you: “Zombies, zombies, zombies everywhere.” While it’s easy to be discouraged because of the sheer plethora of zombie fiction being produced today, a lot of people are looking at the footage we’ve seen from World War Z and thinking that it looks a little different. These are fast zombies, which have been done before in films like 28 Days Later and Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, but we’ve never seen literal tidal waves of infected human bodies run like a torrent through a city street. I’ll be pretty interested to see what happens when it opens up next year.
Iron Man 3
“Nothing’s been the same since New York,” according to Tony Stark in the trailer for Iron Man 3. With the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and aftermath of The Avengers showing up in the third solo outing for Robert Downey Jr.’s stint as the Invincible Iron Man, I think it’s safe to say that a lot of eyes are going to be on this one. Not to mention the fact that you have Sir Ben Kingsley bringing the character’s arch nemesis to life for the first time in live action. Iron Man 3 looks like it’ll be launching Marvel’s “Phase Two” in a big way, and it’s easy to be excited about that if you like what we’ve seen so far from the studio.
While I’m not much of a fan of Logan’s last outing as a film or of X-Men: The Last Stand, Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine never makes the list of components of the films I don’t care for. Back in 2000, Bryan Singer struck gold by casting the highly versatile actor as the legendary X-Man, because in addition to being fantastic in every outing he’s played the troubled, long-lived former soldier, like Wolverine, Jackman never seems to age. That’s perfect for a man like Logan, whose aging process has been slowed to a crawl due to his mutant healing factor. Beyond that though, I’m a fan of the director and have high hopes given the source material for this story. We’ll see how they all pull it off this summer.
Thor: The Dark World
After the success of Kenneth Branagh’s Thor and the praise garnered by Chris Hemsworth for his portrayal of the Asgardian God of Thunder, seeing the follow-up should make any fan of the Marvel films excited. This one is especially exciting for fans of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki character, as it’s likely we’ll see the fallout on him for the events of The Avengers. With all the major cast members returning from Thor’s previous solo outing, this looks promising, although I remain a little cautious due to the absence of Mr. Branagh in the director’s chair. This is no slight to Alan Taylor by any means; just concern for Marvel Studios’ penchant for its lack of retention for certain creative minds (Edward Norton? Patty Jenkins?).
Star Trek Into Darkness
After the fantastic nine-minute peek at the next outing for the crew of the Enterprise found before IMAX showings of the first Hobbit film, I’m currently hard-pressed to find anyone that’s not excited for this film. Coming off of the success of the 2009 Star Trek film with the same creative minds and talented actors, the sequel looks to be amping everything up considerably... from the threat, to the locales, to the stakes, the canvas here just screams much larger than any of the previous eleven Trek films. Add to that the inevitable return of arguably the greatest ensemble of characters in all of science fiction, and you have what looks to be a very promising film that will satisfy both longtime Trek fans and general audiences. A feat, by the way, not thought possible until this film’s predecessor proved everyone wrong.
Man of Steel
All this talk of anticipation for 2013 films is leading me to just one character: the Last Son of Krypton. Given Superman’s largely disappointing outing in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, it’s now time for audiences to get to know the Superman of the modern era, a character that’s been present since at least 1986, but who has never been seen on film before. No more callbacks to Christopher Reeve or to the 1978 film he starred in. The Superman that intuitive comics fans know is finally going to be introduced to everyone, and this makes me more excited for Man of Steel than any other movie of 2013. Couple that with a strong and even visionary director (Zack Snyder), a very strong writing team (David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan, Dark Knight Trilogy alumni), a producer with a keen eye for how to envision comics films in our world (Christopher Nolan, Dark Knight Trilogy daddy), and a striking cast, and I think Superman is finally going to get the grandeur and status he deserves. Beyond that, though, I think that means people are going to love it.
Now, this is a big surprise... one of the most popular member of the Phile phamily wnated to come on and wish you guys a Happy New Year. So, please welcome back singer, surfer, renaissance man and one of the coolest fucking guys I know... Laird Jim. You know what time it is.
Good morning humans. So we can all pretty much agree that 2012 sucked BIG TIME. Let's all hope that the new year brings better times. Happy New Year, my freaky little darlings.
Okay, this is it, the last interview of 2012. Today's pheatured guest is a singer and musician from Italy whose new album "I Wanna Tell You A Story" is available at CDBaby. Please welcome to the Phile... The Venetian.
Me: Hello, and welcome to the Phile. How are you?
The Venetian: I'm good, Jason, thanks, and I hope you are the same.
Me: I'm okay, I have physical therapy in a bit. So, did anybody ever tell you you look like Harley Quinn from Batman?
The Venetian: Yes, people recognize the classic harlequin costume I wear sometimes. The idea is to remind people of the carnival in Venice to go with the Venetian. I enjoy fooling around with costumes. The one I'm using right now is like a court jester and matches the color of my guitar. I'm looking at trying out some that are more original.
Me: I have to ask, are you named The Venetian or is the band named The Venetian? You are, am I right?
The Venetian: It started off as the Venetian Band, but most of the original band members ended up moving on to other projects. So now the name is just the Venetian.
Me: I take it the band wasn't named after the hotel in Vegas, am I right?
The Venetian: You're right. Once you hear me talking, you'll know I'm from Venice.
Me: So, Venetian, who else is in the band with you?
The Venetian: Now that it's a solo project, I work with various musicians. LA has the best musicians in the world, and I have a lot of talented friends who help me out.
Me: How long have you been in America?
The Venetian: I came here in 2006 after I worked and saved up enough money for the flight. It wasn't easy at first, especially because I didn't know English and I had to leave everything I had and everything I loved behind to follow my dream. But I knew that that was what I wanted to do in life and this is where I had to do it. I studied at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, and now I'm pursuing a career in music.
Me: Do you write in Italian mostly or English?
The Venetian: Mostly, I write in English. Even when I was living in Italy, I was writing in English (or at least trying). I do have a few songs in Italian, and I might use one on my next album, but I'll change the lyrics to English.
Me: Let's talk about the look of the band. You have a lot of crazy costumes and masks. Did you come up with the music first or the look?
The Venetian: When I was recording my first album, I went to a show where there was a male singer dressed like a woman. The music was horrible and his voice was even worse, but people really like the show. They were from New York and the place was packed (they were playing in Los Angeles). It got me thinking, and after I did the album, I looked for costumes to match the music.
Me: How long did it take you to come up with the look of the band?
The Venetian: It really came together quickly once I listened to what I had recorded. The music made me imagine the look of the Venetian.
Me: You must be inspired by theater, am I right?
The Venetian: You're right, Jason, but movies inspire me even more. I love the Kubrick and Tarantino use music to make their films even more powerful. At the same time, I love opera, like "Madame Butterfly" and "I Pagliacci." So I'm getting inspiration from them, too.
Me: What bands inspire you, Venetian?
The Venetian: One of the first was Queen. I love Freddie Mercury's voice and the band's songs. I also love The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, and as far as bands today, I love Muse. Many bands inspire me, and I'm always listening to new ones on the radio or looking at their videos on YouTube. Sometimes, I see something that gives me an idea for a different approach or arrangement to one of my songs.
Me: On the new CD "I Wanna Tell You A Story" there's all originals, right, but you also play covers in the shows. Who do you cover? I am guessing Queen is one of the bands. You have that Freddie Mercury sound.
The Venetian: Thanks for mentioning me in the same sentence with Freddie Mercury. Yes, I do include Queen songs in some of my sets, and occasionally I cover Led Zeppelin and Beatles songs, too. I like to surprise my audience, so after one of my more theatrical songs, I might play Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti." I want people to listen to the Venetian, but I also want them to dance.
Me: So, speaking of shows, Venetian, what is a typical Venetian show like?
The Venetian: It's mostly about the music and connecting with the audience. Costumes can get their attention, but for them to really get into the Venetian, I know I've got to give them great songs that they can't hear anywhere else.
Me: Do people dress up when they come see you?
The Venetian: So far they aren't dressing up, which is fine with me, because I'm still experimenting with the whole costume thing. Once I decide what works best to enhance my music, we'll see what happens.
Me: I also am guessing you are a fan of Rocky Horror Picture Show, am I right?
The Venetian: "It's not easy having a good time! Even smiling makes my face ache!" I love The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The first time I saw that movie I was here in the US already, and the whole thing blew me away, especially Tim Curry. I think Freddie Mercury would also have been perfect for that role.
Me: I imagine you play all over California throughout the year, but do you get booked a lot through October and around Halloween?
The Venetian: You're right. I guess it's YouTube and Facebook, and now maybe the Phile. When people are putting on a costume party, a lot of them contact the Venetian.
Me: Ever heard of the band Witches In Bikinis? You guys could easily do a gig together, and see who can out do each other.
The Venetian: I just checked them out on YouTube. They definitely are into a fun style of rock theater.
Me: So, the album is a concept album I take it. In one sentence what is the story about you are telling?
The Venetian: Yes, Jason, the album has a sort of concept about a family. There's a father, a mother and a son, and they're talking about life, death and everything in between on a personal level. The songs can be enjoyed by themselves, but when I put them together with the connecting parts in Italian, you see the big picture.
Me: Are you planning a follow-up album, Venetian?
The Venetian: Yes, I'm working on two projects mixed together. One is my next album, and the music on it is also part of a film project. The movie script will be very intense and maybe outrageous. In these projects and some others, I'm trying out a lot of new sounds.
Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile. Please come back soon, this has been fun, I hope it has been for you as well. Go ahead and mention your website and continued success.
The Venetian: Thank you, Jason. It's an honor to be featured on the Phile. Your readers can find updates on what I'm doing at thevenetianband.com, facebook.com/thevenetianbandpage and YouTube.
Me: The Venetian, everybody!
That's it, another year of the Phile done. Thanks to Laird Jim, The Venetian and a special thanks to Jon Ostrow. I also want to thank all you readers who made this year the most popular year ever with the Phile. Also, thanks to the 140 interviewees I interviewed this year. Okay, the Phile will be back on Saturday with singer Kendra McKinley. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Happy New Year!