Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pheaturing Rebekie Bennington

Hello, and welcome to the Phile. So, I was thinking last night... the last government shutdown was in 1996. Times were different then: a Democrat was president, Republicans controlled Congress, Arsenio was on TV, a singer with bad hair named Cyrus sang songs on the radio. Like I said, different. LOL.  I almost said a singer with bad hair named Cyrus sang crappy songs on the radio. But I like that song "Wrecking Ball".  China is building an $8 billion movie studio to compete with Hollywood. They started by releasing American movies and renaming them. For example, they're releasing The Lone Ranger and they're renaming it He Who Rides Horse in Bad Movie.  It turns out that a lot of Americans don't really care about the government shutdown. The last time Americans cared about anything was when they shut down the Twinkie factory. An apparent cryptography-aficionado at the National Weather Service's Anchorage, Alaska office... one of the 4,000 NWS employees currently working without pay during the government shutdown, embedded a secret message to Congress in one of the  updates. And I have it here in case you didn't see it...

Pretty damn clever.  An innocent tearful toddler... who has played no part whatsoever in the partisan-driven shutdown of the U.S. government or the thousands of undelivered paychecks for furloughed government employees will be unfairly dragged into the political debate during tonight's Cincinnati Bengals-New England Patriots game, thanks to a Democratic super PAC-funded ad, titled "Temper Tantrum," aimed at mocking Rep. John Boehner's refusal to call a vote for a budget plan to reopen the government. John Boehner is useless. It's why he's the only Oompa Loompa that was ever fired from the chocolate factory.  In a legal case involving a driving school in Zaragoza, Spain that charged less money for male students than their female counterparts, who supposedly require more hours of teaching, a judge ruled in favor of the discriminative policy because "every single year, men displayed greater dexterity and better open road skills [than women]" according to statistics from Spain’s Directorate of Traffic he decided were valid. What is it with women drivers? Steering with their boobs, crying, having babies, getting paid less than men, crying. Haha. My wife is not gonna like that joke. Moving on...  An unidentified man who doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire at the National Mall before the Capitol Building for undetermined reasons was airlifted to a local hospital, where it is unclear whether or not he will survive. A witness to the incident said the man might have said something before acting, though "it was nothing intelligible." But he got the message out, and that's what's important.  A Muslim patron at a Garland, Texas TGI Friday's location says she was tricked into eating bacon, a food that she cannot eat under Islamic law, by a server who allegedly hid a small piece of the unclean meat product in the straw of her iced tea. TGI Friday's officials are working with the woman to figure out what happened and why any person would do something like this. TGI Friday's waiter accused of spiking Muslim woman's iced tea with bacon. Next week's "Top Chef" quickfire challenge: commit a hate crime!  Yesterday I told the story of Czech TV viewers unexpectedly had a large penis thrust into their faces recently when footage from a documentary were broadcast onto a monitor behind news anchor Daniel Takac. I said I was gonna post a picture of it if you want it. It turns out that some of you want to see it, and some of you don't. I received one email saying I show enough dick on the Phile. I am not sure what that means. Anyway, I decided to give you a edited clip so you'll get the idea.

There, that should do it. Speaking of dicks, did you see the latest ad for the store Dicks?

Those clever pun filled bastards. LOL.  A Phile reader was a store the other say and saw something, and for a second thought it was me. What?!

I don't drink soda.  So, it's October and October is Breast Awareness Month. So, all through October I am showing you clever but controversial breast cancer ads. This one might piss some people off...

The Breast Cancer Fund - USA - rejected this advertising space run by Viacom "over fears that its depiction of mastectomy scars would prove to be too shocking to the public." Now you probably want to see that penis picture on the broadcast. Okay, now from the home office in Pot Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

The Top Phive Groups Of People Who Went To See Gravity
5. People who paid ten bucks to see The Heat and now want to see Sandra Bullock's head explode as she floats helplessly towards the sun.
4. Nearsighted fatties who mistakenly think they're seeing the movie Gravy.
3. Conspiracy theorists who claim the movie's great special effects PROVE the Moon landing was faked.
2. Hack comedy writers looking for an opportunity to Tweet a great Tang joke they wrote years ago but could never sell.
And the number one group of people who went to see Gravity are...
1. NASA employees with lots of free time on their hands now that the government has been shut down.

If you spot the Mindphuck email me at Alright, well, a good friend of the Phile wanted to come on and talk about something that was recently in the news. He's a singer, patriot, renaissance man and phriend of the Phile. It's...

Good morning, humans. A few words on a subject that has been bothering me. Several days ago there was man with his wife and infant child who was attacked by an MC on the west side highway in NYC. The man was dragged from his SUV and pounded by nearly 30 bikers. It began with a bad move by the SUV driver... the biker then cut him off... the rest of this rogue wolf pack surrounded his truck. Fearing for the safety of his family, he forced way out by ramming a few bikes. They then chased him, pulled him from the vehicle and pounded him in front of his family. First off...WTF? Let's pretend the guy deserved to get his ass beat. Did his family deserve to see it? Did it really take 30 of you to teach him a lesson? Laws of confrontation dictate... One man vs. One man. Anything other than that is a cowardly, punk-ass move. Myself... I would've emptied 3 clips at my attackers then had my wife drive home behind me in the SUV while I rode the nicest of the bikes home. A good friend once said, "You never know what you don't know... you know?"

Here's a screenshot from the video. The whole thing was filmed and put on YouTube. Crazy. Thanks, Laird. Good job as always.

Today's pheatured guest is a very talented artist whose work has appeared on role playing games, and Teefury t-shirts. She is the 36th artist to be pheatured on the Phile. Please welcome to the Phile... Rebekie Bennington.

Me: Hello, Rebekie, how are you? First, I have to say, I love your name. It's very unique. Your parents must've been very creative.

Rebekie: Rebekie is actually my nickname... folks often shorten my name in a number of different ways. Rebekie is the one I like most.

Me: Where are you from, Rebekie?

Rebekie: Well, I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and raised in Connecticut until I was 15. I consider myself a New Yorker though, I don’t feel at home anywhere else.

Me: I love your artwork, Rebekie. When did you first start to draw?

Rebekie: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, since I was really, really little. I remember falling in love with crayons in preschool and it just sort of kept going from there. I was pretty lucky to go to a number of schools with good arts programs.

Me: Do you remember what was one of the first things you learned to draw well? You do a good job with animals.

Rebekie: I remember being really into anthropomorphic cat people (like from that cartoon "SWAT Cats") and I had all these characters and this long rambling story that I wrote in a notebook for a few years in middle school. I think that’s when I started becoming “serious” about drawing.

Me: I interviewed a lot of artists here on the Phile and 99.9% of them either do "Doctor Who", Star Wars or zombie stuff, but you don't do much of that. Your stuff is more creative. Do you avoid all of that kind of art for a reason?

Rebekie: I really like "Doctor Who" and Star Wars, but I find it really difficult to riff on pop culture. I’m really fascinated by the world around me more than from stories other people have written.

Me: The first piece I ever saw of yours was the "Love Robot" design which I showed on the Phile here. How did you come up with that idea?

Rebekie: The Love Robot actually began as a holiday card I sent to a bunch of my friends. I don’t really like holidays all that much, so I usually make my cards kind of twisted... this was a year or two after Wall-E came out, and I kept thinking of wintery post-apocalyptic landscapes.

Me: Like I said you do a good job with animals. Your "Hipster Meerkat" piece is cool. How did you choose a random meerkat over any other animal? Were you watching The Lion King at the time?

Rebekie: So, I had a major love of The Lion King for at least 2 solid years, growing up. I knew all the words to the entire movie, I had the soundtrack, the trading cards… everything. Yes, I was definitely somewhat inspired by Timon...but the piece came up from a Shirt.Woot Derby competition that had something to do with “hipsters”. I made this whole list of animals that might make good hipsters, and meerkats won, mostly because they’re already kind of anthropomorphic and spend a lot of time standing around.

Me: Speaking of animals, your old website was named after an animal... a jackalope. There has to be a good story behind this, am I right?

Rebekie: I don’t remember what led to me using the jackalope, but I know the first time he showed up in my art was during my brief time at the School of Visual Arts where I was in my first year of traditional animation; I had this idea for a silent film with this jackalope guy who is traveling through these really epic, dreamlike environments. The project never got very far, I dropped out of SVA soon after, but the jackalope ideas hung around. Since then I’ve made some paintings and got a jackalope tattoo as well.

Me: What is a jackalope anyway? Half deer and half bunny, right? Are they real animals? I know, I am an idiot.

Rebekie: I don’t know much about the history of the jackalope, I always assumed it began as one of those dubious traveling side show exhibits like the furry trout and the jenny haniver. I remember reading somewhere that the mythical jackalope mates only during electrical storms and that you can lure one out of hiding with good whiskey.

Me: Rebekie, apart from being an artist you are going to FIT. I heard of MIT, but what's FIT? What are you studying there?

Rebekie: FIT is the Fashion Institute of Technology, it’s a New York state school funded sometime in the 40s. Though it’s name has “fashion” in it, they actually have a full range of art departments like illustration, commercial design, fine arts, etc. I’m in my first year of the Illustration program and it’s pretty great. I feel like it’s giving me an extra push towards really polishing my work.

Me: So, is fashion designing something you wanna do in the future?

Rebekie: No way, I’m in love with illustration! I like the commercial aspect of it... the idea that what I’m doing is meant to be seen by a fairly wide audience and the narrative aspect of it as well. I do like costume design quite a lot though, I’ve spent plenty of time drawing lots of elaborate space opera type clothes, but it’s really not anything I would be interested in pursuing as a career.

Me: What kinda fashion are you thinking of?

Rebekie: If I were going to go into fashion I’d be really interested in crazy costume design, you know, for epic fantasy movies or space operas.

Me: What kinda fashion are you into?

Rebekie: I’m really inspired by the concept work from Star Wars and the costumes from movies like Fifth Element and David Lynch’s Dune.

Me: You also do commission work, right? You did work for some role playing games. How did that come about?

Rebekie: Many years ago I frequented a message board called nerdnyc (which is AWESOME, by the way), through the boards I was contacted by Luke Crane from Burning Wheel... I’ve done a bunch of illustrations for him now.

Me: What kinda role playing games and stuff did you do? What's Burning Wheel?

Rebekie: Burning Wheel is a fantasy based roleplaying game, so I’ve done lots of fantasy characters, orcs and monsters, magic summonings... you get the idea. I’ve also worked on a science fiction based RPG called “Freemarket” where I drew the cover of the box and a large number of the internal spot illustrations. I love working on these sorts of worlds, there’s so much to explore with the characters, costumes and swirley atmospheric stuff.

Me: I think I have a picture of your "Freemarket" piece here.

Me: Man, look at that detail!

Rebekie: Thanks!

Me: What is "Freemarket" exactly?

Rebekie: "Freemarket" is actually a tabletop roleplaying game for Luke Crane (from Burning Wheel) and his partner in gaming Jared Sorensen.

Me: Did they tell you what they wanted or did you come up with it yourself?

Rebekie: They game me a broad idea for the cover, something like “give us an image that shows us this crazy world and makes us want to explore it”. From that I came up with a few different concepts, once we chose the layout I just went crazy drawing all these people and weird ads and things. It was SO much fun.

Me: Do you play RPG's yourself, Rebekie? I don't think I ever really played, but I did try "Dungeons and Dragons" when it first came out.

Rebekie: I’ve played a few RPG games, but I’ll admit I’ve never really committed to a long term gaming habit. Somehow I’ve just never really gotten into it, though I really like board games with a semi-role playing element like "Arkham Horror" or "Battlestar Galactica".

Me: Speaking of RPG's, that monsters playing an RPG is pretty cool. I was meant to show it on the Phile so I'll show that here.

Me: Did that piece come first or after you did work for the games?

Rebekie: Oh, way after, that piece is super recent. It was just a random doodle I did one day on a whim, but I think it strikes a good chord with a lot of nerdy people.

Me: Rebekie, what kinda tools do you use?

Rebekie: I often work first in pencil and then scan everything into Photoshop and finish it digitally. For almost everything that is up on my website I’m using regular drawing pencils, occasional markers or pens, Photoshop and my beloved Wacom tablet. I have a deep love for traditional mediums though, and have been known to dabble in acrylic painting, watercolors, inks, sculpey sculpture and just about anything else that strikes my fancy at some point. I like to explore, and I like learning new crafts.

Me: And what do you prefer, drawing or painting?

Rebekie: I lean heavily towards drawing, but I’m working on understanding and improving my painting skills. It’s a really different way of thinking, but I think it’s the next big step I need to take in my evolution as an artist.

Me: I have to ask, if you were gonna design a logo for the Phile, what would it look like? You don't normally do logo's though, right?

Rebekie: Nope, that’s more in the realm of graphic design, which I don’t touch too often. Maybe I’d make it look like a computer file icon, or something.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile, Rebekie. Go ahead and plug all he websites you wanna. I wish you lots of continued success and please come back soon. All the best.

Rebekie: Thanks for asking me to be on your blog, it’s been fun! Remember folks, you can check me out at the following links: My website:, my Facebook Page:, my Tumblr:

There, that about does it for this entry. Thanks to Laird Jim as always and of course Rebekie Bennington. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Phile Alum Charlotte Sometimes. Then next week there's only gonna be two entries of the Phile. Sunday it's Seth Powell, lead singer for the great band The Charlie Watts Riots and Monday it's Phile Alumni The Breedings. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever.

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