Friday, October 24, 2014

Pheaturing Jess Meuse From "American Idol"

Hey, everybody, welcome to the Phile. How are you? Are you kid's "Real Housewives of New Jersey" fans? My wife loves that show. Anyway, "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice will begin serving a fifteen month sentence for federal fraud charges at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut beginning in early January. Interestingly, the correctional facility is the same one at which Piper Kerman, author of the nonfiction book upon which Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black "was based... served her prison time. It is currently unknown when Giudice will begin filming her "Real Prisoners of Danbury" spinoff reality television show, but you'd better believe that somebody at Bravo has already pitched that idea.  The trailer for the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was supposed to premiere during next Tuesday's episode of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. " on ABC, but somehow made it onto the Internet ahead of schedule. In response, Marvel Studios decided to release an official version this week. While the film company blamed its own fictional villains on Twitter ("Dammit, Hydra.") it seems much more likely that the much-anticipated preview... about a Stark Industries artificial intelligence program that gains independence acquired free will and figured out how to upload itself to the throngs of voracious fanboys and fan girls online. Either that, or some dude who works there did it on his lunch break. 
Florida here is apparently so fed up with having to deal with itself that the entire southern half of its peninsula is trying to become its own state. "It's very apparent that the attitude of the northern part of the state is that they would just love to saw the state in half and just let us float off into the Caribbean," South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard explained. Stoddard's feelings about the north aside, the resolution to recreate an autonomous South Florida has about as much chance of passing as the northern half of the state has of not hosting a single drunken nude sword fight this weekend. Remember when the main joke about Florida was that elderly people lived there, and not that it was literally an unfolding apocalypse. Speaking of Florida... I was gonna talk about this in the Florida: America's Wang pheature but I have another story to talk about then.  A Florida based mom activist, or moctivist, Susan Schrivjer has started a popular online petition to get nationwide toy store Toys R Us to stop carrying "Breaking Bad" action figures, claiming that the tiny little representations of drug dealers... complete with itsy-bitsy containers of fake crystal meth... is a bad influence on children, despite the fact that the collectables are displayed in an adult section of the store, far away from the more kid-appropriate functioning crossbows.  Music legend Annie Lennox informed younger, more bootylicious, musicians that "twerking is not feminism," during a recent NPR interview, in which she gave her thoughts on the "over-sexualization" of pop music by performers like Beyoncé Knowles. "It's not... it’s not liberating, it’s not empowering. It’s a sexual thing that you’re doing on a stage; it doesn’t empower you." So, take that under advisement, Ms. Fierce. Hello Tilda Swinton, Annie Lennox here… Just checking to see if we are possibly the same person. Call me when you get this. Okay, bye. Haha. I'm so stupid.  In the process of reconstructing the 45,000 year old variant of the human genome, geneticists confirmed that your great great great great etc. grandparents liked to have some kinky inter-species sex with with Neanderthals. Just wanted you to know. Now go about your day and try not to kill any Woolly Mammoths.  For the past six years, the Empire Brewing Company in Syracuse, New York has offered a style of lager that it has dubbed Strikes Bock. Get it? Do you get it? Like The Empire Strikes Back. See? That's clever. However, now that Empire is trying to trademark the beer so that they can distribute it, Lucasfilm... which was bought by Disney... the greatest company to work for ever... for all of the money in the world two years ago is filing a lawsuit to stop the microbrewery from calling it that, saying it sounds too similar to the name of the movie that Empire is rather obviously trying to make it sound like. I like to imagine that they filed it via a highly concentrated legal beam from a small artificial moon which is always orbiting the Earth. But they probably just faxed some papers over to some law office somewhere. The microbrewery's owner, David Katleski, is painting himself as a sort of scrappy booze-producing rebel just trying to do his thing on his own little base on Yavin IV. "It’s kind of a ‘big dog against small dog’ thing," he told "We’ve had this beer for seven years, and we did this [trademark attempt] because we don’t want to infringe on any other beers or anyone else’s trademarks." That's all well and good, but his company is the one called Empire, so doesn't that kind of make him the Emperor in this situation?  I want to try this beer.  There's a new movie that came out today I think called Ouija. Anyway, I guess in time for Halloween McDonald's has a movie tie-in for it which is kinda weird.

Haha. That's so funny.  Did you guys ever play with a ouija board? I did it once when I lived in England with my sister and a friend.  A Phile reader sent me a picture that I thought was funny and thought I would share.

But I want to buy stuff.  Taylor Swift has a new CD out and she's everywhere now. Disney has decided to re-release all their animated movies by replacing the princesses with Taylor as well. Here's the first look at the first one...

Hahaha. I really don't know what to say.  You kid's I am sure love Frozen, right? There was a scene in Frozen which I did not really understand.

No wonder she wants to marry that guy so fast.  So, one thing I like to do in my spare time is to go on Twitter and look up certain words to see what people are talking about. One of those words I look up is Foghat and this is what I recently saw.

God, I wish I knew what ride that was.  Okay, it's October, and it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So, this month I am showing you some some amazing cancer survivors who chose body art instead of reconstructive surgery. So, here is another one...

Alright, and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Startling Similarities And Differences Between Oscar Pistorius And Oscar De La Renta
5. Is the pride of South Africa.
4. Isn't making any plans for the foreseeable future.
3. Beloved by fashion models worldwide.
2. Googled "How to make a shiv" in the last two months.
And the number one similarity and difference between the two Oscar's...
1. Has feeling in his feet.

Ben Bradlee
August 26th, 1921 — October 21st, 2014
Deep box.

Oscar De Le Renta 
July 22nd, 1932 — October 20th, 2014
Fashionably late.

Shit! That had to hurt. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. And I thought my accident two years ago was bad. Man! So, a few weeks ago the Maelstrom ride in the Norway pavilion in Epcot closed down to make room for a Frozen themed ride. In that ride was a polar bear who now is unemployed, but all he wants to do is to be a stand-up comedian. So, a few weeks ago I invited him on the Phile to tell some jokes and he was so damn popular I thought I would invite him back. So, here he is once again, the Phile's new character...

Petter: Hei, Jason, er det flott å være tilbake på Phile.

Me: Hi, Petter. I don't speak Norwegian so all I got was Jason and Phile. How are you?

Petter: Fantastisk, takk.

Me: Petter, please stick to English. Okay, do you have any jokes for us?

Petter: Why shouldn't you take polar bears to the zoo?

Me: I don't know. Why?

Petter: Because they'd rather go to the movies.

Me: Petter, that was horrible.

Petter: Sorry. How about this one? What did the polar bear eat after the dentist fixed its tooth?

Me: I'm not sure.

Petter: The dentist.

Me: That's mean. Any others?

Petter: Ja. What do you get when you cross a polar bear with a seal?

Me: I'm not sure. What?

Petter: A polar bear.

Me: Hahaha. Petter, that's funny. Do you have a story to finish your pheature?

Petter: Ja. A man in a movie theater notices what looks like a polar bear sitting next to him. "Are you a polar bear?" asked the man, surprised. "Yes." "What are you doing at the movies?" The polar bear replied, "Well, I liked the book."

Me: That wasn't funny at all, Petter. I'll have you back soon to try again. Keep at it. Petter the Comedic, Norwegian, Unemployed Polar Bear, everybody. And now for a brand new pheature...

U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is a printed version of Ben Stein's voice.

The 28th artist to be pheatured in the Phile's Art Gallery is Al Abbazia and this is one of his pieces...

I love it! Al will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

This is sooooo cool. Today's pheatured guest is an American singer from Slapout, Alabama, who finished in fourth place on the thirteenth season of "American Idol". Please welcome to the Phile... Jess Meuse!

Me: Hello, Jess, welcome to the Phile. It's so cool you are here, how are you?

Jess: I'm great! Happy I can sit down and have time to answer some questions, of course! It's a great day to be alive!

Me: Okay, so, do you like to be called Jessica or Jess?

Jess: I like to be called Jess more. In high school, I had like a thousand Jessica's in my classes, so it got really confusing, and it kinda left a stigma on the full three syllable name! Ha!

Me: Jess, I have to be honest, I originally was planning to have you on the Phile in 2011 when your album "What's So Hard About Bein' A Man" came out. I have photo of that album here...

Me: I thought that was a great album title... was it a pun?

Jess: Haha. You're so punny. It was a collection of many of my early works, including the title track, one of the very first songs I ever wrote. That time in my life was a huge time of learning, and with that, frustration! What better way to release that than through music and lyrics?

Me: That album was all originals, right?

Jess: All of the tracks were original aside from my cover of "Simple Man."

Me: When you do your shows do you still do songs from that album?

Jess: Sometimes. I'm really lenient with my set lists. I usually don't make it until about five minutes before I get on stage, and then about five songs change on it anyway… so sometimes I don't even make one. Every now and then, I'll definitely have a "throwback" to my "What's So Hard About Bein' A Man" days!

Me: When you were on "Idol" I was like... wait a minute. I know that name. Has your life changed a lot since you were on that show?

Jess: Definitely. It was like being picked up in a tornado and not even seeing the clouds rolling in! But it was a great ride and an awesome experience! There are some educations you just can't pay for, and the "Idol" experience is one of those. My life has definitely changed for the better, and I'm ready to keep pushing forward with my solo career and go crazy with my music... in a good way, of course!

Me: Regular readers of the Phile know I am a huge Kelly Clarkson fan and she's my favorite Idol, but last season you were my favorite Idol. Did you have a good time doing that show, Jess?

Jess: It was AWESOME!!

Me: You went pretty far which was so cool, and you had some amazing performances... "Jolene", and "Gunpowder and Lead" were great. You have done local talent shows and auditioned before for other shows, right?

Jess: Thank you so much! I've done a ton of local shows here, there, everywhere. I doubt I could list them all offhand. I'm really rooted in the place I come from, so I was sure to be a part of the community not only as a musician but as a person; it built a lot of character, I think, and helps me stand firm in who I am today.

Me: I have to show this picture of your audition on "Idol"...

Me: How did you choose "American Idol" over say "The Voice" or any other talent show?

Jess: I was on "The Voice" Season 3 in 2012. It just didn't work out, and that's okay. I got to blind auditions, and no one turned around. It was my first real Hollywood experience.

Me: You got to perform your own original song "Blue-Eyed Lie" on the show. That must of been a really big deal for you. And they even paid to have you record it in the studio? Do you wish you got to do any other of your original songs?

Jess: That was a total dream come true! I actually ended up being the first finalist to perform an original on the show, which is hard for me to process even now, months after the season has ended! I just feel very blessed and thankful. I do wish I'd gotten to perform other originals, of course. I was going to sing "The Hell You Put Me Through", ironically, on the round I was eliminated. The theme of the week got switched up last minute, and I had to pick a song on the spot; I ended up with "So What" by P!nk, because it was the only song, lyrically, that I could even remotely relate to on the cleared list.

Me: Do you have a favorite "Idol" moment? Mine would be in the eighth season when Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta did "Slow Ride". You could of done a great version of "Slow Ride" or any Foghat song, Jess. Are you a fan of Foghat?

Jess: I'll have to go check them out! I've heard the name before, at least!

Me: Jess, you're originally from Texas, right, but didn't you live in Florida for awhile?

Jess: Yes! I lived in Zephyrhills, Florida for a couple years!

Me: How did you end up in Slapout, Alabama?

Jess: That's a good question. It just kind of… happened. My family and I moved down to Slapout from Rhode Island, so it was a rather random place to end up in.

Me: You being on "Idol" really put the town on the map. Are you still living there?

Jess: I do still live in Slapout!

Me: Do you get recognized a lot?

Jess: Everyone knows everyone in Slapout, so yes! It's fun, though! I love the tight-knit community. It's like a big happy family!

Me: Jess, how old were you when you started playing guitar and singing?

Jess: I was just finishing up eighth grade at Holtville Middle School, so I was probably 14 or 15. I'm a night owl. I'd sit up all night and teach myself, wake up at 6, go to school, do my homework, repeat.

Me: What was the first song you learnt, Jess?

Jess: It escapes me. I had to learn a lot of covers, especially when I was playing three and four hours worth of shows, multiple times a week. It was definitely something without bar chords, though! Haha! Those came later!

Me: Hey, I just remembered something, you did a show with a Phile Alum Kirk Waldrop who is the lead singer of the band Nine Times Blue. Do you remember that? Was that before "Idol"?

Jess: Wasn't that at The Nick in Birmingham?

Me: I'm not sure... I wasn't there.

Jess: One of the coolest venues to perform at, if you ask me! I remember Nine Times Blue & Roostertruck performed there that night, too! It was an epic night of music. Just how I like it.

Me: Okay, so, now the "Idol" show is over and the tour is done, are you gonna be going into the studio to work on your album?

Jess: I currently am working with a very talented production group based out of Los Angeles. Hopefully, if things work out, I'll be releasing a single and hopefully begin working on an EP.

Me: Have you been writing songs for it, Jess?

Jess: Always writing!!!!

Me: You're going to continue being a singer and performer, right?

Jess: I couldn't be anything else. It's not in my soul.

Me: I have to mention your tattoos as I have four myself, but you have a lot more than four. How many do you have?

Jess: Maybe nine? Once you start to get so many, it becomes less of a number and more of a size thing… I have a huge dragon on the left side of my back, my best friend's spirit animals and mine, a Celtic cross with "Caelitus Mihi Vires" written on it, a phoenix, a double infinity with wings, "Faith," "XIII" (for "Idol" season 13), and a few more.

Me: You designed them yourself, am I right?

Jess: Yes, I designed all of them except the buckmark on my hip. The big dragon I told you about was originally my concept, and I had a drawing, but the artist I use is freehand, so he ran with my concept with his own interpretation!

Me: Are you gonna be getting any more?

Jess: Maybe… probably...

Me: Okay, so, on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? What's the hardest thing you've ever done? And no, that's not a pun.

Jess: Remained true to myself... and continuing to do so... while being pushed and pulled from every angle. There are a lot of people in this world and not one of them has the same idea of perfection. I think it's imperative to stay honest, be real, and be true to yourself and others in spite of the parts of this world that will try to weigh you down and make you feel heavy. You just have to do what you love and treat people the way you want to be treated. That's my goal every day.

Me: Good for you. Jess, you are fantastic. Continued success and when your album comes out will you come back on the Phile?

Jess: Thank you so much! I enjoyed it. I'll definitely talk with you again sometime!

Me: Go ahead and mention your websites and stuff.

Jess:, Twitter: @jessmeuse, IG: jessmeuse.

Me: Take care, all the best.

Jess: You too!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jess Meuse for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Thursday with singer Everett Young from Kicklighter and on Friday with singer Poison Ivory. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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