Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pheaturing Phile Alum Natania

Hey there, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you? It's October, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Just a reminder to get a breast exam while you're visiting the doctor for the cold you think is Ebola. Speaking of Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is apparently planning to start screening airline passengers coming into the U.S. to make certain that they are not bringing the Ebola virus with them. These screenings could include taking temperatures, requiring questionnaires to be filled out and making people promise that they're super duper sure that they're not infected with the disease. I hope they don't do that stuff when I fly to Long Island on Saturday. Eep.  Hollywood attorney Marty Singer is threatening to sue Google, on behalf of more than a dozen celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton for $100 million for allowing users to upload stolen nude photographs onto its various Internet services, such as Blogspot and YouTube. Google fas responded by stating that it has already removed "tens of thousands" of the images from its servers. If true, that would mean that there's only tens of hundreds of thousands left to delete. These nude celeb leaks are whatever... I'd rather see pics of Jay Z and Beyoncé arguing in the paint department at a Home Depot. Haha. Yeah. Ahem. Moving on...   Lucasfilm's Vice-President of Development Kiri Hart told the Wall Street Journal that future films taking place within the Star Wars universe may break away from the familiar space opera format usually associated with the franchise, allowing for some odder and more-interesting genre-bending experiments. “I think there are boundaries, but we don't want to rigidly define them," she explained. "It's obviously not slapstick comedy, but there's room for many different stories and genres that still feel like Star Wars.” So, no slapstick comedy, which is kind of a bummer. But we still might be getting the all-Wookiee historical romance we've all been pining for.  Former football player and Hollywood actor O.J. Simpson's murder trial will be the subject of the first season of FX's upcoming crime drama "American Crime Story". The true crime series is a spinoff of the network's popular "American Horror Story", with the biggest difference being that it will actually be scary and disturbing. But probably not for the reasons the network is hoping. It's a shame how O.J. Simpson's amazing football career will forever be overshadowed by his even-more-amazing performance in Naked Gun.  Film star Robert Downey, Jr. teased some very unhelpful information to movie fans on the "Late Show with David Letterman", seeming to imply that he's not playing Tony Stark in a fourth Iron Man film that maybe/probably is not going to be happening, while also hinting that he's going to continue working with Marvel Studios in some capacity that is vague and confusing. Take that as you will. Somebody please trap Robert Downey, Jr. in that Iron Man suit and just film his everyday activities.  Hey, check this out...

It's kind of a metallic, red taste, and it oozes out of your eyes and ears. The 55-year-old Dallas Weekly is the most widely-read African-American newsweekly in North Texas, and they accidentally had some really bad timing with their most recent edition. Their cover story was on the "Taste of Africa: Family Fun Festival" a free event that was held on Saturday, Sept. 27 and included food tasting from many African countries and a host of speakers. It looked like a great event, and it wasn't going to be ruined by the Ebola scare, which was still only in Africa (and the opposite page) at the time...

Unfortunately, Sept. 26th turned out to be the day Thomas Eric Duncan was first admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and sent home with antibiotics, and Sept. 28th was when he was rushed back to the hospital with they finally realized was Ebola, following a trip to Africa. So, even though their cover story for the week of 9/25-10/1 was supposed to be the taste of a continent's worth of cuisine, it inadvertently turned into a scary propaganda poster about how we're all about to bleed out through our orifices. You won't, though. You have to actually touch someone's bodily fluids. Someone who has Ebola. So, maybe just no blind dates for a while. By the way, thanks, The Media, for putting out photos of the Ebola virus like it's an armed robbery suspect.

Hey, it just hit me... there's a hidden Mickey in the Ebola. Hmmmm.  With all this talk of Ebola, Networks are cashing in. Check out this new show coming out soon...

Did you guys see The Boxtrolls? I'll review it in the minute, but there was one Boxtroll in the movie that you might like. He's in the background and if you blink you'll miss him, so I will show him here.

Can you read his box?  One thing I like to do in my spare time is to go on Twitter and look up different words. One of those words I look up is Foghat and this is one Tweet I recently saw...

Hey! Thanks, Jason.  Okay, it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month and through the month I will be showing you some amazing cancer survivors who chose body art instead of reconstructive surgery. Like this one...

Jane Fox had her mastectomy scar incorporated into a skeletal lizard design. Damn it! I just realized again that the New York Comic Con starts today! Shit. I didn't plan my vacation very good, did I? Oh, well. Anyway, here's...

Mud, gutters, caves, dust, old wood, scrap metal, faded product packaging: these are privileged objects of desire for the weird creatures of The Boxtrolls. Breaking from the pack of clean, bright, primary-color-filled animated movies, and pledging more allegiance to oddball films like The Nightmare Before Christmas, LAIKA’s third feature (the debut from co-directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable) presents a grimy fantasy world where the heroic arrives wearing sooty shades of brown, gray and black.  The screenplay by Irena Brignull and Adam Pava simplifies Alan Snow’s novel, "Here Be Monsters", to revolve around a boy named Eggs (the voice of Isaac Hempstead-Wright), who has been raised underground by Boxtrolls. Shy, peaceful and distortion-cute, the little mutants wear discarded boxes, picking through trash for whatever they can find to fortify their elaborately outfitted cavern. Found and cared for by the Boxtrolls, Eggs believes himself to be a one, too. That is, until he goes above ground and meets the mostly-rotten humans of Cheesebridge.  The rottenest of them all is Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley), a disgusting man with bulbous features, rotten teeth, greasy hair and a passion for status. Setting up the Boxtrolls as monsters to be exterminated, he believes that eradicating them will boost his position in the city’s high society circle. Eggs, meanwhile, collaborating with young Winnifred (Elle Fanning), the daughter of rich and powerful Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris), tries to stop Snatcher’s plan for destroying the only family the lost boy has ever known.  If there’s a complaint to be made about The Boxtrolls, it’s here, in its adherence to plotting that follows common family film formula. An outsider struggles for an identity and earns it by Fighting the Evil Villain. It's an overdone element in the universe of animated films and adventurous audiences will feel themselves wanting more. Having said that, as a plot point, there’s nothing inherently wrong with its existence, and the fact that LAIKA has gone down the road most traveled is not a crime. It’s even understandable in the context of the rest of the film’s determination to be different, with its explorations of adult integrity, social-climbing, indifferent parenting and class conformity. Boxtrolls could win on looks alone, anyway, almost wildly so. Character and production design is fantastical, perfectly detailed and boldly strange. Every thing in every frame refuses cuteness like an allergy. Snatcher, in particular, is such a repulsive character that, in 3D, you might feel like averting your gaze. And there's no backing down. The creators demonstrate a deep commitment to the grotesque, the strange, and the freakish, and the film presents a coherent universe of anti-attractiveness with confidence. This makes it that rare thing in mainstream film: a bold aesthetic move wearing its Dickensian dirtpride like a rusty medal, daring you to suggest it's not as beautiful as it knows itself to be. From 1 to 10, The Boxtrolls get a 9. 

If you spot the Mindphuck email me at Okay, this week at Epcot the Norway ride Maelstrom closed down to make room for a Frozen themed ride. I don't know if you have ever been on that ride by in it was a polar bear. I think I have a picture of it here...

Well, little did people know that polar bear always wanted to be a stand-up comedian. So, now he's out of work, I thought I'd be once and invite him to the Phile as our newest character. So, please, welcome for the first time...

Me: Hey, Petter, welcome to the Phile.

Petter: Hei, Jason. Godt å være her.

Me: Ummm... Petter, do you speak English?

Petter: Ja... I mean yeah. 

Me: Okay, then, you're a comedian so do you wanna tell a joke?

Petter: Ja. What to polar bears eat for lunch? 

Me: I don't know, what?

Petter: Ice berg-ers! 

Me: Funny.

Petter: What did the polar bears say when they saw tourists in sleeping bags? 

Me: I'm not sure.

Petter: "Sandwiches!" 

Me: That's bad, Petter. Do you have one more?

Petter: Ja. The devout eskimo lost his favorite Bible while he was ice fishing. Three weeks later, a baby polar bear walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth. The eskimo couldn't believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the polar bear's mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, "It's a miracle!" "Not really," said the baby polar bear. "Your name is written inside the cover." 

Me: I don't get it. Thanks for stopping by, Petter.

Petter: Takk. Ikke spis kalvekjøtt.

Geoffrey Holder 
August 1st 1930 – October 5th 2014
From 7UP to 6DOWN.

Okay, it's Thursday and time to talk football with my good friend Jeff in a pheature I call...

Q: Hey, Jeff, welcome to the Phile again. It's week 6 in the NFL football season, right?

Jeff: It's always a pleasure to be here on the Phile. Yes, welcome to week six of the NFL Football season.

Me: Okay, last week we talked about different NFL news and I didn't know of any major stories, not thinking of the Husein Abdullah deal with him getting a penalty for praying. What's your take on that? Tebow used to pray all the time on the field and he never got a penalty. I think it's because the officials didn't know Husein was praying.

Jeff: The NFL has come down and said that Abdullah should not have been penalized for praying in the end zone. You are correct that Tebow used to do it as well. I think that right now the NFL is walking a very thin line as far as what is acceptable and what is not. They are very gun shy with all the negative press they have gotten this season. That is why they were quick with the apology to Abdullah admitting they were wrong. I think the NFL was right to admit their fault here. If one player can do it, then everyone can do it.

Me: So, is there anything else happening this week in the NFL?

Jeff: There are rumors that Tom Brady might not finish his career in New England. He has been having issues with the coaching staff. But a win like they had this week should help. Winning cures a lot in sports. So we will see. It looks to be an on going story. It's amazing how someone like Brady had a bad week 2 weeks ago and they were talking about his career being over. Like I said last week, the NFL is a "what have you done for me lately" kind of league.

Me: A Miami Dolphins player was arrested I think. Luckily all Giants players are saints. Haha.

Jeff: I had to do research to find out about the Dolphins player that got arrested. Let's just say that Derrick Shelby got handsy with women in a club down in Miami. When the police came, he was belligerent and had to be subdued by everyone's favorite method, the taser. He has been suspended indefinitely pending an investigation. And no, all New Orleans players are saints. New York Saints just has a bad ring to it!

Me: Good point. Alright, last week I was in second place, Jeff, you are staying in first and Lori was in last place. This week all our teams won, so how did we do?

Jeff: This past week, Lori went 2-0 with an Eagles win. You and I both went 1-1 with our teams winning as well. So the standings keep me in the lead with 19 points. Jason you maintain 2nd place with 15 points and Lori has 12 points. The season is still very young and any one of us can win.

Me: Let's do this week's picks... I say Chargers will win by 13 and the 49ers will win by 4. What do you say?

Jeff: My picks for this week are Denver over the Jets by 10 points and the Cardinals by 3 points over the Redskins. This week also features the first of two between the Giants and the Eagles. So let the trash talking begin!

Me: Ha! Okay, so, next week the Phile will be posted from Long Island, but I will still have you back on Thursday for next week's picks, okay?

Jeff: See you next week.

Today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum whose new single "Box You Up" is available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile... Natania.

Me: Hello, Nat. Welcome back to the Phile, how have you been?

Natania: Hello!! I'm so happy to be back at the Phile again!! I've been great!

Me: I didn't ask you this last time you were here I don't think... maybe I did. You just go by your first name Natania, and not whole name... why is that? Natania Lalwani is a beautiful name.

Natania: Yes I do! I wanted to go by my full name for a while but then I decided to just use Natania since it was too long! And I thought it stood out more! And Natania is complicated enough... haha! 

Me: You're originally from India, right? What part?

Natania: Mumbai!

Me: Did you speak English your whole life?

Natania: Yes, English is my first language.

Me: Do you speak Indian?

Natania: Yes! It's actually Hindi :)

Me: Oh yeah. You've been in America for just a few years, was it a culture shock for you?

Natania: Not really! I have a lot of family on the east coast so I had been coming to the U.S. for holidays all the time! It was a change coming to the U.S. and living on my own though!

Me: I am originally from England and when I first came to America when I was five in 1974 I remember the first place I ate at on Long Island was Jack In the Box. I was scared of that talking clown. You were a lot older than five years old, Nat. What was the first thing you did in America and what was the first place you are at?

Natania: Haha! Aww! I don't remember since I was about three and I have a horrible memory! But my first meal when I came to L.A. in 2010 was at Chipotle!!! I had never heard of it and it became my favorite place!

Me: For some reason I thought you lived in New York City but you live in Los Angeles, am I right? 

Natania: Yes! I'm on the sunny side! :)

Me: How and why did you choose that city to live in, Nat?

Natania: I went to Musician's Institute for my degree which is in L.A.! So I just stuck around after and I love it!

Me: You were a teenager when you moved to America, were you scared?

Natania: It was a bunch of mixed emotions! I think the excitement took over the fear but I do remember feeling the fear creeping in at times!

Me: Have you visited India since you moved here or did your family visit you?

Natania: Both! I love going home!! It always makes you feel whole, you know!? And my family comes visit all the time.

Me: You were singing and playing guitar before you came to the States but didn't start recording and doing it professionally since you were here. Are you happy how your career is going?

Natania: Yes!! I don't think I was ready to record before. After spending two years just learning and crafting my skills I thought I was finally ready and started recording and put my music out! I'm super happy with how my career is going!!! It’s been really amazing getting all these positive responses!

Me: Has it been a struggle?

Natania: Yes! But isn't everything!? The struggle makes you appreciate the good things more! Though I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world! You only see the rainbows after all the rain!

Me: VH1 India said some nice things about you... it must be nice someone back home is supporting you, right?

Natania: Yes! Oh my gosh! They have been so incredible to me! I am so grateful and lucky to have their support! It's truly surreal!

Me: So, I have to ask, are you into Bollywood being from India?

Natania: Yes!!! I love Bollywood movies and songs!

Me: If you were asked to do a Bollywood movie would you do it?

Natania: I would definitely be open to singing in one!

Me: So, what has been the highlight of your career so far, Nat? Being on the Phile?

Natania: Duh!!! The Phile is AMAZING!!!! If I had to pick another one it would be being on VH1 :) It was so cool watching my name pop up with my video right after Ed Sheeran played! I used to get ready for school watching VH1 and singing along so now when I see my music come on it’s like I’m in a dream world!

Me: Last time you were where we talked about your EP "Hope & Heartbreak" and that very catchy song I love "Cherry Love". You had a single out before that release though, am I right? Was that "The Letter"?

Natania: "The Letter" was after the EP! "Cherry Love" was the debut single! :) "The Letter" is one of my favorite releases!

Me: Then we gotta talk about it. I have a picture of the single cover here I'll show...

Me: What was "The Letter" about? A real letter?

Natania: Yes! I wrote one but I never sent it!! Melody Michalski who wrote the song with me also was writing a letter at the time so it was perfect!

Me: The video for "The Letter" is different than your other few videos, because it's live action, you're in it, it's not a cartoon. Do you like being on film?

Natania: Yes! I'm pretty shy about being on film! But I really wanted to show a live story for the song so I decided to do a full music video. I’m also doing a performance music video for my next release, which I’m excited about!!

Me: You do love animation though, right?

Natania: I do! I love animation with the lyric videos!! I love how the animation helps create the story with the lyrics, and how cute are all the graphics!?

Me: Are those friends of yours in "The Letter" video? I have a screen shot of you kids...

Natania: Yes! They all my friends! The girl, Melody is the one who co-wrote the song with me!

Me: And whose apartment was it filmed in? I hope they didn't mind someone wrote your lyrics on the floors, doors and cabinets?

Me: Look at that.

Natania: Haha! That was my apartment. Luckily that was digital or I would have had a huge bill to pay ;)

Me: Oh. I'm an idiot. Let's talk about your new single called "Box You Up". What does that mean, Nat? You wanna kill somebody, beat them up?

Natania: Haha!! It's about shipping off your unwanted feelings! I'm so excited about this song!!

Me: Actually, when I first heard the title I thought it was a sexual term... then again I thought "Cherry Love" was a sexual term. Why do I think that with all your songs?

Natania: Haha. Haha!! That’s hilarious!!

Me: Is "Box You Up" gonna be on your new EP? Are you working on a full length or another EP? 

Natania: Yes!! It’s the first single off the new EP “Gold”!!! As you can see from all my exclamations I’m excited 'bout all my new music.

Me: Once again this is a very catchy song... did you write this one yourself, Nat?

Natania: Yay!!! Thank you! Yes I did.

Me: What came first, the lyrics or the music?

Natania: I think it was the concept that came to me first since I was moving apartments and I had all these boxes around me! And then the melody and lyrics kind of happened simultaneously!

Me: You are very romantic with your lyrics, do you have a boyfriend and if so, what does he think?

Natania: I am!!! I love love. I’m currently single, Jason.

Me: I like the single artwork with the robot... did you come up with that? Who drew it?

Natania: Thank you!!! The company that did the lyric video with me Men At Work did all the cool graphics! Aren’t they awesome?

Me: Yeah, pretty cool. I read that you are into something called Athropologie... I probably got that wrong. What is that? I notice you do like candles though.

Natania: It’s a store that sells candles, home goods, clothes, furniture etc etc. It’s heaven!! I can spend hours in there! And yes I’m in love with candles! I have like a hundred in my apartment.

Me: So, what's next for you, Nat?

Natania: I’m going to India promoting "Box You Up" so I’ll be doing some shows soon and then I’ll be releasing the next single “Gold” off the EP.

Me: As you know on the Phile I ask random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Ready? What's your dream job?

Natania: Exactly what I’m doing right now... making music for a living, it’s a dream!

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile again, please come back when the EP comes out. Go ahead and mention your website. How do you thanks and good-bye in Hindi?

Natania: Thank you so much for having me!!! My website is and all social media is @nataniamusic. Dhanyavaad and Alvida, Jason.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course Natania. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Phile Alum Justin Levinson. Spread the word, not he 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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