Hey there, and welcome to another entry of the Phile for a Monday. How are you? Let's start off with talking about ISIS. And I don't mean the superhero. Middle Eastern terrorist organization ISIS has apparently accepted a pledge of allegiance offered by Nigerian terrorist organization Boko Haram. "We announce to you to the good news of the expansion of the caliphate to West Africa because the caliph... has accepted the allegiance of our brothers of the Sunni group for preaching and the jihad," ISIS spokesperson Mohammed al-Adnani declared in a recently released video. It is truly a marriage made in an incredibly fundamentalist interpretation of heaven. Here's hoping the new ISIS/Boko Haram supergroup has as much staying power as Damn Yankees. Comedian Andy Samberg... who was skyrocketed to fame as a beloved regular on "Saturday Night Live" before leaving to head an ensemble cast on the critically acclaimed sitcom "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" has reportedly agreed to try in vain to bring humor to the next Emmy award ceremonies and then be judged harshly by everybody on Twitter. The world lies in shock after the Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council made the counterintuitive announcement that mixing minute amounts of various substances into great masses of water does not offer any substantive health benefits. "There are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective," the report declares in no uncertain terms. The report... which is remarkably similar to the countless reports that preceded it is expected to have about as much effect on the homeopathy market as the solitary molecule of active ingredient in your sleeping pill will have on your metabolism. Apple has admitted that it pays human beings to sit at desks and listen to all the weird sex stuff (as well as less interesting things) that you whisper to Siri, iPhone's personal assistant software. “I heard everything from kiddos asking innocent things like 'Siri, do you like me?' to some guy asking Galaxy to lick his butthole. I wish I was kidding," one of the many people paid to listen to your private comments said. A company spokesperson points out, though, that you agreed to allow this to happen when you hit "Accept" without bothering to read your phone's policy agreement. Ever since Netflix began dropping entire seasons of original television series like "House of Cards" at once, TV obsessors have be trying to figure out how and when it is acceptable for them to spoil important details for people who have things going on in their life and maybe didn't have a chance to inhale 13 hours of television in a single night. With regular serialized shows, it has long been common practice to announce major plot points on Twitter and Facebook mere seconds after they air. But things get a little trickier without an official air time. The Message's Rex Sorgatz has come up with a simple plan to make ruining viewing experiences for other people fun again: "Every day, a new episode is released, always at the same time, and blind to time zones." That way, everybody is forced to either put their lives on hold so that they can watch the show every day, at the same time, for thirteen consecutive nights or avoid all social media for nearly two weeks. Sounds brilliant! How do we make this happen?! In yesterday's entry I mentioned the new Apple Watch... well, that's not the only new Apple product that was released this past week. Have you heard of the iEye? iEye is the implantation of a digital camera into your eye socket. Your eyesight get augmented with 20 times higher resolution than the average human eye, and you to get to magnify your vision up to 12 times. On top of that, you get to record visual data into a built-in hard drive, which can be shared with others and playback at your own request. Cool if you don’t mind being a cyborg. Here it is, check it out...
I love Google. If it wasn't for Google there wouldn't be a Phile. Blogspot is owned by Google if you didn't know. Anyway, I was looking something up on Google and this is what happened...
What the hell is the world coming to? Do you guys like the blues? I do... maybe not as much as my dad did but I like the blues. Anyway, if you listen to a blues song this is what you get...
Yesterday I mentioned and showed you a picture of Obama and Kim Jong-Un handshaking. Well, that is not the only thing those two were doing.
Wait a minute... is that really them? Haha. By now you’ve probably seen the video showing members of the University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity gleefully singing a hateful racist chant. Well, it's no surprise if you saw their logo...
See what I mean? And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...
Top Phive Tips On How To Better Enjoy The St. Patrick's Day Parade
5. Sure, your orange and green Dr. Seuss hat looks realistic...but you'll be thankful for it when that corned beef sandwich you had for lunch needs a place to go.
4. If you happen to see a 170 year old Irishman, do NOT mention the potato famine. It's still "too soon."
3. Shamrock face stickers are fun, but often fall off. This year, consider getting a face tattoo.
2. Avoid eye contact with that police horse you assaulted in 2014.
And the number one too on his to better enjoy the St. Patrick's Day Parade...
1. Remember: a shot of green food coloring at the beginning of the day guarantees festive vomiting later.
The Apple Watch is a watch that can replace the iPhone that replaced your watch.
If you spot it then let me know.
The 36th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...
Phile Alum Jim Korkis will be on the Phile in a few weeks.
Okay, today's guests are two brothers... one is a Phile Alum and an American filmmaker, actor and musician who wrote and directed the movie Adventures of Power. The other is a musician whose latest CD "Songs From a Toxic Apartment" is available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Ari and Ethan Gold.
Me: Hey, guys, welcome to the Phile. Actually, welcome back to you, Ari. Man, it's been years you were here. How are you?
Ari: I’ve been great. Still editing my second feature film, which is taking forever, but I’ve always been a slow, obsessive editor.
Me: So, you two are twins, but which one of you is older? And by how many minutes?
Ari: I’m older by two minutes, which means I’m two minutes wiser. But I do think that my “rushing out of the womb” had an influence on our personalities.
Ethan: I'm going to wait a couple minutes before I answer that question.
Me: Okay. Were are you two from?
Ethan: We are San Francisco natives. I grew up in the foggy side of town and Ari was in the sunny side of town.
Me: You both live in L.A., right? Do you live close to each other?
Ari: I’m back and forth between New York and L.A. I’ve made them both bicycle-friendly cities for me, which is essential.
Ethan: I've been spending a lot of time in New York as well, most recently to score Ari's next feature.
Me: Ari, last time you were here you were plugging your film Adventures of Power. How is that movie doing? It won a lot of praise, didn't it?
Ari: It’s a slow burn to becoming a cult film. It’s the kind of movie that some people watch ten times and memorize, and other people don’t get the vibe and hate it. Those who love it sing its praises, which is really gratifying after all the hard work. I feel sorry for the people who hate it. It means they are cold hearted!
Ethan: The only hatred that's still socially acceptable is hatred of air drumming, unfortunately for Ari. But he's a brave man.
Me: Jane Lynch, who since became a major TV actress on "Glee" is in it... how was she to work with? Have you known her for long?
Ari: I met her when I cast her in Adventures of Power, and though she wasn’t famous like she is now, she was already very experienced and confident, which is why it was so great to have her on set. She has a generous, loving spirit, and for a terrified actor-director like me, that kind of collaborator is a great thing to have. My first day, I was shooting a riot at a coal refinery in inclement weather, and we had breakdowns that forced me to have only 3 hours to shoot the crucial riot. Jane kept me from committing hara-kiri.
Me: For readers that don't know, tell them what the movie is about.
Ari: Adventures of Power is a comedy about love, justice, air-drumming, and the American Dream. It tells the epic story of an unemployed copper-miner on an odyssey across this great nation, gathering a team of air-drummers to save their dignity and their way of life. It’s an attempt to combine the sublime and the ridiculous.
Ethan: My job on that film was to make both of those things happen.
Me: Ethan, you did the soundtrack for it, right?
Ethan: Yep. Sublime music and ridiculous songs, that was my task. There were 90 music cues. It's a blend of plaintive music of the lonely Utah desert where the character Power comes from, and completely ridiculous songs in a lot of different genres, like Mexican death metal with lyrics about eating cereal, and nü-country mixed with pop punk, as well as deliberately bonehead versions of classic rock.
Me: You guys seem to work a lot together on various projects, in your band The Gold Brothers, and videos and stuff. Have you always worked together?
Ethan: We do our own projects but we try to help each other out. That's sort of what happens with my scoring his films, and him directing some of my music videos. But our visions are quite different so we do the bulk of our work separately. The Gold Brothers, our little musical comedy duo side project, is probably the closest to a full collaboration, though generally I write the songs and he does the visuals in that. But there's more crossover there.
Me: You two must be very close, am I right?
Ari: We have a great, difficult, fun, creative, fraternal working relationship. We aren’t Cain and Abel, and we aren’t conjoined twins. Somewhere in between. But he’s always been essential to my film work, and I’ve done my best to return the favor by making music videos that support his intense musical vision.
Me: Do you ever criticize each others work?
Ari: Do we ever not?
Ethan: We don't ever not. We approach our art in radically different ways. Sometimes it's complimentary, sometimes is insultary.
Me: Ethan, I read your bio and was fascinated by something... you wrote a short story called "The Dreammaker" when you were four years old? What the hell? What was that about?
Ethan: Since I have memories at all, my strongest memories were of dreams, or more likely at that time, nightmares. Very vivid. I learned to control them, somewhat, at four, having had chronic nightmares at 2 and 3 and 4. So I wrote a story about this little miner who went inside people's heads with an axe to implant the dreams. My approach to my music and to my visuals is still to try to do this... to create dreams, three dimensional emotional sensory experiences.
Me: Do you still have it...the short story?
Ethan: I have some boxes in storage... it's in there somewhere. But it's in my life.
Me: You knew how to write at four?
Ethan: I don't really know how that happened. Our father is a writer so either genetically or by family influence, I was writing words. I didn't start writing music til I was about seven, and it was another seven years before my first music lesson.
Me: Ari, how old were you when you did you first creative project?
Ari: I was writing stories and jokes when I was eight. I have a book of them. My favorite is a women’s lib one that zooms in on a Women At Work sign. I attempted to write a novel, “The Giant Snail from Brazil,” when I was ten, but got sidetracked when I got word that Emily Mackenzie wanted to go steady. Ethan and I also had a comedy singing group, with our friend Noah, called The French Fries, which had epic songs about farts.
Ethan: I think the Gold Brothers is somewhat the continuation of the French Fries. The subject matter of the light comedy has matured. Pleas pronounce that 'matoored'.
Me: Before we talk about your solo album, Ethan, and videos, I have to mention the short "Helicopter," which Ari mentioned last time he was here. Ari, this is pretty deep... tell the readers what that short was about.
Ari: Our mother was killed in the helicopter crash that took the life of rock music impresario Bill Graham, and the film is about the aftermath. It tries to emulate the feelings of grief and shock that come when a loved one dies without warning. It’s also about, to some degree, celebrity culture and the world of rock’n’roll that died at that time. Watch it at youtube.com/watch?v=DAk0ep76WEg.
Me: Ethan, when you first heard Ari's plan for this short, what did you think?
Ethan: I was really glad he wanted to use art as a way to work things out for himself. It seemed healthy.
Me: I remember the helicopter crash that killed your mom and Bill Graham. My dad, who was Lonesome Dave from Foghat, knew Bill so he was surprised. How did your mom know Bill?
Ethan: They dated for a year or so when we were tiny, then reunited years later for another spell. They didn't survive another year.
Me: You kids must of been young when the crash happened, right?
Ari: We were young enough to still have a lot of life to share with our mom, so it was a major derailment of everything I thought and felt.
Me: Ari, apart from The Gold Brothers, you are also in The Honey Brothers. How is that band going?
Ari: We’re on hiatus, which is a result of all the members having different projects. I sincerely hope we’ll find time to tour again, because I love playing with them.
Me: Alrighty, then, Ethan... "Songs From the Toxic Apartment." That's your solo album, right? Is this your first solo album?
Ethan: Yes, I've done a couple EPs but this was the first full length album I did solo.
Me: Did you do all the songwriting yourself?
Ethan: Yes, unless you count dream spirits, who give me some of my melodies.
Me: So, is it safe to say you are more of a musician and Ari is more of a filmmaker?
Ethan: That is safe, though I've been highly involved in the music videos I've made, and Ari also plays ukelele and drums.
Me: What do you both prefer the most?
Ethan: Songwriting. I like making videos but it's just another version of the sound.
Me: Ari plays on the album with you, am I right, Ethan?
Ethan: I played everything on this album. It was a solo experience in a very extreme way.
Ari: I did arrange a string section for one song which didn’t make the album.
Me: So no one else is on the album? Wow.
Ethan: No other people, but the are crows and pigeons and crickets and helicopters and raindrops which I recorded with a mic out the window. They're on there with me. And friends who listened well... they were helpful. "Songs From a Toxic Apartment" began as demos where I played everything myself and recorded it all at home. At some point I decided to stop calling them demos and turn them into a story that would have an arc. It's an extremely intimate record, but also really dramatic, and I hope, cathartic, for something so intimate. If you listen to the album on headphones while reading the five foot art scroll that comes inside the CD and vinyl versions you'll know what I mean.
Me: You both play guitar, right? Any other instruments you guys play?
Ari: I play ukulele and drums, actually... no guitar. And I play terrible piano, which allows me to be my own karaoke machine.
Ethan: Ari is a party entertainer, and plays Black Sabbath ballads.
Me: Okay, so, where did the album title come from? You didn't really write the songs on a toxic apartment, did you?
Ethan: I really did. But the toxicity I'm referring to is more inner toxicity, the toxicity of pain, and repression, and unexpressed longing. Perhaps it's the emotional toxicity of the apartment we grew up in. I see this is a near universal experience, like the first sentence of Anna Karenina. I happened to make sure this experience was clear to me by literally choosing a decaying building as my first place to live on my own, but the album is about facing and escaping inner decay.
Me: The videos are you amazing you guys did for the songs... everyone is different. What one was your favorite?
Ari: I honestly don’t have a favorite. I see them as connected, different aspects of the same struggle to define manhood... Arigoldfilms.com/videos/toxic-man/.
Me: There is one video of a little chick and a hamster... or mouse. Who came up with that idea?
Ethan: I did that video with my friend Rachel Samuels. She had a beautiful painterly vision that I was determined to dirty up with taxidermy. Mainly because I wanted less of myself in the video. It's a mouse by the way, rented from a taxidermy shop. Rest in peace mouse, you're famous now. I hope that is a small honor for the mouse and the duckling.
Me: Ari, did you come up with all the ideas or was it a joint effort?
Ari: Ethan had the initial ideas for “Nonstop” and “They Turned Away,” and then I worked with him to flesh out the ideas for those two. “That” was shot, in a way, just to do something without any twinput (my new term for “creative input from a twin brother/sister”!).
Me: The album came out a few years ago so are you working on a new album?
Ethan: I have a new album that's basically done. I'm trying to figure out the best way to release it. The self-release thing on the first record was incredibly difficult. I got some great reviews but it's been difficult to get anyone to know this thing exists. Maybe that's why I started making videos, and then roping Ari into some of them.
Me: Are you gonna make a bunch of videos for those songs as well?
Ethan: I think I'll make some, but not as many. That was madness.
Me: Ari, what is your latest project you are gonna be working on?
Ari: The main project is currently called The Song of Sway Lake... it’s a feature film drama about a group of people whose lives change one summer on a glamorous lake. I’ve got shorts and videos I’m releasing on my Youtube page as well... I like to keep busy!
Me: Cool. On the Phile I'm asking random questions thanks to Tabletopics. Are you ready? This is dumb for both of you. What's your dream job? I take it you both are doing it now.
Ari: The same as I’m doing now, except paid!
Me: Thanks for being here on the Phile, and please come back. Will you?
Ari: Of course, if you send me a coffee.
Ethan: Thanks for the chattage.
Me: Take care, and continued success, both of you.
Ari: And you as well!
There. That does it for another entry of the Phile. Thanks to both Ari and Ethan Gold. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Charlie James from the Oxfordshire band Kubris and then next Monday it's musician Lonesome Wyatt. 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