Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pheaturing Phile Alumni The Breedings

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday... Oscar Sunday! May Chris Rock's Oscar monologue unite all races in being horribly uncomfortable. Speaking of the Oscars, you don't need to look any further than #OscarsSoWhite to know that the Academy can be great at stirring controversy. Keeping with that tradition, they just released the transcript of a speech made by Walt Disney made at the 1942 Oscars... a speech that the Disney company has allegedly tried to keep out of the spotlight since then. When Disney gave his acceptance speech for the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, he publicly apologized for Fantasia. A bit of context is needed to understand ol' Walt's remorse over the movie. The innovative animated film is now regarded as a masterpiece, but upon its release during World War II, it was a tremendous flop at the box office. It failed largely due to its multi-million dollar budget (a staggering amount for any film at that time), because the entertainment industry was struggling to just keep afloat during the war. Fantasia actually tanked so hard that it threatened the very existence of the relatively young Walt Disney Company, which is likely why Walt Disney felt the need to apologize for it. It kind of makes sense why the Disney Company, which has since gone from animation pioneer to a multi-industry titan, would disapprove of a speech where the studio's creator dismisses one of its gems as a failure. As good as it may have been, it put the company's next 70 years of cultural domination in jeopardy. Even so, it's odd to think Disney, which now owns Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars on top of its own culturally ingrained body of work, could ever feel insecure about it. Relax, Bobby Iger! You're doing great! And Walt Disney's dead anyway! Either way, know that Walt Disney is very, very sorry for dancing hippos.
In a bizarre turn of events at one Pennsylvania high school, a student has been arrested after police confirmed he was actually a 23-year-old from Ukraine. Arthur Samarin was taken into custody on Tuesday, just a few months before his graduation from Harrisburg High School, where he attended for four years under the alias "Asher Potts" (which is in the "McLovin" realm of names not to use if you don't want people to know you have a fake identity). CBS News reports that "Potts" had a 4.1 GPA and a significant involvement in the school's National Honor Society, a student advisory board for a food bank, ROTC, and a Naval Sea Cadet program. This just goes to show that if you want to blend in at high school, put in the absolute minimum effort like everyone else. Sgt. Terry Wealand of the Harrisburg police says that Samarin had assumed the false identity after his temporary visa expired, and that he lived with people he had befriended throughout the four years. Despite his shock, the Ukrainian's classmate Marcel McCaskill had nothing but kind words about Samarin, and admitted students even joked about "Potts" being a Russian spy due to his accent. "It's totally mind-blowing to me. Honestly, he was a very respectable guy. He was the perfect role model, someone you would want your son to look up to." I now trust no one, and would like my readers to verify their identities  just in case. Haha.
Oh, no. The Internet is arguing about the color of this jacket...

Last year, a dress... #TheDress... drove the world into turmoil. Lion lay down with lamb. The falcon could not hear the falconer. And we were all consigned to a fiery lake of burning sulfur. But the Book of Revelation foretells that the apocalypse doesn't come as a great flood; it comes in waves. And so the second wave is upon us. Last week the Internet found another article of clothing with ambiguous coloring. "I hate to make a new blue/black white/gold dress meme," wrote the Tumblr blogger who first posted this image, "but my friend has this jacket and she says it’s white and blue but I see black and brown please tell me what you see." Darkness covered the earth.
Jennifer Garner seems like a pretty private celebrity most of the time, so the Internet is in love with her new interview in March's "Vanity Fair," in which she talks about her divorce from Gone Girl villain Ben Affleck. (He was the villain of that movie, right? That's the right reading of that movie?) She even addresses THE NANNY he was maybe cuckolding her with (allegedly). The lovely actress said that her time post-Bennifer has been a "year of wine." "It was a real marriage," she said. "It wasn't for the cameras. And it was a huge priority for me to stay in it. And that did not work." That's so sad! Don't you just want to reach out to Garner, hug her, and tell her that someday, she'll find another role that rewards her appealing mix of strength and vulnerability like Juno, "Alias," and 13 Going on 30 did? As for the nanny: "Let me just tell you something. We had been separated for months before I ever heard about the nanny. She had nothing to do with our decision to divorce. She was not a part of the equation. Bad judgment? Yes. It’s not great for your kids for [a nanny] to disappear from their lives." That comes close to a confirmation that Ben Affleck was cheating on her with the nanny (something he still denies, according to "Vanity Fair") without saying it outright. Tactful as fuck, Elektra! Still, Garner and Affleck are apparently still very close, which is kind of sweet (he even still lives on the same property as her... in the guest house). She called him "the love of my life," and said that if she had to go back in time, she'd still marry him. She explained, "It’s not Ben’s job to make me happy. The main thing is these kids... and we’re completely in line with what we hope for them. Sure, I lost the dream of dancing with my husband at my daughter’s wedding. But you should see their faces when he walks through the door. And if you see your kids love someone so purely and wholly, then you’re going to be friends with that person." But she still made fun of his horrible phoenix tattoo. "You know what we would say in my hometown about that? 'Bless his heart.' A phoenix rising from the ashes. Am I the ashes in this scenario? I take umbrage. I refuse to be the ashes." It's important to note that Garner is from West Virginia, where "Bless his heart" translates to "fuck you."
Kids say the most darned depressing things. Take these four little angels, for instance...

They were just trying to record a sweet birthday message for their dear grandmother (or "gia," as they call her... adorable), but one of them didn't know when to leave good enough alone. Instead, he brought up the elephant that's always in the room, where grandparents are concerned. Considering that this video found its way onto the Internet, it's presumable that the kids' parents (and by extension, gia) though it was funny, and were okay with it. Which is good. They wouldn't want to hurt her feelings, and then have to remember her that way.
Alright, I just mentioned The Dress, and now a jacket, but there's another version that is even better than those two...

What color is Han's jacket? I say blue. So, yesterday it was Pokémon's 20th anniversary. Did you know Pokémon is British and not Japanese? No? well, take a look...

Arse Badger. Hahahaha. That's great. So, in a weird shape of events in the political race where Chris Christie is now supporting Donald Trump there's a new capping poster...

Ha! Those crazy guys. Speaking of politics, I have been showing you pics of why candidates shouldn't pose with kids. Here's another reason...

"Aaaggghhh." Ha. I mentioned in the last entry I think it was now that Jeb has dropped out I am gonna miss seeing his face like the time he thought he'd finally found the bathroom.

Did you see this past week Facebook debuted five new emoji reactions? I think they are being very specific with them. Here's one of them...

Ha. That's sad. So, in a lot of magazines they like to show you what celebrities look like without they make-up on and occasionally on the Phile I show you the same thing. Check it out...

That's crazy. Alright, and now for this week's...

Top Phive Startling Similarities And Differences Between Thursday's Republican Debate And Tonight's Oscar Telecast
5. The entire production only features one black man.
4. The night's big winner: Leonardo DiCaprio.
3. Jeb Bush watching from home.
2. Its rambling, pointless speeches are mercifully cut short by the orchestra.
And the number one startling similarity and difference between the Republican debate and the Oscar telecast is...
1. Win or lose, it's an honor just to be nominated.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. It's pretty easy. And now for some sad news...

Sonny James 
May 1st, 1929 — February 22nd, 2016
The gentleman has gone south.

It's 11:16 am, 64°F and Kelly returned to "American Idol" to make everyone cry, including herself. Kelly returned to "American Idol" Wednesday night and performed her song "Piece by Piece." It was an emotional performance for Kelly, who won the first season (this is the show's final season). She brought J. Lo and Keith Urban to tears with her performance. She also brought herself to tears, which she blamed on pregnancy. But the raw emotional grit of this number was plenty of ammo to make anyone cry. Even Ryan Seacrest warned everyone that it would get emotional. There's a reason that she won the first "American Idol," and it's the same reason she can come back and bring down the house. It's nice to see people cry for a good reason on the show after years of contestants wailing backstage.

Okay, today's guest Phile Alumni and a brother and sister duo whose new single "Love Only You" is available on iTunes. Please welcome back to the Phile Erin and Willie Breeding... The Breedings.

Me: Hello, kids, welcome back to the Phile. How have you been?

Willie: Great! Thank you for having us back.

Me: You two are my favorite brother and sister musical act I have ever interviewed. Actually, you might be the only brother and sister act I interviewed... but I love you guys. I think I asked you this before but does anybody ever think you two are married?

Willie: Haha! Yes, fairly often. Both as a band, and as drinking buddies.

Erin: Open houses, bars, coffee shops, the mall… it’s happened everywhere. We must look nothing alike. Or hang out too much.

Me: I said this before on the Phile, I love my sisters but don't think I could ever work with them... how did you two decide you wanna be in a duo together?

Willie: Erin bought her way into the band. In all seriousness, I was looking into doing my third album, and it was suggested to try out her singing lead instead of harmony, and that got the whole thing going.

Erin: I was working full time in Boston, traveling to New York to sing back up for Willie. It was a crazy day when Willie called me at my office to propose a new way of doing things. But I said yes immediately.

Me: Willie, you started off as a musician first, before Erin, right?

Willie: Yes, I’ve always been a musician and the first Breedings album would have been my third solo record.

Me: Did you both sing and perform when you were growing up?

Willie: Erin more so than me. I’ve always primarily cared about recording, from my early teens on.

Erin: And I just wanted to sing. Wherever, whenever… like Shakira. Early on I used to sing on stage at our dad’s music venue during off hours... to an empty room, but I didn’t care. Sometimes he would pull me up on stage with him when he was performing. Or I’d sing at school functions. Karaoke. The school bus. Nursing Homes...

Me: Your dad was a musician like mine was. Is your dad still alive?

Willie: He sure is. I just got off the phone with him. Over the hour we talked we covered Lakota war tactics, cutting vs. reining horses for trail riding purposes, 1860 Henry vs. 1873 Springfield rifles, three point shooting, NCAA tournament seeding, guitars, the rise and (relative) fall of longhorn cattle, and vocal textures.

Erin: On our last phone call we talked about the Chevy Camaro, sanding wood floors, the history of the Breeding name in Kentucky, cats… we always talk about cats.

Me: What does he think of your music?

Willie: He’s generally pretty positive, but if he doesn’t like something he says so. Poor guy has had to hear every song I’ve ever written and that we’ve recorded.

Erin: He’s very honest, but he’s incredibly supportive. And if something we do moves him, he doesn’t hesitate to let us know. He’s proud of us. It’s a huge compliment.

Me: I don't think I asked you this before but do you two have any other siblings?

Willie: No. When I came along I truly completed the family, right, Erin?

Erin: Yep. Mom says that if Willie had been first, there would have been no other children. But I never thought she meant that in a positive way.

Me: You both have different tastes in music, right?

Willie: Definitely.

Erin: Completely. We almost listen to music for different reasons. But when we agree on a song or an artist, we geek out over it forever. We just saw Jenny Lewis at the Ryman and that was an incredible experience.

Me: What music did you listen to growing up, and what do you two listen to now?

Willie: I listened to a lot of Marty Robbins, Ian Tyson, Patsy Cline, and Aaron Nevilles version of “Everybody Plays the Fool."

Erin: That song is gonna be in my head for the rest of the day… When I was very young I loved Juice Newton and Billy Joel. I grew up listening to Top 40, sprinkled with years-long obsessions with Bette Midler, Queen, Heart, Shania Twain. Now I listen to all of that and anything that grabs me melodically. I don’t care about much else.

Me: You guys play all over the country, but didn't you perform in Europe or did you go there on vacation?

Willie: My father-in-law splits his time between Copenhagen and Italy. So I try to go once a year. I especially like Copenhagen. Hopefully more shows can happen there and all over Europe in the future!

Erin: We did perform at a private party once in Italy. But that was more an extension of the wine and good cheer than it was a “performance."

Me: Do you often travel together?

Willie: Pretty often, yeah.

Erin: If we can make it happen, it’s the 4 of us wherever we go. Man, that’s cheesy. But it’s true.

Me: You kids are from Kentucky, right?

Willie: Yes. We are from Madison County. Daniel Boone established a Fort there in 1775 on the Kentucky River. He humbly named it Fort Boonesborough. The land was “purchased” from the Cherokee in 1774, but in 1778 (during the Revolutionary war) the Shawnee took Daniel Boone as a prisoner and then attacked the Fort. He escaped and made it back in time to defend the Fort against Chief Blackfish, but was later court-martialed on account of his suspected sympathies with the British. Then Erin and I were born.

Me: Where do you both live now?

Willie: A mile apart in Nashville, TN.

Me: I am wearing my U.K. shirt right now, even though it's a bit worn. Willie, you're a Wildcats fan, right?

Willie: To hear this causes my heart to soar like a hawk. I am an avid supporter and armchair coach to the Kentucky Wildcats. Is Tyler Ulis the best to lace them up at Kentucky? He’s blown me away this year. I love him.

Me: Speaking of the Wildcats, did you hear the controversy that the new logo looks like two birds having sex?

Willie: I did, yes, and I firmly believe that if two birds are in love, or even just both attracted to one another and have the opportunity, they should be free to express themselves in any way they want. Just goes to show you the power of love. First, they were two little birds, then, through the power of love, they became a feared Wildcat. I salute them, and hope they are still together.

Me: Erin, are you a sports fan?

Erin: Not like my heritage suggests I should be. I’m a U.K. alum. Our mom and dad are, too. I’m probably the least concerned with the team. I followed sports way more when I lived in Boston. That’s probably a huge disappointment for some of my hometown people to read. And my family.

Me: Okay, Willie, I am gonna mention a few college teams, tell me what you think... the 'Canes.

Willie: They look great this year, led by 200-year ‘Canes veteran, Angel Rodriguez. He and Perry Ellis at Kansas have been playing in college since before I was born, I believe.

Me: The Gators?

Willie: I’ve only seen two games… The amazing game where they killed a very good West Virginia team, and the one where Jamal Murray hit eight 3s and we ran right through them. They seem very talented. Dorian Smith is really, really smooth. I think the new coach is cool, but it’s still weird not seeing Billy there.

Me: Crimson Tide?

Willie: Not much to say yet, other than one thing… Anthony Grant is the most beautiful man that has ever coached basketball, and a fine dresser. One of the few coaches who’s suit actually fits. Due to this, I openly rooted for them. I rooted against Kentucky in the recruitment of Trevor Lacey, I so wanted Alabama to be good. But goddamn he ran the most boring offense I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t know if Alabama can ever be great, or recruit against U.K., or Florida, or fuck, even Bruce Pearl, but surely Avery will install an offense that delights more than Grant’s. Watching Lacey pass, pass, pass, jack up last second three hurt my soul. He balled at NC State alongside Cat Barber. Wish he would have come back for his senior season. I also the NBA pedigree and speaking voice of Avery.

Erin: Aren’t you glad you asked?

Me: Yeah, that was great. Okay, enough about sports, let's talk about your new single "Love Only You." I LOVE that song. Which one of you wrote it?

Willie: I wrote that song a couple years ago. It’s lived many lives. I’m happy it’s finally out!

Erin: Me too... it’s one of my favorites!

Me: Are you guys working on a new album?

Willie: Not at the moment, but we have a couple more singles to get out there.

Me: Are you gonna make a video for "Love Only You"?

Willie: Don’t think so, no.

Erin: I wouldn’t want to put something visual to that song... let it be what it is to people.

Me: Normally Erin sings lead, am i right? How did you two decide Willie was gonna sing lead on this song?

Willie: Yeah, she does, but even Liam let Noel sing songs sometimes! Knowing this, I bullied my way in. Usually, we know right away who’s gonna sing a song. Not sure if there’s ever even been a discussion about which one of us will sing a song, actually!

Erin: I don’t think so. It’s usually clear, and if we have to debate it, then likely it’s not a good song for us.

Me: Do you two ever argue about the music or anything business wise?

Willie: Probably more about music itself, but I’m sure about business too. She’s usually the patient and correct one.

Erin: That doesn’t win me any leeway when the argument itself is happening.

Me: So, do you think you'll continue playing together? I really hope so.

Willie: Of course!

Erin: We may play less live shows, but I hope for more time in the studio and more songs to be sung. We love it.

Me: I mentioned your dad before, and just found out that Erin, you and your dad have the same birthday. That's crazy. Do you celebrate together?

Willie: No comment.

Erin: We haven’t been together on the actual day in a very long time, but, of course, we always call and wish each other Happy Birthday. And then talk about all the aforementioned important life topics.

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

Willie: Keep putting these singles out!

Erin: Maybe make more singles!

Me: Okay, so, I am asking my Phile Alum this year as it's the Phile's 10th anniversary, where were you and what were you doing 10 years ago in 2006?

Willie: Ten years ago I was drunk in Brooklyn, working at a studio in Manhattan. I also recorded my first EP and played my first show.

Erin: I was living in Boston. I had just started working at Iron Mountain, monitoring financial internal controls... Sarbanes-Oxley work, if anyone knows what that is. And I traveled to NYC periodically to sing with my brother.

Me: You weren't a duo then, am I right?

Willie: Not technically, but she sang at my shows and on my records.

Me: Thanks so much for being back here on the Phile. Please come back when your next release comes out. Go ahead and plug your website. 

Willie: Thank you!

Erin: Thanks, Jason, this is always fun! But you’re probably better off following us on Facebook ( or Instagram (@thebreedings).

Me: Continued success, kids, please come back soon.

Willie: Thank you, and anytime.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Willie and Erin Breeding. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Phile Alum Crissi Cochrane. 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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