Monday, June 27, 2016

Pheaturing VanDeRocker

Hey kids, it's Monday? How is your day going? Do you kids like Channing Tatum? You will after you read this story... On June 22nd, Channing Tatum weighed in with his thoughts on sex, feminism, porn, rape culture, and the incredibly short sentence Brock Turner received after being convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on the Stanford Campus. ​You know, just a bit of light conversation. Speaking to Joanna Coles, the editor-of-chief of "Cosmopolitan" (via Facebook Live), Tatum said of rape culture, "I think it's tough. I think that rape culture is a very real thing... I think it's a horrible, horrible idea to let someone off because of possibly what they're gonna be capable of doing. Because if you start doing that, where do you end? Where does that stop? Where does that line actually quit? I don't think it's right. I think [Turner] should've been punished, personally, but I also don't know what the answer is to protect women, to keep you out of those situations." Brock Turner received a jail sentence of just six months, of which he'll probably only serve three, angering just about everyone in the world other than Turner's immediate family. Asked what he thought of the sentence, Tatum replied, "I just couldn't believe it. That is like if you killed someone, if you got caught red-handed murdering someone, and then just because you went to a nice school and you were a good swimmer, you somehow get a lesser sentence than what you would've for cold-blooded murder. I mean, that just doesn't make any sense." Nope, it sure doesn't, other than the fact that Turner was white and a star athlete at the university. So how do we fix the problem? Well, first we probably should be asking people other than actors, but Tatum's answer is just about as good as any. "I think we need to use education and we have to be comfortable talking about [sex]. Look I’m uncomfortable talking about it and I’m saying we should be comfortable talking about it. But it is, it’s an awkward thing to talk about, it’s an awkward thing to talk about especially probably with your kids. And how do we do that better? Like ow do we actually come up with a plan to be able to communicate about sex and what do we need from each other and what are the lines and how do you even know where the lines are if you’re not strong enough to say, okay, I’m not comfortable with this anymore... The only way to get to what you want is communication." And in case you didn't love Tatum one hundred thousand percent already, a woman in the audience asked him his definition of feminism in three words, to which he replied, "I can do it in one. Equality."
A news crew filming a group of religious protestors at London's Gay Pride parade on Saturday happened to spot actor Jesse Eisenberg (who's in London performing in a play) walking his bicycle through the crowd. Eisenberg stopped briefly to glance at the protestors' signage, as a man speaking into a microphone preached, "It's all very well saying God is a God of love. We would agree, God is a God of love. But he's also a God of justice. God has his laws." As Eisenberg shook his head in disbelief and disgust, one of the protestors holding pamphlets asked him, "Is your mind closed?" which, when you think about it, is a slightly odd way to ask someone if they're "open" to being hateful, judgmental, and homophobic. Eisenberg simply responded, "So sad. That's so fucking sad... Is my mind closed, dude, you're so fucked up" and continued on his way. Eisenberg, best known for playing real person Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network and, more recently, not-real person Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman, is currently performing in a play he wrote called "The Spoils" in London's West End. In an interview with "The Guardian," Eisenberg explained that social causes were an important part of his upbringing, saying, "It was totally understood, growing up, that we should support people who are struggling. This was not debatable."
New polls show that Hillary Clinton has a lot more support from women than does Donald Trump (an estimated 52% versus 35%). But on Saturday night and all throughout Sunday, women who support Trump decided to show their love for the orange candidate on Twitter, using the hashtag #TrumpGirlsBreakTheInternet, and a lot of American flag bikinis. Before long, the hashtag was trending. Believe it or not, turns out some women do support Trump (insert cringe-face emoji here). Bear in mind, along with actual women, the hashtag attracted a lot of dudes who just Googled and posted pictures of women in Trump hats, shirts, or panties, in order to boost the hashtag and, you know, look at pictures of hot women Making America Great Again. And then, of course, there's the hashtag backlash. There were probably about as many liberals as conservatives using the hashtag, only the liberals hijacked the hashtag by posting it with memes of disgust and pictures of a different sort. Luckily, voting for president is not done via Twitter. Yet.
Texas tried to do this thing where they attempted to shut down three-fourths of the abortion clinics in the state, but the Supreme Court was not having it. With a 5-3 decision in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, the court decided the proposed laws were in violation of the Constitution, and ultimately not in the best interest of women who are seeking healthcare and abortion services. Here is how it went down. Back in 2013, then Texas Governor Rick Perry signed a bill into law that stated that abortion clinics had to comply with the standards of surgical centers concerning buildings, equipment, and staffing in order to remain open. That would have meant that small abortion clinics would be required to have wider corridors, high tech surgical equipment, and that any doctor performing an abortion must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. But opponents of the law pointed out that an abortion clinic does not need these things in order to operate safely; these proposed provisions were not actually meant to help women at all, but rather aimed to shut down the majority of the state's abortion clinics.According to the "New York Times," under the proposed law, only about 10 of the 41 current abortion clinics in Texas would remain open. Just an FYI, Texas is freaking huge, so women who wanted or needed abortions would likely have to travel considerable differences to receive safe and legal abortion services. The Supreme Court deliberated for three months and ultimately decided that forcing women to travel 300 miles round trip for an abortion is actually a terribly unconstitutional idea. Uh duh. Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote the majority opinion, but was joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. "There was no significant health-related problem that the new law helped to cure. We agree with the District Court that the surgical-center requirement, like the admitting-privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an "undue burden" on their constitutional right to do so." This ruling is being called the most important abortion ruling in the past 20 years, and pro-choicers everywhere are celebrating the Supreme Court's decisive ruling.
It's a tough time for the United Kingdom: 52% of its citizens voted to leave the European Union, plunging the country into economic uncertainty. But in tough times, when democracy is rough, luckily there's the monarchy to inspire hope again! Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton are being the adorable couple that they are to make you like the British again! I'm British, so I hope you like me. Anyway, The couple were honored at gala fundraiser for East Anglia's Children's Hospices on Wednesday, and Kate thanked the Michelin star chefs with a self-deprecating comment. "William has to put up with my cooking most of the time," Kate said, to which Wills quickly quipped, "It's the reason I'm so skinny." Aww! A some li'l royal teasing! How cute! Here is a picture of William and Kate kissing to distract you from the fact that the Brexit launches a new era of economic and political uncertainty in the western world!

If only the U.K. and the E.U. would kiss and make up.
At the top of the entry I mentioned Channing Tatum... well, I should mention his new movie...

I bet it's gonna be funny. Haha. Hey, there's some one new running for President and I love their campaign poster...

Hahahahahaha. That cracked me up... I am crying. I can't focus. Ugh! I mentioned the #TrumpGirlsBreakTheInternet hashtag, right? Well, in the new few weeks I will show you pics of first that support Trump. Why? Why not?

Speaking of girls, it's summer and one of the best thing about summer is the bikini. So, I am showing you bikini pics with something not so sexy in the background.

That could almost be a Mindphuck. Haha. And now from the home office in Port Jefferson, here is...

Top Phive Things Overheard At Kanye's "Famous" Video Shoot
5. We need a total shutdown of celebrities entering this bed until our country's representations can figure out what's going on!
4. This is the last time I book a room on Airbnb!
3. I can't believe this many people came to my cocktail party!
2. In the morning, I'll make my famous 40-foot-wide waffles!
And the number one thing overheard at Kanye's "Famous" video shoot was...
1. Christian Mingle, you came through AGAIN!

If you spot the Mindphuck please let me know. Okay, so, on the Discovery Channel this week it is Shark Week. Coincidentally, I just happen to know shark who makes an appearance here on the Phile every year during Shark Week. So, please welcome back to the Phile once again...

Me: Hello, Feargal, welcome back to the Phile. How are you?

Feargal: Okay, I guess. I had a nightmare about being attacked by a shark. When I woke up I realized it was just a bream.

Me: So, every time you're here you tell shark jokes. So, do you have jokes for us?

Feargal: Yes. What was the shark jazz musician's favorite illegal substance?

Me: Hmmm. I don't know. What?

Feargal: Reefer!

Me: Duh. Haha. Good one.

Feargal: Why did the mommy shark and daddy shark get divorced?

Me: Do we have to walkabout divorce? I don't know... what?

Feargal: They no longer loved each other.

Me: That has nothing to do with sharks, Feargal. Give is one more.

Feargal: Who was the first shark elected president of the United States?

Me: I don't know. Who?

Feargal: James K. Shark.

Me: Haha. I know someone who would like that joke. Good job, Feargal. Take care and come back on the Phile soon.

Feargal: I will. Now I have to go back into the ocean. Good-bye, people.

Me: Feargal the Shark, everyone. Beat that, Discovery Channel!

Electronic cigarette
An electronic cigarette is a battery powered vaporizer that gives you all the cancer of smoking but none of the coolness.

The 50th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Phile Alum and author Martin Belmont will be a guest on the Phile next week.

Today's guest is a very talented and good looking singer whose EP "Jupiter's Kiss" is now available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... VanDeRocker.

Me: Hello, there. Welcome to the Phile. How are you?

VanDeRocker: Thank you! I’m good! I’ve been traveling today, which always feeds my soul a little. 

Me: Okay, I was gonna ask you about your name as it's so freaking cool and original but it's your last name isn't it? 

VanDeRocker: Oh, thank you! It’s a moniker. My family is Dutch-Texan. I would say Dutch-American but Texas is a like it’s own little country. So the name is a little bit of homage to my roots. Literally translated it might mean “of the rocker” which was what I loved about it. My taste in music is so broad, and I just want to elevate anyone I can with my music. So there ya go.

Me: Your band is named VanDeRocker, right? So, should I call you VanDeRocker?

VanDeRocker: Sure! I answer to that. I answer to anything so long as it’s called with love.

Me: Is that your maiden name or did you get married? It is very suiting for you and what you do for a living.

VanDeRocker: Well, thank you! It certainly gets a reaction.

Me: So, where are you from originally? You live in L.A. now, right?

VanDeRocker: Yes, I live in L.A. now, but I grew up in Austin. I didn’t know how cool it was till I left.

Me: Did you move out to L.A. because of the music business?

VanDeRocker: My man and I moved out from NYC, and yep, pretty much because of music, entertainment, the arts.

Me: Okay, I have to talk about this... you used to sneak into bars when you were 12 to play in band because your sister was playing? Did I get that right?

VanDeRocker: Yes, that’s right. My age might have not been entirely clear to some of the bookers. And when it was clear I had to always use the back entrance and not set foot off the stage. But when you’re a kid, it kind of makes you feel like a queen in a weird way.

Me: I have so many questions about this... so bare with me. First of, how did you sneak out the house and get to the club?

VanDeRocker: Oh, my mom knew about that and was okay with it because she trusted my sister (hahaha). However, I did use to sneak out of my house to go perform in the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" when I was 14 every Friday and Saturday for a solid year or so. That took dedication. The shows weren’t until midnight so she’d be fast asleep which helped get me out the door. I also did a lot of sleepovers at my friends’ houses at the time, which helped. All of this has led me to decide that when I have 14 year old kids down the road, I will plant cactus outside their bedroom window. I’ll also get a yippy Chihuahua.

Me: How long did you get away with this?

VanDeRocker: As long as I possibly could. And if I got caught, I’d lay low for a couple weeks and then inch my way out as soon as I could. Normal teenage behavior, no? It felt like a calling at the time.

Me: When and how did your parents find out?

VanDeRocker: Well, I usually got away with it, but now and then I’d come home and my mom would be waiting up for me, sometimes in the front bushes with a flashlight. The usual parent child push hands competition. Funny little memories.

Me: Okay, so your sister... is she still playing in bands? Has she released any music?

VanDeRocker: She does more writing these days than performing live, but is planning on getting out there sometime soon. Her project is called Bojest and she did release an EP a few years ago!

Me: What does everyone think of your music career now and the album, "Jupiter's Kiss"?

VanDeRocker: "Jupiter’s Kiss" is being really well received! It’s my debut EP, and I had the pleasure and honor to work with some ridiculously amazing rock stars on this. There was some confusion in the beginning on where I’d fit in in the music scene because I fuse a lot of sounds together. But now, people are really starting to get it, to realize what I’m capable of, and embrace what I’m offering which feels good. I am pretty much doing all of this by myself so it’s nice to feel supported. A LOT of love is being put into this.

Me: What kind of music did you and your sister perform?

VanDeRocker: Her music is kind of neo classical rock. It’s really beautiful and fun.

Me: So, who were your influences growing up? I read three of them are Prince, Bowie and Kate Bush. That's crazy that two of those have passed this year. 

VanDeRocker: Well, you probably know we had a classical foundation for the music played in our home. Both of my parents are classical musicians and my sisters were classically trained as well so that’s a huge influence. I still listen to it all the time. But growing up I went off on a really eclectic musical journey along with the rock and became obsessed with everything from The Beatles (naturally) to things like Gwar, Laibach, and Legendary Pink Dots. And I always loved world music like Fado from Portugal and Celtic music. And I also had a penchant for French and English renaissance music. I can’t begin to tell you how all over the map I am.

Me: Where were you and what did you do when you found out Bowie and Prince passed away?

VanDeRocker: Oh, man. Just today on the way to the airport I couldn’t believe about David still... 6 months after the fact. He and Prince both are such enormous losses... such icons. David Bowie I read about while I was on the phone with a DJ in O.C. I told this guy the news, who then passed it on to his listeners. I was nervous and hopeful I was giving him bad information, the slight chance that it might have been a prank. It really took my breath away. And then with Prince, I heard about it in the car, again, completely losing my breath. Such infinite talent. Too young. Completely unexpected.

Me: Okay, let's talk about your music... I love the album "Jupiter's Kiss" and the new single "Fly." Where did the title come from?

VanDeRocker: Thank you very much! “Fly” is simply the best word I could think of that represents the need to rise above and honor your own truth amidst the insanity of humanity. Don’t get bogged down with worldy crap that there seems to be an endless abundance of. Go fly! Go be! Go be yourself! Go do your best! Go get some fucking perspective and then come back and contribute.

Me: You have an impressive band on this album, VanDeRocker. Your bass player is Jane's Addiction's bass player. How did you get all these guys on the album?

VanDeRocker: I got hella lucky! And I have been learning so much from these guys! My producers have brought them on, I didn’t know them at all beforehand. But they liked the music and were interested in being a part of the project. I can’t tell you how much they brought to the table, each in their own way. And you bring up Chris, he was one of the best. So incredibly lovely and so, so professional and, such a crazy fierce talent! That guy could play circles around the rest of us. And Tim (Pierce) too. Tim started giving master guitar tutorials online by the way for anyone who plays. You should check him out. I study them too. He’s a gifted teacher, not to mention what an insane talent of a player he is.

Me: Tell the readers who the band is. 

VanDeRocker: So for the EP, we had Chris Chaney on bass, Tim Pierce on guitar, Jamie Muhoberac on keys for several tracks, and then Matt Chamberlain performed on drums for the album.

Me: I love the video for the song "Kissing Booth." Are you gonna make a video for "Fly" as well? 

VanDeRocker: Thank you!!! That video was filmed and directed by music video auteur, Matt Mahurin... a God in the business. He’s shot videos and done artwork for so many people... U2, Sting, Tracy Chapman, Metallica, etc. etc. etc. He’s done photography and illustrations for so many publications like "Time" and "Rolling Stone" magazines. He has art in the friggin permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the MoMA in NYC. He’s such a gorgeous artist, so endlessly inspired. I can’t begin to express how lucky I feel having gotten to work with him so early on in my career. As for “Fly," maybe I’ll do a video for it down the road. Time will tell!

Me: Do you like being in front of the camera?

VanDeRocker: Oh, yes, I friggin love the camera. I’m a ham and I love to play.

Me: So, did you write all the music on the album?

VanDeRocker: I did. And I’ve got much more on the way.

Me: You play guitar, right? Was that your first instrument you learnt how to play?

VanDeRocker: No, I grew up playing piano actually. I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was in fourth grade but just hid my report cards inside of it for a long time. Eventually, I did start figuring out how to play it, however, beginning with some Kate Bush songs I was obsessed with. She’s amazing.

Me: So, isn't one of your songs in an AT&T commercial? Maybe you can be the new AT&T girl. Ha!

VanDeRocker: Yeahhh!!! AT&T- take note!!! Yes, “Cupid’s Sting” was licensed for one of their Firephone ads, which was pretty magical and amazing considering I was still in the recording process for the album. It was a big help! I got very lucky... felt like a definite YES from the universe when I felt like I was swimming upstream.

Me: I saw on Facebook you know Adam Bentley... you're not from Canada, so how do you know him? I have interviewed Adam on the Phile so many times and hope to have him back here soon. It seems like every Canadian musician I interview knows Adam.

VanDeRocker: That’s because Adam is cool!!! Yes, he’s my friend, a very nice fellow indeed!

Me: Alright, so, what's next for you? Will you be hitting the road?

VanDeRocker: I will definitely be hitting the road in the not so distant future, a plan is slowly being sculpted. I say slowly because I’m actually about to embark on another recording adventure first... a sensual desert rock experience that I’ve been working on for a little while. Tapping into my Texas roots a bit for this one. But I am anxious to start playing out again and to take the project on the road. I need that balance between interacting with people and playing live, and then recording in the studio. The two worlds feed each other really beautifully to me. Some people do it just fine but I, myself, don’t know if I could have one without the other.

Me: I really enjoyed interviewing you, and like I said I love your album. Please come back again soon. Go ahead and mention your websites and stuff.

VanDeRocker: Thank you, sir, very nice chatting with you! Here’s all my socials. Please subscribe, follow, reach out, be my friend, connect! I love interacting with everyone. And then, of course you can find out about future releases and tour dates. ALSO, please create a VanDeRocker station on Pandora, Spotify, and all those streaming services. It really helps out indie artists like myself; it’s like putting a vote in for us. If you like the music, of course.,,, Love, love love to all.

Me: Take care, and continued success. Rock on. 

VanDeRocker: Likewise! Thanks again and be well!

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to VanDeRocker for a great interview. The Phile will be back on Friday with musician John Paul Keith. 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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