Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pheaturing Jayen Varma

Hello, everybody, happy leap year day, or whatever you say on a day like this. Welcome to the Peverett Phile.  So, today Disney is keeping the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland open for twenty-fours for their One More Disney Day promotion. One more Disney Day? I had one more Disney day for the last 24 years.  President Obama talked about rising gas prices. He focused on the positive things his administration has done when it comes to energy prices. So, in other words, it was the shortest speech he's ever given. President Obama is starting to get a little overconfident. In an interview with Univision radio, he said, "My presidency isn't over yet, and I've still got five more years." Even his predictions are over budget.  British parliament says it is very likely a terrorist could explode a nuclear pulse bomb in outer space, and it could take out our entire electronic grid. No emails. No texts. No cell phones. How relaxing would that be? No Peverett Phile... what?! No Peverett Phile?!  The acting unions, SAG and AFTRA, now plan to merge. Their goal? To have the world's largest group of unemployed people under one roof.  So, Mitt Romney has been the front-runner from day one but nobody likes Mitt Romney because he's not kooky enough. They're looking for somebody kookier so Rick Santorum is a pretty good choice. He does not believe in birth control. Does not believe in global warming. Does not believe in long-sleeve sweaters. The latest polls show Romney and Rick Santorum neck and neck. Not to be confused with Newt Gingrich, who is shown in the polls as chin to chin.  Speaking about Santorum, he now says he's against separation of church and state. But he's not against separation of sweaters and sleeves.  A crazy billionaire is going to give Newt Gingrich $100 million. Gingrich is so excited. He said, "Wow, now I can come pretty close to settling up my bill at Tiffany's."  People are still talking about Angelina Jolie's dress at the Oscars, which showed off none of one leg and all of the other leg. She's very thin. Uggie the dog from the The Artist was behind her on the red carpet. He didn't know whether to hump her leg or bury it. They had to put an Oscar in each of Angelina's hands to keep her from flying away.
Speaking of the Oscars, get this, the ratings were up four percent from last year. Or as Angelina Jolie’s leg put it, "You’re welcome.”  Happy belated Birthday to Justin Bieber, who turns 18 years old this week. You can tell he’s growing up because today he took down all his Justin Bieber posters.  Bill Nye the Science Guy is suing his ex-girlfriend for more than $50,000 in legal bills. Legal experts were shocked... they were like, "Bill Nye the Science Guy had a girlfriend?”  There was apparently an electrical fire at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. It was weird... instead of calling 911, Boston fans just heckled the fire until it left.  Well, The Artist won best picture and like I showed you on Monday's entry, I got my hands on some just-leaked, eminently quotable outtakes. Take a look, kids.

Okay, today is not only leap year day, but it's the last day of Black History Month. I was surprised that they rushed another inspirational poster out to celebrate it.

So, this is real, someone at work asked if leap year means that it skips a year. Yeah, this is now 2013.  You know, there's a lot of exclusive One More Disney Day merchandise available just fior today. I'm not interested in any of it, except maybe this poster.

I don't know what Snow White or having a hangover has to do with One More Disney Day, but there you have it. And now for some sad news, especially for you Monkee fans...

Davy Jones
Dec 30, 1945 - Feb 29, 2012
Actually, he IS our stepping stone now.

Well, the Oscars have been over for a few days, and before the Oscars I invited my friend Jeff to the Phile to do some Oscar picks. It's time to see who won, so once again, please welcome my good friend Jeff Trelewicz back to the Phile for a pheature I called...

Me: Okay, Jeff, welcome back, let's talk about the Oscars. Whatcha think? Did you think Billy Crystal did a good job? I like him hosting the show.

Jeff: Hey, Phile. Great to be back on once again. I thought Billy Crystal did a great job. I was quite surprised that they didn't mention the Brett Ratner-Eddie Murphy fiasco. Like I said before, he is a very safe bet as a host. I think he will definitely be back next year if he wants to do it.

Me: What was your favorite part? I liked the Muppets being there... And Jennifer Lopez's areola. Wish it was Reese's though. And Logan thought Penelope Cruz looked hot.

Jeff: I thought the best moment was Christopher Plummer's acceptance speech. He is the oldest Oscar winner of all time. His line of, "You are only two years older then me, where have you been all my life?" I thought was pretty classic. Your son thought Penelope Cruz was hot? Oh, Logan is definitely your son!

Me: Yep, I don't think she's that hot though. Anyway, we both did Oscar picks, so how did we do?

Jeff: As far as our picks, we did ok. We both had Artist to win, and we were both right. For Best actor, I said Clooney. You said Pitt. We were both wrong. For best actress we both got it right with Meryl Streep. For best director you were right with the director of The Artist. So for the second straight challenge you have beat me! 

Me: Alright!! Whoo-hoo. Jeff, thanks again, and if there's anything you wanna come onto the Phile and talk about let me know.

Jeff: I will definitely be back in time for Wrestlemania! But definitely before that. In the mean time check out Nothing like a cheap plug! The Guru is back!

Me: Good job as always, Jeff. 

Well, I thought I would invite my other friend back to the Phile for another comic review. So, please welcome Jim Mello in a pheature we call...

This Half A Review Will Make You Stronger: "Ronin" by Frank Miller, with art by shitty Frank Miller. Lynn Varley did stuff too.

It may be unprofessional to review a book that you only read half of. It's a good thing I am no professional. Frank Miller's "Ronin" is the worst kind of Frank Miller... high-concept 80's techno future Frank Miller.  The story follows a Ronin whose vowed revenge against a Demon who killed his master. He fails, trapping both the demon and himself into some magic sword. Enter Miller's atypical dystopic future where people have too many goddamn lines on their faces, and buildings look like squares set in a fog of color with no actual cityscape to speak of. The Ronin is reincarnated through some dude, and he has to go find the reincarnated demon and then I don't know what the fuck happened because I stopped reading it because Miller's art became so damn ugly it was like someone tracked mud all over the original pencils. This is after he completely loses his sense of storytelling.  The other day, I posted what is possibly my favorite comic page of all time. It shows a mastery of storytelling in terms of layout, color use, clean pencils, and writing that may be terse, but it impacts like a wayward asteroid on the lunar surface. How the fuck does he do that, and then do this after? Art wise, it's just like "Dark Knight Return's" sequel, "The Dark Knight Strikes Back", which is a really tough read with equally ugly pencils. I've always thought the guy sways easily from beautiful, to ugly... but this is too much. I will retry this at some unknown future date. Until then, I'd steer clear of this argh-inducing piece of bleh.

The 13th artist to be pheatured in the P.P.A.G. is Scott Quick, and this is one of his pieces.

Scott will be a guest on the Phile this Sunday. 

Alright, today's guest is an Indian electric bass player. He is known for developing tabla and mridangam style finger technique on bass guitar to play slap bass. Whatever that means, we'll find out in a minute. Please welcome to the Phile... Jayen Varma.

Me: Hello, Jayen, welcome to the Phile. How are you? I wish I knew how to say hello in Indian.

Jayen: Hello, I'm fine. Hope you are also doing well. Thanks to be kind enough.

Me: Over the years I interviewed quite a few bass players, but I have to admit, you are the mother of bass players, Jayen. When did you first started to play bass?

Jayen: Thanks. I don’t think I am such a great bass player, because there are hundreds of great bassists in the world both known and unknown with lots of talent. I started playing bass in 1986 in a cover band playing metal music.

Me: I take it bass is the only instrument you play?

Jayen: My main instrument is bass. I have been a drummer before I took bass. I also have undergone training in the Indian Percussion instrument Mridangam. So I play a little bit of Mridangam and Kanjira.

Me: You are based and from India, right? Do you ever travel and play in the States?

Jayen: Yes, I am in India. I hope to do Indian slap bass clinics soon in the States.

Me: Okay, let's talk about Indian Slap Bass playing. You are the king of it, Jayen, but tell the Phile readers exactly what it is.

Jayen: Indian Slap Bass is playing the bass guitar just like the Indian classical percussion instruments Tabla, Mridangam or Kanjira. This is a very simple method because strings are hit like two drum sticks. Here the index finger acts like one stick and the middle and ring fingers held close together form the other stick.

Me: And explain what tabla/mridangam is. You should nick name yourself Mr. Idangam and really confuse people.

Jayen: Tabla is North Indian Classical percussion instrument, while mridangam is south Indian classical percussion instrument. Yes, you can call me so.

Me: How long ago did you come up with this technique?

Jayen: I started applying this technique even when I started playing the bass in 1986. It came naturally and not intentionally because that was easier for me.

Me: You are the fastest slap bass player in the world, says the Registry of Official World Records. Is that the same as Guinness World Records?

Jayen: Yes, I have a record. But I don’t believe that I am the fastest because there are many fast bass players in the world. And many of them are the fastest in certain styles and techniques. I am fast in my particular style. It is connected with the Record Holders Republic and not directly connected with Guinness.

Me: How did they time you?

Jayen: They evaluated that there are 36 percussive strikes in a second in my bass playing.

Me: Was breaking the record something you set out to do?

Jayen: I don’t wish to go ahead with the speed record or anything. I am still trying to make some good music. It may be easy to play fast, but it’s difficult to make a slow melody.

Me: What would you do if someone came along and beat your record?

Jayen: That will be awesome. I know it will happen, and it should happen. All the best to the person who goes for it.

Me: Are their any bass players you look up to? I imagine quite a few look up to you.

Jayen: I look up to many bass players. The list is so big because I like all those who hold a bass guitar and play some good bassline, whether he is famous or unknown.

Me: What kinda music do you listen to, Jayen?

Jayen: I listen to most of the music genres especially jazz and Indian classical. And of course, funk, rock, metal, blues.

Me: Have you heard of the band Foghat?

Jayen: Yes, a blues-rock band. They are great.

Me: Jayen, thanks so much for being on the Phile. Do you do a lot of interviews?

Jayen: Thanks to you as well. Yes, I attend interviews at times.

Me: But this is the best one, right? LOL. Go ahead and plug your website, sir, and anything else you wanna.

Jayen: Thank you so much...

Me: You seem like a very wise man, so do you have any words of wisdom for the readers of the Phile?

Jayen: There something unique in each and everyone. Any method is difficult in the beginning and the result is also not apparent immediately. But those who practice persistently will succeed in the application of any difficult technique. It does not matter how an instrument is played, it only matters how it sounds.

Me: Thanks again, and I wish you continued success, and I hope no one beats your record.

Jayen: Thanks for the wishes. I believe I am one of the fastest bassists. All the best to you and Phile readers.

Well, kids, that about does it for another entry. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and Jim Mello and of course Jayen. By the way, check out Jim's Facebook page Comics Will Make You Stronger. The Phile will be back on Sunday with artist Scott Quick, then on Monday it's musician Pete Donnelly, and next Wednesday Jason Ziebart from the band Honeyloaf. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Pheaturing Martina Downey

Hello, welcome to a Monday entry of the Phile, I am your host Stinker Slacker Blogger Brit.  So, who watched the Oscars last night? Jean Dujurdin one best actor for his role in The Artist. I thought it was funny when he said, "I hope to become as popular in your country as other foreign stars such as GĂ©rard Depardieu, Robert Benigni, and... oh shit."  Speaking of artists, A new study found that 16 percent of Americans under the age of 24 don’t have a job. There’s even a name for that group: Art History majors. Man, do I know how to segue or not.  Last week a toy store in Massachusetts accidentally received a liquor license, which explains that new toy... Call-Me-a-Cab Elmo.  Congressman Barney Frank is getting married soon... to another guy. Usually congressmen only do that sort of thing in secret.  Rick Santorum said he believes that Satan has his sights on America. Apparently Satan is still upset about the time he went down to Georgia and lost that fiddle.  BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z were spotted at a Knicks game this week. They found a last-minute babysitter... he guy who used to play point guard before Jeremy Lin.  A lunch menu from the Titanic is expected to sell for $150,000 at an auction next month. The menu starts out great, but once you get to the iceberg wedge, it’s a total disaster.  As bad as gas prices are here, the situation is worse in Europe. I'll tell you why. Because every time Europeans fill up their tank, they expose their unshaven armpits, releasing deadly toxic gases.
The reality is earth contains only so much fossil fuel. So the solution is obvious. If oil comes from fossils, then we should genetically engineer more dinosaurs. What could possibly go wrong? I think we're going to be seeing more hybrid cars. The Prius is known as a hybrid because it can run on either electricity or the smugness of the owner. Man, I miss my Prius. Anyway, it's hard to look cool at a stoplight when you step on the gas and the car whines like a lady's electric razor.  Paris Hilton just released a music video for her new song, "Drunk Text." So, look out, Adele!  J.K. Rowling, author of the "Harry Potter" series, is set to publish her first novel for adults. You can tell the book is for adults from its title, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Activia.”  A new survey found that the tooth fairy left about 42 cents less in 2011 than it did the year before. When kids lose teeth now, they’re like, "Ehh, I’m gonna hold onto this until the market improves.”  A company in the U.K. is selling a new device that lets you know if you’re driving badly. It’s called a windshield.  Let's talk about the Oscars again. What about that Gabourey Sidibe. Remember when Hollywood assured you that your weight wouldn't preclude your receiving film roles? Thank God that didn't happen. I look forward to seeing you in Precious 2: The Klumps.  Well, like you know, The Artist, the silent, black-and-white French film that has been seen by as many as seven dozen American moviegoers has won best picture. Its profile is sure to rise which is why I am thrilled to get my hands on this just-leaked, eminently quotable outtakes.

One of the higlights for me was Jennifer Lopez's nip-slip. I thought I was the only one that noticed it at first. For those that missed it, I will do you a favor and show you. Oh, you're welcome.

Everybody is talking about Jennifer's areola, but no one said a word about the markings on the back of that dog from The Artist

Speaking of movies, yesterday I went to see the new Ghost Rider movie and I wasn't impressed with the special effects they used on him. He just didn't look right. Check it out. 

Okay, we all know those brilliant Mayans predicted that in December the world will end. The Mayans are so smart, they are also great at giving advice. So, I thought once again I would invite a Mayan to the Phile to give some of his Mayan advice. So, please, welcome once again...

Me: Hello, Marvin, what advice do you have today?

Marvin: Nya b’a’n tu’n tcub’ neje, ex tu’n tcyija cyi’jxjal, aj toc ten b’etil ku’n b’e’x chi xjetw’elix timi× a mo tjosa.

Me: That's great, Marvin. But once again I am not Mayan and do not understand what you are saying. Can you translate in English please?

Marvin: It is not good to go forward and back while walking because this will cause abnormalities in your breasts or testicles.

Me: That's good advice and explains a lot, Marvin. Thanks again. Marvin the Modern Day Mayan, kids! That is so, so stupid.

I am currently more than a little bummed out. I went to my local multiplex, dropped ten bucks on a 3D matinee ticket expecting to get my mind blown by my favorite lunatic, Nicolas Cage, and my favorite lunatic directing team of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the men responsible for Crank and Crank 2. I expected that the urinating fire sequence I'd already seen would be merely the jumping off point of an insane 90+ minutes. I expected more than Cage turning into a motorcycle-riding, damned-soul-collecting skeleton on fire, because I got that in the first movie. I expected molten crazy from a story about Ghost Rider saving a holy-born child from turning into the Antichrist. And if you're the kind of person ready to go see something like this then that's what you would be expecting, too. And I got... I don't know... not enough. Of anything.  This is a worse feeling than sitting through something you assume will be another empty Hollywood template filled with connect-the-dots action, plot and emotion. And it's a worse feeling because I know that Cage, at this point in his career, represents the badass rejection of taste and quality, a man who seems bent on devouring all the B-movie roles he can and vomiting them back into the faces of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And I like that about him. I like that about him quite a bit.  I also know that Neveldine and Taylor can't possibly be this lazy. It feels like they've been shackled somehow. Maybe it was the low budget, the eastern European location, the stifling quality of an imposed PG-13 rating, or maybe Eva Mendes passing on the script and Richard Carpenter objecting to them using his former band's music this time around. Who knows what, really, but when these guys can't make you holler from surprise, something is wrong.  Yes, there's a certain amount of fun here for Divinity school students. They'll enjoy the parlor game of sorting out the baffling theology of a Satan-owned motorcyclist who wants to use his powers for good. And there are a couple of action sequences that earn their keep. And that's all. It stubbornly refuses to go balls-out. Every chance it gets it squanders. And it makes me feel cheated and sad. Like I want to go write a song for Adele to sing about it. So please, people involved, don't do us wrong no more. Make Werewolf Women of The S.S. or something. Anything. Just no more of this snoozy bullshit. It gets a 6 and I will not be buying it at all.

The 13th artist to be pheatured in the P.P.A.G. is the creator of the comic strip "Camden Bottoms". This is one of hie pieces.

Scott will be a guest on the Phile next Sunday, kids. 

Today's guest is an old school R&B singer whose new album "Sign Posts" is now available on iTunes. Please welcome to the Phile... Martina Downey.

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

Martina: I'm terrific and really glad to be here.

Me: Where are you from, Martina? 

Martina: Paterson, New Jersey a mid size city in Northern New Jersey.

Me: Where are you living now? 

Martina: Still living in North Jersey.

Me: So, you have a really good voice, Martina. I am guessing you sang at a few churches in a choir, am I right? 

Martina: Yes, I sang in several church choirs. I grew up Roman Catholic but starting singing gospel music as an adult.

Me: Is that where you first started to perform? 

Martina: Absolutely, it where I got to sing my first solos.

Me: Have you always wanted to be a singer? 

Martina: Yes, I always dreamed about it and I've been writing songs since I was 17. Every morning before going to school and after my parents had left for work, I would have this fantasy solo concert.

Me: Okay, if I had to guess, I would say Aretha Franklin or Joan Armatrading were influences, but one of your major influences is David Bowie? Is that right? 

Martina: Yes, I grew up listening to Motown and Rock and Roll at the same time. My mother used to play the Aretha Franklin gospel album religiously throughout the house. I discovered Joan much later when I got to college. I like the stories that she told about relationships. It was the song "Fame" that caught my eye on David Bowie. I heard it on the juke box and the radio and I couldn't get enough of his music.

Me: Did you listen to Bowie growing up, Martina? What about Bowie turned you onto him? 

Martina: Yes, I could not get enough of Bowie. It was one thing to be mesmerized by his music but he was a sight to see. I was amazed by his theatrical performances, use of make up and real showmanship. I used to watch him on TV in high school long before MTV: "The Midnight Special's 1980 Floor Show" and the Ziggy concerts. My sister bought me my first Bowie album: "Station to Station". I would play it all night long until the grooves wore out, that is vinyl grooves. Bowie's music was the soundtrack of my youth. Give me a year and I could tell you which Bowie records I was listening to at the time. I lived in the music library in High School. I went there everyday. It was part of the main public library. I would listen to all the Bowie back catalog and many other musicians and genres of music. It was great way to get saturated with all kinds of music for free when all you had was a weekly allowance.

Me: So "Fame" was the first Bowie song you heard? Where were you when you heard it?

Martina: I heard it on the radio in 1975 and I would play it on the jukebox. Then it was TVC15. 

Me: Did you ever see him in concert? 

Martina: Many times. I was afraid to ask my parents to go the Stage concert at Madison Square Garden in '78 because I knew they would never let me. I was too poor a college student to make it the Let's Dance Tour but I didn't miss the Glass Spider Tour and every tour after including the Tin Machine shows.

Me: Another one of your other favorites is John Lennon, I am a big Beatles fan, so I have to ask, are you a fan of The Beatles more or John's solo work? 

Martina: I grew up listening to the Beatles. History was being made and I was a part of it. I remember seeing them on the Ed Sullivan show and watching Yellow Submarine when it first aired. I think I was a fan John's work more than the Beatles themselves because John got personal. He dealt with human suffering, love and war while it was going on. So while the Beatles were early influences and it was John's music that really spoke to me on a personal and spiritual level. I started listening to his music in high school and through college.

Me: I know you like all genres of music, Martina. Did you listen to any Foghat? Just wondering 

Martina: No, I did get a chance to check them out.

Me: Well, get to it. LOL. Anyway, you sang with rock bands as well as choir groups, am I right? Who are some of the rock bands you sang with? 

Martina: In the early 90's I got interested in the BRC (Black Rock Coalition). I called up the secretary on the telephone and she liked my voice. She liked it so much that she asked me to come down to one of their rehearsal's to check out the band. I auditioned and the next thing I knew I was in the band. It was called Nu Lyf. I played several BRC gigs in New York. In the 80's I joined this band called Ball. I remember two things: rehearsing in dank cellars and the in fighting. During one of these rehearsals, I fell down cellar stairs and hurt my foot. I kept on singing while in pain during the rehearsal and went to the ER afterward.

Me: So, how would you describe your music? I think it's very soulful with a touch of the blues, am I right? 

Martina: It's somewhat dreamy, soulful, bluesy for sure with a message.

Me: Let's talk about your new album "Sign Post". So, how did "Sign Post" get to be the album title, Martina? 

Martina: I am drawn to the spiritual and the album kept telling me that it's about one's spiritual journey and the lessons that are learned in the process. The Sign Posts are the lessons one learns in life or the lessons that are repeated if we don't listen to those messages. The Sign Posts come from within rather than the outside.

Me: Okay, I have to ask you about a few songs on "Sign Post". One of the songs is called "Catch the News". Is there anything in the news that song is about? Politics, entertainment? 

Martina: Yes, it's a political song but not in the traditional sense. It's about the life of a grass roots leader who contributions are long forgotten but rediscovered by the youth. It's an opportunity for the elderly to connect to the next generation and for the youth to honor their elders.

Me: Another song is called "Tired, Sick and Lonely". You're not any of those things, I hope. Are you? 

Martina: This song is about an abusive relationship, but it's at the point where the person being abused has decide to take back her power. I've known many people that were in abusive relationships. In this song, the victim transforms herself and is no longer the victim. She walks out and in tact.

Me: Martina, who plays in your band? And are they the same group of people who play on the album? 

Martina: There are several talented musicians in the album. I worked primarily with Robert's (producer Robert Urban of Urban Productions). There is Steve Sullivan on bass. Robert Urban on guitar, drums, flute and keyboards. Barbara Tone on sax.

Me: So, what's next for you, Martina? A tour? Are you already planning a new album? 

Martina: I'm always writing new songs so stay tuned for my next CD.

Me: Thanks so much for being here on the Phile. Please come back when your new album comes out. Hey, and maybe one day you can do a duet with Bowie. Go ahead and plug your sites and everything, and continued success. 

Martina: You can learn more about me and what I'm doing at

Me: Thank you, Martina, and take care. 

There you go, that about finished up another entry of the Phile. Thanks to Martina for the interview. The Phile will be back on Wednesday with bass player Jayen Varma. Then on Sunday it's artist Scott Quick and Monday it's musician Pete Donnelly. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pheaturing Lizzy Ross

Hello, kids, welcome to another entry of the Phile, on a Sunday... Oscar Sunday. How are you? Microsoft founder Bill Gates attended a fundraiser for President Obama. He wasn't invited, but in typical Microsoft fashion he crashed it.  A new survey found that most hairdressers don’t like listening to their clients’ stories. On behalf of clients, I’d just like to tell hairdressers, "Ditto.”  A man in China discovered a new kind of fish that looks like it has wings and legs. The discovery has led to questions from biologists... and a bidding war between KFC and Red Lobster.  In New York, basketball phenom Jeremy Lin continues to whip fans of the Knicks into a lather. They're calling it Lin-sanity. I think that's what they called it when Lindsay Lohan stole that jewelry.  Bob Morris, a state lawmaker from Fort Wayne, Ind., has decided not to support a proposal to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts. He believes the Girl Scouts is a, quote, radicalized organization that supports homosexuality and abortion. I'm all for freedom of speech, but that kind of talk might get you picked as Rick Santorum's running mate. Girl Scouts sell cookies. They don't promote homosexuality. They promote obesity. I love those thin mints though. My wife purchased a whole case of them for us.  At the White House they're still recovering from the other night's big concert. Mick Jagger played. President Obama said it was refreshing to see an old white guy who wasn't running against him.  Dutch scientists say they've created artificial meat from stem cells, and in about eight months they'll have a complete hamburger patty. When I first heard this, I was shocked. There are dutch scientists? It's got to be uncomfortable working in a lab with those giant wooden shoes on.  Have you heard about this artificial hamburger? There are still a lot of questions about it, like is it healthy? Does it go with cheese? Can David Hasselhoff eat it off the floor? This artificial hamburger technology is not perfected. To make a complete patty, scientists say it will cost $400,000 per hamburger. The first 10 have already been ordered by Mitt Romney.  Well, like I said, the Oscars are on tonight. And 40 million people are expected to watch it on ABC. But in fairness, half of them are just Brad Pitt’s kids cheering him on. I talked to a friend of mine, and the odds-on favorite is The Help. It's all about housekeepers being pursued by Arnold Schwarzenegger. When watching the Academy Awards side effects include nausea, headaches, and sexual dysfunction. The Academy Awards — you sit there for four-and-a-half hours waiting to take off, like a Jet Blue flight.  Alright, loing time readers of the Phile know I have a thing..a and when I say thing you know what I mean... a thing for Kelly Clarkson. I was so mad she was at Disney World the other day and I didn't se eher. Take a look at this picture.

She's hanging out with the wrong beast, if you know what I mean. LOL.  The NBA All-Star game is at Orlando this weekend, and I was surprised at one of the posters they were selling. Check it out.

Last Wednesday was the 8,000th Republican debate, or something like that. Well, I missed it so I thought I would invite someone to the Phile to give a brief recap. So, please welcome back to the Phile Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee... Patrick Gaspard.

Me: Hello, sir, welcome back to the Phile. So, what did I miss in the last GOP debate?

Patrick: Well, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney sat side by side. If one vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the other called Arizona's immigration law a model for the country. If one brought up the "dangers of contraception," the other said he'd support Cut, Cap, and Balance and end Medicare as we know it. 

Me: How are they doing in the polls now?

Patrick: They're in a dead heat in the polls... so now they're in a footrace to decide who's most extreme.

Me: So, no matter who the GOP picks, what are you up against?

Patrick: If we wait until November to protect the things we've fought for, it's too late. We're laying the groundwork now.

Me: So, do you think things will get more extreme, sir?

Patrick: Yes, with the GOP primary season dragging on, the Tea Party in charge, and no clear leading candidate, you can expect things to only get more extreme. The last congressional races taught us what can happen if we don't fight back early enough and hard enough. We've seen what it's like to work with the Tea Party in the House.

Me: Yeah, imagine a Tea Party president.

Patrick: It could happen this year without your leadership.

Me: I'd rather have a Beer Party President. Thanks, Director Gaspard, once again.

Patrick: Thank you, Jason. 

So, recently I invited a friend and major comic book buff to the Phile who talked about comics and gave some reviews. He wanted to come back and talk about comic books in general, so please welcome back to the Phile Jim Mello in a pheature I call...

Comics 101, or “Where The Fuck Do I Start?”
 I didn’t start reading comics until I was about seventeen. The comic gene laid dormant inside me like a giant mechanized harbinger of doom waits to awaken from its mountainside lair to terrorize Paris with its laser eyes, and riveted, evil claws that crush bystanders and historical monuments alike. I lived in a town with no comic shop, in a land where the word “comic” was barely heard above a whisper. So, I had to wait for my comic “balls” to drop, as it were. And they did. And it was fucking awesome (I can’t put it more eloquently). But it took a lot of research, and some serious traveling to find a place where I understood comics, and could effectively seek out and find books that I could understand without fighting the 70+ years of continuity.  I realize, looking back on the two reviews Jason allowed me to post on here, that a lot of you probably have no reference to comics outside the movie and TV adaptations. What do these random titles mean to you? Comics aren’t like books, where, if you already like to read, someone can just suggest something to you and you already have an idea of how it will look, feel, and should be read, where as comics are an entirely different art form. I mean, the taboo aside, comics read completely different, and some of the best ones are so experimental in their storytelling methods, they may throw off the casual reader or make it less enjoyable. Plus, as I mentioned above, let’s say you want to get into Captain America after last years movie. You think he’s a rad dude, and warrants a further investigation. Hello 70+ years of continuity! Where the fuck do you begin? I’ve met so many people who want to try comics, but have no jumping off point, no reference, no way to just ease themselves into the warm waters of comic culture.  Well, here, dear reader, in your answer: Hopefully, you’ve made it through the above to the real reason I’m writing this article: Comics 101. These are the titles that I’ve actually used to suck the casual reader, who is mildly interested, into comic-dom. These are my “gateway comics”. Think of me as your comic (i.e –drug) dealer, and I’m starting you off with just a taste of what comics (i.e – Drugs, or marijuana as it were) has to offer, except there are no ill side effects. I will help you bypass superhero continuity, and also explore the other (many) genres comics has to offer.  For our first day, we will start off with two books. Shall we?
For the Person Who Wants to Start Off Reading Superhero Comics:
"The Ultimates Vo.1: Super-Human". Written by: Mark Millar ("Fantastic").  Art by: Bryan Hitch.

Back in the early 2000’s, Marvel Comics had a lot of success with two of its biggest film franchises: X-Men and Spider-Man. Anticipating a possible influx of new readers thanks to the movies, Marvel decided to start the Ultimate Universe. Now, before it gets too complex and you tune out with this talk of alternate universes, let me assure you – This is simple. The Ultimate Universe was created so newcomers, possibly like you, would NOT have to sift through that 70+ years of the continuity we talked about. m It’s a new beginning, and a very firm reimagining of some of Marvel’s most popular heroes, i.e – Spider-Man, X-Men, The Avengers, etc. They update them, their origin stories, and give their personalities a facelift. We will take the book at hand for an example: The Ultimates is a reimagining of The Avengers, updating the story of how The Avengers first got together for the modern movie going audience. I’ve always referred to it as the best possible Avengers movie, because Millar gives you a simple story that is epic in scope, and Bryan Hitch’s art is panoramic, wide, and detailed. In fact, this is probably what the upcoming Avengers film will be based off of. 
The Ultimates follows Nick Fury, leader of SHEILD, a world-wide peace keeping task force, as he assembles a group of super-powered individuals to help combat the growing increase of “super-terrorism”. The team comes together with the discovery that Captain America, a World War II super-solider who was thought dead, is found alive. Together they take on a completely revitalized Hulk (It’s not your Lou Ferrigno Hulk), and a shape-shifting alien race that wants to cleanse the Earth of life.  If it sounds like typical superhero fare, it is, but it’s the best possible kind. It’s fun, it’s smart, and it’s great for a new reader because everything you need to know is right there in the book. I would take bets that more of you will like this if you give it a shot then the upcoming Avengers film. Maybe that’s cynicism, but I think if you even caught of glimpse of what Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch did with this book, you’d be sucked in for good.
For The Person Who Has Vowed Never To Read A Super-Hero Comic:
"Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile". Words by: Bill Willingham. Art by: Lan Medina and Steve Leihola.

"Fables" takes what you think you know about comics, and turns it on its head. Comics just aren’t guys in tights, and girls with breasts that look like they’re ready to explode. Comics cover all genres, and in this case, they genre mash.
When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. But when Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown's sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf, to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose's ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber. From the Book Description (Because I didn’t want to fuck it up). If you’re noticing anything similar between this and the recent TV show "Once Upon A Time", you’re not the first. "Fables" was around first, and although a deal was struck to turn it into a TV show, it never was produced, but the writer of "Fables" has assured the readers that they were not stealing from his comic (They are public domain characters after all). Anyway, "Fables" is this clever, wonderful, little comic book that teases you with your familiarity with these characters, but adds its own twists that offer up some really entertaining stories. Bill Willingham really creates a new, compelling world for these classic characters to inhabit. You love seeing the Big Bad Wolf as Sheriff, and a Pinocchio still stuck as a boy (He’s mad his balls can’t drop... Honest), and a Prince Charming who uses his charm to cover his conniving, assholish ways. It’s great. The first story is a “who dun-it” that acts as a cover to get the reader familiar with the world and the characters. I always recommend a person read the first two trade paperbacks to get the full experience.  Alright, well if you made it through this, awesome. I hope you go out there and give these comics a try. If you liked this, let Jason know along with your suggestions on other characters you’d like to get an idea on where to start with. As always, please visit my Comics Make You Stronger Facebook page for all the comic suggestions, reviews, news, and discussions you could want. See you next issue. 

Thanks to Jim, he did a great job. I read both of those books he talked about, and liked them both. Alright, speaking of comics, the 13th artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery is a comic strip artist named Scott Quick who writes and draws a strip called "Camden Bottoms". This is some of his work, kids.

Scott will be a guest on the Phile a week from today. 

Today's guest is the singer or the band Lizzy Ross Band whose debut album "Read Me Out Loud" is now available on iTunes and Amazon. She'll be playing next at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 1st. Please welcome to the Phile, the very talented... Lizzy Ross.

Me: Hello, Lizzy, how are you? Welcome to the Phile.

Lizzy: Hi Jason, I'm great! Got a minor case of the sniffles but my sinuses are on the up and up. Thanks for having me.

Me: I love your album "Read Me Out Loud" which we'll talk about in a minute. You are looking for extras to be in your first music video, am I right?

Lizzy: Aw shucks. Glad you like it. Indeed, we were looking for extras but plans have changed. We're back to the drawing board with music videos. We hope to make three from "Read Me Out Loud", one of which will be for the song "Black River." The other two? That shall remain a mystery... until we need 300 people to come out and help us make them :) Here's a hint: one video candidate starts with a "W" and rhymes with "caves."

Me: Well, I am here to help. Where will they be filmed?

Lizzy: Darn. Given that the location's not set yet, let me give you a metaphorical equivalent: the gates of H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICK. "Black River" is a tune about a lot of things. One of its "thematic facets" (if you will) involves selling one's soul to the devil and getting the short end of the stick. There are a lot of ways to develop that theme visually, an exciting prospect that could take place just about anywhere. (The DMV? A STAT 101 classroom? That's hellish.)

Me: Shit, I live in Florida, America's wang. Anyway, how many extras do you need, Lizzy?

Lizzy: It's ok, you can still make it to Satan's lair. Just don't brush your teeth and stop it with the nighttime prayers... or at least that's what my 1st grade teacher told me. Thanks for the advice, Mrs. G. We're looking for anything from 30 to 300 extras, depending on how the video develops.

Me: I hope you get the folks you are looking for. Where are you originally from, Lizzy? North Carolina?

Lizzy: Thanks! Me too. I grew up in Annapolis. I LOVE Annapolis. As a kid, I could walk downtown in 20 minutes and spend my Friday nights loitering around the coffee shop. My more adventurous friends were daring enough to (gasp!) smoke cigarettes. I had a friend who snuck into a bar once and ran into our English teacher there. It's funny to grow up in a bar town and not be able to partake in the "bar" part... you see a whole different side of the town's personality than that offered by popular perception. It's a tourist town, but it's still a pretty small town. Folks know you and you better not play hooky, or else your dad will hear about it.
Childhood activities included: aforementioned loitering, novel reading, running wild in the woods, lacrosse, more loitering, treasure-map-drawing, guitar playing, dog walking, crabbing, more loitering, the occasional bike ride, painting, drawing, etc. As I got older, it became more and more apparent that my beloved Annapolis is the place where music goes to die. Access to bars, once granted, proved that Jimmy Buffett and Sublime cover bands were the order of the day. Nothing else could flourish in the meager musical soils, nurtured only by drunk yachters and midshipmen wrangling with all sorts of suppressed urges. North Carolina is where I really began to dig into music as a community builder. Some of my best friends sprang out of a community that revolved around making music and eating, two of my favorite activities. From there it just kept on growing. Maybe music likes red clay better than sandy coastal soil? Who can say... I just know that I love the musical community down here in NC.

Me: How long have you been writing and singing?

Lizzy: I've been singing as long as I could make noise. Little Mermaid = lifelong inspiration.
I've been playing for... maybe 9 years? I didn't get serious about it until I was in college. In my (meager but growing) study of instruments other than the voice, I've discovered that "getting serious" is a lifelong and progressively more demanding undertaking. I love it.

Me: Have you always wanted to be a performer?

Lizzy: Hmm... good question. Not so much the performing. That's kind of an afterthought to the singing/music love. Before I ever held an instrument or understood how a guitar worked, I loved to make music. Much to the chagrin of everyone around me, I wasn't usually singing in my head. Usually it was out loud. Very loud. The trend continues to this day. Music is a way for me to process the world, and singing is the easiest way for me to make music. Learning about guitar introduced me to concepts in music theory, and I've got a lot of learning yet to do. The learning helps me understand why music is so important to me, and how to grow as a musician and a communicator. Performing has been an unfolding pleasure... it wasn't fun or appealing at first, but as I've become more comfortable on stage I've gotten great joy out of sharing music with an audience and making a performance with an audience. I believe that the audience and the performer create the show together, it's kind of a loop of energy, the performer feeds the crowd, the crowd feeds the performer. It feels like a really brave and exciting thing to do, to go out there and be honest and vulnerable and sincere about what you love. People usually requite that, and the intimacy that results is inspiring.

Me: Lizzy, I have to say congrats on winning the Carolina Music Award for Rock Female, Lizzy. Did you win anything cool?

Lizzy: Thanks! Nope, just this little gold plastic man who sits on my windowsill and gathers dust. But it was cool to win it.

Me: Anyway, as I said, "Read Me Out Loud", which I downloaded from iTunes is a great. How did that song get to be the album title?

Lizzy: Thanks! You're so full of compliments. Geeze. Hmm... I went through all the lyrics on the album and picked out the phrases that meant the most to me. I looked for phrases that acknowledge a thematic connection between the songs. I found that a lot of the songs deal with processing the quickly departing past and anticipating a mysterious future. A lot of the songs on "Read Me Out Loud" deal with the never-ending process of personal evolution. Learning to navigate the world as a big kid. Building a community in a new place, watching your old friendships and family relationships change and evolve, running with new freedoms and responsibilities. The first few lines of the song "Read Me Out Loud" go like this:  
Sometimes I feel like a letter that's been lost in the mail.
All these thoughts and all these words, and no one to tell.
Carry me home, open me up.
Read me out loud. Deliver me, my love. 

So you've got a speaker who's lost and looking. Words and experiences are whirling around you in a growing storm, but you can't take shelter in the same places you used to. Still, you want someone to "read you out loud"... see who you are, acknowledge that you're there, give you something real to cling to. Change destroys some parts of our identity and reveals deeper levels of who we are. Maybe it's a honing process wherein we somehow become more ourselves? "Read Me Out Loud" is the idea of finding yourself in the midst of all that change.

Me: Is that you as a kid on the album cover?

Lizzy: Yup. I'm jumping through the hoop. My older sister Nat is egging me on, holding the hoop. I was probably pretending to be her tiger or something. The other girl is our neighbor Lisa. We've got this funny witchy hula hoop with weeds in the middle of it. What were we doing? In the background is the old Volvo and the front porch of our old house. There's a telephone pole just beyond the frame of the photo. In first grade I rode my bike into it and broke my left wrist. I think I present evidence against natural selection.

Me: How old are you in that picture? I have to put a picture of me about that age on the Phile this entry now.

Lizzy: Hmm... it was taken in 1992, so I was 4. Who was taking it? Why did they not stop me from face-planting on the sidewalk (mom)? I'm glad they didn't.

Me: There's a song on the album called "Cross the Cuyahoga"... is that a river or something in the Carolina's?

Lizzy: Nope, it's a river in Ohio. It's caught on fire many times because it's so polluted, but that's just a fun, irrelevant environmental tidbit.

Me: Recording the album, your drummer broke his wrist, right?

Lizzy: Indeed he did. Joy.

Me: How did that happen? Did he finished recording the album playing with hand? Hey, if Def Leppard's drummer could do it... and he only had one arm.

Lizzy: About two weeks into recording he went rollerblading and cracked a tiny bone in his left wrist. Everyone was delighted. We had been working in a studio, but were no longer able to schedule recording time because his healing was unpredictable. I bought Pro Tools (thanks student discount!) and an interface, and learned how to use them as we went. We worked constantly. We had unlimited time in which to experiment, and that brought new sonic possibilities to the fore. I think we ended up going a lot deeper with the music than we would have been able to in the studio, plus now I can record my own stuff! It's fantastic to be able to saunter to the next room and lay down a few tracks.

Me: Did you think for a second to replace him? I would've done.

Lizzy: For a literal second the possibility of temporarily replacing him crossed my mind. We make our living making music, so if he had been out for many, many months that would put a serious chink in lots of things. I'm so glad it didn't turn out that way... we were lucky and creative and found a way to make it work.

Me: Lizzy, I have to ask, growing up, who did you listen to? And who did you listen to now?

Lizzy: My parents got divorced and remarried (To other people. Ha.) when I was really young. I have the gigantic fortune of having FOUR awesome parents. Even better, they all have eclectic and fantastic taste in music. They brought everything from Neil Young to Coltrane to Hendrix to Debussy to the Velvet Underground to Paul Simon to Olu Dara to Eno to Derek and the Dominos to PJ Harvey to Led Zeppelin to Jon Spencer to Guy Clark to the Beatles to Joplin to Patty Griffin to Van Morrison to Sly and the Family Stone to Ulrich Schnauss to everyoneintheworldwhohasevermademusicjustkidding. Anyway, the point is that I got really lucky and have wide-ranging tastes. There are certain artists I go back to over and over again (the above among them). Like anyone else, I go through phases. I'm an obsessive listener. Some of my current favorites are Hayes Carll and Junior Kimbrough. I've been digging the new M83 album. Different week, different music.

Me: Lizzy, thanks so, so much for being here. You are great. Please come down to Orlando to play. Have you been to Orlando before?

Lizzy: Thank you! Thanks for having me! I would love to come to Orlando. I have not been there before. We will be coming to Florida for the Suwanee Springfest in Live Oak on March 24th - 25th. I know it's a long way away, but we've got guest passes if you want one...

Me: Thanks. Go ahead and plug your website and I wish you lots of luck. Please come back on the Phile soon, Lizzy, and good luck with the videos.

Lizzy: Thanks Jason! Here is it folks: my main website is Go there for musings, music, videos, pictures of cute dogs, what-have-you. You can catch me on facebook as "Lizzy Ross" or at You can catch me on Twitter @LizzyRossMusic. And last but not least, youtube (for live shows and when we finally get those videos done) is at You find my music on iTunes under "Lizzy Ross" as well as Amazon. Listen free at Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening. You are awesome. Jason, thanks for having me!

Well, that about does it for another entry. Is it me or do they seem to get longer and longer? Anyway, thanks to my guests Director Patrick Gaspard, Jim Mello... check out his Comics will Make You Stronger page at Facebook and of course the lovely Lizzy Ross who I'd love to interview again. The Phile will be back tomorrow with singer Martina Downey and on Wednesday it's bass player Jayen Varma who is the innovator of Indian slap bass. Next Sunday it's artist Scott Quick and on Monday it's musician Pete Donnelly who has played with Graham Parker, is now in NRBQ and has a great solo album out. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Oh, here's a picture of me when I was about 4.