Amoeblog

Fully Foiled

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 31, 2008 02:45pm | Post a Comment



Exile In Guyville

Posted by Miss Ess, May 31, 2008 01:36pm | Post a Comment
When I was in college I made that common mistake of going out with this guy off and on who kind of excessively fanliz phair livecied himself the "liberated male"...thus, of course, it was at his place where I first heard Liz Phair's excellent Exile in Guyville.

I think I knew from the beginning that "relationship" was doomed by, among other things, his overly self-conscious brand of "feminism." I ended up nabbing his copy of the record though, and I guess I still have it. 

Anyway, I was really excited to hear that Phair will be taking a mini tour and performing the fifteen-years-old Exile in Guyville in its entirety.  Also, on June 24 the exile in guyville liz phairrecord will be reissued with bonus tracks and a DVD about the making of the album. 

Exile in Guyville rawks my face off-- not only is it intelligent, challenging, melodic and kick ass, but it's written and performed by a woman who has been around the block a few times and lived to tell about it.  It's quite cathartic, and even though Phair eventually traveled with the Lilith Fair and all that hairy armpit jazz, this record should not be filed anywhere near those soft, for-women-only-faux rockers like Paula Cole and Joan Osbourne.  No, Exile in Guyville stands on its own two feet as a solid rock n roll record for the masses.

Check out one of the best tracks from the record, "Fuck and Run":



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Earl Hagen 1919 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, May 31, 2008 08:52am | Post a Comment

Earlier this week legendary, Emmy Award-winning television composer Earle Hagen died in Rancho Mirage, Calif., of natural causes at the age of 88. A prolific composer, he wrote many of the classic television themes that endlessly stick in our heads. Shows like Make Room for Daddy, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Spy, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C, That Girl, The Mod Squad, and Mary Hartman Mary Hartman, many of which featured his sense of humor and droll musical wit. Hagen also wrote the jazz standard "Harlem Nocturne” when he was only 20 years of age.

Born in Chicago on July 9, 1919, his family moved to Los Angeles when he was a child. After graduating from Hollywood High School, he left home at age 16 to tour with many of the Big Band giants of the day -- Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Ben Pollack and Ray Noble. While on the road with Noble in 1939 he wrote the classic instrumental "Harlem Nocturne." Inspired by the work and sound of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, this sexy/sultry tune has since then been recorded hundreds of times by artists such as Charlie Barnet, Glenn Miller, Sam "The Man" Taylor, Stan Kenton, Earl Bostic (a major hit in 1956), Johnny Otis, The Viscounts (whose version is perhaps the raunchiest!), Edgar Winter, King Curtis and The Lounge Lizards. "Harlem Nocturne" was also used, years later as the theme to the television show Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer.

But Hagen’s greatest fame probably stems from The Andy Griffith Show and its whistling happy-go-lucky theme written in 1960. This folksy-down home melody perfectly captures the opening credits, scene and feel of Andy Griffith and a young Ron Howard in character as the Sheriff and son Opie, walking down a country path towards the old fishing hole, poles on shoulder, in what must be the-life-idyllic. The whistling was done by Earle Hagen himself.

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Alexander "Sandy" Courage 1919 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, May 30, 2008 09:29am | Post a Comment


Alexander "Sandy" Courage, composer of the original 1960’s Star Trek television theme has died in Pacific Palisades. He was 88.

Born Dec. 10, 1919, in Philadelphia, Courage graduated from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., before enlisting in the Army Air Force in 1942, a month after Pearl Harbor, serving as a band leader on California military bases during the Second World War.

His career as a composer started at CBS Radio in the mid 1940’s; eventually Courage moved over to MGM as an orchestrator/arranger in 1948.

Over the next decade or so, he worked as an orchestrator on a string of classic movie musicals, including Annie Get Your Gun, Singing in The Rain, Show Boat, The Band Wagon, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Kismet, Oklahoma, and Gigi. But by the late 1950s, Courage was scoring soundtracks, including two classic westerns-- The Left Handed Gun and Day of the Outlaw, as well as some early rock and roll exploitation films-- Shake, Rattle and Rock!, Hot Rod Girl and Hot Rod Rumble.

He began composing for television in 1959, writing themes and incidental music for hundreds of television shows including The Untouchables, Laramie, Daniel Boone, M Squad, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, The Waltons, Falcon Crest, and Flamingo Road.

But his greatest claim to fame came with the theme and eight-note brass fanfare opening to Star Trek, the legendary sci-fi series which ran from 1966 to 1969. Originally using electronic/orchestral sounds for the arrangement, Courage later used a wordless melody line for the second and third seasons, sung by soprano Loulie Jean Norman. The Star Trek theme has since then become one of the most recognizable melodies ever in film and television history. One interesting note -- in those halcyon disco days in the early 1970’s, Nichelle Nichols, who played the role of Uhura in the original series, recorded a dance version -- a must have for record and sci-fi geeks everywhere!

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TOPR INTERVIEW (AT AMOEBA SF TODAY) & OTHER BAY HIP-HOP HAPS

Posted by Billyjam, May 30, 2008 02:30am | Post a Comment

As usual, there's lots of great indie hip-hop jumping off round the Bay Area this weekend, starting later today (May 30th) at Amoeba Music San Francisco where longtime local hip-hop artist TOPR, in celebration of his latest (fifth) solo album The Marathon of Shame, will be performing for free at 6PM.

Joining the Gurp City member onstage at the Haight Street store will DJ Quest, who incidentally celebrated his own new album (Questolous) release on the same stage not too long ago.

For some more background information on TOPR, who appeared on the Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. V with a song whose lyrics mentioned Amoeba Music, read his bio on the Amoeba Music website and/or scroll down a bit to the Amoeblog interview recently conducted with the hip-hop artist who is known for his homeless couch-surfing past, his gift  for graffiti art (see a piece he did with Lews of LORDS crew below), and of course his love for booze and partying.

Meanwhile some other Bay Area hip-hop shows happening this weekend include a great DJ throwdown tonight featuring two of the Bay's best turntablists, the world famous DJ Apollo (Triple Threat DJs etc.) vs. Goldenchyld of San Jose's Finger Bangerz fame at Vessel, 85 Camptan Place (near Union Sq., SF). Tomorrow night the ever busy DJ Apollo will join forces with his fellow Triple Threat DJs, Shortkut and Vin Roc and throw down a mix of hip-hop, breaks, and reggae at Berkeley's Shattuck Downlow, where tonight (Friday, May 30th) the reggae legend Eek-A-Mouse will be performing.

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out today...5/27...cyndi lauper...booka shade...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 29, 2008 07:02pm | Post a Comment

Cyndi Lauper
was right up there along with Madonna and Prince back in the 80's. They were for sure my first favorite artists that I obsessed over. And I was not alone. I blame it on MTV, but you have to give them credit for creating millions of fans out of these sort of weird artists. Somebody who looked like Prince or Cyndi Lauper would never make it on American Idol today. They would be included in the group of contestants who never make it, that everyone laughs at. I know it was a different time back then, but it still is amazing how popular music has became so boring and basic. I try to stay away from American Idol. I just avoid it because I know it will make me mad, but I happened to catch the last 15 minutes of the finale last week. The contestants are always the same. They have decent enough voices but they never have any style or substance to them. They are just exact replicas of the contestants of seasons before them. They have the rocker dudes, the high school musical showtunes people. The boring R&B singers. I would really love to see somebody like Cyndi Lauper on that show-- somebody totally crazy and unique. I don't think it will probably happen. The mainstream music fan has become complacent with boring music and is just not interested in anything a bit weird. Where is the next Cyndi Lauper? Will there every be another Morrissey or Robert Smith? Another Marilyn Manson? Where are the weirdos? The 80s really was all about the rise of the freak and weirdo. It is really amazing Cyndi Lauper became as popular as she did. She was like nothing before her. The songs were pure perfect pop and she had one of those unique brilliant voices. Anybody who was a bit weird themselves was drawn to her. They identified with her for being an outcast and weirdo, but then she became one of the most popular and recognizable singers of the 80s.

Cyndi Lauper is one of those artists that just makes me happy anytime I think about her. I smile whenever I think of her in the "We Are The World" video or in the video for "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough." I hate to imagine my life without her. How could I have got through the 80s without "Time After Time,"  "She Bop," "Change of Heart," and "When You Were Mine?" I remember being excited whenever I heard her on the radio or TV. The 80s would have certainly not been as interesting and fun without her. Maybe Cyndi should have her own reality show. It could be the search for the next Cyndi Lauper or the search for the next weirdo. Cyndi does have a new album out this week as well. Her album from a couple years ago was a pop vocals standards sort of album. This is nothing like that. It goes more back to what you might expect from her. The album is very dancey and very gay friendly. She still manages to make some super fun songs. Not sure I will be listening to it very much more, but I still love her and will most likely be seeing her in concert again when she brings her gay positive True Colors Tour to town.

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Edendale and the Beginning of the West Coast Film Industry

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 29, 2008 06:15pm | Post a Comment

This edition of the Los Angeles neighborhood blog is about historic Edendale. To vote for more neighborhoods, click here. To vote for Los Angeles county communities, click here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.

C
hicagoan William Selig had a background in vaudeville and, as a teen, was part of a traveling minstrel show. In 1894 he witnessed a demonstration of Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope at an exhibition in Dallas. Upon returning to the Middle West, he set up his own photography studio and began researching how to make movies in a way that wouldn't get him in trouble with the notoriously patent-protecting Edison who wasn't above hiring armed goons to stop anyone from infringing on his cartel.

   

             Francis Boggs                                        Selig-Polyscope Studio                                          William Selig

 In 1896 Selig set up the Selig Polyscope Company with director & actor Francis W. Boggs. They began filming actualities, industrial films and travelogues.  Francis Boggs was from Santa Rosa or Newman, California (there were no census records). 

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Vashti Bunyan Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, May 28, 2008 07:00pm | Post a Comment
Vashti Bunyan's seminal 1970 album Just Another Diamond Day contains some of the most pastoral songs you ever could hear. Written while traveling through England in a horse drawn caravan and produced by Joe Boyd back in London, the record perfectly captures a bucolic snapshot of that journey. Vashti had had a brief flirtation with recording previous to Diamond Day, when she cut singles for The Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham in the mid 60s. Soon after Diamond Day was quietly released, she quit music and lived on an isolated farm for many years. Fast forward to 2000, when Diamond Day was re-released after languishing in obscurity for decades. It quickly won a new audience, and Vashti was inspired to write once again, eventually releasing her second album, Lookaftering, in 2005 and touring for the first time. In 2007, Some Things Just Stick Around in Your Mind, a compilation of early unreleased and rare recordings by Vashti, was released. Here, Vashti tells us about her early inspirations, her life on the farm, working with Joe Boyd and picking up the guitar once again after so many years away from it.

vashti bunyan

ME: What kind of music did your parents listen to around the house when you were growing up?
 
Vashti: My father had a great collection of 78 rpm classical records and a huge old radiogram. I have never been able to put names to the music or the composers, just very clear – sometimes note for note -- memories.
 
ME: Was there a particular person in your life early on who particularly nurturedvashti bunyan early days your love of music?
 
Vashti: My father – although I’m sure it wasn’t something he tried to do. Watching him conduct his imaginary orchestra with a look of such pure happiness on his face maybe had an effect. My brother also – who was ten years older than me and went to college for a year in USA, returning with LP records and a suitcase full of all the bits needed to make up a deck for playing them on. Fascinating to a 5 year old.
 
What was the first bit of music you remember hearing that inspired you to write yourself?
 
I haven’t thought about it till now but I remember this piece of music I loved from when I was about five sung by Kathleen Ferrier that began ‘flocks in pastures green abiding.’ Hmm.vashti bunyan 1960s
 
When did you start playing guitar and writing songs? How did you learn to play?
 
My first year at art school, I was 17; my friend Jenny had a guitar and a Bert Weedon guitar book– with the chords for songs like "When the Saints Go Marching In" and others. I fell upon it. I’d had violin lessons before and so I learned very quickly. It wasn’t long before we both started writing mournful love songs.
 
It sounds like you were a shy person starting out in music-- yet it must have taken an incredible amount of courage to seek a label and record tracks. How did you manage to put yourself out there?
 

Yes, I often wonder how I did it. I was shy around people but I did believe in my own songs. I’ve always been amazed at my youngest son, who was a very shy kid until he got on to a basketball court where he suddenly became tall, confident and sure-footed. I felt like that in a recording studio.
 
Can you recall the feeling of "Swinging London?" Any particular memories from this time that stand out?
 bob dylan robert zimmerman
I remember with rebellious pleasure – tinged with guilt -- the way that the older generation were so upset by us all. They had tried desperately to protect us from the hardships they had been through and so unwittingly they gave us minds of our own – and then we flew the nest in ways they could never have dreamed of.
 
When you were first starting out, what artists in particular struck you?

Zardoz ! Saturday Midnight At New Beverly Cinema !

Posted by phil blankenship, May 28, 2008 03:08pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship are proud to present some of our film favorites at Los Angeles’ last full-time revival movie theater. See movies the way they're meant to be seen - on the big screen and with an audience!


Saturday May 31

Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling in

John Boorman's

Zardoz

1974, 105 min.

New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Midnight, $7

 

Beautiful new print from the Fox archive!


June
June 7 Heavenly Bodies

(Phil's 30th BDay Party - FREE Screening!)
June 21 John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness
(Universal Archive 35mm Print! Rare Screening!)
June 28 Van Damme in Sudden Death
(Universal Archive 35mm Print! First revival screening EVER!)

July
July 5 Delta Force

(Celebrate Independence Day weekend - watch Lee Marvin & Chuck Norris kick terrorist BUTT!)
July 19 Just One Of The Guys
July 26 Chopping Mall

(w/ special guests director Jim Wynorski & star Kelli Maroney in attendance, schedules permitting)

August
August 9 Rainbow Brite & The Star Stealer

BRANDI SHEARER & BAND FINE TUNE NEXT ALBUM ON CURRENT TOUR

Posted by Billyjam, May 28, 2008 01:47pm | Post a Comment

"The main problem is that generally when you make an album, you record it first and then (afterwards) you tour. So by the end of the tour the songs are incredible because they are so practiced," said Brandi Shearer, pictured left earlier this week onstage in New York.

"I wanted to do this the right way; to tour first and record the album after....This tour is basically the pre- production."  The Amoeba Records recording artist was speaking two nights ago in New York City, moments after getting off stage to rousing applause at Manhattan's Mercury Lounge where along with current two-piece band -- drummer Ramy Antoun and guitarist Chris Bruce (the musicians on her soon to be recorded next album, and who just got off tour with Seal) -- sounded like they've already honed their sound on all the new tracks enough to go into the studio and record that next album right away.

The studio recording dates won't be for several more weeks, sometime this summer when Craig Street (Cassandra Wilson, Norah Jones,Me'Shell NdegéOcello, John Legend, k.d. lang, Manhattan Transfer etc.) produces the anticipated new album -- the follow up to last year's Close to DarkCurrently Shearer & band are still in the midst of their hectic cross-country tour with another busy week of shows to go, all part of a coast-to-coast Amoeba Music Presents tour that also features Quincy Coleman and Kate Walsh.

Parts

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 27, 2008 10:15pm | Post a Comment


Cheerleaders' Wild Weekend / Escape From Women's Prison !

Posted by phil blankenship, May 27, 2008 05:30pm | Post a Comment

Grindhouse Film Festival


Check out the next Grindhouse Film Festival event at the New Beverly Cinema tonight (Tuesday). We'll have two incredibly entertaining films that haven't been screened in LA in decades, along with special guests.



First up is Cheerleaders' Wild Weekend (1979), also known as The Great American Girl Robbery and starring Kristine DeBell (Alice in Wonderland, Meatballs), Jason Williams (Flesh Gordon), Lenka Novak (Vampire Hookers), Marilyn Joi (Nurse Sherri, Ilsa - Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks) and the great Leon Isaac Kennedy (Penitentiary). The IMDB keywords for this film should be enough to convince you to check it out: 1970's, Masturbation, Nude Cheerleaders, Female Nudity, and Bus. Who can resist subject matter like that!? Nude cheerleaders AND a bus! Pure exploitation heaven.



Our second film, Escape From Women's Prison (1978), is a typically over-the-top sleazefest from Italy and stars such exploitation faves as Lilli Carati (To Be Twenty), Zora Kerova (Cannibal Ferox) and Dirce Funari (Porno Holocaust). This one has even better IMDB keywords: Lesbianism, Non-Statutory Female On Male Rape, Prostitute, Sex, and Beautiful Woman.



Thank you Italy, bring it on!

Click Here To View Event Page & RSVP

--------------------------------------

Tuesday • May 27th, 2008

NEW BEVERLY CINEMA
7165 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 938-4038
Admission: $8

Lie Down In the Light: Will Oldham in Repose

Posted by Miss Ess, May 27, 2008 12:27pm | Post a Comment
The new Bonnie Prince Billy album is quite pleasing.  It's called Lie Down In the Light and it has thebonnie prince billy lie down in the light will oldham drag city quality elements we expect from a BPB record-- the loose harmonies, addicting melodies and bawdy lyrics, and yet it also has new elements that make it unlike past BPB albums. 

Admirably, BPB (aka Will Oldham) is always experimenting and each of his releases has distinguishing characteristics.  This record has more piano than I remember in any albums past.  It also has more noticeable Southern influences than he's included in a while-- the song "I'll Be Glad" is a straight up gospel-y number, but kinda country-ish too, seeing as it is about the strength of God, and there's backup singers and pedal steel guitar all over it.  Then there's also the random but welcome addition of a jazzy clarinet on "For Every Field There's A Mole,"  and it all sounds seamless!

Lyrically the record is sort of simplistic, which caught me off guard at first, but upon repeated listening, I get it.  Oldham recently lost his father, and in my opinion this is reflected in the lyrical simplicity, which often pertains to showing your friends and family love ("Keep your loved ones near/cause others need you right here by/just as you need me" from "Other's Gain."), and enjoying the easy pleasures of life in the now, such as dancing around the kitchen all night in the track "Easy Does It." 

will oldham bonnie prince billy

One of the very best aspects of this latest album is the vocals by Ashley Webber, who adds a depth and emotionality to her duets with Will that was never matched by his most recent previous duet partner, Dawn McCarthy of Faun Fables.  Webber is apparently the twin sister of Black Mountain's Amber Webber, who happens to be one of my favorite vocalists out there right now.  I still am not sure if I marin headlandsactually believe Amber has a twin...I wouldn't be surprised if it was Amber herself on these tracks!  But who knows.  Either way, the voice is fantastic and brings the songs to greater heights than they would reach without her.  The tracks she is featured on are the best on the record.

(In which mahus visit da Islands for da kine relaxin' like.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 27, 2008 10:38am | Post a Comment

Job and Corey living as God intended.

Aloha!

I know I’ve been M.I.A. for a while now. Please don’t be cross. Corey and I spent a week on the Hawaiian Islands, enjoying a much needed vacation, and it’s taken an additional two weeks just to remove sand from all the crevices of my life since then.

I don’t remember whether or not you’ve been to Hawaii – I know you’ve said before, but you know me – all those purple microdots I did as a teenager have affected my memory. I can’t seem to recall what’s already been said!

Anyway, I don’t remember whether or not you’ve been to Hawaii – I know you’ve said before, but you know me – all those purple microdots I did as a teenager have affected my memory. I can’t seem to recall what’s already been said!
Our time was equally split between the island of Oahu and Kauai. I was raised on Oahu, and most of our time there was spent on me tracking down unique junk food from my childhood. We were totally successful, and I’ve gained ten pounds from the trip.

One of the many things I love about Amoeba Music Hollywood is that it has a Hawaiian music section, whereas most record stores barely have a Hawaiian music album.


This is my favorite Hawaiian music album of all time. It’s personal. This man, Joe Keawe – who I knew as Uncle Joe – was a dear friend of my father’s, and this record by him has been played on every stereo in my life. It was finally re-released on those new-fangled “compact discs” the kids are koo-koo over, and it’s available in the aforementioned Hawaiian music section at Amoeba.

LAMPOONING LOHAN, DINA THE "STAY AT CLUB MOM"

Posted by Billyjam, May 26, 2008 04:11pm | Post a Comment

Since the new over-hyped celebreality TV show Living Lohan (starring Lindsay's mom Dina Lohan and the family) premieres tonight,  I thought it a good time to re-watch or check out for the first time, if you haven't seen them already, some of the recent clips of Tracey Ullman lampooning the celebrity's mom/manager.

Taken from Ullman's current American television program Tracey Ullman's State of the Union on  Showtime are three clips below of Ullman as Dina. In the first she is captured on camera out at a nightclub -- a place for the "stay at club moms" -- liberally offering advice on rehab for her celebrity kids.  "You gotta get em in early......You can't O.D. your way in anymore."

In the second, even funnier scene, Ullman again channels Dina Lohan out in da club on a night when the young Ali Lohan falls down from partying too hard.  "Give her some red bull and vodka" is the caring mother's advice too late. Ali drops dead in this no-holds-barred comedy sketch. In the third clip, Ullman as the mommy Lohan is (again) out clubbing with her pals in a scenario where she confronts Britney's mom Lynne Spears who she feels is patronizing her.

The fourth and final clip below is a promo for the original Dina Lohan in the new reality show Living Lohan that premieres tonight on E!, apparently as a vehicle to launch the career of her next in line celebrity child, 14 year old Ali. I predict tonight's ratings for E!, which strategically also is launching another hot celebrity reality show today -- Denise Richards: It's Complicated -- will have the highest ratings of the cable network's history.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAUL WELLER: THE MODFATHER TURNS 50

Posted by Billyjam, May 25, 2008 08:30pm | Post a Comment

Paul Weller,
accomplished solo artist and former leader and founder of both The Jam and The Style Council, turns 50 today. Weller, who has been dubbed "the Modfather" because of his being the key figure in the UK mod revivalist movement of the seventies, was born John William Weller on May 25th, 1958. He began making music in his early teens and in fact was still only a teenager when The Jam scored their first UK hit ("In The City") in '77.  The Jam, whose mod revivalist sound lay somewhere in between punk and new wave and were huge in Britain but never equally so Stateside, scored eighteen British Top 40 singles (four of them number one pop hits). After The Jam disbanded in 1982, Weller formed Style Council in 1983 and experienced continued major success. In the nineties he went solo, at first calling himself and his backing band the Paul Weller Movement -- later dropping the "Movement" part and just going by his own name.

In celebration of his birthday, below are a selection of videos from the artist's illustrious career that has spanned 30 + years. I've Included a few from from way back in the day with The Jam (how young he looks then!), such as a 1977 live version of their first hit single "In The City," and a TV studio (lip synched) version of "Down In The Tube Station" on UK TV circa 1978, and also "This Is The Modern World" live in concert. There are three songs/two video clips of the Style Council: the video of "Speak Like A Child" off their first album, 1983's Introducing and a live concert excerpt from two years later of them performing 'Internationalist' and 'Walls Come Tumbling" in 1985 to a huge audience at Wembley Stadium and on TV around the world as part of  Live Aid.  Then there is a video of "From the Floorboards Up" being performed live on Jools Holland's TV show in 2005, as well as a live acoustic guitar/vocal duo with Noel Gallagher doing a great rendition of The Jam's "That's Entertainment." Happy birthday Paul Weller!

Pickwick Records

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 24, 2008 05:30pm | Post a Comment


In 1950, Cy Leslie formed Pickwick Records out of the ashes of children's music label Voco records. Before that, he was in the recorded greeting card business. By '53 he was building his budget LP empire. This would eventually include the Design, Bravo, International Award, Hurrah, Hilltop, Quintessence and Grand Prix imprints as well as very popular children's records on the Cricket, Mr. Pickwick and Happy Times labels. In the UK many releases were issued under the Hallmark Records moniker.  Specializing in genre releases early on, the focus was on the honky tonk piano, lounge and pop vocal market.  Utilizing unknown session players and stock photography, Pickwick filled dimestores with cheap fodder. Later licensing agreements with major labels like Capitol, Motown and RCA brought a bit of legitimacy, but the company was still churning out plenty of fodder. A favorite subgenre of mine is the hit movie exploitation album. (I've been saving images from various film exploitation albums for a future posting.)  Especially prevalent in the UK during the late 60's and early 70's were compilation albums by Top of the Pops, Mirror Image, Kings Road and a host of other phony bands doing covers with production values seemingly just a step aboveMSR level recordings.

This Day In History, May 23rd

Posted by Whitmore, May 23, 2008 10:03pm | Post a Comment

I was wandering the web, studying ridiculous conspiracy theories, keeping track of the stock market, and wasting an otherwise perfectly fine Friday evening, when I decided to research this date in history, May 23rd. And not surprisingly, it’s kind of scatologically interesting:

1701 - Infamous Pirate, Captain William Kidd, is hanged in London for his crimes on the high seas.
1900 - Sergeant William Harvey Carney becomes the first African-American to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for his heroism in the Assault on the Battery Wagner during the Civil War, some 37 years after the fact.
1929 - The first all-talkie Mickey Mouse cartoon, The Karnival Kid, is released.
1934 - Notorious folk heroes/bank robbers/FBI most wanted/eventual 1960’s movie anti-heroes, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are ambushed and murdered on a desolate road near Bienville Parish, Louisiana by a posse of four Texas and three Louisiana police officers.
1958 - Mao Tse Tung starts his "Great Leap Forward" movement in China.
1960 - Israel’s Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion announces that Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann has been captured. Eichmann will be executed two years later on June 1, 1962.
1960 - "Cathy's Clown" by the Everly Brothers topped the pop-charts and will stay there for 5 weeks.
1966 - The Beatles release their eleventh single “Paperback Writer;” it will go to Number One everywhere in the world, even Canada.
1968 - Not that it was a good idea, but the Beatles open their second Apple Boutique at 161 New Kings Road in London.
1971 - And though I don’t believe this because I saw them in about 1977 when I really wasn’t old enough to get into the Whisky -A-Go-Go, the legendary rock group, Iron Butterfly -- creators of the 17:05 opus “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” disbands.

What Do You Call A Commercial That Sells Only Itself? The Fall (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, May 23, 2008 03:08pm | Post a Comment
The opening credit sequence to Tarsem Singh's The Fall looks like a Calvin Klein ad: shot in black & white, pretty and elliptical, a dead horse is pulled out of a river with a crane attached to railroad bridge.  And, boy howdy, the critics don't much like the film!  It received a 58/100 from both Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes.  Without exception, every negative review mentions the commercial and music video background of Tarsem (as he is credited). That's a cudgel that's been used on Ridley Scott, David Fincher and other directors coming out of the commercial video world, often with good reason.  For example, Se7en wasn't much more than an overly long Nine Inch Nails video. The problem isn't that commercial and video works lack craft or aestheticism (as they once did), but that their instrumental value as shills for products culturally diminishes any value they might otherwise have as art.  Iggy Pop once asked rhetorically what did it matter how he used his songs so long as he initially created them for himself.  Well, is it possible for anyone under 50 to watch Alain Resnais and Marguerite Duras' meditation of time and memory, Hiroshima mon amour:


Without having the experience diminished by having seen tons of Calvin Klein ads like the following?


Resnais' visual style has been corrupted -- maybe not forever, but for as long as ad agencies continue to rip him off. Thus, as long as Tarsem continues to blow his aesthetic load during the commercial breaks for Lost (its viewers being the target audience for the type of commodities his visuals sell), his films will be taken about as meaningfully as "Lust For Life" or Moby's entire oeuvre.  Still, it takes a lot of skill and knowledge to make something that looks and plays like this:

Able Team #35

Posted by phil blankenship, May 23, 2008 02:54pm | Post a Comment
 


BILLY JAM'S WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

Posted by Billyjam, May 23, 2008 09:09am | Post a Comment

Memorial Day Weekend already? Almost June!  Damn, this year is really flying along. But already there are tons of great new hip-hop albums, including several that will no doubt be making this Amoeblogger's 2008 Best Of list: some of which are included in the three new Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Top Five Charts kindly submitted this week by Tunde (Amoeba Berkeley), Luis (Amoeba SF), and Kate Shantar (Amoeba Hollywood). 

Still holding strong, several weeks after its release, is The Roots' ninth album Rising Down which continues to sell briskly in both Berkeley and Los Angeles. Also still popular with fans is the Bay Area's Lyrics Born's latest Quannum joint Everywhere At Once as well as The Coup's older Wild Pitch albums being reissued by Universal (Genocide and Juice + Kill My Landlord).

A new entry on the Berkeley Top Five chart this week comes from Naledge and Double O who make up The Kidz In The Hall.  The duo have certainly stepped to the plate with this, their second album The In Crowd, which is all that and more and features appearances from such talents as Guilty Simpson, Buckshot, The Cool Kids, Phonte, Sean Price, Pusha T, Black Milk, and Bun B. Speaking of Bun B, this half of the former group UGK (spill a lil on the curb for his late partner in rhyme Pimp C) just dropped his new album this week II Trill on Rap-A-Lot.

BERKELEY AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP TOP FIVE


Happy Turtle Day

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 23, 2008 01:19am | Post a Comment

At Amoeba Hollywood we've been kicking around the idea of a Reptilesploitation sub-section in horror. Whilst it's easy to think of several killer crocodilian movies or films featuring man-eating-snakes, it's proven much harder to think of any featuring turtle terrors or lethal lizards. But the occasion of  World Turtle Day has given me reason to think harder. Maybe they aren't horror films, but any of these are a great way to celebrate this Testudinal holiday.

There's a whole series of Gamera films brought to you from those crazy guys over at the Daiei Motion Picture Studio.


And who can forget those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- a group of heroes in half-shells named after a group of 16th century homosexuals and led by a sewer rat. What's the text about the subtext called?


         

I'm sure you heard about the giant turtle at Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi. Until now it was thought to be extinct until he (or she) has made some appearances recently... which is supposed to portend something big. Here's some footage accompanied by the kind of  Vietnamese music you'll never hear at Ginger Grass.

May 22, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, May 22, 2008 05:11pm | Post a Comment







out today 5/20...square pegs...jeremy jay...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 22, 2008 03:12pm | Post a Comment

Maybe you have been wondering why everyone is talking about Square Pegs lately. It is not just because Sarah Jessica Parker and the rest of the ladies are returning to Sex & the City next weekend. It is because the day has finally come for the release of Square Pegs on DVD! Please try to calm down. I have had a couple of months to deal with this already so I am somewhat more calm then I was when I first found out about it.  I do understand if you freaking out right now. Not since the first season of 21 Jumpstreet came out on DVD have I been so excited.  It is nice that this DVD release will coincide with the Sex & the City movie hitting the theaters next weekend. You have a whole week now to catch up and watch the entire season of the 80s show. This DVD release is not just the first season, but the whole series. For some strange reason Square Pegs only lasted one season. I am hoping that some of the bonus features on the DVD will help explain why this show only lasted one season. There are rumors that drug use somehow played a part in this show's short run. But it is true that some of the best shows only last one or 2 years. Same thing happened with Twin Peaks, My So Called Life, and Freaks and Geeks. Those just happen to be 3 of my favorite shows. Maybe those shows would not have been as good if they had lasted longer, or they at least may not have held such a special place in our heart if they hadn't been as short as they were. At least Square Pegs can finally join these other shows on DVD. I don't think shows like Freaks and Geeks and My So Called Life would have ever existed if not for a show like Square Pegs. It was for sure the first of its kind. It was the show for those of us that would later be obsessed with the John Hughes movies like Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. The show may have even influenced John Hughes. It came a couple years before all those movies started to come out. It was a show for new wave nerds and people that didn't always fit in with everybody else in High School.

May 21, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, May 21, 2008 11:36pm | Post a Comment




 





 

HOW MANY "F" WORDS IN THE BIG LEBOWSKI?

Posted by Billyjam, May 21, 2008 11:01pm | Post a Comment

I hadn't seen the movie The Big Lebowski since it came out in theaters ten years ago and hence only vaguely recalled how the "F" word and other cuss words were uttered so very liberally throughout the comedy.  But upon recently watching the short but entertaining The Big Lebowski -- The Fucking Short Version clip above by YouTuber BunnieLebowski I realized just how frequently the F word was actually worked into the 1998 Coen Brothers film script.  A lot!  Count them if you can manage to keep up with such characters as Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski (played by Jeff Bridges) dropping the "F" word..  And look for the DVD of this great movie at Amoeba Music.

 And speaking of the "F" word, check out the short English lesson on the word in the clip below.

Superwolf Rises Once Again!

Posted by Miss Ess, May 21, 2008 07:15pm | Post a Comment
I am beyond excited to resuperwolf bonnie prince billy matt sweeney will oldhamport that in this interview with Billboard, guitarist and of-late Neil Diamond session player Matt Sweeney confirms that there will be another Superwolf record! 

Superwolf is Matt's project with Will Oldham, a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Billy, and their first record is one of my favorites in the entire epic Oldham cannon (that's saying something!).superwolf bonnie prince billy matt sweeney will oldham

That self-titled record is such a dramatic and emotional piece of art--  I can't wait to see what they come up with next.  Sweeney's twisty, turn-y, melodic electric guitar is the perfect counterpoint to Oldham's rough and ready vocals.  Working with Sweeney on that record seemed to revitalize Oldham after a few years' worth of softer, more acoustic records.  (And thank goodness!)

Check out this clip of Superwolf's "Beast For Thee" performed live.  I love when Will busts out the overalls on tour (the whole entire band wears the exact same bulky khaki overalls...), then sings sad, delicate songs and contorts all around:


Anyone else wanna swoon with me, remembering when Oldham and Sweeney stopped by Amoeba SF and played the Superwolf album straight through a couple of years back?  Ah, that was a great day!

Creature From Black Lake

Posted by phil blankenship, May 21, 2008 06:39pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship are proud to present some of our film favorites at Los Angeles’ last full-time revival movie theater. See movies the way they're meant to be seen - on the big screen and with an audience!


Saturday May 24

Jack Elam in

Creature From
Black Lake

1976, 91 min.

New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 938-4038
Midnight, $7

 


May - New Beverly's 30th Anniversary!
May 24 Creature From Black Lake
May 31 Zardoz

June
June 7 Heavenly Bodies
June 21 John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness
June 28 Van Damme in Sudden Death

July
July 5 Delta Force
July 19 Just One Of The Guys
July 26 Aliens

August
August 9 Rainbow Brite & The Star Stealer

 

Able Team #22

Posted by phil blankenship, May 21, 2008 02:44pm | Post a Comment
 



Able Team #17

Posted by phil blankenship, May 20, 2008 02:44pm | Post a Comment
 


INTERVIEW WITH RAASHAN AHMAD WHO IS @ AMOEBA SF TODAY

Posted by Billyjam, May 20, 2008 09:00am | Post a Comment

Raashan Ahmad
of Crown City Rockers fame, who today releases the new 13 track album The Push on OM Records, will celebrate the release of this fine debut solo of his with an in-store performance @ 6PM this evening (May 20th) at the San Francisco Amoeba Music.

If you can possibly make it I strongly recommend that you attend this free, all-ages show, as this emcee (and sometimes DJ and breaker) is not just an amazingly gifted hip-hop artist but also a truly great live performer -- someone who lives and breathes hip-hop and understands the true meaning of rocking the house, y'all.

In addition to his work with the Bay Area live hip-hop band Crown City Rockers (who had to change their original name from Mission because of the UK band The Mission) the ever prolific Raashan Ahmad has collaborated with a ton of artists. I must have close to ten different records or CDs by other artists that he pops up on, including the DJ Zeph single "Floor Wax" (Wide Hive) and Zion I's Break A Dawn, and I know there are many more that he guests on. 

Personally what I always like about Raashan is how he maintains that old school, golden era hip-hop   vibe in his style while simultaneously somehow always managing to sound new and fresh. Yesterday I caught up with the busy artist to ask him some questions about how he accidentally got started as an emcee, the difference between SoCal and the Bay (two places he has lived in), and his new album, which was born out of a lot personal emotions, including the tragedy of his mother dying of cancer.  

I Was The Only Person In Claremont Without A Master's Degree

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 20, 2008 02:26am | Post a Comment
I had the pleasure of meeting Ron Coleman when I was nineteen. I took my band's demo to SST Records where he worked. Greg Ginn blew me off, but Ron was nice enough to sit with me and talk to me about the demo and what the band was up to. Needless to say, the band was never signed, but Ron and I remained friends. Much later I was working at Epitaph Records and Ron got a job there. We worked together for several years before he left for better future with his better half, Yvonne. I love Ron. He is a New Yorker to the core. He's honest, which most laid back Southern Cali types can't stand, and which makes me like him more. His wife Yvonne grew up in the Pomona/Claremont area, so Ron moved from L.A. to settle down in the city of master's degrees.

My girlfriend and I ran into Ron & Yvonne at the Vexing Exhibit. It had been a few years since I've seen them. After hanging out at the exhibit for a bit, we went out  for a drink at the hotel across the street which soon turned into an impromptu tour of Claremont.



Corner of Yale & Second



The infamous Rhino Claremont: Where all your college record store dreams come true!



One guy did all this.



Vexing: Female Voices from East LA Punk

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 20, 2008 01:50am | Post a Comment

The Exhibit Vexing: Female Voices from East LA Punk at Claremont Museum Of Art was much smaller than I expected. Still, it packed the history of not only the women involved in the scene surrounding East L.A.’s Vex, but the history of early L.A. Punk scene in general as well. The Opening Reception was packed with mostly Angelinos making the trek to Claremont rather than people from the city itself. Still, for a museum around a little more than a year, it was a bold and righteous move to get The Vexing exhibit way before any of the Los Angeles museums. It's a shame that the L.A. museums continue to ignore their own homegrown artists while the rest of the world celebrates us.

Most of the images shown were the same as a show that I was fortunate to catch at the original Tia Chucha’s Café about a year and a half ago. There were also many interesting new displays that caught my eye. One was a piece that took an entire wall that was a blown up Thomas Guide map of Los Angeles from West L.A. to East L.A. On the map were key points of interests from that era, such as the rehearsal space where the East Los punk bands used to practice, and the location of the backyard party where the members of the band X first saw all the East L.A. bands. It showed all the punk rock hangouts and all the clubs from that era that are now long gone. I also enjoyed looking at the original Fatima Records promotional and gig posters. The other day at Amoeba I saw someone about to buy The Plugz Better Luck for $3.99!  What a steal! Coincidently, you can still buy the original Fatima Records issue of The Brat E.P. Attitudes from the band whenever they play a show, which has been more frequent over the last couple of years.

Able Team #16

Posted by phil blankenship, May 19, 2008 02:33pm | Post a Comment
 


MUTO: A WALL PAINTED ANIMATION BY BLU

Posted by Billyjam, May 19, 2008 01:01pm | Post a Comment

Thanks to Amoeba Marc for finding MOTO -- the above cool wall painted animation by BLU, an ambiguous animation painted on public walls in Buenos Aires and beyond.

Shady Grove

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 19, 2008 11:00am | Post a Comment


LITTLE BRITAIN: THE MOVIE(S)

Posted by Billyjam, May 19, 2008 08:35am | Post a Comment

As reported over the weekend by Variety magazine, the two stars of hit UK television comedy Little Britain -- Matt Lucas and David Walliams -- just signed a US movie deal and hence currently have two new Little Britain films on the way, in addition to the US version of their popular British TV show which will air on HBO

Variety magazine confirmed that the witty UK duo are developing a project with US studio DreamWorks in the US. Meanwhile back in England they are working on a second film project with the British studio Working Title (Hot Fuzz, Atonement, etc.).

The US version of their television show for HBO will be a six-part series will that will air this year on the cable network. The scenario is similar to the production deal that HBO had with Sacha Baron Cohen a few years ago when they produced a US version of his then-popular UK TV show Da Ali G Show (featuring his Borat character) that was adjusted slightly with US audiences in mind.

The new US version of Little Britain, which aired on BBC America in its original form, has been described by its producers as "a sketch show set in contemporary America."  In an interview with the BBC, Walliams said that the new HBO version of the TV show will include "some existing characters and writing new material for them, as well as introducing new characters and ideas." 

Little Britain, which is available at Amoeba Music on DVD in its original UK TV format, has an interesting history. It started out its life not on TV but  as a radio program seven years ago. That led to it becoming a stage show and then the characters went mainstream with their popularity on the BBC TV series that followed. That UK show won them eight Royal Television Society awards, three Baftas and an International Emmy for their stable of funny characters, including Lou and Andy (see clip below when the pair go to the swimming pool -- a sketch that is among the show's most popular).

Able Team #14

Posted by phil blankenship, May 18, 2008 02:33pm | Post a Comment
 



Andy Cabic of Vetiver Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, May 18, 2008 10:30am | Post a Comment
San Francisco band Vetiver's latest album, consisting entirely of hand-selected covers, Thing of the Past, will be released today, May 6! I spoke to frontman Andy Cabic about the recording of the album, the frustration of his first guitar, and his new obsession with the mushrooms in his backyard.


Miss Ess: What is your first musical memory?

Andy Cabic: I have an odd memory of a large sunlit room with light hardwood floors, very reflective and bright, and a there being a step in front of me, and as I'm crawling towards it, Buddy Holly's "That'll Be The Day" is playing. I grew up listening to a lot of Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers and stuff like that, so...it's possible this was an early apartment of my parents’ or something, I'm not really sure. It's one of those weird memories that feels like a dream and I'm not really certain of anything solid about it except for its strength in my mind and how vivid the light and the scene are when I remember it.
 
ME: What was the first record that really blew your mind and made you think about making music your life?  What albums formed your young musical mind?

AC: Well, I don't know that any one record made me come to a decision to make music my life. I just sort of played music, and looked back one day and realized music had become my life and there wasn't a whole lot else I seemed able to do. Whoops!

Growing up, the public library near my father's house was very good. I used to visit it every weekend I spent with him and check out cassettes, as many as I could, and a lot of what I found there had a big influence on me. VU by the Velvet Underground and At Yankee Stadium by NRBQ are two albums I remember renewing for months from the library. I grew up in the suburbs with no older siblings, pretty out-of-the-loop from any signposts pointing the way towards what "the good stuff" was, so...I would spend all my allowance on cassettes, read Star Hits magazine and Tower Records' Pulse, watch 120 Minutes every Sunday on MTV and just figure out stuff through trial and error. I loved anything out of Athens, GA and Minneapolis, and bands like Rain Parade, Camper Van Beethoven, Big Star and Fugazi meant a lot to me growing up.

When did you pick up your first instrument?

RETURN OF THE REPRESSED DURING A COMMERCIAL BREAK

Posted by Charles Reece, May 17, 2008 09:45pm | Post a Comment
During the commercial breaks for Ebert & Roeper, I like to tune in for short doses of Star Trek: The Original Series. Viewing decontextualized scenes kind of gives me a surrealist's perspective on the show, which is invariably better than sitting through an entire episode. Tonight I was privy to a Freudian distillation of the past 40 years of culture wars in a 2 minute scene that would surely please Breton

Some witch woman looking like she was a tad too skinny for a Russ Meyers movie seduces Kirk by getting him high on the herb. Is it, as she claims, the power of her mind that pulled Kirk to her, or something more primitive? Meanwhile her blond hippie boyfriend contemplates shooting Captain Penis in the back with a musket, but throws his gun down and runs off screen.


The conflicted/castrated/liberal male is replaced by a big, woolly, horned creature, which I've since learned is a mugato. The beast threatens to impale the woman  and beat  Kirk to a pulp.

star trek mugato

Kirk might be all libido, but he's libidinal energy that has been cathected into more acceptable cultural roles, such as empire-building. In other words, he's a father figure, and as such he solves the problem in a civilized manner: by pushing a button and phasering the monstrous fucker out of existence. With the surplus sexual energy repressed, order is restored, and this planet's version of Reagan is surely just around the corner.

Dead Easy

Posted by phil blankenship, May 17, 2008 09:13pm | Post a Comment
 









Virgin Vision #70073

2nd anniversary of Hyaena/a visit to Ravensville May 16-31

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 17, 2008 08:45pm | Post a Comment


Burbank is a city full of little surprises -- over the years I've found a fair share of pleasant surprises scattered across the low lying, rather sleepy little town. Across the street from the fabulous Safari Inn is one of the finest Burbank secrets...Hyaena Gallery. Started by ex-Bostonians Bill & Sherry Shaefer, the space has hosted dozens of art openings, most all of them of a dark or somewhat devious nature. This week marks the beginning of their 3rd year, so come down and check out artist Erin Martinez's collection.  While you're at it, pick up some odd literature, bondage themed hi-ball glasses, or a lovely Art Frahm print.


                
                  Hyaena Gallery   1928 W. Olive Ave. Burbank, CA   91506   1-818-972-2448

PAPOOSE, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? + OTHER RAP TALES

Posted by Billyjam, May 17, 2008 08:10am | Post a Comment

Earlier this week upon hearing the news involving the highly emotional but equally ridiculous actions of hip-hopper Papoose, the fiancĂ© of jailed rapper Remy Ma, the voice of Dr. Phil popped into my head and I could just hear the TV psychologist uttering his trademark words to the "Mix Tape King" Papoose: "What were you thinking?" 

Really though! On Monday when he was scheduled to wed his lady behind bars, Papoose (born Shamele Mackie) attempted to sneak a skeleton handcuff key into Rikers Island where he was headed to the New York City jail's altar.

Once guards found the key on him he got ejected from Rikers and banned from the facility for six months.  What a dummy!  Everyone (especially gangsta rap aficionados) should know that whenever you go visit someone in jail or prison that they search you thoroughly from head to toe, and often beyond. What were you thinking, Papoose? 

And if that ain't enough, then the following day when Remy Ma (born Reminisce Smith), who was arrested for last summer outside a downtown NYC club allegedly shooting her former friend Makeda Barnes-Joseph (who she said robbed $3000 cash out of her purse), got sentenced in the New York Supreme Court to eight years in prison, Papoose was in the (court) house and was not happy. "Fuck you. Put me in jail muthafuckers!" and "Lock me up! Fuckin lock me up" were among the impassioned wishes the visibly emotional Papoose shouted towards court officers upon Remy's sentencing.

Mazes And Monsters

Posted by phil blankenship, May 16, 2008 10:39pm | Post a Comment
 







Karl Lorimar Home Video 355

MAY IS BIKE MONTH

Posted by Billyjam, May 16, 2008 07:24am | Post a Comment

With gas prices going through the roof and environmental issues on the rise in most peoples' minds, riding one's bike to work/school/store etc. now makes more sense than ever.

And as you probably already know, this month is 'bike month,' with this week (May 12 - May 16th) being bike-to-work week with different regions recognizing different days as "bike to work day" this week. Today (May 16th) is bike to work day in New York City.

Yesterday, Thursday May 15th, was the official ride-to-work-day in many other places, including San Francisco, where many people cycled to and from their respective places of employment with many coordinated events taking place.  One such event was organized by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, who yesterday had their Bike Away from Work Party centered at The Rickshaw Stop, where bikers on their commute home could stop and unwind (they even had valet bike parking provided) and share stories and biking tips with fellow cyclists.

But really any day is a good day to ride a bike (with helmet of course). It is healthy and cheap and even if you work or go to school an impossible cycling distance from your home you can always cycle part of the way and either A) lock up your bike where you board a bus or train or B) bring the bike with you on the bus or train or C) throw the bike in the back of your car, drive most of the long distance, and cycle the last few miles to your destination. One interesting statistic posted this week by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition on their website is that almost 40% of Bay Area commuters live within five miles of their workplace -- which is the ideal distance for a bicycle commute. 

The fine organization Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) is meeting up at 6PM today (May 16th) at Mama Buzz Cafe at 2318 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland for an all-volunteer bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group with music and beverages and lots of information on bike and pedestrian projects in Oakland.  Meanwhile, up in Seattle, today Starbucks (who, remember, were once a small hometown coffee business in the north west town) are organizing a bike to work day today (May 16th)  Info
For information on other bike events this month in places in and beyond California, check out the League of American Bicyclists website.  Meanwhile, the Bike Month NYC group is really well organized with lots of great events -- you can find more info here.

Vexing

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 16, 2008 01:04am | Post a Comment

Reading about East L.A. punk while in high school was inspiration. I had known about Los Lobos and knew about the 60’s Chicano bands like El Chicano and Tierra. However, these punk bands were Chicanos and around my age, playing music that I was into. It made me feel less like a freak to know there were others just like me somewhere in the barrios of East Los Angeles. Hippies wanted to move to San Francisco, rockers to the Sunset Strip and I wanted to move to East L.A.

On Saturday, The Claremont Museum of Art will present Vexing: Female Voices from East LA Punk, which will run from May 18 to August 31, 2008. There will be live performances by Vexing artists Teresa Covarrubias (Lead Singer from The Brat) Angela Vogel, Lysa Flores and Alice Bag. I have been looking forward to this exhibit since I heard about it a few months back. The women that are featured in this exhibit were the pioneers of a thriving women's art movement that is happening now in East L.A.

2008 has been turning out to be the year for Retro-Chicano art. LACMA’s Phantom Sightings: Art After The Chicano Movement is currently showing and starting June 15th, LACMA will also feature Los Angelenos/Chicano Painters of L.A.: Selections from the Cheech Marin Collection.

I found some great articles on East L.A. Punk, Vex era and Beyond. The first one is written by Josh Kun and is the story of the Vex. The second one comes from Jimmy Alvarado, who wrote about the history of all the EAST L.A. punk bands that not many have heard about. In this article originally written for Razorcake Magazine. Jimmy covers the minions of pre and post Vex bands as well as all the backyard party giants that were huge in the East Los backyard scene.

Ghosting

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 15, 2008 10:40pm | Post a Comment
Ahhh, my favorite LP oddity. The Mercury/Wing/Emarcy shellac ghosting effect. It seems that something in the printing process that this family of labels used for their 50's sleeves lent itself to clouding up underneath the shellac. You occasionally see it on other releases, but most often it's the Mercury and related LP's that have the best "ghosting."  Truly stunning!




Able Team #13

Posted by phil blankenship, May 15, 2008 02:41pm | Post a Comment
 



out today 5/13...the black angels...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 15, 2008 11:09am | Post a Comment
I have been really obsessed with My Morning Jacket lately. We still have a couple weeks to wait for the new album, but I get more and more excited as the weeks go on. I picked up most of their albums last year after I got obsessed with them, and it was all because of that little Bob Dylan movie called I'm Not There. It just came out on DVD last week and I really recommend that you check it out if you have not done so yet. Most people who have seen it either love it or hate it -- there is not much in between. I really loved it, which says a a lot since I am not really a big fan of Bob Dylan. I respect the man and am glad that he exists and I understand his effect on millions of people, he is just not really my kind of musician. But I am a big fan of the biopic. Maybe I am just too lazy to read that many books, but I love learning about musicians lives and seeing their stories up on the big screen, even if it is just narrowly based on some sort of reality. But the movie did really get me into My Morning Jacket, which is great. I always worry that I have already discovered and gotten into all the bands that I am going to like. I know that there will always be young new bands that I like, but it is just a different feeling to find some band that has already been around for 5 or 10 years. I don't really feel like I should of liked them earlier. I don't feel embarrassed or get mad at myself that I didn't like them right away. There are simply too many bands out there to like them all at once. I listen to a lot of music but still do not have the time to devote to everything that I might like. Some bands fall through the cracks, but it almost makes it more exciting to go back and explore their old albums. It is sort of like intentionally missing a whole season of a TV show just so you can look forward to watching the entire thing when it comes out on DVD. The anticipation somehow makes it better.

The Black Angels
are another one of those bands. Their second album comes out this week. It is called Directions to See a Ghost. I didn't really intentionally wait until now to listen to them. It just sort of happened that way. I can't really remember if I ever listened to their first album Passover which came out in 2006. It may have been playing at work when I was in the room but I don't remember paying attention or ever intentionally listening to them, so I was not really expecting to like this new album when I put it on a couple of weeks ago. I just had it in my head that they were a band that I was not going to like. I really was surprised and was immediately a brand new fan of The Black Angles. They had quickly converted me by the second song on the album. It is always a little humorous to me when you first get into a band, because I really knew nothing about them. I knew they were somewhat popular but didn't really know anyone personally who was a fan. I knew they were on the label Light in the Attic, but that was about it. I had never seen pictures of the band and I had no idea they were from Texas-- and by the time I was done listening to this new album, I was convinced the lead singer was a woman. It really was not a very typically feminine voice but I still pictured a woman singing all the songs. I thought her voice was really unique and sort of dark and deep. I didn't really ever question myself and think that it might be a man. Of course, I was wrong. I had to go watch some videos and actually see Alex Mass singing to be fully convinced that he was indeed a man. It sort of makes more sense now.

Nakba Day: yawm al-nakba يوم النكبة

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 15, 2008 09:27am | Post a Comment
This Nakba Day (which means "Day of the Catastrophe") marks the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian people's expulsion and dispossession of their homelands. According to the UN, an estimated 711,000 Palestinians fled their homes and 160,000 stayed behind to become internal refugees in the newly formed state of Israel.



Palestinians fleeing their homes in 1948

Situated at one of those great crossroads of civilizations, the Palestinian populace reflects the diverse cultural imprint in their ancient ancestors. Genetic evidence shows the Palestinians are descended from Amorites, Anatolians, Arabs, Arameans, Canaanites, Edomites, European crusaders, Hebrews, Jebusites, Lydian Greeks, Philistines and Romans. They practice various faiths like Christianity, Druze, and Islam.

Western media, however, tends to have a hard time accepting that not all Palestianians are Muslim. For example, when Ahmad Sa'adat, the leader of the PFLP (Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine) was arrested, the news I was watching described his organization as "Islamic Fundamentalists" even though it is secular, Marxist-Leninist and was created by George Habbash, a Palestinian Christian. No correction followed.



A Ghassanid Palestinian family in 1905

In 1919, the First Palestinian Congress issued a statement opposing Zionist immigration but, when speaking of the 10,000 Jews already in Palestine, they stated "they are as we are, and their loyalties are our own."

Mickey Mouse

Posted by Whitmore, May 15, 2008 06:15am | Post a Comment


Contrary to popular belief, Mickey Mouse’s film debut was not in Steamboat Willie which was released in November 1928. 80 years ago today, May 15, 1928, the world was introduced to Mickey and Minnie Mouse as they made their first appearance in the silent cartoon short Plane Crazy. In the cartoon Micky tries to become an aviator to impress Minnie-- Charles Lindbergh he is not. Plane Crazy was co-directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, with Iwerks working as the chief animator, a responsibility he would have for all of the early Disney cartoons released in 1928 and ‘29. Who knew by this modest, unassumingly innocent beginning Mickey Mouse would one day rule the world with an iron-fist in a velvet glove!

Frank Sinatra

Posted by Whitmore, May 14, 2008 07:34pm | Post a Comment

The Chairman of the Board, ol’ Blue Eyes, the Voice, King of the Rat Pack, King of the Bobby-Sockers, The Pope, The Leader, The Swooner-- there are a lot of nicknames for Frank Sinatra, perhaps the greatest pop star of the 20th century. And ten years ago today, Frankie went to the Big Casino in the sky.

Sinatra had quite a philosophy about life and a set of intricate rules that may seem a bit brash, but hey -- it's Sinatra baby! And like his style, he believed that a living big is in the details. Here are some of the great man’s creeds:

Top your martini with not one, but two olives, and give one to a friend. Yes, a very special friend-- even if you don’t know his/her name.

For flavors in your drink to blend sufficiently, let the ice sink to the bottom of your glass and never, ever drink a drink immediately after its poured-- relax, take your time, enjoy the moment.

Never yawn in front of a lady.
 
Make sure your trousers break just above your shoes.

Tip big and tip quietly-- fold the bills three times into small squares and pass them in a handshake. Nothing further is needed, no acknowledgment, no glance, no wink-- you’ve already said it all.

Cock your hat -- angles show attitude.

Don't wear a brown suit at night, dark gray is better, and better than gray, black. And if black tie is optional, you wear black tie. The only exception to this rule; never wear a tuxedo on Sunday.

“Have fun with everything” was one of his mottoes. Live every moment as it if were your last, and remember, too much thinking isn't necessarily a good thing. “You only live once,'' he liked to say, “and the way I live, once is enough.”

May 14, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, May 14, 2008 06:15pm | Post a Comment


 







TWO DOCUMENTARIES ON BAY AREA STREET RAP CULTURE

Posted by Billyjam, May 14, 2008 01:33pm | Post a Comment

Here above and below are previews from a couple of new DVD documentaries on the topic of Bay Area street culture with an emphasis on rap music (namely hyphy), cars, dance, drugs, fashion etc..  Above is a clip from the forthcoming ILL Trendz production The Un-Told Story which focuses on Oakland, CA and features interviews with the likes of Too $hort, Richie Rich, E40, and Davey D.  Meanwhile below is a clip from the new Ghostride The Whip: The Story of the Hyphy Movement which features many of the major playas from the Bay and is directed by DJ Vlad (Bay Area mixtape master who moved to NYC few years ago) and is executive produced by Peter Spirer (Rhyme & Reason, Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel).

Totally Topless Records!!!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 13, 2008 08:50pm | Post a Comment
No, we're not talking Fausto Papetti here (uh, he's the "Sax Symbol" to those of us in the know).  This gallery is nothin' but skyclad lads from way back- when hanging around in the nude with your bandmate brethren was a way of life...Maybe all those bar bands that clog up the east side of Sunset should start up with this theme for their album covers, being that the four faces mingling (ala Love) thing is kinda way past its prime. I can see it now, nude bearded guys with poorly chosen fedoras hanging around a fire on a hillside. Behold the future retro...






























Phantom Of The Paradise

Posted by phil blankenship, May 13, 2008 12:47pm | Post a Comment
 




PIONEERING AMERICAN ARTIST ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG DEAD AT 82

Posted by Billyjam, May 13, 2008 09:11am | Post a Comment

 "I work in the gap between art  
    and life."
             -Robert Rauschenberg

As reported in several online outlets this morning, including on the NY Times' website, American artist Robert Rauschenberg, who helped shape the face of 20th century art, died last night (May 12) at age 82. 

Always prolific and diverse, the Texas born artist worked in numerous mediums throughout his career. He was a  painter, sculptor,  photographer, choreographer, printmaker, stage performer, set designer, and even a composer.

"I think a painting is more like the real world if it's made out of the real world,"  Rauschenberg once said.  He was hailed by London's. Sunday Telegraph early in his career as “The most important American artist since Jackson Pollock."

Perhaps most importantly, Rauschenberg was instrumental in guiding the direction of American art out of Abstract Expressionism, the prevailing art movement in the beginning of the 1950's, when he first emerged.  As accurately noted by the New York Times, he built on "the legacies of Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell and others, he thereby helped to obscure the lines between painting and sculpture, painting and photography, photography and printmaking, sculpture and photography, sculpture and dance, sculpture and technology, technology and performance art — not to mention between art and life."

Chet Baker

Posted by Whitmore, May 13, 2008 06:38am | Post a Comment


Twenty years ago today, May 13th, 1988, legendary west coast jazz trumpet player, silky vocalist (has anyone ever sung "My Funny Valentine" better?), and once gorgeous bad boy, Chet Baker, fell to his death in Amsterdam from his hotel room window. Of course, there has been a wide variety of conspiracy theories and speculation regarding the odd nature of his death. Because Baker’s life was so full of mysterious and scandalous details, a life full of intrigue and questions, why shouldn’t his death have a similar story line? I guess there is a possibility of some vendetta at play here-- at least once before in the mid 1960’s he had his teeth knocked out over a drug deal gone awry, why couldn’t another drug dealer, years later, just shove the poor son of a bitch out a window? Well, there were no signs of a struggle in his hotel room and the door was locked from the inside. Then could it have been suicide? Doubtful-- there wasn’t a note, and any person determined to kill themselves probably would have rented a room higher than two stories above the sidewalk. Sadly, Chet's death was an odd, common place accident; it’s just one of those way people accidentally meet their maker. Chet Baker simply fell out of a window. There was heroin in his system, and a considerable amount of cocaine and heroin in his room. He probably went to open the window, and simply leaned a little too far west, and lost his balance. Anyway, it’s been two decades since his death. Right now I have Chet Baker Sings on the turntable; I’m sipping some good Catholic Irish whiskey, hanging out in my new abode. Everything is perfectly copasetic. Thanks.

Silent Assassins

Posted by phil blankenship, May 13, 2008 01:16am | Post a Comment
 





Forum Home Video FH79003

Dumpster Diving Story

Posted by Whitmore, May 12, 2008 08:56pm | Post a Comment


As a child I spent many of an hour dumpster diving, trash picking and rummaging where I shouldn’t have been rummaging. In my neighborhood, Wednesday was the night-- trash night. I’d sneak off after dinner in search of treasure, check out all the neighbors' garbage cans, boxes of junk curbside, apartment building dumpsters, and I’d be back home an hour or so later, laden with exotic booty from the world over. My mom would usually yell at me to get my latest cache out of the house, “That crap might have bugs in it, for Christ sakes!” But it wasn’t all infested! In fact, I still have some of that ‘crap,' and some of that dumpster swag still decorates my parents' house.


Over the years I’ve lugged home great pieces of furniture, collectible books, pottery, artwork, glass wear, jewelry, you name it … and once I found something that altered and twisted my thinking forever. I found it right there on Franklin Avenue right down the way from the Shakespeare Bridge in the Los Feliz district in Los Angeles. Stuck to the bottom of an empty trash can was an LP from 1963 on Vanguard Records, Fantasias for Guitar and Banjo by Sandy Bull. Back then I was just an innocently corrupt thirteen year old Catholic school boy, but already on the long path I’m still unraveling today-- that of a musician. I had just started taking guitar lessons, and as could be expected, I was struggling with all the important fundamentals: getting the hang of bar chords, finger picking, playing those newbie-guitar standards like “House of The Rising Sun” and “Knocking on Heaven's Door,” and trying to convince my parents to let me grow my hair long. Anyway, I got home, I threw this Sandy Bull record on the turntable, turned it up and it blew my freakin’ pubescent mind.

Able Team #11

Posted by phil blankenship, May 12, 2008 04:29pm | Post a Comment
 



May 12, 2008

Posted by Billyjam, May 12, 2008 04:28pm | Post a Comment

    

 



But while Iron Man is undoubtedly simplistic, a light and larky tone carries the movie easily over potential political pitfalls. Stark, a humming dynamo of energy and humour in Downey Jr's delightful performance, is far more appealing that the stodgy, guilt-ridden heroes of Batman and Spider-Man.
 
    - excerpt from BBC review          

The world needs another comic book movie like it needs another Bush administration, but if we must have one more (and the Evil Marketing Geniuses at Marvel MegaIndustries will do their utmost to ensure that we always will), Iron Man is a swell one to have.
     - excerpt from Chicago Sun Times review

This could well be the best comic book movie of 2008. Perfect writing, directing, and acting. The casting by director Jon Favreau of Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role was a wise choice.  Lots of action, humor, and the effects, which thankfully are mostly real action rather than computer generated, are incredible. Even the product placement (Burger King) isn't as obnoxious as it could be. Four out of five stars. If you go see it, be sure to wait around til the closing credits roll to a close for a sneak preview of what is to come.
     - excerpt from NY Phil da Thumb's Amoeblog review of Iron Man.

Gleaming The Cube

Posted by phil blankenship, May 11, 2008 11:07pm | Post a Comment
 





Vestron Video 5275

AIN'T THAT A MUTHA' -- COMMERCIALISM OF MOTHER'S DAY

Posted by Billyjam, May 11, 2008 03:27pm | Post a Comment

To all the mothers, Happy Mother's Day!  And to all those (including mothers) who might feel that this day, one when flower sales and brunch reservations go through the roof, is way overly commercialized  -- you will appreciate the informative story below titled Mother's Day founder Anna Jarvis opposed to holiday's commercialism. The story was written by John Horton in his Plain Dealer Reporter column in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer (the main daily in Cleveland, Ohio) and was spotted by Amoeba Marc:
 
"Anna Jarvis (left) mothered Mother's Day a century ago. To see what her baby grew into . .. oh, how it would break her heart.  Jarvis despised attempts to commercialize the "holy day" that she launched in 1908
in memory of her mother, Ann. She fought tenaciously until her death to shield Mother's Day from "the hordes of money-schemers" that were hawking flowers, cards and candy.

She didn't exactly hold 'em off. Mother's Day spending on the 100th anniversary of the holiday is expected to reach $15.8 billion in the United States, according to the National Retail Federation. Consumers will spend an average of $138.63 doting on dear old mom during her special day.

Jarvis "is probably spinning in her grave," said Katharine Antolini, a board member and historian for the International Mother's Day Shrine, the church in Grafton, W.Va. That is where the first celebration took place. "What we have today," said Antolini, who grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, "is not what Anna wanted."  Not even close.  Jarvis envisioned a day marked by hymns and prayers.  She called for intimate family gatherings to "revive the dormant love and filial gratitude we owe to those who gave us birth." She wanted the focus and attention on a mother's devotion and sacrifice. It didn't take long, however, before some merchant got the idea of tossing up a SALE sign.  Cha-ching!

FAVORITE NEW BAND ALERT!!!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 11, 2008 12:20am | Post a Comment

If you have read my blogs in the past, you probably noticed I'm a big fan of Cumbia. So low and behold, bubbling in the city of Norwalk of all places, comes a band that sounds like they came straight from Magdalena, Colombia. They are called Buyepongo. Most of the band is very young, yet they have a sound that rivals Cumbia legends such as Andres Landero, Lisadro Meza and Aniceto Molina.

There are many things I love about this band. They are descendants and citizens from Guatamala, El Salvador, Bolivia and Mexico. Still, it seems these guys have Cumbia running through their veins just by the way they play it. It would be easy to mistake Buyepongo for a Colombian band three times their age.

Another thing is that they are a great live band and they write their own songs. I saw them for the first time in a bar in Pasadena on Monday and I could of sworn they were playing obscure Cumbia covers.

And lastly... at last, there is another local Vallenato group that isn't Very Be Careful! I love the VBC, but it's good to have variety and more than one group in L.A. playing this type of music.

I think I mentioned before that I had the good fortune of meeting Joe Strummer a few times. On those occasions we talked about Cumbia and his love for it. I remember turning him on to Very Be Careful and he went gaga over them, so much so that he had VBC open for him during his last L.A. shows. I wish he was around for Buyepongo, he would have dug these guys.

Buyepongo have nothing released yet but you can go to their myspace page to hear some live tracks.
 

Palms

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 10, 2008 11:40pm | Post a Comment








We Go Til' 6 In The Morning

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 10, 2008 11:40pm | Post a Comment
Last week it was Eric's (also known as Majix to some) birthday. You might know him as the guy who works in Amoeba Hollywood's Reggae & Soul sections. A few of us got together on a Tuesday night at his pad to celebrate the birth of this very righteous gentleman. We had turntables, courtesy of DJ Doleak who works in our Hip-Hop section. Doleak just destroyed it on the turntables for most of the night while Ray Ricky Rivera, Eric and myself jumped in from time to time to give Doleak a breather. Some members of local bands Aztlan Underground and Buyepongo (more on this amazing group later) showed up as well.

Being a gracious host, Eric supplied a great spread & there were plenty of spirits. It was a Tuesday night that felt like a Friday night. Some of us (well..not me) even started a little freestyle session. Can't say anyone was that inspired at four in the morning, but it was fun nonetheless.

Wednesday, however...was a little rough on some of us who had to work the next day.

Check out some photos that I took at the party:



COMMERCIAL IRONY MAKES ME FEEL LIKE AN AMERICAN

Posted by Charles Reece, May 10, 2008 11:11pm | Post a Comment
Continuing with my plan to see one summer blockbuster per week until the bitter end (we'll see how long I can last), I saw the Wachowski Brothers/Brother and Sister's Tolkien-inspired epic tribute to 70s' butchered anime, Speed Racer, this weekend.  As Eric B. and I were discussing, if you could turn the screen upside down, it would like an experimental film, something along the lines of Stan Brakhage's 1991 film, Delicacies of Molten Horror Synapse:


But with the more vibrant colors of the 70s cartoon series (a bowdlerized version of Tatsuo Yoshida's anime from the 60s, Mahha GoGoGo):


Although Time's critic Richard Corliss proclaims the new film "the future of movies," I have some hope to the contrary, as allegorically alluded to in this scene from auteur producer Roger Corman's Death Race 2000 (another film that Speed Racer resembles):


Just think of the geriatric sacrifice as a stand-in for classic filmmaking.

One Man's Basura is Another Man's Trash - 3

Posted by Whitmore, May 10, 2008 10:41pm | Post a Comment


Here are a few suggestions, rules of etiquette and safety measures you might find helpful as you delve into the art of dumpster diving. These ideas might come in handy when the proverbial shit-hits-the-fan and just about every one of us will have to resort to something weird/cheap/pathetic/extreme for an evening’s worth of entertainment, an afternoon’s respite, a shopping fix, or simple economic survival in these feeble, hoary days of the 21st century. Ladies and gentleman - dumpster diving tips #3, #17 and #129:

#129- A small ladder or step-stool is always a damn good piece of gear to have close by, especially when you’re my age and the ol’ knees just don’t flex much anymore. Also be prepared, you just might hit the mother lode; bring a bag or box or shopping cart to stash your plunder. You really don’t need any other fancy doohickeys to engage in this mode of trade. Some people insist on carrying a flashlight, or wearing coolly equipped tool belts, or donning special military-issue-only night vision goggles … shit, this isn’t Mission Impossible! It’s just digging through somebody’s garbage. I don’t know, I guess a flashlight might be handy if you don’t have the cojones to dumpster dive in daylight hours!

# 17- Share the wealth. Take only what you can use, and leave the rest for some other lucky diver. Remember, just because something might be ‘free’ doesn’t mean you have to take it home. The fact is this country has one national resource we’ll never be without: garbage.

#3- Here is one of the most essential, vitally important bits of information you need to know: remove your keys, wallet, cell phone, asthma inhaler, sunglasses, or anything valuable in your pockets before plunging into a dumpster … trust me, this is from the voice of experience!

The Dilettantes' Joel Gion Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, May 9, 2008 12:52pm | Post a Comment
Joel Gion is quite the musical renaissance man.  In addition to working amongst piles of vinyl and CDs and obsessing over fine cinema and its soundtracks, he also finds time to front his own popular band, The Dilettantejoel gion dig brian jonestown massacres, while intermittently doing time in his old band, The Brian Jonestown Massacre.  BJM was recently the subject of a feature documentary entitled Dig, which enabled fans to get up close and personal with one of the most riotous, chaotic groups of all time.  The film comes highly recommended by this blogger.  Joel will be touring with BJM this summer, and continues to gig regularly with The Dilettantes in support of their album 101 Tambourines.  More info in the conversation that follows. Here, Joel speaks about his Brian Jonestown Massacre days, how The Beatles changed his life, and the tambourine.

ME:  What was the first record that really blew your hair back when you were a kid and made you start to really get into music?
 
JG:  I saw Yellow Submarine when I was 5 and that was it. My mom took me to The Gemco the next day and bought me the Red and Blue [Beatles hits] double LPs. I jumped around in front of the mirror with my bowl cut and a tennis racket for about a week straight. I never get tired of The Beatles. I have never owned a copy of Abbey Road or Let It Be because I made a decision a long time ago I would save the later period for when I turned 40. I want to keep some fresh Beatles on reserve for the last half of life. I never want that magic out of my life.

1988: In celebration of the year 1988 in hip-hop.

Posted by Billyjam, May 9, 2008 09:06am | Post a Comment

Today I invite you to join me and others in celebrating the year 1988: a time widely considered to be the peak of the so-called "golden era" in hip-hop's relatively short history. In addition to this Amoeblog on 1988 I have also written another blog today on the same subject on WFMU's blog -- the website of the radio station where I do a weekly show entitled "Put The Needle On The Record."  And coincidentally, today's (Friday May 9th) program will be titled "1988" and will celebrate the same topic with lots of music from that year being played plus lots of discussion about that era in hip hop history.

It airs 3PM to 6PM (noon - 3PM PST) on 91.1FM and can be heard, either live or in later archives, online here. Joining me in the studio will be the hip-hop authors  Michael A Gonzales and Marcus Reeves who have also penned blogs on 1988. Read Michael's 1988 blog on his Blackadelicpop blog and another collaborator Miles Marshell Lewis' 1988 blog and scroll down to the end of this Amoeblog for links to other bloggers' 1988 essays. These will include many of the other scheduled participants in today's radio show including Bill Adler, Lisa Cortes, Todd Craig,  Serena Kim, and Steve Fleming.



For this Amoeblog on 1988 I want to make note of some of the many releases that dropped that year, mention some noteworthy events, plus include some hip-hop videos from that year. For me personally 1988 was a great year. I was a DJ on three Bay Area radio stations including KALX, where I played hip-hop and had just begun my writing career for a San Francisco newspaper. That same year I met the guys who had started a promising new magazine called The Source and by the following year I would be writing for their new hip-hop mag about Bay Area rap.  And there was lots of exciting Bay Area rap being released back in '88 -- mostly independently released cassettes and 12" singles -- including San Francisco's All Ready Fresh "2" who dropped their single "Sucker Butts," SF's Super Macks, who released the super hero themed single "Super Mack's In Effect," and Milpitas' Chris & Ray (neighbors of a young Peanut Butter Wolf) released their single "U Don't Walk U Run." There was also San Francisco's Thermo feat. The Waimea Bass, who released "Chillin' At Ocean Beach," Digital Underground, who dropped their first single "Your Life's A Cartoon"/"Underwater Rimes" on TNT/Macola, and the Vallejo group MVP (later to morph into The Click) who released an EP on Rushforce Records.

May 8, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, May 8, 2008 11:37pm | Post a Comment



HIP-HOP IS ALIVE AND WELL: BILLY JAM'S WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP

Posted by Billyjam, May 8, 2008 06:00pm | Post a Comment

As proven by the entries on the new Top Five Hip-Hop Charts from each of the three Amoeba Music locations (Berkeley, SF, Hollywood -- charts below by Tunde, Jason Chavez, & Marques Newson) hip-hop is very much alive and well. 

Not only that, but hip-hop, a genre known for its high turnover and tendency for chewing up and spitting out artists after a short shelf life, is instead demonstrating love for several longtime hip-hoppers with new releases. 

These include Prodigy, who started out rapping with Mobb Deep potna Havoc two long decades ago, The Roots, who've just dropped their ninth album, and E40 who is celebrating twenty years as a rap recording artist and just released the new Sick Wid It Umbrella: The Complete Second Season rap compilation with its appropriate Sopranos styled cover.

The Roots, who just get better and better as time evolves, have just released their ninth album Rising    Down. It's their eight studio album and second for Def Jam, and it's in big demand with music fans. The  Philadelphia based hip-hop band, who tore shit up September '06 at their Amoeba Hollywood instore, is the number one seller at both the LA Amoeba and at Berkeley, while in SF it is a close second to Atmosphere (another longtime hip-hop artist).  Following The Roots' Game Theory album in 2006, the new album culls its title, presumably, from the William T. Vollmann's book Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means, published in 2004. Rising Down features numerous cameos and guest shots ,including Mos Def, Styles P, Talib Kweli, and Common.

The Cros: I'd Swear There Was Somebody Here...

Posted by Miss Ess, May 8, 2008 12:04pm | Post a Comment
David Crosby has a well-earned reputation for being an angelic-faced bad boy, a drug addicted ego david crosby mug shotfreak. His work throughout the 60s and early 70s was mostly within the confines of The Byrds or Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. There is one record though, that to me is the standout among all the work of both of those bands, and it technically belongs to Crosby alone.
 
Crosby's first solo record, If I Could Only Remember My Name, as far as I am concerned, is one of the best albums ever created in the first place. It's an oddity for sure, and it seems miraculous that it was ever made. The album was recorded in San Francisco's Tenderloin in 1970/71. Sonically it's pure Cros-- heavy on the mystical harmonies, musically meandering all over the place-- but it also has guest appearances by Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Jedavid crosby solo if i could only remember my namerry Garcia, and Jorma Kaukonen, among many others. One of the best parts about the record is laying back, letting the sound float around you and then hearing intermittent vocals from Joni and Neil washing in and out of different songs. Though this is a solo album, the feeling of the record is often one of hazy collaboration, of seamless blending toward a greater vision. Someone needs to write a book about these recording sessions, if anyone can remember them!

The title just seems so fittingly Crosby! It always kind of cracks me up. The early 70s were a particularly drug-addled period for him. I recently read that he was referring to reincarnation with the title, not general confusion...but if you listen closely to the lyrics they seem to often reference being overwhelmed by city life, distrust and paranoia. All of this is presented in gorgeous, hooky tracks, so you could easily miss some of the more heavy themes. On the positive side of the lyrics, there are tracks like the beautiful and hippy-ish "Music Is Love." Check out this awesome performance of "Traction in the Rain" by Crosby and Graham Nash. This was on the BBC before the record was even recorded.

Gruesome Twosome

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 8, 2008 11:25am | Post a Comment



                                                          







                                                           
                                                              
                                                                      

Smokey And The Bandit

Posted by phil blankenship, May 8, 2008 12:00am | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship are proud to present some of our film favorites at Los Angeles’ last full-time revival movie theater. See movies the way they're meant to be seen - on the big screen and with an audience!


Saturday May 10

Burt Reynolds
& Jackie Gleason in

Smokey And
The Bandit

1977, 96 min.

New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 938-4038
Midnight, $7

 


May - New Beverly's 30th Anniversary!
May 3 Burnt Offerings
May 10 Smokey And The Bandit
May 24 Creature From Black Lake
May 31 Zardoz

June
June 7 Heavenly Bodies
June 21 John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness
June 28 Van Damme in Sudden Death

 

MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO'S JACK DANGERS LOOKS BACK AT 20+ YEARS

Posted by Billyjam, May 7, 2008 10:06am | Post a Comment

Twenty-two years later Jack Dangers, the UK born/ Bay Area based musician best known as front person for the group Meat Beat Manifesto, is still recording and releasing relevant music.  In addition to the recently released tenth studio Meat Beat Manifesto (MBM) album Autoimmune on Metropolis, Dangers has also just released a new solo project titled Music For Planetarium -- a limited edition release on Brainwashed. To help spread the word on both releases, Dangers and MBM (including Ben Stokes with whom he also collaborates under the name Tino Corp) just wrapped up their current US tour in the past couple of days. I caught up with them when they played the Highline Ballroom in New York about a week ago. The current MBM lineup includes Dangers, Ben Stokes, Mark Pistel and Lynn Farmer (on live drum kit set up).

Considering it is now 21 years since MBM's debut and 22 years since his original band, Perennial Divide, released their debut, and also considering that most other industrial or techno or ambient acts (all genres that Dangers' music has been labeled over the years) are no longer still making music, I asked Dangers what was the secret to MBM's and his longevity as an artist?  "The main thing is not to conform, not to follow what looks like the thing to do," he said. "It is important not to follow trends but just to be yourself. That is the main ingredient."

I asked Dangers about early in his career and his relationship to Andy Partridge and how it was exactly that the XTC member had helped him get started in his music career. Dangers replied that he first met Partridge back in 1981 in the small South Western English town of Swindon they both hail from. "I got an intern job at the Uni recording studio (in Swindon) and got to see XTC rehearse for their English Settlement tour," he recalled, adding that the XTC tour got cut short after just nine dates. "Andy pretty much knocked it on the head and didn't want to do any live performances after that." But several years later, in 1986, Andy Partridge would work with Dangers and his first band Perennial Divide when he produced their Beehead EP -- released in 1987 on Sweat Box.

Dangers first visited the US in 1989 and ended up moving Stateside, settling in the Bay Area's Mill Valley in 1994. I asked him how relocating from Swindon to Marin County came about. "I was doing a lot of work with (Bay Area groups) Consolidated and Disposable Heroes of Hipocrisy in the early nineties," he recalled, adding that during that time period he, "Later met my future wife at SF Civic Center at a benefit for In Defense of Animals. And that was the main reason I moved over." He had also crossed paths with Ben Stokes, with whom he would forge a long-standing creative relationship. In concert, Stokes works his magic on the video sampling technology and when he is not on tour with Dangers, he is doing video production for DJ Shadow's tours (solo and with Cut Chemist).

out today 5/6...the last shadow puppets...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 6, 2008 10:23pm | Post a Comment

I really thought the new album by The Cure would be out by now. I talked about it on this blog almost a year ago back in July of last year. I was very excited back then. But I am still holding my excitement. I guess it might be even stronger since their shows are coming up at the end of the month. They are playing at the Hollywood Bowl and the Shrine in Los Angeles. I know they are also playing at a city near you, in case you don't live in Los Angeles. But the album has been delayed a bit and is now coming out September 13th. They are doing something a little special before the album comes out, maybe to make it up to their fans for making us wait so long for the album. For the next four months they are going to put out a single with a b-side every month on the 13th. This should be starting on the 13th of May, which happens to be next Tuesday. I am still not entirely sure the label is really going to be able to pull this all together in time for a domestic single, but hopefully by next week I will have a copy of the new Cure single, "The Only One" in my hand. If they are smart it will be coming out on 7" as well, since they should know that we will buy it in all formats they give us. You can hear the single on their website right now. Just in case you were wondering, this new Cure album will be their 13th album --this explains the singles coming out on the 13th. By the way, The Cure still owes us a couple more of those fantastic double CD reissues. They stopped with Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me. I am still highly anticipating two of my favorite albums, Disintegration and Wish. Maybe they will happen before the new album-- there is a good four months still. That really should be enough time. So come on Robert Smith, finish what you started.

Abraxas

Posted by phil blankenship, May 6, 2008 11:01am | Post a Comment
 





Prism Entertainment 6076

TODD HAYNES' "I'M NOT THERE" AVAILABLE ON 2 DVD SET

Posted by Billyjam, May 6, 2008 07:55am | Post a Comment


Even non-Bob Dylan fans should enjoy Todd Haynes' unorthodox and loosely structured Zimmerman biopic I'm Not There (out today on DVD) that fluidly captures the many sides of Bob Dylan with six actors each portraying the various
slices of the life of the celebrated singer-songwriter from his early folk days through his much- publicized electric crossover stage and beyond. Even if you saw this film last year on the big screen, be sure to check it out on the newly issued 2 disc DVD version which includes audio commentary by director/co-writer Todd Haynes.

Actors who loosely play variations of Dylan include Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere,
Ben Whishaw and the young Marcus Carl Franklin, as an eleven year old who calls himself Woody Guthrie -- all of whom are complimented by a flawless ensemble that include the Joan Baez- styled character played by Julianne Moore and David Cross' inspired turn as Allen Ginsberg (see clip above with the Blanchett- portrayed Dylan).

As a Dylan fan, what moved me even more than I'm Not There's subject matter was how Haynes so beautifully structured this heartfelt tribute to the artist, effortlessly shifting from one Dylan incarnation and stage of his illustrious career into the next. Truly amazing film-making!  My bet is that we will be seeing many future biopics that adapt this same unique approach pioneered by Haynes.

Tres De Mayo-Pt.2

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 6, 2008 02:24am | Post a Comment
After the Cinco De Mayo Parade (and when I was done with my laundry), I went to my show @ The Knitting Factory. I deejayed between the groups that played that night. Rebel Diaz from Chicago were the headliners, with Jroz & Ethos, Los Poets Del Norte & Olmeca on the bill as well. There was a low turn out for the show because of the numerous fight parties that were happening the same night all over East L.A. Last week all the clubs blamed their low turnouts on Coachella. For the East L.A. set, a fight with Oscar De La Hoya on the bill is death to whatever event you are planning at the same time. Though the numbers were smaller, the groups were red hot!



It's been a minute since I've seen Jroz1 & Ethos. Good to see them still rocking the mics & tables. I first met Jroz when she was still in high school. She won a freestyle battle, humiliating MC's who thought they were much better than they were.

Nico & Shortee from Los Poets Del Norte. Part Culture Clash, part Last Poets, all Boyle Heights. They performed with two bands on either side of the Poets. Los Pequeños Del Norte played Norteños and two guys from the band Resistencia played behind them as well.

This was my first time that I got to check out Rebel Diaz. They were political without being preachy and just rocked it on stage. Homegirl (I forgot her name) has star potential written all over her. She can sing like Celia Cruz and rap like Biggie. Awesome.

Curtis Fuller Wed 7th - Sat 10th @ Jazz bakery

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 5, 2008 10:18pm | Post a Comment
Detroit native Curtis Fuller graces us with his presence this week at the Jazz theatre known as the Jazz Bakery. Nestled in the upscale Helms Bakery district of Culver City,  the Jazz Bakery is a non profit performance space run by the lovely jazz singer Ruth Price. I popped in this past Friday to check out the legendary Lee Konitz, who of course still kills it (at 80!) without breaking a sweat.

Mr. Fuller has led on quite a few albums, originals often fetch $500+.  Just try tracking down a copy of his debut on Transition or an orig. Bone & Bari on Blue Note and you could be doubling or tripling that.  And yes...he's that good.  Curtis also sided for Miles Davis and John Coltrane, for a stretch in the early 60's he was the sixth man in the Jazz Messengers and he played on the Wayne Shorter masterpiece Schizophrenia.  Of course he's kept busy since those glory days, check out the cut below recorded in 2005 followed by an amazing vintage cut "Children of the Night"...






MOCHIPET (DALY CITY RECORDS) AMOEBLOG INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, May 5, 2008 02:06pm | Post a Comment

AMOEBLOG:
I've heard many descriptions of your music, but how do you describe the music you make?

MOCHIPET: I like to think of my music as "experimental music," but more in a sense that I am always experimenting with new sounds and ideas. Not necessarily sounds that are new to the human ear, but sounds that are always new to mine. I used to try and always make sounds that no one has ever heard before but then I realized it doesn't matter if anyone else has heard it. It only matters if I had. Other people like to call my music. IDM, Glitch, Breakcore, etc etc..  But I just make music.

AMOEBLOG: According to the liner notes, your new album, Microphonepet , was recorded over a five year span but you don't give years for each track. In which years were most of the tracks recorded?

MOCHIPET: Yes, the songs were all spaced out and recorded over the past five years. I have always enjoyed making hip hop beats and collaborating with MC's. However, I never had enough for a full album, because it was not the only thing I did. But recently I had a chance to finish up these songs and compile them into a LP. The newest ones were "Girls and Boys and Toys" with Jahcoozi, "Banna Split" with Bicasso of Living Legends and E Da Boss, "Mr. Malase" (featuring Casual of Hieroglyphics, Dopestyle, and Humanbeings), and "Take You Down" (featuring Sindri andTaiwankid). The oldest one is probably "The Graduate" (featuring Dubphonics). The older ones were generally more sample based while the newer ones were more glitch and synth based.

Able Team #10

Posted by phil blankenship, May 5, 2008 12:09pm | Post a Comment
 



LOS ANGELES: THE SETTING AND THEME OF NEW PRO-OBAMA VIDEO

Posted by Billyjam, May 5, 2008 10:52am | Post a Comment

About two months ago LA producer Daedelus and his crew laced up a short one minute pro-Barack Obama jingle in support of their favorite Democratic presidential runner.  Since then, Daedelus and Taz Arnold -- with the help of numerous other folks in LA -- have extended the short bit into a full length song and made an accompanying video for it that features many familiar faces and places around Los Angeles. The creators of the video say it is a "dedication to LA, the mobilization of youth, and of course, Obama."  Check it out!

Tres De Mayo-Pt.1

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 4, 2008 08:57pm | Post a Comment
On Saturday I woke up to sounds of Mariachi music and Aztec drumming. Turns out there was a Cinco De Mayo parade on my street. There was little notice other than a few no parking signs on Cypress Ave. the night before.

Danza Azteca on Cypress & Roseview

The Grand Marshal was an Elvis Impersonator

Bike Riders: The new people in the barrio wanted to be a part of the parade and to push their agenda
about getting people not to drive their cars and ride their bikes instead. They asked the people watching the parade to join them in a bike ride. Nobody did except the neighborhood loco who rides his bike all day cause he's got nothing better to do. Everyone in the neighborhood knows this guy is crazy, but nobody told them. We all just snickered.

Tamborazos in the back of a truck. A horse follows them.

Vaqueros (Cowboys)

I'm not too big on parades. I usually avoid them at all costs, but since it was right outside my door, I figured I'd check it out. The parade seemed a bit unorganized and thrown together last minute. However, it was cool to hang with my neighbors and scream out a few "Que Viva Mexico!"s. Once the Victory Outreach float came by, I figured it was time to go home. Born-again Christians with megaphones wasn't really my idea of a Cinco De Mayo celebration. Besides, I was doing laundry.


Hegemonic Fantasies Make Me Feel Like an American, Part II: Iron Man

Posted by Charles Reece, May 4, 2008 08:48pm | Post a Comment
Just look at all that merchandising and sequel potential!

I have a special relation to the Iron Man comic; it was my first.  Due to Uncle Skeeter giving me issue 52 as a Christmas present, I developed a lifelong obsession with the graphic narrative form (i.e., it made me a comics nerd, but never this nerdy).  Despite the ablative effects of my high school years, in which I temporarily replaced my adolescent recreational addiction with one of a more illicit kind, I still remember that comic, due to a picture of me clutching it by a Christmas tree.  So, I guess it's a combination of nostalgia, the (more often than not) sobriety of adulthood and the promise of no Ben Affleck that keeps me going back to shitty Hollywood adaptations of superhero comics I rarely read these days.  Thankfully, Iron Man the movie is pretty good.

Even without narcotics, the Iron Man comic is pretty forgettable.  I only remember a few of his villains: The Mandarin, a Fu Manchu ripoff who wore a specially powered ring on each of his fingers; the Unicorn, a technological foe who shot repulsor beams from his forehead; the Viet Cong, dreaded communists who envied his capitalist knowhow and freedom (aka surplus leisure time); and the bottle, which took something like a 120 issues before it became a problem.  Mainstream entertainment isn't allowed to mock other nationalities anymore -- at least not explicitly -- so the Mandarin was out as a villain for the movie.  However, fearing foreign ideologies is still in fashion.  Only problem is that communists make better capitalists than classic liberals do these days, so Red-baiting wouldn't hold much cachet.  Ang Lee's The Hulk demonstrated that most people don't go to see superhero films for an analysis of domestic problems, so alcoholism will have to wait for a subplot in the turgid third installment.  And a guy who shoots beams from his forehead would probably look pretty stupid on the big screen, giving the screenwriters and production designers migraines trying to come up with some phony explanation for why his head doesn't snap back when he fires. 

Some Kind Of Wonderful

Posted by phil blankenship, May 4, 2008 03:30pm | Post a Comment
 



Happy Birthday Maynard!!!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 4, 2008 10:50am | Post a Comment
Today would have been the big 8-0 for the high flying trumpet man Maynard Ferguson...RIP







Hegemonic Fantasies Make Me Feel Like an American, Part I: The Animated Evolution of Iron Man

Posted by Charles Reece, May 3, 2008 08:39pm | Post a Comment
This is a multimedia accompaniment to my ruminations on the film.

Iron Man's cartoons were originally slightly animated cutouts from the comic book. Here he fights a Russian version of himself in a battle that looks like an inspiration for the final one in the movie (with Tony Stark's voice sounding suspiciously like Leslie Nielson's):



To a period when hipness was connoted in cartoons and comics by a mullet (even Superman had one). Stark looks more like a Bollywood hero than Sir Richard Branson:



To the interactive age (which provides the illusion that you're controlling the fantasy):

That Was Then... This Is Now

Posted by phil blankenship, May 3, 2008 07:45pm | Post a Comment
 



Paramount Home Video 1954

On Jeff Mangum and Instant Gratification

Posted by Miss Ess, May 2, 2008 08:50pm | Post a Comment

My friend Sara gave me a homemade tape once years ago. She didn't really tell me much about what it was, just that she and heHolland 1945 neutral milk hotel 7 inch engine jeff mangumr oldest friends loved it, and that it would cheer me up.  (Musta been feeling down that day.)

I immediately played the tape in my car and it was one of those touchstone experiences music provides that I'll never forget: a feeling of total harmony came over me. The music sounded bizarre, unlike anything I'd really heard before and yet at the same time I felt I had already heard it a thousand times, like it had always been a part of me. I found myself humming along to something I had only just popped into my tape deck.

The music the lovely Miss Sara provided me with was that now-mythic album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel. At the time it was a total question mark to me.  Who in the heck made this?  And how?  I would ponder as I drove.  That tape became my constant companion, and I loved the music more and more fervently.  It sounded like it had come from Mars.  Totally otherworldly.  My imagination ran wild, and I was completely absorbed in picturing the room where this record was created, and what in the world the person who made it was thinking, how it came to be.
neutral milk hotel in the aeroplane over the sea
These were the days when not every person on the planet had the internet, and I didn't know anyone who could tell me much about Neutral Milk Hotel at the time.  The album seemed like it had been created out of time, and I struggled to learn anything about the people who created it.

The Stepford Wives

Posted by phil blankenship, May 2, 2008 08:07pm | Post a Comment
 



M/R/X Wolfpak this Sat Featuring Nervous Gender

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, May 2, 2008 04:00pm | Post a Comment


Fatal Pulse

Posted by phil blankenship, May 2, 2008 09:20am | Post a Comment
 







Celebrity Video 4002

BILLY JAM'S HIP-HOP ROUND UP OF THE WEEK: EMMANUEL JAL +

Posted by Billyjam, May 2, 2008 07:20am | Post a Comment

Not since M.I.A., with her well-publicized turbulent political past, has an artist with such an extraordinary life-story arrived on the scene as Sudanese child soldier turned-rapper Emmanuel Jal.

The musician/songwriter/rapper whose autobiographical album Warchild will be released on May 13th was a featured guest at the premiere of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York earlier this week where the documentary about him, the Karim Chrobog directed War Child, made its American premiere. (It had its world premiere earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival.) The film outlines the tough life of this 28 year old musician who was a soldier in the Sudanese People's Liberatin Army when he was only eight years of age.  Jal's autobiography will be published by St. Martin's Press later this year.

His story is truly an amazing one.  But what about the music, you ask?  Well, unlike M.I.A., whose music was even more exciting than the publicity package that preceded her, Emmanuel Jal's new album "Warchild," which was recorded in London in 2006 and 2007, is kinda disappointing -- to these ears anyway, after one full listen. Maybe the hype had me expecting too much.   Sung/rapped mostly in English and veering between reggae and rap, Emmanuel Jal sounds too often like he is trying too hard to emulate popular American rappers and it just ain't working. Hence, he is at his best on the tracks where he isn't trying to streamline his sound for US or British audiences.

The Latest News from the Wild Kingdom

Posted by Whitmore, May 1, 2008 08:41pm | Post a Comment


I seem to be writing animal obits on a regular basis, I have no idea why, but here is the latest news from the wild kingdom: Japan's oldest Giant Panda, Ling Ling, a favorite at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo, died last week. Ling Ling was 22 years and seven months old, the equivalent to about 70 in human years. According to the autopsy, he died of heart failure. He began losing his appetite and strength last August, but recent heart and kidney problems began to take their toll. Ling Ling died just one day after the zoo withdrew him from public view for veterinary treatment. He was the fifth-oldest known male panda in the world.

Born at China's Beijing Zoo in September, 1985, Ling Ling came to Tokyo in 1992 initially for breeding purposes. Since then he had become one of the most popular attractions at the Ueno Zoo. He was also the only Giant Panda at Tokyo’s largest zoo. In recent years Ling Ling traveled to Mexico three times in an effort to mate, but each attempt, like the attempts in Japan, were unsuccessful.

Over the last week Ling Ling's portrait has been displayed in his cage as visitors come to mourn, leaving bouquets, condolences and offerings of bamboo shoots. Giant pandas are one of the rarest and most endangered species on the planet. Only about 1,600 live in the wild in China, mostly on nature reserves in their native mountains and bamboo forests of the Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces.

Hollywood May Day Celebration

Posted by phil blankenship, May 1, 2008 04:51pm | Post a Comment

May 1st

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 1, 2008 04:10pm | Post a Comment
There are a lot of holidays today, chief among them, May Day.



Also...
  • Ascension - Catholicism
  • Beltane - Celts/Gaels
  • Constitution Day - Latvia & the Marshall Islands
  • Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker
  • Festival of Bona Dea - Rome
  • Kazakh Peoples' Unity Day - Kazakhstan
  • Labor Day AKA Labour Day AKA Workers' Day - Worldwide
  • Law Day - USA
  • Lei Day - Hawaii
  • Loyalty Day - USA
  • Maharashtra Day (Maharashtra Divas) - Maharastra, India
  • National Day of Prayer - USA
  • National Love Day - Czech Republic
  • Save the Rhino Day - USA
  • Taco Truck Night - Los Angeles
  • Virgen de Chapi - Peru


May Day celebrations are rooted in the ancient Celtic/Gaelic practice of Beltane and the Anglo-Saxon/Germanic observances of Walpurgisnacht.  These include crowing the Queen of the May, Morris Dancing, the giving of May Baskets, getting drunk, and the erection of a Maypole.

Madonna Fans And Haters Agree To Argue Over Age: Can a woman still be sexy or act sexy at 50?

Posted by Billyjam, May 1, 2008 09:06am | Post a Comment

As you most likely well know, Madonna is back with her brand new album Hard Candy (Warner) which hit Amoeba Music shelves earlier this week. What is interesting about this new album from the "Queen of Pop" is that while the artist, who built a career on controversy -- usually via her music videos-- is at perhaps the very least controversial portion of her long extended, ever shape-shifting pop life, she somehow manages to still stir up controversy.

The controversy (or heated discussion) this time amongst the Madonna fans and haters is not about the music, but about age-- her age.  Can a woman still be sexy and/or act sexy at almost 50? (Her birthday's in August.) That is the real question posed by the masses and the issue says more about our culture than about the pop singer who inspired the discussion. 

Pop music doesn't have a history of being particularly kind to its aging stars, especially its female stars, and especially its aging female stars who choose to still act sexy. So the floodgates of debate or controversy over whether Madonna should still be making catchy contemporary pop music -- and, what's more, shaking her stuff while collaborating with the likes of the much younger Timbers -- Timbaland and Timberlake (Justin) -- have opened up.

Not too surprisingly, the best place to go to put a finger on the pulse of what the Madonna fans and haters are really thinking of Madge Version 008, you need go no further than YouTube -- a place where no one minces words, as proven by the swath of comments posted for the video to the new single "4 Minutes" featuring the aforementioned two Timbers. In the time since the video (see below) was posted three weeks ago, the opinions have poured in: divided into the diehard Madonna fans on one side and the Madonna haters on the other, with a substantial group of in-betweeners who are undecided or have mixed feelings in the middle ground.