When the air turns a tad crisp and apples hang heavy on trees, that's when it's time to put on Cat Power's The Covers Record.
I know I am not the only person in the world who listens to certain records seasonally, and The Covers Record is all about autumn.
This one is a doozy for me. It instantly takes me back to the fall of 2000, my senior year in college, when the chill fall air was thick with the ache of unrequited love. I would wander around campus lost in the clouds with my walkman on, listening to Chan Marshall's inimitable voice softly crooning along to my nebulous thoughts.
Like any good record, it always kinda felt like she was singing just to me. It's a perfect, perfect album for that kind of dreaming while walking through redwoods when the earth is beginning turning cold -- spare, smoky, comfortingly melancholy but not without moments of joy.
While In Exile explores the band’s love of dreamier and filmic music (which no doubt rubbed-off on queer indie-rockers The Hidden Cameras, whom Philipp worked with on tracks for their recent lush offering, Origin: Orphan), Privilege is an inviting and darkly comic (sometimes even knowingly ridiculous) yet misanthropic and intense ride via the Goth and Waver club dance floors of yester-year. Philipp pays homage to his fellow countrymen KMFDM on “Bite Back“ and “Bitch” with big cheese-rock riffs and tongue firmly planted in cheek while somehow remaining quite serious and sincere. “Fashion Fascism” sounds like it could be a cover of Madonna’s “Burning Up” on some obscure late-80’s Wax Trax 12 inch while Philipp invokes the spirit of Leigh Bowery on “Daddy (Don’t Touch Me There).” Sadly, the Minty-commissioned Noblesse Oblige cover/remix of Bowery’s “Useless Man,” which appeared as the b-side of N.O.’s single for the bouncy “Quel Genre de Garcon,” does not appear among the bonus tracks here.
Last week, while visiting the San Francisco Amoeba Music store, standing in the hip-hop aisle gazing at its thousands upon thousands of vinyl and CD titles I found myself drooling in awe. The seemingly endless selection is like an encyclopedia of hip-hop, which is what I mentioned to Luis (the store's hip-hop buyer), who offered to do a quick run-through video tour (above) of Amoeba SF's truly amazing hip-hop section for those who have not recently or ever visited the Haight Street store. This section offers the most comprehensive Bay Area rap selection (including tons of DVD titles) I have ever seen -- thanks in large part to Luis, who really knows and cares about the Bay's homegrown hip-hop flava.
One aisle over from hip-hop is the soul / r&b section and it is damn good, too, with an exhaustive selection of soul from the very latest back to the classics of bygone decades. In that section I ran into Dr. Goldstein of Free Gold Watch (the nearby Haight district store that makes some of Amoeba's T-shirts and was featured on the Amoeblog last week) and knowing his love for both soul and Amoeba I asked if he would do a quick run through tour of the Amoeba SF soul section. He obliged (video below) and made the very good point, especially in these MP3 happy days, about how when you buy a CD or record you are getting an artifact -- not to mention much higher quality audio.
In 1999 the independent East Bay hip-hop-themed online company The Giant Peach was formed by Karen Dere with planning help from Stinke, whom she had worked closely with at the Hierogyphics' company (the pioneering Oakalnd hip-hop entity that was one of the very first to embrace the Internet in the mid 1990's -- years before most people even had an email address, nevermind a fully functional online distribution outlet for indie hip-hop). Working at the Hieros' company for several years coupled with the previous years' experience and expertise she culled from her time as a DJ, etc. at KALX radio, Karen had gained enough insight and knowledge to launch The Giant Peach.
Initially created as "a means for independent labels (with an emphasis on hip hop) and artists to produce their own line of garments and distribute their products to the masses" -- as its mission statement lays out -- the Giant Peach (GP) has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade but has still pretty much stuck to its initial plan of creating a bridge between artists/labels and fans and of exhaustively carrying the clothing lines of popular design artists and collectives, and always with an emphasis on those from the Bay Area.
Overloaded Ark's opening track, titled "Little Blue Dragon," is a better known by the name of the merry dance it was originally composed for way back in 14th century Naples: the saltarello. It is played in a very fast triple-meter and named after its leading leap-step, in Italian, saltare. Of course, the composer credit for this song goes to the ubiquitous Anoymous who rules the bulk of any Early Music bin selections, but a version of the song, aptly titled "Saltarello," was made famous by that eclectic, neoclassical Australian band better known as Dead Can Dance (and if you've ever been to a Renaissance Faire or a Goth gathering where "dark" world music fits the rotation then I'll bet you a flagon of mead you've heard it before). Another version of the song, performed by Corvus Corax --- an outrageously outfitted German band who champion medieval music and authentic instruments, seems to share the same vein Espvall and Batoh tapped to give their "Little Blue Dragon" life. Espvall and Batoh's take on the Black Death era romp pounds out a feverish pace with traditional instrumentation at the forefront and electrified psychedelic meanderings fleshing out the background. It's really the perfect sort of aural "pants-ing" I felt I needed as a listener expecting to hear an extension of Espvall and Batoh's past works, only to be blown away with their new attitude.
New Electro/Techno 12"s Coming this Weekend:
CITY WASTELAND PART 2 12"
Part 2 starts with "MOVE," true-school techno. "DIRTBOMB" has a raw, bluesy house feel, and on the flip are the Detroit influenced "WEIRD DANCER" and the vinyl exclusive "TFF," which delivers intense and acid-like drum layers. Chicago galore!
ADOBE EP 12"
The first cut is downright mysterious...deep stacked chords play with your ears. "SOUTH EAST" follows a Detroit-ish motif as a pan flute pangs the air, keeping the high ends in focus. Slicked out tech house made from the man with a keen sense of what keeps us lost in a groove.
Featurecast GRANDMASTER CAST EP 12" BIBB004
Various INTO BATTLE EP (FEATURECAST) 12" BOMBBAT1
Aldo Vanucci BSTRD BOOTS #9 12" BJX009
Aquasky DEEP FAT FREQUENCIES EP #1 12" PASA051
Dark Phayd-R MADE YOU SHACK UP 7" BP7003
Deadmau5 GHOSTS'N'STUFF 12" MAU5020T
Dre Skull I WANT YOU (BOK BOK RMX) 12" BOKBOK01
Falko Brocksieper ADOBE EP 12" CNTX35
Playdoe FREEZE STEP (STARKEY REMIX) 12" RWINA003
Various BEAT DIMENSIONS VOL.2 #3 12" RH10912C
The wonderful summer-long Amoeba's Monday Movies @ Space15Twenty in Hollywood (the weekly free outdoor screenings of music-related films curated by Amoeba Music) ends tonight with a screening of the highly recommended Anvil! The Story of Anvil. If you have to miss the screening, the DVD of this underdog story about endearing Canadian metal band Anvil comes out next week, October 6th, on DVD, and will be available at Amoeba Music. Last Monday evening there was another Amoeba-curated screening of the film up in the Bay Area at Elis Mile High Club.
I just loved this film so much since it is totally unlike your typical, run of the mill music documentary. LA Weekly summed it up pretty well when they dubbed it "Hilarious and achingly touching." In fact, it is so touching and personal, yet always respectful of its subjects, the two lifelong metalhead buddies Robb Reiner and Steve "Lips" Kudlow, that you instantly connect and feel watching it that it has to have been made by someone whom the band members really, truly trusted and felt totally comfortable around.
Not surprisingly then, Sacha Gervasi, the director of the documentary, was once a roadie for the band. And for this riveting documentary he went out on the road again with Anvil, a band who looked all set to make it big in the 80's metal world but somehow never did. He's made a film that will remind you of Spinal Tap except that it is real, and more importantly, reverential. Last week I caught up with the film's director to ask him about this refreshingly unique music documentary.
Amoeblog: I love your film, including how it flows so naturally and seems to have taken on a life or direction of its own. Did the film turn out differently than maybe what you had initially expected?
Hello, Earthlings! I have returned after being ill for the past week. I’m still not at 100%, but can at least sit at my computer without succumbing to vertigo and mistaking my iTunes for an episode of Battlestar Gallactica.
It’s all the fault of the 2009 Emmy Awards. Yes it is! I’ll explain…
The boyfriend and I were (again) invited to attend the HBO Emmy Award after-party. As he considered which of his designer suits to don, I sifted through the post-punk, vintage mess that is my wardrobe, desperately trying to Frankenstein something passable to wear, grateful that most people at industry parties are too self-absorbed to notice me at all.
Once we got there we took our place in line in the underground garage that served as a holding tank for men and women dressed to the nines. (Front entrance was limited to red-carpet types.) Cramped into lines of two and everyone decked-out fancy, it looked as though we were about to be slaughtered in the most glamorous concentration camp ever.
We made it in.
Now, there’s a reason why I love going to the HBO after-party. Normally, I would eschew going to industry parties in favor of getting my fingernails torn out or having bedtimes stories read to me by Carol Channing. The HBO party is an exception to this rule because it is kind of awesome.
1. Os Mutantes - Haih Or Amortecedor
2. Rodrigo Y Gabriela - 11:11
3. V/A - Panama! Vol.2
4. Nelly Furtado - Mi Plan
5. V/A - A Orillas Del Magdalena -- Coastal Cumbias From Colombia's Discos Fuentes (LP)
6. Mario Ortiz All Star Band - Mario Ortiz All Star Band Tributo 45 Aniversario
7. V/A - Black Rio Vol.2
8. V/A - Psicofasicos De Bolivia
9. V/A - Sound Of Wonder!
10. Ruben Blades - Cantares del Subdesarrollo
Fueled by a great instore performance, Os Mutantes' latest release, Haih Or Amortecedor tops Amoeba Hollywood’s World Music chart for September. Hot on its heels, though, was the latest by another group of former Amoeba instore performers, Rodrigo Y Gabriela. 11:11, Rod y Gaby’s new release, comes with a DVD of live performances and even some instructional footage for the up and coming Flamenco guitarist in you. Nelly Furtado's first all Spanish album, Mi Plan, is starting to pick up some steam as well, coming in at number four.
At number five is a vinyl only release from the Domino Sound label out of New Orleans entitled A Orillas Del Magdalena -- Coastal Cumbias From Colombia's Discos Fuentes. Domino Sounds goes a bit deeper in this compilation than Soundways' excellent Colombia! compilation (both labels licensed tracks from the Discos Fuentes catalog), adding personal favorites by the likes of Andres Landero and Nafer Duran. I highly recommend this LP for anyone who wants to know where the true roots of Cumbia come from.
Aryan Some Differences
While its propaganda might seem dated, Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin presents a critical alternative to heroism as traditionally depicted in most films, collective instead of individualistic. Along with a wishfullfilling counterfactual approach to history and a five act structure, Inglourious Basterds shares a similar approach to the heroic act, closer to the first 20 or so minutes of Saving Private Ryan than its remaining hour and a half. (I note that two early supporters of Eisenstein's film, who helped bring it to world attention, were Goebbels and -- as Tarantino has it -- his Hollywood role model, David O. Selznick.) Eisenstein's two most prominent characters, the sailors Vakulinchuk and Matyshenko, serve more as inspirational catalysts for the inchoate revolutionary spirit than a John Wayne (or even Tom Hanks) type who dominates narrative destiny through his will. As Bill Nichols suggests in his analysis of the film (in the book Film Analysis), the idea of a revolution begins to widen across each act:
Indeed, as he points out, Vakulinchuk dies in the second act and Matyshenko doesn't reappear until the fifth -- hardly the kind of heroism as charismatic leadership favored by a Leni Reifenstahl or George Lucas (the latter's well-known appropriation from the former receives a nice spoof here). No matter how seemingly innocuous the fantasy (from the Golden Age Superman, despite his defense of labor, to Star Wars), there's always a whiff of authoritarianism that accompanies this great man portrayal of heroism -- that a change for the betterment of all comes solely from the determination of a few. That is, follow those so privileged by God, genetics (Aryan, Kryptonian) or midi-chlorians, not morality per se.
I know that many out there have found that any "milk of human kindness" that they may have had on reserve for all things "freak folk" has long soured. Granted, Devendra Banhart, the Jewelled Antler Collective and those that traipse along under similar standards are an inconsistent lot, and that may be part of the whole modus operandi. I mean, doesn't exactitude of key and clear direction and purpose of lyric and melody just end up being a stone drag...man?
I hear all of that criticism, and I get it. I picked up the recently issued 4CD Jewelled Antler Library box, and amongst all that dusty immediacy, birdsong and flecks of deep inspiration, there was some serious dreadfulness.
All that said, Skygreen Leopards, featuring JAC founders Glenn Donaldson (also of Blithe Sons and Thuja) and Donovan Quinn, have held to their own modus of trippy, immediate, flawed songs partially recorded in the open air and likely in one take. Just six songs here, none of them clocking in over four minutes, but all of it strangely, dreamily compelling. The vocals are troubled, the grooves are lazy and lethargic, but I will take it over anything by Bevis Frond in a hot minute, because it's all of a piece. Everything refers to everything else, the vocals are sung like the guitar is strummed like the drums are brushed...as if it's all good, Brother Bear, and it's ok to just sway in place and turn your face, flower-like, towards the sun.
Aside from a brief fetish for Latin Lovers in the silent era, roles for Hispanics and Latinos in American silent film were few, far between and generally quite minor. In the sound era, images of Hispanics and Latinos in Hollywood began to increase in number, although Latino characters were at first usually portrayed by non-Latinos in brownface whilst real Latinos were frequently used as all-purpose ethnic types.
Ramon Novarro and Lupe Velez (as Navaho) in Laughing Boy Leo Carrillo and Duncan Renaldo
1930s- In the first decade of sound, there weren't many roles for Hispanics or Latinos aside from in popular, long-running series like Zorro, The Cisco Kid and The Mexican Spitfire series, the latter a vehicle for Lupe Velez. Pedro Armendáriz mostly starred in Mexican films; when cast in American ones, he invariably had to exaggerate his accent sufficiently. Throughout the '30s and the following decade, Arizona-born Chris Pin-Martin appeared in almost eighty films, invariably as a heavily-accented, broken English-speaking Mexican in small roles and as sidekicks, like Pancho in the Cisco Kid movies and as Gordito in the Zorro series. The Zorro franchise, begun in the 20s, continued to be popular throughout the era. The Cisco Kid series dated back to the teens. In them, unlike with Zorro, Hispanic actors like Leo Carrillo, Duncan Ronaldo and Cesar Romero were usually cast in the lead. Hispanic actress Rita Hayworth (born Margarita Cansino) was initially billed as Rita Cansino in a series of unrelated B-movies. In them, she usually played a variation on the fiery Mexican maiden in need of an honorable Anglo's protection and love.
This weekend the Berkeley Video & Film Festival is happening at the Landmark Shattuck Cinemas with a concentration on short films/videos typically of about ten minutes in length. At opening night last night of the eighteen year old festival, Dan K Harvest was at the downtown Berkeley cinema and got to view a dozen of these shorts. "It was invigorating, with lots of dark, foreboding, futuristic doomsday themed films and a lot of relationship commentary," he said. In addition to about 15 local productions, there are also many entries from around the US and overseas, including challenging new independent cinema from Italy, Cuba, Germany, Venezuela, and Great Britain.
"There was even a film by a 12 year old that was fascinating," said Harvest. Today, the second and final day of the fest, at 6:30pm, Dan K will be featured in the ten minute Escapin' From Oakland. Earlier this week, while still at the Interbike Convention in Las Vegas, I caught up with the longtime Oakland renaissance man, whose illustrious career has included being a rap recording artist, a BMX bike champ, and almost a reality TV star, among many other things (a few years back he was featured in an East Bay Express cover story), to ask him about the festival, the film, and himself. Never one stuck for words, Dan K responded in detail via his iPhone.
Amoeblog: What would you say is your greatest accomplishment in life?
1) Brother Ali Us (Rhymesayers)
2) Andy Allo UnFresh (Allo Records)
3) Peanut Butter Wolf 45 Live (Stones Throw)
4) John Forte StyleFREE: The EP (Theory 7)
5) V/A Definitive Jux Presents 4 (Def Jux)
6) Blue Scholars Bayani Redux (Duck Down)
7) Trick Daddy Finally Famous: Born a Thug, Still a Thug (Dunk Ryder Records)
8) Lil Boosie Superbad: The Return of Boosie Bad Azz (Asylum Records)
9) Cage Movies for the Blind (High Times Records)
10) Beastie Boys Hello Nasty (Capitol)
Super special thanks to the ever knowledgable Luis @ the hip-hop department of Amoeba Music San Francisco for always being so down to supply the Amoeblog with up to the moment news on what's popping at the SF store, new music- wise. For the second week in a row Luis has provided us with a Top Ten due to the wealth of releases (both new and reissues) dropping recently. Above you can see the chart in video and text forms, while below are a series of videos by several of the artists in this latest Top Ten chart.
Prolific LA songwriter (and performer in his own right) P.F. Sloan delivers his box set inclusion "Halloween Mary"...Sloan had his biggest hits with "Secret Agent Man" by Johnny Rivers and "Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire...his backing band included locals the Wondermints.
Wondermints guitarist wields his minty fresh axe.
P.F. Sloan (2nd left) penned hundreds of songs and performed in many guises...this album, put together with longtime associate Steve Barri (2nd right) is an amazing simulation of circa '64 Beach Boys...the song "Surfin' Craze" was featured in an episode of the Flintstones.
Our full October calendar is online at
Friday & Saturday September 25 & 26
Recently made prints of Louis Malle classics
Au Revoir Les Enfants
1987, France / West Germany, 104 minutes
dir. Louis Malle, starring Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fejtö, Francine Racette, Stanislas Carré de Malberg
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 2:15 & 7:00, Watch The Trailer!
If you attended this year's wonderful East Bay Express Best of the East Bay Party at the Oakland Museum of California last month and stopped by the series of Amoeba Music info & merch booths, you would have no doubt seen the crew from Free Gold Watch busy operating their manual hand-operated silkscreening press, making various Amoeba Music T-shirts right there on the spot. It was a cool set up and all the more impressive considering that it was the first time that the guys from the San Francisco clothing design company had ever taken the large machine out of their hand-operated press. Free Gold Watch custom make other folks' designs on T-shirts, sweatshirts, baby size outfits and more, in addition to creating their own designs.
I had heard a bit about Free Gold Watch here and there, including from the folks over at the Giant Peach, who distribute some of their designs but I really didn't know too much about this up-and-coming Bay Area company, so, impressed by their work and also by what cool, down-to-earth, genuinely nice people they are, I decided to follow up and find out a little bit more about this Free Gold Watch.
Twelve nominees were announced this morning for induction onto the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame located in Cleveland, Ohio. Among this year's possible entrants are first time nominees KISS, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Genesis, the Hollies, LL Cool J and Jimmy Cliff; they join returning candidates ABBA, the Chantels, Darlene Love, Laura Nyro, the Stooges and Donna Summer.
Five of the 12 nominees will be chosen for induction from ballots cast by more than 500 music industry voters. An announcement of the inductees is expected sometime in January. The annual event will take place March 15, 2010 at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City and a huge celebration is expected for this, the Hall's 25th Annual Induction Ceremony.
Here we are again, celebrating yet another odd and perhaps, on the surface, ridiculous holiday that most people don't even know exists. September 22 is Elephant Appreciation Day. I know it sounds like an internet hoax but it's a real holiday, more or less.
Back in 1996, September 22 was declared Elephant Appreciation Day by Mission Media, a graphics and publishing firm who got the day included in Chase's Calendar of Events, making the holiday, I guess, official. Mission Media says elephants deserve a day of their own because they are the largest land mammal of our era and are undeservedly threatened with extinction. Sounds good to me, I’m just a bit surprised they didn’t pick a more endangered species like the Alabama Cave Shrimp, the Camiguin Forest Mouse or the Ethiopian Banana Frog. How about the Asian Small-clawed Otter Appreciation Day?
The Big Pink signed to cult-label 4AD this year. The team-up couldn’t have been a better fit as the duo’s tunes could slide in nicely in a playlist alongside tracks from the label’s 80’s and 90’s roster of ethereal and gothic-leaning releases. They also share with their predecessors a keen eye and love for packaging their music -– a dying art form for sure --adding dimensions to the music and an additional keyhole into the universe the band has created within their sound. The band’s pre-4AD releases of dead-sexy lo-fi electro vs. feedback bliss-outs were accompanied by homoerotic and ethereal sleeve artwork by Dennis Cooper (The duo also borrowed the title for their song “Frisk” from Cooper). The band’s newly polished, less-amorphous and refined sound (courtesy of major league mixing-czar Rich Costey) featured on their debut LP, A Brief History of Love, is issued with a murky, blurred and slightly unsettling cover photo of a bare-chested woman - insinuating and helping inject a similarly subversive sexual tone of their indie releases into the hazy pools of stoned reverb and romantic wistful grooves of the new album.
The Prowler Trailer
A menacing Lawrence Tierney in Born To Kill
The longest-running drama in US broadcast history, Guiding Light, has wrapped it up after 15,762 episodes and an incredible 72-year run. This past Friday, September 18th CBS aired the final episode. Because of its high production costs and falling ratings, it was decided last April to pull the plug. Though there was a huge outcry over the decision, viewership over the last year was still down to about 40 percent of the audience it captured a decade ago. CBS plans to replace the soap opera on October 5 with yet another, newer version of Let's Make a Deal, hosted by Wayne Brady. That sounds like a winning idea!
New Electro/Techno 12"s Coming This Weekend:
SELIO EP 12"
"SELIO" is an uplifting and punching slab of techno, with a really fat beat and ITAMAR's trademark chord stabs. On the flip is "SERIES 1," a paced down and trippy number. Very atmospheric in the mood, but with a bouncy groove.
GHOST EP 12"
Raw synth line & chord driven dub techno house (?) by the mysterious MOD.CIVIL project (ORNAMENTS). If you like that dark, dubby sound (LEVON VINCENT, FACHWERK, MIKE DEHNART), this is totally for you. Also includes an "acapella" GHOST tool, perfect for building the tension.
As with all projects he undertakes, the ever-creative Prince Paul did an amazing job on the above short movie which was "written, produced, arranged, scored & hustled" by the producer. He first came to fame in the 80's / early 90's as a member of Stetsasonic, and a producer for both 3rd Bass' debut and most notably De La Soul's debut, plus their two subsequent albums. Since then he has collaborated with a myriad of artists, including Dan the Automator on the concept project The Handsome Boy Modeling School.
The film clip above was all part of the high concept album of the same name which tells the story of an aspiring young emcee named Tariq who has to get money to record his demo tape before a meeting with RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan. The tale unfolds as Tariq and his friend True (played by rapper Big Sha) hustle drugs and encounter a police ambush, incarceration, and a deadly showdown.
Prince Among Thieves (the artist's second solo record) didn't get nearly the level of attention it deserved when it came out ten years ago. It features Kool Keith, Del La Soul, Big Daddy Kane, Chubb Rock, Sadat X, Xzibit, Everlast, and others, and is well worth seeking out on CD, vinyl, VHS or DVD.
I’m waiting for any of the enthusiasts for Inglourious Basterds to come up with some guidance about what grown-up things this movie has to say to us about World War 2 or the Holocaust — or maybe just what it has to say about other movies with the same subject matter. Or, if they think that what Tarantino is saying is adolescent but still deserving of our respect and attention, what that teenage intelligence consists of. Or implies. Or inspires. Or contributes to our culture. -- Jonathan Rosenbaum, again
Certainly, there's a difference between Bonhoeffer taking no pleasure in his decision and the viewer's finding entertainment in Shosanna's, namely that between real world events and their aesthetic use. Since Mendelsohn and Rosenbaum are film critics, I'm guessing they aren't of the "art after Auschwitz is barbaric" persuasion, so their problem is with the film's message, its delivery and reception. The Jewish devised cinematic hell to which the Nazis become condemned might even be seen as tragic if you're sympathetic to their goals. As the administer and representative of the Volk's will, Col. Landa's murdering Shosanna's family sets into motion the wheels of fate that is their (the Nazi's, if not exactly Lando's) destruction. From the Greeks to Shakespeare, tragedies, we should recall, were (and still are) performed for pleasure, or what might be called entertainment. The world of art would be a lot less interesting if it came with the book of answers that Rosenbaum demands of Inglourious Basterds. How about a quote from Vladimir Nabokov?
I presume there exist readers who find titillating the display of mural words in those hopelessly banal and enormous novels which are typed out by the thumbs of tense mediocrities and called "powerful" and "stark" by the reviewing hack. There are gentle souls who would pronounce Lolita meaningless because it does not teach them anything. I am neither a reader nor a writer of didactic fiction, [...] Lolita has no moral in tow. For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art [...] is the norm. -- from "On a Book Entitled Lolita"
Now, Rosenbaum is one of our best film critics, not some "reviewing hack," and Tarantino ain't exactly Nabokov, but everything else fits the bill. This former's criticisms, this time around, don't amount to much more than pandering moralism, and the latter, like Nabokov, is more interested in staying true to the story he's telling than whatever it might say about the real world. But this doesn't mean that his story has nothing relevant to say about whatever Rosenbaum is referring to with "our culture." The film isn't mere entertainment, or what some fanboy defense might call "just a movie," but rather a sort of parody in Nabokov's sense when he said, "satire teaches a lesson, parody is a game."
Hitler and Joseph Goebbels were admirers of Fritz Lang's Metropolis, likely hearing echos of their own call for the restoration of a soul to the dehumanizing technocracy of modernity ("the mediator between the brain and hands must be the heart!"). However, humanity, like violence, depends on the details. They didn't see an analogy of the oppressed workers at the bottom of Lang's pseudo-utopia -- who kept it running for the pleasure of the bourgeoisie and rich -- to the Nazis' use of Jewish slave labor in factories like Mittelwork where the V-2 bomb was manufactured. As Col. Landa spells out to the farmer in Chapter 1, the Jews were seen as racially other, not deserving of the moral obligation that obtains to one's neighbors in the ethnic Lebenstraum (living space). For a similar reason, American kids aren't expected to look in abhorrence at singing grapes being used to sell their own execution or anthropomorphic squirrel-operated machinery in The Flintstones. Ignoring such human traits is fine in fantasy, but not when someone tries to supplant the real with the fantastic. And, as Landa argues, the Jews weren't seen even as the equivalent of squirrels (much less the happily working and talking kind), but rats. It's this kind of rationalization that makes the bureaucratization of evil possible.
So when Tarantino parodies the burning in Lang's Nazi-favored film with Shosanna's own version, there's more going on than geeky appropriation. At the moment in Goebbel's Nation's Pride when Pvt. Zoller (the Nazi "Sergeant York") asks, "who wants to send a message to Germany?," Shosanna's image cuts in to answer that she does, commanding Marcel standing behind the screen to set fire to the film stock. The real Shosanna is already dead, killed in the projection booth by the real Zoller as she was showing a bit of compassion for the not-quite-dead wouldbe rapist, having just shot him in the back. The last bit of human compassion having been drilled out her in grieving slow motion (one of the few nods to Enzo Castellari's Inglorious Bastards), the only thing left is a mechanically reproduced image to be shown only once in a particular place, creating an aura of terror for this particular group of "art" lovers.
In Metropolis, it is the mechanical Maria who is put to the stake, having tricked the workers into destroying the machines that would keep the city functioning. I'm not going to summarize the serpentine plot of Lang's film (read it here if you dare), so suffice it to say the means-end utopia was brought down by a robot simulation of one of the oppressed (Maria) that was the bypodruct of the city ruler's faulty/inhumane ratiocinations. (That is, Fredersen, the ruler, gained possession of Hel, the love of the inventor Rotwang, eventually using her up -- she died during childbirth -- which led to Rotwang making the robot as a replacement, but it had its own demonic plans that involved taking the form of Maria.) Thus, Shosanna (and maybe Tarantino) saw the analogy that Goebbels and Hitler didn't. Define another's humanity out of your ratio-moral system and the only interaction left possible is with the robotic husk. Shosanna's moral choice in such an immoral situation was, like Bonhoffer's, to point the demonic reproduction to which she had been reduced back at the Nazis and let it take its course.
I’m not from Chicago, but I like Chicago, and though I’m a true blue, life long LA Dodgers fan, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Chicago Cubs: Wrigley Field, Hippo Vaughn, Three-Finger Mordecai Brown (who really only had three fingers on his right hand, but two them sported World Series rings), Riggs Stephenson, Ron Santo, ‘Mr. Cubs’ Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Milt Pappas, Ryne Sandberg, Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray and on and on ... these have been some tough years for Cubs fans. It's been one hundred and one years and counting since their last World Series victory.
Anyway, today, September 20th, marks the 25th anniversary of the death of one of the biggest Cubs fans ever to cheer amid the hallowed ivy covered walls of Wrigley Field, singer-songwriter Steve Goodman. Born and raised in Chicago, he never had much success as a solo recording artist, though his albums constantly received critical acclaim; he found far greater accolades as a songwriter. Some folks say he wrote the greatest Country and Western song ever recorded, and it says so right there in the song. “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” was the biggest hit record David Allan Coe ever had and the lyrics mention everything a proper and perfect Country/Western song should ever need or want: mama, jail, dead dogs, trains, trucks and drunkenness. Goodman also wrote the greatest friggin’ song about the railroads, “City Of New Orleans,” which became the biggest charting hit of Arlo Guthrie’s career. In the early 1970’s Goodman saw Guthrie in a bar and asked if he could play him a song. Guthrie agreed only on condition that Goodman first buy him a beer. The song would become something of an American standard, covered by many others including Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, John Denver, Jerry Reed, Hank Snow, Willie Nelson and even David Hasselhoff. Goodman also wrote some great songs about his own home town, “A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request;” “Go, Cubs, Go;” “The Lincoln Park Pirates,” a tribute to the notorious Lincoln Towing Company; and “Daley's Gone,” about Mayor Richard J. Daley, undisputed king of Chicago’s backroom politics, the last of the big city bosses, whose power didn’t create disorder, but was there to preserve disorder.
About the time Goodman's career really began taking off, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Still he managed to write and perform and fight cancer; he had a tongue-in-cheek nickname for the disease, “Cool Hand Leuk.” On September 20, 1984, Goodman died at University of Washington Hospital in Seattle. He was 36 years old. Eleven days later, the Chicago Cubs played their first play-off game since 1945 at Wrigley Field.
During the 2007 season, the Chicago Cubs began playing Goodman's recording, "Go, Cubs, Go," after each home game win. When the Cubs made it to the playoffs, interest in the song and in Goodman surged, resulting in October 5, 2007 being declared by Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn as Steve Goodman Day across Lincoln's Great State.
The unique and compelling film The Age Of Stupid's warning message of the impending doom of the planet brought on by global warming is quite clear. The film, directed by Franny Armstrong, who spent four years making it, strikes a perfect balance between documentary and Sci-Fi film styles. Back in March of this year, The Age Of Stupid opened in select theaters, but tomorrow, Monday, September 21st, the film will experience its official global premiere when this docu-drama, in an unprecedented coordinated effort, will simultaneously open in 700 theaters in 62 different countries around the globe. TIcket/venue info here. This carefully coordinated global screening, which was sponsored in part by such organizations as Greenpeace and MoveOn.org, was planned for tomorrow to be concurrent with United Nations Climate Week during the week of the UN Secretary-General’s Summit on Climate Change, September 19th to 26th.
While more and more news on the very real impact global warming has on our planet is published regularly, it seems like the average person doesn't realize the seriousness of this issue. Many feel that The Age of Stupid, which takes viewers ahead to the year 2055 -- and it ain't pretty -- articulates in an entertaining (albeit darkly dramatic) way exactly what climate scientists have been warning us of for quite some time... time is running out for the human race and its planet. For more info click here.
We're having another hot weekend in L.A., so a batch of swimsuit covers seems appropriate.
In film's first decade, a few Latinos in fact were involved in American filmmaking. Before the Hollywood era, the filmmaking process wasn't centralized and films were shot around the country by wealthy entrepreneurs, a few of which were Hispanic. However, most American films in the 1890s were under ten minutes long and tended to focus on single actions like sneezing, laughing or opening a door.
It has been reported by several sources that New York turntablist Roc Raida of X-Men/X-Ecutioners fame has died earlier today. The DMC and ITF DJ battle champ was 37 years of age. The artist had reportedly been hospitalized for a serious spinal injury following a recent accident while kick-boxing training. Along with Rob Swift, Total Eclipse, and Mista Sinista, Roc Raida rounded out the best known line-up of the X-Ecutioners (formerly the X-Men), whose other members had included Steve Dee, DJ Boogie Blind and DJ Precision.
In addition to performing and recording with his DJ crew (in 2002 the X-Ecutioners dropped Built From Scratch on Loud), he also collaborated with numerous hip-hop artists over the years, including Big Pun, Immortal Technique, O.C., Buckshot Lefonque, and Smif N' Wessun. Above is one of Raida's great turntable routines from the 1995 DMC battle that he won in which he displays his typical playful, fun approach to the art of scratching, incorporating ample use of body tricks. Note that at this time his crew was still named X-Men (they eventually were forced to change it due to Marvel Comics sending a cease and desist) and the DJ was known as Roc Raider (with an "R" at the end). I knew Roc Raida for many years and last interviewed him about two years ago. I will try to find that interview to transcribe for a future Amoeblog. R.I.P. Roc Raida.
Origins of the Moonwalk
Similar steps are reported as far back as 1932, used by Cab "Minnie the Moocher" Calloway. It was first recorded in 1955 in a performance (in the film that same year Showtime At The Apollo) by tap dancer Bill Bailey.
Jeffrey Daniel brought "the backslide" to the tv show Soul Train. In 1980, Jackson asked Daniel (together with dance partners Geron Candidate and Cooley Jackson) to teach him the dance. Michael first performed this move during his "Billie Jean" performance on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever on March 25, 1983.
I remember also seeing this move performed by Mr. Freeze (of the Rock Steady Crew) in the movie Flashdance, released April 15th, 1983. See Flashdance clip below.
Tomorrow the Los Angeles Theatre Organ Society is hosting an afternoon of silent film w/ pipe organ accompaniment. The event will be held at the South Pasadena High School campus, which is stunning and features an amazing auditorium-- a New Deal era PWA masterpiece that houses a fully functioning Wurlitzer pipe organ. Join John Rinaudo and his hand cranked silent film projections along with Dean Mora on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ.
Saturday September 19th, 1:30 PM
South Pasadena High School Auditorium
1401 Fremont Ave.
South Pasadena, Ca
$20 at the door
1) Kid Cudi Man On The Moon: The End of Day (Motown / Pgd)
2) KRS-ONE & Buckshot Survival Skills (Duck Down)
3) Drake So Far Gone (Cash Money)
4) M.O.P. The Foundation (E1 Entertainment)
5) Q-Tip Kamaal the Abstract (Battery Records)
6) Nicolay City Lights 2 - Shibuya (Hard Boiled Records)
7) New Boyz Skinny Jeanz & A Mic (Asylum Records)
8) DJ Fresh The Tonite Show (The Album) (Town Thizzness)
9) DJ Shadow Diminishing Returns (Reconstruction Productions)
10) Young Cellski/aka 2Took Mr Predicter (Inner City 2000)
Surprise! The Golden Globe went to Gabriel Byrne for In Treatment.
From that moment on, I knew I had to check out In Treatment...I mean, if you can beat Jon Hamm's tortured, pefectly reined in depiction of Don Draper as far as acting goes...somethin's up.
In Treatment Season 1 is finally out on DVD and I've been watching it here and there for the past few weeks. The reason I've been moving so slowly on it is there's a whole lotta show...as in, one half hour, five nights a week...9 discs worth of show! Is that some kind of record or something?
Anyway, the show is great. I have to say though, if you don't enjoy slow moving character studies, this is not the show for you. It's simply about a therapist and his patients, one patient per half hour episode, five nights a week, with the fifth night reserved for Paul (Byrne)'s own session with the fabulous Dianne Weist as Gina, his therapist.
What's so good about this show to me is that it is all about details and slow reveals. You might think a show that is this seemingly simplistic would be dull as tombs, but for me at least, there is great pleasure in the writing and the layers to each character that slip off weekly like the skin of an onion. I applaud its creator, writers and directors for working so deftly and interestingly within such spareness.
So, after having a good gander, do I think the Emmy is deserved? Well, yes, because the show really allows Byrne to act subtly, to keep a great deal of emotion boiling just below the surface -- moments are registered much more in his expression than verbally, and that takes en pointe skill and precision, particularly to keep such a conceptionally bare show interesting. He also is the only actor who is in every single episode of this epically produced series, so he's got a whole lot of material to get through and does so with ease. But do I think he should have won over Jon Hamm's tour de force as Don Draper...? Nah. I think Hamm's performance is one of my favorites in TV history. But both Mad Men and In Treatment are finely acted, worthwhile and compelling television.
One of the many highlights of the recent Amoebapalooza North 2009 at the Mezzanine club in San Francisco (August 2nd) was the power-duo-- the $helbyville $helbyvilllains' all too short set in which talented San Francisco Amoebites Josh Pollock (guitar/vocals) and Kaitlin Layher (drums, above) effortlessly channeled the White Stripes. Even more impressive was the fact I later learned: that Kaitlin had only been playing the drums for a relatively short time and that this was the first time that she had ever played drums out in public. I recently caught up with Kaitlin to ask her about her personal experiences as a drummer, as well as about female drummers in general as part of the long running In Celebration of the Drum Amoeblog series.
Amoeblog: Who are among your favorite female drummers and why?
Kaitlin: My favorite female drummer currently drumming is Adrienne Davies of Earth. I love watching her controlled, deliberate movements. She's hypnotizing. Moe Tucker of the Velvet Underground was amazing as well as Karen Carpenter. And, of course, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Meg White of The White Stripes. But you can't forget the all-girl groups, too! The Bangles and The Runaways were simply solid bands with solid drummers.
From the moment I first heard the single "Crystalized" by the XX, I have been eagerly anticipating the release of the album. That song just got deep down inside of me. It is such a fantastic song and is the kind of song that really affects you emotionally. It made me cry I think the first time I heard it, and yet I keep going back to it and can't get it out of my head. It is like the best day of your life that is now only a memory. It becomes tinged with sadness since you know you will never experience that day again and it will only be a memory. I love being nostalgic and I often put experiences too quickly into my memory. Sometimes I make them into memories as they are still happening. When I am having a really great day or experiencing a really magical part of life, I immediately start thinking about how I will remember this moment before it is even over. I know that we often make our memories better than the actual event so I try to reflect on the moment as it is happening to make sure my memory is more accurate. I don't know if all this makes sense, but I am basically comparing this song, this band and this whole album to the greatest memories of the greatest experiences that you have in your life. They are fantastic memories but also have a hint of sadness and tragedy because they are just memories.
The new self titled album by the XX is as good as the single. There is not a bad song on the album. It is actually a pretty simple album. There is really not a lot of stuff going on here. The songs are structured simply and most have male and female vocals trading back and forth. It just comes together beautifully somehow. I have always loved R&B and the darker side of New Wave music, but rarely do the two genres meet. They often couldn't be more different. But XX manages to somehow combine the genres into one magical style of music. I would never call the XX a Goth band but they might appeal to fans of Goth music. They will for sure appeal to anybody who likes Dark Wave or Dream Pop. Fans of Mazzy Star, Cocteau Twins, Piano Magic, & For Against will not be disappointed. The music often sounds like The Cure or Joy Division. Maybe like Blonde Redhead's version of Joy Division. But the songs also have the feeling of a really good R&B ballad. Imagine R. Kelly or Aaliyah singing along to a Joy Division song. They totally make it work and I totally have fallen in love with this band. But beware! These songs are not going to make you get up and dance. I doubt they will put a smile on your face. The album is on the dark side. XX is made up of four friends from South West London who are all in their very early 20s, but they seem to have already experienced the whole range of emotions that most of us will ever go through. The album is released on the label Young Turks which has quietly been putting out albums and singles for the last couple of years. This might be the best record it has put out so far.
September 19 TRUCKATHON
5 Film All Day Event!
All Tickets $10
One Ticket Admits To All 5 Films
New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
C.B. Hustlers (1978) 4:15
Hot Vans ... C.B. Radios ... And The "Hardest Working" Girls You'll Ever Meet!!!
Thunder Run (1986) 6:00
No way out. No way through. No way left but to GO FOR IT!
White Line Fever (1975) 8:00
Carrol Jo Hummer--A working man who's had enough!
Road Games (1981) 10:00
The truck driver plays games... The hitchhiker plays games. And the killer is playing the deadliest game of all!
Black Dog (1998) Midnight
For Jack Crue, the rules of the road are simple. No passing, no tailgating, and no turning back.
I recently picked up Cometbus #52 (The Spirit of St. Louis) at the Berkeley Amoeba Music store -- one of several fine independent retailers that carry the legendary, decades old, punk-literary series. As with all the previous installments of this Aaron "Cometbus" Elliot- penned slim book, such as last year's Cometbus #51 The Loneliness of the Electric Menorah, ever since I started reading it I can't put it down...which is a problem, in a good way, because I know in no time I will have read the entire engrossing 66 pages of this latest Cometbus. So I find myself rationing my reading, allowing myself just nine pages, which is three Cometbus chapters, a day.
Cometbus #51 was a sort of history of the subculture of Telegraph Avenue, focusing on its bookstores and record stores. It incorporates into its story Cody's, Moe's, Universal, Rasputin, and (of course) Amoeba Music, as well as such age old Telegraph Avenue characters as Ace Backwards and Julia Vinograd (aka The Bubble Lady), whose poetry was included in that last issue.
For the The Spirit of St. Louis Cometbus, as its title implies, Aaron writes about St. Louis and the close-knit cast of colorful characters (including Brett, Pete Feet, Spike, Wayne Two, Penguin, Jody Lee, & Katie from Haiti) in the local punk scene that he interacted with in a previous time -- he never says exactly when, but, based on the music references, it seems like it is circa early/mid nineties.
How crazy IS possible?
Very crazy was the answer this year...and/or very glamorous, creepy, rockin', shockin', wild, wonderful, and dancetastic! One of the most wonderful and insane Amoebapalooza lineups of all time took the stage at the King King on Sunday night and showed how it was done. Surely any unsuspecting patrons to walk in from Hollywood Boulevard must have thought they had stumbled onto the set of some kind of psychedelic rock opera written by Andrew Lloyd Webber's brain-damaged evil twin, and hopefully they stuck around to enjoy it with the rest of us.
As our lovable and pants-wettingly funny host Brently Heilbron put it, it's the last Amoebapalooza of the decade...soon we won't have the Oughts to kick around anymore, and it'll be the Teens! Taking this temporal warning to heart, the musical freaks of Amoeba made sure they sent the Oughts out with a kaboom. Have a drink with me and let the show begin...
The lights went down on the red velvet curtain, and the festivities began with a Jaco-Pastorious-on-PCP solo bass guitar odyssey from gangly wunderkind Ben Ricci, bravely kicking off this night of strangeitude. Is the bass meant to make sounds like that? Dunno. Ben's bass wizardry was closely followed by the hard-charging sounds of Thin Lizzy tribute band Emerald, with one Sam Rodriguez channeling the spirit of the late great Phil Lynott. Sorry if I'm leaving anything out...the next thing I remember was the always mind-blowing cabaret fantasia of Cream Puff, the one-man show of antique futurist foppington Joey Jenkins. There really is nothing like Mr. Jenkins...jigging, chanting and prophesizing from the stage, in his knickers and mountaineering headgear, he makes you feel like you've wandered into one of David Lynch's weirder dreams. He ended by collapsing in a grand death scene, instantly growing a marvellous flower from his heart. Showbiz!
This is the debut full-length release from Berlin producer/DJ Haito Gopfrich -- the man of innumerable faces and the Doctor Mabuse of German dancefloors. Hooked by the eclectic early DJ-work of Hans Nieswandt and Eric D. Clark, Haito is now well-trained on Berlin's Loveparade vehicles, and as a result, his work has been pressed onto vinyl by labels such as Kickboxer, Malatoid, Spagat, Low Spirit and Acker Records. With Fiat Lux, Haito tells us his stories from the club in a colorful, thrilling and filmic way, emphasizing a diversified, round dance of styles, genres, ideas, sounds and beats. From the exhilarated groove of a gritty high-school comedy ("I Ro Love"), over the sticky heat of a foreign marketplace demolished by a wild chase with James Bond ("Pusher"), to the fizzling noise of a motor in a SF manga road movie, Haito seems to know how to set everything to the music he's got in mind. The hardcore continuum is cultivated by elegantly-rushed drum patterns ("Drugpeople"), Alfred Hitchcock's shower curtain knife-scene is shot into the universe via electro-funk ("Freedub"), and a harmonized depth of field meets a roughened, saw-tooth discourse ("Disconnect"). Even the Yakuza smasher with Renaissance costumes filmed in Andalusia finds its true destiny in the spinet rave of "Non Plus Ultra." And above all, intelligent sample editing, four-dimensional, fluffy synths and springy percussion sounds can't be wrong. The peak of the album is the 2009 version of "E-Love," a revised version of the 2008 hit released on Kickboxer: a couple of tricky samba piano sounds are smuggled into the pockets of a subtly-bouncing clapper trailing a comet-tail of synths. Last but not least, after the Wall Street psycho thriller "Mummy," and "Komm Mal Klar," you'll find "Good Times, Bad Times" -- a hymn for the closing credits with vocals by Eric D. Clark that pulls out all the emotional stops to keep the audience enthralled and teary-eyed.
Kanye West's well publicized little outburst at Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), in which he bum-rushed the stage during country singing teen Taylor Swift's acceptance speech to grab her mic and offer his uninvited opinion on how unfair he felt it was that Beyonce didn't win in the Best Female Video category, gave the media some fodder complete with a good headline for their report on the otherwise ho-hum awards show. And the fact that there suspiciously was no security whatsoever to stop West from storming the stage merely proved what many have long speculated: that MTV's producers secretly encourage any kind of controversy to spice up and give some edge to their show.
But by now Kanye's attention grabbing stunts are beyond tired. On Sunday night, even Beyonce, whose honor he somehow believed he was defending, wasn't impressed by his rude gesture. Neither was anyone else it seemed. And why should they be? Beyond the disrespectful act itself, it's not like he was sticking up for some totally underrated, slept-on artist. It was Beyonce -- one of the world's biggest stars, who a little bit later on in the same show would be bestowed with the Video Of The Year award. If Kanye is going to bum rush the stage and grab someone's mic, he should use the opportunity to say something of substance or worth. Here are five suggestions for Kanye of what he could have said instead:
1) Talk about something really important or of social/political relevance like he did four years ago in his infamous post-Katrina "George Bush doesn't care about black people" comment (see video below). Or take the opportunity to comment on the growing thinly veiled tide of racism towards Barack Obama, or question why a FOX News host is getting away with calling the president "a racist." Or how about offering some opinion on health care? Note that even the host of the evening, Russell Brand, addressed this issue. However, like everything else that this English host-with-an-acquired-taste uttered throughout the long evening, it simply didn't register with the VMA audience.
What distinguishes countries in the New World from those in the Old is that here there's no such thing as a Nation-State and no countries in the western hemisphere correspond to a single ethinicity. Just as is the case in Anglo America (The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Guyana, Jamaica, the United States and the Virgin Islands), there are Latinos whose race is Asian, black, Native, white or a combination thereof. In observance of Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins today, the focus of this blog on Asian Latinos aims to highlight just one example of the under-recognized heterogeneity of Latino culture.
New Electro/Techno 12"s Coming This Weekend:
STRANGER-LEN FAKI REMIX 12"
Crazy demand for LEN FAKI's PODIUM remix led to this pressing. HUGE summer techno tune that CARL COX dropped at Space and that wrecked the dance floor. The build ups and drops are INSANE! Also includes the original version and a "X BREAK" mix from FAKI as well. Do not sleep on this!
Cult like techno imprint invites a former WARP artist to let the music talk under the alias RAZA. State of the art modern techno, sounding as if it was forged in Detroit and finished in Berlin. Three beautiful tracks, fans of ECHOCHORD, STYRAX. Audiophile mastering, vinyl only!
Michael Jackson vs Drastics MJAROCKER LP MJAROCKER
Count & Sinden MEGA 12" RUG317T
Jim Carroll "People Who Died"
At the relatively young age of 60, Jim Carroll, the poet and punk rocker best known for his book adapted into the Leonardo DiCaprio-starring movie The Basketball Diaries, and whose most famous song is "People Who Died" (above), himself died a few days ago from a heart attack in his NYC home.
A key part of the legendary downtown New York art scene in the 1970s, Carroll was known for associating with the likes of Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, and Robert Mapplethorpe. Carroll was also known for his drug use/abuse, never keeping it a secret but rather drawing from it extensively in his writing. First he was a poet and then a musician, on the urging of Patti Smith reportedly. His poems effortlessly morphed into songs such as the aforementioned "People Who Died," which was a poem first and then adapted to music on his much revered 1980 album, Catholic Boy.
The Basketball Diaries was Carroll's autobiographical tale of life as a sports star at an elite Manhattan private high school. He attended on a scholarship. Initially it began as the artist's own personal diary but it soon shaped into a book. The finished novel was first published in 1978 and has remained popular ever since. It became even more widely known after the 1995 film adaptation.
"I hate you."
Here’s a picture of the dude that’s writing the sentence you’re reading right now. It was taken while he was in Kindergarten. The expression on the boy’s face sets the tone for the rest of his scholastic experience.
I don’t know what happened to make me look so surly in a photograph. It could’ve been as simple as the photographer telling me to “Smile!” which is an order I have never responded to well. I mean, if someone wants me to smile, they should be creative about it. Try saying something like:
“I’ve bought you 8 pints of ice cream and a spoon!” or
“I managed to destroy every last recording of the song ‘Entry Of The Gladiators!'” or
“I am John Gavin, and I’m going to kiss you.”
Something that would make me smile for reals. Don’t just bark orders at me! Especially to portray an emotion. That’s too personal. I AM NOT A LABRADOR RETRIEVER, PEOPLE!
So, there's been a whole lot of hoo-ha surrounding what's quite obviously the most interesting and entertaining movie of the year, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. The moralistic critics have done their best to trivialize the white power movement's Holocaust revisionism by suggesting the film turns "Jews into Nazis" (Daniel Mendelsohn) and one wonders "what it was (and is) about the film that seems morally akin to Holocaust denial" (Jonathan Rosenbaum). On the other, "with friends like these ...," side, the defense hasn't amounted to much, either, the typical suggestion being some variation on the line that as pure entertainiment/fantasy, the movie has no morality, nor does it need it. Patooehy! I agree that entertainment is the film's virtue, but disagree that it occurs at the expense of morality. In fact, its morality grounds and justifies what Mendelsohn and Rosenbaum see as the Jews acting like Nazis, but what I call the aesthetic enjoyment of the film. Thus, I think a moral defense is in order. Be forewarned: MANY SPOILERS WILL OCCUR!
The Dreyfus Affair
What all retributive theories seem to share is the claim that the relation between crime and punishment is (primarily) conceptual (or “internal”). The justification of punishment is that punishment in itself is an appropriate response to crime. [...] Reaffirming the wrongness of the crime is good in itself, good enough (all else equal) to justify the punishment. Telling the truth about a crime is itself an important good.
-- Moral philosopher Michael Davis explaining the basic tenet of retributive justice
In his review, Mendelsohn is particularly offended by the final chapter that features Shosanna Dreyfus trapping -- with the aid of her boyfriend, Marcel -- the entire Nazi high command in a theater, then burning it down (referencing some science learned from Hitchcock). The fact that Shosanna is a Jew who barely escaped with her own life after watching a group of Nazis being led by Colonel Hans Landa slaughter her family in chapter one has no bearing on Mendelsohn's indignation. Violence is evidently content-free, the violent what-fer being morally equated to the violent crime. Even the dimmest of ardent capital punishment opponents should be able to free himself from Mendelsohn's mental paper bag here. That is, even if one holds that the state should never be able to kill murderers, it takes quite a bit of willpower to get mixed up on the order of events involved: there would be no state-sanctioned violence without the criminal act of murder occurring first. Now, there might be other good, moral reasons for not wanting the state to kill murderers, but they in no way make the two killings morally equivalent, or equally justified. Similarly, not all vengeful fantasies are the same, either. Here's a thought experiment:
With every Brazilian Independence Day (Sept. 7th) usually comes a plethora of great Brazilian music to Los Angeles. Still, it was a shock to see Os Mutantes on the Amoeba instore calendar when it was posted back in August. I’m sure it was more of a coincidence than something planned, but In the back of my mind I thought, “How cool is that!?” To say that I’m a fan of Os Mutantes is an understatement; in fact, it's probably one of the few groups that most Amoeba employees with all our collective vast tastes in music can agree upon. Since their reunion, or rather, their resurgence back in 2006, I have managed to miss all their shows in Los Angeles due to plain old bad timing. At last, I would finally see the band that was the gateway for me and so many others to discovering Brazilian music.
In the early nineties, I read an article on Os Mutantes. They were referred to as “The Brazilian Beatles,” but that is not what drew me to them. It was that they, along with the other Tropicalistas Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso and Tom Zé were radicals and into taking all influences, whether they was Brazilian, European, Avant-garde or folk music, and putting them all together. Mutantes were the easiest to digest because they had much in common with other Psychedelic groups of that era, but after listening to them on a continuous basis, I started to notice their musicianship and songwriting was much more advanced than most groups of that time. They were the best of the Avant-garde rock bands because they could swing better than any of them. I remembering going to a record store and buying all their import CDs that I could find. From there I got into Caetano, Gilberto Gil, Tom Ze and soon started to venture out into other non-Tropicalia artist such as Milton Nascimento and Jorge Ben. From then on, the doors of Brazilian music became wide open. My discovery of Brazilian music from Jobim to Funk Carioca is due in part to Os Mutantes.
Rats the size of a cats and fanged frogs were discovered by Smithsonian Institution biologists working with the Natural History Unit from the BBC in the remote Southern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea in the Mount Bosavi Crater, an extinct volcano. The huge crater, measuring two and half miles wide and rimmed with walls nearly half a mile high, appear to have trapped these creatures inside the isolated crater’s rainforests and they possibly have never been seen by man before.
Saturday September 12
Stars Michael Chambers & Lucinda Dickey will appear IN PERSON, schedules permitting, to discuss the film!
New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
11:59pm, All Tickets $7
New Boris vinyl. Some of you are drooling at those words and others are heaving a sigh and moving on. The good news is that it's in the store now, stocked in quantity and cheap! The bad news is that there is no bad news unless you think the title Golden Dance Classics bodes ill, and for some of you it will. The A-side consists of two dance-perfect, disco/electronica trips courtesy of 9dw (the artist who initiated this release as a result of their fifteen year friendship with Boris) and the B-side: two new songs from Boris that check into a crossover grey area wherein some decidedly experimental compositions mix loose, simplified electro dance rhythms with Boris' signature guitar-bloodletting, wall of sound hugeness. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it --- I'm pleased to say I like it very much!
If you're afraid to try it, never fear, Boris will be releasing the first in a set of three sequential picture disc 7" records full of new "heavy" works on Southern Lord by month's end (the other two following in October and December) which ought to pack at least one fog-bomb tremblor for all the droners to nod off to (personally I cannot wait to hear the track "Heavy Metal Addict" slated to appear on the October release --- now that is a song I've been supporting 200% since I was thirteen years old). In the meantime, if you're into that pesky "allkindsamusic" genre, which is what happens to most folks who find themselves working in any branch of the music business for any length of time, you'll probably dig on this quirky split from Catune records.
Meanwhile, among the other 22 acts scheduled (two more than on the flyer) to perform at Amoebapalooza Hollywood tomorrow night are Ben Ricci, The Sonnets, The Zombie Zombies, and Flathead. Click here for more info on Amoebapalooza Hollywood 09.
Two of early cinema's greatest occult themed films will be shown at the New Bev tonight and tomorrow. Haxan and Day of Wrath are both beautifully shot and amazing time capsules. Haxan in particular is as eerie as cinema gets, with its stilted silent era pacing and primitive special effects. Cadaver ghouls, witches' orgies and images from the Compendium Maleficarum (discussed here in one of my very first blogs back in 2007) make for a very interesting travel through the history of Witchcraft through a 1920's lens. An early Halloween treat for sure!
Day Of Wrath
New Beverly Cinema
7165 West Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
September 11 & 12
Day Of Wrath (1943) Fri 7:30, Sat 3:40 & 7:30
Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages (1922) Fri 9:40, Sat 5:50 & 9:40
Our September / October calendar is now online at
Friday & Saturday September 11 & 12
Day Of Wrath
1943, Denmark, 110 minutes - Recently Restored Print!
dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer, starring Lisbeth Movin, Anna Svierkier, Harald Holst, Preben Lerdorff Rye
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:40 & 7:30
Astonishing in its artistically informed period re-creation as well as its hypnotic mise en scene, it challenges the viewer by suggesting at times that witchcraft isn't so much an illusion as an activity produced by intolerance. - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 09:11:09
1) Jay-Z The Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation/Atlantic)
2) Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Links Pt II (ICEAL)
3) Large Professor The LP (Red Line)
4) D. Black Ali'Yah (MYX)
5) Dr Dre The Chronic Re-Lit & From The Vaults (Wideawake/Death Row)
Amoeba SF Soul Pick of Week:
Not too surprisingly, the anticipated, brand new, star-studded Jay-Z album The Blueprint 3, (aka TB3), which originally was scheduled to come out last year, is this week's number one release on the new hip-hop chart at Amoeba Music. The album features a slew of guest collaborators, including Young Jeezy, Kanye West (in producer mode mainly), Rihanna, Drake, Kid Cudi, Mr Hudson, Swizz Beatz, Pharrell and Alicia Keys, and is the final release in the Blueprint trilogy that began exactly eight years ago on September 11th, 2001 -- the day the Twin Towers were attacked. In fact, that was why initially Jay-Z had scheduled the release of TB3 for today (Friday, September 11th), but then he changed his mind at the last minute, reverting to the typical Tuesday date release. The fifteen track TB3 is the artist's 11th studio album and his first on his own new label Roc Nation.
It’s September, which of course everybody knows is National Biscuit Month. But wait, what’s a biscuit without a little gravy? Probably dry and sawdust-like, unless you’ve lived a charmed life amongst bakers. Well, not only is it National Biscuit Month, but the second week in September is always observed -- and religiously so in some circles -- as National Biscuit & Gravy Week. So for the next few days, add a little flavor to that otherwise boring brick biscuit. This celebration is obviously not for the weak of heart; participants must of course be cleared by a cardiologist. But B&G week is more than permitting credence to an angio-edge life style, B&G week is here to help us remember good old fashion homemade fixins’. And since cooking at home has gone the way of indoor smoking, Betamax, pull tabs, floppy discs, and glaciers, take some time out in your marathon commuter mornings, hit the local diner, whether it’s a Denny’s or a faux-bohemian hipster dive or a Mom & Pop’s greasy spoon off the health department’s radar, sit down to a breakfast of hot biscuits & gravy, a cup of coffee, ignore your cell phone, leave the laptop in the trunk, and read an actual morning paper, and not a Weekly ... a real daily newspaper with real smudgy newsprint. And as long as you avoid the articles on American politics, you won’t regret the respite!
Well, 09.09.09 has come and gone, and we here at Amoeba San Francisco partied like it was 1964! Beatles Day was enthusiastic and joyful, as customers and employees came together to celebrate probably the most significant band the world has ever seen. If you missed out on the action, allow me to describe some of it for you!
Before the store opened, there was a line of customers waiting on baited breath to get their hands on the mono box set -- I sold the last copy at 11:30, so they went fast! The limited edition box set includes the first 10 Beatles album in their original mono glory, plus all their mono-mixed singles on a disc and many other special goodies. A customer and I had a conversation about how very different the mono mixes of Beatles songs and albums are, including different "oinks" on "Piggies!" Beatles die-hards say you haven't heard The Beatles yet if you haven't heard them in mono, since most of their records were originally mixed and released in mono! And those die-hards were finally satisfied yesterday, at last grabbing every Beatles album in mono in one giant swoop with the new box set.
DJs took to the Amoeba stage from 11am on, playing their own mixes of The Beatles music from the early years to the end, and including sets of covers, b-sides and solo career cuts. It's amazing that we could play only Beatles/Beatles-related music from 11am-6pm and cover so much territory -- considering The Beatles were only around and recording for less than 10 years, the amount and breadth of the music they created is mind-blowing.
In the 1950s, Britiain's teenagers were exposed to a lot more American culture than they were perhaps previously used to. Disparate strains of American culture including beatniks, teenage rebellion, rock 'n' roll and coffee all got mashed up in one slightly confused and frothy concoction. Leather-favoring motorcycle enthusiasts who embraced the scene were labeled coffee bar cowboys. F
or the aspiring juvenile delinquents and those just out for kicks, alcohol was suddenly the choice of squares and java joe was the way to go, dad! Soon, the English were brewing their own strain of rock 'n' roll in Soho "caffs" (most famously, The 2 i's). Of course, as with any proper youth movement, exploitation films inevitably followed.
The Tommy Steele Story (1957)
"He traveled the world listening to the musical heartbeat of people everywhere and he came home with his head and heart full of songs that captivate all who hear."
The Golden Disc (1958)
Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Yes, 9/09/09 was Beatles Day at Amoeba Hollywood, and fans lined up before opening to purchase the long-awaited stereo and the mono box sets (the mono sets sold out at 1pm), plus sundry standalone albums and other Beatles “stuff.” (It must have been the Bob Smeaton documentary that was included in the stereo set, right?) Beatles songs were played throughout the day in their upgraded forms (miraculous), and the atmosphere was festive from the time the store opened until late. It was like an actual holiday, a warm eggnog and feety-pajamas feeling...only with a guy who looked like John Lennon (circa his Lost Weekend era) staying for the duration, and a couple of employees dressed in Sgt. Pepper’s regalia.
Beginning at 1 o’clock, Amoeba’s own Daniel (of Mandala fame) took the microphone and hosted Beatles trivia on the hour until 4 o’clock. His accent swayed between Brummie and Sherman Oaks, but he definitely looked like one of the Lonely Hearts Club Band. He even sported a vintage mustache. A throng holding cardboard fans stood in eager anticipation to prove they knew Ringo’s middle name and that Paul is a birthpath 4 Gemini and that he’s the exact same height as Lolo Ferrari. This crowd could not be stumped—though Daniel tried his best. One of the questions he asked was “what is ‘you’ referring to in the song ‘Got to Get You Into My Life?’” This set off a torrent of people going “ooh-ohh-oh” with their arms stretching to heaven. The answer was, of course, Chong, from Cheech and Chong (or, the green leaves that made Chong Chong)! With each right answer, Elicia (drums) and Becca (sax), also in garb, played some fizzling dying thing as a show of triumph.
It was 20 years ago when The Beatles’ discography was first released on compact disc, and since then, they have been left untouched (with the exception of Let It Be…Naked). However, on 09.09.09, their albums have been re-released and remastered individually or in limited edition box sets available in both stereo and mono! All 3 Amoeba stores celebrated this with giveaways, DJs and the support of Beatlemaniacs!
The Berkeley Branch had its leaves shaking with the Fab 4’s music all day long. At 1pm, DJ JoNasty played favorite songs of the Liverpool quartet, as well as some of their solo work and covers by others. At 2pm, the giveaways began with MC Emily announcing each of the trivia questions, at the top of every hour.
At 4pm, DJ Ken Kubla took over the decks, playing songs that inspired The Beatles, ones they covered or people covering their material.
Here are the trivia questions:
1) Who was the original drummer for the Beatles?
2) Which songs have the word “walrus” in the lyrics?
3) How many times did [they] appear on the Ed Sullivan Show?
4) In which song has their one & only drum solo?
5) What was the working title for “Yesterday?"
6) Which Beatle met his future wife while filming A Hard Day’s Night? What was her name?
I can't believe it's time for another Jack Penate album already. This year has gone by so fast. I really fell in love with Jack Penate and his debut album from last year Matinee. It was one of those fun albums that just made me feel good when I listened to it. It was not my normal sort of album that I would become obsessed with, but I listened to it a lot and it really grew on me. It was one of those albums that most people didn't get around to listening to-- I feel like it was a bit forgotten among all the other releases from last year. I really recommend that you go back and discover it, or just listen to his new album Everything Is New. It is as good as the first album in many ways, but it also makes some improvements on that first record. It is for sure more produced and polished, so you may just end up liking the first record better, depending on you taste. The first record seemed more like a pub record -- an album you would listen to in your favorite pub or bar. But the new record is more of a club record; it is a bit more dancey than the first. I love them both, just for different reasons. They both serve their purpose and are both great albums on their own. I am a big fan of his voice and it is what keeps me coming back to these records. He is also a great songwriter. These are some catchy songs that will stay with you.
Here is a video for "Spit at Stars" from his first album Matinee...
and here is a video for "Be the One" from the new album Everything is New...
I know it’s officially Beatles Day across this great rock and roll landscape, but I can’t resist posting a couple of video’s from a great band from the 1970’s, 999, on this day -- 09-09-09. Named after the UK’s emergency telephone number, they were formed in London at the onset of the punk scene in 1977. 999 charted five Top 75 singles between 1978 and 1981, though only one made it to the Top 40; that track is the classic "Homicide" / "Soldier," released in October of 1978 on United Artist Records. Other great mad romps include "Nasty Nasty," "Found Out Too Late" and "Emergency." One early review complained they were “histrionic, the music embarrassingly simple, the instruments turned up to full volume and the production almost absent;” yeah, that sounds just about perfect in my book.
Everyone loves The Beatles, incuding radio DJ / comedian / televison writer Tom Scharpling, who has long favored Paul McCartney as his favorite of the Fab Four. Scharpling, who hosts the briilliant weekly WFMU 3 hour live radio program The Best Show on WFMU, considers McCartney's post Beatles, May 1971 release RAM (with wife Linda McCartney) to be one of the artists' finest works.
In fact, Scharpling was so into the album, which is often unfairly dismissed by critics, that he had the wonderful idea of producing a RAM covers tribute compilation, inviting his many musician friends to contribute to the project.The final product would be a special WFMU only release made out of love for McCartney, as well as for WFMU, as it helped raise funds (which it did very well) for the New Jersey radio station's annual fundraising pledge drive marathon earlier this year.
Renamed TOM, and with a cleverly altered cover, the new tribute RAM is a sincere track-by-track reinterpretation of the 38 year old release with such artists as Ted Leo, Death Cab for Cutie, Aimee Mann, Portastatic, Danielson, Dump (Yo La Tengo's James McNew), Spider Bags, Black Hollies, and Stones Throws' James Pants, all pitching in their time and talent to help out the popular radio host and the non-profit independent radio station.
I recently caught up with Tom Scharpling, whose show really is The Best Show on WFMU and one I never miss! It airs every Tuesday 8pm to 11pm EST on WFMU. I talked with him about the concept for the album, the artists' attitudes towards McCartney, and also his reaction to the similarly themed Ram on L.A. album that was released around the same time as his RAM tribute.
Amoeblog: How did you first get the idea to do this RAM themed compilation?
So, it's Beatles Day, big deal. No, really, it's a big deal! Think about it, what other band has earned their very own special day of celebration? That's right, no other band, because like it or not the Beatles are, have been and probably forever will be just that special. I cannot speak personally about any particular Beatles revelation in my early life, the best I can do being that in my formative years I remember reading interviews with guys from the bands I liked in magazines like Rip and Metal Edge where they'd always, always cite the Beatles as a major musical influence right along side bands like the New York Dolls, Deep Purple and Uriah Heap. I took note, but skipped the breakthrough introductory listen --- my excuse being that Mötley Crüe's version of "Helter Skelter" was enough Beatles for me.
It wasn't until the late 1990's that I finally got the message via Revolver. I listened to it repeatedly for, well, how do you measure time when you've got a new favorite record on repeat? I felt like I finally understood why that "Fab Four" band meant so much to so many and I liken the feeling to recognizing blind love for something after having lived so long in its shadow. I fell for them Beatles pretty hard, but I also kept it a secret. I mean, how would you break your fledgeling Beatles romance to a jaded herd of veteran music-retailer colleagues and still expect to be included in all their future reindeer games? My secret was safe, but one of my most precious Beatles moments was yet to come.
The Beatles On Record (excerpt 3)
Happy Beatles Day! Today, 9/9/09, is the much anticipated Beatles Day and Amoeba Music is celebrating the occasion in style with fun Fab Four related activities at each store all day today, and of course the newly remastered Beatles music is finally here. Beatles Day means that that digitally remastered Beatles catalog, which has been talked about for ages, is now available to buy at Amoeba Music.
The reissued, remastered Beatles catalog, which is worth getting for old and new Beatles fans alike, includes all of the Beatles CDs packaged with replicated UK album art, expanded booklets with original and newly written liner notes, rare photos and more good stuff. And note that at Amoeba you can get a free Beatles limited edition litho with your purchase today of two or more Beatles remastered CDs while supplies last.
But regardless of whatever you plan on buying Beatles-wise today, swing by Amoeba Music's Beatles Day celebration, which includes special Beatles DJ sets, trivia giveaways, Beatles look-alike contests, Beatles auction an more stuff. For more information on exact Beatles Day schedules at each store, scroll down or click here, and read the numerous recent Beatles 2009 Amoeblogs.
The structure pictured on the Virgin Prunes label above looks a lot like some of the carnage that our recent wildfires created. Below we have a couple of takes on the Capitol Records building.
An iconic studio and my favorite Beatles album. I remember first hearing Abbey Road when I was a child. It introduced me to music that stood apart from anything I had ever heard before. Beautiful melodies captured me, and every time my mother listened to it I wanted more. Playful and dramatic, it showed me how real feelings were connected with music. It helped me get through my piano lessons and escape to adventure town. I don't know how I would have connected to music if it wasn't for Abbey Road. I do know that it was an education for me. The lesson plan was to fall in love with music and decide that I wanted to be involved with it at every level. This is something that I feel I have achieved throughout my life.
R.E.M. just gave their song "You Are the Everything" -- which first appeared on the group's 1988 album Green (Warner) -- to MoveOn.Org to use as the soundtrack to the recently completed moving message video that tackles the stalemate that American health care reform currently finds itself in. The video, co-edited and compiled by Laura Dawn, is a slide show of average Americans who need health care or have family members and friends who need it but simply (like so many of us) cannot afford it under the current system.
Laura tells me that the video, which was made out of desperation to alert people to the seriousness of the need for adequate health care immediately, has a very straightforward message: "We can't afford to wait for real health care reform, that our friends and neighbors and fellow citizens should never have to get sick or die due to an inability to get health care--if you believe health care is a right and not a priviledge only for the wealthy." She added that the video includes "Thousands and thousands of MoveOn members submitting the pictures in this video," but due to the overwhelming response only a small percentage made the final cut. For more info on this issue click here.
Over their fortnight of filming, the director brothers captured Beatlemania as it rapidly took hold of America, thanks in great part to their appearance / performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, which reached 73 million television viewers (something that could never happen nowadays with the media pie cut up into so many more pieces).
New Electro/Techno 12"s Coming This Weekend:
VERTIGES EP 12"
"LENDEMAIN DE FETE" is a shaky tool, with deep atmoshperes and a nice flip mid-track to get lost in. Bleepy and trippy stuff. Sick arrangements on the b-side with killer snares and sounds that are weird and twisted. Not your run of the mill techno-tech house here.
White label 12" on the hipster club tip. Includes “SHOOT THE LAZER,” a raunchy club tune that jacks the opening to a certain animated movie classic, and “DAYLIGHT,” a bootie remix of the MATT AND KIM song by the same name. Rounding out the 12” is “STIR,” a minimal dancefloor tune with stuttering, drunken style vocal takes.
Big Pimp Jones BAD BAD JIMMY RUCKUS LP FSRLP058
Various REGROOVED SERIES 9 12" GG18
Bent ALWAYS 2009 REMIXES 12" GAE010
Coldplay LIFE IN TECHNICOLOR-JTV RMX 12" LITJTV1
Dr. Stereo HEAR THE DIFFERENCE 7" JTP019
Florence Trapp LOVE CAME INTO MY LIFE 7" SOUL7009
Jahcoozi NAMEDROPPER 12" BB3
Keisa Brown DANCE MAN 7" JM071
New Mastersounds SAN FRANTICO 7" ONR7006
Pilocka Krach DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR 12" STD102
"Please conjure sheets of paper to come floating out of the laundry basket below"
The author, circa 1996
I have recently come into possession of my adolescent photo collection. There was, for a period of about five years, a time when I owned a fetching Ricoh camera which had been given to me by a rad woman whom I lived with on a mountaintop commune on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. She used to regale me with stories from her years as a hot-shot publicist, and explained to me which lines from David Bowie’s “Drive-in Saturday” had been written about her by the Thin White Duke.
Were these claims true? Who knows. But it did distract me from the profound and crippling nervous breakdown I was experiencing at the time, fuelled in part by excessive use of ecstasy as a means of spiritual enlightenment and by living with my then step-father who made such helpful suggestions as, “Maybe you have alien implants in your brain.”
“Oh, yes. Well thank you for that.”
I thought it might be fun to dip into the box and see what musical and/or cinematic associations they bring. Kind of reconsider my colorful past in terms of stuff you could purchase at Amoeba Music. For I am a salesman, ladies and gentlemen.
This month the New Beverly has put together a couple of impeccable noir nights for September. First up is a Sam Fuller pairing, The Crimson Kimono & Underworld U.S.A. Kimono features great Little Tokyo location shots as well as the trailblazing James Shigeta. His Detective Kojaku character is a true rarity-- an Asian American hero / romantic lead character played by an Asian American!! The following week the New Bev is showing an atomic scare double, featuring the infamous KIss Me Deadly as well as the little known gem City of Fear. KIss Me Deadly is absolute must see; it stars the totally underrated Ralph Meeker in a Mike Hammer role that puts all other attempts to shame. Amazing bachelor pad gagetry & awesome location shots keep the bizarre plot moving at a great pace. City of Fear is yet another Vince Edwards masterpiece featuring more LA location shots, Cobalt, shoe stores and a whole lot of sweat...
As the Mexican gardener Emmanuel, Ringo goes toe-to-toe with Richard Burton in Terry Southern and Buck Henry's free love revision of Voltaire's Candide (based on Mason Hoffenberg's novel)
Magic Christian (1969)
Ringo's second Southern collaboration, an adaptation of the latter's novel of the same name. In this scene, Ringo can be seen with Sellers and a young John Cleese.
200 Motels (1971)
Like silent films, old time radio, male grooming and slide shows, the text-based game is a largely dead art form. Like the other examples, it's uniquely enjoyable and was snuffed out by its flashier, less imaginative offspring in the pursuit of realism and technology. (Don't get me wrong, I think GUIs are la mamá de Tarzán and I even crossed the security line at Xerox PARC on a nerd's tour of historic Silicon Valley to drink from the fountain where the Xerox Alto was born back in 1973.) But the quiet pleasures of text games are enjoyable in their own right and with a whole generation almost incapable of communicating through any means except texting, the text game seems ripe for a comeback.
Instead of using graphics, text-based games use prose to tell the story. Players type specific commands to such as "go north" to play. A lot of the fun (and frustration) comes from having to type them precisely. For example, if you type "omg go north lol!!!," the computer will reply, "You used the word north in a way I don't understand." It may be frustrating at first to not punctuate every command with "lol," but once you get the hang of it, you'll find text games can be highly addictive. Besides, frustration puts hair on your chest.
“Beatles Or Stones?” I’m one of those people who is definitely more Rolling Stones than Beatles. That’s not to say there aren’t Fab Four songs or albums I enjoy or even adore (White Album!), but The Stones suit my tastes and aesthetic preferences in music and art much more. The Stones have a classically debaucherous mythos attached to them and their vibe was always darker, nastier and convincingly Satanic compared to their Liverpool rivals. True: The Beatles certainly had their more nefarious moments (“Helter Skelter,” “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” The Butcher Cover and Aleister Crowley's appeance on the Sgt, Peppers' album sleeve), but I’m definitely more “Paint It Black” than “Good Day Sunshine.”
However, some people still believe The Beatles held the keys to the infernal gates of Hell. Certainly several of my teenage Goth-Pop icons saw a dark thread in the Beatles' work (or maybe it was just their genius for unforgettable melodies – those do help bands cross-over!) Siouxsie Sioux’s devotion to the Fab Four turned out two great covers; first, an incendiary and punked-out “Helter Skelter” on the Banshees’ 1978 debut Scream:
All those conspiracy theories about how we never actually went to the moon, how NASA along with the Defense Intelligence Agency staged everything on a huge soundstage in the Nevada desert and how the three astronauts were actually just in Las Vegas boozing it up and living large while undergoing ‘guilt therapy’ lessons to lie better and feel good about lying better and how this entire madcap moon adventure was a 30 billion dollar swindle to defraud the world and convince everyone, especially the Russians, that we kick ass, just may have gotten a bit of a boost.
1) Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. (Interscope)
2) Slaughterhouse self-titled (E1 Entertainment)
3) Mos Def Ecstatic (Downtown)
4) Dudley Perkins Holy Smokes (1 AM APPROACH)
5) Mr Capone-E Diary of a G (Hi Power Entertainment / KOCH)
At the Amoeba Music Hollywood store this week many of the same best sellers from the past several weeks are still holding strong in the sales charts, with the Black Eyed Peas' latest The E.N.D. locking down the number one position. Meanwhile, up north in the San Francisco Amoeba Music store, Luis reports that among the new local Bay Area releases to arrive on Amoeba SF's shelves this week include Lyrics Born's Variety Show Vol 4 on Mobile Home Recordings, whose 22 tracks include guest spots from such fellow Quannum acts as Lateef the Truthspeaker,The Gift of Gab, and Joyo Velarde. Also just arriving into Amoeba SF this week is The Grouch/Instant Messengers affiliated hometown emcee Alexander Spit, whose new full-length CD Open 24 Hours is sponsored by the hip-hop clothing company The Hundreds.
Our September / October calendar is now online at
Friday & Saturday September 4 & 5
Tribute To John Hughes
Friday night special in person guests include actor Jeffrey Jones and actresses Edie McClurg & Cindy Pickett
Saturday night special in person guests include actors Jeffrey Jones & Lyman Ward, actresses Edie McClurg & Cindy Pickett, producer Tom Jacobson & editor Paul Hirsch
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
1986, USA, 103 minutes - Beautiful Archive Print
written & directed by John Hughes, starring Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey, Cindy Pickett, Lyman Ward, Edie McClurg, Ben Stein
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:30 & 7:30, Watch The Trailer!
It’s been awhile since I last wrote about George Vlosich III, one of the most unique artists working today. The medium he works in, more often than not is the Etch A Sketch. And yes, it's the same plastic, red-framed Etch A Sketch kids everywhere play with for a while before cracking it open to see how the hell it works.
"The Grey Video" (Danger Mouse "Encore" Beatles meets Jay-Z)
That's why it was such in 2007 when Wu-Tang Clan announced that they had secured the first fully legit sample of the Beatles' music. They reportedly got granted permission to sample the White Album's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" for the Wu-Tang album 8 Diagrams. As it turned out, it wasn't technically a Beatles sample clearance, but rather the go-ahead to replay the George Harrison penned Beatles tune with none other than George's own son Dhani Harrison (reportedly a major Wu-Tang Clan fan) playing the guitar bit on the track that also featured guest vocalist Erykah Badu.
Of course, The Beatles' music has been sampled many times in hip-hop (without permission) over the years, most famously on Danger Mouse's career-launching, incredibly popular (albeit totally illegal) 2004 release The Grey Album, where he liberally sampled the entire Beatles' White Album in a masterpiece mash-up that is beautifully blended with Jay-Z's The Black Album. The fact that it was an illegal recording didn't stop people from hearing it either. The album, which was sold as a bootleg, was traded and given away in CD format and downloaded for free, thus making its way to countless iPods and music collections.
When I was a child, I was also particularly sensitive to teeth and their appearance. Chipping my teeth was up there as one of my worst fears for myself, and I'd often (for no real reason) vividly imagine the feeling of the moment of impact as my tooth hit something and broke (crazy, I know). It's still up there as far as things I'd like to avoid, to tell the truth...
Anyway, back then I was also an avid, constant viewer of the documentary The Compleat Beatles, in which clips of the videos for "Rain" and "Paperback Writer" are shown.
Seem like great videos, right? Cutting edge for 1966 too! But did you notice a little something amiss??
Imagine my trauma when watching these videos as a kid: My hero, Paul McCartney showed up missing a sizeable chunk of his front left tooth! It was awful. I had seen footage of him beyond the year 1966 and knew it had been fixed somewhere down the line, but I was gripped by curiosity and the need to know what had caused this most famous man to lose a good bit of his tooth in the heightened midst of his fame! It kept me up nights in my young life! I was about 8 years old (and the internet was a long ways off).
Everyone loves The Beatles and if there is still someone unmoved by the Fab Four, he or she soon will be once they get their hands on The Beatles: Rock Band video game, which is being released exactly a week from today on the easy to remember date of 9/9/09. That date also happens to be the same day that the much anticipated remastered Beatles catalog on CD arrives in Amoeba Music. Not only will gamers of all ages take to this game, especially those who are already fans of Rock Band or Guitar Hero, but most likely people who have never played a video game in their lives will start now with The Beatles: Rock Band.
The game comes complete with 45 instantly recognizable Beatles songs, including "Get Back," "Day Tripper," "I Want To Hold Your Hand," and "Back in the USSR." The game's scenes and settings include playing in the Cavern Club and at Shea Stadium! This game will convert young kids to the music of the Beatles and older Beatles fans to the world of gaming; overall, even further broadening the fanbase of the Fab Four.
DISORDER, FINAL TRIUMPHS, AND DISSOLUTION
In the late summer of 1967, at the behest of George Harrison, The Beatles traveled to Bangor, Wales, for a retreat sponsored by the Spiritual Regeneration Movement, an organization founded by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an India-born self-styled guru and teacher of the spiritual discipline of transcendental meditation. It was there, on Aug. 27, that the musicians received a phone call from London: Brian Epstein – who had grown increasingly uncertain about The Beatles’ future and unhappy in his closeted gay lifestyle -- had died, at the age of 32, from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills mixed with alcohol.
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 September 5
Ron Silver &
Barbara Hershey in
New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
11:59pm, All Tickets $7
September 12 Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo
If you can't beat the system...break it! 25th Anniversary!
September 19 TRUCKATHON
5 Film All Day Event! Admission is only $10 for the long haul
C.B. Hustlers (1978) 4:15
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Sub Pop Records, the legendary Seattle based record label first made famous back in the late eighties/early nineties for putting anti-fashion "grunge" acts on the music map, recently teamed up with Nike to launch the slick looking and pricey Sub Pop sneaker line: the Nike SB Blazer Elite Quickstrike -- Sub Pop Records. This high (street) fashion item is available on sites such as Sneaker.com, where the new Nike/Sub Pop collaborative design is described as "a new quickstrike SB. The shoe was made to go along with the Sub Pop Single Club 3.0’s first release “Gebel Barkal” b/w “(Version)” from the band OM. The record label is most known for first signing Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney and many other bands. This is a great shoe for any SB or record collector. This is 100% deadstock and considered pure heat!"
The site Kicks On Fire describes the new line this way: "This pair of Quickstrikes sport a combination suede / leather construction in a green, yellow, and grey color scheme. Other features include white and black accents, as well as a star on the ankle." And the cost for a pair of these puppies? Anywhere from $140 to $180 + tax depending on where you purchase them, except if you buy them directly from Sub Pop you can get them for the considerably lower price of $90 a pair. Buy the cheaper priced ones directly from the record label by clickng here. But as the hard-working Sub-Popper Teal Garrels informs me they have less than 300 pairs to offer for sale and that they come in US men's sizes 6 through 13. Teal adds his description on the street fashion footwear as such, "The shoes have their own catalogue number (SP780) which is proudly displayed on the back of the heel. The Singles Club logo (including July 2009- Limited Edition) graces the inside of the tongue while the Sub Pop logo can be found on the front as well as on the insole of the high top sneaker."