Forget MySpace and check out MyFace, or, rather, the art that gifted face paint artist/illusionist James Kuhn does, displayed on both his Flickr page and his Face Paint In Motion YouTube channel. The self-described "Artist, Face paint illusionist, Drag Queen, Performance Artist, and full time Christian" has been uploading videos of his face paint art, such as the Rocky Horror "Sweet Transvestite" themed clip above which he posted two days ago, or the brilliant Golden Girls clip (below) that he produced and uploaded six months ago.
Ever the perfectionist, Kuhn said of the Golden Girls piece at the time, "I planned on painting Sophia on my forehead! but ran out of room... I need a bigger head! I am not too happy with this one, I should have searched for better pics to use as my models. The ones I pulled up were too small and Bea was in black and white. I should not try such a big project on a weeknight! Better for Saturdays when I can play all day long and am usually more rested. I gotta get some new glasses too."
On the Three Oaks, Michigan artist's YouTube channel, which is subtitled BibleArtWork, Kuhn has an impressive 234 different videos of various face paint illusions uploaded, usually with a cool accompanying soundtrack, ranging from Bettie Page Pin Up Girl to Miss Piggy & Kermit to Dracula and many, many more.
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 10:30:09
1) Jay-Z Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation/Atlantic)
2) Fashawn Boy Meets World (Loud)
3) Sean Price Kimbo Price (Vision Mktg)
4) Del the Funky Homosapien & Tame One Parallel Uni-Verses (Gold Dust Media)
5) Sene & Blu A Day Late & A Dollar Short (Shaman Work)
Clearly Jay-Z is the king of the world, or at least of hip-hop right now. Not only is the phenomenally successful and popular artist number one (still) on the Amoeba Music chart with Blueprint 3, an album that came out almost two full months ago, and one that is doing equally well elsewhere, but last night Jay-Z along with Alicia Keys wowed the baseball world with a moving four minute performance of "Empire State Of Mind" (video above) during the World Series at Yankee Stadium. As a diehard, decades long fan & supporter of hip-hop music and culture from back when the genre was still being dismissed as a "passing fad," I found last night's well received performance another wonderful bit of validation and endorsement of a music form that I love and respect so much. In fact, so moving was last night's performance that it no doubt inspired the Yankees achieve their 3-1 win against the Phillies, which puts them at a tie, in this second game of the Series, which shifts to Philadelphia over the next three games, starting tomorrow, Saturday.
by Aneraé "X-Raided" Brown
I am entering my fourteenth year of imprisonment in the California Department of Corrections and (so-called) Rehabilitation. The entire time, I have written songs for myself and others, as well as short stories and essays, and even a column for Murder Dog magazine and a blog on my MySpace page. The thing that stands out in my mind, in terms of what it's like trying to be creative in this environment, is that the opportunity to do so just may be more available than in other settings. There can be a lot of solitude and isolation in prison, and for someone who knows how to utilize the lack of distractions it can be fertile ground for creativity.
I once joked to a friend that when Moses needed to think, he went up Mount Sinai and came back down with the Ten Commandments. Jesus went out to the desert and was tempted, then returned stronger. When Muhammad was stressed from the things he was seeing in his environment, he went into a cave where the Qur'an was revealed to him. All of them received their messages or strength at a time of trial and difficulty in their lives and the common denominator is that they had solitude with which to better hear the voice when it spoke to them. I joked to my friend, maybe we can utilize our solitude in order to better hear the voice as well. The voice of creativity, that is. It's all the same. All ideas come from somewhere. How do we explain that an idea just pops into our heads out of the blue?
At this past weekend's WFMU Record Fair in Manhattan I ran into Josh Wright, who along with Matt Sullivan co-owns the amazing Light In The Attic Records (LITA). The music fanatical duo had trekked out from their Seattle base to set up a table to sell some of the latest releases from LITA's impressive catalog (lots of lovely vinyl) and also to give away cool freebie sample CDs.
Scroll down to see the Amoeblog interview with Josh in which he talks about some of the new and upcoming releases from the unique label known for its lovingly compiled catalog of reissues of forgotten music by such greats as Rodriguez, funk goddess Betty Davis (above), and pop-psych outfit The Free Design. LITA were featured on the Amoeblog back in May of this year when they undertook their West Coast Road Trip that included stops at Amoeba. The label also releases new music from contemporary acts, including an EP and LP from the Seattle/Tacoma pop/rock/rap outfit The Saturday Knights', Mingle, that featured the great opening track and single "45" (see video below). Another contemporary act on LITA is Austin, Texas psychedelic rock group The Black Angels.
As Josh mentioned in the Amoeblog video interview below, some of the exciting new releases include the aforementioned Betty Davis and the Black Angels, seventies reggae artist Noel Ellis, keyboard/xylophone artist Emil Viklicky, 60's/70's Czech female vocalist Marta Kubisova, and the various artists release Reggae to Toronto: Soul Funk & Reggae: 1967 - 1974.
1.5 yrs employment
MIss Ess: What was the moment you really got into music? What were you listening to? Where were you?
Tarin: The first music memory I have was when I was in a car set in the back of my parents baby blue late 80s Mazda. I remember trying to slap my hands on my knees to the beat of the music, and most likely we were listening to Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, or The Beatles… possibly even The Judds. Those were the tapes that always seemed to be in the car when I was little. Once I figured out how to be on rhythm to a beat there was no stopping me, no one could get me to stop singing or dancing. My toes have been tapping pretty much my entire life.
Miss Ess: Whose posters did you have on your walls when you were growing up?
Tarin: I had so many posters on my walls growing up I don’t even know if I could name them all. But from what I remember; Beatles, Dave Matthews Band, Black Sabbath, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Hanson (I thought Zak was such a hunk!... I was also 11), typical teen dream pics, and various years of Monterey Jazz Festival posters.
Miss Ess: What brought you to Amoeba?
Tarin: I was living in LA, going to Musicians Institute and I kept hearing about this magical place where you could find anything you wanted. And even though it was only about 6 blocks from where I was living, it took me a year and a half to finally make it in. When I walked in the first time I felt so overwhelmed and so excited I thought I was at an amusement park… but for music. I ended up spending 4 hours and way too much money but I was instantly in love.
Karen Conterio, founder of the in-patient "A Safe Alternative Program for the Treatment of Self-Injury" at University Hospital in Chicago, describes the average self-mutilator as intelligent and sensitive. She has low self-esteem, comes from a middle- to upper-class economic background, and began injuring herself as a preteen. Her parents are generally high-achievers who have trouble effectively communicating their feelings and often neglect their daughter's needs. -- Teen Magazine
My body is a journal in a way. It's like what sailors used to do, where every tattoo meant something, a specific time in your life when you make a mark on yourself, whether you do it yourself with a knife or with a professional tattoo artist. -- Johnny "not the face" Depp
When it comes to dealing with depersonalization disorders, David Cronenberg was ahead of the curve. He's the undisputed master of the Cartesian horror film, where the self is never wholly integrated with the body. Even his recent crime film, Eastern Promises, shows such a detachment where the Russian mob doesn't trust memory, relying instead on tattoos to signify their identity. Unfortunately for them, anyone with money can get a tattoo, Megan Fox, suburban mall punks, or an undercover cop. Therein lies the problem with trusting the body: it's too easily manipulated and controlled by external forces. As any self-flagellating monk could tell you, the surest way to sin is in reducing self to the earthly constraints of body, the locus of empty spectacle.
The bi-monthly Wax Poetics may only be up to issue number 37, but ever since it first arrived earlier this decade Wax Poetics has fast become one of the most revered music magazines out there. Everything about this magazine, from its top-notch writing and photography to its quality layout on nice glossy paper, makes it instantly clear that Wax Poetics is made out of a true love and passion for the music it reports on -- soul, funk, jazz, and of course, hip-hop from the past several decades as well as in depth reporting on select current music. Wax Poetics is the sort of magazine that never makes its way into the recycling bin like most publications do after they have been read. Instead, the 7" by 10" publication is lovingly placed forever on bookshelves alongside music books like Jeff Chang's Can't Stop Won't Stop or the Ego Trip Book Of Rap Lists; books that take a similarly respectful approach to their subject matter. And in addition to the magazine, Wax Poetics also runs a record label. The label's latest release was the accompanying soundtrack to the very recently released Black Dynamite -- the new spoof blaxploitation movie that was made to look like it was done in the 70's and is described by its producers as such: "African-American action legend Black Dynamite goes after 'The Man' for killing his brother Jimmy, for pumping heroin into local orphanages and for flooding the ghetto with hopped-up malt liquor."
I've been attending the amazing WFMU Record Fair for the past four years, ever since I joined the unique freeform New Jersey radio station, and the one thing that is a given at this popular annual event is that you will always spot a ton of Amoeba bags floating around the weekend long event. This should not be too surprising, considering that both the WFMU Record Fair and Amoeba Music attract the same sort of person -- one who is extremely passionate about his/her music, and music collecting. With hundreds of thousands of records and CDs (plus tons more stuff) being sold by over a hundred vendors at the expansive Metropolitan Pavilion venue in the Chelsea district of New York CIty, the three day WFMU Record Fair attracts people from all over the States and overseas who will travel to New York City just to attend this event. Many of these same folks will travel all the way to LA or the Bay to shop at Amoeba.
This time last year I reported here on the Amoeblog about the 2008 WFMU Record Fair, where Amoeba logo wearing music collecting fanatics included Nakajima, who had flown all the way to New York City from Japan specifically for the WFMU event. And at this year's event (Oct 23, 24, 25), which was "a success" according to WFMU Station Manager Ken Freedman, the instantly recognizable black record 100% cotton tote bags with the bright yellow & red Amoeba Music logos and store of origin's name were sighted all over the place.
I, for one, am very excited about this particular double feature; both films feature roles that are amongst Robert Mitchum's finest and most intense. Night Of The Hunter took me a while to warm up to, as it carries such a massive reputation that I was a bit let down upon first viewing. A couple years later I caught it on late night TV and wondered what kind of funk I must have been in the first time. The film is a true oddity and quite beautifully directed by Charles Laughton. The original version of Cape Fear is pretty gripping from the get go and I'm sure that the swamp scenes will look gorgeous on the Egyptian's huge screen. Gregory Peck gives a great performance as the tortured father and the adaptation of John D. MacDonald's novel The Executioners is none too shabby. I'd say that no one does justice to the inherent menace of the swamplands like MacDonald. Also, author Preston Neal Jones will be on hand signing his book Heaven and Hell to Play With: The Filming of Night of the Hunter.
Night Of The Hunter / Cape Fear
6712 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028-4605
Cape Fear trailer
Night Of The Hunter boat scene
Greetings from New York, New York! CMJ kicked off at the beginning of this week and NY became a mammoth showcase for new music. I love autumn in New York -- it's ridiculously beautiful. Walking is of course the greatest pastime while in the city. The weather was nice, so nice, for the first couple nights, which made it easy to get around and still look half way put together by the time you got to your final destination.
Unfortunately, by Friday night, it was cloudy with a chance of matzo balls, which meant an extra change of clothes was imperative. Luckily, it was short lived. OMG, there was so much going on. I was overwhelmed with work, with a lot on my plate, and didn’t get to see nearly as many acts as I would have liked to, but I made notes of the little I was able to soak in.
Green Label Sound hosted a party sponsored by Cornerstone at The Brooklyn Bowl with Chromeo, Thelophilus London, Amazing Baby and Solid Gold that was off the chain. DFA's Holy Ghost provided a dj set. This new bowling/concert venue is ginormous, 1,000 capacity at least, and it was packed wall to wall. An eclectic mix of industry folk, unbigoted music-minded individuals, people dressed like hipsters, aspiring and established artists roamed the joint. The night's festivities lasted well into the night, but time just seemed to fly by. I enjoyed great food, had a couple rounds on the lanes with friends, enjoyed the live acts in a concert setting, and danced till I broke a sweat all under one roof. If you get the chance to go check out this spot, do, and order the cajun catfish, it's scrumptious!
A common refrain in horror film criticism since the 70s has been that the genre makes us confront the faults in the architecture of reason. This critique usually goes by the name of postmodernism and its big bugaboo by the name of the Cartesianism. René Descartes had some difficulty reconciling how all the immaterial, mental stuff was able to effect changes in all the meaty stuff we call physical, creating the primary Cartesian dichotomy called mind-body dualism. No one's figured a way out of that mess yet, but who cares since we're talking about horror movies. The important point is that Descartes tended to privilege reason over all that biological machinery, so he gets the blame for all the scientistic / instrumentalist / phallocentric / logocentric / patriarchal domination that has supposedly developed since the 17th Century. (I remain skeptical of this demonization of the Rationalists for the simple reason that I'd prefer to live after the Enlightenment than before it.)
Imagine having your own Michael Des Barres or Stevie Wonder mask for Halloween this year! You have to click on the images to see the masks on couple of these covers, but it's worth the effort...
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 October 24
Conan The Destroyer
Beautiful 35mm archive print from Universal!
New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Midnight, All Tickets $7
October 31 A Demonic Triple Feature!
Special Halloween Show! All Tickets $10
Night of the Demons (1988) 7:30pm
Director Kevin Tenney IN PERSON! Angela is having a party, Jason and Freddy are too scared to come. But You'll have a hell of a time.
Demons (1985) 9:30pm
They will make cemeteries their cathedrals & the cities will be your tombs.
1) Fashawn Boy Meets World (Loud)
2) Jay Z Blueprint 3 Roc Nation/Atlantic
3) Royce Da 5'9' Street Hop (Mic One/TVT)
4) Cormega Born And Raised (Traffic Ent.)
5) Drake So Far Gone (Cash Money)
5) Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Pt. 2 (ICEAL)
In the number one hip-hop sales slot at the Hollywood Amoeba Music this week is the brand new, rightfully anticiapted album from West Coast newcomer Fashawn, who both released his debut album, Boy Meets World, and turned 21 this week. Congrats to him on both accomplishments. Fashawn is a Fresno, California emcee, whose album is produced entirely by Exile (of Blu & Exile) and who already has about seven mixtapes to his name. He may be young, but he is deservedly getting major props from critics, fans and bloggers, who have all been anxiously awaiting this debut. Some are even going so far as to say that with this release Fashawn willl help rescue West Coast rap and put it back on top again. With a flow that has a distinctive nod to some of rap's best bygone years, the album's fifteen tracks include such standouts as "Our Way," featuring a guest spot by Evidence; “Samsonite Man;” "Bo Jackson," featuring producer Exile on the mic as well as behind the mixing board; and "Sunny CA," featuring Coss & Mistah Fab. The video for "Sunny CA" is below.
Soupy Sales has died. After some 25,000 pies to the face and more than 5,000 live TV appearances over the past six decades, the comedian, actor, kids show host, author and raconteur passed away at 9:51pm, Thursday at Calvary Hospice in the Bronx, New York. Sales had been having health problems and entered the hospice last week. He was 83.
This edition of the neighborhood blog is about The Arts District... or The Artist District... or is it The Artist-In-Residence District... or perhaps The Artists' District? This, and other issues, will be sorted out by blog's end to everyone's satisfaction.
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of the Arts District
To vote for another Los Angeles neighborhood to be the subject of a neighborhood blog, go here. To vote for one of the communities in Los Angeles County other than in Los Angeles, go here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.
William Wolfskill La Grande Station
One of the greatest cultural tragedies in the history of Bay Area music is the way an entire musical scene or movement was literally wiped out, and all ironically in the name of "development" and "progress." The music was the blues and the (once very vibrant) place was West Oakland, in the area on and surrounding 7th Street. Now simply known as the area where the main Oakland Post Office and the West Oakland BART station, along with its overhead tracks and its extended parking lot sit, this was once ground zero for the blues on the West Coast. But tragically, from the 1960's into the 1970's "developers" bought out and displaced nearly all of the clubs, venues and homes to build the BART and the area's vibrant music scene was put to sleep forever. Above is the Amoeblog interview with longtime Oakland resident and blues and r&b fan Buck on this tragic topic, that at its core was a function of racism in that it displaced a minority community who at the time had little political power to help fight to save their cultural scene.
A little reported on part of Bay Area history, one of the few places that you can read about the death of the blues in Oakland is in Ishmael Reed's recommended Blues City publication from five years ago in the Crown Journey published series where authors walk their city and report on its streets and inhabitants, weaving in its history en route. Toward the end of Reed's wonderful book he encounters Ronnie Stewart of the Bay Area Blues Society and allows him to vent and educate on this tragic slice of Bay Area history. Among the many nuggets of history emparted by Stewart, "Seventh Street between Wood and Center Streets, Pine Street, Henry Street, and Campbell Street were full of blues. You had the Reno Club and Miss Essie's Place, a very popular club on Wood and Seventh Streets. Essie had hamburgers and a jukebox and every now and then she'd put a band in there. They had black and white clubs, segregated, but lined up one next to the other. Then they had Pearl Harbor Liquor, which had a jukebox. See, back in those days, there was a whole culture of jukeboxes. They played nothing but blues. One outstanding musician was Saunders King. He played guitar, and he was raised on Seventh Street. He had his first hit back in 1942 and his daughter Deborah [was married to Carlos Santana for 34 years]. He was extremely important in the development of the Oakland blues; the reason the Oakland scene was so popular was because [of] people like Saunders King and Bob Geddins [a songwriter, producer, and arranger]. Geddins owned three or four record labels and was the first African-American to own one. He owned Big Town Records and Uptown Records. He recorded Jimmy McCracklin, Johnny Hartsman, Lowell Fulson, Roy Hawkins. He even recorded 'The Thrill Is Gone' but Modern Records ripped him off for that. It ended up being the biggest hit of B.B. King's career. That came out of Oakland in 1949."
After Todd's recent LA performance we've been anticipating the release of his third studio album, and it was well worth the wait...
Forms is perhaps the most complex and mature album to date from Berlin producer and DJ Todd Bodine. As a DJ playing around the world and as a producer in the highest ranks of consistency, Todd Bodine has constantly developed as an artist. Releases and remixes on respected labels, and collaborations with various artists have made him an internationally popular electronic musician. In 2007, he finally began to perform as a live act, and, as Todd shows with Forms, his innate knowledge of the two sides of electronic dance music has only exponentially increased. This is a meeting of peak-time euphoria with the relaxing bliss of the hazy morning light. A meeting of hypnotic natural rhythms and driving, cut-up sounds. Todd can impress you with dancefloor bombs and also with his sophisticated sound visions. The sound of Detroit would probably be the best comparison. All of the tracks are cleverly designed to work without being overly intellectual. Everything flows and is filled with a subtle density of character that is well-known to those familiar with Todd Bodine. This album speaks its own language -- a rare and unique form of communication that very few other producers are able to replicate. Minimal tech-house at its most severely pumping and addictive.
Ay Ay Ay
This is Matias Aguayo's second full-length for Kompakt. Chilean born, German raised Matias Aguayo is one of those rare talents you come across that genuinely works in music for the sake of loving music. Kompakt's long love affair with Matias Aguayo runs all the way back to his first official act (together with Dirk Leyers) as Closer Musik back in 2000. Though short lived, their releases were foundation builders for the label and still stand as relevant as the day the songs were recorded. Following their demise, Matias felt the urge to abandon the rules that he felt techno imposed on him and moved toward a more organic approach to making music. His first foray into this would be with his 2005 debut solo album Are You Really Lost (KOM 044CD). Matias returned to Kompakt in 2008 with 2 12" bombs -- the club anthems "Minimal" and "Walter Neff." Feeling refreshed and inspired from travelling throughout Latin America, Aguayo was back to end the cycle of boredom that was permeating dance music! That brings us to his sophomore full length Ay Ay Ay. Recorded in Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile and Paris together with Vicente Sanfuentes (Original Hamster), Matias has conjured an impossibly unclassifiable full-length that is certain to surprise and elate anyone that should come across this true breakthrough of a recording. Take opener "Menta Latte" -- countless layers of his voice revel in a psychedelic dream park together with a simple xylophone chord. The chorus of Matias' unpretentious first single "Rollerskate" is damned to stay on auto repeat in your head for days. His leanings to traditional African music resonate with the beautiful crooner "Koro Koro." Fans of his recent singles will rejoice to the rhythm of songs "Me Vuelvo Loca" and "Juanita" -- Latin harmonies embraced with Matias coaxing you to get up and dance. To call Ay Ay Ay ambitious would be an understatement -- Matias Aguayo has managed to come up with a recording that is undeniably all his own and a landmark release for Kompakt.
I hate to admit a commercial's had an affect on me, but "suddenly" I find myself in the mood to listen to some Cat Stevens. The fact that something that's blatantly created merely to sell something to me is backed by a song by one of the more anti-capitalism, anti-authority, anti-everything artists ever to play music is quite twisted. The irony is not lost on me, nor any of Cat's fans I am sure.
Nonetheless, so many of my earliest memories are of listening to his music on the record player at my childhood home or on long car trips with my family. It provides a feeling of comfort to me. He's one of the artists whose impact is indelibly carved into my psyche; my connection to his music was formed practically in the womb. Maybe it sounds weird to say, but his songs effected me deeply and taught me some important things about how to both contemplate and live life even in a time before I'd either lived much or had much to contemplate. They also taught me about what great music can have at its best: integrity, melody, message, rhythm, compassion.
Later in life I reached for Cat right after September 11, I remember. It's funny, the universality of the lyrics is as interesting to me as it ever was, even when I was a small child considering, "If I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south..." Quite a shocking thought to a kid! He's very much the talented, if a bit overly serious, song writer. Not that we've all forgotten this, it's just sometimes maybe a "reminder" in the form of a horrid bit of merchandising is at least good for something anyway...Even though it feels sorta shameful all around, the music still stands.
Last night fellow Bay Area to New York transplant & former KALX DJ Pal 58 and I were pleasantly surprised attending the Future is Frank Frank Radio CMJ Music Marathon showcase at Southpaw in Brooklyn. We caught an unannounced set by the original line up of legendary hip-hop crew Brand Nubian! Original member Grand Puba was announced in advance as one of the night's performers, along with an already impressive line-up that included Wu-Tang's U-God, Wiz Khalifa, and DJ/MC Jasmine Solano. Another surprise last minute performer was Baltimore's Spank Rock. But it was New Rochelle, NY hip-hop legends Brand Nubian -- rounded out by the other two original members Sadat X and Lord Jamar -- who stole the show with a set that included many of their hits and was nicely wrapped up with Grand Puba stopping to make a wonderful heartfelt speech about how much hip-hop means to him, and has always meant to him. He warned the audience to not become complacent now that Barack Obama is in office. The struggle, especially for African Americans, is still very much alive and well, he stressed. He also noted how hip-hop music has always been a vehicle for inspiring positve change in his community, rather than merely a tool to acquire fame and riches. Refreshing stuff to hear and witness during this annual New York music conference overflowing with acts, generally speaking, whose hunger for fame far outweighs anything else.
Brand Nubian arrived during hip-hop's so-called "golden age" (late 80's/early 90's) and pretty much personified that oft-romanticized era in hip-hop. It was the period immediately before gangsta-rap had fully crossed over to dominate the pop-rap landscape and a time when conscious, thought-provoking and at times politically controversial, but generally well-intentioned and uplifting lyrics, all delivered over head-bobbing, funky beats & grooves, were the norm. DJ Alamo was their fourth member and when Grand Puba split the group early on the two left together. Twelve years ago Brand Nubian's original members got back together, and two years ago the three emcees began doing a series of select dates in support of their long-shelved, decade old album Time's Runnin' Out, which finally saw the light of day.
You never know who you'll run into at Amoeba. For example, I've seen all kinds of people from my childhood in Virginia, old co-workers, classmates, circus performers, models, ballers, family members and even witnessed one wedding proposal. Within the last five years I've caught sight of, personally helped, or conversed pleasantly with many a celebrity customer and I have to say it always brings me a quiet thrill. No matter how many times I've been surprised by the variety of people I've bumped into while working at Amoeba, nothing prepared me for the reality of being held in the arms of a man that at one time was nothing to me but a glossy poster on my pre-teen bedroom wall. It's just the sort of situation that I never thought I'd find myself in, but there I was in between Simon Le Bon and John Taylor, flashing my best "cherry ice cream smile" in a momentary Duran Duran sandwich.
The only thing better than experiencing the nostalgic high that my brief, friendly encounter with John and Simon provided is the on- the-spot "What's in My Bag?" interview they both consented to. Part of what makes rubbing elbows with all walks of life at Amoeba so special is that, generally speaking, everyone who comes to the store treads a common ground built from a mass appreciation of the arts. Meeting all kinds of folks is one thing, but being in a position to peruse and discuss music, cinema, and the enjoyment of both with virtually anyone you run into at Amoeba is something of a special indulgence of mine. I like to look at the ever-expanding array of "What's in My Bag?" interviews featured on the Amoeba website as an open window for world to experience the kind of social satisfaction we, the often misjudged record store employees, encounter day after day. Please check out this excellent vignette:
I have been anxiously awaiting the return of A Place to Bury Strangers since I first heard their first album a couple of years ago. I deeply fell in love with that self titled album and it still remains one of my favorites. I picked it as my favorite album of 2007 and I firmly stand by that decision. So of course, I could not wait to hear this new album. I sometimes go see a movie and am already thinking about buying the DVD before the movie is already over. That is just how my mind works, and this is how I feel about A Place to Bury Strangers. I was thinking about getting the new album years before it was even out. And it turns out, I do love the new album just as much as I expected to. It is currently in competition for that number one spot on my top albums of 2009. It is really hard to follow an amazing debut album -- so many artists fail at this. But it is often not even their fault. You will never ever be able to capture that feeling you had when you first fell in love with an album or new band. It just can't happen, so the follow up album often ends up never sounding as good as the first. But I think these second albums are sometimes just as good -- try to imagine if you had never heard that first album and were introduced to the band for the first time with their second album. You then get super obsessed with that second album. Then you go back and listen to that first album as if it was their second. I bet you might find that "first" album not as good as the "second" album, which was your first. This experiment would not work for every band, but it has been the case with certain bands for me. Regardless of any of this, I do love this second album by A Place To Bury Strangers. This is their first album for Mute Records, and it is called Exploding Head. There are a couple of fantastic songs on this album and everything else is also pretty great. I am in love with "In Your Heart," "Keep Slipping Away," and "Exploding Head," but really, the whole album is fantastic.
American composer Vic Mizzy, best known for his absolutely note perfect theme songs for such iconic 1960’s television shows as The Addams Family and Green Acres, died of heart failure this past weekend at his home in Bel-Air. He was 93.
The following year Mizzy composed the title song for Green Acres, the 1965-71 comedy starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor. For the Green Acres theme, Mizzy used the unique combination of a bass harmonica and a little fuzz laden guitar and an electric bass clarinet to create the loopy hoedown vibe. He also flawlessly explained the entire back story in the lyrics -- definitely a lost art! -- of the wealthy Oliver and Lisa Douglas chucking away their New York penthouse lifestyle so that Oliver could live out his fresh air dreams and be a farmer. One of Mizzy’s most brilliant moves, financially speaking, was retaining the publishing rights to Green Acres and The Addams Family themes. Not only have they both been in constant reruns for over four decades, but ownership enabled him to license them for use in commercials (like the recent M&Ms ads that featured the Addams Family theme). As he always joked, a couple of finger snaps paid for a real good life in Bel-Air.
Back in February of this year when the Amoeblog, in celebration of Black History Month, featured a series of blogs about various aspects of black culture, I invited long incarcerated rapper Anerae “X-Raided” Brown to participate in the series. Brown, who has been behind bars for over half his lifetime, did this in two parts: in both the form of an Amoeblog interview and also via an in depth essay he wrote under the title Black History Month: A Convict's Perspective.
Like everything else Brown writes, from his lyrics to his still to be published autobiography to the guest articles he has penned for Murder Dog rap magazine, X-Raided's writing is always articulate and informative. Furthermore, it provides an insight into a world that most of us, thankfully, will never have to enter. Brown has been incarcerated since age 17 on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder -- he never killed anyone but was young and foolish enough, he readily admits, to have been caught up in the gang lifestyle, and to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I have known the 34 year old Brown since he was first incarcerated. Initially I got to know him as a journalist reporting on him and his rap career, something he incredibly has managed to maintain from behind bars over the years (he just released his latest, The Unforgiven Vol. 2, three weeks ago). But as the years progressed he has become a friend and someone I admire for maintaining both his sanity and creativity all the while being locked in the pen. If you have ever been behind bars or if you have ever visited anyone in jail or prison you have an idea of how horrible it is to be incarcerated.
Fortunately, the interviews are vastly different, due to my professional and honed skill as a journalist devoted to hard-hitting storytelling and dedication to factual analysis, and the other interviewer, Miss Ess, who prefers a more “whimsical” and, shall we say, lying-er approach to writing.
You can read this other "interview" by clicking on this link right here.
Due to his tight schedule of touring and promoting the new album, To The Breathing World, Neal was under the weather and frequently distracted during the following interview, which resulted in many of his answers being garbled and unintelligible. (Confidentially, I think alcohol may have been a contributing factor to this. That’ll teach me to get drunk before an interview!) I therefore had to rely on memory and occasional paraphrasing in transcribing the following Q & A. Even so, I was able to capture the spirit of our conversation, from Neal's obsession with "crushing" to the revelation of his suicidal fantasies. Read on…
Neal Morgan before the plastic surgery
How did you pick up playing the drums? What is it that drew you to them so strongly - so much so that any other attempts to follow other dreams were crushed?
You may know Neal from his status as a member of the Ys Street Band -- he was on the road with Joanna Newsom for Ys playing drums and singing backing vocals. His first solo release is something new and creative to behold -- the tracks are kind of like tiny symphonies of vocal layering, and the lyrics often reference the natural surroundings Neal grew up around in his hometown of Nevada City/Grass Valley.
Read on for our chat about the creative crock pot that is Nevada City, his new album, touring with Joanna Newsom, and more, and check out Neal's other chat with our own, ever-so-witty Job O Brother; the two are long time friends.
Miss Ess: How did you pick up playing the drums? What is it that drew you to them so strongly?
Neal Morgan: I began playing when I was 9; my dad had a cover band called Sons of Boogie that would practice in the garage. I think I must have sat down at the drumkit and something clicked. I can't say why I was drawn strongly -- I was a cautious kind of kid, so maybe banging on drums was a good contrast. I don't know.
ME: Who are your favorite drummers?
I am very pleased with this gallery, it's my favorite post this year. The Beny More Lp alone is top notch!
New Techno/Electronic 12"s Coming This Week:
White label remix 12" from GET PHYSICAL's DJ KOZE. One side is his minimal smokey remix of ELVIS PRESLEY's cover of "FEVER" -- techno meets cafe jazz. The other side is a chopped up minimal remix of MICHAEL JACKSON's "BAD."
DUMB DAN REMIX 1-SIDED 12"
1-sided remix of "ANALOGUE BUBBLEBATH" done by DUMB DAN (who also remixed JUSTICE vs NEW ORDER and DAFT PUNK recently). As an added bonus it's pressed on clear vinyl!
Excepter FRKWYS VOL. 2 EP 12" FRKWYS02
Flying Lotus WHOLE WIDE WORLD 12" RAMP016
Fever Ray IF I HAD A HEART REMIX 12" RABID38T
Fever Ray WHEN I GROW UP REMIXES 12" RABID40T
MFA THROW IT BACK 12" 26BC
Done out of pure reverence for the great late Miles Davis, musician Andy Baio recorded an inspired 8-Bit reinterpretation of Davis' jazz classic Kind of Blue, in recent months. Aptly titled Kind Of Bloop, journalist/musician Baio writes of the inspired composition on his blog, "I've always wondered what chiptune jazz covers would sound like. What would the jazz masters sound like on a Nintendo Entertainment System? Coltrane on a C-64? Mingus on Amiga?"
Baio says that in his extensive research of such jazz classic 8-Bit covers he was only able to find four jazz covers ever released: ast0r's version of Coltrane's Giant Steps and Charlie Parker's Confirmation, Sergeeo's own Giant Steps cover, and Bun's version of Coltrane's My Favorite Things.
Portland, OR based Baio, who describes himself as a journalist/programmer and the CTO of Kickstarter, then invited the aforementioned Ast0r and Sergeeo, along with the chiptune artists Virt, Shnabubula, and Disasterpeace, to collaborate with him on a track-by-track remake of the classic Miles Davis album. The Amoeblog recently caught up with Baio to ask him about the project and the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.
Amoeblog: How did you first get the idea to reinterpret Kind of Blue?
I caught what might be called a double-feature of the Id this weekend: Spike Jonze's long-awaited adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are (co-written with Dave Eggers) and Nicholas Refn's adaptation of the long-waiting life of Michael Peterson, Bronson (co-written with Brock Norman Brock). If little Max hadn't eventually come back to the comforting constraints of familial order, then he would've found out as Peterson (aka Charlie Bronson) did that society is always ready to force that order on him.
Oakland author Kaya Oakes' book Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture was recently published by Holt Books. Oakes was the co-founder of the respected magazine Kitchen Sink, and her accolades include winning the Utne Independent Press Award for "Best New Magazine" in 2002. Since her book hit shelves, Kaya has been quite active doing readings up and down the West Coast. Tonight, October 17th, as part of Litquake Litcrawl reading series with Small Press Distribution, she will be reading at The Marsh cafe on Valencia between 21st and 22nd in San Francisco, from 8:30-9:30pm. The Amoeblog caught up with the author to talk about indie culture and her new book.
Amoeblog: Why did you decide to write Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture?
Kaya Oakes: The book came together for a number of different reasons. I was approached by an agent right when the final issue of the magazine I helped found (Kitchen Sink) was coming out, and she asked if I was interested in writing a book about underground music, which is the topic of one of my courses at UC Berkeley. I came up with the idea of doing a broader overview of indie culture, since in my experience it means a lot more than just music. Plus, I felt like indie had given me so much that I wanted to give something back in turn, and I had time on my hands for a big project for the first time in five years. It was a strange coincidence to have one thing ending and another beginning, but I’m glad it happened.
Amoeblog: For those who haven't yet read your book, how do you define "indie culture," and if you were to stamp a date and place on it, when exactly did "indie" start and where?
Our full October calendar is online at
Friday & Saturday October 16 & 17
Two Directed By Pietro Germi
Recently Made Prints Of Both From Janus Films
Divorce Italian Style
1961, Italy, 105 minutes
dir. Pietro Germi, starring Marcello Mastroianni, Daniela Rocca, Stefania Sandrelli, Leopoldo Trieste
Fri: 7:30; Sat: 3:10 & 7:30
Skillfully written, with a penetrating, almost brutal glimpse of Sicily and its antiquated way of life, it has been directed by Pietro Germi with lagless pace and consistent incisiveness, evoking constant chuckles rather than isolated guffaws. - Variety
In real life, zombies are entranced or betwitched servants or thralls of a Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun bokor... or, sorcerer. They can be living or dead. In movies, however, zombies have gradually taken on a variety of aspects borrowed from other undead, mainly the aforementioned vampires and ghouls.
Ghouls were originally from Arabia and are an evil sort of desert-dwelling, shapeshifting Djinn that eat children and the dead, afterward taking on the meal’s appearance, thus proving the truth behind the old adage, “You are what you eat.” In films, there had been relatively few attempts to depict ghouls. The British film The Ghoul (1933) concerned an undead Egyptologist’s (played by Boris Karloff) attempt to attain immortality and to kill his former servant. It had more in common with the previous year's Boris Karloff vehicle, The Mummy. Other ghoul movies, like The Mad Ghoul (1943), Nobody’s Ghoul (1962), Boy Meets Ghoul (1965), The Ghoul (1975), Ghoul School (1990), Ghoul Panic (2000) and The Ghouls (2003) are unlikely to ring many bells.
1) People Under The Stairs Carried Away (OM)
2) Ghostface Killah Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City (Def Jam)
3) Crown CIty Rockers The Day After Forever (Gold Dust Media)
4) Del the Funky Homosapien & Tame One Parallel Uni-Verses (Gold Dust Media)
5) Jern Eye Vision MYX
6) BK-One with Benzilla Radio Do Canibal (Rhymesayers)
7) Skyzoo The Salvation (Duck Down)
8 Antipop Consortium Fluorescent Black (Big Dada)
9 Jay Are (J Rawls & John Robinson) The 1960's Jazz Revolution Again (Groove Attack)
10) Nump Student Ov Da Game (30-30 Sic Wid It Records)
People Under The Stairs (PUTS) are both back on San Francisco label OM Records for their latest album Carried Away, and back on top of the new San Francisco Amoeba Music Top Ten chart, which comes courtesy of Luis at the Haight Street store. "It's a real good album," enthused Luis of the new Thes One + Double K (PUTS) release, which is album number seven from the ever popular pair, who have been busy the past several months performing many large scale shows, including several festivals such as Coachella and Bonnaroo (where Spin magazine dubbed their set “Best Performance. Period.”). To keep that ol skool hip-hop feel, PUTS deliberatley recorded the new album entirely on reel to reel, sampling lots of classic bits, including numerous rock samples. Note that the first pressing (now at Amoeba) of the CD is wrapped around a die cut O-card and a fold out “PUTS Party Safety Guide” poster. Each album also comes with a special VIP (Very Important Partier) lanyard that will allow fans to acquire exclusive material at the ongoing People Under the Stairs World Tour.
"Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. Goddamn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off," says Fight Club's Tyler Durden -- played to perfection by Brad Pitt -- who is the dark alter ego of the nameless narrator/protagonist played brilliantly by Edward Norton. Equally powerful is the actress Helena Bonham Carter in the supporting rolel of Marla Singer. Meat Loaf and Jared Leto also play secondary characters in the film.
Today, October 15th, 2009, is the ten year anniversary of the date the David Fincher directed movie first arrived in cinemas. Based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk, the engaging dark tale, with its underlying theme of consumerism and the ptifalls of materialsim, is about the nameless Edward Norton character who, in his struggle with insomnia and lack of medication to treat it, ends up in support groups, which he soon becomes addicted to attending. And then by some twists of fate he gets drawn into the web of the dark violent psychē of Tyler Durden, ending up living in his large dilapidated house where the fight club is formed. The violent and provocative film, which has a really dark humor to it, is the sort of film you can go back and watch repeatedly. The movie's great soundtrack by the Dust Brothers also includes The Pixies ("Where Is My Mind"), Marlene Dietrich ("No Love, No Nothin"), and Tom Waits ("Goin' Out West")... Look for both the Fight Club CD and DVD at each Amoeba Music store. Below is the scene with the eight rules of Fight Club.
Our much adored customer and friend Mr. Williams passed away yesterday, October 14, 2009. Here, we, the staff of Amoeba, celebrate his life and our lasting bond with this special man.
Mr. Williams was the quintessential Amoeba presence. Not just a customer (although he was our favorite), but also a spirit-lifting, gift-giving friend.
Mr Williams loved music. He loved Soul Music, from classic to current, from Ray Charles and Etta James to Gerald Levert and Mary J. Blige. He would find out about the newest independent release by a Johnnie Taylor or a Blue Magic, and let us know that we needed to have them.
Mr. Williams was incredibly generous, known to buy popsicles and drumsticks and ice cream sandwiches for the entire staff on particularly warm days. He was also known to give copies of a CD or loan a DVD of classic Sly Stone or James Brown performances.
He always had a good word for you, always made you smile, made you feel like you were in the right business.
His first name was Leslie, and he will be missed.
"Mr. Williams" was in Amoeba the day we opened in Berkeley, in November 1990, and almost every day for 7 years, until we opened our San Francisco store, which, conveniently, happened to be RIGHT BEHIND his home!!! From that point on, his daily visits were mainly at that store, though he still somehow continued to visit us in Berkeley and continued to add to his already amazing collection of music... as our #1 BEST CUSTOMER, we invited him down to help us celebrate the opening of our new Hollywood store on November 17th, 2001. HE CUT THE RIBBON FOR US, as thousands of new customers poured in!! Quite an honor for him, but even more so for us....This beautiful man brought so much joy to our workplace; we are forever deeply grateful for his presence in our lives. Wherever you are now, Mr. Williams, please know that we will NEVER forget you, and will always be inspired by your love for music and your beautiful spirit.
After Whip It we watched Capitalism: A Love Story.
Parallel Uni-Verses is the title of the new album featuring this bi-coastal power duo, released on Gold Dust Media. The collaboration comes as a surprise to many hip-hop fans (myself included), since you would never expect these two artists to join forces. But the good news is it works, and really well, too, on songs such as "Flashback," featured above in the new video directed by Alex Ghassan. The vid was recorded two months ago at the East River State Park on the Williamsburg Waterfront outdoor show in Brooklyn and at various other NYC spots including (what looks like) Fat Beats record store on Sixth Ave. in the West Village.
Lou Barlow's songs were the background music to my college experience. Actually, they were more than the background music...they were more like little saviors, tiny gems that made life a bit more bearable when things got complicated and rough. Barlow's music both described and assuaged situations I found myself surrounded with and confronting back then.
These were also my days of extreme lo-fi appreciation, and Lou was one of the musicians at the apex of my admiration. His songs were so naked. They felt real. His openness was so plain, both in music and words. Those songs were soft and hard at the same time, gentle yet defiant, the perfect combination of sweet melody and roughness -- the way so much of the best music is. I spent a lot of time with my Sebadoh records on repeat in those days, and Lou's contributions were the ones that resounded the most.
A few years ago, I met him here at Amoeba, back when Dinosaur Jr had an (awesome) instore. It was a memorable day, but my sudden nerves around him are something I kinda want to forget! Despite the fact that it'd been years since I'd even listened to those Sebadoh records, it all was still right there and fresh in my mind. Though I was directly involved with getting the band set up and onstage, I barely spoke to or even looked at Lou (which I actually think he appreciated), and in no way even attempted to even engage him in regular conversation, let alone pass on how much his music had meant to me at an important time in my life. Instead, I gabbed away with J Mascis about cereal. Yup.
Sometimes I think things are better left unsaid, and when it comes to these things, that is truly always the case. Better to talk to someone else about breakfast food and enjoy the music.
It’s been a while since I’ve written about the city I love, even though the name of this blog is called Los Angeles Me. Originally, I wanted to write about Los Angeles and the music and cultural scene of the city that you don’t hear about in most Los Angeles publications. Los Angeles has been my home for forty years now and I love it now as much as I ever have. I have been blessed to live and be a part of many communities, geographically and culturally. I’ve met some great people in L.A.; some are still here, some have moved to other cities and some have unfortunately passed on too soon.
The sudden passing of Brendan Mullen over the weekend has much of L.A.’s music community in shock. Brendan, who started The Masque in the late 70’s, was, as Paul Tollett of Goldenvoice said, "The first promoter of punk rock in this town, everything started with him." I couldn’t even begin to imagine a Los Angeles without bands such as X, The Germs, The Go-Go’s, The Weirdos and The Plugz, just to name a few that played at The Masque. The bands that played there influenced many others to not only play music, but to create art and expand their horizons. It could be said that Brendan wasn’t just valuable as far as helping music in Los Angeles grow, but that he helped the entire city grow as well.
I met Brendan while performing at the L.A. Weekly Music Awards back in 2001. I remember he said some very complimentary things about the band I had at the time and how honored I was that he did. This was a man who not only championed the punk scene, but also all music that had the same rebellious spirit. He had a way of making you feel good about yourself, which is probably why he was such a great promoter of music.
New Techno/Electro 12"s Coming This Weekend:
ENTROPY EP C.VANCE RX 12"
1st 12" from the ZOMBIE ZOMBIE keyboard player's album prod by CARL CRAIG!! "ENTROPY" is a meeting between ASHRA TEMPLE, CAN, LIAISONS DANGEREUSES, a TR808 & more vintage gear. Also included is a mental techno ride provided by way of a remix of "FOR FALLING ASLEEP" by CHRISTIAN VANCE.
WATERMELON BUBBLICIOUS EP 12"
After some heavy remixes, JOAKIM is back with his own productions. "NEBULA LAUGHTER" is an epic journey influenced by italo & disco played live by his band THE DISCO. "WATERMELON BUBBLICIOUS" is the bangin electro cut for the dancefloors that rounds off his EP.
Breakbeat Junkie ARTIST SERIES 10 12" GG19
Breakbeat Junkie ARTIST SERIES 3 12" GG09
Da Wiesel BOOGALOO STOMP 12" GG04
Funkanala BE THERE TOMORROW 12" HN002
Parker vs P-Zilla ARTIST SERIES 2 12" GG08
Pure-P ON MY NEW YORK SHEET-PART 2 12" GAMM056
Saag ROSE ROGUE 12" GAMM054 EXC
Various REGROOVED 6 EP 12" GG07
Various REGROOVED 7 EP 12" GG10
Crookers PUT YOUR HANDS ON ME 12" ECB199
Cru Jonez LTD ED 4 SEASONS SPRING 7" ORG7006
Detroit Grand Pubahs BUTTFUNKULA RMX 12" DET10
Kelpe CAMBIO WECHSEL DLP DC109LP
Lazer Sword GUCCI SWEATSHIRT 12" IL1001
Munk BACK DOWN REMIXED-CUT COPY 12" GOMMADT004
Snap 2009 REMIXES 12" H2BDJS6P
Who Made Who OUT THE DOOR REMIXES 12" GOMMA075
Tonight's venue, the Broadway Studios (formerly the On Broadway), is the perfect location -- The Broadway Studios and the long gone Fab Mab (Mabuhay Gardens) downstairs from it on Broadway in San Francisco were the settings of so many legendary and memorable Bay Area punk rock concerts and events in bygone years. All those nights will be relived tonight via spoken word. Note that tonight's event is just one of a half dozen in the highly recommended series of readings to tie in with the new book, including another one on Saturday (Oct 17th) night at Gilman Street. The book, which is published by Penguin, was penned by Jack Boulware and Silke Tudor, whose many published credits include both having being contributors to the SF Weekly.
1. Poncho Sanchez-Psychedelic Blues
2. Rodrigo Y Gabriela-11:11
3. Nelly Furtado-Mi Plan
4. Bebel Gilberto-All In One
5. Gustavo Cerati-Fuerza Natural
6. Mercedes Sosa-Cantora
7. V/A-Mata La Pena
8. Mahssa-Oyun Havasi Vol.1
10. V/A-Panama! 2
Poncho Sanchez tops the September chart, in part due to another successful in-store performance on Sunday. Poncho’s latest release, Psychedelic Blues, may not truly “psychedelic,” but then again, neither was The Lebron Brothers' classic album Psychedelic Goes Latin, or, for that matter, Ray Barretto’s Acid. What these three releases have in common is the marriage of soul music and Latin music, which many Latinos growing up in the U.S. during the sixties were influenced by. Psychedelic Blues contains a Willie Bobo medley, a version of Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island” and Freddie Hubbard's "Crisis."
This past week in Great Britain, in honor of their National Poetry Day, the BBC commissioned a poll to name Britain’s favorite poet. And oddly enough they chose the great American writer T.S. Eliot, best known for his landmark poems The Wasteland and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The 1948 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but moved to England in his mid twenties where eventually he became a British citizen.
I cannot explain exactly why I get such a rush when I hear them Blue Angels roaring overhead, but
it's definitely something of a peeking at the bounty-beneath "The Tree" on Christmas morning kind of exhilarating tingling --- so full of promise and excitement! Ahh, to be thrust again into that "danger zone" Loggins croons so passionately about, and on my doorstep to boot. This weekend, what with its parade of military might (hardly), its bevy of boisterous sailors (verily) and high-flying boys in blue pulling all the G's they please (yes, please!), is definitely one of the most fun weekends us San Francisco residents can boast of. Plus, it's an excuse to put together a mix of songs you'll only listen to for all of five days or so (again, like Christmas). From Saxon's cover of Christopher Cross's "Ride Like the Wind" to something a little more random like MARRS's "Pump Up The Volume," the sky's the limit when it comes to compiling this year's Fleet Week festive "Need For Speed" mixtape. Check it out:
However, I know that the four days of the Angels stay will be fraught with voices groaning complaints about "the noise," peppered with prolonged soapbox-top denunciations of their "unnecessary" showmanship, waste of resources, etc. And to that I say, place the blame on them fraternal Buckeye bicycle repairmen who, once upon a North Carolina coastline with sense keen enough to follow their curious ideas through countless scientific experimentation and innovation, set the wings soaring on those royal blue F-18 Hornets that ruffled your feathers this afternoon. Blame science. I agree that maybe it's just plain not right for man to travel at the speed of sound, but it sure is amazing to see what 700 miles per hour looks like, even if it sounds like hell's seams ripping. But I feel that we humans, animals that we are, will forever push the limits of our existance to satisfy our needs. As for me, I fantasize that the Blue Angels need the devotion of captivated fans like me, just as much as I need their yearly testosterone-drenched exhibition to remind me that their magic is real. And as any other sailor of serviceman can tell you, being needed feels good.
About the Awful
I was bored on the 9th of Octover 1940 when, I believe, the Nasties were still booming us led by Madalf Heatlump (Who had only one). Anyway, they didn't get me. I attended to varicous schools in Liddypol. And still didn't pass-much to my Aunties supplies. As a memebr of the most publified Beatles me and (P, G, and R's) records might seem funnier to some of you than this book, but as far as I'm conceived this correction of short writty is the most wonderfoul larf I've ever ready.
A Reason for Breathing
I pictured myself on a boat on a river with tangerine trees and nervous dysplasia. This was to be the final chapter in my life savings. I pulled the plug and boarded an Amtrak to nowhere. I had suffered insomnia all my life, but, like Isaac Newton, had put it down to apples. It was hereditary (so was my forehead). I wished to remain anonymous in a world of Philadelphians. I ticked myself off and put myself in my place, a two-bedroomed brownstone of ill repute. I was convinced I'd been here before. Call it what you will, I call it daft. Had I walked these same dusty springfields before? Or was I just a victim of circumnavigation? Yea, tho' I walk thru Rudy Valle, I will fear no Evel Knievel. Junk food made me silly; fast food slowed me down; I had to get off at the next stop. I alighted to the sound of a military bandit.
"Do you take this woman anywhere in particular?" the voice rang out. I panicked slowly and continued to exercise my discretion.
Lennon: I put things down on sheets of paper and stuff them in me pockets. When I have enough, I have a book.
Question: Why do you kill people off in your books?
Lennon: That's a good way to end them. I suppose they were manifestations of hidden cruelties. They were very Alice in Wonderland and Winnie-the-Pooh. I was very hung up then. I got rid of a lot of that. It was my version of what was happening then. It was just the usual criticisms, as some critic put it.
Question: What were you really trying to say in your book? Why don't people understand it?
Lennon: I understand it. If I wrote in normal spelling there would be no point. I'm not saying anything. There is no message.
This week the Amoeba Hollywood Soul LP collectible wall got a serious overhaul. Recent collections featuring sealed Motown/Tamla classics along with Northern Soul rarities, Private Press oddities, Disco gems, Modern & Boogie monsters as well as chunks of Zapp and Prince. All the LPs featured in this posting will be hitting the walls soon-- keep checking back, as new items will be trickling out all month!
Anyway, it's one long, fairy-tale like poetic parable for the perennial confusion of romantic relationships, the vast pleasures and joy, pain and strife, storms and sunshine, abundance and lack, with rich descriptions and allusions including references to antiquated and fantastical forms such as "fire breathers," a "toothless hound dog," a weeping sea gull and a "hairless and blind cavalry," among many others.
It feels like there are several distinct musical movements through the length of the song, the music deftly winding and dancing around multiple emotions, much like the "twisting and braiding" river, the "lazy cinder smoking" and the "estuaries of wax-white" that wend through its lyrics.
This song is incomperable, a stunner.
If you haven't heard it or all of Ys yet, now is the time, when the leaves are falling, the air is full of woodsmoke and the change of seasons makes the earth and its brethren, described so beautifully here, feel that much closer.
And P.S.: Please check out two special interviews with Joanna's touring drummer, Neal Morgan, about his new record To the Breathing World. To get in the mood, check out his masterful work on the EP Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band!
1) Ghostface Killah Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City (Def Jam)
2) Crown CIty Rockers The Day After Forever (Gold Dust Media)
3) Jay-Z The Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation/Atlantic)
4) Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Links Pt II (ICEAL)
5) Brother Ali Us (Rhymesayers)
Thanks for this week's Amoeba Music Hip-Hop Top Five chart go out to Tom at the Berkeley store where, in addition to updating the Amoeblog on the top selling new hip-hop albums, he reports that, as of yesterday, the Telegraph Ave. store has, "got all the Halloween decorations up and it looks mighty spooky." What's spooky to me is how quickly the summer just flew by and the fact that it's almost Halloween again. Dang! Time really does fly. Case in point is Ghostface Killah -- it seems like it's only been a few years since the Wu-Tang Clan rapper dropped his first solo release, Ironman, but actually that release came out thirteen long hip-hop years ago, in 1996! His latest album, Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City on Def Jam, which is this week's number hip-hop release at Amoeba, is actually the eighth solo release from the Wu rapper, who took his name from the 1979 kung fu film Mystery of Chessboxing.
This installment of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Blog concerns Wilshire Park. Vote here to vote in the Neighborhoods of Los Angeles Blog Poll (NLABP) and/or here for the Los Angeles County Community Blog Poll (LACCBP). To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Maps of Midtown and Wilshire Park
Wilshire Park is a small, Midtown neighborhood whose borders are Olympic Blvd on the south, Crenshaw Blvd on the west, Wilshire Blvd on the north and Wilton Place on the east. Its desirable, central location and quaint charm has lead to various parties attempting to claim it for their benefit. Some residential realtors have extended the traditional use of the term “Westside” to the neighborhood, hoping to attach that area’s mostly white and affluent connotations to the neighborhood. Commercial interests have occasionally led to it being described as part of neighboring Koreatown, presumably with an eye on extending the bustling commercial center into the quiet neighborhood.
Wilshire Blvd suddenly gets quiet in Wilshire Park
An attractive row of typical Wilshire Park homes
I was the only person in the theater.
Bay Area graffiti fans should be in heaven this weekend, with so many amazing events celebrating the urban art form jumping off in both SF and the East Bay starting today, Thursday, and ending on Saturday with The 3rd Annual Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle (EIGB). This evening (Thursday, Oct 8th) kicks things off at the 1:AM Gallery in San Francisco with The Can Film Festival, which will include screenings of the two graf films, Style Wars and Bomb It. The films will be followed by a Q&A session with a panel that will include Kevin Epps, Suzie Lundy, Erin Yoshioka, Estria Miyashiro and will be moderated by hip-hop author Jeff Chang. Screenings start at 7pm but doors open at 6:30pm. Even better, this is a free event, so get there early to ensure admission. 1:AM Gallery is located at 1000 Howard St. (near 6th St.), San Francisco, CA . Click here for more info. Note that tomorrow at 1:AM gallery will be the last day for the exhibit Don't Sweat The Technique - Ode To The Spray Can Art Show, featuring art by judges and contestants involved in Saturday's Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle.
Then tomorrow (Friday, October 9th) is the big event at the Eastside Arts Alliance in East Oakland-- the Pecha Kucha Night Oakland: Don't Sweat The Technique - Graffiti For Social Change, which is being presented in partnership by the Eastside Arts Alliance, Hard Knock Radio, Samurai Graphix and Youth Speaks. The event is happening at 2277 International Blvd., Oakland, CA 94606 from 7:30-10:30pm tomorrow (get there early)! Its ten presenters scheduled include legendary graf archivalist Jim Prigoff (co-author of Spraycan Art, Walls of Heritage Walls of Pride and Graffiti New York), Spie from the mighty Bay Area TDK crew, Steve Grody (author of Graffiti LA), and San Francisco community activist Nancy Hernandez.
According to artist Estria, who is another of the presenters and who was instrumental in bringing this event to Oakland, "Pecha Kucha is a great way to expose your art to many professionals in other fields in one quick-fire burst."
This isn't the first time I've experienced water tower envy. Stash your dirty take on that statement and open your mind to the kind of acoustic possibilities an abandoned husk of monolithic metal casing presents; even something so slight as the sound of Autumn's driest, final dead leaf falling inside one of those hulking riveted hulls must echo ever so epically. Coincidentally, the two sides of the Water Tower Sessions split 45 (Empty Cellar Records) reverberate hauntingly of tones both epic and Autumnal. Recorded by the American Opry who, bless them, trespassed inside a three-story behemoth to capture gorgeous field-recordings of two Bay Area folk artists, Joseph Childress and The White White Quilt, performing their sad yet very beautiful songs live inside the old tower, achieving a fullness of sound that seems to suggest a memory of water.
What I like most about these songs is the ghostly feeling that comes from hearing them paired together on this record: Childress' "Leaving the Barren Ground" tells a shadowy tale soaked in vocals that at first flow weighted, heavy with confession, but then ebb into soul-quaking howls by yarns' end, minimal percussion and steady strumming lending eerie tingles and determination to his story. Then in "Papa," The White White Quilt plods along to reluctant acoustic twangs while multiple voices singing low-slung verse suggesting an unwillingness to accept the passing of time. Altogether, the record is quite like two similar spirits willing their abandoned dwelling to sag upright before poetically keeling over; broken-down new folk songs recorded in an old forgotten well fogging the mirror of this dark, nostalgic time of year. Pressed on frosty clear vinyl and limited to 500 copies that include access to downloads of both songs (plus a bonus cut!).
Hey, hey, hey! It's WALRUS DAY EVE!
Carrie and I are starting the celebration NOW, with our official Walrus Day beverage: Campari & soda. Our plans for tomorrow? For the lady, buttermilk pancakes with homemade banana syrup and thick-cut bacon. For yours truly, ICE CREAM -- the best breakfast food EVER. Remember, it's the most important meal of the day, so don't forget to add hot fudge!
We've also chosen our official song for the day...
Following our ridiculous breakfast, Carrie and I can be seen lurking around the darkened halls of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, with an occasional break for Indian sweets at the nearby Indian grocer. Dinner is as yet undecided, though Carrie is championing for some French grub at my favorite place for such things, Café des Artistes.
I just asked Carrie if there's anything more we should say to you. She asked in return:
"Should we have a deep thought they should ponder this Walrus Day?"
It seems we take music for granted in our current times, which is easy enough to do since we are so innundated with endless music from a seemingly endless stream of artists. With the way things are these days, it might be difficult to stop and imagine a time or a place where music could be much, much more scarce -- a place where music and the artists who create it are valued and treasured so much more than they are here and now. One of these long lost places has been captured in the great documentary on music fandom The Posters Came From The Walls, in which diehard Depeche Mode (DM) superfans look to their heroes for meaning in their lives. The documentary's subjects are primarily in second world nations, fans who bonded with the music of DM in the midst of political turbulence.
The feature length documentary about DM fans around the world was co-directed by Nick Abrahams and Jeremy Deller. In the documentary, the directors spend some time in the US and UK interviewing DM fans, but the flick is at its best when capturing DM fans in Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union, where DM's music has taken on a whole new meaning since the 1980's, when it was not only hard to find but illegal and only available via much coveted bootleg tapes. From that point DM's music became a sort of freedom soundtrack for many of these fans. DM's Dave Gahan’s birthday falls on May 9th, which is Russia’s National Day. In St. Petersburg DM fans celebrate the date as “Dave Day” every year.
Well, actually, it's the first half and finale with Bill Pullman's Fred Madison that place the film on top. For sure, LH contains some of Lynch's weakest moments: Balthazar Getty's Pete Dayton ("you liked it, hunh?"), music chosen by Trent Reznor (Bowie's "Lost Highway" over Payne's -- really?), and a menacing cameo by Marilyn Manson and Twiggy (about as spooky as W.A.S.P. in Ghoulies 2). Nevertheless, most of Lynch's major themes receive their fullest and most direct expression here: Vertig-inous duality (Renee vs. Alice), repression and oneiric escapism (the hallways, Fred's fugue state as a release from his impotence and murderous deed), and the demands of the always elusive Real (the intrusive mirror, phone calls, video tapes and, of course, Robert Blake's Virgil, the white-faced Mystery Man). Some poor casting and music supervision can't ultimately diminish Lynch and co-writer Barry Gifford's perfect construct.
In the male dominated music world, female DJs are in the minority, especially when it comes to hip-hop. And when it comes to female scratch DJs, aka turntablists, the number of female artists is even smaller. Exceptions include DJ Shortee, Kuttin Kandi, and the Bay Area DJ duo of Deeandroid and Celskiii, who have been busy perfecting their game for over a decade now.
Tonight the Filipino female DJ duo, who were invited on tour by KRS-One a few years back, will be throwing their popular twice-monthly Skratchpad turntablist event (every first and third Tuesday) at The Cellar in San Francisco. The event had been on hiatus for a few years and returned just this May. I caught up with the two Vallejo natives to ask them about their party (including its "funky freestyle jam") and other aspects of the hip-hop DJ music they both so passionately love. They, like many other diehards, spell "skratch" with a K.
Amoeblog: Can you run down the history of Skratchpad -- from the first time out to the revised 2009 version?
Deeandroid: We started Skratchpad at the (old) Sublounge in May 2003. The Resident DJs were Celskiii, Wint-One, Amerriica and myself. We had a desire to organize and start up an open turntable event, since the Bay Area is like a DJ mecca. We loved to skratch and party and really missed the inspiration from when they had night events like the Beat Lounge at Deco. Celskiii and myself
were very influenced by the Beat Lounge weekly party/DJ session that was held at Deco back in 1997, where we [were] exposed to a great selection of rare & original music from DJs that were very talented, guests and rotating DJ residents/turntablists that were making some noise in the DJ scene at that time. The showcases and DJ sets were amazing, from cats like Apollo, Vin Roc, Derrick D, Shortkut, Spydamonkey, Snaykeyes, etc. So when Beat Lounge stopped...years later, Cel, Winst-One and I thought it would be dope if we created our own space for the DJs in the Bay Area to network, come together, and just jam in honor of Beat Lounge and to inspire new heads and practitioners of the DJ arts.
Gustavo! Gustavo! Gustavo!
It’s unlikely that anyone driving around LA lately hasn’t noticed the signs, billboards and banners welcoming famed conductor Gustavo Dudamel to the city. They’re pretty hard to miss. Although I was glad to see them, I did wonder to myself how many other people glancing at them knew who the handsome young Venezuelan is, or, for that matter, even cared.
Being a somewhat optimistic classical music fan, and having refused to buy into the current myth (and despite what you’ve heard, it is a myth) that so-called “classical” music is at death’s door, and that the only people still interested in this art form are white-haired eighty-somethings driving motorized wheelchairs equipped with state-of-the-art oxygen tanks, I naturally have welcomed the coming of St. Gustavo with open arms. But I did believe that, despite the press blitz, most of Los Angeles would remain apathetic toward a man who represents (next to Lawrence Welk or Liberace, perhaps) the least hip genre of music imaginable. But now I think I might be wrong. And I’m oh so glad I am.
There hasn’t been a welcome of this nature for a classical musician in this city since, perhaps, the days of Stokowski or Leonard Bernstein. I certainly haven’t seen such a thing in my lifetime (I just turned forty-three). And you may be thinking that it’s all hype. Believe me, it ain’t.
First off, Dudamel, despite his youth (he’s only twenty-eight), is a great musician. He most certainly is not a creation of the press, and the accolades he has received have been well earned. He single-handedly turned the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela (of which Dudamel is a native son) into a world class ensemble, with recordings of Mahler’s 5th Symphony and the Tchaikovsky 5th (both released on Deutsche Grammaphon) that are second to none. But beyond that is the energy that Dudamel exudes on the podium – it’s real, it’s palpable, you can taste it. Add to that the mixture his personal charm and magnanimous personality and you have the makings of the perfect ambassador for “classical” music.
New Techno/Electro 12"s Coming This Weekend:
TECHNO TOWER 12"
These guys fuse organic and electric sounds and make them collide with elements of jazz and folk. "TECHNO TOWER" and "CHINESE" are a testament to these roots and will turn some heads on the dancefloor. This isn't your average tech house or techno.
COLD BLOODED REMIX 12"
Deep techno starts the record with "COLD BLOODED." HORSE MEAT DISCO fav "SNOW IN THE SPRINGTIME" gets a full single release, old school disco in every way. DFA darlings RUNAWAY turn it in a slow burning house direction that builds the tension.
Beatconductor TRICK IN THE WALL EP 12" SPICY008
Featurecast ONE STEP RE-EDIT 7" DP004
Ghetto Battle Weaponz ROUND ONE EP 12" GBW101
IAMTHATIAM AND ON THE THIRD DAY EP 12" MATH029
Trevor Loveys ORGAN GRINDER (NEW) 12" CHEAP013X
Art Bleek FUTURE MEMORY EP 12" VIEW004
Dinner Jazz #8 BELLEVILLE 12" DJAZZ8
La Roux I'M NOT YOUR TOY REMIXES 12" 2720745
Lakaband I HAVE TO DANCE 12" MEKA001
Metronomy NOT MADE FOR LOVE 12" BEC5772573
Redshape THE DANCE PARADOX DLP 80DSRLP
Roland Appel COLD BLOODED REMIX 12" AUS0923
Secret Cinema JAZZ ME 12" COR12066
Sweat X I'M THAT ALLEY-MIKE SLOTT 12" NITE13
Tiger Stripes EDEN 12" DCR58
Turzi BUENOS AIRES 12" REC61
Ukrainian sand animation artist Ksenya Simonova, who came to fame in her country via an American Idol styled TV show, has been taking her country by storm -- even moving people to tears -- with her unique handmade sand art, which she creates live as a kind of requiem to those who died during the Great Patriotic War. As in the video clip above, her real time public performances of sand animation are typically made up of Simonova swiftly hand crafting various war images, quickly morphing from one tragic image to the next, all to the accompaniment of a somber soundtrack of classical & traditional music plus soundbites of wartime news footage.
Working with a mixture of regular sea sand and volcanic sand, all spread out on a glass pane as canvas, Simonova uses her hands to craft her engaging moving stories. At the end of each dramatic live art performance consisting of tales of death and destruction she blows out a votive candle. Usually at this point audience members are seen tearing up. Surprisingly, Simonova, who is also a part time model, only took up the unusual art form (she is only one of a handful of such artists -- the others are from an older generation) just one year ago after becoming a victim of the credit crunch. Reportedly her next project will be a Michael Jackson themed live art installation piece.
"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (from Yellow Submarine)
The story of Lucy (“the girl with kaleidoscope eyes") becoming the inspiration for The Beatles' 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album track goes back to when a four year old Lucy, who was a classmate of young Julian Lennon's at the Heath House Nursery in Weybridge, Surrey, had another classmate at the nursery paint a picture of her surrounded by stars and colorful squiggles.The story goes that Julian took this picture home and showed it to his dad, telling him, “It’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds..." And the rest is pop music history.
The sheer volume of classic horror being shown on screens across the L.A. area in October is astonishing...
New Beverly- Shocker (Mid)
Bay- House On Haunted Hill (also showing 4th, 5th & 7th)
Cinefamiy- Mystery Of The Wax Museum / Phantom Of The Opera
October 4th & 5th
New Beverly- Trick 'r Treat / Creepshow
New Beverly- Watch Horror Films, Keep America Strong / Nightmare In Blood
Cinefamily- Jerry Beck Halloween shorts
Cinefamily- Sleepaway Camp / Return To Sleepaway Camp
Egyptian Theatre- Alien / Aliens
Bay- The Haunting (also showing 11th, 12th & 14th)
Cinefamily- At Midnight I Will Take Your Soul / This Night I Will Posses Your Corpse
New Beverly- 12 hour horror festival- Dog Soldiers, The Burning, House By The Cemetary, Superstition, Fight For Your Life, Galaxy Of Terror & more!
Cinefamily- Dr. X / Dr. Cyclops & Spooky Encounters
Cinefamily- Tokyo Gore Night featuring Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl
Horror Movie A Day and New Beverly Midnights presentSaturday October 3
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Director Wes Craven and actors Ted Raimi, Richard Brooks & Vincent Guastaferro IN PERSON, schedules permitting, to discuss the film!
New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Midnight, All Tickets $7
Buy advance tickets online here!
October 10 All Night Horror Show Part II
The full schedule and advance tickets are now available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/84467
October 17 Dario Argento's Inferno (1980)
Terror that's hotter than hell! Beautiful 20th Century Fox Archive Print!
October 24 Conan The Destroyer (1984)
The Darkest Side of Magic. The Strongest Side of Man. 25th Anniversary!
If you were a kid growing up here in Southern Californian and your family owned a television set in the 1950’s or 60’s, inevitably you watched Sheriff John's Lunch Brigade, which aired on KTTV-TV Channel 11 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, and a late afternoon show, Sheriff John's Cartoon Time. I spent many a day as a sickly child watching Sheriff John and cartoons like Crusader Rabbit, Tennessee Tuxedo (voiced by Get Smart’s Don Adams) and Underdog.
We're gonna bake a birthday cake
Put another candle on my birthday cake
I'm another year old today
War - There are several documentaries that focus on Latino and Hispanic issues in American wars. From Juan Ponce de León and Hernan de Soto sniffing around the modern day US in search of eternal youth and gold, through aggression between the US, Mexico and Spain, to the disproportionate reliance on Latinos to fight our modern wars, these DVDs cover a lot of territory.
1) Jay-Z The Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation/Atlantic)
2) Kid Cudi Man On The Moon: The End of Day (Motown / Pgd)
3) Drake So Far Gone (Cash Money)
4) Brother Ali Us (Rhymesayers)
5) Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Links Pt II (ICEAL)
Five of the big hip-hop releases from over the past few weeks are still selling well at Amoeba Music Hollywood this week, including Jay-Z's final installment in his Blueprint trilogy, Kanye West protege Kid Cudi's debut, and Cash Money's newest star Drake. Also doing well are Only Built 4 Cuban Links Pt II by Wu Tang member Raekwon and the new joint from the Rhymesayers' Brother Ali, which was number one at the San Francisco Amoeba last week. Other tight new hip-hop releases include the brand new The Day After Forever (Gold Dust) by Bay Area crew Crown City Rockers, which has great tracks such as "Clap Your Hands" (feat. Aima) and "That's Life" (featuring Jason Jasper). Tonight there's an album release party for the album at The Independent in San Francisco that will be hosted by Lyrics Born along with DJ D-Sharp and, of course, Crown City Rockers performing. And if that ain't enough, they will be joined by LA’s Breakestra, whose new album Dusk Til Dawn is also just out, and Spaceheater (Blast Furnace is also just out). Tickets $20. Doors 8pm. More info here.
Speaking of undeniably great Bay Area hip-hop talent, the Souls Of Mischief just launched a big worldwide tour and have also just released a track from their forthcoming Prince Paul produced new album, Montezuma's Revenge. The corresponding "Montezuma's Revenge Tour '09" consists of 35 stops in six weeks, including Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, and LA, where the group played the Troubadour two nights ago. They play Slims in San Francisco on October 20th (with Ghostface) and the Avalon in San Jose the following night. Prince Paul plays on select dates with the longtime Oakland Hiero crew, comprised of emcees A-Plus, Opio, Phesto, and Tajai. So does Swollen Members. Montezuma's Revenge will arrive in Ameoba Music and other stores on November 10th on their Hiero Imperium Records.
October 8 is Walrus Day. What is Walrus Day and why does it matter to you? Well, it only matters if you enjoy things that you like. Do you fit that type? Are you the sort of person who enjoys things that you like? Then Walrus Day is for you, friend!
Walrus Day is a holiday I invented when I was a kid. I took my favorite animal, favorite number, and favorite month, combining them and voila! (That’s French for ‘that’s how that muthuhfuggin’ happened’.)
Below you’ll find a Walrus Day FAQ. You can read it with your eyes which will magically make thoughts form in your brain! Big fun!
Q: When is Walrus Day?
A: Walrus Day is always celebrated on October 8, regardless of what day of the week it falls on, or whether you’re Jewish, Chinese, or Yusef Lateef. Mark your calendars!
Q: How does one celebrate Walrus Day?
A: Walrus Day is perhaps the easiest holiday on the calendar to celebrate well. The goal is to treat yourself: buy yourself a gift. Want cake for breakfast? Do it. Want to call in sick to work and go to the beach and frolic? This is the day.* Wanna make sweet, sweet love to Beyoncé? I say, if you can, go for it! This is your day, your chance, your excuse to pepper your day with whatever perks and joys you dare. Get creative! Unless you hate getting creative, in which case, Walrus Day is your perfect excuse to stay uncreative the whole day! Very simply: Pamper and splurge as much as possible. Diets be damned!
It is sometimes easy for me to get excited about a movie, but there haven't really been a lot of movies to get excited about the last couple of months-- and finally Where the Wild Things Are is right around the corner! I have been extremely excited about this movie ever since I first heard about it, from the first time I saw a poster for it online, and then the first time I saw a teaser trailer. I finally saw a more substantial trailer last week before the movie 9. I didn't think I could get more excited, but I did! And I know I am not alone. Millions of us grew up with this story. It was a pretty simple picture book. Hardly any words at all in the "story." It was mostly just the amazing drawings that captured our imagination and forever made us fall in love with this story. I have probably not looked at the book in at least 10 years or so. I remember looking through the book at a a bookstore a while ago, and at the time I don't think I had seen the book since I owned it as a kid, but somehow the memories were always still there. The feelings I had when I first experienced the story never really went away. That was the power of this story. I remember even being excited about the Where The Wild Things Are themed restaurant that opened up in the Metreon in San Francisco. It closed years ago but maybe they will bring it back now. The Where the Wild Things Are book first came out in 1963. It was written by the brilliant Maurice Sendak. I don't think he ever could have imagined the book would have had such a profound affect on generation after generation. I think the book and story will get an even larger following after the release of this movie, although I have yet to meet anyone who didn't at least read this book when they were young. The story is simple enough. A kid, Max, is banished to his room for bad behavior. He then enters a magical world of big furry monsters, all in his imagination, of course. Similar stories had been told before and they would continue to be reimagined, but something about the drawings really brought me into the story. It was a magical little story that all children could relate to. Max of course gets lonely and ends up returning to his normal life. But we all had moments like that when we wanted to escape from our families into a magical world of make believe.
The book was made into an animated short in 1973. An updated version was made in 1988 with new music and narration. Spike Jonze has created the new live action film. Maurice Sendak had been trying to get this film made since the early 90s. Sendak fell in love with Being John Malkovich and then decided he wanted Spike Jonze to direct. It makes sense. So Spike has been working on it for almost 10 years. It has been a long time coming and I am glad the time has finally arrived. I am already in love with the film from the trailer. I am sure that I am not the only one that shed a tear during the trailer. I think it will impress those of us that grew up with the story. And I hope it makes a whole new generation fall in love with the story, although I imagine that parents from my generation are now raising their kids with the same stories they grew up with -- I know that I would -- so I imagine this book is already in the collections of the young ones of today. The new movie doesn't come out till October 16th. However, the soundtrack comes out this week.
This year, among the artists you can check out are: John Prine, Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers, Gillian Welch, Guy Clark, The Flatlanders, Hazel Dickens, Doc Watson, The Knitters, Old Crow Medicine Show, Neko Case, Allen Toussaint, Mavis Staples, Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus Three, Marianne Faithfull, Aimee Mann, Little Feat, and of course, Emmylou Harris! Sheesh, and that's not even everyone!
Easily the hands down winner in the "so bad it's good" category is the above clip from the ultra cheesy late 80's "children's musical" film Creating Rem Lezar, in which Rem and friends (channeling Godspell?) sing, dance & prance their way through Central Park and other parts of New York City.
This clip and the others from Creating Rem Lezar, including the one in which a mannequin of Rem comes to life and then, donning a blue mullet, sings two kids to sleep, are so bad and so wrong on so many levels, and yet, for some strange reason, they are addictive viewing.
Written, directed, produced and choreographed by Scott Zakarin and made in 1989, Creating Rem Lezar went straight to video but never made it as far as DVD. Recently rediscovered thanks to YouTube, this hard to find VHS is much coveted and apparently fetches $50 or more online. Meantime you can view numerous clips from it on YouTube, found under titles like "bad 80's video" or "Worse 80's video."