Novmichi Tosa of Maywa Denki pays a visit to GR2 - めいわでんき

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 23, 2010 05:01pm | Post a Comment

Novmichi Tosa, the Willy Wonka-like figure like genius behind Maywa Denki made a rare US appearance at GR2 in Little Osaka. They were selling the Otamatone, a new instrument/toy that's sort of like a cross between a đàn bầu and a theremin.

Novmichi Tosa at GR2 

Maywa Denki's so-called Nonsense Objects are kind of like a mix of Harry Partch's instruments, Rube Goldberg's overly elaborate machines, a bit of Kenji Kawakami's absurdist Chindōgu filtered through the utilitarian, mid-century futurist spirit (if not the aesthetic) of prop designer Wah Ming Chang.

After the soft-spoken Toshi san signed autographs and demonstrated the pachi-moku and otamatone with stirring renditions of "Greensleeves" and "Amazing Grace," it was all over and I went outside, where a beaming stranger said to me, "Now my life is complete!" as she proudly clutched her new toy.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Echo Park

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 22, 2010 05:44pm | Post a Comment

Echo Park Lake
Cloudy skies over the bottomless Echo Park Lake

This blog entry is about the Los Angeles neighborhood of Echo Park. Please vote for more neighborhoods by clicking here. Also, please vote for more Los Angeles County communities by clicking here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.


Echo Park Sign

Echo Park
is a Mideast Side neighborhood located north of Downtown Los Angeles in the Elysian hills west of the LA River. Echo Park has long associations with several arts, most notably literature and film. It's one of the city's oldest neighborhoods and is full of many old (by Angeleno standards) Craftsman, Spanish, and Victorian homes built between the 1880s and 1930s.

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New Orleans Block Party - Bounce Music goes to SXSW 2010

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 18, 2010 09:04am | Post a Comment

This looks incredible. South By Southwest is hosting a bounce music showcase. This is your chance to experience some of the biggest talents to come out of the New Orleans Rap scene.

Although they made their pledge goals, you can still donate and get various merchandise. Now I may have to go to SXSW for the first time.


Partners-N-Crime DJ Jubilee

PNC were one of the star attractions at Big Boy Records in the '90s and were pioneers of that gangsta bounce sound. Jube is the glue that holds Take Fo' Records together and the man who wrote "Back That A$$ Up," among many other classics.

Magnolia Shorty has released several bounce classics, my favorite being "Monkey on tha D$ck" when she was on Cash Money Records.


Katey Red , Big Freedia and Vockah Redu

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Moving beyond bipolarity - da meeja, favoritism, fairness and equality

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 17, 2010 11:25am | Post a Comment
Just a little pie chart to ponder... First, the demographic percentages of the US's major minority populations:

US demographics 

...versus the google results for their respective national, month-long cultural observances.

Cultural observance month google results

...which suggests that, as I assumed, Black History Month is far more of a concern than Hispanic Heritage Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Native American Heritage Month. Black History Month is all good, but why not recognize the rest? And, although not a minority, Women's History Month deserves some recognition too... as does Gay Pride Month. This year of the tiger, resolve to move beyond bipolarity! 

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Black Cinema Part III - the TV age and beyond

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 15, 2010 12:42pm | Post a Comment
This is the first installment in a three part history of early Black Cinema.
To read Part I, covering the independent Race Movie years of the 1910s and '20s, click here
To read Part II, covering the Hollywood Studio years of the 1930s and '40s, click here

In American silent films, minority roles were almost invariably filled by white actors in exaggerated and offensive make-up. Latinos in silent films usually played greasers and bandits; Asian-Americans usually played waiters, tongs and laundrymen; and blacks usually played bellboys, stable hands, maids or simply "buffoons." Not surprisingly, both Asian-Americans and blacks responded by launching their own alternative silent cinemas. But whereas Asian-American Silent Cinema quickly faltered, silent, black "race movies" flourished. In the 1930s and '40s, Hollywood began to phase out the practice of blackface (while continuing the practice of redface and yellowface) and successfully wooed race movies' sizable and thus profitable audience. By the 1950s, with its enormous budgets and star power, Hollywood had effectively co-opted and destroyed the independent Black Cinema known as race movies. The result was that there were far fewer examples of Black Cinema in the decade. In the years that followed, as TV chipped away at film’s dominance, a few black actors began appearing on the small screen in shows like Beulah (1950-1953) and The Amos 'n Andy Show (1951-1953) which, whilst hardly socially progressive, at least offered more acting opportunities for black actors.

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