Remembering March 11, 2011: For What It Is Worth

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, March 8, 2012 12:34pm | Post a Comment
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Everyday I think about what it would mean to suffer the panic of a disastrous earthquake. Sometimes the thought is latent, residing somewhere in my metal recesses. But at other times, like a few mornings ago when a magnitude 4 earthquake centered a few miles away literally shook me out of bed at 5:33am, it glows at the front and center in my mind like a warning fire. Can anyone ever really be ready for a seismic shift of any size? How does one prepare for the aftermath? Is there a price you wouldn't pay for hindsight?

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It has been almost a year since the Tōhoku earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis and during that time there has been a great deal of giving, in terms of fundraising and charity, so that those in Northern Japan affected by the calamity may bolster their hope and know whatever relief may reach them while muster the strength to move forward and rebuild their communities. This Sunday, March 11 marks the one year anniversary of the natural disaster and I urge everyone to seek out and participate in local memorial events that honor those whose lives were claimed while maintaining awareness and providing support for organizations that continue in their effort to provide relief to survivors still striving to carve out an existence in the wake of such a catastrophe. For example, I will be heading to San Francisco's Japan Town for the community remembrance fundraising events featuring live performances and street sale (the Rise Japan booth will have all kinds of artwork on sale, including totes by Kelly Tunstall) then afterwards to Sushi Zone where owner, chef and Amoeba Music regular customer Kimiyaki Aoyama will have the restaurant open from 1-5pm -- mind you, they are never open before 5pm or on Sundays -- selling sake, beer and sushi with all profits to benefit the Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation. However, you can make a contribution and score some new vinyl at the same time.

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If for no other reason than to acquire some beautiful music, Kazu Makino of the band Blonde Redhead has recently released a charity compilation on her newly founded Asa Wa Kuru label (meaning "Morning Will Come" in Japanese) with proceeds to benefit the Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund and Architecture For Humanity (a list of these and other groups, individuals and institutions active in the disaster hit areas in Northern Japan can be found here). The vinyl-only compilation, titled We Are The Works In Progress, features some of the most hauntingly 4AD-esque broken-yet-crystalline pop-synth clarion calls to be heard of all the relief offerings put together by musicians with a mind to support Japan's post-tsunami healing process. The collection, spread over two LPs, features Blonde Redhead of course, plus an impressive array of singular artists like Four Tet, Ryuichi Sakamoto teamed up with David Sylvian, Broadcast, Deerhunter, John Maus, Interpol, Terry Riley, Pantha du Prince and many more - it is available for purchase through Amoeba Music here. Simply put, it is a gorgeous effort created to further a worthy cause - one that shouldn't provoke a pause to contemplate the value of music, but rather the value of hope.

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Would the REAL Criterion Please Stand Up?

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, March 6, 2012 08:08am | Post a Comment
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Any film can be a DVD but it has come to be accepted as common knowledge that a Criterion Collection DVD is important. And don't we all know by now that the discerning film aficionados manning the helm of the goodship Criterion don't scrimp when it comes to a figuring "wow factors" into their packaged feature presentations - that's why one expects only the best in classic and contemporary cinema when glimpsing said particular 'C' word, right? WRONG! Welcome to the new world of Criterion Collection realness, created for the people by the people, shining like a grand DIY roadside attraction just off the information superhighway: the Fake Criterions tumblog! Okay, so maybe I'm just getting on board with this trend, which would be still considered fairly new by all accounts if the year were 2002, but seeing as it's 2012 and this blog has only been around for a year and a half and has already amassed extensive content of admin and fan-made Criterion Collection DVD artwork (often highlighting Criterion's sophisticated approach to graphic design by treating lowbrow, low-budget films in a like manner) it seems to me that film geeks are taking the argument for the appreciation of tangible media into their own hands. I mean, what movie enthusiast wouldn't be romanced into acquiring something as ridiculously awesome as this:

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Here's to Andrew Ihla who designed this nugget of Criterion Collection fool's gold! All I can say further is that scrolling through the entries can be painful at times for there is so much goodness in the Fake Criterions stacks that I believe truly should exist. Really, it hurts my feelings to see these things and know that I cannot possibly enjoy the full cinematic experience house within faux Criterion offerings like these:

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Summer 2012: You CAN Play With Madness!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 29, 2012 12:12pm | Post a Comment
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You know there's something heavy in the air when Ed Force One, Iron Maiden's custom fitted and supremely airworthy Boeing 757 tour-craft, makes a low pass over your hometown's main gas, food and lodging conduit. Well, up the irons Maiden heads of America - the boys'll be back in town this summer revisiting their 1988 Seventh Son of a Seventh Son world tour with production and content to mirror their Maiden England concert home video* so closely that they're gone ahead and exhumed the title for use on yet another "between albums" tour, or the third chapter in the band's History of Iron Maiden live shows.

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'Tis a thing of beauty, no? I am almost at a loss for words to explain how pumped I am for this tour. Seventh Son was the first Iron Maiden cassette I ever owned and it still serves as a source of workaday strength for me, especially the song (and music video for) "Can I Play With Madness" - any of you "talented arts" kids out there will fell me on that score. In fact, eff it, I'm so stoked right now how about we watch the music video for "Can I Play With Madness" and talk tour deets n' things after the break.


Now, if you or any of your clairvoyant friends are in the official Iron Maiden fan club then chances are you've already procured your tickets as they were made available to IMFC members today, but if you're not be ready to get the best of the leftovers on March 2nd or 3rd (check here or your local venue listings for official ticket sale dates and times) and remember to buy paperless and avoid the gauging habits secondary ticketing sites (i.e. the evil that men do lives on and on). For a complete list of set list speculations and 2012 tour dates, see below. Otherwise, up the irons! See you in D.C. and San Francisco!!!!!!!!

Live to Tell Like Madonna, or Just Smell Like Her

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 28, 2012 12:15pm | Post a Comment
Madonna claims to "have always been obsessed with fragrance" but scent-conscious consumers must wonder what Ms. "candy perfume girl" wants the world to smell like. I think it's safe to say that we know it won't stink of hydrangeas.

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In fact, it is reported by that Madonna was "deeply involved in the process of making her perfume". Working closely with Stephen Nilsen, Givaudan perfumer, they created a "composition of white flowers on an intensive gourmand background. The scent is both a light and dark, opening with notes of gardenia, creamy tuberose and neroli. The heart consists of jasmine, benzoin and white lily, debbie deborah gidbson electric youth 80's perfume for women scent frangrance vintagebased on vanilla absolute, caramelized amber and sensual musk" without a even a hint of hydrangea whatsoever.

Come May 2012 Truth or Dare by Madonna, a fragrance that queen Madge claims is "something personal that was an expression of me but that other people could relate to as well. Something honest, and yet daring, hence the name" will be made available to the masses and marketed as part of a larger Madonna sanctioned Truth or Dare lifestyle label. Good grief. At least we were spared the same of Miss Debbie Gibson's Electric Youth campaign, though I know of at least one young-at-heart who still bleeds for the stuff. However, seeing as Truth or Dare by Madonna is for women 25-45, with the 35-45 age group being the primary market aim for the fragrance, could it be that all the Debbies-come-Deborahs who once embraced the "youth is energy" Electric Youth credo are now being urged to re-embrace the girl-talk slumber party appeal all over again with Madonna? Take a look at this:

Acid Mothers Temple: What You Got in That Bag?

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 23, 2012 12:12pm | Post a Comment
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Japanese psychedelic ensemble Acid Mothers Temple (and their countless subsequent appendages) are the stuff of legend. If one was to assemble a who's who of the SF underground (or otherwise) music scene of the last fifteen years for an A.M.T. campfire story tell-a-thon there would be so much surreal-deep dish served you'd think you'd have invented a freaky new kind of supper club. But whatever their exploits, be it the creation of long-distance, guru-level tripper jams or the pursuit of perfection via stones, women and long-player records the guys (& dolls) of Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. always seem to me to be the closest I'll ever get to meeting, and I mean this in the most literal tense, a real life star trekker. They stop by Amoeba Music's galactic sector just about every time they play San Francisco (at least once a year it seems) and I cannot reiterate the fact that though they may share some resemblance to the usual off-brand Haight Street flotsam placed beyond the pale one cannot help but recognize the particular presence of Kawabata et al as a refreshing whiff of wizardry in the real. Check out what A.M.T. master shamans Makoto Kawabata and Atsushi Tsuyama picked up on their most recent trip below in this recent addition to Amoeba Music "What's In My Bag?" discovery video series, now with more Acid Mothers Temple!

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