Amoeblog

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #67: Changes to The State of The City, Valentine's Day In The Big Apple, Concerts + more

Posted by Billyjam, February 12, 2014 05:04pm | Post a Comment


Under a big banner emblazoned "One New York Rising Together" new New York City mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to provide New York City residents with a "fair shot at a better life" in his first "State of the City" address earlier this week, and by so doing offering hope to a good percentage of the population of this expensive city to live in. In Monday's 43 minute speech he spoke of “a budgetary challenge that is unprecedented” and called for expanding “living wage” laws - proposing that New York City set its own (higher than average) minimum wage.

De Blasio's distinctly progressive liberal leaning speech, which further separated him politically from his two mayoral predecessors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg and placed him more in line with the vision of the late NYC Mayor Fiorella La Guardia (Mayor of NYC for three terms from 1934 to 1945 - pictured right), also pushed his policies of raising taxes for the city's rich to pay for universal prekindergarten, amping up job training programs for the unskilled, and providing ID cards to those New Yorkers that are in the USA illegally. What actually unfolds and the impact of these radical changes proposed by this new mayor will have remains to be seen, but is sure to cause much local and national debate in the interim.

Ariel View Of NYC (2014)

The above video, which was uploaded to YouTube over the weekend, is a pretty impressive (albeit likely controversial) aerial view from high above the Big Apple with some unusual views looking straight down to the streets far below. Made by a camera attached to a drone that was, according to the YouTube account belonging to the camera gear company DSLR Pros, the "video was given to us from an anonymous source."  The description goes on to read that,  "As beautiful as it is we do not recommend flying in locations like NYC" and since it was posted on Saturday has disabled comments from being made which is what prompted me to imply it is likely controversial since the gut reaction from most, I imagine, would be memories of 9/11 and anything remotely related (regardless of how beautiful the footage above may be) is bound to trigger such mental connections - even 13 years later.

Thank You, Shirley Temple

Posted by Billyjam, February 11, 2014 05:41am | Post a Comment

Shirley Temple "On The Good Ship Lollipop" from Bright Eyes (1934) 

Thank you, Shirley Temple Black, for lifting a nation's spirits during the depression with songs and films like "On The Good Ship Lollipop" (above) from the 1934 movie Bright Eyes and "When I Grow Up" from 1935's Curly Top (these are just two of 40 film she made as a child star). Temple, who became a diplomat as an adult, died yesterday at age 85. Rest in peace, Shirley Temple, and thanks for all those movies, songs, and dance routines.


Shirley Temple "When I grow Up" from "Curly Top (1935)

JR Valrey Discusses His Second Book, Unfinished Business: Block Reportin' 2

Posted by Billyjam, February 10, 2014 09:25am | Post a Comment

jr valreyOakland author JR Valrey has just published his powerful second book - Unfinished Business: Block Reportin 2. The author/journalist/broadcaster/activist who is also known as the People's Minister of Information will be doing two Bay Area book readings this month in celebration of this second publication in an ongoing series at both of the Bay Area branches of the wonderful Marcus Books: at the San Francisco Marcus Books (1712 Fillmore St.) on February 13th, and at the Oakland Marcus Books (3900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way) on February 22nd.

Two years ago, during Black History Month 2012, JR Valrey acted as a guest Amoeblogger here and wrote an insightful piece titled The Black Experience Study Guide: My Top 7 Books, Movies, and Albums for Black History Month. That piece followed a profile/interview with Valrey from a couple of months earlier on the topic of his first book Block Reportin. This week I again caught up with the busy Oakland-based Valrey to talk about his latest book, its subjects, and some of the topics covered in it and his opinions on them.

 
Amoeblog: Is it fair to call Unfinished Business a sequel to / a continuation of your last book and does it continue that book's same format?

JR Valrey: I guess you can say that. The only continuity between Block Reportin" and Unfinished Business is that they are both books consisting of a compilation of interviews; interviews that I did as a print and broadcast journalist over the years.  The third installment of the series, which is yet to be named, will include 28 interviews so that the total number of interviews that I have put out in book form will number 100.

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up, Week End 02.07.14: Step Brothers, Dag Savage, Dilla Day, Hip Hop, Chess and The Psychology of The Battle

Posted by Billyjam, February 7, 2014 08:08am | Post a Comment
       

Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five for Week Ending February 7th 2014


1)
The Step Brothers Lord Steppington (Rhymesayers  Entertainment)

2) Dag Savage E&J (Dirty Science)

3)
Blu & Exile Below The Heavens  (Sound In Color)

4) Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city (Aftermath)

5) Kayne West Yeezus (Def Jam)

Interview with Discogs' Corey Burmeister

Posted by Billyjam, February 6, 2014 12:32pm | Post a Comment

A couple of months back in New York City at the WFMU Record Fair, I ran into the folks from Discogs who had a booth distributing info. I have known of Discogs for some time now as a go-to, reliable website and database of some of the most exhaustive lists of nearly every release out there (including lots of electronic and hip-hop). With just under 5 million releases listed on its site, Discogs provides a wonderful resource just a click away with its seemingly endless lists of recordings and releases (including promo and rare non-label releases). Discogs is owned by Zink Media Inc. and based in Portland OR. I followed up with Discogs staffer Corey Burmeister to ask him some questions about what the site does overall, the music that it covers, its history, and where it is going. 


Amoeblog: When did Discogs come about and when it first formed did it envision becoming what it is today?

Corey @ Discogs: Discogs was the result of Kevin Lewandowski's love of electronic music.  It was started in 2000, and he had no idea it would get this large.


Amoeblog: I understand that users upload content on releases but what percentage of that data has to be edited? I have heard of folks not putting in upper case when it is supposed to be that way etc.

Corey @ Discogs: The database is built and edited by our users. I don't have the percentages off hand, but the number of submissions that are not edited after they go into the database is small. We believe in a process of continual improvement, much like the way open source software is developed. Get the data out there, get as may people to see it as possible, and let them update it to make it more correct or to enrich the data.

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