Amoeblog

UK Inmates Allowed String Guitars Thanks To Campaign Led By Billy Bragg

Posted by Billyjam, July 28, 2014 04:15pm | Post a Comment

Billy Bragg "A New England (live at Amoeba San Francisco: October 2013)"

As reported today by British media outlets including the NME (New Music Express) UK inmates will finally be allowed use of string guitars thanks to a campaign led by Billy Bragg and including such other musicians as Johnny Marr, Dave Gilmour, and Radiohead's Ed O'Brien and Philip Selway. The political campaign which was kick-started by Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan, with Bragg leading the musicians in the crusade for prisoners' rights, set about overturning the long-standing ban on steel-string guitars in British prisons. According to UK prison authorities, the guitar ban was based on fear of their parts being used as weapons. "This is a victory for common sense and I'm pleased after months of campaigning the UK Government has listened," said the Cardiff West MP upon hearing news of the lift of the ban.

"The power of music to help prisoners to rehabilitate is well documented. I started the campaign after prisoners wrote to me explaining how they had saved from their small prison wages to buy guitars and how therapeutic learning to play the guitar had been for them before the ban," added the MP. Billy Bragg noted upon news of the lifting of the ban that prisoners being allowed use of steel string guitars, "can really help the atmosphere on a prison wing." A long time champion of the underdog and with a history of fighting against civil injustices, Bragg founded the Jail Guitar Doors rehabilitation initiative to try and overthrow the ban against ban arguing that guitar playing helps greatly in the rehabilitation process of inmates.

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Digging in the Crates of OMCA's Vinyl: Sound & Culture of Records Pt 4: Sylvie Simmons, David Katznelson, & Rachael Aguirre

Posted by Billyjam, July 26, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment


If you haven't already made your way to the ever-popular, Amoeba Music sponsored, excellent exhibit Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records at the Oakland Museum of California's (OMCA) which opened three months ago on April 19th (Record Store Day) at the downtown Oakland museum in its Great Hall exhibition area don't fret as you still have some time - well not much, but some - since it is open through tomorrow Sunday July 27th. To mark the end of this wonderful hands on exhibit, that paid homage the joys of analog and vinyl with lots of local Bay Area folks (including many Amoebites) offering their input on the subject, today Saturday July 26th will be the final weekly Talk & Play program of the three month long exhibit in which experts in specific areas of music/records informally chat to a museum audience while dropping the needle on the records that they are referencing in their talk/lecture.

Today - from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm in the Great Hall - the Talk & Play session will be David Katznelson (record producer, and president of Birdman Recording Group) and friends who will be presenting a Talk & Play they call Every Record Has a Story. David's co-hosts will be Steven Baker (former president of Warner Brothers Records), Britt Govea (Folk Yeah Productions founder), and Josh Rosenthal (founder of Tompkins Square Records)  - all of whom will share  their favorite music/records and tell stories and secrets related to collecting said records. David Katznelson is among the many record collecting musicologists who have curated crates (that museum goers can personally play on provided turntables) at the Vinyl exhibit. For this final fourth installment in the Digging in the Crates of OMCA's "Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records" Amoeblog series I have included David's crate: The influence and genius of the Velvet Underground, along with those of two other contributors: Sylvie Simmons whose crate is Grrl Power - women in rock from pop to punk, 1960-1980, (she also curated Sylvie Simmons the Americana crate), and the museum's own Rachael Aguirre (Administrative Assistant & OMCA Lab - Curatorial and Experience Development) whose crate is titled Sound track for Dungeons and Dragons: Onyx Discs of Epic Sound: A Dungeons and Dragons Soundtrack. Meanwhile the photos in this blog are either provided by OMCA or James Mak of Joysco Photos who kindly shot this photos on behalf of the Amoeblog (thank-you James!).

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The 25 Best Hip-Hop Movies

Posted by Billyjam, July 24, 2014 06:15pm | Post a Comment

Best Hip Hop films

The definition of "hip hop movies" is pretty darn wide as it covers a broad range of types and styles of films - not to mention differing levels of quality since, let's face it, some have been downright low-budget jenky (bad meaning bad). The hip hop movie genre as a whole encompasses such varieties as concerts films (EG 1995's The Show or 2005's Dave Chappelle's Block Party); documentaries about specific parts of the genre or individual artists (e.g. Scratch or Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme or Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest); bio-pics like Notorious or the semi-biographical Eminem acting vehicle 8-Mile; and straight up pure celebratory flicks that show love for some or all of hip hop's four elements (EG Wild Style, Juice, Beat Street, and Breakin').

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #90: Las Bicicletas, NYC Restaurant Week, 37th Rock Steady Crew Anniversary, Coney Island

Posted by Billyjam, July 23, 2014 06:13am | Post a Comment

After closely dodging a major public transportation strike of the LIRR (Long Island Railroad) earlier this week (which would have trickled down to affect MTA buses and subways, thereby affecting all New Yorkers and not just those who commute into the city from suburban Long Island), folks here are still breathing a sigh of relief in this city where, it seems, nearly everyone takes public transportation. Speaking of which, the Citi Bike program has expanded its service to embrace more tourists by making it more accessible for casual one-off users. Compared to typical bike rental outlets Citi Bike's $10 for a 24-hour period seems like a deal. However the drawback is that is you only get the bike for 30-minute increments before having to re-check it out - or suffer heavy fines. More info here.

Continuing in the bike loving NYC theme, this month 122 metal bicycle sculptures (see below) have been rolled out around Manhattan and Brooklyn as part of a grand scale sculpture exhibit by 83-year-old bicycle-loving Mexico City artist Gilberto Aceves Navarro. He first created the cycle themed sculpture exhibit entitled "Las Bicicletas" in his hometown with the stated goal of celebrating both art and bike riding. Supported financially by the Parks Department and the DOT (Dept. of Transportation) the public art installation can be seen all over lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, with many strategically installed near the Citi Bike share racks. More detailed info.

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DJ Set For Peace Comes at a Much Needed Time

Posted by Billyjam, July 21, 2014 03:18pm | Post a Comment
Introduction to Peace One Day 2014

The upcoming DJ SetForPeace, scheduled for September 21st during Peace One Day, could not be better timed considering all of the unrest that is going on in the world right now with, sadly, no signs of slowing down. The informal yet well received global anti-war campaign that encourages "DJs uniting around the world to raise awareness of peace day" is a part of Peace One Day which was begun 15 years ago by Jeremy Gilley (see video above), whose goal was simple - how about peace for just one day out of the year? - with September 21st being that day of the year. Gilley's organization Peace One Day’s objective is to "institutionalize Peace Day" and he contends that its campaigns and activities have proven that the message of the day actually does carry weight and has had a positive impact with powers that be cooling off for that one day.

Akon will headline Peace One Day celebration at Goma International Airport on September 21st. Regarding the DJ SetForPeace role in the overall Peace One Day it is a coalition adding to the overall goal of the day. Not just DJs, but also producers, and MCs are encouraged to play a Set for Peace on Peace One Day, 21st September which this year falls on a Sunday - a good day for music, and for peace.  "In a club, at a festival, in a park or in your own home, you can use the power of music to bring people together in the name of peace," encourage the organizers. "By dedicating your set, you are telling the world about Peace Day and encouraging positive action in homes, schools and communities." To get directly involved click hereinfo on Set For Peace, and for general information click here.

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