For this special installment in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog series I am presenting an array of videos and film excerpts that take you underground into the tunnels of the New York City subways - something that I have always been fascinated by from hearing tales from old school graffiti writers to photographers who follow them, to watching documentaries like Dark Days (with soundtrack by DJ Shadow). The video clips I've chosen include the above wonderful 2011 piece Undercity (New York City urban exploration) with daring urban explorer Steve Duncan and filmmaker Andrew Wonder. For more on these two adventurers' escapades visit undercity.org.
Below is a short excerpt from the aforementioned Dark Days as well as an excerpt from two other documentaries on the same subject of "mole people" - those who live underground in the train tunnels where they etch out little homes for themselves - Beneath by Katja Knoll and Subway Cops and The Mole Kings. The other video (immediately below) was done by the folks at WNYC radio during a legit (as distinguished from the unauthorized underground tour by Steve Duncan above) walking tour of an abandoned "lost subway tunnel" over in Brooklyn. For more info.
Everybody knows the story of New York and hip-hop, stresses Bas One (aka Bas-1), but the Bay Area story really needs to be told so for this edition of Hip Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I invited the longtime Bay Area hip-hop artist (left is cover art of his 2001 album For The Mentally Astute: Theory Of A Throw-Up) and hip-hop fan to take us back to the decade that he fell in love with hip-hop as a young guy growing up in the Bay with a passion for breaking and graf art, DJing and MCing - when it was all new and fresh. So I met up recently in Berkeley CA (off Telegraph Ave. - not far from Amoeba Music) to have Bas One do an exclusive interview for the Amoeblog Hip-Hop History series to share his memories and insights on hip-hop in the 1980's from a Bay Area perspective. In the above video interview, conducted on the Berkeley sidewalk in the late afternoon after the sun had just set and twilight was setting in, the ever knowledgeable hip-hopper for life takes it all the way back, recalling a myriad of things from the 80's in the Bay Area. Throughout the 14 minute interview he name checks such things as the Demons of The Mind break crew (AKA Medea Sirkas), the Royal Rockers breaking crew, CJ Flash, Dug-One (Doug Cunningham) and the TMF crew, DREAM and the TDK crew, Reaganomics, the crack epidemic, MC Hammer, and the long gone iconic "Oakland Is Proud" burner piece (see below and scroll over for more info) that was over by East 12th Street and was featured in a ton of music videos, photo shoots, and even in the opening credits of Mark Curry's sitcom Hangin' With Mr Cooper. The above Bas One video is well worth watching/listening to for fans of hip-hop in general, but especially those in the Bay Area.
East Bay history fans should make note that this afternoon at the OMCA (Oakland Museum of CA) there will be a premiere screening of Rick Prelinger's Lost Landscapes of Oakland, with live narration by the filmmaker, and followed by a Q+A session. This Oakland themed production is part of the writer/archivalist/filmmaker's ‘Lost Landscapes’ series of archival compilation films on the history of San Francisco (Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, eight annual films, 2006-2013, and Lost Landscapes of Detroit, three films, 2010-2012.) Today's East Bay themed presentation is about "highlighting the hidden histories of Oakland" with a montage of "rarely-seen film clips of life in Oakland, captured by amateurs, newsreel cameramen, and industrial filmmakers" according to OMCA curators. The fact that Prelinger will do accompanying live narration himself is an added bonus. Plus, like so many of the wonderful events that OMCA produces, this too further breaks down that wall between exhbiti and museum goer. Those who attend today will undoubtedly be mostly local residents who know Oakland and the East Bay first hand. They are encouraged to participate and share stories about their own memories of Oakland and the East Bay. Event from 3pm to 5pm. All ages. Admission to screening/lecture included in general museum admission. More info