Amoeblog

INAUGURATION LIKE ROCK CONCERT, REVIVAL, & POLITICAL RALLY

Posted by Billyjam, January 22, 2009 02:00pm | Post a Comment

I'm really not an early riser. I sure don't like the cold. And I certainly don't care for standing around for hours on end in freezing temperatures after getting out of bed really early and without enough sleep. But on Tuesday this week in Washington DC I gladly put aside all of these personal disinclinations to be on the National Mall for the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama

Sure it was uncomfortably cold as I waited, standing in the one spot for five long hours in frigid temperatures after being up since 4AM. Not only that but, like the majority of the other people that crammed all the way from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol Building on Tuesday, I didn't even catch a firsthand glimpse of the miniature faraway figure of Barack Obama on the steps of the Capitol Building. Instead I only got to see him (and everything else) on one of the many JumboTrons that were set up along the National Mall. But none of these temporary, uncomfortable inconveniences mattered one iota to me or seemingly to anyone else who had gathered in the numbingly cold pre-dawn to late morning hours patiently waiting for the historic ceremony to begin. It was all well worth it.


While varying reports I have read estimated Tuesday's turnout to be anywhere from 1.5 to 2 million, all seem to agree that it was a landmark event with a stunning turnout. Consider in comparison that for the last inauguration, George W Bush's second in January 2005, that a mere 100,000 showed up, and many of them were protesters. Meanwhile, for this year's inauguration festivities an estimated 10,000 charter buses, packed with revelers from as far away as Chicago and California, descended upon Washington for Tuesday's events and the couple of days leading up to it. So crazy were the numbers arriving in the nation's capitol that not only were all hotels in the DC area completely booked (many reportedly jacking their rates way up in a direct correlation to demand) but hotels up to a three hour drive in all directions out of DC were also booked up. One guy told me how his friend had rented out his DC apartment for $2000 for a night. In fact, get this, even all the campgrounds in the greater DC area were all booked up, and trust me, this is not camping weather on the East Coast. Many, like me, were lucky to have friends living in the DC/Maryland/Virginia areas who they could stay with.

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MACWORLD EXPO REPORT BY CAPTAIN FRED

Posted by Billyjam, January 19, 2009 03:43pm | Post a Comment
macworld 2009
This year's Macworld Expo, every Mac-head’s favorite trade show, was unfortunately a bit of a downer. Steve Jobs was too sick to give his traditional keynote address. There were no really groundbreaking products to announce (iLife 09-yawn), and an overall tone of austerity. 

Most of the exhibitors were not giving away any free stuff, and the ones that did have free stuff seemed kind of cheap. There were a few cool booths at the show.  Probably the The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus was the most impressive.  A fully loaded Greyhound type bus with digital audio and video studios built into it. They visit about 200 high schools a year and teach kids how to produce a CD or DVD. Check out their website.

I saw a huge amount of iPhone and iPod related stuff: little jackets and wallets for the gadgets, speakers to amplify the tiny amount of sound coming from these devices. There are about 10,000 “apps” for the iPhone and iPod Touch now; an amazing selection of software. One of them turns your iPod into a whoopy cushion. Yipee! Truphone (marketed as "a free application that lets you make international mobile calls from your own phone over the internet at incredibly low rates") has a free app that turns your iPod Touch into a VoIP phone when you’re near a wi-fi network. 

Myvu has little video eyeglasses that display the video from your iPod -- probably not a good idea to use these when you’re walking or driving around. A company called Solio makes compact solar power devices that can charge up your unit on the go. The one company doing something really different for Mac users was Axiotron. They turn your Macbook into a tablet computer with a touch screen. Of course, it’s very expensive.  The Macbook is about $1400 and then another $1400 to convert it into a “modbook.” Ouch! One piece of software I have loaded onto my Mac is Wiretap Anywhere. Basically it takes the audio from any source coming into your computer and makes it available to your audio recording software. Grab the audio off YouTube or MySpace or some internet radio station...whatever! Supposedly, PC users have had this capability for a while, but now it’s here for us Mac users.

So, all in all, it was a day well spent at Macworld. Supposedly, Apple, Inc. will not participate in the Expo anymore. That seems kind of sad. Hopefully, it’s just a ploy for them to control the event more to their liking. In any case, there are more Mac users every day, as people get tired of Microsoft and their lame products, so to those of you who just bought your first Mac, I say, “Welcome!”                          

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BIGGIE'S BIG SCREEN BIOPIC: NOTORIOUS

Posted by Billyjam, January 18, 2009 03:39am | Post a Comment
notorious
Biggie's the word this weekend. Biggie Smalls, aka The Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher Wallace but more commonly known as Big Poppa), whose big screen biopic, the George Tillman Jr. directed Notorious arrived in theaters nationwide on Friday to across-the-board deserved good reviews. Biggie Smalls, who has been named the greatest rapper of all time by many, including The Source magazine, has never been my personal favorite emcee (I like him, sure, but always felt he was way overrated and that there are many far better skilled lyricists out there), but I still really enjoyed this film and give it a 3 out of 5 rating. I like most movies dealing with hip-hop, especially a well filmed and acted one like this, even if it doesn't delve as deep in some areas as I would have liked it to have gone.

In a nutshell Notorious is the tale of a drug dealer from the rough and tumble, do-or-die, Bed-Stuy district of Brooklyn, a man of girth with a wandering eye for the ladies but ever respectful of his moms. This man rises to fame (thanks to a shrewd fella named Puffy) and become a world renowned hip-hop recording artist, all the while rapping in his unique flow about the street life that he just left behind. Within his way-too-short life, during which he only got to see the release of one of his albums, he famously got into a beef with the West Coast artist/one-time friend Tupac Shakur (played by Anthony Mackie) that spiraled out of proportion to become the center of the (media fueled) East vs West coast rap feud. And in March, 1997 at the young age of 24, Biggie was tragically shot and killed in LA while leaving a party, his unsolved murder coming exactly six months after 2Pac's murder in Las Vegas.

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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 01:15:09

Posted by Billyjam, January 15, 2009 07:44pm | Post a Comment

The new year is already off to a good start with lots of exciting brand new material dropping, or about to drop, such as P.O.S. (the unique Minneapolis Rhymesayers' emcee with the punk rock past), who will be releasing his anticipated new album Never Better on Rhymesayers Entertainment in two weeks (in Amoeba Music on Feb 3rd). I have only heard snippets off of the album so far, but they sound as good as I expected. The record was reportedly entirely written by P.O.S. while in a moving car and hence, I am told, it conjures "get-away cars, racing chariots, the pursuit of sirens, and the occasional rueful nighttime drive."  I believe it based on his powerful past output.

P.O.S.'s last album, 2006's Audition, also on Rhymesayers, was one of the most innovative hip-hop albums of that year and perfectly melded the urgent energy and sonic assault of my two favorite genres, hip-hop and punk rock. Not too surprisingly, then, P.O.S. (or Stef, as they call him at the dinner table) has been invited on the Vans Warped Tour in the past, and will be on the road once again this summer for the 2009 Warped Tour. He is always a crowd favorite.

In the meantime the artist will be doing his own national solo tour starting next month in support of Never Better, with Cali dates in the first week of the tour, including a show at San Francisco's Bottom of the Hill on Monday, Feb 9th and the following night, Tuesday, Feb 10th, in LA at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. Expect an Amoeblog interview with the artist that same week. Scroll down to end of article to hear Never Better's first single, "Goodbye."

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SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE PROVES THAT "MAYBE IT IS WRITTEN"

Posted by Billyjam, January 14, 2009 02:46pm | Post a Comment

Between George W. Bush about to (finally) leave office and Slumdog Millionaire scooping up all those awards at the Golden Globes the other night, 2009 is already shaping up to be a great year, one with change for the better. 

Both events prove that sometimes good does overcome all, even in America. In the case of the Danny Boyle-directed Slumdog Millionaire's deserved four Golden Globes awards (not to mention its inevitable upcoming Oscar wins next month), it is a refreshing reminder that, even when you have given up hope, that a truly original piece of art can triumph in the face of all odds and get mainstream acceptance. To paraphrase one of the film's stars Dev Patel (who plays the 18 year old Jamal), "Maybe it is written" that sometimes the underdog can win.

If you haven't seen this movie already, get thee to a theater today or this weekend. It's so good and satisfying on so many levels, and is hands-down the best movie of the past year (far better than even Milk, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Gran Torino, and The Wrestler -- all really great films in their own right) and hence the most deserved winner of any recent era Golden Globes that I can recall. slumdog millionaireAnd while the story description, the tale of a boy from the Mumbai slums who reaches the final round of the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire with Bollywood vet Anil Kapoor playing the Indian Regis Philbin as host, is accurate, it really doesn't capture the true essence of this great film, which, at its core, is a traditional Hollywood (and/or Bollywood) rags-to-riches/love-story.

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