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TROUBLE THE WATER FILMMAKERS CARL DEAL & TIA LESSIN INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, August 24, 2009 12:16pm | Post a Comment


The most accurately profound observation in the trailer above for Trouble The Water -- the award winning documentary about Hurricane Katrina -- is the statement that the disaster that happened this time four years ago, "is not about a hurricane. It's about America." The movie screens for free in LA at 8pm this evening (Monday 8/24) as the launch of the new series -- Amoeba's Monday Movies @ Space15Twenty. Amoeba will be selling the DVD at the screening tonight, though it is not due in stores till Aug 25! Click here for more info on the screening. It is an important film; as the last subject in the trailer from the Trouble The Waterfilm points out, "Katrina is still going on" in this country's treatment of its poor and underprivaleged.

In the four years since Katrina there have been many portrayals of the this American tragedy both produced for the screen and published as the written word, including Spike Lee's wonderful HBO documentary When The Levees Broke (also available on DVD at Amoeba). But most of the stories told relied on photos or film footage recorded either after the fact or from afar -- including the numerous aerial shots of the devastating hurricane's aftermath. In contrast, Trouble The Water offers footage shot from the inside, from the ground (or water, to be speciific) by two victims of Katrina: the husband and wife team Scott and Kimberly Roberts of New Orleans' Ninth Ward district, who captured their amazing survival tale on video.

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PHOTOSYNTHESIS FESTIVAL 2.0

Posted by Billyjam, August 23, 2009 11:17am | Post a Comment


Photosynthesis Festival 2.0. @ Trout Lake, WA (August 2009)

I always jump at any opportunity to travel and explore new places, and to check out innovative new ideas, especially when music and good friends are involved. So when my crewmates in OkiZoo -- the hip-hop band that I was a member of when living in Japan up til about four years ago and am still a member of even though we are now scattered all over -- invited me to meet them two weekends ago in Seattle, Washington with the purpose of joining them in a performance at the still burgeoning Photosynthesis Festival 2.0. festival at Trout Lake, August 7 - 10, I was on the first plane out west from Maryland.

To be honest, I knew little about this festival, which began last year but my crewmates had told me that the lineup included the headliners Amon Tobin, Daedelus, and Kid Koala and that the festival was pretty unique in a summer filled with music themed festivals all around the US. The organizers behind the event are coming from a strictly DIY philosophy and say that the festival's goal is to "take your dreams, ideas and skills and weave them into nature, music, art, and education. The goal is a sustainable community where everyone is simultaneously the student and teacher." The hope for this second year of the North West fest was to "focus on sustainability through permaculture, renewable energy, water conservation, holistic healing, waste reduction, and wild crafting," and it seemed like they accomplished this, pretty much, although the turnout of about 2000 for such a really wonderful event was less than I thought it deserved.

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AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP WEEKLY ROUND UP: 08:21:09

Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2009 06:26pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Six: 08:21:09 (c/o Luis)
Gas Mask Colony
1) Gas Mask Colony Genuine Masters of Ceremony (Gurp City)

2) The Boy Boy Young Mess Prices On My Head Vol. 2 (Click Clack Records)

3) J-Billion The Beautiful Loser (Risky Bizness Productions)

4) Kaz-Well FIsh Outta Water (Tape Vault Records)

5) Heliocentrics Fallen Angels (Now Again)

6) Slaughterhouse self-titled (E1 Entertainment)

As my man Luis @ Amoeba Music San Francisco points out in his quick run-down of the new hip-hop top six CDs of the week, two thirds are Bay Area homegrown releases, proving the Bay (and SF in particular these days) is in a most healthy and prolific state of rap creativity. In the number one chart position is Gurp City's own Gas Mask Colony with the brand new full-length Genuine Masters of Ceremony. Also repping the Bay is Messy Marv under his alias The Boy Boy Young Mess and his second installment in the mixtape series Prices On My Head (The Money On Yo Family) Vol 2 with an impressive lineup that includes guests Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Young Jeezy & Lil Webbie. Meantime, SF rap artist Kaz-Well -- self described “hip-hop geek" -- has a nice retro hip-hop feel to his brand new CD Fish Outta Water which, note, is titled exactly the same as the new release from SoCal hip-hopper Chali 2na. Great minds think alike, I guess.

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FUN WEEKEND HAPPENINGS IN THE BAY AREA

Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2009 02:27pm | Post a Comment
Paramount Theater
Once again, this weekend in the Bay Area there is a lot of really great, fun stuff happening; much of it is either quite affordable for any size wallet or else totally free, as in the case of the three recommended Bay Area Amoeba Music always-free instores this weekend, including the DJ Quest & the Horizons Unlimited/DJ Project showcase later tonight in SF and the two Jay Reatard instores at both Bay Amoeba locations, tomorrow and Sunday. 6pm is the start time for all Amoeba shows this weekend.

The historic Paramount Theater on Broadway near 20th in downtown Oakland is the finest preserved art deco building in California, and tonight (Friday, August 21) there will be a screening of the Alfred Hitchcock classic Rear Window. The film is a masterpiece, deserving of being fully appreciated on the big screen. The film tells the tale of wheelchair-bound photographer Jeff Jeffries' (James Stewart) peeking through binoculars into the windows of his Greenwich Village apartment neighbors while his girlfriend, Lisa Fremont, played by Grace Kelly, isn't so sure he should be spying. But then Jeff witnesses a murder -- or has he?

The Hitchcock film is a part of the ongoing but sporadic, budget priced Paramount Movie Classics series. I attended the last one in early July, a screening of the 3D horror flick Creature From The Black Lagoon, and it was so much fun -- especially when you go with a large group of people. Not to mention there's a mere $5 (cash only) entrance fee that includes the live Wurltizer organ serenade plus a raffle with a chance to win free prizes. Plus, there's the classic movie previews and historic newsreels. The turnout for that screening was so large that by about 7:50pm the theater had reached capacity and people were being turned away at the door, so get there with time to spare, especially if you are driving, since parking is scarce. Cycle or take BART to the 19th/Broadway stop one block away. Ticket box opens at 6pm. Doors open at 7pm. More info here.

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THIS AIN'T NO PICNIC VIDEO - MINUTEMEN Vs RONALD REAGAN

Posted by Billyjam, August 19, 2009 10:00am | Post a Comment
      
Minutemen "This Ain't No Picnic" (Double Nickles On The Dime, 1984 SST)

Until the other day when I accidentally stumbled upon the Minutemen's excellent video for their equally excellent song "This Ain't No Picnic," I had forgotten just how great this video was. The song, one of 45 Minutemen Double Nickles On The Dimebrilliant tracks off the SoCal band's flawless, four-sided 1984 release Double Nickles On The Dime (SST) -- an album that remains on my top five desert island discs all these years later -- was written reportedly by the late D. Boon out of frustration with his narrow minded employer at an auto parts store.

According to the recommended Michael Azerrad penned book Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 (Little Brown), which borrows its title from a Mike Watt (Minutemen) lyric, Boon, who was working at this Southern Cali auto parts store, had wanted to choose the music to listen to at his workplace and had flipped to an LA area jazz/soul radio station. However, his boss wouldn't allow him to, reportedly  calling the radio station's playlist "nigger shit." "His [Boon's] frustration fueled a Minutemen classic," wrote Azerrad in his 2001 book.

The Randall Jahnson directed video for the song (above) may have only cost a meager $600 to make, but regardless it still got some (albeit limted) airplay on MTV that year and even managed to be featured in the first ever VMAs (VIdeo Music Awards) by MTV the following year. Note that the Ronald Reagan (who was president at the time) war film footage was all copyright free to use since it was free public domain content. To have your own copy of this video, pick up the Minutemen documentary We Jam Econo at Amoeba Music, which features it as one of the DVD's bonus features. And, if you don't already own it, I highly recommend you buy the Minutemen's Double Nickles On The Dime album. It's a classic!
This Ain't No Picnic (D.Boon) lyrics

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