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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

AMOEBA INSTORE SERIES SHOWCASE JAY REATARD'S LOVE OF PUNK

Posted by Billyjam, August 18, 2009 07:30am | Post a Comment
Jay Reatard - "It Ain't Gonna Save Me" off Watch Me Fall (Matador, 2009)

Anyone who rushes to write off Jay Reatard's music as unoriginal or derivative of punk's past is missing the whole point of the supertalented, highly profilic artist with a love of Lo-Fi recordings. His anticipated new record Watch Me Fall on Matador comes out today and at 6pm today Reatard will play Amoeba Music Hollywood in his first of three Amoeba Music free in-stores. The other two Amoeba parts of Reatard's Indie Record Store Tour are Saturday at Amoeba San Francisco and Sunday at Amoeba Berkeley -- both at 6pm.

Born Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr., Memphis, TN's Jay Reatard has long been a huge fan of punk and post Jay Reatard Watch Me Fallpunk, especially the type with pop driven chord progressions that you can scream at the top of your lungs along with, as you can tell from listening to his numerous recordings under The Reatards and other names he has played under. It's like he totally absorbs punk's rich, robust past and spews it out with reinvigorated delight in stage shows that have have become so legendary they have threatened to overshadow the music itself, as mentioned last week in the wonderful Amoeblog Jay Reatard Amoeba Instore Tour post!

But, getting back to Jay Reatard's music, which at once sounds new yet totally familiar to anyone who has been a fan of punk and power pop punk over the years, the artist has said time and again that he has a deep passion for where music has come from and is merely putting his spin on it. Most recently, in an interview with Mike Rubin published two days ago in the New York Times, Reatard summed it up best when he said, "The whole concept for me behind pop music is to take your influences and filter them through yourself, and then they become something new. I’m not trying to move forward and create territory that hasn’t been mined before, I’m just trying to do my version of something that I like.”

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DO THE RIGHT THING, 20 SUMMERS LATER

Posted by Billyjam, August 17, 2009 05:37pm | Post a Comment
Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing ("Race Rant" scene) (1989)

I invite you to rewind two full decades, back twenty summers ago to the summer of 1989 when the hottest movie with the hottest soundtrack was Spike Lee's film Do The Right Thing featuring Public Enemy's "Fight The Power." It debuted in theaters that summer and caused some controversy at the time for its do the right thingno- holds-barred portrayal of ethnic and racial tensions in the multi-ethnic (Black, Puerto Rican, Italian, Korean, white) New York borough in which the film was set.

Do The Right Thing (Lee's fourth movie) was written, produced, and directed by the ATL born, Brooklyn raised filmmaker who also acts in the film (he plays Mookie). The highly recommended film, available on DVD at Amoeba Music, is set on the hottest day of the year (kind of like the weather in NYC this week, with humid highs in the mid 90's) on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant (aka Bed-Stuy) section of Brooklyn. That day, the flames of everyone's emotions and prejudices are fanned and fanned until they finally explode into violence. The film makes the strong point that violence -- no matter how tempting to those being oppressed -- really doesn't offer any long term solutions to the problems at hand.

With a solid story line and a strong cast that includes Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, Samuel L Jackson (he plays the DJ at end of the "race rant" scene in clip above), Robin Harris, Martin Lawrence, and Rosie Perez (the latter two making their big screen debuts), the film struck a nerve with both critics and film-goers. It was a box office success and remains one of Lee's best movies to date. Ten years ago the United States Library of Congress deemed the film to be "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

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REST IN POWER MIKE DREAM FRANCISCO - 40th BIRTHDAY

Posted by Billyjam, August 15, 2009 03:55pm | Post a Comment
Mike "DREAM" Francisco 1993 interview @ No Justice, No Peace art opening

Exactly forty years ago today, August 15th 1969, Mike "DREAM" Francisco was born. But instead of what should have been a landmark birthday celebration today, this August 15th is just another sad reminder to those loved ones and friends and fans of the late, great Bay Area graffiti artist of how Mike "DREAM" Francisco's life was prematurely, senselessly halted nine years ago. On February 17th, 2000 on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, DREAM was gunned down and killed, the victim of a random street robbery.  Mike DREAM Francisco

Not only was DREAM (or "King Dream," as he is referred to by many) a gifted and prolific artist, with a passion for hip-hop -- having collaborated with countless hip-hoppers, including Hobo Junction over the years -- but he was also a most outspoken individual, one concerned about his community, and one never afraid to speak out against the ills of society.

Had DREAM been allowed to live today, you can bet he would have been at the front of the protests against the murder of Oscar Grant by BART police earlier this year. In fact, in 1993 he was one of the featured artists in the anti police brutality show No Justice, No Peace at downtown Oakland's Pro Arts Gallery. Above is a rare interview with DREAM at the opening of that show by A Debonair Affair's Melinda Bell which, despite the poor audio quality, gives you a great insight into the kind of person DREAM was: down-to-earth, fun, & witty, but also most passionate about his beliefs. I first met DREAM around 1990 and was instantly struck by what a genuinely good spirited and generous person he was, always upbeat and interested in what others had to say. But what is perhaps most profound about the DREAM interview above is how he defines what "reality" means to some people, like himself, as  "to brothers like us reality is watching people die on the streets everyday!"

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