Posted by Billyjam, October 5, 2009 04:04am | Post a Comment

Ukrainian sand animation artist Ksenya Simonova, who came to fame in her country via an American Idol styled TV show, has been taking her country by storm -- even moving people to tears -- with her unique handmade sand art, which she creates live as a kind of requiem to those who died during the Great Patriotic War. As in the video clip above, her real time public performances of sand animation are typically made up of Simonova swiftly hand crafting various war images, quickly morphing from one tragic image to the next, all to the accompaniment of a somber soundtrack of classical & traditional music plus soundbites of wartime news footage.

Working with a mixture of regular sea sand and volcanic sand, all spread out on a glass pane as canvas, Simonova uses her hands to craft her engaging moving stories. At the end of each dramatic live art performance consisting of tales of death and destruction she blows out a votive candle. Usually at this point audience members are seen tearing up. Surprisingly, Simonova, who is also a part time model, only took up the unusual art form (she is only one of a handful of such artists -- the others are from an older generation) just one year ago after becoming a victim of the credit crunch. Reportedly her next project will be a Michael Jackson themed live art installation piece.


Posted by Billyjam, October 4, 2009 04:00am | Post a Comment

"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (from Yellow Submarine)

Lucy O'Donnell, the real-life 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,' who was a childhood friend of John Lucy O Donnell lucy in the sky with diamondsLennon's son Julian, died from lupus this past week. Lucy Vodden (her name after marriage) was 46 years old and had suffered for fifteen years from lupus, the disease of the immune system that has no cure. The treacherous malady, which also took the life of hip-hop producer J-Dilla, causes the body to attack its own cells.

The story of Lucy (“the girl with kaleidoscope eyes") becoming the inspiration for The Beatles' 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album track goes back to when a four year old Lucy, who was a classmate of young Julian Lennon's at the Heath House Nursery in Weybridge, Surrey, had another classmate at the nursery paint a picture of her surrounded by stars and colorful squiggles.The story goes thasgt pepper's lonely hearts club bandt Julian took this picture home and showed it to his dad, telling him, “It’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds..." And the rest is pop music history.

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Posted by Billyjam, October 2, 2009 11:40am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Weekly Chart: 10:02:09
drake so far gone
1) Jay-Z The Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation/Atlantic)

2) Kid Cudi Man On The Moon: The End of Day (Motown / Pgd)

3) Drake So Far Gone (Cash Money)

4) Brother Ali Us (Rhymesayers)

5) Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Links Pt II (ICEAL)

Five of the big hip-hop releases from over the past few weeks are still selling well at Amoeba Music Hollywood this week, including Jay-Z's final installment in his Blueprint trilogy, Kanye West protege Kid Cudi's debut, and Cash Money's newest star Drake. Also doing well are Only Built 4 Cuban Links Pt II by Wu Tang member Raekwon and the new joint from the RhymesayersBrother Ali, which was number one at the San Francisco Amoeba last week. Other tight new hip-hop releases include the brand new The Day After Forever (Gold Dust) by Bay Area crew Crown City Rockers, which has great tracks such as "Clap Your Hands" (feat. Aima) and "That's Life" (featuring Jason Jasper). Tonight there's an album release party for the album at The Independent in San Francisco that will be hosted by Lyrics Born along with DJ D-Sharp and, of course, Crown City Rockers performing. And if that ain't enough, they will be joined by LA’s Breakestra, whose new album Dusk Til Dawn is also just out, and Spaceheater (Blast Furnace is also just out). Tickets $20. Doors 8pm. More info here
Souls of Mischeif
Speaking of undeniably great Bay Area hip-hop talent, the Souls Of Mischief just launched a big worldwide tour and have also just released a track from their forthcoming Prince Paul produced new album, Montezuma's Revenge. The corresponding "Montezuma's Revenge Tour '09" consists of 35 stops in six weeks, including Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, and LA, where the group played the Troubadour two nights ago. They play Slims in San Francisco on October 20th (with Ghostface) and the Avalon in San Jose the following night. Prince Paul plays on select dates with the longtime Oakland Hiero crew, comprised of emcees A-Plus, Opio, Phesto, and Tajai. So does Swollen Members. Montezuma's Revenge will arrive in Ameoba Music and other stores on November 10th on their Hiero Imperium RecorThemselvesds.

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Posted by Billyjam, October 1, 2009 01:20am | Post a Comment
creating rem lezar

Easily the hands down winner in the "so bad it's good" category is the above clip from the ultra cheesy late 80's "children's musical" film Creating Rem Lezar, in which Rem and friends (channeling Godspell?) sing, dance & prance their way through Central Park and other parts of New York City.

This clip and the others from Creating Rem Lezar, including the one in which a mannequin of Rem comes to life and then, donning a blue mullet, sings two kids to sleep, are so bad and so wrong on so many levels, and yet, for some strange reason, they are addictive viewing. 

Written, directed, produced and choreographed by Scott Zakarin and made in 1989, Creating Rem Lezar went straight to video but never made it as far as DVD. Recently rediscovered thanks to YouTube, this hard to find VHS is much coveted and apparently fetches $50 or more online. Meantime you can view numerous clips from it on YouTube, found under titles like "bad 80's video" or "Worse 80's video."


Posted by Billyjam, September 30, 2009 06:00am | Post a Comment

Last week, while visiting the San Francisco Amoeba Music store, standing in the hip-hop aisle gazing at its thousands upon thousands of vinyl and CD titles I found myself drooling in awe. The seemingly endless Amoeba Music San Franciscoselection is like an encyclopedia of hip-hop, which is what I mentioned to Luis (the store's hip-hop buyer), who offered to do a quick run-through video tour (above) of Amoeba SF's truly amazing hip-hop section for those who have not recently or ever visited the Haight Street store. This section offers the most comprehensive Bay Area rap selection (including tons of DVD titles) I have ever seen -- thanks in large part to Luis, who really knows and cares about the Bay's homegrown hip-hop flava.

One aisle over from hip-hop is the soul / r&b section and it is damn good, too, with an exhaustive selection of soul from the very latest back to the classics of bygone decades. In that section I ran into Dr. Goldstein of Free Gold Watch (the nearby Haight district store that makes some of Amoeba's T-shirts and was featured on the Amoeblog last week) and knowing his love for both soul and Amoeba I asked if he would do a quick run through tour of the Amoeba SF soul section. He obliged (video below) and made the very good point, especially in these MP3 happy days, about how when you buy a CD or record you are getting an artifact -- not to mention much higher quality audio.

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