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DREAM Day 2016 Attracted Aerosol Art Fans Of All Ages, & Further Fueled Legacy of Legendary Late West Coast Street Art Pioneer

Posted by Billyjam, August 25, 2016 10:45pm | Post a Comment

It may be sixteen and half years since the death of Mike "DREAM" Francisco, but the dream and legacy of this widely beloved pioneering East Bay artist/activist is more alive than ever. This fact was made abundantly clear at last Saturday's DREAM Day 2016 at the Greenpeace Yards in West Oakland.

Organized by friends and family, notably DJ Willie Maze and DREAM's brother Lil' John Francisco, the annual heartfelt homage to DREAM celebrates the life and legacy of the Bay Area aerosol art pioneer who has become a bona fide Bay Area legend.  That most refer to him as "King DREAM" demonstrates just how revered he is by so many today. 

DREAM was equally artist and activist.  A pioneering figure in Bay Area graffiti history, DREAM was first and foremost a down-to-earth, real good person. He was instantly likable, always sharing and giving props to others, never ungrateful, but readily displaying his passion for hip-hop in all its elements, and for justice in his community. If DREAM were alive today he would be active in Oakland in the fight against injustices.  Back in the summer of 1992, DREAM and Plan B (murdered a month later) were at a Spice-1 video shoot where they painted a big "NO JUSTICE NO PEACE" piece for the East Bay rapper's Jive Records single "Welcome To The Ghetto." The following year DREAM, with other artists, continued the theme via the "No Justice No Peace" art exhibit at the Pro Arts Gallery in Downtown Oakland. The message of that 1993 Oakland art exhibit titled "No Justice No Peace" exhibit? "The problems that go on in our community, as far as East Oakland and any other ghetto out there. You deal with police brutality. You deal with the oppression by the city and by the government. You deal with that all the time," said DREAM in an interview with Melinda Bell at the time.

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Toots Thielemans [1923 - 2016]

Posted by Billyjam, August 22, 2016 08:00pm | Post a Comment

Earlier today 94 year old jazz harmonica artist Toots Thielmans died. Reportedly the Belgian born passed peacefully in his Belgian hospital bed where he'd been since last month with a shoulder injury following a fall. "Toots" was born Jean-Baptiste Frederic Isidore Thielemans in 1923 in Belgium. He arrived in America in 1952  joining Charlie Parker's All Star band. In the years since he would collaborate with such artists as Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. Quincy Jones called Toots Thielemans "one of the greatest musicians of our time."

To many Toots will forever be remembered as the harmonica player on his Sesame Street theme (audio below). There is much more including such scores as "Midnight Cowboy," "Sugarland Express," and ''The Getaway," A passionate lifelong musician he was performing up until just a couple of years ago. The aptly named Toots 90 video below of him & ensemble doing John Barry's "Midnight Cowboy" is from only four years ago when he was already 90 years of age. Next month in the Belgium town of La `Hulpe, that he grew up in, a jazz festival in his name has been long planned.  

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DREAM DAY 2016: Celebrating Life & Legacy of Mike "DREAM" Francisco [1969 - 2000]

Posted by Billyjam, August 19, 2016 03:10pm | Post a Comment

It is now sixteen and a half years since internationally revered, pioneering Bay Area street artist Mike "DREAM" Francisco was senselessly murdered in Oakland CA. But both the positive influence and the iconic status of the beloved artist/activist & integral part of Bay Area hip-hop history from the 80's up until his death in February 2000, has grown substantially in the years since. This is thanks in part to his family and friends keeping his legacy alive via such things as the annual DREAM DAY celebrations that have taken place every year since his tragic death. DREAM would have celebrated his 47th birthday this week. These annual tributes to DREAM have taken place thanks to the tireless committed efforts (nearly two decades later) of such dedicated folks as Mike's brother John Francisco, and DJ WillieMaze of the longtime Local1200 turntable crew.  In fact WillieMaze was the one instrumental in accomplishing in getting the DreamDay Proclamation passed through the City of Oakland. Following him investing his time and patience wading through all the red tape, finally six years ago, the City of Oakland officially proclaimed every February 17th "Dream Day."  That bittersweet date is when DREAM was murdered in Oakland back in 2000 during a random armed robbery on San Pablo Ave. A few years ago OPD solved DREAM's murder when they arrested two guys from West Oakland (both were pretty young at the time of the crime) who are each currently serving 25-to-life sentences in prison.

Mistah F.A.B. Salutes Mac Dre In Music Video Homage To Slain Bay Area Rap Icon: "Still Feelin' It"

Posted by Billyjam, August 17, 2016 11:45am | Post a Comment

Mistah F.A.B. has just published his new music video homage to Mac Dre, "Still Feelin' It" featured on the Oakland rap star's latest album Son of a Pimp 2 that arrived in Amoeba back in late May.  For the production of the heartfelt video homage to the iconic Vallejo rapper, who was killed in Kansas in 2004, his production crew set up cameras both by the big Mac Dre mural at Foothill near High St. in Oakland (one of several in the Bay), as well as during the June 11th Mac Dre Art Show in Oakland produced by local artist Street Bleach. Meanwhile much of the rest of the partly crowd-sourced music video  features an entertaining series of brief home-video clips of diehard Mac Dre fans enthusiastically dancing Thizz style and throwing up the trademark T sign in tribute to the so-called Thizzard of Oz.. "I made a PSA and asked for small clips of Mac Dre fans dancing to the song, and the response was overwhelming," explained Mistah F.A.B. of how these fan parts of the video production evolved. That overwhelming response confirmed what F.A.B. already knew about the love that Mac Dre continues to command with rap fans everywhere.

"[It's] a real testament to his lasting legacy and the love people still have for him. Everyone surrounding him could relate to him. He was a voice of the underworld, but also incredibly charismatic and an energy of fun," said Mistah F.A.B. whose rise to fame during the Bay Area's bygone Hyphy Movement can be attributed in great part to Mac Dre who spearheaded the regional rap musical movement.  The 2016 Mistah F.A.B. song "Still Feelin' It" (video below) is a play on the 2004 Mac Dre hit single "Feelin' Myself" (found on the album Ronald Dregan For President 2004: Dreganomics). The Mistah F.A.B. track is brimming with Mac Dre cross references such as "I'm still tryin' to find out, who's Nancy Von Chillinwich?!" "Still Feelin' It" is just one of 21 tracks on the latest, long overdue Mistah F.A.B. star-studded, album Son of a Pimp 2 whose long list of impressive collaborators (local and national) includes Kendrick Lamar, E-40, G-Eazy, Too $hort, ScHoolboy Q, and Bun B.

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January 2000 Amoeba Music Magazine Ad Harks Back to A Different Time

Posted by Billyjam, August 16, 2016 10:20pm | Post a Comment

Sixteen and a half years ago the above Amoeba Music magazine print ad was published, right at the beginning of the new century. In one respect it's not long ago but in another it is a whole other time period in many ways. Hence this ad is a historic capsule that captures a bygone era in terms of the music industry, technology and Amoeba Music itself. This was still almost two full years before the Hollywood Amoeba Music store would open in November 2001 (see pic left).

It was also before this Amoeba Music website, that you are currently reading, became an important entity and integral part of Amoeba's distribution of music and information. Telling is that the Amoeba ad does not even include a URL web address, just street addresses and phone numbers. Noticeable also is that the ad was for CDs only. In the relatively short time since then vinyl has undergone a real resurgence while CDs have dropped in popularity with music collectors.

Prepared in the final weeks of 1999, it appeared in the January 2000 issue of Flyer SF which like so many print publications, once staples of the music industry, is long gone.  The ad filled the fold-out center pages of the pocketbook size zine that specialized in San Francisco club listings and reviews of related music. The print ad promoted an Amoeba in-store sale of various hip-hop and beat driven music by Jazzanova, Dieselboy, DJ Kicks, Blackalicious and also various artists on the Quannum and Solesides compilations that included DJ Shadow, Lateef the Truth Speaker, and Lyrics Born.

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