Posted by Billyjam, August 5, 2009 07:56pm | Post a Comment

Thanks to Tom McQuown at Amoeba Music Berkeley for schooling me on the historic night the above clip featuring the late Allen GInsberg is taken from. It was a June 11, 1965 performance at London's Royal Albert Hall and the large venue sold out all of its 7000 seats-- an amazing accomplishment for a spoken word/poetry event. In addition to Ginsberg, the performance, which was billed as the International Poetry Incarnation, attracted a wide variety of important figures at the time, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti, William Burroughs, Michael Horovitz, Tom McGrath and Adrian Mitchell. The performance was recorded by Peter Whitehead, who documented the event on film and released it as Wholly Communion, which is where the above video clip came from. Two years ago the film was released on DVD in the UK under the title Wholly Communion and & The Endless Reinvention of the 1960's, which also includes Whitehead's 1967 documentary Benefit of the Doubt.

As Amoeba's McQuown related, what was most amazing about the night was how it became such a happening, bringing together all these people in London in 1965 who never saw themselves as a collective up til this point. "It was a time when a lot of people who didn't necessarily know each other showed up at this poetry event but they started to recognize each other. They might have seen each other at other art or poetry happenings or at an early Pink Floyd show. But this night kind of solidifed things and people started to realize that they were all connected and all part of a scene," said McQuown. Not surprisingly, a copious amount of mind altering drugs, not to mention a lot of booze, was consumed that evening by those in the audience and on stage and hence some of the performances were a little sloppy. But none of that mattered for the "wholly communion" that took place that night 44 years ago.


Posted by Billyjam, August 3, 2009 11:45pm | Post a Comment

The only regret I had after Sunday night's amazing Amoebapalooza at the Mezzanine in SF was that I hadn't managed to attend any of the previous years Amoebapaloozas. Amoebapalooza is what we call the yearly concert event in which Amoebites (Amoeba staffers) get up on stage and perform their music, some with officially formed bands and others with groups that form primarily for this anticipated annual event.  

Amoebapalooza North '09, which combined Amoebites from both the SF and Berkeley stores, offered amazing musicianship from a richly diverse array of artists who not only killed it on stage but did so in tightly paced, abbreviated sets, and with the quickest set changes between bands that I have ever witnessed.

Be sure to keep an eye on the Amoeba website, including the Amoeblog, and also the Amoeba Flickr site, over the next several days for more reviews and photos of Sunday night's event. Everyone who attended this year's blast was clearly having a really good time! "This year by bringing the two stores together we stepped up our game and it really paid off," commented Amoeba marketing/promotions point person Naomi, who was instrumental in putting on Amoebapalooza, scheduling it at the wonderful downtown San Francisco nightclub. "Having it this year at an excellent venue like Mezzanine, with its top notch sound system really helped showcase the talent that we have at Amoeba," she noted.

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2009 US DMC Finals: 1) DJ Shiftee 2) Mista B 3) DJ Shmeeze

Posted by Billyjam, August 2, 2009 01:23pm | Post a Comment

dj shiftee
1st - DJ Shiftee

2nd - Mista-B

3rd - DJ Shmeeze

Yesterday's DMC 2009 US Finals at Santos House in New York CIty was a great experience for me. The winner was DJ Shiftee from New York; second place was San Francisco DJ Mista B; and third place was DJ Shmeeze from Fountain Valley in Southern California.

But I must say, beyond these three official winners, all of the DJ's that participated yesterday were winners as far as I am concerned. I really enjoyed everyone's routines. And despite the hiccups that happened such as humming coming out of the sound system, or simply a DJ's needle skipping, the event was a big success. I may have arrived at the battle a little late because of traffic congestion on the wack ass New Jersey Turnpike, but I still got there in time to witness the turntablist heaven that was this year's DMC finals.

And once again DJ Red Alert hosted the battle and Lord Finesse was providing the tunes. It was my first time hearing Lord Finesse on the turns, and he did a pretty damn good job keeping the crowd alive during one of the breaks during the competition.  Red Alert kept the crowd laughing and hyped up just a bit throughout the night. I wonder what's in the "Poo Poo" juice he kept on drinking all night? The crowd turnout was pretty good, as I saw a lot of people from the next generation of Hip Hop heads. There were a few youngsters in their early teens in attendance as well.

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Posted by Billyjam, August 1, 2009 10:23am | Post a Comment
All City Jam - Dublin, 2009 c/o Gwame

Amoeblog: How did the concept for your store come about and what is the history of it, for those who may know nothing of All City here in the heart of Dublin, Ireland's capital?
O.B: It just stems from the four elements thing really. It may seem a little dated, played out or even irrelevant to some now -- and perhaps it is -- but there was a time when hip-hop was more than rap, it was a cultural thing and the ethos of hip hop is still very important to us here. Ireland is a small country and we're kind of behind the times! So I guess we are still living in the 80s and what with the recession and doom and gloom, plus the revival of 80s electro, boogie, funk, not to mention fashion sense, it certainly seems like the 80s are back!!

Amoeblog: Having hip-hop records/CDs + graffiti supplies in the same place is the perfect match -- yet there are no others in Ireland who do it, correct? Are there other stores like yours overseas that you know of?

O.B: Right, well we cover Ireland. Like I say, it's a small country. It's not easy for us to stay afloat, so in all reality there wouldn't be much room for competition. Anyone who sets up a record shop now is insane. Overseas there is a great place in LA -- 33Third, which is a carbon copy of us (though we have been around longer!!). Me and Splyce [All City co-owner] were there in 2006 -- it was quite surreal walking into the place. We got a wierd deja vu vibe.

Amoeblog: I would imagine that specializing in vinyl with music and art supplies -- both of which can't be digitally duplicated for free -- must have ensured your longevity as a business. Has it?

O.B: Mmm, it's tough to say. We started out in a pre broadband world. Don't forget, this downloading business is hella new! Taken in context it is a millisecond -- under a decade. If you take that in a historical context, 10 years is nothing, so no one knows how this will pan out. The internet is like the Wild West at the moment but I have no doubt that that will be curtailed. One thing it has hit is CDs -- mixtapes and such -- and magazines, which kids now just don't see the point of buying. In under 5 years we have gone from selling tons of mags and mix CDs to almost none. If you talk to distributors they will tell you that is the same everywhere.

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Posted by Billyjam, July 31, 2009 06:05pm | Post a Comment

Amoeblog interview with SF Mime Troupe's Pat Moran

As per usual for summertime in the Bay Area, this weekend there will be lots of fun happenings to choose from-- many either for free or very affordably priced. These include the SF Mime Troupe's latest production Too BIg To Fail (Fri, Sat, Sun), Amoebapalooza (Sun), and the Lakefest (Sat, Sun).

A little earlier this afternoon (Friday July 31st), as the SF Mime Troupe was setting up for this evening's performance in Berkeley's Frances Willard/Ho Chi Minh Park (Derby & HIllegass), I conducted a brief but informative chat (video above) with musical director Pat Moran. The SF Mime Troupe is celebrating its 50th victorious year of putting on socially & politically charged plays for Bay Area summer audiences. This summer they are touring Bay Area parks with Too Big To Fail, which, in the form of a simple tale of an African villager, cleverly tackles the complex current global economic crisis.

Directed by Wilma Bonet, written by Michael Gene Sullivan, and with music by Pat Moran, this evening's entertainment kicks off at 6pm with music, and the play begins at 6:30pm. Tomorrow at 1:30pm/2pm at the same location and on Sunday afternoon (2pm/2:30pm) the Troupe will trek over to Mesa Park in Bolinas, in West Marin County. Admission to all all Bay Area park plays by the SF Mime Troupe is free but a donation (of any size) is requested for these always edutaining events. For more info on the remaining summer 2009 schedule visit the troupe's website.

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