Amoeblog

MAY IS BIKE MONTH

Posted by Billyjam, May 16, 2008 07:24am | Post a Comment

With gas prices going through the roof and environmental issues on the rise in most peoples' minds, riding one's bike to work/school/store etc. now makes more sense than ever.

And as you probably already know, this month is 'bike month,' with this week (May 12 - May 16th) being bike-to-work week with different regions recognizing different days as "bike to work day" this week. Today (May 16th) is bike to work day in New York City.

Yesterday, Thursday May 15th, was the official ride-to-work-day in many other places, including San Francisco, where many people cycled to and from their respective places of employment with many coordinated events taking place.  One such event was organized by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, who yesterday had their Bike Away from Work Party centered at The Rickshaw Stop, where bikers on their commute home could stop and unwind (they even had valet bike parking provided) and share stories and biking tips with fellow cyclists.

But really any day is a good day to ride a bike (with helmet of course). It is healthy and cheap and even if you work or go to school an impossible cycling distance from your home you can always cycle part of the way and either A) lock up your bike where you board a bus or train or B) bring the bike with you on the bus or train or C) throw the bike in the back of your car, drive most of the long distance, and cycle the last few miles to your destination. One interesting statistic posted this week by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition on their website is that almost 40% of Bay Area commuters live within five miles of their workplace -- which is the ideal distance for a bicycle commute. 

The fine organization Walk Oakland Bike Oakland (WOBO) is meeting up at 6PM today (May 16th) at Mama Buzz Cafe at 2318 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland for an all-volunteer bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group with music and beverages and lots of information on bike and pedestrian projects in Oakland.  Meanwhile, up in Seattle, today Starbucks (who, remember, were once a small hometown coffee business in the north west town) are organizing a bike to work day today (May 16th)  Info
For information on other bike events this month in places in and beyond California, check out the League of American Bicyclists website.  Meanwhile, the Bike Month NYC group is really well organized with lots of great events -- you can find more info here.

TWO DOCUMENTARIES ON BAY AREA STREET RAP CULTURE

Posted by Billyjam, May 14, 2008 01:33pm | Post a Comment

Here above and below are previews from a couple of new DVD documentaries on the topic of Bay Area street culture with an emphasis on rap music (namely hyphy), cars, dance, drugs, fashion etc..  Above is a clip from the forthcoming ILL Trendz production The Un-Told Story which focuses on Oakland, CA and features interviews with the likes of Too $hort, Richie Rich, E40, and Davey D.  Meanwhile below is a clip from the new Ghostride The Whip: The Story of the Hyphy Movement which features many of the major playas from the Bay and is directed by DJ Vlad (Bay Area mixtape master who moved to NYC few years ago) and is executive produced by Peter Spirer (Rhyme & Reason, Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel).

PIONEERING AMERICAN ARTIST ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG DEAD AT 82

Posted by Billyjam, May 13, 2008 09:11am | Post a Comment

 "I work in the gap between art  
    and life."
             -Robert Rauschenberg

As reported in several online outlets this morning, including on the NY Times' website, American artist Robert Rauschenberg, who helped shape the face of 20th century art, died last night (May 12) at age 82. 

Always prolific and diverse, the Texas born artist worked in numerous mediums throughout his career. He was a  painter, sculptor,  photographer, choreographer, printmaker, stage performer, set designer, and even a composer.

"I think a painting is more like the real world if it's made out of the real world,"  Rauschenberg once said.  He was hailed by London's. Sunday Telegraph early in his career as “The most important American artist since Jackson Pollock."

Perhaps most importantly, Rauschenberg was instrumental in guiding the direction of American art out of Abstract Expressionism, the prevailing art movement in the beginning of the 1950's, when he first emerged.  As accurately noted by the New York Times, he built on "the legacies of Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell and others, he thereby helped to obscure the lines between painting and sculpture, painting and photography, photography and printmaking, sculpture and photography, sculpture and dance, sculpture and technology, technology and performance art — not to mention between art and life."

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May 12, 2008

Posted by Billyjam, May 12, 2008 04:28pm | Post a Comment

    

 



But while Iron Man is undoubtedly simplistic, a light and larky tone carries the movie easily over potential political pitfalls. Stark, a humming dynamo of energy and humour in Downey Jr's delightful performance, is far more appealing that the stodgy, guilt-ridden heroes of Batman and Spider-Man.
 
    - excerpt from BBC review          

The world needs another comic book movie like it needs another Bush administration, but if we must have one more (and the Evil Marketing Geniuses at Marvel MegaIndustries will do their utmost to ensure that we always will), Iron Man is a swell one to have.
     - excerpt from Chicago Sun Times review

This could well be the best comic book movie of 2008. Perfect writing, directing, and acting. The casting by director Jon Favreau of Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role was a wise choice.  Lots of action, humor, and the effects, which thankfully are mostly real action rather than computer generated, are incredible. Even the product placement (Burger King) isn't as obnoxious as it could be. Four out of five stars. If you go see it, be sure to wait around til the closing credits roll to a close for a sneak preview of what is to come.
     - excerpt from NY Phil da Thumb's Amoeblog review of Iron Man.

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AIN'T THAT A MUTHA' -- COMMERCIALISM OF MOTHER'S DAY

Posted by Billyjam, May 11, 2008 03:27pm | Post a Comment

To all the mothers, Happy Mother's Day!  And to all those (including mothers) who might feel that this day, one when flower sales and brunch reservations go through the roof, is way overly commercialized  -- you will appreciate the informative story below titled Mother's Day founder Anna Jarvis opposed to holiday's commercialism. The story was written by John Horton in his Plain Dealer Reporter column in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer (the main daily in Cleveland, Ohio) and was spotted by Amoeba Marc:
 
"Anna Jarvis (left) mothered Mother's Day a century ago. To see what her baby grew into . .. oh, how it would break her heart.  Jarvis despised attempts to commercialize the "holy day" that she launched in 1908
in memory of her mother, Ann. She fought tenaciously until her death to shield Mother's Day from "the hordes of money-schemers" that were hawking flowers, cards and candy.

She didn't exactly hold 'em off. Mother's Day spending on the 100th anniversary of the holiday is expected to reach $15.8 billion in the United States, according to the National Retail Federation. Consumers will spend an average of $138.63 doting on dear old mom during her special day.

Jarvis "is probably spinning in her grave," said Katharine Antolini, a board member and historian for the International Mother's Day Shrine, the church in Grafton, W.Va. That is where the first celebration took place. "What we have today," said Antolini, who grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, "is not what Anna wanted."  Not even close.  Jarvis envisioned a day marked by hymns and prayers.  She called for intimate family gatherings to "revive the dormant love and filial gratitude we owe to those who gave us birth." She wanted the focus and attention on a mother's devotion and sacrifice. It didn't take long, however, before some merchant got the idea of tossing up a SALE sign.  Cha-ching!

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