Amoeblog

BRUNO IST AUS BUT MANY OTHER MOCKUMENTARIES IST IN

Posted by Billyjam, July 16, 2009 10:00pm | Post a Comment
ali g indahouse
So last night I finally got to see the much hyped new Sacha Baron Cohen box-office hit Bruno, which, as a diehard Baron Cohen/Ali G/Borat/Bruno fan from ever since Da Ali G Show first premiered on Channel 4, I was really looking forward to seeing. But, boy, was I let down. To paraphrase Baron Cohen's flamboyantly gay Austrian TV fashionista character, this new movie "ist aus," as in, opposite of "in." And it wasn't that I was shocked in any way, or that I found it offensive to gays, or to redneck Americans, for that matter. I just found it offensive to my sense of humor. I expected a lot more from the great Baron Cohen.

Where was the quick witted Bruno from Da Ali G Show? The one whose hilarious skits included brilliantly manipulating fashion tastemakers into totally contradicting themselves without realizing how ridiculous they looked? Replacing genuine wit and biting satire, post Borat Bruno was merely a barrage of slapstick penis jokes with no real substance or humor to back them up. Even Bruno's encounter with Ron Paul, which could have been the screen magic of such past Ali G interviews with Newt Gingrinch,  Andy Rooney, and Pat Buchanan, fell totally flat in comparision.

Of course, the new Bruno isn't a total waste. The movie offered occasional belly laugh moments such as the Paula Abdul encounter. But my advice is don't rush out to theaters to see it. Wait until it comes out on da ali g showDVD. And speaking of DVDs you should get at Amoeba, I would recommend going back and checking out Da Ali G Show for the far superior Bruno appearances from that missed TV series. Also go back to check out the totally slept on (especially Stateside) pre-Borat 2002 Ali G Indahouse: The Movie about the unlikely rise to fame and political power by the jungle/hip-hop goon from the suburb of Staines that Baron Cohen plays so brilliantly.

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IAN CURTIS WOULD'VE APPROVED

Posted by Billyjam, July 15, 2009 01:54pm | Post a Comment
Joy Division
I think Ian Curtis, the late, great lead singer of Joy Division, would have approved of this Caribbean steel band cover of Joy Division's classic song "Transmission." It's by Steel Harmony and was part of Jeremy Deller's Procession from a couple of Sunday afternoons ago in Ian Curtis' hometown of Manchester England. Although, judging by the reaction, or lack thereof, by most of the crowd, I would say that this inspired cover went mostly underappreciated. 

To compare this instrumental steel band version with the original version, below is the band performing it live 33 years ago in Salford, Greater Manchester. "Transmission" was played onstage in the film 24 Hour Party People (available on DVD at Amoeba) in a scene where Curtis suffers an epileptic fit. Orginally a single, the studio version of the song can be found at Amoeba on several Joy Division releases, including the JD collections Substance and The Best of Joy Division. There are also several live versions out there, including one on Joy Division: The Peel Sessions, recorded in 1979. Over the years numerous other artists have covered the song, including UK electropop stars Hot Chip, the Minnesota slowcore group Low, and of course, most recently Steel Harmony.

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JULY 14th IS BASTILLE DAY

Posted by Billyjam, July 14, 2009 05:00pm | Post a Comment

Today, July 14th, is Bastille Day 2009; the day that marked the storming of the oppressive Bastille prison and the beginning of the French Revolution 220 years ago. Over in France this morning there were parades and tonight they are having firework displays in recognition of the holiday. Actually, this has already taken place since they in France are 9 hours ahead of us here in Cali -- see video above of tonight's fireworks in Paris by the Eiffel Tower.

Over here in the States many folks are also celebrating -- some using it as a good excuse to get their swerve on and sip some French themed drinks. In San Francisco there are quite a few events scheduled. Click this link from the French Consulate for a listing of SF Bastille Day events.

But nothing Stateside comes close to the big event over in Paris, as witnessed from the videos above and also below of last year's Bastille Day, courtesy of the Associated Press, when thousands of people thronged the Champs-Elysee to watch a military parade and celebrate Bastille Day. French President Nicholas Sarkozy is among the many present.


SLAYER MADE THRASH METAL MAYHEM IN CALI OVER WEEKEND

Posted by Billyjam, July 14, 2009 10:27am | Post a Comment

Over the weekend California got into classic thrash metal mode with Slayer, who played the big Mayhem Festival which opened on Friday in Marysville (Sacramento area), set up stage at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View (Bay Area) on Saturday and played in San Bernardino at the slayerSan Manuel Amphitheater last night. Above and below is some fan video footage of the SoCal metal legends, who formed 28 years ago, performing on the opening night of the tour, doing the songs "Jihad" (above) and "War Ensemble" (below).

This second year of the traveling Mayhem festival also includes Marilyn Manson, Killswitch Engage, Bullet For My Valentine (BFMV) and, for a few select upcoming dates in place of BFMV, Mushroomhead. Also on the tour are the bands Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth, Job For A Cowboy, The Black Dahlia Murder, Whitechapel, Trivium, All That Remains, and God Forbid. On each date of the tour a different band that won the Jägermeister Battle of the Bands contest performs, including Skinlab, who played the first night, Corrupt Absolute, who played Shoreline, and Madlife, who played SoCal last night.
The Mayhem US tour continues through the middle of next month with stops in all the major urban areas with the final date in Dallas, TX on August 15th. More Mayhem info here.

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SUBWAY ART PHOTOGRAPER HENRY CHALFANT INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, July 11, 2009 04:45pm | Post a Comment
Subway Art
Subway Art
-- the legendary graffiti art book by Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper -- has just recently been republished in a nice big coffee table hard cover version appropriately titled Subway Art: 25th Anniversary Edition. The book has never been out of print since its initial 1984 publication but this new anniversary edition is just jaw-droppingly amazing and a must-have for any graffiti fan.

Its much larger scale and new dimensions of 17" by 13" full-color spreads allow the crispy clear photos to fully come to life in their bright, beautiful colors and hence make them so much easier to fully appreciate.

The new edition of Subway Art also offers numerous never-before-seen photos from that late 70's / early 80's era of New York City when Cooper and Chalfant were documenting this vibrant and rampant illegal public transit art form; one that would be gone by the end of the decade in which the book was first published. But over the years Subway Art has taken on life of its own and the influential book has gone on to sell a staggering half a million copies.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Henry Chalfant about this influential art book. A Stanford graduate who was first a sculptor, Chalfant has lived in New York City for many years and is now nearing 70. He is equally known in graffiti circles for his documentation of the art form via the book Spraycan Art which he co-authored with James Prigoff, and for Style Wars, the historic PBS documentary on New York graffiti that he co-produced with Tony Silver. Chalfant's work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A few years ago he directed the excellent Latin and hip-hop themed documentary about the South Bronx, From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale, that aired on PBS stations in 2006.

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