Amoeblog

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.

Continue reading...

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!

Continue reading...

HIP-HOP IS ALIVE AND WELL: BILLY JAM'S WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP

Posted by Billyjam, May 8, 2008 06:00pm | Post a Comment

As proven by the entries on the new Top Five Hip-Hop Charts from each of the three Amoeba Music locations (Berkeley, SF, Hollywood -- charts below by Tunde, Jason Chavez, & Marques Newson) hip-hop is very much alive and well. 

Not only that, but hip-hop, a genre known for its high turnover and tendency for chewing up and spitting out artists after a short shelf life, is instead demonstrating love for several longtime hip-hoppers with new releases. 

These include Prodigy, who started out rapping with Mobb Deep potna Havoc two long decades ago, The Roots, who've just dropped their ninth album, and E40 who is celebrating twenty years as a rap recording artist and just released the new Sick Wid It Umbrella: The Complete Second Season rap compilation with its appropriate Sopranos styled cover.

The Roots, who just get better and better as time evolves, have just released their ninth album Rising    Down. It's their eight studio album and second for Def Jam, and it's in big demand with music fans. The  Philadelphia based hip-hop band, who tore shit up September '06 at their Amoeba Hollywood instore, is the number one seller at both the LA Amoeba and at Berkeley, while in SF it is a close second to Atmosphere (another longtime hip-hop artist).  Following The Roots' Game Theory album in 2006, the new album culls its title, presumably, from the William T. Vollmann's book Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means, published in 2004. Rising Down features numerous cameos and guest shots ,including Mos Def, Styles P, Talib Kweli, and Common.

Continue reading...

MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO'S JACK DANGERS LOOKS BACK AT 20+ YEARS

Posted by Billyjam, May 7, 2008 10:06am | Post a Comment

Twenty-two years later Jack Dangers, the UK born/ Bay Area based musician best known as front person for the group Meat Beat Manifesto, is still recording and releasing relevant music.  In addition to the recently released tenth studio Meat Beat Manifesto (MBM) album Autoimmune on Metropolis, Dangers has also just released a new solo project titled Music For Planetarium -- a limited edition release on Brainwashed. To help spread the word on both releases, Dangers and MBM (including Ben Stokes with whom he also collaborates under the name Tino Corp) just wrapped up their current US tour in the past couple of days. I caught up with them when they played the Highline Ballroom in New York about a week ago. The current MBM lineup includes Dangers, Ben Stokes, Mark Pistel and Lynn Farmer (on live drum kit set up).

Considering it is now 21 years since MBM's debut and 22 years since his original band, Perennial Divide, released their debut, and also considering that most other industrial or techno or ambient acts (all genres that Dangers' music has been labeled over the years) are no longer still making music, I asked Dangers what was the secret to MBM's and his longevity as an artist?  "The main thing is not to conform, not to follow what looks like the thing to do," he said. "It is important not to follow trends but just to be yourself. That is the main ingredient."

I asked Dangers about early in his career and his relationship to Andy Partridge and how it was exactly that the XTC member had helped him get started in his music career. Dangers replied that he first met Partridge back in 1981 in the small South Western English town of Swindon they both hail from. "I got an intern job at the Uni recording studio (in Swindon) and got to see XTC rehearse for their English Settlement tour," he recalled, adding that the XTC tour got cut short after just nine dates. "Andy pretty much knocked it on the head and didn't want to do any live performances after that." But several years later, in 1986, Andy Partridge would work with Dangers and his first band Perennial Divide when he produced their Beehead EP -- released in 1987 on Sweat Box.

Dangers first visited the US in 1989 and ended up moving Stateside, settling in the Bay Area's Mill Valley in 1994. I asked him how relocating from Swindon to Marin County came about. "I was doing a lot of work with (Bay Area groups) Consolidated and Disposable Heroes of Hipocrisy in the early nineties," he recalled, adding that during that time period he, "Later met my future wife at SF Civic Center at a benefit for In Defense of Animals. And that was the main reason I moved over." He had also crossed paths with Ben Stokes, with whom he would forge a long-standing creative relationship. In concert, Stokes works his magic on the video sampling technology and when he is not on tour with Dangers, he is doing video production for DJ Shadow's tours (solo and with Cut Chemist).

Continue reading...

TODD HAYNES' "I'M NOT THERE" AVAILABLE ON 2 DVD SET

Posted by Billyjam, May 6, 2008 07:55am | Post a Comment


Even non-Bob Dylan fans should enjoy Todd Haynes' unorthodox and loosely structured Zimmerman biopic I'm Not There (out today on DVD) that fluidly captures the many sides of Bob Dylan with six actors each portraying the various
slices of the life of the celebrated singer-songwriter from his early folk days through his much- publicized electric crossover stage and beyond. Even if you saw this film last year on the big screen, be sure to check it out on the newly issued 2 disc DVD version which includes audio commentary by director/co-writer Todd Haynes.

Actors who loosely play variations of Dylan include Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere,
Ben Whishaw and the young Marcus Carl Franklin, as an eleven year old who calls himself Woody Guthrie -- all of whom are complimented by a flawless ensemble that include the Joan Baez- styled character played by Julianne Moore and David Cross' inspired turn as Allen Ginsberg (see clip above with the Blanchett- portrayed Dylan).

As a Dylan fan, what moved me even more than I'm Not There's subject matter was how Haynes so beautifully structured this heartfelt tribute to the artist, effortlessly shifting from one Dylan incarnation and stage of his illustrious career into the next. Truly amazing film-making!  My bet is that we will be seeing many future biopics that adapt this same unique approach pioneered by Haynes.

BACK  <<  343  344  345  346  347  348  349  350  351  352  353  354  >>  NEXT