Amoeblog

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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AMOEBA MUSIC HIP-HOP WEEKLY ROUND UP (VIDEO VERSION): 07:10:09

Posted by Billyjam, July 10, 2009 10:50am | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music San Fra
Cagencisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 07:10:09 (by Luis, hip-hop buyer)

1) Cage Depart From Me (Def Jux)

2) Alchemist Chemical Warfare (KOCH)

3) J-Dilla Dillanthology 2: Dilla's Remixes for Various Artists Remixes (Rapster)

4) Chali 2na Fish Outta Water (Decon)

5) Notes To Self A Shot In The Dark (BBE)

Single of the week: 

Kid Cudi
"Make Her Say" (Universal/Motown)

Thanks to Luis (as seen in YouTube clip above), the hip-hop buyer at Amoeba Music, San Francisco, for this week's top five best selling new hip-hop CDs, plus the single of the week. Cage, this week's number one, even surpasses his last innovative outing Hell's Winter from four years ago. This new Def Jux album is bound to break the gifted New York progressive rap artist onto the mainstream. Just check out the video below for the new Cage album track "I Never Knew You." The song and accompanying video (directed by Shia Labeouf) have the same power and engaging urgency that Nirvana's breakout single/video "Smells Like Teen Spirit" did back in the early nineties. Coincidentally, Cage's notoriously troubled past, including mental health problems and drug abuse, draw some parallels to Kurt Cobain. Although thankfully it seems that Cage has gotten his shit chali 2na fish outta watertogether as far as the hard drugs are concerned, so hopefully he can stay mentally healthy & focused on his art and continue to make great albums like Depart From Me.

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CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON IN 3-D @ PARAMOUNT TONIGHT

Posted by Billyjam, July 10, 2009 07:44am | Post a Comment

Despite the effortless and seemingly endless dissemination of information via all the new tools of this digital age (Twitter,  text messages, Facebook, blogs, emails, etc.), I still value learning about stuff via such creature from the black lagoonold school ways as simply reading about it in the paper. That's how I found out about the screening of the classic monster movie Creature From The Black Lagoon at the Paramount Theater in Oakland tonight. An ad for the 3-D screening was on the back page of this week's Bay Guardian immediately below an ad for Amoeba Music.
 
In this greatest of movie monster flicks, directed by Jack Arnold, the plot goes as such: Gill man Dr. David Reed and his girlfriend Kay Lawrence (Richard Carlson and Julia Adams) join a scientific expedition into the Amazon's "Black Lagoon" to investigate an alleged missing link between man and fish. The 1954 film offered pioneering underwater photography, with cinematographer Charles Welbourne pushing the envelope and dispensing of the standard (up til then) static camera shots by using a portable moving camera that followed the film's swimmers. This classic 1950s film went on to inspire two sequels: Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us, although neither were as popular as the original.
 
Creature From The Black Lagoon, which is available on DVD but not in 3-D (look for it at Amoeba Music) is best seen on the big screen and enjoyed in glorious 3-D. At tonight's screening in downtown Oakland's wonderfully preserved art deco Paramount, 3-D glasses will be provided as you enter the theater. And the recession-friendly price of only $5 (including Paramount Classic Movie Nights cartoon, classic newsreel, and trailers before the main feature begins) is the best value you will find for your weekend night out, not to mention the art deco architecture masterpiece that you also get to enjoy. Parmount Classic Movie nights also the live Wurltizer organ serenade plus a raffle - chance to win free prizes.

Paramount Movie Classics' screening of Creature From The Black Lagoon is at the Paramount Theater @ 2025 Broadway, downtown Oakland at 8pm tonight, Friday July 10th, with doors opening at 7pm. Box office opens at 6pm.

Michael Jackson: Top 5 Dance Songs + Popular MJ @ Amoeba: Luis @ Amoeba SF on CD sales + DJ Dave Paul's Top 5 MJ Floor Burners

Posted by Billyjam, July 8, 2009 06:05pm | Post a Comment
It has been almost two full weeks since Michael Jackson passed, but in that time the sudden and tragic death of the King of Pop has dominated the news worldwide. Even Sarah Palin's resignation as governer of Alaska last week -- a week after MJ's death -- was upstaged by Jackson news. 

And today, the day after the heavily publicized Michael Jackson funeral/memorial in LA, which drew a reported 31 million viewers in real time, stopping by the Amoeba Music San Francisco store further proved that the intense public absorption with all things Michael (especially his music) will likely last a good while longer.

Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba took time out to show me the MJ CDs that have been hot sellers at the store, including Thriller, Bad, Michael Jackson Number Ones, Vol. 1-Greatest Hits History, and Off The Wall. See below a video clip of Luis at Amoeba SF earlier this afternoon. Also this afternoon in San Francisco I caught up (by phone) with Dave Paul, who for the past few years has been throwing the popular Prince vs. Michael parties in SF and other West Coast cities where both he and fellow DJ Jeff Harris spin regularly. Paul has a pretty extensive Michael Jackson collection so I asked him to draw up for the Amoeblog a list of his party's Top Five Michael Jackson dance floor burners -- MJ songs that always get the dance floor going. His list, including a brief description of each song, is below, along with info on the next SF Prince vs Michael party, which should be pretty wild since it will be the first since MJ's passing. The video for "Don't Stop TIl You Get Enough" is also below.

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HOMOHOP'S ROLE WITHIN HIP-HOP: JUBA KALAMKA INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, July 7, 2009 12:12pm | Post a Comment
Juba Kalamka
     Juba Kalamka performing at Amoeba Music San Francisco's recent Pride '09 in-store celebration with Pick Up The Mic stars. Also performing were JenRO and Dutchboy (6/25/09).
All photos from the event by Kaitlin Layher


Juba Kalamka was recently part of the Amoeba Music San Francisco in-store Pride '09 Celebration, which was also a DVD release party for the seminal "homohop" documentary Pick Up The Mic. Juba, along with fellow Bay Area queer rap artists JenRO and Dutchboy, who also performed that day at the Haight Street store (view all the pictures here), is one of the many talented stars of the must-see, Alex Hinton directed film. Although the film first screened a few years ago, it is only very recently available on DVD.

In early 2000 Juba Kalamka (aka Pointfivefag), along with Tim'm T. West (aka 25percenter) and Phillip Juba KalamkaAtiba Goff (aka Lightskindid) formed Deep Dickollective (D/DC), which also featured member Ralowe Ampu (G-Minus). The seeds for D/DC were sown a year earlier after Kalamka and West met at Stanford following a 1999 screening of black gay filmmaker and scholar Marlon Riggs' film Tongues Untied. I personally first heard of and met the guys from D/DC about a year into their career, and, most impressed with their hip-hop skills in combination with their refreshing take on a genre traditionally drenched in homophobia, I invited them to be included on one of the Amoeba Music Compilations.

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