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Hans Beck 1929 – 2009

Posted by Whitmore, February 6, 2009 04:56pm | Post a Comment

Hans Beck, the German inventor of Playmobil toys, created in response to the soaring cost of plastic due to the oil crisis in the early 70’s, has died after a long illness. Beck was 79 and passed away near Lake Constance in southern Germany, where he moved after his retirement in 1998.
 
Originally a cabinetmaker, Hans Beck was hired as a toy developer by the Brandstätter Group in 1958. In 1971 he was commissioned to create a new and collectible play concept that didn’t impose specific play patterns on children. It was initially suggested that he design a variety of cars. Instead Beck came up with the series of simple action figures standing less than 3 inches tall with moving arms and legs that bent at the hip and wore snap-on clothes. The original toys included knights, construction workers and Native Americans. They were unveiled at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1974 and needless to say, they were an instant and resounding flop.  Adults may not have gotten the concept, but kids certainly did. Playmobil toys became a huge international success. In the 35 years since their development, they have sold more than 2.2 billion figures in more than 70 countries. I have a 6 year old son whose room is, more often then not, cluttered with Playmobil pirates, rescue workers, police officers, knights and dragons -- strewn from wall to wall.
 
Beck created a whole fantasy world following his toy-making motto -- "no horror, no superficial violence, no short-lived trends."
 
Over the years Playmobil has won numerous prizes for their quality and ingenuity as well as for their educational potential. Expanding their line with a myriad of toys and sets, Playmobil has come up with every possible historic and vocational desire a kid could ever want, from firefighters, nurses, deep sea divers, cowboys, Romans, jewel thieves, hot dog vendors, astronauts, circus animal trainers, veterinarians, Egyptologists, police tracking dogs and airport security. Brandstätter, which employs a staff of 3,000, posted $408 million in sales last year, mostly due to their Playmobil division.
 
Hans Beck is survived by his wife and a son.

Likeness Labels

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 5, 2009 10:10pm | Post a Comment
miss rona sings hollywood's greatest hits record labelhuey lewis and the news record labelsgladys swarthout sandy hooks record label
neil diamond jonathan livingston seagull record labelmark farner monumental funk record labelpedro infante amorcito corazon record label
nady williams greatest hits record labeljames harman band record labelbing crosby bing's hollywood record label
rolling stones dirty work record labelbeatles at the hollwood bowl japanese record label bing crosby spokane #9 record label
steve stevens record labelsjuice newton quiet lies record labelbilly idol record label
t-rex dandy in the underworld record labelstyle council cost of loving record labeltony bennett the good things in life record label
wings wild life record labelhoward jones record labelwings wild life record label


AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 02:05:09

Posted by Billyjam, February 5, 2009 04:45pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five: 02:05:09
diplo decent work for decent pay
1) Diplo Decent Work for Decent Pay
 (Big Dada)

2) P.O.S. Never Better (Rhymesayers)

3) Illa J Yancey Boys (Delicious Vinyl)

4) J-Dilla Yancey Boys Instrumentals
(Delicious Vinyl)

5) RZA Afro Samurai Resurrection (TVT)

A glance at the new top five hip hop albums chart above from the Hollywood Amoeba is proof that 2009 in hip-hop is already looking real good with numerous quality new releases dropping or about to drop from all over the map, both stylistically and geographically.

Multi-talented Staten Island Wu warrior RZA, who plays Sunday night in San Francisco at Mezzanine on a bill along with Pariah and DJ Radius and others, has just dropped the album soundtrack to the Spike TV animated show Afro Samurai Resurrection on TVT. Meanwhile from Calgary, Canada comes the talented duo of Dragon Fli Empire, which is DJ Cosm and Teekay. The pair have been putting it down for a minute in their homeland. Both their 2004 release Conquest and their 2006 album Invasion got warm responses. On their new 2009 album Redefine they are joined by several guests, including fellow Canadian Cadence Weapon and Bay Area resident emcee Raashan Ahmad (of solo and Crown City Rockers fame) who joins them on "Ride On" -- one of the best tracks on the album. Other good cuts on the 14 track CD include "Just That Nice."
mic crenshaw thinking out loud
Out of Portland, Oregon come two great yet stylistically very different emcees: Sapient and Mic Crenshaw. Mic Crenshaw's Thinking Out Loud on Focused Noise is the debut solo release by the emcee who has built a fan base as part of Suckapunch, Hungry Mob, and Cleveland Steamers. Although associated with the Northwest's hip-hop scene, the artist is not from there originally. Born and raised in Chicago (Southside), he moved to Portland via Minneapolis. As much an activist as an emcee, Crenshaw is a founding member of Anti Racist Action and the famed Minneapolis anti-racist skinhead crew, The Baldies. He is also reportedly co-founder of a non-profit caled Global Farm which has been instrumental in setting up computer centers for Iraqi refugees, as well as for disadvantaged youth in Burundi in Central Africa. Not surprisingly then, Crenshaw's new album addresses some of the issues that are close to his heart. On the album he is joined by another politically minded hip-hopper, Stic Man of Dead Prez. Other guests include Nightclubber Lang of Boom Bap Project.

Meanwhile, Portland emcee/producer Sapient's Letterhead is a refreshingly original sounding new hip-hop album. To date he is best known as part of the Northwest crew Sandpeople, whose members Ethic and Onlyone each make cameos here, and whose most recent release, Honest Rocket, released last May featuring The Grouch and Sean Price, got quite a good buzz.  Letterhead is even better and proves how sometimes when the emcee is also the producer things can really click perfectly. Sapient doesn't even try to adhere to the unwritten rule of only digging in the funk and breaks crates for his soundscapes. Instead he has an arsenal of unconventional samples and sounds, like the bugged out computer effects on the song "Stay Connected," to draw from and funnel into the mix and still have them come out hip-hop sounding.

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What Your Favorite Fleetwood Mac Member May Say About You...

Posted by Miss Ess, February 5, 2009 02:39pm | Post a Comment
One of the best things about working at Amoeba is that I am surrounded by people who think like me. No, I don't mean we all worship Brian Wilson and Jeff Mangum and listen neverendingly to Roy Harper imports... I just mean that employees here always already relate everything back to music somehow. Our life lessons are only concrete when they are reverberating in song.

fleetwood mac

A friend and I were chatting yesterday with a customer at length about Fleetwood Mac. We talked around and finally settled on the idea that you can really tell a lot about someone by which Fleetwood Mac member is his or her favorite. I should add though that we only took into account the band's current incarnation -- this doesn't apply to the Peter Green-era Mac. Anyway, I've been enjoying thinking about it over the past day, so I thought I wostevie nicksuld share our musings here. Sure, they're reductive, but come play along:

If your favorite Fleetwood Mac member is...

Stevie Nicks: You may have always been a misfit or maybe you just have a flair for the dramatic. You might even have an affinity for crystals and spells. You live life with passion and are an opinionated leader. You are unfailingly guided by your intuition. Just guessing, but I bet somewhere inside you have always been a storm.

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out this week 1/27 and 2/3....grouper....franz ferdinand...paul mccartney...barbra streisand...

Posted by Brad Schelden, February 5, 2009 01:21pm | Post a Comment
kelly clarkson
This year really flew by. I mean that 2008 really flew by. You might be thinking...it is already 2009, but I am still sort of living in 2008. I am now almost ready for the new year to start. I figure I will be ready by about March. I just moved back to Los Angeles last January and it has already been a year! I was barely done uppacking and settling down when we decided to move again. But I really did sort of fall back in love with Los Angeles this year, so we are still here for a while I think. It was just time to move again. Now that 2009 is officially underway to the rest of the world, the music is starting to come out again. I worry every once in a while about the state of the music industry. But I do get some faith back in it every time I fall in love with a new album. I just get excited thinking about all the new albums that are going to come out this year -- all the bands that might not even be bands yet that will put out fantastic little albums in the next couple of years. The albums are out there. You just have to look for them. The year might be getting off to a slow start but those new albums are coming. Just in case you don't have it already, please go buy the new Antony & the Johnsons. It is called The Crying Light and it is magical! I have also been obsessed with the debut album from Empire of the Sun. They are from Australia and sort of sound like MGMT. It is just an import right now but I am sure it will come out domestic soon.

There is something coming up for everybody, don't you worry. All you Kelly Clarkson fans out there don't have to wait too much longer, I swear. I don't really know how that Doolittle lady from american idol managed to get an album out, but it is true-- Melinda Doolittle has an album out this week. I try to avoid american idol as much as I can. I don't even think it deserves to be capitalized in this blog. But it does have an amazingly powerful hold over the country. They manage to find some of the grouper dragging a dead dear up a hillmost unattractive and worst musicians in the country and some how make people obsessed with them. Seriously, those are some magicians over there producing that show! But that Kelly Clarkson, there is just something about her. Maybe I have given into American Idol just a little bit. I never watched a single episode that she was on but somehow she got some power over me. I told you -- those producers have some crazy magical powers. Somehow those catchy pop songs get a hold of me sometimes. I do love listening to the radio though. Maybe that is my problem. So the new Kelly Clarkson is out March 17th and that is all I am going to say about it. Enough with my super guilty pleasure! But I feel like I have to give in to popular music every once in a while or I will explode or something. Some pop culture is good for you in moderation. To balance that out a bit I have been listening to this Grouper record a bunch lately. It came out last year, but my coworker Chris recommended it to me and I finally bought it and am now a bit obsessed. If you want some weird folky dark lady music than I highly recommend it. The album is called Dragging a Dead Deer Up A Hill. It is worth it alone for the amazing album cover. I seriously can't stop staring at it. I dare you to try and stop staring at it. I still can't figure out if it is a doll or an actuall girl.
fran ferdinand tonight
Last week was the week of Bruce Springsteen and Franz Ferdinand. Two completely different generations but I imagine that I am not the only one that was interested in both albums. I have loved the Franz Ferdinand ever since I first heard "Take Me Out" about 6 years ago. I will admit that I am probably one of their older fans. Seems like their fans just keep getting younger. We went and saw them at Bill Graham Civic for the last album and the crowd was mostly 18 year olds. But they just did an instore at Amoeba last week and the crowd did mostly seem to be more like 13 and 15 year olds. But it made me happy -- not all 13 year olds just listen to the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus. I don't think I will be turning into a musical grandpa quite yet this year. But it might be getting close to that time. I still love Franz and that show was great and super high energy. Bruce was too busy performing at inaguration parties and super bowls to stop by Amoeba, but maybe someday he will stop by for a little instore. Also out last week was a new album from Andrew Bird and Amoeba's Secret by Paul McCartney finally came out on CD.

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