Amoeblog

3rd Annual Amoeba Art Show & Factory Party

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 24, 2009 02:57pm | Post a Comment
If you could time travel, where would you go?

warhol's factory

Well, like most kids who grew up watching Quantum Leap, I've given it a lot of thought. I'd want to hit the vevet underground and nicohip and happening hotspots of the past 2,500 years or so. First, I'd cruise down to Athens circa fourth-century B.C.E. where I'd walk along the agora to hear some great oration and maybe catch an Aristophanes play or two. The next stop would definitely be the salons of Central Europe in the 19th century to watch Franz Liszt play his own compositions, and maybe swing by Gustav Klimt's studio just a few decades later. I'm sure I could get in a visit to Kafka's Prague and some early New York vaudeville shows before I had to get the time machine back to the shop for a tune-up. After that, I suppose I'd have the ol' time machine drop me by Andy Warhol's Factory in early 60's New York and leave me there.
nico and lou reed
Sure, we can watch I Shot Andy Warhol or Factory Girl, but to actually be there at the cultural ground zero…to watch it all unfold around Andy, The Velvet Underground, and Edie Sedgwick! Now that would be something! Sound good to you too? Well look no further… 

On March 6th, Amoeba Music is going to offer YOU the time travel opportunity of a life time… to travel in time to the world of Andy Warhol and his original 1960's New York City Factory!

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Talking Book - Just One of Stevie Wonder's Masterpieces

Posted by Miss Ess, February 24, 2009 12:30pm | Post a Comment
An album that consistently brings me to tears is Talking Book by Stevie Wonder.

talking book by stevie wonder

I was fortunate enough to grow up near a classic independent record store, Village Music, where I purchased Talking Book many years ago during one of my dreamy hours-long visits there.

When I got the album home, I stared and stared at its front. I absolutely love the cover of Talking Book --stevie wonder on it, Stevie is literally feeling the earth between his fingers, much like he does verbally on the record. He doesn't need to literally see it to understand what it is made of; with music, he captures both the grit and the softness that make up humanity.

Over the years my favorite track has changed bunches of times, but since college I have predominantly played side 2, skipping "Superstition," which kicks it off (killer track, just heard it enough times, plus its mood feels different from the rest of the side), and going straight from "Big Brother" to the end. The four songs that close side 2 of Talking Book are definitely my favorite run of songs on any Stevie album.

Throughout this album, which Stevie largely wrote, produced and played all the instruments on, he touches on stevie wonderunscrupulous politics and the possibility of everlasting love with salient clarity. He sheds light on the daily lives of those living in poverty, noting that the corrupt politicians in charge, not the poor, "will cause [their] own country to fall" (still quite apt these days). He also sings songs with overwhelming optimism regarding love despite past disappointment, both in himself and in others. The album captures an illuminating feeling of hope, a vibrant sense of anticipation.

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A Raisin In the Sun

Posted by Amoebite, February 24, 2009 12:28pm | Post a Comment
a raisin in the sun
"What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?"

Langston Hughes' opening lines to his poem "A Dream Deferred" inspired the title of the film A Raisin in the Sun, which is adapted from Lorraine Hansberry's 1951 Broadway play. The story is about the working-class African American family in Chicago, each member struggling against the idea of deferred dreams. The way each character has to fight against generational prejudice to achieve their dreams makes a most powerful, touching story, cutting deep to the core of African American history. And while I want to cry at the injustices that bind many to social despair, I am inspired by the moments of strength that the human spirit can possess.claudia mcneil in raisin in the sun

Every character is a symbol that has to find what value they have to play out in order to gain a better life. They must confront oppression, identity, assimilation, poverty, and African-American racism. The most beautifully portrayed role goes to Claudia McNeil, who is the mother holding the family together like "a syrupy sweet."

Dreams deferred: 
"Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?"

These questions are not simple to answer, but answers need to be explored.

-Tiffany Huang

SEX & VIOLENCE IN MUSIC TARGETED IN JAMAICA's RECENT BAN

Posted by Billyjam, February 23, 2009 04:25pm | Post a Comment

Vbyz Cartel feat. Spice "Ramping Shop"

Following their decision two weeks ago to place a ban on both violent and sexually explicit lyrics in popular dancehall records, the Jamaica Broadcasting Commission (JBC) has followed up, in a controversial decision a few days ago, by also issuing a ban on soca and hip-hop songs with both sexually explicit content and lyrics that encourage violence through gun use.

Two weeks ago, in its current quest to clean up the broadcast media, the Jamaican broadcast regulating commission first targeted reggae dancehall "daggering" songs and videos ("daggering" is a popular dance style with dancehall reggae fans that simulates sex via pelvic grinding moves) such as the popular, auto-tune happy single "Ramping Shop" by Vbyz Kartel featuring Spice (video above). The dance, as seen in the Mr Vegas "Daggering" video below, is very similar to the female booty ass shaking moves associated with Miami bass and most of current era popular hip-hop dances in BET music video play.

Hence it is no surprise that a lot of explicit hip-hop and soca were targeted by the JBC in its follow up ruling ban of few days ago. The reaction to this ban has been mixed. Some in Jamaica are outraged, calling it a double-standard since there is still a lot of explicit material in TV shows and movies. Others, such as US based YouTuber and big time dancehall fan Daggasista, said that, "Mi nuh care if dem ban di daggerin song dem mi still a whine an galang bad fi dem." As with any other past instances of censorship of music, bans like this usually only drive the music further underground while simultaneously fueling an interest in it.

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(In which our hero returns from the Caribbean...)

Posted by Job O Brother, February 23, 2009 03:45pm | Post a Comment
titanic
I should've been so lucky...

I’ve just returned from a two week cruise in the Caribbean islands.

Stop right there! Undoubtedly your reaction is one of jealousy, but it’s unfounded – or would be, if the cruise you went on was the same as mine. Not so much a “luxury cruise” as it was… well… a floating Budget Inn. I was confounded gastronomically, degraded socially, and had an overall poopy time. You should be no more jealous of me than you would of some forgettable uncle who attended a dental convention one week in Sacramento. Olé.

One of the many, many awful attributes this cruise had was the piping of pop music in the halls; a convoluted mix that sounded as though it had been compiled by a twelve-year-old schoolgirl using her tape recorder and whatever radio station came in best. Now, even this is an improvement over, say, smooth jazz or Top 40 contemporary country, but they not only re-looped the same music (imagine hearing this every seventh hour!) but kept it playing all through the night! Had the cabins been sound-proof, this would’ve been fine, but they weren’t. So every night, I could hear the muffled beat of Kylie Minogue from the door, the thirty-something, sex-crazed, Italian couple making babies on the forward side, and what sounded like a TB ward on the aft. Olé.

My iPod became an important part of my survival kit, and I found myself gravitating towards easy-listening music; something to soothe the myriad ways in which my humanity was compromised. (Ever been molested by a shower curtain? It happened to me, daily. Ever eat a lasagna that tasted of peppermint candy and WD40? I have, now.)
spray
There's no amount of parmesan cheese that can help this.

I couldn’t get enough of Anita Kerr. For those of you unfamiliar with her, she’s a singer / composer / producer of large success but smaller fame, these days. Her hey-day was the 1960’s, where her talents were lent to many projects beside her own. Anyone who listens to country music from that period has almost certainly enjoyed her handiwork, whether you knew it or not.

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