Amoeblog

The Bat Cave In Paris

Posted by Whitmore, January 4, 2009 01:13am | Post a Comment

Perhaps it is due to the holidays, possibly because we’re in Paris, but we seem to be constantly raising our wine goblets high, toasting to a helluva lot of people, places and things. Needless to say, we’ve also been drinking a lot of wine, very good wine. Inevitably during the course of a meal, especially a holiday meal, several choice bottles are opened, glasses refilled and then refilled again.
 
Three of the four residences of our French extended-faux-step-mock-families we’ve had the pleasure of dining with have a wine cellar of some sort. These people take their wine seriously; I’m not looking forward to going home to LA, opening my kitchen cupboard above the refrigerator and yanking down a bottle of Two Buck Chuck after all this. Sadly that’s all we’ll be able to afford after spending these few weeks living semi-large in France. These photos are from my quasi-once-removed-half brother-in-law’s newly built ‘bat cave,’ finished in April of 2007. His initial wine collection consisted of about 200 bottles; today he suspects that there are close to a 1000 bottles of wine and champagne stored down yonder under lock and key. That’s gold in that cave!
 
Anyway, here are, as far as I can figure, the top three toasts we’ve heard this Holiday season.
 
#3- Bonne Année (to the New Year)
#2- A la Santé (to health)
#1- Barack Obama
 
By the way, we have yet to toast Nicolas Sarkozy.
Chin! Chin!” 

Godzilla in Paris

Posted by Whitmore, January 2, 2009 11:13am | Post a Comment

The conversation at dinner last night bounced between French and English and began with the announcement that we were having rabbit for dinner, much to the shock of my six year old son. But then it was quickly re-announced that there was a mistake in translation, we were in fact eating chicken. My son was relieved, he likes chicken. He’ll eat chicken. Our host then served the rabbit with a Roquefort cheese sauce. From there the conversation went on to my son’s great love for animals and how at the age of two he learned the truth about chicken. To his absolute horror he discovered that the thing we ate called chicken was the exact same thing that clucked, flew badly, laid eggs and hatched cute baby chicks. (It was a dark day for the boy. Since then he’s adjusted well; chicken nuggets were a huge influence on his decision to eat meat.) Our dinner conversation then went on to vegetarians, veterinarians, ostrich meat, wine, medieval life in Burgundy, torture, science and reason, Kansas, the lack of reason, and we talked about how my French quasi-mock-faux-step father-in-law was a research scientist who studied magnetism (and something else about solids and mass, but I didn’t quite get the gist of the French conversation there -- just another spot where I got lost). The subject briefly switched to piano lessons, downloading music, and how the internet, phone and cable television works here in France. Also mentioned was the odd fact that everyone we have stayed with on this vacation has the ability to call the good ol’ U.S. of A. for free. Again the nuance of the French explanation was lost to me. The subject briefly stepped into American sci-fi films, I tried to shove the chat in the direction of 1950’s red scare style sci-fi but nobody took the bait. Instead the tête-à-tête went east to Japan and 1950’s Godzilla movies. And then the moment! One of our friends mentioned Bambi Meets Godzilla, and how while tooling around on YouTube one cold Parisian night, he found the classic, primitively animated film from 1969. I hadn’t seen it in decades! So here it is. A little walk down memory lane, my New Years gift from France.

UPCOMING 2009 HIP-HOP RELEASES

Posted by Billyjam, January 2, 2009 08:47am | Post a Comment
 
                            Excerpt from forthcoming 2009 DVD release about Biggie Smalls

2009 is already shaping up to be a promising year for hip-hop releases with many dropping within the several weeks or so of the new year. Upcoming releases include brand new recordings from such artists as DJ Signify, Mos Def, Grandmaster Flash, Rob Swift, and Conscious Daughters and older or newly discovered older material being released for the first time such as the DVD DJ Dusk's Root Down Soundclash sessions grand master flashfeaturing the late LA artist DJ Dusk presenting bygone (2001 - 2003) LA sessions featuring Madlib vs Cut Chemist, will i. am vs Thes One, and Oh No vs. Exile. Look for it in the hip-hop DVDs section at Amoeba Music on  January 13th.

Another late great hip-hop artist being celebrated on a new DVD in 2009 is Biggie Smalls, aka The Notorious B.I.G. Biggie Smalls: Rap Phenomenon is the name of the new documentary that will be released on DVD that looks back on the life of the much lamented Brooklyn emcee featuring interviews with many folks like the clip above of a one-on-one with producer D-Dot discussing the making of one of Biggie Smalls' biggest hits. To be released by Gold Dust Media, Biggie Smalls: Rap Phenomenon will be available at Amoeba Music on January 27th. For more up-to-date information on this release and to see other clips, click here.

What I Listened to Most in 2008

Posted by Miss Ess, January 1, 2009 04:23pm | Post a Comment
Since I write about what I listen to fairly often, this list may be a bit redundant, but consider it a happy round up! This is what was getting to me the most in 2008, whether it was released in 2008 or 1974, whether I'd heard it a zillion times before or it was something new to my ears.

Rodriguez - Cold Fact


Bonnie Prince Billy - Lie Down in the Light


Bobby Charles - s/t


Sun Kil Moon - "Glenn Tipton" from Ghosts of the Great Highway


Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers - "Islands in the Stream"

Woodstock by Joni Mitchell

Posted by Miss Ess, January 1, 2009 02:23pm | Post a Comment
joni mitchell
Though a heck of a lot of people got to witness the monster festival that was 1969's Woodstock, a notable exception was Joni Mitchell.

Famously, her agent thought it wojoni mitchelluld be a better idea for her to keep her scheduled appearance on the Dick Cavett Show, and so Joni barely missed one of the most celebrated and fabled musical festivals of all time. Upset about not being able to attend, she quickly wrote the eloquent and apt song "Woodstock" based on what others had said about the festival, capturing a moment at least as well as any musician who was actually there.

Growing up in a Crosby Stills Nash Young-heavy household, we never ever listened to Joni Mitchell's version of her own song "Woodstock" at all. I didn't even know she had written it when I was young. Finally, in college I started listening to her music and found her version to be much more haunting and moving than the comparatively light and sunny (and kinda wanky) CSNY version. 

Here she is playing the song at a festival in Big Sur in 1969, just one month after Woodstock. I believe this is the first public performance of "Woodstock" ever. As she says, "Well everybody has heard about Woodstock and maybe a lot of you were there," you can hear the utter regret in her voice. It's a gorgeous performance.


Here's the CSNY version, in case your memory needs recharging:

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