Amoeblog

Love Story - The Band Love and Arthur Lee's Skewed Genius

Posted by Miss Ess, February 17, 2009 10:45am | Post a Comment
love with arthur lee

One of my favorite bands from the 60s has to be Love. Their music is so unexpected and so unconventional, both lyrically and sonically. I give Arthur Lee the lion's share of credit for this (slove storyorry Bryan MacLean). Lee was truly one of a kind.

I've just watched the recent documentary about Love, Love Story.

Lee formed the band under various names in Los Angeles in the early 60s. It was one of the very first integrated rock bands to hit the scene and gain popularity -- something that is discussed in the film quite a bit, as band members feel they were arthur lee of loverepresented to the press/public early on by colorful psychedelic drawings as a way for the record company to avoid presenting the potentially "risky" fact that the band was made up of both black and white musicians. 

Love was one of the first rock bands to sign to Jac Holzman's Elektra Records and it was not to be a simple relationship between the band and their label. The band members spend a great deal of time in Love Story accusing Holzman of not promoting their work enough. Holzman counters this by pointing out Lee's aversion to touring outside of California. Regardless, the band made three brilliant albums within a span of a year and a half (!) -- Love, Da Capo and Forever Changes -- and increasingly, Lee's moments of brilliance were aggravated by longer and longer durations of virtual insanity because of his drug use.

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Killer of Sheep

Posted by Amoebite, February 17, 2009 10:43am | Post a Comment
Killer of Sheep is a beautifully simple urban tale of an African-American community set in Los Angeles' Watts district during the 1970s. Yes, the 1960s included a cultural revolution toward racial freedom, but history often assures us that problems are far more complex than just a cry for racial freedom. Every community has its individual fight, and here we follow Stan, frustrated with the monotony of working at a slaughter house, and we see how it affects his life at home.

killer of sheep

It is notable how personal the film feels. It makes sense – Charles Burnett wrote, produced, shot, and killer of sheepdirected it with a budget of less than $10,000 with the help of many close friends and family. The result is a natural, humanistic style. It takes a lot of courage for a director to let a story work inside out, and that's where the simplicity lies. Emotion is often wallpaper when complicated plots involve twists and turns. Instead, here, we are embraced in moments within relationships, moments of hardship, moments of tenderness, and moments of family togetherness.

Our generation is fortunate to witness this DVD release of the film – the film never saw its release until 30 years (2007) after its completion due to music rights not being secured. It also includes another feature length, My Brother's Wedding, Burnett's timeless second feature about characters from Los Angeles' South Central.

-Tiffany Huang

February 16, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, February 17, 2009 10:23am | Post a Comment
Coraline 3D ticket stub

Coraline at the AMC Disneyland

Requiem for The Phantom: marking a decade since the passing of the legendary Horace Tapscott

Posted by Mark Beaver, February 17, 2009 12:00am | Post a Comment
horace tapscott dark treeI remember lying on a couch in my room in Oakland, sometime in either 1989 or 1990. Afternoon light was pouring in my window and I was in a hypnogogic state, somewhere between waking and dreaming. My mind was occupied with the vision of long and dark brown hands holding what looked to be a piece of blue glass. The agile hands turned the glass over and over again, and with each turning, facets appeared, polished and refracting light. The glass was becoming more and more ornate and I remember thinking that it was "perfecting." Suddenly, I sat bolt upright, realizing that I was having a visual experience of the music I was listening to at the moment: The title track from the recently issued LP by Horace Tapscott, Dark Tree.

Tapscott was working a theme on the piano, turning it over and over, and every time it came around, there was more central avenue sounds jazz in los angelesbeauty in it. And every time it came around, there was less of anything superfluous. The theme, under his long, dark fingers, was "perfecting."

Released again in 2000 by Swiss Hatology label on double limited edition CD with its companion volume, Dark Tree 1 & 2 is a document of what I have come to consider one of the most important jazz quartets of all time. Featuring Tapscott on piano, John Carter on clarinet, Cecil McBee on contrabass and Andrew Cyrille on drums, it is a fleeting glimpse into not only a rare recording by this astounding group, but a rare small group recording for Tapscott, altogether.

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Who's black and whose black?

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 17, 2009 12:00am | Post a Comment

As Black History Month rolls on, I asked myself a question that may seem stupid to most people: Who exactly is black and who is not? And how is it decided? Does the individual or society determine what we are or is it a combination of both? Are there other factors? Is this the Family Feud or actual objective science?
 

In 2009, all rational and educated people now accept that race is a human construct, which isn't to say that it's meaningless. As long as people are treated differently (preferentially, discriminatorily or just differently based on presupposed differences) on the basis of race, how society constructs and applies that race is worth thinking about. And, ideally, there shouldn't be any shame in recognizing broad cultural differences either. Why should "white pride" be offensive? Pride in er-one, I say. Minor caveat: to even assume that American society has reached a consensus on race defies reality – that's why Dave Chappelle instituted the racial draft. So step with me into a blog of shadows and substance, things and ideas into, to coin a phrase, The Twilight Zone.

 
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