Zaireeka listening party!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, February 11, 2009 03:09pm | Post a Comment
flaming lips creators of zaireeka
 Trolling around on the internet looking for choice nuggets of info on the Flaming Lips' Zaireeka, a four CD set which prompts listeners to play all four discs simultaneously with meticulous attention paid to track numbers and accompanying instructions, I came across a really awful review from respectable online music publication. Now, Zaireeka comes with a fat warning label on the front that is unique to its creation in that it is not a parental advisory sticker or, in the case of Guitar Wolf's Jet Generation, a label suggesting that your speakers might blow when played at normal volume levels (Jet Generation is, or at least was at the time of its release, the loudest album ever recorded), but a simple statement that attempts to convey the lengths one must go to merely try to listen to the thing properly-- that is to say, the way the Flaming Lips intend for their audience to hear it. I, for one, like to think of the act of listening to music as an effortless pleasure that requires little more than pressing 'play.' The thought of puzzling out four walls of sound via four audio components, for me, is tired from the get go. I guess I could spread out on my bedroom floor with four boom boxes all loaded with all four Zaireeka discs at finger's and toe's length, but I own only one boom box and I don't think I'm coordinated enough to seriously consider contorting my free time just to check out a silly little alt-rainbow-rock record made in 1997. Anyone can see how an album like Zaireeka may be dooZaireeka album covermed to less-than-stellar reviews from folks who frankly can't be bothered to give a damn about properly experiencing it, folks who don't have friends (and the necessary extra boom boxes) who unconditionally love music.

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She's Out Of Control At The New Beverly Saturday At Midnight!

Posted by phil blankenship, February 11, 2009 10:10am | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship are proud to present some of our film favorites at Los Angeles’ last full-time revival movie theater. See movies the way they're meant to be seen - on the big screen and with an audience!

February 14

Tony Danza & Ami Dolenz in
She's Out Of Control

20th Anniversary!

New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Midnight, All Tickets $7

African American Lives

Posted by Amoebite, February 10, 2009 04:36pm | Post a Comment
African American Lives is a great documentary that uses history, genealogy, and new technologies toafrican american lives retrace the violently and deliberately erased ancestral histories of a group of participants, all of African ancestry, whose relatives were, for the most part, brought over involuntarily from Africa. The answers it provides are often thought-provoking in ways that most discussions about race aren't.

The host is Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr, a W.E.B. DuBois professor of the Humanities and the Chair of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University. I’d seen Gates in Wonders of the African World where he seemed to feign ignorance about everything he learned about through his travels in Africa. I mean, he’s got some pretty big credentials and yet he’d continually act like he had no idea about the realities of his chosen subject of expertise until his interviewees revealed it to him. It seemed like he felt that pretending that everything was new to him would make him more identifiable to us, the presumably ignorant viewers. In this documentary, unfortunately, he does the same schtik which is just about its only shortcoming, although it can be sort of funny. For example, he “guesses” that, given his appearance, his ancestors came from the East African kingdom of Nubia (huh?!), despite the fact that nearly all slaves in the U.S. came from the West Coast slave centers built centuries earlier, not by Europeans, but by other Africans. Of course it turns out that 0% of slaves were Nubian. His surprise at his DNA results seems genuine though when they reveal that his matrilineal line goes back to Ireland.

And race gets complicated for others too. The documentary points out that the vast majority of African-Americans have suboprahstantial genetic ties to Europe through slave owners and, far less often, voluntary miscegenation. Realizing that more blacks are descended from slave owners than whites was something I’d never thought about before. Chris Tucker is the only participant to go back to his African roots, in his case to modern Angola, revealing a sedate and emotional side quite unlike his hysterical, shrieking film persona. South Africa-obsessed Oprah Winfrey seems positively gutted to find out that Dr. Mae Jemison her ancestors came from, you guessed it, West Africa and not the out-of-the-way Zulu homeland she was clearly rooting for. Dr. Mae Jemison (the first African American Woman in space) finds out that she has Chinese relatives whereas her physical appearance had always been passed down as having been owed to that old stand-by, Native Americans. Everyone’s results are interesting and frequently revelatory and show how all of us, regardless of our backgrounds, preconceptions and physical appearance, can find out a lot about who our ancestors were, and that it often won’t bear much similarity to what we’d thought was the truth.

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Black History Month 2009: A Convict's Perspective - X-Raided, Part II. Q&A with incarcerated rapper from Pleasant Valley State Prison

Posted by Billyjam, February 10, 2009 03:07pm | Post a Comment
x-raided the eternally unforgiven project
This is the second part in the exclusive two-part Black History Month: A Convict's Perspective by X-Raided, for the Amoeblog Black HIstory Month series. The first part, posted a little earlier and found immediately below this Amoeblog, is an essay that I invited longtime incarcerated Sacramento rapper Anerae "X-Raided" Brown to pen on what Black History Month means to him from where he sits: the California State Penitentiary in Coalinga. This part is a Q&A with him.

Due to the prison recently being on lockdown, both this interview (via mail) and his insightul essay on what Black History Month means to him, took longer to get done than initially anticipated. But such is the plight of living a life behind bars, something that Anerae addresses in both of these engaging Black Hisotry Month Amoeblogs which might be a little long but are well worth taking the time to read.

Now 34 years of age, Brown has been incarcerated for half of his life, since the age of 17. From his early to mid teens in Sacramento, X-Raided had been an active member of the 24th Street Garden Blocc Crips gang -- even long before his first release came out. In 1992 he was arrested for his alleged part, along with several others, in the fatal shooting of Patricia Harris (the mother of a rival gang member). Brown has never denied being present at the shooting but has always maintained his innocence, in that he was not the one who pulled the trigger. Adhering to the unwritten "No Snitch" code of the streets, he would not tell cops who did pull the trigger. “I could have testified and gone home,” the rapper famously said in an interview at the time. “But I kept it real.” Hence, he is still incarcerated on murder conspiracy charges with a 31 year sentence. His first album, Psycho Active, came out in 1992 and made history when it was used in court against him, with authorities playing music from the indie rap album and also citing the cover art (the rapper's face with a .38-caliber handgun pressed to his temple --see below) as evidence in the case against Brown.

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Black History Month: A Convict's Perspective, Pt 1: Longtime incarcerated California rap artist X-Raided offers his perspective

Posted by Billyjam, February 10, 2009 03:05pm | Post a Comment
Black History Month – A Convict’s Perspective By Aneraé “X-Raided” Brown

As a 34 year old incarcerated African-American male, as a hip-hop artist, and as a human being, I can unequivocally say Black History Month has a deeper meaning to me now than it ever did, any prior year. You see, I am a California boy, a real child of the 80’s. You know, Reaganomics, Oliver North, Freeway Rick, Manuel Noriega… no Rick Ross. I am the fabled crack baby. A boy who became a teen during what some argue was one of the roughest, most dangerous periods in U.S. history. I turned 14 in 1988, a black boy, a fledgling member of the notorious Crip gang, trying to learn how to fly, in the wrong direction, unknowingly, with lead wings. Pistols, cocaine, HIV/AIDS, the Cold War; how those things became the concerns of a 14 year old, who, according to a paternal grandmother named Jesse Mae Martin, of Mobile, Alabama, had “the bright eyes of an old man and an old soul,” God only knows. A boy who learned by what he decried, I was an impressionable teen absorbing the teachings that emanated from the conditions I saw on a daily basis, which included police brutality, the devastation of the gang and crack epidemics on the black community, and an overall fear and disdain of both white people and law enforcement, issues with were largely ignored by the mainstream media. The only journalistic reports being published that addressed these matters to reach my eyes and ears were coming to me in the form of hip-hop music, videos, movies and magazines: Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing; Yo! MTV Raps; The Source magazine; In Living Color; and the strongest voices of all, which came from a few little groups you may have heard of that went by the names of Public Enemy, NWA, and the Geto Boys. They were, to the streets, what The Beatles were to white folk. What James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye were to older black folk. They were the voices of our generation. Chuck D and Ice Cube’s voices are as recognizable to us as Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s are to, say, a Baby Boomer, for perspective.  "Fight the Power," "Fu*k the Police" -- you know Chuck D and Ice Cube’s voices and the sounds of Dr. Dre and The Bomb Squad, even if you do not know their names and faces.

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