Amoeblog

February 2nd in Pennsylvania

Posted by Whitmore, February 2, 2009 01:04pm | Post a Comment

It’s February 2nd and once again the hamlet of Punxsutawney, PA has announced for the 97th time since 1887 that the world’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, the "seer of seers and prognosticator of prognosticators," has seen his shadow, which according to legend means we can expect six more weeks of winter. Though we’ve had a pretty mild winter here in Southern California, this is bad news for most of the country, sick and tired of being buried in snow, sleet and rain.

This morning Punxsutawney Phil's forecast was announced in front of some 13,000 revelers gathering at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, where many were dressed in black and gold to celebrate yesterdays Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl victory.
 
February 2nd is the Christian holiday of Candlemas; the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, when a 40 day old Jesus was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn. In German tradition if a hibernating critter casts its shadow on Candlemas, winter will last six more weeks. And accordingly if no shadow is seen, spring will come early.   
This year, however, there was a little drama. Punxsutawney Phil’s counterpart and co-conspirator, New York City’s groundhog named Charles G. Hogg saw things differently; he didn't see his shadow. And he also bit Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the ceremony. Drawing blood from the eighth-richest American billionaire, Bloomberg was told there was no risk of rabies as the 2-year-old groundhog was born and raised in captivity and has had no contact with other animals. I smell conspiracy! But what did Bloomberg expect, we’d forget he left the Democratic Party to run as a Republican for NYC mayor and then try and extend the term limits law by running for a third time!?

TECHNO IS BLACK!

Posted by Mike Battaglia, February 2, 2009 11:00am | Post a Comment
       Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage        Ron Hardy at the Music Box

Even five short years ago, many clubbers, ravers and dance music fans would be hard pressed to recognize the names Ron Hardy or Larry Levan (above, R-L), let alone acknowledge African American influence on the music they get freaky to on the weekends. Even in the black community, whole generations seem The legendary Paradise Garagecompletely oblivious to this part of their musical heritage. Thankfully, that's changing. With a renewed interest in disco, 80's uptempo R&B aka boogie, techno and early house music over the past few years, knowledge of dance music's history and the role blacks (and gays and latinos) played in its inception is growing. Nightclubs where the music was allowed to evolve, like Levan's Paradise Garage (right) in New York, Hardy's Music Box and Frankie Knuckles' Warehouse in Chicago (the latter being where the name House Music was coined) and Detroit's Music Institute remain legendary not because of the venues themselves or the people who owned them, but due to the DJ's who made those places immortal by performing an aural alchemy that transformed the American soundscape.

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BOOTS RILEY OF THE COUP TELLS IT AS HE SEES IT

Posted by Billyjam, February 2, 2009 10:00am | Post a Comment
boots riley
In 1993 when Boots Riley and The Coup (Pam the Funkstress and former member E-Roc) first caught the attention of the hip-hop world with their socially & politically charged debut Kill My Landlord (Wild Pitch), hip-hop had already passed its political Afro-centric wave. 

It was when gangsta rap, with Dr. Dre and The Chronic leading the way, was fast becoming the prevalant hip-hop flavor, remaining so ever since. But none of that bothered the ever-outspoken, individually minded Raymond "Boots" Riley one bit, not then nor in the 16 years since. Boots as both an artist and acitvist has remained a refreshingly consistent voice of rebelliion; one constantly questioning authority, in particular the capitalist system of the country in which he lives.

Last week I caught up with Boots by telephone to talk with him about Black History Month, Barack Obama being in the White House, the relationship between police & minorities in the aftermath of the Oscar Grant case, and of course music, among other things. Riley was in LA in the studio sitting in on the finishing stages of mixing an album for a forthcoming release of an exciting-sthe coup kill my landlordounding side project by The Coup frontman, which is detailed further in the conversation that follows.

Amoeblog: So what is this new album side-project you are finishing up right now?

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The Black Eliminator

Posted by phil blankenship, February 1, 2009 09:41pm | Post a Comment
Jim Kelly is the Black Eliminator  Jim Kelly blaxploitation film The Black Eliminator

The Black Eliminator plot synopsis

Unicorn Video 1234

Cinema of Burkina Faso

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 1, 2009 01:27pm | Post a Comment
Sindou Peaks in Burkina Faso

Background on Burkina Faso

What is now Burkina Faso has been continuously inhabited for at least 14,000 years. The main indigenous population of this Sahelian region were the Yonyonse, who remained for thousands of years until they were displaced by the Mossi people of what is now Ghana only a thousand years ago. The Mossi established several kingdoms; the first, Tenkodogo, was founded in 1120 and ruled by Naaba. The Dogon, who'd inhabited areas in the north, left between the 15th and 16h centuries. Two more Mossi Kingdoms followed and dominated the area for about 800 years until 1896 when France invaded and established a colonial occupation. Upper Volta, as it was then known, gained independence from the French in 1960. As is the case with most post-Colonial countries, the years since have been dominated by dictatorships, wars and coups.

Street scene in Ouagadougou

Yet despite being plagued by poverty, unemployment and strife, Burkina Faso inarguably has one of West Africa's most vibrant cultures. Literature, primarily transmitted orally until collected in the 1930s, has long been a central part of Burkina Faso's culture. A strong theater tradition owing to both Burkinabé traditions and French influences has also been a major aspect of Burkinabé's cultural life. With over 60 ethnic groups, no one sort of music has yet dominated Burkina Faso's musical scene, although American and European pop are the most popular. Since 1969, Burkina Faso has been one of, if not the, dominant powers in Africa's film industry.

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