Amoeblog

From the women's picture to the chick flick

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 31, 2009 05:52pm | Post a Comment
30 Helens

I wrongly assumed that it would be easy to fire off a blog briefly summarizing the history of women’s pictures. When I began, I quickly realized that it is a genre that’s simplistically treated as synonymous with both weepies/tearjerkers and their near opposite, the rom-com; it quickly proved to be more than I bargained for, which is why it’s showing up on this, the last day of Women’s History Month. The history of the genre occupies an interesting position, little discussed and yet obviously affecting and responding to the Hollywood narrative, the larger global film market, and broader history. Anyway, it proved to be a bit too much so, here's the fast & furious driveby account of a genre that deserves more.


First of all, tear-inducing films are by no means all women's pictures, which is why someone coined the annoying term “guy cry” for young male-targeted stories/films about dying dogs (e.g. My Dog Skip, Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, &c). For adult males, sentimental melodramas (usually tempered by the macho backdrop of war, the wild west or sports (e.g. Bang the Drum Slowly, Brian’s Song, Knute Rockne) allow men the opportunity to cry with less shame. But, whereas men generally try to resist crying, telling themselves in the heat of a battle scene as the hero lies dying in his buddy's arms, "It's only a movie. It's only a movie. You will not cry!"; women, it is assumed, seek out movies with the hope that they will have "good cry." I have no doubt that this is part of why women’s pictures have rarely been afforded serious critical examination and were only lauded, for the most part, near the beginning of film history.

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KUTMASTA KURT INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, March 31, 2009 06:20am | Post a Comment
kutmasta kurt
Kutmasta Kurt
is the ever- active Los Angeles based producer, turntablist/DJ, and label owner of Threshold Recordings. The Bay Area transplant, who started out at KZSU radio and who released his first record twenty years ago, is best known for his longtime collaborations with such artists as Kool Keith and Motion Man with whom he  worked jointly on the Masters of Illusion project and also individually on numerous other projects. 

Kutmasta Kurt embarks on the Dr. Dooom Vs. Dr. Octagon tour this week with former Ultramagnetic MCs frontman  Kool Keith. The two artists have worked on such projects as Dr. Dooom and Dr. Octagon as well as such Kool Keith albums as Sex Style, Diesel Truckers, and Matthew. Kutmasta Kurt also produced the Ultra (Kool Keith + fellow former Ultramagnetic MC Tim Dog) album Big Time in 1996.

Additionally he occassionally dons a long fake beard (see pic left) and morphs into his fun Funky Redneck alter-ego. As such he released the 2004 album RedNeck Games, whose original name had to be changed due to pressure from the Olympics Committee.

I recently caught up with Kurt to ask him about this run in with the Olympics folks and the reaction his Funky Redneck persona typically generates, his illustrious recording career, the status of his record label in these digital downloading times, his favorite recording equipment, and his earliiest hip-hop memories.

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Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: thenewno2

Posted by Amoebite, March 30, 2009 06:12pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth

Coachella Lineupthenewno2

Day #14 - Artist #14 - thenewno2 (pronounced "the new number two"):

Thenewno2

Paul McCartney is not going to be the only one with Beatle blood on stage at this year's Coachella. On Saturday April 18, 2009, thenewno2 are prepared to grab the baton from where the "quiet one" unfortunately handed it off much too early. Dhani Harrison, son of the late great George Harrison, along with longtime friend and musical partner Oliver Hecks, comprise the creative mind of thenewno2. The result is the accomplished debut album, You Are Here, released tomorrow, March 31st, that sounds like what one would expect if post-Beatles George joined Radiohead. Dhani never gives the impression that he's trying to be a Beatle, but he definitely hasn't forgotten that he is the son of one.

FRENCH OSCAR-WINNING COMPOSER MAURICE JARRE DIES AT 84

Posted by Billyjam, March 30, 2009 04:48pm | Post a Comment
maurice jarre
Maurice Jarre
, the French conductor and Oscar-winning composer, and father of electronic music composer and producer Jean-Michel Jarre, died yesterday (March 29) at age 84. The cause of his death has not yet been announced. The composer, who had over 150 movie soundtrack credits to his name, won Academy Awards for his orchestral scores for the films Doctor Zhivago in 1965, Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, and A Passage to India in 1984.

Other films that the extremely prolific artist composed the scores for include The Train in 1964, Ryan's Daughter in 1970, The Man Who Would Be King in 1975, The Message in 1976, Dead Poets Society in 1989, Jacob's Ladder in 1990, Ghost in 1990, Witness in 1985, The Year of Living Dangerously in 1982, Fatal Attraction in 1987, No Way Out in 1987, The Damned in 1969, The Tin Drum in 1979, and Circle of Deceit in 1981. Jarre, who lived for many years in Los Angeles to be close to the Hollywood film studios, was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his a passage to indiacontribution to the art of film.

Born in Lyon, France in 1924, he began his third level studies as an engineering student at Lyon University and enrolled in the engineering school at the Sorbonne. But it was against his father's wishes that he quit engineering and switched to music, dropping out of the Sorbonne and soon after enrolling at the Paris Conservatoire. According to the UK Telegraph, it was there that he studied under the Swiss composer Arthur Honegger, the timpanist FĂ©lix Passerone and Joseph Martenot, inventor of the Martenot Waves, an electronic keyboard that prefigured the modern synthesizer and which Jarre would often use in his film scores.

[Insert wordless visual here.]

Posted by Job O Brother, March 30, 2009 03:55pm | Post a Comment
silent film

Not to lure you away from the safe and nurturing environment that is the Amoeblog, but, for those of you interested in reading it with your eyes, here is a link to a recent interview I had with one of my favorites, Marianne Faithfull.

Now then, on to a topic that is not oft spoke of; that is, silent films. Amoeba Music Hollywood has a small but rich silent film section which, at this writing, is located on the mezzanine. I’m taking this opportunity to advocate a greater appreciation and exploration of this antiquated genre.

For many people, silent films are a known but ignored craft, as though the technological progress that married sound to film rendered the silent precursors an inferior product. While I do hail “talkies” as a wonderful invention, I still feel there is much joy to be had in silent cinema. If nothing else, knowing a bit about it can be enough to get you laid by art-school chicks taking a break from experimenting with bisexuality.

louise brooks

The first silent I saw that rocked me was the tragic drama Pandora’s Box [original, German title: Die Büchse der Pandora]. Released in 1929 and directed by Austrian Georg Wilhelm Pabst, it stars the gorgeous and gifted Louise Brooks in the lead role.


Another gem I treasure is Wings, the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture (and the only silent film to do so). Released in 1927 and directed by William A. Wellman, it stars Clara Bow, the quintessential flapper icon, and has a cameo by not-yet-superstar Gary Cooper.

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