Amoeblog

No sound no tell, Gay Cinema in the silent era

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 31, 2009 12:12pm | Post a Comment
Frederic Lord Leighton Flaming June
Frederic Lord Leighton's Flaming June

June, in addition to being Vision Research Month, Fireworks Safety Months, Light the Night for Sight Months, National Candy Month, Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month, Cancer in the Sun Month, Dairy Month, National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Pest Control Month, Safety Month, Scleroderma Awareness Month, and Zoo and Aquarium Month, is also Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, first established by Bill Clinton back in '00. Therefore, I may in the coming weeks blog about iced tea or become aware of Scleroderma, but for now I will focus on Gay Cinema.

One of the first things I noticed about gay people's feelings toward Gay Cinema is that they're almost all negative.  Exceptions are usually foreign films, which are almost invariably downers. The first year Amoeba observed Gay and Lesbian Pride month in the movie department in the form of a display, we all had an uncomfortable chuckle about the unfailingly depressing storylines of the films we featured. Films based on the lives and deaths of famous gays like Joe Orton, Brandon Teena, Oscar Wilde and James Whale all ended tragically. And here I thought gay meant happy!

closet

The history of Gay Cinema is quite unlike most minority driven alternatives to Hollywood. Unlike American Asians, blacks, Latinos and Natives -- whose identities have always been fairly obvious (except in cases of passing) -- gays have always had the option of remaining invisilble. Therefore, gays were never required to sit in the back of the bus, attend special schools or live in segregated neighborhoods. In the silent film industry, most gay actors understandably chose to hide their identitites. Though there are few overt representations of homosexuality in silent films -- mostly in European films -- most are merely hinted at. More importantly, however, the contributions of gays both in front of and behind the camera are many and noteworthy.

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Amoeba Hollywood Latin Music Best Sellers For May 2009

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 31, 2009 02:52am | Post a Comment

1. Mexican Institute Of Sound-Soy Sauce
2. Zoe-Reptilectric
3. Eydie Gorme Y Los Pachos-Cantan En Español
4. V/A-Salsa Dura Show
5. Don Omar-IDON
6. La Excelencia-Mi Tumbao Social
7. Manu Chao-Clandestino
8. Mexican Institute Of Sound-Piñata
9. Federico Aubele -Amatoria
(Five releases tied at #10)

Mexican Institute Of Sound
's latest release, Soy Sauce, takes the number one spot from April’s big seller, Zoe. Soy Sauce has received great reviews and much support on public radio, not to mention the Anglo crossover appeal. All the exposure has helped M.I.S.’s overall catalog sales. Their previous release, Piñata, took the number eight spot as well. Eydie Gorme Y Los PanchosCantan En Español is at number three, thanks in part to the fact that this album seems to be a perennial Mother’s Day gift.

May also brought to Los Angeles the 11th Annual Los Angeles Salsa Congress and with it, many Salsa fans from all over the world. I had the pleasure of helping people from Australia, Japan, Puerto Rico and some peeps from all over the U.S. Some of the Salsa enthusiasts even made last minute trips to Amoeba just before heading to the airport on their way home. Now that’s some determination, if you know L.A. traffic! Among those releases was La Excelencia’s brilliant Mi Tumbao Social and The Salsa Dura Show compilation, featuring deep Salsa jams put together by Nick Aguirre, host of one of the most popular Salsa internet radio shows in the world, Nick Aguirre's Salsa Dura Show.

A few new releases hit the charts as well. Reggaeton icon Don Omar's much-anticipated new joint, IDON, came in at number five and Federico Aubele’s third release, Amatoria, came in at number eight. Fans of Aubele’s music should know what to expect-- dubby, down tempo electronica with Spanish guitar, sultry female vocals and Tango influences. Also, along with Aubele’s new CD, there are a few new 12” remixes of previous released songs, such as "Maria Jose" from 2007’s Panamericana.

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Your Pals Are Not What They Seem 2: Faith and Reason in Lost's Season 5 Finale

Posted by Charles Reece, May 30, 2009 02:07pm | Post a Comment
Page I

john lock weird eyes lostjohn locke dead coffin lost

Being a congenital skeptic, I had expected Lost to go the way of other fantasy shows exploring the issue of faith. It began by establishing the central antagonism between its central characters, the rationalist doctor Jack Shephard (the de facto leader -- get it?) and the faith-filled, ironically named John Locke (the namesake of the famous British empiricist whose philosophical inbred progeny was one B. F. Skinner). In regaining the use of his legs after crashing on the island, Locke was granted something of his own revelation. By way of this objective correlative, Locke and the audience had a inkling that there was something more to the island than Jack's skepticism allowed. Throw in a smoke monster, people coming back from the dead and time travel and any reasonable person starts sympathizing with Nochimson's vaginal heroism. The lure is there to wrap the antagonism up in the same generic package as all the aforementioned failed fantasy programs. Affirm faith by killing it with literalism (compare the deracinated horror of Stephen King's CGI-infested movie-adpatation of his The Shining to the dread of Stanley Kubrick's).

Seems to me that faith is both an opening and a closing. The believer must remain open to mysterious possibilities that defy the normative limits given by our best explanatory models while digging his heels in the sand and claiming his irrationally derived belief is the truth. Therefore, faith requires mystery. If the implausible is made normative, as it is so often in fantasy, there is no faith involved. Of course, the recipient (viewer, reader) must maintain a level of faith by way of the classic suspension of disbelief. Similarly, lest the believer become a mere ideologue, he must live with uncertainity, a nagging suspicion that he might be wrong (i.e., not all that different from the fantasy genre's suspension requirement).

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DJ Roger Más

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 30, 2009 03:02am | Post a Comment

I met DJ Roger Más at Mas Exitos a few months back. I bought a few copies of his new single for Amoeba Hollywood based on the strength of his set that night and the fact that he is a label mate with DJ Lengua. Roger Más is a Bay area-based deejay that has a show on 90.7 KALX in Berkeley. He also spins at a few clubs, including The Make-Out Room and Skylark, both located in the Mission District, and The Missouri Lounge in Berkeley. His single is out on Club Unicornio Records.

Both sides are re-workings of somewhat obscure Cumbia and Salsa songs. “Baila Hihi” has a fat beat over a classic Descarga jam with the catchy “Baila, mulata baila” chorus. Personally, I like what he does with the Cumbia track on side B. “Cumbia Bonita” is a reworking of what I believe is the Pacho Galan Y Su Orquesta version of the song. Roger works the Cumbia percussion breakdown perfectly, which makes the track great for a segue from Hip-Hop to Cumbia or from Cumbia to something else. Deejays, I highly recommend this single.

Check out a Q & A with Roger Más right here, written a month ago for the SF Weekly. Also, check out a video made for “Baila Hihi”:

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I Heart Stones Throw

Posted by Smiles Davis, May 29, 2009 02:08pm | Post a Comment
stones throw records
What’s the best thing about living in Los Angeles? If you guessed Amoeba Records, you were close (we’re second-- actually first, according to LA Magazine). The correct answer, or I should say, the appropriate answer, is the surfeit of open-minded music aficionados that breathe and walk the streets every day. Being able to find inspiring and mood altering music readily at your disposal is the sweetest candy; being able to share it with like minded individuals who will appreciate it and celebrate it as much as you is priceless. That is why I heart Stones Throw. The air over at the Stones Throw headquarters is thick with bubbling ingenuity and relentlessness blended meticulously with an appetite for exploring outside the box. With artists like Madlib, Aloe Blacc, Damn Funk and Mayer Hawthorne leaving the swagger and overactive egos at the door, Stones Throw has singlehandedly redefined the definition of cool.

Giles Peterson dubbed Aloe Blaccs last album, Shine Through, as simply “brilliant” and I agree 110%. It's R&B, it's hip-hop, it's in two languages, and it's magic to my ears. I was fortunate enough to catch up with the bilingual, multi-instrumentalist crooner and emcee to ask him about his relationship with Stones Throw, his love for music, his upcoming album, the return of Emanon, and some of his favorite new artists.

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