Observing Yom Hashoah: Holocaust Remembrance Day

Posted by Billyjam, April 21, 2009 11:31am | Post a Comment
the readerOne of the most memorable scenes from the hilarious Ricky Gervais/ Stephen Merchant television series Extras produced by HBO/BBC is the episode in which Kate Winslet, playing a nun taking a break from shooting a Holocaust film, is giving advice on how to score an Oscar. "If you do a film about the Holocaust, you're guaranteed an Oscar," advises Winslet, playing herself in the mockumentary about extras in Hollywood. Winslet's episode was first aired in August 2005. Of course, the real kicker to this fictional scenario is that just three years later Winslet went on to star in the wonderful 2008 Holocaust film The Reader and won an Oscar for her role for "best actress" at the Academy Awards earlier this year. 

But the real reason why so many films about the indelible scar on the human experience that is the Holocaust go on to justifiably win Academy Awards is that these typically somber heartfelt films tend to be made, by both directors and actors alike, with such a level of pure passion and sincerity that it comes across in the finished product and ultimately makes for really powerful pieces of art. Examples of films that deal in some way with the Holocaust include Anne Frank - The Whole Story (2001), The Devil's Arithmetic (1999), Conspiracy (2001), Sophie Scholl - The Final Days (2005), Life Is Beautiful (1997), Schindler's List (1993), Jakob the Liar (1999), as well as the 1978 TV mini-series Holocaust. All of these films are available on DVD and found at Amoeba Music.

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Take A Chance On Me

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, April 20, 2009 12:01am | Post a Comment
dottie west melba montgomery lp coverluis arcaraz as de corazones lp coverjuan salazar poduer de ases lp cover
merle haggard songs I'll always sing lp coverlos braveros del norte lp cover
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I'm just back from the final night of the 2009 Film Noir festival. The 1st feature Walk Softly, Stranger had gambling as a central theme, so I thought it was time to post this blog...
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Although I've priced out the LP many times, it wasn't until very recently that I realized how ridiculous Pablo Cruise's Part of the Game cover is. My favorite? Los Braveros del Norte wins this round, hands down...
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Remembering Virginia O'Brien

Posted by Whitmore, April 19, 2009 07:40pm | Post a Comment

One of my all time favorite comedic actresses was Virginia O’Brien, and yesterday would have been her 90th birthday. She was also a popular singer in the 1940’s and often co-starred in MGM musicals with Red Skelton. O’Brien was best known for her deadpan expression as she sang, a gimmick she stumbled upon by accident at the Los Angeles Assistance League Playhouse's opening night performance of a musical comedy revue called Meet the People. The 20 year old O’Brien became literally paralyzed with stage fright as she performed her number. In her terror, standing completely still, wide eyed and expressionless, she managed to finish her song, and the audience thought she was absolutely hilarious. Two weeks later she signed a film contract and in less than a month Virginia O’Brien found herself opening on Broadway.
Some of her films include The Big Store (1941) with the Marx Brothers, Ship Ahoy (1942), Du Barry Was a Lady (1943), and Merton of the Movies (1947), all with Red Skelton. Then there are Thousands Cheer (1943), The Harvey Girls (1946) with Judy Garland, Ziegfeld Follies (1946), Francis in the Navy (1955) and Gus (1976). After a guest appearance in 1948’s short film Musical Merry-Go-Round, O'Brien was dropped from her MGM contract, a victim of the old Hollywood studio star system fading. But she found continued success on stage and with television appearances on a variety of shows such as Ed Sullivan, Jack Carter, Steve Allen and Merv Griffin. She also created a cabaret act, mostly a retrospective of her MGM career, and during the 1980’s released an album, recorded live at the legendary Masquers Club in Hollywood.
On January 16, 2001 at age 81, Virginia O’Brien died suddenly of a heart attack at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills. She’s buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.

AUTHOR JG BALLARD (Crash/Empire of the Sun) DEAD AT AGE 78

Posted by Billyjam, April 19, 2009 12:51pm | Post a Comment
jg ballard
As reported by the BBC and other UK media sources, the famed British author JG Ballard, best known for his novels Crash and Empire of the Sun, died earlier today following several years of illness. He was 78. As noted on the BBC site, despite being referred to as a science fiction writer, Ballard instead insisted that his books were, "picturing the psychology of the future." 

Ballard's most acclaimed novel (one of 15 he wrote and he also penned some short stories collections), Empire of the Sun, was based on firsthand experience drawn from his crashchildhood in a Japanese prison camp in China. "I remember a lot of the casual brutality and beatings-up that went on," Ballard was quotied as saying in reference to the three years he spent interned in a prison camp run by the Japanese from age 12 during World War II. and from which he drew much material for the fictionalized account of his childhood in his famed book.

Empire of the Sun
was later made into a film by Steven Spielberg. Meanwhile, his controversial book Crash, about sexual desires stimulated by car crashes, was made into the 1996 film Crash by director David Cronenberg and stars James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas, Deborah Kara Unger, and Rosanna Arquette. Ballard/Cronenberg's Crash is not to be confused with the similarly titled 2005 Paul Haggis movie set in Los Angeles and involving a collection of interrelated characters.

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Posted by Billyjam, April 19, 2009 11:00am | Post a Comment

Today is the third and final day of the talent-packed, weekend-long Coachella Festival, which has been Amoeblogged about here intensively in the hella informative Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative (30 Coachella Bands Featured in 30 Days) blog over the last few weeks leading up the annual diverse outdoor music festival at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, CA.

Rightfully dubbed by the UK music magazine NME as "probably the best festival in the world," today's (Sunday, April 19th) impressive lineup includes The Cure, Public Enemy (the recently reunited), Throbbing Gristle, Lupe Fiasco, Roni Size Represent, My Bloody Valentine, Groove Armada, K'NAAN, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Antony and the Johnsons, and Themselves, who I recently caught up with. I checked out their show (amazing!) and talked with member (and former Amoeba employee) Adam "Doseone" Drucker, who shares membership in the Oakland-based Anticon duo with fellow producer/emcee Jeff "Jel" Logan.

Although Jel and Doseone are both members of the group Subtle and are constantly producing together or just hanging out in the East Bay, where they both live, as the duo Themselves they had not performed or recorded together in six years until recently. They've just recorded an album that will drop in a couple of months or so, put together a kick-ass mix-CD, and have undertaken a national tour that ends today at Coachella. Then, on Friday (24th) they begin their European tour, starting in Paris, France. I caught up with them in NYC a couple of weeks ago when they played at Webster Hall and talked with Doseone about various doseonethings, including the Anticon group's ten-year anniversary. "We made up a ton of music we always wanted to make and one was a giant collaborative effort...with everyone we ever shared air with and that was something we always wanted to do in a million ways," said Dose-One of the new mix CD that includes such killer tracks as "Know That To Know This," featuring Aesop Rock. "There's nothing like an hour-long posse cut to clean the blood," he laughed. "And we finished our full-length, which is our kind of stoic little ten song banger for the ten year anniversary and [on it] every song has its place in the history of rap recording to us and our own personal history with respect to rap and how we make music these days. So, you know, it's a blast. It was great! It was like getting our fitted suits."

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