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Best Of 2007, Part 2 - Maneja Beto At The Levitt Pavillion 7/28

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 6, 2007 11:03am | Post a Comment

Maneja Beto
comes into town two or three times a year with little fanfare, and that’s too bad. They are the best Mexican rock band out on the scene right now that isn't actually from Mexico. Hailing from Austin, TX, Maneja Beto continues on a path that bands from Mexico no longer follow. Maneja incorporate traditional Mexican musical influences with their Anglo and Roc N' Español influences. At their performance at the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena, Maneja Beto tore through an hour and half set that featured most of the songs from their brilliant release, Accidentes De Longitud Y Latitud. One of the things that makes Maneja unique is that two of the band members play multiple instruments. Bobby Garza doubles on percussion and keyboards and shares vocal duties with Alex Chavez. Chavez plays keys and a whole array of guitars (electric as well as traditional Mexican instruments such as the Jarana and the Requinto). Much like Café Tacvba, Maneja Beto has great songs and can mix all their influences together and still retain their own sound. But unlike Café Tacvba, Maneja does not have an engaging front person, which perhaps is the reason their rise to popularity has been much slower.

There is a Mexican saying, “Traen la cara de nopal,” which roughly translates to, “You have the face of a cactus." It is what some Mexicans say to each other when one forgets where he or she came from. It’s something one can’t shake, no matter how much you are educated, how much money you earn, where you move to or how much one assimilates into Anglo culture. In the end, you have to look in the mirror and see yourself, "la cara del nopal," the face of a Mexican.

The thing I like about Maneja Beto, with all their painted nails and their obvious love of bands like Joy Division and The Smiths, is that they never try to hide their “caras del nopal.”  I think that many bands from Mexico right now could learn from them.

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Future-Kill

Posted by phil blankenship, December 5, 2007 10:17pm | Post a Comment
 




Vestron Video VA5109

While Jake's Uke Gently Weeps

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 5, 2007 03:14pm | Post a Comment
Music, one of the best things about music, is that it touches everyone in it's own way. Like a prayer sent up to heaven, once you release a song, it belongs to the universe. This is truly a beautiful video:



As you may know, we are big supporters of the ukelele here at Amoeba, and most of us are crazy about Those Beatles. This video and his amazing prowess on the instrument sure brightened up my day.

If you want to see more of Jake Shimabukuro, or others on Uke, you can hop over here to this website and uke your holidays away: http://www.ukuleledisco.com/jake

DRAG RACING: AUTO AMERICANA Part Two:

Posted by Billyjam, December 5, 2007 02:33pm | Post a Comment

Basically drag racing is an auto acceleration contest from a standing start between two cars (or other type of vehicle) standing side by side, and over a measured distance -- usually a quarter-mile (1,320 feet). And while drag racing is thought of as a strictly American past time, it is celebrated all over the globe with avid drag car racers in such lands as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, and Northern Europe. 

Above is one of my all time favorite drag racing compilations (check out that school bus doing a wheelie!) with the best music. It is "Burning Rubber (Remix)" by Big Stick, who shot the video footage and who, as a music outfit in the late eighties, churned out some of the greatest tunes ("Crack Attack," "Jesus Was Born on An Indian Reservation," etc) and a sound that carved its unique soundscape somewhere between industrial, rap, and manic rock. 

But as dear to their hearts as music was, Big Stick's passion for auto and drag car racing, as witnessed via their side project the Drag Racing Underground, under which they have released several DVDs of this fascinating past time. Click here for the website

Additionally there are also many other websites on the topic, including DragTimes.Com. Meanwhile, check the following video collection of drag cars doing a lot of wheel stands.

It's the Eve of St. Nicholas Day

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 5, 2007 01:08pm | Post a Comment
It's already December 5th again. Everyone knows that I'm obsessed with holidays and St. Nicholas Day is one of my favorites. Most people have heard David Sedaris' story about Santa Claus vs. St. Nicholas and maybe some of us know that he was a Greek bishop in present-day Turkey who became the patron saint of children by resurrecting their little corpses and paying off debts of the living to keep them out of child sex slavery.
 
I know people still exchange gifts at least in parts of the Middle West. Fewer of us still stuff our shoes with carrots and hay for his white horse Amerigo (or in some places a donkey) with the expectation that tomorrow we'll find our initials in chocolate, chocolate coins or marzipan. Of course, if we've been bad there might be some salt or a bundle of sticks to get switched with.

In different parts of the world he's accompanied by different comrades.
 
Probably most well known is Zwarte Piet who is his companion in Flanders and the Netherlands. Originally Zwarte Piet was a nickname for the Devil and, after arriving from Spain, he threatened to stuff bad kids into his sack and take them back with him. In the 19th century, in typically misguided proto-Political Correctness, he was re-cast as a Moorish servant in blackface wearing colorful clothing from the Renaissance. Satan is too offensive, Moorish slavery is still unfortunately commonplace, so I guess it's not as tasteless. If you look up Sinterklaas on YouTube you will be shocked by the prevalence of blackface, which no one there seems to find remotely controversial. All the comments are in Dutch and I guess you don't see a lot of black people in Holland unless Urban Dance Squad is still around.

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