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Bernie Boston 1934 – 2008

Posted by Whitmore, February 9, 2008 06:47pm | Post a Comment
A few weeks back on January 22nd, retired Los Angeles Times photojournalist Bernard "Bernie" Boston, and a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, died at his home in rural Virginia. Praised as one of the leading photojournalists of his generation, Boston is probably best remembered for his iconic 1960’s photograph of a young Vietnam War protester putting flowers in the barrels of soldiers' gun.

Boston was 74 years of age, he died from Amyloidosis, a rare blood disease that he's had since 2006. Born in Washington, D.C., Boston graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology and served in the Army before starting his news photography career in Dayton, Ohio. Before joining the Times, he was the director of photography for The Washington Star newspaper until the paper folded in 1981. Boston retired from the Los Angeles Times in 1993 after years as the Times chief photographer in Washington.

His most famous image was photographed on October 22nd 1967, "Flower Power", which featured a Vietnam War protester in Washington inserting flowers into National Guardsmen's rifle barrels, was the runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize. He was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist for a 1987 photograph of Coretta Scott King unveiling a bust of her late husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
Boston is survived by his wife of 37 years, Peggy Boston.

Amoeba SF Celebrates Mardi Gras 2008

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 9, 2008 04:13pm | Post a Comment
Every year the staff at Amoeba San Francisco looks forward to the Fat Tuesday Celebration, and this year something was added to the mix:  the parade would involve children from the Boys & Girls Club, from around the corner on Page Street, making it an honest-to-goodness community event. The idea of bringing kids in to augment the parade brought some added anticipation and excitement from the staff, as we'd hoped.

With the store decked out in beads, and the traditional colors of purple, green and gold adorning the aisles, the staff was treated to superb and sublime Cajun food catered by Cajun Pacific, as a steady stream of music -- from New Orleans to Brazilian Carnaval --was provided by DJs in the afternoon. Costumes, headgear and decorations had already started to proliferate, and the festivity started to become infectious.

Just before five o'clock, the children arrived, bearing homemade signs and costumes, many of them relishing the opportunity to hide behind colorful masks and brandish noisemakers. They lined up on the ramp, eagerly waiting for the parade to begin. The staff started to gather at the info booth, next to the giant crawfish on the rolling cart, feeding off the energy of the spirited kids. With the invited guests, it really did feel like a celebration.


Finally, Big Ant, adorned with the crown and cape indicating his status as Parade King, led the restless crew down the aisles, once around the store and into the street, joined by other costumed employees and staff. Kathy held up a big MARDI GRAS sign to alert the onlookers, and for the first time the Amoeba Fat Tuesday parade greeted the public and crossed Haight Street. The young krewe snaked around the block to Page, passing the Boys And Girls Club and curved back towards the store.

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Dancicals! A Concept Whose Time Has Arrived

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 9, 2008 10:57am | Post a Comment
Last year on Amoeba Hollywood's mezzanine there was a serious debate about possible new sections:

Sports movies, Christian movies, Tween movies, Women's Pictures, Edwardian Movies, Midwesterns, &c. Most were shot down as stupid, unattractive and inadvisable. One that didn't get the official OK and yet sprang up anyway was "Dancicals."



In musicals (dancicals' aging sibling), singing and musical performance are interwoven into the plot. In backstage musicals, Dick Powell might be telling an audience about a new song he's written, which soon evolves into some insane Busby Berkeley fever dream that would be impossible to stage except in outer space.

In other musicals, two sane, grown-ass men might seamlessly slip from dialog into snapping, then singing, dancing and jumping off walls, grabbing mannequins and other tomfoolery that leaves some viewers scratching their heads wandering, "What the heck was that?" The age old question of whether or not musical numbers are actually occurring within the diegesis can't really be answered. You just have to not think about it.

With the onslaught of rock 'n' roll, musicals slipped in popularity in the 1960s. Interestingly, with the death of rock 'n' roll musicals have grown more popular again, with modern examples like Velvet Goldmine, Hedwig & the Angry Inch, Moulin Rouge!, Chicago, Sweeney Todd, &c.

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Ah Meng, 1960-2008

Posted by Whitmore, February 9, 2008 09:18am | Post a Comment
Ah Meng was a female Sumatran Orangutan and a favorite at the world famous Singapore Zoo. Ah Meng passed away on February 8th due to old age. She was about 48 years old and leaves behind two sons, Hsing Hsing and Satria, and two daughters, Medan and Sayang, as well as six grandchildren. She was known for her friendly nature, comfortability with humans and her animated facial expressions. Ah Meng had been featured in more than 30 travel films, and written about in some 300 articles, becoming the poster girl of the  Singapore Zoo. In 1992, the Singapore Tourism Board awarded Ah Meng a "Special Tourism Ambassador" honor in recognition of her contribution towards tourism in Singapore. Originally recovered in 1971 by a veterinarian from a local family who kept her as a pet, Ah Meng’s first owner had smuggled her illegally from Indonesia.  Her species, the Sumatran Orangutan, is a rarer breed of orangutan now critically endangered due to illegal logging and poaching. There are about only 7,500 Sumatran Orangutans left in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia.
Ah Meng was the first to host the Zoo's famous “Breakfast with an Orangutan” program, where luminaries such as Prince Philip of Britain and Michael Jackson were among the many foreign dignitaries and celebrities that visited her. By allowing close interaction with Ah Meng and other orangutans, the Singapore Zoo aimed to raise public awareness of the importance of preserving the orangutan's natural habitat as well as other environmental issues.

HAS THE SIMPSONS PASSED ITS EXPIRATION DATE?

Posted by Billyjam, February 8, 2008 10:00pm | Post a Comment
bart simpson
One advantage that an animated TV show has is that its stars need never age. Case in point is Matt Groening's creation The Simpsons, which debuted on Fox TV way back in December 1989 (although it appeared in a shorter and rougher form two years previously as a skit on the Tracey Ullman Show) and whose stars haven't aged a bit in the years that it has been on consistently since.

However the show has gone through many changes behind the scenes with various creative contributors, especially writers, coming and going -- prompting some critics to say that it is not the same Simpsons that it once was.

Personally I think it is still a great show, although I don't rush home to watch it the moment it first airs as I once did. But I still really enjoy it whenever I catch an episode (some more than others). And one episode that I got to watch recently was the Sadgasm episode, from the ongoing 19th season, in which Homer flashes back to the nineties -- a time when he creates grunge, or so the storyline goes.

I thought it was hilarious and loved it. (Check out the highlights of it in above video clip if you haven't already seen it.) But some naysayers were critical of it: saying things like "Hey, how come Bart wasn't born in this episode when he was already born when the series started the previous decade?" To whom I say: It's a cartoon, dummy! And it's called suspending your beliefs as the show takes poetic license.

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