I recently remembered some tricks of the trade, so to speak, dwelling in my fever shucked head. Here is some new artwork for the singles boxes from Amoeba Hollywood’s world of 45-rpm-7-inch little-records-with-the big-holes. Though it wasn’t the intention, these arty little boxes seem to work in the same vein as a flame mesmerizes the moth; seduction by the bright light of desire, a glint of reckless narcissism, the corporeal flicker of vinyl nuggets -- the need to touch, commune, possess ... OK, I know, that’s horrifically over stated, but god knows I’m not the only one who has spent a small fortune on vinyl around here. Oh, the plight of a record geek.
The 1959 Marcel Camus directed film Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro in Portuguese) is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary with a special screening on Saturday night (Feb 14th) at the Culver Plaza Theaters as part of the ongoing Pan African Film Festival which Amoeba has been promoting. If you can, you should attend this screening. I have already seen the film about a dozen times, but never on the big screen where it is meant to be seen. What I love most about Black Orpheus, even on the small screen, is the music, which is a seemingly never ending percussion based track that plays throughout the entire film as everyone moves to its rhythm. It is like one long dance.
Beautifully shot, it is a love story based on the play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, which is an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice only set in (then contemporary) late 1950's Rio de Janeiro during the Carnaval festivities. If it were not for this film the whole Bossa nova (which is Portuguese for "new trend") movement would not have taken off.
The film influenced many people in the US upon its release and in subsequent years. One of these was longtime jazz musician and Bay Area jazz radio DJ Dick Conte who, as a jazz piano player/keyboardist, has long fronted his own trio and as a radio DJ has been on such Bay Area stations as legendary jazz station KJAZ where he started his radio DJ career in 1962 and worked on-and-off until 1983, KMPX, KSFO, KKCY, KKSF (where he worked for over 20 years until last month and where he hosted the Sunday night jazz show that included the popular feature "A Taste Of Brazil"), and KCSM 91.1FM where he hosts the Saturday afternoon jazz program from 2-6PM.
Media Home Entertainment M981
Stand back; you don’t want any part of this. I think it all got kick started on Groundhog Day. I went to some kind of birthday shindig/gig thing bent on intoxication and good ol’ fashion trouble. It had been a tough couple of weeks. My fatigue was palpable. I suspect the psychological scars may have been grossly apparent. A night of depravity was prescribed by an alcoholic friend of mine, so I took my doctor’s advice.
Anyway, some young buck walked up to me that night, shook my hand saying, “Hey you’re the guy who plays that weird guitar.” While I said “yeah,” expecting some other comment (perhaps, dare I say, a compliment), he started hacking up a cough so deep and far down he fell out of his Beatle boots. He didn’t say another word, turned blue and at once vanished into the party, never to be seen again. Unfortunately he tagged me good with whatever pathogen he was sharing. Two and a half days later some ghastly virus, intent on killing me, hit me like a rock, kicking me in the chest and smashing in my skull. Well, shit happens. The good news is this is my first cold/flu thing since last summer. The bad news is, I’m as sick as a dog -- an old dog that should be put out of his misery.
Needless to say, I haven’t gotten much done. There were certain esoteric news items I planned on writing about, like “the oldest human hair was found in a Hyena poop fossil,” or the discovery of “five new species of pygmy seahorses,” or how “hordes of caterpillars are devouring crops in Liberia and are threatening a cataclysmic food shortage.” I planned on composing obits for Lux Interior and James Whitmore and Max Neuhaus. But those ideas have gone by the wayside, along with my intentions to write about the 45th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and the anniversary of the publication of Ulysses by James Joyce. Anyway, anyone up for the etymology of “phlegm”?