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The Employee Interview Part XV: Brad Schelden

Posted by Miss Ess, January 11, 2008 12:40pm | Post a Comment
Brad
7ish years of Employment
Rock Buyer


This is a special farewell installment of The Employee Interview.  Don't worry-- you are not going to lose Brad's insightful blogs, it's just that we, the SF store, are losing him to the LA store this week.  Just like in baseball, he's been recruited for their team and will be moving next week. It will be quite a loss for those of us up here in SF to suffer.  Brad, we salute you!  It won't be the same without you.  But at least we will probably still get to watch the Oscars together. (If they happen-- agh what an awards show season!)

ME: What was the first concert you remember going to?depeche mode

BS: Depeche Mode...Even though my seats were so far away I could barely see them it was one of the highlights of my life. It was just exciting to see that all these other people actually liked the same band as me.

I loved that feeling when I first started going to shows.  I was thinking, "Who ARE all these people?"  I've actually met so many people who work here who were at shows I was also at in the late 90s/early 2000s!  I love it.  That's how I knew Amoeba was my home.  So who was the first artist that really got you into music and why?

I am sure it was probably Morrissey and The Smiths. He was for sure the first person I was obsessed with, other than maybe Michael Jackson or Cyndi Lauper. Morrissey was the first artist where I was morrisseyactually reading all the liner notes and buying all the magazines with him in it. It was fantastic as a young kid to listen to music and lyrics that you could completely relate to even though they were coming out of a man from a totally different world and reality.

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"BAD BAR BEHAVIOR" LEADS TO BAN ON CURSING & PROFANE MUSIC

Posted by Billyjam, January 11, 2008 05:45am | Post a Comment

Did you catch that small but significant news item from a couple of days ago about the Missouri town of St. Charles where, it appears, they are about to pass a bill that would ban swearing in bars?

It's for real, and the decision about this new bill, which will be made on Monday (Jan 14th), extends beyond just cussing. It also is hoping to outlaw table-dancing, drinking contests and profane music (meaning, I guess, most new popular rap).

Reportedly the St. Charles city officials insist that the bill is "needed" in order to "keep rowdy crowds under control because the historic downtown area gets a little too lively on some nights." Richard Velt, the St. Charles councilman responsible for this new proposed bill, said that he decided to push it through after hearing numerous complaints about "bad bar behavior." 

And he reasons that, if passed, it would allow local police some rules to enforce when things get "too rowdy." (READ: now cops will have even more leeway to abuse their powers). Thankfully some individuals in this town are speaking out. These include restaurant/bar owner Marc Rousseau who said that it's a violation of a person's rights. On the topic of the music playlist, he said: "We're dealing with adults here once again and I don't think it's the city's job or the government's job to determine what we can and cannot play in our restaurant."

A town meeting to discuss the proposal, which would essentially ban indecent, profane or obscene language, songs, entertainment and literature at bars in St. Charles, is scheduled for this coming Monday January 14th. I bet it will be well attended and publicized. Check back here for any updates.
           

Stranded

Posted by phil blankenship, January 10, 2008 09:47pm | Post a Comment
 









RCA / Columbia Pictures Home Video 62771

Art! What Is It Good For? More on The Lives of Others Vis a Vis Clockwork Orange

Posted by Charles Reece, January 10, 2008 09:44pm | Post a Comment
Regarding what I wrote about the the transformative power of music in THE LIVES OF OTHERS being a lie, a pal of mine, K, suggested the possible counter-example of the Nazi being moved by piano music in Polanski's THE PIANIST.  I still haven't seen that film due to its starring Adrian Brody, but I suppose if a digitized giant ape can get me to put aside my aversion for 2 and half hours, the name 'Polanski' ought to, as well, even if it's later Polanski.   So maybe I'll get around to that film at some later date. 

A film that does approach what I was talking about from a truer perspective than Donnersmarck's is Kubrick's CLOCKWORK ORANGE.  The film was based on Burgess's novel, which was a rejection of the panglossian futurism of B. F. Skinner's behaviorism, most notably his sci-fi novel, WALDEN TWO, where the happiness of individuals is derived from the outside-in, every aspect of culture being a stimulus which, if functioning properly, keeps the whole community flowing along in prosperity, promoting the desired actions/"responses" -- the providence of which is defined by the organizers.  Things like art have value insofar as they help shape the "proper" behavior, value being defined top-down.  If that strikes you as totalitarian, that's because it is.  And Kubrick's film is an all-out satirical attack against the reifying tendency of the bureaucratically minded whereby value obtains as a place within the system, never for the thing itself.

Contrary to the story Donnersmarck tells of the incommensurability of violence and art, the love of both happily co-exist in CLOCKWORK ORANGE's protagonist Alex.  As it was with Lenin, he loves smashing heads, but unlike with Lenin, he does so to the accompaniment of Beethoven.  It's not until Alex undergoes reconditioning at the Ludovico lab that Beethoven becomes associated with nonviolence.  Getting a dose of some noxious serum while being forced to watch acts of violence and hearing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony results in just the sort of transformative effect Donnersmarck associates with art.  Donnersmarck might argue that his Stasi Captain gives up his ideology in favor of the intrinsic qualities of the piano piece he hears while spying through headphones, whereas the effects of the Ninth on Alex are due to its extrinsic associations with negative stimuli (via Pavlovian, not Skinnerian, conditioning, but the point remains the same).  This potential distinction, however, rests on the shaky notion that such music has ideological content internal to its nature as art-object, rather than associated with it as a social object.

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Iran in the Local News

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 10, 2008 08:26pm | Post a Comment

I caught a “local news” story the other day on one of the local stations. Under the headline “Desert Wonderland?” they ran footage of snow in Iran and (with those slightly robotic chuckles that all newscasters are able to activate thanks to their Hillary Clinton Brand emotion chips) they talked about what was made out to seem a freak occurrence, or at least a newsworthy event. I mean, weather in Tehran isn't exactly local.


I admit, before I ever watched an Iranian film or visited Tehrangeles, I had only the vaguest notions of what the country and its people looked like. I kind of reckoned that the middle east was one big sandy desert sparsely populated with turbaned Arabs and veiled harem girls. I am, after all, a product of Hollywood stereotypes and American public schools where we prefer to teach about 1000 years of Dark Ages serf rebellions in Europe rather than even mention the developments in math, science, technology, literature and the arts occurring at the same time in the Muslim world which helped jump started the Renaissance.

Our country’s relationship with Iran has been prickly ever since the 1953 CIA-orchestrated Project Ajax, in which their elected (and secular) leader Mohammed Mosaddeq was removed from power after he nationalized Iran’s oil industry, knowing full well that Iran’s oil belonged to England! Perhaps because of this (despite Iran frequently being in the news over the decades since) it has felt like there’s a ban on showing any actual images from the country, lest the American people start to recognize it as an actual country and not the hatred-stirring bogeyman it’s made out to be by politicians and the media when it's time for uniting we the people in mistrust and xenophobia.

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