In the 70’s, I was in my single digit years. (Christopher Cross- Ride Like The Wind) Even though I was raised in a Mexican immigrant family, I still lived in 70’s-mellow Los Angeles. We were inundated with those laid back, playing on the beach, (George Benson-Breezin’) Mimosa drinking, macramé wearing, big sunglasses wearing, sitting on wicker furniture on our balcony with our Southern California vibe, thanks to the media. The media made some of us forget we were growing up in the ghettos of Los Angeles in dilapidated housing with no jobs or low-paying jobs. It made us forget the Vatos down the street were smoking Angel Dust. It made us forget we never had time or the funds to get to the beach, even if it was only a few miles away.
Television was full of it. (Boz Skaggs - Lowdown) Three’s Company, The Love Boat, even the local T.V. news fluff piece shows like Eye On L.A. had us believing everyone lived on the beach and had a yacht. Even my heroes as a kid, the Los Angeles Dodgers, seemed to succumb to the laid-back images with their gold chains outside their uniforms, porn 'staches and long hair.
Radio was worse at perpetuating the myth. Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Steely Dan, (Green Earring) Boz Skaggs. Even former funksters like The Commodores and Earth Wind & Fire went soft. Everyone was in such a mellow haze that my impressionable siblings and I thought that’s how normal adults lived their life. If that was the case, what was wrong with our parents? They worked all the time, looked horribly unhip in their work clothes and they never went out on the town. (Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street) My father was always stained with paint from his job; my mother listened to big band music as she sewed us our clothes because we couldn’t afford to buy clothes from the store.
In the forwarding of Ernesto Lechner’s 2006 book, Rock en Español: The Latin Alternative Rock Explosion, Lechner explains how the rock groups coming out of Latin America in the 1990’s helped change his outlook on Latin Rock. Growing in Argentina, Ernesto had a bias against Latin American musicians hell-bent on imitating their Anglo counterparts. However, it was groups like Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Café Tacvba and Gustavo Cerati that showed him that Latin Rock had more to offer the world of music than sheer imitation: these artists had something to say.
In the mid-nineties I had a similar revelation. My friend Juan Carlos educated me on the music of the groups that I no knowledge of growing up in the states. It was instant love for me when he played me Maldita Vecindad, Fabulosos Cadillacs and Mano Negra, all of whom sang about issues that related directly to my life: songs about not belonging, of immigration and the effects of colonialism that affects indigenous people to this day. One of my favorite groups of this era was Todos Tus Muertos.
For one, I grew up as a huge fan of The Bad Brains and there were many similarities between the two bands. Todos were a rock band at heart, with excellent musicianship that meant they could play both heavy and fast. Then much like The Bad Brains, they could switch gears and play Reggae. Todos Tus Muertos (translation: All Your Dead) were energetic singers. Pablo and Fidel were both black. But that is where their likeness ends. Todos were Dancehall based compared to The Bad Brains’ Roots Reggae style. Also Todos would add elements of other Latin music like Cuban Son. Lyrically, Todos were leftist, influenced by both Latin American & Jamaican icons such as Che Guevara, Augusto Sandino, Emiliano Zapata, Marcus Garvey and Subcomandante Marcos.
I'm sick as all hell, grumpy, and my mind ain't much good for nothing but thinking about the Oscars. So here are my choices (at least, who I think will win in terms of my model Academy voter). And, in case you're wondering, here's how the nominees are chosen and then voted for. My selections are in red, with my reasoning in italics.
Performance by an actor in a leading role:
George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah" (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)
There's no competition here: the juiciest part being played by the juiciest actor and in a film that's anti-capitalist and anti-fundamentalist.
Performance by an actor in a supporting role:
Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.)
Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War" (Universal)
Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
Pure Hate Berlin 2004 is a great film of graffiti from Berlin, Germany. The DVD, which came out four years ago and is hard to find (not sure if Amoeba has it in stock but you should ask to be sure) has some really well-produced footage (lots of killer post production work) with a perfect soundtrack to match the imagery as you can see from the video excerpt above.
I find the clip above to be so intense because of the ninja-like team work of the dozen or more all-masked graf artists descending in the dead of the night on the abandoned Berlin train platform to carry out their obviously pre-planned, choreographed art crime. And the new Pure Hate Berlin 2008 looks like it will be even tighter in terms of production, visuals, and content. See another movie excerpt clip below.