Interview with Bay Area Hip-Hop Artist Turned Novelist Bret Alexander Sweet on "Among The Veils"

Posted by Billyjam, October 12, 2015 01:30pm | Post a Comment
Bret Alexander Sweet is the Bay Area hip-hop artist turned author who expertly channeled his writing skills as an emcee (Karma with Kemetic Suns, and Fundamentals) into being an accomplished author. This year Alexander Sweet, who works in mentoring inner city youth in entrepreneurship and is the son of prominent Bay Area civil rights attorney and social entrepreneur Clifford Charles Sweet, published his impressive first novel Among The Veils.  With a distinct musical backdrop to its storyline (references songs and musicians throughout) the work of fiction is clearly fueled by Alexander's love and broad knowledge of music. The book is the Oakland, CA resident's first in an ambitious five-part series of publications. Already half completed the author, who graduated from Berkeley High School in 1995, has scheduled the sequel to Among The Veils - to be entitled Sanctuary In The Veils - for a late 2016 planned publication date. 

As a hip-hop artist in the nineties Sweet was a founding member of Kemetic Suns, a member of Fundamentals, as well as founder of the underrated indie label House Kemetic Suns whose releases included the cassette The PatterFall Wars (scroll down to hear). As mentor/teacher Alexander was awarded Certified Teacher of the Year by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship in 2004 which led to him a few years later founding the Dualism Group whose mission statement he outlined as an, "early stage venture capitalism firm and consulting arm geared toward helping underserved entrepreneurs launch and expand their companies in order to bring jobs to lower income communities."   Recently I caught up with Bret Alexander Sweet to find out more about his book and its inspiration.

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Introduction to Subcultural Anthropology: Kogal

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 12, 2015 10:37am | Post a Comment
Even disregarding the sense having to do with bacteria, there are many definitions of "subculture." The longest that I've found is that of the The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition:

A group within a society that has its own shared set of customs, attitudes, and values, often accompanied by jargon or slang. A subculture can be organized around a common activity, occupation, age, status, ethnic background, race, religion, or any other unifying social condition, but the term is often used to describe deviant groups, such as thieves and drug users. ( See counterculture.)

No one will ever be able to document every subculture, or even agree upon what they are. With this series I will examine subcultures primarily organized around two things, music and clothing. That way I can largely avoid the can of worms which are gangs. For gangs, both music and clothing are of considerable importance but the engagement in of criminal activity is assumed to be their raison d'être. Also, I don't want to provoke a bunch of angry, misspelled comments written in all caps. 

This week's subculture: Kogal


The kogal (コギャル) subculture arose in Japan in the 1980s and became widely known in the Japanese mainstream after the airing of a 1993 television special, ザ・. コギャル NIGHT ("the Kogal night"). The subculture were further featured in the fictional 1997 film バウンス ko GALS ("bounce Kogal") (1997) depicted Kogals turning to prostitution to fund their insatiable materialism. In reality, many Kogals were apparently engaged in "paid dating" although for the vast majority that means involves little more than accompanying a man to karaoke in exchange for money and drinks. 

October at Balboa Theatre: Vampires, Hell Houses, and Yokai Monsters!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, October 11, 2015 06:37pm | Post a Comment

Yokai Monsters

San Francisco's Balboa Theatre and the mysterious forces at Super Shangri-La Show bring you an October to remember with three weeks of Wednesdays of super weird Halloweeny viewing!

Yokai MonstersThe fun starts Wednesday, October 14th at 7:30pm with Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare (1968), the second in the Yokai Monsters movie trilogy. A Babylonian demon is awoken and flies to ancient Japan to take over the body of the local Magistrate. The small country yokai monsters must team up to defeat him. It's a classic little monsters vs. evil big monster scenario and is not to be missed! In Japanese with English subtitles.

What's a yokai? According to Wikipedia: "Yokai (ghost, phantom, strange apparition) are a class of supernatural monsters in Japanese folklore. The word yokai is made up of the kanji for 'bewitching; attractive; calamity' and 'apparition; mystery; suspicious.'" I'm sold. RSVP on Facebook for entertaining updates.

Wednesday, October 21st unleashes Mario Bava's 1965 sci-fi/horror classic Planet of the Vampires. This movie features two great tastes that go great together: space and the undead. Its a stylish adventure with hot Italian chicks in space suits, and many critics say that it inspired Ridley Scott's Alien. RSVP on Facebook, invite your friends and family.

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51Oakland's Jason Hofmann Recognizes Correlation Between Public School Arts and Music Programs and Academic Achievement

Posted by Billyjam, October 11, 2015 11:31am | Post a Comment

Despite the numerous studies conducted that unequivocally prove that there is a direct positive correlation between arts and music programs in schools, and improving academic scores and school attendance records for students who participate, music and arts programs in American public schools are constantly under the threat of being cut from their respective district's shrinking school budgets. School districts in cities across the US such as Chicago, Detroit, and Oakland are among those to feel the results of these budget cuts. Viewing them as short-sighted and detrimental to their communities, 51Oakland co-founder Jason Hofmann calls the cuts to the music and art programs criminal. "That there are no art and music programs in the public schools is a crime," said Hofmann who four years ago, with Yoshi Akiba (Yoshi's Jazz club co-owner), co-founded the non-profit 51Oakland organization with the singular goal of bringing music and arts back into the classrooms of the city of Oakland schools. Jason and Yoshi outlined 51Oakland's mission statement as "a funding conduit for inspirational music and arts programs developed by a synergistic partnership of Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) principals and teachers, professional musicians and artists and involved community members." 51Oakland has produced its own events and developed programs, as well as teaming up with another similarly themed local non-profit Elevate Oakland that is headed by Sheila E - the accomplished percussionist, singer, former Prince collaborator, and daughter of Pete Escovedo. 

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Hip-Hop Rap-Up 10:09:15: Top 5 Albums, African Identity Memorial, Skratchpad, Lyrics Born, Dregs-One, Richie Cunning + more

Posted by Billyjam, October 9, 2015 09:41pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Albums

1. Blackalicious Imani Vol. 1 (Black Mines)

2. Apollo Brown 
Grandeur (Mello Music Group)

3. Chief Keef Bang 3
(RBC Records)

4. The Underachievers Evermore: The Art of Duality (RPM) LP

5. Bleubird Lauderdale (Fake Four Inc.)

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