Amoeblog

HOMOHOP'S ROLE WITHIN HIP-HOP: JUBA KALAMKA INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, July 7, 2009 12:12pm | Post a Comment
Juba Kalamka
     Juba Kalamka performing at Amoeba Music San Francisco's recent Pride '09 in-store celebration with Pick Up The Mic stars. Also performing were JenRO and Dutchboy (6/25/09).
All photos from the event by Kaitlin Layher


Juba Kalamka was recently part of the Amoeba Music San Francisco in-store Pride '09 Celebration, which was also a DVD release party for the seminal "homohop" documentary Pick Up The Mic. Juba, along with fellow Bay Area queer rap artists JenRO and Dutchboy, who also performed that day at the Haight Street store (view all the pictures here), is one of the many talented stars of the must-see, Alex Hinton directed film. Although the film first screened a few years ago, it is only very recently available on DVD.

In early 2000 Juba Kalamka (aka Pointfivefag), along with Tim'm T. West (aka 25percenter) and Phillip Juba KalamkaAtiba Goff (aka Lightskindid) formed Deep Dickollective (D/DC), which also featured member Ralowe Ampu (G-Minus). The seeds for D/DC were sown a year earlier after Kalamka and West met at Stanford following a 1999 screening of black gay filmmaker and scholar Marlon Riggs' film Tongues Untied. I personally first heard of and met the guys from D/DC about a year into their career, and, most impressed with their hip-hop skills in combination with their refreshing take on a genre traditionally drenched in homophobia, I invited them to be included on one of the Amoeba Music Compilations.

REGIS, KELLY, & DJ JS-1 WRECK SHOP

Posted by Billyjam, June 23, 2009 09:36am | Post a Comment

The above video clip of turntablist DJ JS-1 on Live With Regis And Kelly (originally aired two years ago, but resurfaced today in an updated edit to tie in with the turntable artist's new release) is one of the most entertaining turntablist clips I have seen. I love both JS-1's sharp turntable set, and also when his hosts join him, with Regis cutting up Perry Como and Kelly wrecking the mic in a spot-on rendition of Mims' "This Is Why I'm Hot." The appearance on the show, which was, as Regis said, the first time that they had just a DJ /turntablist on to perform, was re-edited and mixed in HD condtion by the Queens DJ/producer to promote his brand new album, Ground Original 2: No Sell Out (Fat Beats), which arrives in Amoeba Music today, Tuesday June 23rd. Note that DJ JS-1 also appeared on the Amoeba Music Compilation Vol V with the track "Audio Technician" featuring Immortal Technique and Lifelong.

KEALA TAKES NERVOUS BREAKDOWNS TO NEW YORK

Posted by Billyjam, June 28, 2007 08:41pm | Post a Comment
Keala C Ramos used to work at the San Francisco Amoeba Music, until he moved out East in the last couple of years. He lives in Queens and likes living in New York City but notices certain cultural differences from San Francisco -- like how coffee is served and the difference between the MTA and the MUNI. Keala continues to make music in New York under his own name and also his band name, the Nervous Breakdowns.

The Breakdowns, who were named by Esquire magazine in 2004 as "the rock band to go and see if you are ever in San Francisco" made a rep for themselves also by getting into constant conflicts with the SFPD -- usually while playing out on the street in places like the Castro.

The Nervous Breakdowns' discography includes The Begining of the End EP (featuring the song  "Undependent," which also appeared on Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. V) and the full-length Panic. As a solo artist Keala appeared on Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. IV with the song “E Kaha'oe.” The Nervous Breakdowns' lineup in SF was Keala Ramos (lead guitar), Matt Kajiwara (rhythm, vocals), Donelle Malnik (bass), and Charlyn Villegas (drums). Check out their MySpace where, among other things, you can hear the songs "Garage Sale" and "Nervous Theme."

*This is the second interview with a former Amoebite who has moved coasts to become a New Yorker.  The last one was with Nick Lesley.

AMOEBLOG: What exactly went down with the SFPD and the Nervous Breakdowns?

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AMOEBITE BECOMES BROOKLYNITE: ARTIST NICK LESLEY GOES EAST

Posted by Billyjam, June 15, 2007 04:09am | Post a Comment

So what happens to Amoebites (people who work at Amoeba) after they stop working at Amoeba Music and move on with their lives? And does their time spent at the music store impact or influence them in any way later on? These questions and a lot more are answered in this interview (the first in a series) with a former Amoebite, who is now a Brooklynite, named Nick Lesley. Nick worked at all three Amoebas (Hollywood, Berkeley, San Francisco) before moving out to NYC two-and-a-half years ago. In California Nick played in the bands Vholtz, The Oma Yang, and Felicia & Coctopus, with whom he appeared on Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. V on the track "Whiskey Dick." Currently Nick is a student at Brooklyn College, updates several websites, and plays in several bands, including Necking, whose lineup includes Dong-Ping Wong and Josh Graver. He books shows at the cool Brooklyn living space called Dead Herring House he shares with other artists (they had a giant show there just last Saturday night). For income Nick now works at a funky, fun lil spot in New York City's Lower East Side called the Cake Shop, which is part record-store, part cafe, and part music club. It was there that I caught up with the former Amoebite recently and asked him about  the differences between East and West coasts, about his studies, his music, and his life -- before and after Amoeba.

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GRAFFITI ART OUTSIDE AMOEBA MUSIC SF, PART II

Posted by Billyjam, June 10, 2007 08:35am | Post a Comment

After yesterday's AMOEBLOG (the first part of this three part showcase of the graffiiti art outside Amoeba Music on Haight St.) two good comments were posted -- both positive/pro graffiti art. Melissa in SF wrote that she is also in favor of graffiti as art but how she'd "wish they'd clean up them big heads in the back...it's all messed up with cheap tags and dirt, and that has been my fave piece forever!" -- this in reference to one of the heads captured in the pic to the left here and also below in four pics. I agree with Melissa. And to me these particular images are just so striking that I literally could stand (or sit) in front of them for hours on end gazing upon their blinding beauty. And truth-be-told, I have spent a lot of time doing just that -- sitting down for long periods and slowly taking in the street art in front of me. It's no different than going to a gallery/museum and allowing ample time to fully absorb an art exhibit. Which reminds me of one time a few years ago downtown San Francisco on opening night for the MoMa for some hot, hot show. I wish I could remember exactly what the new about-to-be-unveiled exhibit was. It was one of those really well-publicized and hyped exhibits that everyone was talking about at the time...kinda like the buzz surrounding the ongoing Vivienne Westwood show in SF. But anyway, the point was that it was opening night and there was a huge mob of people (many there to be seen or to simply chug down the complimentary wine and cheese) all queuing up outside. In fact, the line was so long it snaked all the way down Third Street towards Mission and around the corner down this little alley/side street. But on that side street on that chilly San Francisco evening, as everyone was chatting and looking ahead wishing for the line to move faster, right to their left (behind a wire fence) were all these stunningly beautiful fresh graffiti pieces. But the people in line, anxious to get inside, all seemed to ignore the street art that (in my opinion at the time) was way better than the exhibit inside. The point being that street art, like the graffiti that adorns the outside walls of Amoeba SF and across the street from the store too and all around the immediate Haight Street 'hood, is in reality a wonderful public art gallery there to be enjoyed, and better still, it never has a cover charge.

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