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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #17: Up in Harlem @ Apollo & Lenox Lounge, GZA, Dessa, & The Relatives, Concerts & Events

Posted by Billyjam, January 16, 2013 02:50pm | Post a Comment

In this installment of the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog I take a visit up to Harlem where the Apollo Theater (left) is holding strong. Unfortunately, another African American cultural landmark, the nearby legendary Lenox Lounge jazz club, recently faced eviction. In addition to a run down of some of the concerts and events (including NY Restaurant Week and free national monument admission day next week) in the week ahead, I also report on last weekend's WFMU benefit concert with The Relatives and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at the Bell House, and the GZA headlined show at Stage 48.
 
"This is where it all started. Before American Idol. Before Star Search and before all of these other great shows that are on, it was the Apollo Theater that really was the springboard to jump everything off," Vanessa Rogers, producer of Amateur Night at the Apollo, told me when I stopped by the Apollo Theater in the heart of Harlem. For close to eight decades (two of them televised on "Showtime at the Apollo") the legendary Harlem theater has been fueling dreams and jump-starting a seemingly never ending line of careers that have been kick-started at the Apollo. Since Superstorm Sandy hit, the Amateur night got put on hold. It will resume in early March with national regional auditions to get to Harlem taking place in the interim. Over the decades countless greats came to shine courtesy of the Apollo.  Billie Holiday, James Brown, Sarah Vaughan, Michael Jackson, Stephanie Mills, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, The Isley Brothers, Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys,and Dave Chappelle are all among those who came to the historic uptown Manhattan venue on 125th Street as unknown 'amateurs' but left as future American superstars.

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Long Gone But Not Forgotten KFJC DJ Spiderman's Monday Beatdown Honored Today by Japanic on KFJC's Month of Mayhem

Posted by Billyjam, May 14, 2012 08:25am | Post a Comment

As noted recently here on the Amoeblog totally unique, non-commercial, Bay Area radio station KFJC is currently in the midst of their annual Month of Mayhem - when each May they pull out all the stops and break out more special programming and related events than any other time of the year on the never boring Foothill College radio station in Los Altos Hills. And today's (Monday May 14th) planned programming from 10am to 2pm is no exception. It is when longtime KFJC DJ Japanic will present The Monday Beatdown in honor of the late great (and much loved) producer of the bygone KFJC show, The Spiderman who was truly a champion of underground local music and a hip-hop fanatic (as well as all good music) but who tragically was killed in a car accident December 22nd, 2000.

Of the still greatly missed KFJC DJ and music director, who was born Ken Hamilton, today's host Japanic described his KFJC show, that ran from 1995 to 2000, and its influence as thus, "During its time, The Monday Beatdown (and Spiderman) garnered much respect and a dedicated following - both in the Hip-Hop community & the independent music community in general. The Monday Beatdown was definitely a unique listening experience. For those that tuned in, they definitely got their fix of hardcore underground Hip-Hop, but it wasn't uncommon to hear the likes of Voivod dropped in a set with Non Phixion, Third Sight & El Stew or Godstomper in the mix with Pharaohs of Funk [D-Styles & DJ Flare], Organized Konfusion & The Derelicts."

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