Amoeblog

(Wherein we eagerly anticipate the death of leaves.)

Posted by Job O Brother, September 28, 2011 11:04am | Post a Comment


snow
Fairfax & Melrose

I’ve lived in Los Angeles long enough now to notice a two-degree temperature drop and the standard grey, morning haze lasting an extra hour and excitedly exclaim, “Fall is in the air!” It’s what I have to work with down here.

Autumn is my favorite time of year. I’m eager to cuddle up in coats, drink steamy brews, over-do holiday cooking, celebrate Walrus Day, and frankly, I like the melancholic pallor it casts o’er humanity – makes my fellow man seem more relatable than when they’re sweating and spiking balls over nets, behavior which makes me skittish and distrustful.

Of course I know this new chill in the air may be a tease; there’s always opportunity for Mother Nature to Alan Funt the situation. I’m not boxing up my cargo shorts and ice cube collection just yet, but I am eager. To prepare, I’ve hand-selected the finest mini-marshmallows to serve in cocoa (I myself hate eating marshmallows – they’re like sugar-sweetened, antique erasers, but ironically I delight in judging and organizing them), I’ve begun psychologically manipulating the boyfriend with subliminal messages while he watches The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to favor Douglas Firs over White Firs, and I’ve taught my cats to knit their own sweaters. (To be honest, this last effort has been a real power struggle, with both felines putting up a lot of resistance and excuses:

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In-depth Discussion with Author Denise Sullivan on Her Latest Book, "Keep on Pushing (Black Power Music - From Blues To Hip-Hop)"

Posted by Billyjam, September 17, 2011 04:00pm | Post a Comment
The recently published Keep On Pushing (Black Power Music - From Blues To Hip-Hop) (Lawrence Hill Books/IPG) is the latest book from longtime California music journalist/author Denise Sullivan whose last book was 2004's The White Stripes: Sweethearts of the Blues. This ever-engaging book by the Crawdaddy columnist and self-described "record geek" could as easily be filed under American political history or American music history (she thinks the latter to be more fitting) as it explores how American history of the past numerous decades is so closely intertwined with protest/revolutionary music (from the early blues, through the musical soundtrack of the civil rights movement, up to the role of contemporary hip-hop as voice of protest).

In Keep On Pushing, the "Nor Cal through and through" music writer examines the cultural interchanges of black and white musicians (many Bay Area artists included) and, along the way, takes numerous enlightening tangents uncovering tidbits of musical history not normally unearthed.
This week I caught up with the author, who tomorrow (Sunday, September 18th) will be at  Stories Books & Cafe on 1716 Sunset Blvd from 4pm to 7pm  and next month at both D.G. Wills Books in San Diego and at San Francisco's literary festival LitQuake, for an in-depth discussion on Keep On Pushing and many of the areas it explores.


Amoeblog: Following a book on the White Stripes, how did you decide on the theme of this book next? How long did you work on this book for?
 
Denise Sullivan: It's complicated, which is the exact thing I noted in the White Stripes book when I was writing about them covering "Your Southern Can is Mine" by Blind Willie McTell. Matters of race and the sexes, the Great Migration, what was once called the "American Dream," industry, ingenuity, and the entire great American songbook are of deep interest to me and all are tied up in the White Stripes story. Keep on Pushing is a similar story, only it has a lot more people (many of them black, others are Native American, women, or economically strapped, most all of them are trying to survive America), and music is big part of their toolkit. Specifically though, in the case of both books, it was fine art photography that initially inspired me to launch my investigations: American Ruins by Camilo Jose Vergara, and The Black Panthers by Stephen Shames.

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A critical analysis of the cultural impact of the Andrews Sisters on the United States of America

Posted by Job O Brother, June 1, 2011 11:28am | Post a Comment

andrews sisters
The Andrews Sisters: Curly, Groucho and the Holy Spirit


When considering the Andrews Sisters the word “blood-thirsty” rarely comes into play.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these essays on harmonizing, pop-vocal groups. Below you’ll find other ditties from this genre that I think are the bee’s articulatio genus. Before that, though, I want to share with you a little culinary experience I had recently.

The boyfriend and I had our friends Rachel and Paul over for dinner. As usual, I did all the cooking – the boyfriend, after all, can’t make an entire meal out of burned water alone – and I was thinking of various ways to spruce things up. It occurred to me, instead of serving bread with our meal, to make a simple yellow cake with the addition of savory herbs.

rosemarysage

First, hours before I was ready to bake, I chopped up fresh rosemary and sage and simmered them in one cup of unsalted butter, over low heat. Once the liquid gold of the butter had soaked in the essence of the fresh herbs, lending a faint grass-green hue, I took it off the fire and allowed it to congeal. I used this butter for the cake. The effect of this savory dessert – being both salty and sweet – was similar to cornbread, but earthier, lighter, and altogether swell. I thought you should know.

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(In which we consider some swinging, singing sisters.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 16, 2011 01:26pm | Post a Comment

boswell sisters  andrews sisters
WAR!
The Boswell Sisters vs. The Andrews Sisters


Last blog, we took a long, almost invasive and menacing look at one of my favorite harmonizing groups, The Ravens. This time, let’s meditate on two groups and the epic chaos that emerged from their earth-shattering battle for supremacy. Yes, we’re going to focus on the blood-thirsty Boswell Sisters and those daughters of doomsday, The Andrews Sisters. (This blog is not for the squeamish and will include death, destruction, and delightfully catchy melodies.)

Many people are already familiar with The Andrews Sisters, and because you, dear reader, are a person, I am including you in this assessment. What these same many people often don’t realize is that The Andrews Sisters actually based their act on another trio of singing siblings, The Boswell Sisters.

boswells

The Boswell Sisters were born in the first decade of the twentieth century and, in a show of musical savvy, they chose to be raised in New Orleans, the American music Mecca. By their teens, Martha, Connee, and Helvetia (they were given individual names to make communication in the house more efficient) began singing in movie theatres and on local radio shows, cultivating small celebrity and earning free popcorn.

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Jazz LP Explosion on Record Store Day at Amoeba Berkeley

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 12, 2011 02:37pm | Post a Comment

In addition to our usual Record Store Day shenanigans (over 250 exclusive RSD releases!!), Amoeba Berkeley will be unveiling a huge used jazz LP collection that we recently acquired from a private collector!

Many original pressings in excellent/near mint condition will be featured, including many late '50s/early '60s hard bop/ soul jazz/avant garde titles on Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside, Pacific Jazz, Contemporary, Atlantic, and Columbia. There are also many interesting titles we don't see every day (especially in this condition) from the '70s and '80s. So, overall, something for just about any jazz aficionado to be excited about! See you at the store this Saturday!

sonny rollins way out westjohn coltrane meditationsjackie mclean let freedom ring

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