Amoeblog

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #78: SummerStage 2014 Schedule, Museum @ FIT, CitiBike, NYC Earth Cam Views, Concerts

Posted by Billyjam, April 22, 2014 12:07pm | Post a Comment

Above is a screenshot of the live Earth Cam stream of Times Square in the heart of Manhattan. This 24/7 live video cam is a cool URL to save just to check in and get a glance of how things are looking in New York City. Stationary for several minutes, the camera routinely does a pan of the area to settle into another vantage point from high up looking down a this "crossroads of the world" and, like all Earth Cam live video feeds, comes with current weather updates. The camera is one of several cameras around town that you can bring up on your computer to get a birds eye view of New York.

Just a fifteen minute stroll down Seventh Ave. from Times Square is the free and always interesting Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). It is the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion. Featuring ever-changing, innovative fashion exhibitions, the museum's Fashion Culture special programs happen all year long, Tuesday through Sundays, and include exhibition talks and tours, fashion conversations with major designers, lectures, and book signings. All ages. Free. Tues-Friday 12 noon to 8pm, and Saturdays 10am to 5pm. More info

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #37: Cameo Play Central Park, PS1's Warm Up Series Begins, NYC Pride March & Events, 4 Knots Music Festival + more

Posted by Billyjam, June 25, 2013 06:30pm | Post a Comment

Above is public art by Jackie Chang titled Signs Of Life (1999, ceramic and mosaic) that is on permanent display underground in the Metropolitan Avenue / Grand Street subway station in Brooklyn. It is an example of the many commissioned pieces of art on display throughout the MTA subway system that once (but alas no longer) was filled with bright, colorful, often visually stimulating graffiti art that was not commissioned and that the MTA would rather forget all about altogether.

Welcome to installment #37 in the weekly New York State of Mind Amoeblog series in which I take a look at some of the fun (many free) events happening in the Big Apple in the week ahead.

Funk band Cameo is playing a free show in Central Park on Tuesday, July 2nd, presented by the producers of the Freedom Dance Party club - the weekly diverse music party begun one decade ago by Herbert Holler, DJ Cosi and Marc Smooth. The party celebrates their ten year anniversary and is happening at Central Park's SummerStage, Rumsey Playfield near 72nd Street on the East Side. It should be very well attended, so if you plan on going try and get there by 5pm.

Another free park concert happening that same day, but up in the Bronx, is a performance from the "King of Latin Soul" Joe Bataan, plus Felix Hernandez's Rhythm Revue - both playing at Soundview Park from 6pm to 8pm. More info on both of these shows at City Parks SummerStage Productions.

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Japan Tour 2011: Part 2 By Gomez Comes Alive

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 7, 2011 12:36am | Post a Comment
Joe Bataan Japan Tour Poster
Joe Bataan Tokyo Show Poster
 
After our Shenanigans in Shibuya, we rested most of Saturday. The next day was the Joe Bataan show and load-in was at 10 a.m. Joanna and I spent most of the day resting and taking walks around Chofu. There is a small river/reservoir that runs through Chofu. The water level was low but it’s full of lush greens. Giant crows and cranes dive into the water to pick up the smaller fish that were making their way downstream. There were many cats that hung out by the reservoir. I would see the same cats everyday, hanging out in their favorite spots. The cats in Japan are much bigger than the cats in the U.S. A good word to describe the cats is “beefy” They are not necessarily fat, just thicker than the average U.S. cat. In the evening, once Shin and Miho were done with their duties with Joe Bataan, we took Shin’s bikes and rode to one of his favorite “hole in the wall” to eat. The best places to eat anywhere in the world are the neighborhood spots that only locals know about. This place was no exception. Shin & Miho were concerned that some of their favorite dishes wouldn’t go over with us but those were the dishes we liked the most. Fresh sardines to start off followed by fresh cucumbers, Miso soup with small oysters, ginger pork, octopus and many other great homemade Japanese delicacies. The place had a few drunken locals hanging around; include one drunken guy that kept asking us to move from our table so that he could look for his lost cell phone. It reminded me of being in one of those great taco spots in L.A. and being harassed by the local tecato. It made me feel at home.

The next morning we were up early to get ready for the show. By then, my internal clock was all messed up, having to adapt to Japan time followed by staying up until 7 am then having to go to bed early for Sunday’s show. Shin’s company is a record label but from time to time he serves as a promoter. The venue was a big empty room. There was no sound system or stage and all had to be constructed before sound check. Joanna and I used this time to walk around Asakusa, another part of Tokyo, were the venue is located. The club, Super Dry Hall, is inside the Ashai Beer Building that is famous for it’s Philippe Starck sculpture on top of the building. It is supposed to look like golden beer foam coming out on top of the building that is shaped like a pint glass.  Almost everyone that looks at the sculpture thinks of the same thing, “ is that a piece of poop on top of that building?” The Japanese has given it a nickname, kin no unchi, which translate into “The golden poop” The building is now know by locals as unchi biru (the poop building)
 
Japanese Temple
Sensoji Temple
 
Nearby kin no unchi is Sensoji, a Buddhist temple dating back to the year 645 and is Tokyo’s oldest. The following day was a national holiday so the temple was extremely packed with tourist. We didn’t go into most of the temples, as there seemed to be services in many of them. We walked around the many vendors, including a street called Nakamise, somewhat outside of the temple. From there we walked around Asakusa and watched a somewhat unusual marathon. They didn’t block the streets for it. The runners had to obey the traffic lights and run on the sidewalk. They ran in groups of a fifty at a time so they wouldn’t talk over the whole street. Every so often runners, many of them in Halloween costumes, would overcome us as we walked.
 
Joe Bataan & Willie-San
Joe Bataan (center) & Willie-San (left) at soundcheck

We returned to the venue and everything was up and running. I’m always amazed by the efficiency of Japanese workers. In less than a few hours they had constructed a stage, set up lights, a sound system and were already sound checking the band. Having worked for sound companies in the past, I know how long a job like that should take and it was pretty impressive they did it so quickly. We said hello to Joe and his wife Yvonne, as well as Willie-San, getting ready to shred on his timbales. The hired band from Japan wasn’t well prepared. They were sloppy and forgetting parts. You could see the frustration in Joe’s face. Other than Willie-San and a few other musicians, the band lacked the swing that most of Joe’s backing bands have. It looked like a potential disaster waiting to happen. At the end of sound check, Willie-San took all the members of the group backstage and had a half-time style meeting with them.
Gomez & Japanese Lowrider w/ a Slowrider CD
Gomez With A Japanese Lowrider
 
At this point, I was sound checking the levels on the turntables when the other DJ showed up. It was Masaki Motomiya or DJ Motomix, a Japanese Lowrider from Sapporo, located in the northern part of Japan. I met him randomly on the street the last time I was in Japan. He and his friends were in Tokyo to catch the Quetzal/Luis J. Rodriguez shows and he saw us eating in a restaurant. We had food together and took photos outside the restaurant. Later, some of his crew came to the show. Masaki is the president of the Esmeralda Car Club in Sapporo and it’s main DJ at the car club events. Shin said he was expecting him to bring a few members of his car club with him, but at the end they were about twenty-five deep. Pretty impressive I must say, coming all the way from Sapporo.

Joe Bataan Returns!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, April 13, 2008 01:12am | Post a Comment

Joe Bataan made a return to the to the L.A. area for a couple of shows this weekend. My friends and I drove down the 710 to the 91 to get to The Hop in Lakewood where Joe was to perform. Entering the venue, I got one of the most thorough pat downs from the security lady. The dress code was in full effect: no baseball caps, no t-shirts, no white tennis shoes, no jerseys. The message was clear: you can lean like a cholo, but you can't dress like one.

Truthfully, the performance was not as good as last year's show at The Montebello Inn but it was still a great time. The sound at the Hop was horrible and I felt the crappy sound affected Joe's performance. His set list was pretty much the same ("Ordinary Guy,"  "My Cloud,"  "I Wish You Love Parts 1 & 2") which kept all the homeys at the show content. A special bonus for me is that the audience was mostly from barrios of the South Bay (Gardena, Compton, San Pedro,Carson & Wilmington, for those who don't know) which is where I grew up. On top of that many of the Long Beach locals...or shall I say...locos, were in the house.

There were a lot people with tattoos of their children, more than I've seen in a while. Lots of of couples ass-grabbing during the slow jams as well as more women with the pencil thin eyebrows than you could shake a stick at. In short, I felt like I was home again. It was good to be back.

At the end, Joe thanked everyone for the years of support and headed to his merch booth to sign autographs. He said, "I'll sign anything you got. If you want to hang out or want me to come over your house to have some Menudo, I will. Just give me a ride! "

Best Of 2007, Part 5 - Joe Bataan Live @ The Montebello Inn 6/15/07

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 18, 2007 12:44am | Post a Comment
joe bataan
It was straight out of a George Lopez comedy skit. It was Vatos with their ironed Pendletons and bushy moustaches, Rucas on their arms sporting painted eyebrows and short skirts, which some would say weren't "age appropriate." It was a tough looking crowd, to say the least. We waited in line outside The Montebello Inn to see the legendary Joe Bataan, The Afro-Filipino Latin King. In the 60's and 70's he released some of the best Boogaloo and Latin Soul albums on the infamous record labels Fania and Salsoul. Although Joe is from New York, he has been supplying the soundtrack to the slow and low culture of East L.A. since before I was an embryo.

The Montebello Inn is a straight-up dive, the kind of dive you only see on the outskirts of Los Angeles. All the cleaning in the world couldn't wash away the stains and memories this place has seen. My friends and I quickly got a table in the back. We didn't want to dish out the extra thirty bucks to sit in the V.I.P. area, located a mere 15 feet away from us. So, we ordered a round of the strongest margaritas I have ever had; in fact, it's a good thing smoking is banned in clubs, otherwise we would have been lit on fire every time we took a sip.

After a mediocre opening band, Joe Bataan quickly came onstage. A fifteen-piece band backed him up and I prayed they would retain that old school flavor. He and the band did not disappoint. They started off with "I Wish You Love Part 2" and launched into hit after hit. He played "Ordinary Guy," "Subway Joe," "Gypsy Women," "Latin Strut" and his version of  "Shaft." Joe sounded pristine. He hasn't suffered any deterioration in his voice that usually comes with age.

Quite buzzed, I continued to yell out my request for a recent Joe Bataan song entitled "Call My Name." I don't think that the oldies crowd was familiar with this gem, released on the Vampisoul label in 2004. My guess is that they were thinking, "Why does this guy want Joe to call out his name?"

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