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Live Concerts From Prisons and Mental Institutions

Posted by Billyjam, December 16, 2013 08:08am | Post a Comment

The Cramps Live at Napa State Mental Hospital(1978)

In Bay Area rap history there are several instances of artists rapping live from jail - perhaps most notably the late great Mac Dre rapping over the phone from Fresno County Jail back in the early nineties and X-Raided at that same period rapping over the phone on series of occasions that would finally be released as the 1995 album Xorcist (in later years the still incarcerated rapper would get smuggled in recording gear to record albums). But there are also many instances of artists performing for inmates at jails and prisons, as well as other institutions.

Of the performances in mental institutions perhaps the best (and the best known) is from when The Cramps, in June 1978, did a live show from the California Mental State Hospital in Napa. Also performing were San Francisco's wonderful post punk act The Mutants. It was when the pioneering psychobilly gods had just had just finished up recording Gravest Hits - to be released the following year that would include the track "The Way I Walk" that they are captured performing in the Napa hospital concert clip above care of Target Video.

The great Leonard Cohen also did a series of free concerts about forty years ago in mental institutions but without much media attention at the time. According to Sylvie Simmons' bio I'm Your Man Cohen performed, like the Cramps, at Napa State Hospital as well as at Henderson Hospital (in the UK), and at an unnamed facility in Montreal (Canada). Reportedly he booked these shows "without fanfare" and on his own dime, reportedly telling a reporter a few years later that he was drawn to mental hospitals because he had "the feeling that the experience of a lot of people in mental hospitals would especially qualify them to be a receptive audience for my work." Cohen later commented, according to Simmons, that “I’ve always loved the people the world used to call mad.”

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"Fruitvale Station" Is A Must-See Movie, Especially For Those In The Bay Area

Posted by Billyjam, July 17, 2013 01:54pm | Post a Comment


Fruitvale Station
- the award winning film about Oscar Grant that opened over the past weekend in select US city theaters and opens nationwide next week - is a highly recommended, really well made movie that anyone anywhere should enjoy viewing. But for those from the Oakland/Bay Area where the film's storyline is set (and filmed) the Ryan Coogler written and directed independent film will be particularly enjoyable, albeit sad and emotionally charged, since the storyline strikes so close to home. "Based on a true story" and capturing the final 24 + hours of the ill-fated life of the 22 year old African American, Hayward resident, who was famously shot and killed by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle in the early hours of New Year's Day 2009 in the BART station that carries the film's title, Fruitvale Station needs no spoiler alert. Unless you were living under a rock for the past four and a half years you know exactly what went down on that fateful day. Besides the film both opens and closes with the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant - the beginning done in that hand held phone/video style that most round the world saw on YouTube and the end in film style.  Like any really good film where you already know the outcome of its storyline Fruitvale Station is such a well written, acted, and perfectly paced film that even knowing exactly how the story will unfold audiences were still silently glued to the screen - truly a testament to the skill of first time director/Richmond CA resident Ryan Coogler.

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Happy 75th Birthday Golden Gate Bridge and Thank You for your Inspiration in Music, Film, and the Arts

Posted by Billyjam, May 27, 2012 12:23pm | Post a Comment

This Memorial Day Weekend in the Bay Area there are lots of fun events happening such as the annual San Francisco Carnaval celebrations in the Mission District, but the main event everyone seems to be talking about is the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th Year Anniversary, which culminates this evening (8pm to 10pm) with a big fireworks show over the iconic span that links Marin and San Francisco.

Yep, it's party time for sure in the Bay... especially in SF. Stretching along the San Francisco waterfront, from Fort Point to Pier 39, the main locations of the celebrations are at Crissy Field and the Marina Green with activities and events happening at the Presidio, Fort Mason Center, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Fisherman's Wharf, and Pier 39. [Drivers note that not only will the Golden Gate Bridge itself be closed for two hours starting at 8pm this evening, but also the Marin Headlands will be completely closed off by CHP and park police. Traffic (especially on the Marin side) will be disrupted from approximately 6pm onwards.]

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Will Realistic Tupac Hologram Performance @ Coachella Signal A New Era of Famous Deceased Artists in Concert?

Posted by Billyjam, April 16, 2012 03:12am | Post a Comment
     

Never got to see Elvis Presley, James Brown, Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Thin Lizzy with Phil Lynott, Gang Starr's Guru, Wu-Tang Clan with ODB, Bob Marley, Biggie, J-Dilla, Mac Dre or 2Pac in concert when they were alive? No worries. Now you can, or likely will soon be able to, see any deceased artist "live" in concert via the latest advanced, almost lifelike use of holograms if the success of last night's Coachella 2012 Festival is any indicator. During the SoCal festival's closing set last night by Dr Dre when, using state of the art high-tech 3D images of the deceased rapper, the late great Tupac Shakur (aka 2Pac) performed both a song by himself and then a collaboration on stage with Snoop Dogg.

Now while holograms are not new - even their use in big concert settings has already been done like last year when hologram technology was utilized by Mariah Carey who simultaneously did five different concerts across Europe - the profound impact of last night's lifelike Pac appearance is bound to have a major impact on use of the technology in concert settings.

As seen in above video the eerily lifelike hologram image of Shakur, who was gunned down dead 16 years ago, was simultaneously brilliant and spooky. The projected hologram was extremely realistic (even more so when you see it in person and not via video) right down to every little mannerism of the famous murdered rapper that it was like he was really there - and you could tell from the howls of the crowd that the audience members were really feeling it too.

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Amoeba San Francisco Among Bay Area Landmarks Celebrated in New Drake Video Dedicated to Mac Dre

Posted by Billyjam, December 22, 2011 07:20am | Post a Comment
            

Drake ~ The Motto Featuring Lil Wayne & Tyga (Official Video) from OctobersVeryOwn on Vimeo.

For ever-popular rap star Drake's latest, brand new video, released yesterday, for "The Motto" featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga, the top selling artist whose recently released second album Take Care (from where this song is culled as a bonus track) went straight to number one on the Billboard pop album charts (and #1 at Amoeba too the week it was released last month) travels to the Bay Area.

 The video is an homage to the Bay in general and in particular to Mac Dre (the late great Vallejo rapper born Andre Hicks whose mom Wanda Salvatto appears at the beginning of video) and some other Bay Area landmarks including Amoeba Music San Francisco at the 1:10 mark in the above video - making it the latest in a long line of music videos, movies, and TV commercials to feature Amoeba Music. 

Drake's new excellent video features lots of other Bay landmarks (a lot of footage shot on Treasure Island) and familiar rap figures including E-40 and Drake lovingly shouts out Mac Dre and even paraphrases some of his music ("Feelin Myself") in the song/video. You can buy Drake's Take Care on CD and also Take Care on vinyl from Amoeba Music.
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