Posted by Billyjam, October 17, 2009 02:09pm | Post a Comment
Slanted and Enchanted Kaya Oakes
Oakland author Kaya Oakes' book Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture was recently published by Holt Books.  Oakes was the co-founder of the respected magazine Kitchen Sink, and her accolades include winning the Utne Independent Press Award for "Best New Magazine" in 2002. Since her book hit shelves, Kaya has been quite active doing readings up and down the West Coast. Tonight, October 17th, as part of Litquake Litcrawl reading series with Small Press Distribution, she will be reading at The Marsh cafe on Valencia between 21st and 22nd in San Francisco, from 8:30-9:30pm. The Amoeblog caught up with the author to talk about indie culture and her new book.

Amoeblog: Why did you decide to write Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture?

Kaya Oakes: The book came together for a number of different reasons. I was  approached by an agent right when the final issue of the magazine I helped found (Kitchen Sink) was coming out, and she asked if I was interested in writing a book about underground music, which is the topic of one of my courses at UC Berkeley. I came up with the idea of doing a broader overview of indie culture, since in my experience it means a lot more than just music. Plus, I felt like indie had given me so much that I wanted to give something back in turn, and I had time on my hands for a big project for the first time in five years. It was a strange coincidence to have one thing ending and another beginning, but I’m glad it happened.

Amoeblog: For those who haven't yet read your book, how do you define "indie culture," and if you were to stamp a date and place on it, when exactly did "indie" start and where?

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Posted by Billyjam, September 26, 2009 10:50am | Post a Comment

This weekend the Berkeley Video & Film Festival is happening at the Landmark Shattuck Cinemas with a concentration on short films/videos typically of about ten minutes in length. At opening night last night of the eighteen year old festival, Dan K Harvest was at the downtown Berkeley cinema and got to view a dozen of these shorts. "It was invigorating, with lots of dark, foreboding, futuristic doomsday themed films Dan K. Harvestand a lot of relationship commentary," he said. In addition to about 15 local productions, there are also many entries from around the US and overseas, including challenging new independent cinema from Italy, Cuba, Germany, Venezuela, and Great Britain.
"There was even a film by a 12 year old that was fascinating," said Harvest. Today, the second and final day of the fest, at 6:30pm, Dan K will be featured in the ten minute Escapin' From Oakland. Earlier this week, while still at the Interbike Convention in Las Vegas, I caught up with the longtime Oakland renaissance man, whose illustrious career has included being a rap recording artist, a BMX bike champ, and almost a reality TV star, among many other things (a few years back he was featured in an East Bay Express cover story), to ask him about the festival, the film, and himself. Never one stuck for words, Dan K responded in detail via his iPhone.

Amoeblog: What would you say is your greatest accomplishment in life?

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Posted by Billyjam, August 15, 2009 03:55pm | Post a Comment
Mike "DREAM" Francisco 1993 interview @ No Justice, No Peace art opening

Exactly forty years ago today, August 15th 1969, Mike "DREAM" Francisco was born. But instead of what should have been a landmark birthday celebration today, this August 15th is just another sad reminder to those loved ones and friends and fans of the late, great Bay Area graffiti artist of how Mike "DREAM" Francisco's life was prematurely, senselessly halted nine years ago. On February 17th, 2000 on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, DREAM was gunned down and killed, the victim of a random street robbery.  Mike DREAM Francisco

Not only was DREAM (or "King Dream," as he is referred to by many) a gifted and prolific artist, with a passion for hip-hop -- having collaborated with countless hip-hoppers, including Hobo Junction over the years -- but he was also a most outspoken individual, one concerned about his community, and one never afraid to speak out against the ills of society.

Had DREAM been allowed to live today, you can bet he would have been at the front of the protests against the murder of Oscar Grant by BART police earlier this year. In fact, in 1993 he was one of the featured artists in the anti police brutality show No Justice, No Peace at downtown Oakland's Pro Arts Gallery. Above is a rare interview with DREAM at the opening of that show by A Debonair Affair's Melinda Bell which, despite the poor audio quality, gives you a great insight into the kind of person DREAM was: down-to-earth, fun, & witty, but also most passionate about his beliefs. I first met DREAM around 1990 and was instantly struck by what a genuinely good spirited and generous person he was, always upbeat and interested in what others had to say. But what is perhaps most profound about the DREAM interview above is how he defines what "reality" means to some people, like himself, as  "to brothers like us reality is watching people die on the streets everyday!"


Posted by Billyjam, August 11, 2009 02:20pm | Post a Comment
Addressing the clearly appreciative audience that packed the outdoor area of the Oakland Museum of California on Friday night (August 7th) for the East Bay Express' (EBX) mega 2009 Best Of The East Bay Party (BOEB), Goapele perfectly summed up the positive vibe of the entire evening.

"It's so good to be in Oakland and to have something positive like this going on," sincerely spoke the hometown soul singer between songs from the Amoeba Music Main Stage, articulating what many people must have been thinking at this huge, culturally diverse and uplifting event.

Accurately subtitled Subcultures and only in its second year, the Oakland Museum staged happening has fast become an important local cultural event, this year attracting 20,000 people -- more than double the expected number, according to Jody Colley, the publisher of the independently owned and operated alternative weekly.

After making her observation, Goapele, along with her tight four piece band, launched into the artist's new song "Milk + Honey" -- a song that incidentally appeared on the 15 track Best Of The East Bay Party 2009 CD Sampler, the free CD that was being handed out at the event that free to the public.

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Posted by Billyjam, July 10, 2009 07:44am | Post a Comment

Despite the effortless and seemingly endless dissemination of information via all the new tools of this digital age (Twitter,  text messages, Facebook, blogs, emails, etc.), I still value learning about stuff via such creature from the black lagoonold school ways as simply reading about it in the paper. That's how I found out about the screening of the classic monster movie Creature From The Black Lagoon at the Paramount Theater in Oakland tonight. An ad for the 3-D screening was on the back page of this week's Bay Guardian immediately below an ad for Amoeba Music.
In this greatest of movie monster flicks, directed by Jack Arnold, the plot goes as such: Gill man Dr. David Reed and his girlfriend Kay Lawrence (Richard Carlson and Julia Adams) join a scientific expedition into the Amazon's "Black Lagoon" to investigate an alleged missing link between man and fish. The 1954 film offered pioneering underwater photography, with cinematographer Charles Welbourne pushing the envelope and dispensing of the standard (up til then) static camera shots by using a portable moving camera that followed the film's swimmers. This classic 1950s film went on to inspire two sequels: Revenge of the Creature and The Creature Walks Among Us, although neither were as popular as the original.
Creature From The Black Lagoon, which is available on DVD but not in 3-D (look for it at Amoeba Music) is best seen on the big screen and enjoyed in glorious 3-D. At tonight's screening in downtown Oakland's wonderfully preserved art deco Paramount, 3-D glasses will be provided as you enter the theater. And the recession-friendly price of only $5 (including Paramount Classic Movie Nights cartoon, classic newsreel, and trailers before the main feature begins) is the best value you will find for your weekend night out, not to mention the art deco architecture masterpiece that you also get to enjoy. Parmount Classic Movie nights also the live Wurltizer organ serenade plus a raffle - chance to win free prizes.

Paramount Movie Classics' screening of Creature From The Black Lagoon is at the Paramount Theater @ 2025 Broadway, downtown Oakland at 8pm tonight, Friday July 10th, with doors opening at 7pm. Box office opens at 6pm.

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