Amoeblog

The Town: Part I: Rent-A-Relic in the Temescal District of Oakland

Posted by Billyjam, May 5, 2010 03:45pm | Post a Comment
Amoeblog interview with Rich Craig + Todd Connors of North Oakland's Rent-A-Relic

This is the first in a new Amoeblog series focusing on businesses and organizations in The Town (aka Oakland, CA) including many small, independently run & operated local businesses that are neighbors of the Amoeba Berkeley store, from steps away and up to a one or two, or three mile radius. Kick-starting this new series is the successful North Oakland car rental company Rent-A-Relic. Located on Telegraph at 45th in the Temescal District, Rent-A-Relic has seen their surrounding neighborhood undergo much development since they opened shop back in 1993, with countless other small independently operated businesses (including lots of restaurants) opening up along Telegraph Avenue. Rent-A-Relic, which also offers notary services, is run by Rich, Todd, and Spencer, and anytime you stop into their small offices, odds are that you will hear good music, from Miles Davis to the Minutemen, playing in the background. I caught up with Rich to interview him about operating a business like Rent-A-Relic and about music and radio, among other things. He supplied his Top 5, while Todd supplied his Top 25 -- all below.


Rent-A-Relic Rich's All Time Top Five Albums:

Meat Puppets Huevos
1) Meat Puppets
Huevos


Idiomatic Improv Rock Night In Oakland Friday with Shudder, Lost Planet, & the Ava Mendoza Quartet

Posted by Billyjam, March 11, 2010 02:07pm | Post a Comment
Ava Mendoza
Improvised rock music that doesn't adhere to any rules or normal rock music expectations (beyond whatever the musicians themselves feel like making at that moment) can be experienced tomorrow night (Friday, March 12th) firsthand at the Idiomatic Improv Rock night at 21 Grand in Oakland, CA. Shudder, Lost Planet, and The Ava Mendoza Quartet are all playing live in an all ages, affordable night of entertainment.

The opening act Shudder, who is substituting for rock band PG13, is described as "less idiomatic" than the other two bands, but most intriguing, nonetheless, with a lineup that includes the two reed players Phillip Greenlief and Kyle Bruckmann, guest guitarist John Shiurba, and electronic instrumentation by Lance Grabmiller. They are expected to start playing sometime shortly after the 8pm showtime.

At 9pm Lost Planet, who "improvises compositions using a vocabulary of idioms," will take to the stage. Their line-up includes (Amoeba) Marc Weinstein on drums, shoehorse emergingDavid Slusser on sax, keys & electronics, Len Paterson and Steve Clarke on guitars, and all four artists sharing bass duties. Lost Planets' members have been playing together for 27 years now under various names. In the early 1990's they achieved brief notoriety as Pluto, with the 1994 CD Shoehorse Emerging (Rastascan).

TEN YEARS LATER & DREAM'S LEGACY CONTINUES TO GROW

Posted by Billyjam, February 4, 2010 06:15pm | Post a Comment
Mike DREAM Francisco
Senselessly gunned down and killed during a random street robbery on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland ten years ago this month, Bay Area graffiti legend Mike "DREAM" Francisco's legacy has grown exponentially in the decade since his tragic murder. And tomorrow, Friday, Feb 5th friends, family, fans, along with those who never even met the late artist but who were somehow touched by his life, his work, and/or his spirit, will congregate en masse for the big annual DREAM DAY.

The sure to be packed event, which takes place at the New Parish on 18th Street near San Pablo in Oakland, will feature graffiti artists, DJs, b-boys and emcees all celebrating, through their respective elements of hip-hop culture, the life and legacy of the man known to many as King DREAM.

As well as graffiti art by DREAM's graffiti collective, the TDK CREW, there will be music provided by a long list, including F.A.M.E., emcee Equipto, DJ Apollo, Shortkut, Fuze, Myke One, Sake One, The Bangerz, and DJ Platurn. Former Amoeba Music Berkeley employee DJ Platurn is among those who actually never met DREAM but whose life was impacted by DREAM's work. "The first time I heard of Mike Dream was through Saafir's Boxcar Sessions. Not only did his art grace the cover but his voice on the record resonated with community and a sense of pride in his craft," Platurn commented earlier today. "I never knew the man personally, being a recent L.A. transplant around that time, but he was always someone that I knew to be a hero and legend in the Bay Area hip-hop game and I'm proud to honor his legacy in any way that I can."

KAYA OAKES INTERVIEW SLANTED AND ENCHANTED... INDIE CULTURE

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?

BERKELEY VIDEO & FILM FESTIVAL - DAN K HARVEST INTERVIEW

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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