Amoeblog

SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO TRYOUTS IN OAKLAND THIS WEEKEND

Posted by Billyjam, July 26, 2007 04:49pm | Post a Comment
This weekend, on Saturday (July 28th), from 10AM til 1PM, is your chance to be a star when the world-famous Apollo Theater of Harlem, NY will make its once a year visit to California in search of "amateur" talent for upcoming Showtime At The Apollo shows back in New York City at the historic 125th Street venue. This year the producers of the show will only visit five American cities outside of New York in search of talent, so this is a great opportunity to try out if you are an aspiring entertainer, whether you are a singer, rapper, spoken-word artist, comedian, dancer, musician, etc. And on Saturday their only West Coast tryouts will be held at the Oakland Convention Center located at 1001 Broadway in downtown Oakland.  

If you plan on attending the tryouts (for which there is no charge and which are based on a first come, first served basis) I suggest you get in line earlier than the scheduled 10AM door opening time. The first 300 in line will be admitted to audition. But even though the cut off time is 1PM, the actual tryouts inside the auditorium will last long past that -- until 6PM or possibly even later, so pack a sandwich and bring lots of water and sunscreen (you might be in line outside for hours). And another tip is to get lots of rest the night before so you are at your best.

A couple of months ago I attended one of the twice-a-year tryout sessions held in New York and wrote about it for the New York Press. What amazed me most was the level of quality talent that showed up to audition. I enjoyed the tryouts even more than the actual Amateur Night at the Apollo (held every Wednesday for the past 73 years) and am looking forward to attending the Oakland session -- I am scheduled to write a report about it for the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

If you go on Saturday be prepared, and know that you will have only up to ninety seconds to display your skills -- so, if for example you are a singer with a backing track burnt on CDR or cassette, have it ready in your hand to pass over to the sound tech person. The contest is open to all ages but children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Below are the exact rules of the audition. For even further information visit the Apollo Theater website.

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REDRUM, REDRUM: ALL THIS MURDER IS KILLING ME

Posted by Billyjam, June 20, 2007 02:10pm | Post a Comment

Murder is one those words that I hear every day and have for years and years and years, to the point, I fully admit, that I have become totally desensitized to its real meaning. Yep, to me, the more I hear the word murder, and especially the more I read it in yet another newspaper report, the more and more detached I seem to become from it. It has lost its initial intended meaning to me. In fact, right now as I type this and just think of the word MURDER in my head, I cannot help but hear the refrain from that classic 1993 dancehall reggae hit by Chaka Demus & Pliers, "Murder She Wrote," echoing happily in my skull: "murder she wrote, nah nahnah, murrrrder she wrote." So, to me, murder or that six letter word spelled backwards -- redrum (popularized by The Shining) -- is just another empty, meaningless word, or, even worse, alternately, it is a sexy catch-phrase, repeated in songs I hum, the theme of entertaining movies I watch, video games I play, books I read, and juicy headlines in morning newspapers I read as I sip my comforting coffee. So ultimately murder to me (and maybe to you too?) is just another hollow disposable word -- nothing more, nothing less. Unless, unless, that is, of course, that the word murder is directly connected to me personally or to somethe shiningone close to me.

So as I sat on the BART the other morning reading a small article in the Bay Area section of the San Francisco Chronicle under the heading "Two Murders In Oakland Over The Weekend," about a couple of unrelated fatal street shootings (one of them "gang related"), to be totally honest, it barely registered in my consciousness, just the same ol, same ol to this jaded soul. Until, that is, the location of one of the murders jumped off the page at me ("Fairview Ave. in the 100 block, north of Lake Merrit"). Damn! I realized that this was directly outside the apartment building where I stay. Later that day from talking to folks in the immediate East Bay neighborhood I found out all the killing's tragic details: that the murder happened on Friday night at 9:25PM. That it took place directly opposite the church (ironically) when a car screeched to a halt in the middle of the street with two guys audibly arguing inside. Both got out, still arguing loudly, and one shot the other nine times before hopping back into the driver's seat to speed away leaving the body of a 29 year old man bleeding to death on that chilly Oakland night.

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