Amoeblog

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #85: Mermaid Parade, NYC Pride, Northside Fest, River To River, LES Film Festival + more

Posted by Billyjam, June 18, 2014 12:00pm | Post a Comment

       


This week is a good time to be in New York City with a bevvy of wonderful events taking place including the once endangered, wonderfully flamboyant annual Coney Island for the Mermaid Parade which happens Saturday (June 21) at the beachside Brooklyn district (take the F train to the last stop). The above three hour video, care of TradingPhotos.com, of last  year's parade will give you an idea of what to expect at the giant scale art parade with burlesque and vaudeville event. More info

Meanwhile NYC's Pride Week (June 24-29, kicks off with a family night, free screening of “The Wizard of Oz” in Lower Manhattan at Hudson River Park’s Pier 46. For full details on the event packed Pride Week, that concludes with a parade and dance party headlined by Demi Lovato, visit the NYC Pride website .
 


There are two full days left to Williamsburg's Northside Festival which is being described as Brooklyn’s answer to South by Southwest - only in its formative days, back before big megastars headed to Austin and it was just underground unknown bands. Comparatively the Northside Festival is much more modest in scale and content with approximately 400 up-and-coming (mostly local) bands of different genres including Baked and Ava Luna scheduled for the week long music and film festival at various venues that ends tomorrow (Thursday June 19th) night.  Like SxSW there will also be panels and speakers including the likes of Jon Steinberg of BuzzFeed. For exact show/event details and tickets click here.

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When the Levees Broke

Posted by Miss Ess, October 14, 2010 03:54pm | Post a Comment
I just had the opportunity to watch Spike Lee's documentary When the Levees Broke, about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, and I feel like it should be required viewing of all Americans. Lee leaves no stone unturned and the film is enlightening, disturbing and incendiary. I can't recommend it enough.

when the levees broke

1991 Interview with Gang Starr's DJ Premier and the Late Great Guru

Posted by Billyjam, April 26, 2010 09:44am | Post a Comment
Gang Starr
Exactly one week ago today Keith "Guru" Elam (aka G.U.R.U.) of legendary hip-hop duo Gang Starr tragically died at the age 43, a month after the cancer-stricken emcee collapsed and went into a coma. His passing hit all hip-hop fans hard, including myself, since I have been a die-hard fan of Guru and his production partner, the ever talented DJ Premier, from day one and had had the honor of meeting and interviewing them several times over the years. Earlier today, after digging, I discovered one of these old interviews. It's from mid 1991, when the duo were out visiting the Bay Area for a show at the DNA (which was off the hook!) and visiting local retail and radio, including KALX, where I conducted the interview that follows below.

At this stage in their career the Brooklyn based (Boston formed) duo was riding high off the reception to their January 1991 released second album Step In The Arena. In hip-hop it was a time many when rap acts were jumping on the jazz fused musical tip, something that Gang Starr had pioneered -- melding jazzy grooves (rather than the standard James Brown and other funk breaks) into their hip-hop sound. In fact, it was Gang Starr's track "Jazz Music" off their 1989 debut album No More Mr Nice Guy (Wild Pitch) that caught the attention of director Spike Lee, resulting in his inviting Gang Starr to contribute "Jazz Thing" (with saxophonist Branford Marsalis and featuring Kenny Kirkland and Robert Hurst) to the soundtrack of Lee's 1990 film Mo' Better Blues starring Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, Samuel L Jackson, and Lee himself.

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DO THE RIGHT THING, 20 SUMMERS LATER

Posted by Billyjam, August 17, 2009 05:37pm | Post a Comment
Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing ("Race Rant" scene) (1989)

I invite you to rewind two full decades, back twenty summers ago to the summer of 1989 when the hottest movie with the hottest soundtrack was Spike Lee's film Do The Right Thing featuring Public Enemy's "Fight The Power." It debuted in theaters that summer and caused some controversy at the time for its do the right thingno- holds-barred portrayal of ethnic and racial tensions in the multi-ethnic (Black, Puerto Rican, Italian, Korean, white) New York borough in which the film was set.

Do The Right Thing (Lee's fourth movie) was written, produced, and directed by the ATL born, Brooklyn raised filmmaker who also acts in the film (he plays Mookie). The highly recommended film, available on DVD at Amoeba Music, is set on the hottest day of the year (kind of like the weather in NYC this week, with humid highs in the mid 90's) on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant (aka Bed-Stuy) section of Brooklyn. That day, the flames of everyone's emotions and prejudices are fanned and fanned until they finally explode into violence. The film makes the strong point that violence -- no matter how tempting to those being oppressed -- really doesn't offer any long term solutions to the problems at hand.

With a solid story line and a strong cast that includes Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, Samuel L Jackson (he plays the DJ at end of the "race rant" scene in clip above), Robin Harris, Martin Lawrence, and Rosie Perez (the latter two making their big screen debuts), the film struck a nerve with both critics and film-goers. It was a box office success and remains one of Lee's best movies to date. Ten years ago the United States Library of Congress deemed the film to be "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

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