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May the Fourth -- A Look at Star Bars and Deep Space Discos

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 4, 2015 11:27am | Post a Comment



The original Star Wars had a huge impact on pop culture. As a child, nothing in the film had more impact on me than the cantina scene -- and judging from the changes in dance music and imitations that followed I wasn't alone. What better occasion to reflect on the film's impact than May the Fourth, also celebrated as Star Wars Day.




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Star Wars was released on 25 May 1977. I was probably three years old when I saw it in the theater because my fourth birthday followed a couple of weeks later and there were Star Wars dolls* emerging from the middle of a birthday bundt cake. After The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas would increasingly strain to appeal directly to children by introducing cuddly aliens and increasingly relying on cartoonish CGI but for me and many other children, Star Wars was already deeply appealing, dark and sometimes frightening as it was. 


For comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell, the cantina scene was the "threshold crossing" in the "hero's journey." For me it was a bit like viewing an ethnographic bestiary -- or a Halloween party (in the 1970s, Halloween hadn't yet been hijacked by adults and turned into streetwalker cosplay). One of the cheif appeals of Star Wars was its mystery and world building -- something which the expansion of the franchise would later explain away with banal backstories -- but on full display in the cantina. Of all the characters, 
only
Greedo was addressed by a name. The rest of the assembled wore no pageant sashes, name tags, or hash tags and aside from the viewers' understandings of evolution there were few clues as to the conditions of their home worlds. 
 
LAX Theme Building

The Star Wars cantina was what I wish Encounter in LAX's Theme Building had been, and what it will be if they get it right when it's re-opened. What the cantina wasn't was every lame, uninspired hive of pretense and conformity which bills itself (despite having a liquor license) as a "speakeasy."  It wasn't illuminated by Edison bulbs, the wines weren't listed on a chalk board, there was no unfinished wooden sign on the building's exterior describing it as an apothecary, and it was probably cash only. The bartender wasn't a lumbersexual and he didn't spend twenty minutes rubbing herbs on a mason jar in the name of "mixology."

Hot August Bikes Brought the Summer Sizzle to Amoeba SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 18, 2014 05:28pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba San Francisco Storm Troopers Hot August Bikes

Amoeba San Francisco held their first ever Hot August Bikes on Sunday, August 17th, bringing in San Francisco Bicycle Coalitioncyclists (and those who love them) from all parts of the Bay. From noon to 5pm, the Amoeba SF stage and mezzanine were transformed into a bike-friendly fair featuring booths from Bay Guardian & SF Weekly, Hubert's Lemonade, Salsa Delfina, and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Between salsa and lemonade tasting, guests could learn about the SF Bicycle Coalition and spin prize wheels provided by Amoeba and Bay Guardian for fabulous gifts.

A raffle was also held for two beautiful bikes: the adorable Creme Dutch style bike donated by American Cyclery and the sporty Ocean Front Walker donated by Sole Bicycles. Funds raised from this raffle will be donated directly to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. 

As if that wasn't enough, we had two celebrity guests. Yes, a Stormtrooper and a Biker Scout from the Golden Gate Garrison of the 501st Legion dropped in to share their love of bikes and record browsing!

And without further ado, here are the winning raffle ticket numbers:

Creme Dutch style bike -- 0416645
Ocean Front Walker bike -- 0416617

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"Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination" Opens In San Jose Today

Posted by Billyjam, October 19, 2013 10:03am | Post a Comment
The final stop of the acclaimed cross-country touring Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit opens in the Bay Area today at the Tech Museum in San Jose where, now through February 23rd, the large scale interactive exhibit is guaranteed to attract diehard and even casual Star Wars fans of all ages to check out such attractions as the R2-D2 robot, the Yoda figure, the various droids, and the war chest of lightsabers (to name but a few) are all on display in the 10,000-square-foot exhibition that has been winning rave reviews since it first went on tour several years ago. A joint production of the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, and MIT exhibit is as its name implies more than a mere Comic Con type fanboy/fangirl event. Rather it is geared to educate science students with such hands-on high-tech items as a hovercraft  prosthetic limbs. Beyond all of this the Bay Area stop of the tour is a sort of coming home for the George Lucas pop culture creation that began in the tech epicenter that is the Bay Area and is now on exhibit the Tech Museum that bills itself as "the spirit of Silicon Valley."

This week on the Museum's website Scott Hamman of The Tech Museum of Innovation said that the exhibition hall had been strictly off-limits to all but that when he finally got to view it his mind was blown away and totally he awestruck. "My nine-year-old self, enamored of the gadgets, robots, and spaceships, came right out. The first thing I saw in the exhibition was the working model of Luke’s X-wing fighter, the one used in filming many of the special effects shots," he wrote. "My jaw dropped, and it dropped even further when I saw the model of the Millennium Falcon. It is huge, and I’m told it weighs close to a ton on its base. It was an amazing experience seeing the other models as well, but nothing compared to what I saw when I turned the first corner: Darth Vader. Or rather, the original Darth Vader costume. The actor who wore the costume, David Prowse, was a tall man, but still, it appeared larger than life. It is also, like everything else on display, extraordinarily well preserved." That description gives you an idea of what to expect from the vast 10,000 square foot exhibit that features models, props, and costumes from all the six films.

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Music History Monday: October 1

Posted by Jeff Harris, October 1, 2012 02:10pm | Post a Comment
On this day in music history: October 1, 1961Blue Hawaii, the 14th album by Elvis Presley is released. Produced by Steve Sholes, it is recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood from March 21 - 23, 1961. Issued as the soundtrack to Presley's eighth film, the album is an enormous success. The songs will underscore its story and tropical Hawaiian locale, also including cover versions of traditional "Aloha 'Oe" and "The Hawaiian Wedding Song." The soundtrack will spin off the classic "Can't Help Falling In Love" (#2 Pop), which will become one of Presley's signature songs and a live performance staple as the closing song of his shows during the '70's. Blue Hawaii will spend 20 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 and a total of 39 weeks in the Top 10, making it the second most successful movie soundtrack of the 1960's behind West Side Story. To date, the soundtrack has been certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.


On this day in music history: October 1, 1977 - "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band" by Meco hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks. Written by John Williams, it will be the biggest hit for the classically trained musician from Johnsonburg, PA.  Musician and record producer Domenico "Meco" Monardo, impressed with composer/conductor Williams' score for the blockbuster film Star Wars, will re-arrange the entire score into a 15 minute long disco suite that is released on the album Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk (issued on Casablanca subsidiary Millennium Records). The track features a group of 75 musicians, including a number of first call studio players such as Steve Gadd, Will Lee, Marcus Miller, Anthony Jackson, Neil Jason, David Spinozza, John Tropea, Alan Rubin, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, Suzanne Ciani, and Gene Orloff. The main theme and "Cantina Band" are extracted from the extended track and edited down to 45 length. "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band" will be certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA for sales of over two million copies.

Recap: August 2012 Charity Auction

Posted by Amoebite, August 5, 2012 07:44pm | Post a Comment

rock the vote logoOn Saturday, August 4, 2012 we had another great auction at Amoeba Hollywood with mister funnyman, Jason Boggs, who cleverly wooed the people into bidding on crazy and zany items. The energy in the store was amazing, with the sidewalk sale happening at the same time and the buzz of the shoppers and the great music in the store.

This month's auction benefited Rock the Vote, which is a little different for us, but it is timely and anything that gets people involved in understanding the issues and being involved is a GOOD thing. Jason, as always, was patient and urging at the same time and even though some folks were being a bit stubborn--he got the bids out of 'em.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Star Wars lunchbox with Lando Calrissian action figure inside - $10.00 (score!)
  • Dark Knight LP with passes to the show, etc. - $25.00
  • Signed Lana Del Rey 7" single - $15.00
  • Hollywood Bowl tickets to Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter and Jazz Night - $60.00
  • Natural History Museum passes - $22.00
  • KISS collectible glass set with Metallica shirt - $12.00
  • Grimes tickets - $30.00
  • Madonna mug and poster - $10.00
  • Beatles bag with patches, stickers and poster - $35.00
  • Trader Joe's gift card with lunchbox - $55.00 (!!)
  • Amoeba VIP in-store all-access pass - $15.00
  • Brew Coffee gift certificate with mug - $10.00
  • Record Store Day gift bag - $12.00

All together $311.00 was raised for Rock the Vote, and with Amoeba's match it will be $622.00!! Nice work everyone!

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