Michelangelo Antonio Dead

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 31, 2007 10:05pm | Post a Comment
Michelangelo Antonioni died yesterday. He was partially paralyzed by a stroke in 1985 and unable to speak for the last 22 years.


He began his career in the 1930s but really began to make a name for himself in the 1950s. While his peers made gritty, immediate neo-realist films focusing on social issues and the struggles of the poor, Antonioni used film to examine the space between bourgeois characters with a highly refined and stylized directorial aesthetic.

In 1960 he released L'Avventura starring the iconic Monica Vitti. It was a radical departure from European film before it. The film remains an amazing depiction and evocation of alienation and dread. Its title is seemingly ironic (although "avventura" also means "fling," apparently, in addition to "adventure").

Antonioni's subjects were almost always aimless, wealthy and unhappy. The films invariable had very long takes, minimal dialog and a surface that prevents the viewer from coming up with easy answers to Antonioni's implied questions.  L'Avventura and his subsequent films practically filled the screen with emptiness. Il Deserto Rosso (1964), his first color film, remains one of the bleakest and most beautiful films I've ever seen. I'm sure Criterion will "present" it in the months to come. It also has one of Giovanni Fusco's best scores, mostly consisting of disconcerting electronic beeps and belches (and silence), not to mention amazing Carlo Di Palma's amazing and ground-breaking cinematography.


Posted by Billyjam, July 31, 2007 09:14am | Post a Comment

Last Thursday night I watched the second episode of Mad Men -- the engaging and very stylish new TV drama on (of all places) AMC about the business and home/family lives of young, upwardly mobile American ad men in the very beginning of the sixties. The show, which was created by former Sopranos * writer//producer Matthew Weiner, perfectly nails the whole style and feel of that era in American history when things were radically different from today, both socially and culturally. It was a time when everyone seemed to smoke cigarettes, often chain-smoke, and also happily knocked back cocktails during as well as after work every day. And did it sans any guilt or conscience whatsoever. Different times indeed!

As the show reminds us, it was time when people weren't all caught up in safety issues. A different time for sure when one didn't fuss with such silly distractions as putting on seat belts while driving. As last week's episode showed, neither mom nor her kids in the back of the car had seat belts on when she had a little crash. And speaking of mom, this was before the idea of women's rights was a common concept across America. Men were cads, or at least could act that way towards women. (Although you can tell in this well written script that their dominant ways will not go unchallenged by all women for too long.) As well as getting away with being cads, men also got all the good jobs. Women, it seems, were either wives who stayed home or else single women who became secretaries in offices like the Madison Avenue one in Mad Men where they're likely to be subjected to harassement -- except this was eons before the concept of sexual harassment really existed. 

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Posted by phil blankenship, July 31, 2007 01:14am | Post a Comment

City Lights Home Video

out today 7/31...the 1990s...bat for lashes...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 30, 2007 09:08pm | Post a Comment
The new album by the new band the 1990's comes out today. I am a bit surprised there is not a band called the 1980's. There is for sure enough bands copying and sometimes reinventing the sounds of the 80's. But since it is now reaching the late 2000's, it has come time for bands to start reinventing the 1990's. Very soon there will be a whole bunch of bands sounding just like Nirvana and L7. There are already a group of bands reinventing the sounds of 90's rave. Shoegaze and Britpop never really stopped existing. The indie rock sound that sort of came into existence in the 90's is still as strong as ever. The new album by the 1990's is called "Cookies." And it actually is sounding a bit 90's. But in a good way.

The 1990's are from the great town that is Glasgow, Scotland. This great little town, which I recently found out is not really that little, has already brought us Franz Ferdinand, Belle & Sebastian, the Fratellis, Bis, Mogwai, and The Yummy Fur. Two member of the 1990's were in the Yummy Fur. Lead Singer, Jackie McKeown and bassist, Jamie McMorrow. This should remind you a bit of Franz Ferdinand. Both Paul Thomson and Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand were in The Yummy Fur. If you like Franz Ferdinand, you would probably like the 1990's. But they really don't sound that much alike. They are reminding me a bit of Imperial Teen. Imagine a British or Scottish Imperial Teen or maybe Sloan or Phoenix. They also remind me of that other 90's band Pavement. They are one of those bands that create wonderful little catchy pop songs. It is very easy to get addicted to these songs. The same thing happened with me and the band Sloan. All I wanted to do was listen to Sloan after I first heard them. This could easily happen to you after listening to these guys. It was what I liked so much about the fun music that was 90's britpop. Bands like Blur and Supergrass were just fun to listen to.

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July 30th

Posted by Whitmore, July 30, 2007 07:16pm | Post a Comment

Yes, brothers and sisters, it’s time once again to dry clean that Nehru jacket, re-string those beads …  on this date in 1968, the Apple Boutique closed due to extreme financial difficulties. Once located at 94 Baker Street, on the corner of Paddington and Baker in London, the Boutique was one of the first business ventures, albeit unsuccessful, made by The Beatles and Apple Corps. Paul described the Apple Boutique as "A beautiful place where you could buy beautiful things." The staff included Pattie Harrison's sister, Jennie, and Peter Shotton (He played the washboard in the Quarry Men and also, according to legend, helped Lennon with the lyrics to “I am the Walrus.” Shotton also co-authored the book The Beatles, Lennon and Me.


Tuesday morning, July 30, the staff was instructed to give away everything for free. Word quickly hit the streets. Within hours, an onslaught of buzzards attacked the store, picking it clean to the bone: shelves and livelihoods were trashed, plundered, and gutted by several hundred rabid and rioting patrons. Oh, the humanity! The night before, some of the Beatles and their wives and girlfriends paid their last respects to the ailing boutique and, before pulling the plug, grabbed what they wanted. And why not? The previous September the Beatles paid a Dutch trio known as “The Fool” (Seemon Posthuma, Josje Leeger and Marijke Koeger) over 100,000 pounds to design and stock the store.   

Ingmar Bergman + 1918-2007

Posted by Job O Brother, July 30, 2007 10:25am | Post a Comment


Brokeback Blogs, Part 3 - Thoughts On Latino Hollywood

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 30, 2007 02:04am | Post a Comment
During the 80’s and early 90’s, there was an effort by Hollywood to make movies about Latinos but rarely did you see Latinos actually played by Latinos. During my back injury I watched a slew of movies from that era, including Scarface and Carlito’s Way. In Scarface, Al Pacino played a Cuban refugee with F. Murray Abraham as a Cuban as well. In Carlito’s Way, Pacino played a Puerto Rican. In each role Pacino had a terrible accent. I also watched Altered States with Thaao Penghlis, a Greek actor from Australia, playing the role of Prof. Eduardo Eccheverria, a professor from Mexico. In the movie, Thaao doesn’t try to hide his Aussie accent. I guess Hollywood figured his dark skin would suffice. To top it off, I watched Lou Diamond Phillips play Ritchie Valens in La Bamba and Angel Guzman, a former Chicano gang member turned math wiz in Stand And Deliver. Phillips is everything but Chicano. He, according to his bio, is American of Scotch-Irish, Hawaiian, Cherokee, Filipino, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese descent.

During that time period, it seemed like no effort was made to use Latinos in staring roles, even if the movie was about Latinos, unless you were James Edward Olmos. Olmos played most of the big roles during that era. He played Jaime Escalante in Stand And Deliver, Abraham Quintanilla in Selena, police Lieutenant Martin Castillo in the television series Miami Vice and starred and directed the prison gang classic American Me. This led to the classic joke by La Cucaracha’s satirist Lalo Alcaraz,
“He’s in Olmos every movie!”

The only other Latino actor that worked as much as Olmos during that time was actress Lupe Ontiveros. Lupe was a graduate from Texas Woman's University in Denton Texas who relocated to Los Angeles and got into acting by accident. She claims to have played the role of a maid over 300 times in her career between her stints in movies, television and theatre. She portrays a maid in El Norte, Goonies, Charlie’s Angels and Fame, just to name a few. One of the only roles where she didn’t play a maid or a woman with a heavy accent was in the movie Chuck And Buck, made by Puerto Rican filmmaker Miguel Arteta, in which she plays a Beverly Hills executive. Even the pseudo-ultra hip Sex and the City had her as a maid. Perhaps there was liberation for rich, straight white females, but not for the Latinas.

Lupe is not ashamed of her roles as maids. She is proud to represent some of the strongest women in society, without whom most families would be crippled. Recently she was asked to narrate the excellent documentary, Maid In America, a film that follows the lives of several women who work as nannies in the Los Angeles area.

She is often critical of Hollywood, not out of bitterness of her own career, but rather regarding the hypocrisy of a Hollywood that always says they are on the verge of change but never actually do. In an article she had in the L.A. Weekly she told the interviewer,

"You (the media) just go around in circles! You're always saying, 'We're trying, we're trying, and we really are.' But you're not really trying. You're chasing the image of the immigrant that you have in your mind. And you're never going to catch up with it, because you don't have sense enough to stop and say, 'No.'”

I don’t expect Hollywood to say no. In the recent years better roles for Latinos have appeared not because there are more or better Latino actors. It’s because there are more Latino writers, executives and directors who aren’t afraid to say no. As films have become better for Latinos in Hollywood, it continues to be harder for other groups, especially Asian and Middle Eastern actors. Hopefully persons of color who have gotten their foot in the Hollywood door will not forget their own struggles and help those who are now being subjugated by same negative stereotypes they once were.

Human Experiments

Posted by phil blankenship, July 30, 2007 12:52am | Post a Comment

VidAmerica 948

Brokeback Blogs, Part 2 - Almost Better

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 30, 2007 12:23am | Post a Comment
So I’m back after a small hiatus. First, my back kept me in bed for a week. All I could do was lie on my back and watch endless hours of T.V. After my back got a little better, it was time to hit the studio with my band, Monte Carlo 76. We have been writing our second record for close to three years now and to finally hit to the studio is a welcome relief. During this time it has been painful to sit for long periods of time. Even as I write this I am on my knees with my laptop on my bed rather than sitting at my desk. I still managed to check out a few bands (Calle 13, Ely Guerra and Manejo Beto…more on them later) and I recorded all my keyboard tracks. I just had to do all this while standing up.

If you are under 25 and you are reading this, remember this: Take care of yourself because the older you get it becomes so much harder to recover from injuries, especially if you don’t take care of yourself. I will recover, but like I said, it’s taking a lot longer than it used to.

(In which Job hero worships.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 29, 2007 02:48pm | Post a Comment
I just received my copy of Playboy Magazine in the mail. Stoked!

No, no… don’t get all shocked. I’m not a subscriber. Who can afford magazine subscriptions? Not me. And if I could afford a magazine subscription, I would choose National Geographic over Playboy. I mean, National G gets you way more pix of naked women for your money.

Before you start second guessing that you clicked on the right blog, I’ll explain myself. While I’m known to ogle a pretty gal now and again, the reason for my purchase is for one woman in particular: Sandra Bernhard. 

You just reacted one of three ways:

1.) You groaned a little. You don’t understand why this woman is famous; you don’t “get” her stand-up comedy and your knowledge of her is mostly confined to vague recollections of shenanigans with Madonna and, oh yeah, she was that lesbian character on “Roseanne.” You fall into the category of person we’ll term “Plebeian.”

2.) You got all excited and an exclamation of “Yes!” echoed in your brain … urr… unless you’re French, in which case it would have been “Oui!” - or “Iya!” if you’re Papua New Guinean, which, if my research polls on who is reading my blog suggests, you are. I really should learn Tok Pisin…

Oh, Sandra Bernhard. Right. Okay. The second category of person is the one in which I fall; that is, a fan. We’ll term this sort of person “Rad.”

3.) You have no idea who Sandra Bernhard is. We’ll call this category of folk “Linda Hamilton” (not to be confused with the actress who starred in the Terminator films).

My first encounter with Miss Bernhard was at age 17. My friend Salem and I were alone in the enormous house which my Mom and Step-dad could afford for about six months, thanks to a brief cash flow yielded by a Pyramid-scheme.

I don’t remember how it came in to our possession, but we had a VHS copy of Bernhard’s “Without You I’m Nothing,” a film version of her one-woman show. I was probably stoned; I usually was at that age, and even if I wasn’t, being 17 is pretty psychedelic.

Salem and I popped in the video (“Have we got a video? YES, WE HAVE A VIDEO!!!”) and sat transfixed for the next 89 minutes as Miss Bernhard blew our f-wording minds.

Crazy on you: Miss Bernhard live... very, very live.

It’s not that it was laugh-out-loud hilarious, though it often was – it was something deeper and altogether special. This woman was creating a world and speaking a language that was hers entirely, and if we didn’t understand, that didn't seem her concern. Her wit and heart were uncompromised, pure, and complex; some kind of impossible cross between Joan Rivers and Marcel Proust.

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Aurora Encounter

Posted by phil blankenship, July 29, 2007 12:41am | Post a Comment

New World Video 8613

Ron Miller

Posted by Whitmore, July 28, 2007 08:50pm | Post a Comment

This week legendary Motown songwriter Ron Miller died at age 74.

The Associated Press obituary:

Songwriter Ron Miller, whose tunes included pop classics "Touch Me in the Morning" and "For Once in My Life," has died. Miller died Monday of cardiac arrest at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center after a long battle with emphysema and cancer, he was 74.

Miller got his professional start in the music business in the 1960s, when Motown founder Berry Gordy saw him perform at a piano bar and invited him to Detroit as one of the label's first songwriters and record producers. His songs have been recorded by many leading artists, including Judy Garland, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Ray Charles. "For Once in My Life," written with Orlando Murden, is one of the most recorded songs in history, with more than 270 versions, according to All Music Guide. A rendition by Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder won a Grammy award this year. In 2005, Charles' and Gladys Knight's version of Miller's "Heaven Help Us All" picked up the best gospel performance Grammy.

Born in Chicago, Miller was a die-hard Cubs fan, who wrote his first sad song as a child about his beloved but hapless team, his daughter said. Before meeting Gordy at the piano bar, Miller made ends meet by selling washing machines and taking odd jobs. He served in the Marines, as well, and was stationed all over the world. Throughout the 1970s, Miller wrote the book and lyrics to many musicals, including "Daddy Goodness" and "Cherry," based on William Inge's "Bus Stop." Barbra Streisand recorded "I've Never Been A Woman Before," from the musical, for her "The Way We Were" album.

"My father will be reborn every time someone sings one of his songs," Lisa Dawn Miller said. "When they feel joy or sadness or any emotion, that will be my dad and his words." Miller is survived by his wife, Aurora Miller, and six children. Here is a list of some of his songs:

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They Live @ The New Beverly Midnight Tonight

Posted by phil blankenship, July 28, 2007 11:52am | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship present:

Saturday July 28

Rowdy Roddy Piper in

John Carpenter's They Live

New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 938-4038
Midnight, $7


reposting for the New Bev:

The New Bev Is Back!!!

PLEASE please please come support the New Bev, we need your attendance and promotional help more than ever right now!!!

Help honor Sherman's memory by watching some quality films at his theater!!!

Friday and Saturday its 3D YES 3D 70's porn!!!!!

THE WILDCAT WOMEN & THE PLAYMATES both in 3D so everything they got is comin' at ya!! Playing at 7:30 both nights as well as at 4:30 on Saturday.

Also Saturday night, we have an Amoeba midnight show with John Carpenter's


at midnight. Yes, the one with Roddy Piper.

And all you 80's fans will be in heaven on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with


at 7:30 all nights, and 3:05 as well on Sunday

Again, please repost, pick up calendars and spread them around town, anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated.

Let LA know the New Bev is back and here to stay!!!!

Jeremy Blake Presumed Dead

Posted by Miss Ess, July 27, 2007 01:14pm | Post a Comment

I am extremely saddened to say that artist Jeremy Blake is presumed dead. 
[Update: his body was found & identified July 22.]

He disappeared over a week ago, last seen walking into the ocean at Rockaway Beach.  An apparent suicide note, along with his shirt and wallet were found under the nearby boardwalk.

Among other places, like the Whitney Museum, Blake's work is featured on Beck's 4 different album covers for Sea Change.  It's also part of the film Punch Drunk Love.  Remember those hazy, colorful dissolves throughout that film and its titles?  That's Jeremy Blake's art. 

A couple of years ago I went to see an exhibition of his work at the San Francisco Modern Museum of Art.  I can't remember ever before making a point of going to see an exhibition by a contemporary artist.  I'm a big fan.  His pieces are very visceral and moving.

It is extremely tragic that he is gone, and so suddenly.  The backstory is truly bizarre:

A week or so before his assumed suicide, his girlfriend of 12 years took her life in their NYC apartment.  The article I read in the LA Times says that the couple's behavior had become erratic and that they were increasingly paranoid that Scientologists were stalking them. ( ! )

A body was found by a fisherman today off the coast of New Jersey but it has yet to be confirmed as the body of Jeremy Blake.

It's odd to think we will probably never know what happened to these two creative people.
Here's a video Jeremy made for Beck's song "Round the Bend."  It gives a better idea of what his work is really like since his pieces were usually on screens: moving and flowing and growing.

Gorgeous, dontcha think? Hopefully, if nothing else, this odd tragedy will spur more people on to check out his art.

July 27th

Posted by Whitmore, July 27, 2007 12:35pm | Post a Comment

Here is an odd assortment of events that happened on this day in history, July 27th.

Charlotte Corday, the assassin of Jean-Paul Marat 1768, is born as is the great Leo Durocher, 1906, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants.

Vocalist, producer and songwriter, Harvey Fuqua is born 1929, Doc Pomus in 1925 and Bobbie Gentry in 1944.

In 1586 Sir Walter Raleigh brings the first tobacco to England from Virginia, of course 30 years later his last reported words before being beheaded were "Strike man, strike!", I always thought he was trying to light a match. In 1977 John Lennon is granted a green card for permanent residence in the good ol’ US of A. In 1990 Zsa Zsa Gabor begins her 3 day jail sentence for slapping a cop after he stopped her for a traffic violation. In 1991 TV Guide publishes it's 2000th edition. If you hurry, there’s a copy on Ebay right now available for a $1.50! And also in 1991 Warrant lead singer Jani Lane marries model Bobbie Brown in Los Angeles, oh that cherry pie! In 2001, tenor saxophonist, educator, and local jazz icon, Harold Land, dies after a stroke at the age of 73 in Los Angeles. And in 2002 The Who's bassist John Entwistle, 57 years of age, is found dead in his Las Vegas hotel room. He had cocaine in his system, and the death is ruled accidental.

Etta James Hospitalized

Posted by Miss Ess, July 26, 2007 08:55pm | Post a Comment

Etta James has been hospitalized.

She is having some kind of complications from abdominal surgery she had last month. 

She's 69 years old, which still sounds young to me! 

Miss Etta James indisputably has one of the great voices of all time.   Here she is performing "Only Time Will Tell."

I just learned that Etta lived in San Francisco in the 50s.  Pretty awesome to imagine her here, kicking around our city. 

She's still a touring artist and apparently had to cancel dates due to her hospitalization.  Hopefully she'll be back out on the road before long.


Posted by Brad Schelden, July 26, 2007 08:53pm | Post a Comment
Tales From The Crypt! Do you remember that show? I sure do. This was before HBO became the best place to watch television shows. But they still had some good programming. Long before we were all addicted to Six Feet Under and The Sopranos. Tales From the Crypt ran on HBO from 1989-1996. The show would have probably not survived and for sure not been as good if it were just on regular network television. Shows like the Twilight Zone were able to still be amazing on network TV without showing any nudity or graphic violence. But these were different times. We were all accustomed to seeing a lot of blood and violence with our horror at this point. And HBO could get away with that. The great thing about this show was its guest stars. Each episode had a new batch of guest stars. So it sort of was like "The Twilight Zone" or "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" of the early 90's. I tried to watch the show whenever I got a chance. But I have started collecting the DVD's since they started coming out in 2005. Season 6 was just released this week. And the final season comes out October 23rd.

I am not sure where my fascination with horror came from. It probably started before 1989. But this show definitely helped to cement it into my consciousness. I remember the excitement I would feel whenever I could catch an episode. The opening sequence really set up the show every evening. The Cryptkeeper was sort of the Rod Serling of the show. Maybe Rod Serling mixed with Sophia from the Golden Girls. He used a lot of those horrible jokes and puns we have all heard a million times. He was basically a sickly little skeleton voiced by  Josh Kassir. Josh has done a ton of voiceover work. But this was his shining moment. He also did the voice for the cartoon "Tales from the Cryptkeeper" which was on from 1993-1997.

The show was based on the 1950's comic book. So the show sort of had a comic book sort of feel to it. There was actually a british show in the 70's starring Joan Collins with the same name. So HBO was not the first. The episodes were directed by many different directors. The brilliant Walter Hill actually directed the first episode. The show featured directors Robert Zemeckis(Back to the Future) , Richard Donner (The Omen/Goonies/Superman II), Walter Hill(The Warriors/Streets of Fire), Howard Deutch(Pretty in Pink/Some Kind of Wonderful),  Tom Holland(Fright Night/Child's Play), Rodman Flender(Leprechaun 2), and Arnold Schwarzenegger. They are actually working on a remake of "The Warriors." I am hoping it will be at least entertaining.

The show starred such actors as Bob Goldthwait, Lea Thompson, Amanda Plummer, Demi Moore, Sam Kinison, Patricia Arquette, Michael J. Fox,Patricia Clarkson, Beau Bridges, Jon Lovitz, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Buscemi, Brad Pitt, Zelda Rubinstein, and a whole bunch of people who you would recognize even if you didn't necessarily know their name. It is nice to have these in a nice little DVD box. This is the kind of show that is nice to watch right before you go to sleep. I also just found out they have been showing it on the new cable station "Chiller." So far this station is only carried by DirectTV. Their slogan is "Dare to Watch." Seems like the perfect home for a show like Tales From the Crypt.

Apocalypse Now: The I-POD

Posted by Miss Ess, July 26, 2007 07:28pm | Post a Comment

It was my birthday this weekend and I got one of these new-fangled devices: The I POD.  I know I am super late on this, but hey I grew up in a household that only got rid of its wood-paneled answering machine within the last 5 years, so I have always been more than a little slow on these things, ask anyone.  Despite the existence of this blog, I am not a huge fan of technology. 

So, the I Pod. 

I drive a car that's from 1993.  It has its original stereo, a tape deck.  At the suggestion of other more technologically inclined folks in my life, I've tried getting CDs to play in there with the whole tape-to-CD Walkman contraption, to no avail.  I resigned myself to listening to tapes and the radio, and had given up hope on anything else.  When it was suggested to me to try an I Pod, I scoffed in said suggestor's face.  I didn't even want to give it a go.  But I was eventually convinced and to my amazement, the suggestor's  I Pod WORKED....I realized I could listen to ANYTHING I WANTED IN MY CAR!  But I STILL didn't want to cave and get an I Pod.  Technology, you see.  It scares me.  Like I said, I just am not a fan.  Too complicated.

Also, I am kind of old skool in general.  I like to play records.  I consider records a superior way to "take" my  music.  It sounds the best.  I know that sounds maybe snobby, but I truly believe it.  I like to see artwork.  I like to see liner notes.  I like to feel and smell and see all of it together....I guess what I am saying is that at its best music is a sensual experience for me.  The idea of this little computer holding all of that seems kind of cold and most definitely uninviting.

I don't want to be that person blasting their I Pod at the train station, oblivious to anything around them.  I like to stay connected to what is happening, I don't like watching those kinds of people.  

I don't enjoy the I Pod ad campaign, assaulting my eyes from different billboards everywhere I go with its ultra modernity, screamingly bright colors and irritatingly excited I Pod users.

Um, barf.

Yes, I am perhaps a tad bit judgmental. (Maybe more than a tad?) But hey, obviously from this entire post it's plain to see what a hypocrite I am....

I even despise the word: I Pod.  Pod.  Ew. 

But still, witnessing that I Pod sending epic music through my crappy car speakers that had never been there before, a tiny flame must have suddenly been lit in the back of my brain, because when I really thought about it:  Hell, with one little tiny computerized device, I could potentially listen to ANYTHING I WANT--- IN MY CAR!  Mind over matter at last.

So, to get back to what I began with, what do you know, for my birthday I get an I Pod of my very own.  It was even pre-loaded with a bunch of CDs that I love.  I have not yet had the pleasure of using it, but I already know this will be life-altering.  The freedom of it staggers me to even think about.  My brain may explode. 

I'll let you all know how it goes.  Will I ever forgive myself for such blatant hypocrisy?  Will the technology get the best of me?  Can I truly learn to let go of my stubborn assumptions and just let myself enjoy this gross yet grossly enjoyable technology?

Stay tuned.

Anyone have any thoughts or strong feelings about I Pods and how they have changed the way we "take" our music?


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.

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scattered to the winds

Posted by Whitmore, July 26, 2007 01:50pm | Post a Comment

Scattered … That’s where I am these days, early July. Completely to the wind all up and down the west coast.

If I’m not in the middle of packing up some 350 boxes of household items, toys, records, and books, and moving from an island in the Puget Sound back to my native Los Angeles, I ‘m sitting in a van doing a small tour back up the coast to the northwest with the band Listing Ship, this schedule is hell.

(We've been waiting on the uber-semi-truck filled with 11,000 pounds of personal possessions, finally it arrived, I bid a big hello to the movers and all my newly-arrived-to-LA crap … found a change of clothes, found some musical gear, kissed goodbye my wife and son and hit the 5 Freeway North in a cargo van with six other band members, first gig tomorrow night. It’s hardly a coincidence my life is so scattered. “Can I self-medicate now, please, Doctor, sir, please?”)

Truthfully ...  (yet not exactly), the biggest excuse for not getting around to this post until now -- ostensibly about my favorite subject, 7 inch 45’s, (I had promised something blog-like for the good people at Amoeba almost two weeks ago) -- touring was the first dent in responsibility, but the installation of the magic window that is cable TV in our new rental and just in time for the Tour de France was actually the culprit.

For me, July is inevitably about my birthday, BBQ’ed sausages on the 4th (just meat--none of this mango/pesto/tofu crap, save those ingredients for a smoothie) and bicycle racing in France. My money for the 2007 Tour was on Alexandre Vinokourov. He would have been my choice to win the Tour last year but his old team, Astana-Würth, was ripped to shreds after five of its riders were implicated in the “Operación Puerto” doping case and scandal, leaving Vinokourov with only three teammates and not even a pot to piss in (pun intended). Last year in 2006 Vinokourov wasn't implicated in the doping scandal, however as of this morning all that has changed. On Tuesday Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for a banned blood transfusion after winning last Saturday’s time trial, prompting him and his team Astana to pull out of the 2007 Tour de France. I’m broken hearted once again. “So it ain’t so Vino.”

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marking the beginning of a new venture -- or, my first post

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 26, 2007 11:49am | Post a Comment
I finally got around to watching the most recent ?? ? Takeshi Kitano dvd the other night-- 2005's  Takeshis' ...

It concerns an established actor, Beat Takeshi, and his crossing paths with a struggling actor, Takeshi Kitano. A significant number of the cast play dual roles, which I was embarrassingly slow to comprehend, given the fairly confusing abstractions within film. As Beat Takeshi, Kitano plays himself as boorish and self-important and satirizes his own artistic conventions to comic effect. In his film-within-a-film, he plays a bandaged yakuza character. Annoyed by cicadas at his Okinawan hideaway, his character "unexpectedly" shoots his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself.

The second half of the film grows even less conventional. Sometimes it just seemed strange for the sake of being strange. It moved toward abstraction like David Lynch's last few films have, as if to bait the deluded fans into comparing their own narrative reconstructions. I started to lose a bit of interest at that point since that kind of "artistic innovation" became pretty cliché long before my parents even met.
One ingredient I quickly realized was possibly detracting from my enjoyment was the absence of longtime musical collaborator Joe Hishaishi (or, Hisaishi Joe, Mamoru Fujisawa's Nipponized version of "Quincy Jones"), whose moody, jazz and Japanese-influenced scores have always contributed to the tone of Kitano's previous films so complimentarily. I guess Takeshi Kitano and Joe Hisaishi got into it on the set of the amazing Dolls a few years back and lamentably ended their artistic arrangement. Apparently, Kitano saw Hisaishi walking in the rain with Hayao Miyazaki.


Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, essayist, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill “for exposure.”
Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICSHidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft ContemporaryForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistCurbedLAEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRWWhich Way, LA?, at Emerson College, and the University of Southern California.
Brightwell is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on AmebaDuolingoFacebookGoodreadsInstagramMubiand Twitter.

Art Prints


Posted by Billyjam, July 26, 2007 09:20am | Post a Comment

Not to be confused with the East Bay based Hieroglyphics' producer of the same name, Domino the SoCal rapper with the Southern drawl that betrayed his real roots, who arrived in the rap world in late 1993, was the pop-rap artist who scored hits with "Ghetto Jam" and "Sweet Potato Pie." He was signed to Outburst but was picked up by RAL (Rush Associated Labels). Despite his LBC claimed roots and his Snoop Dogg affiliations, he sported a delivery that was less gangsta and leaned more toward the pop/RnB spectrum of hip-hop music -- a catchy sing-song style, I guess you could call it. Not too long after he arrived in December 1993 he scored his first hit, "Ghetto Jam," which garnered Gold status after six straight weeks atop the Billboard maxi-single charts. It was followed up soon after with an even bigger hit -- "Sweet Potato Pie" (see video above). The album's groove-laden production came care of AMG and Battlecat and would prove to be Domino's only real hit. His delayed sophomore follow-up album, 1996's Physical Funk, and subsequent releases, including 1997's Dominology and 2001's "D-Freaked It" all fell short of the mark.

the return of winona ryder...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 25, 2007 05:34pm | Post a Comment
So I was just talking about how excited I was that "The State" would be coming out soon on DVD a couple of blogs ago. If you forgot, you can look at it here. I finally got to tag my own blog! So I mentioned that the entire cast of The State was in David Wain's new movie "The Ten." My friend just happened to let me know about the special screening last night at the Lumiere.  I, of course, ran over there after work to meet some of my great special friends to go see it. The movie comes out August 3rd, so I was especially excited to see it early. I had already watched the trailer a bunch of times. And I am obviously a huge fan of the creator of the movie and not only the cast of "The State", but almost everyone else in the film.

I will just start by saying that the movie is unbelievably awesome. I really don't want to give too much away. So just watch the preview at the bottom of this entry and check out the website. It is better than any comedy you have probably seen in a while. Please go see this movie instead of the horrible movie that is "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry." Just like the world of sitcoms, they really don't make comedies like this anymore. The movie is basically broken into ten parts, with each part about a particular commandment from the bible. The cast pops up in multiple connected stories all put together by Paul Rudd, who narrarates in between each section. It is sort of like 10 skits from "The State" or "Kids in the Hall." But even better. In addition to Paul Rudd and the entire cast of "The State", the cast includes Jessica Alba, Gretchen Mol, Adam Brody, Liev Schreiber, Justin Theroux, Oliver Platt, and Winona Ryder.

I have been really waiting for Winona Ryder's comeback for a while now.
I was such a huge fan of her for so many years. I can't really imagine what my life would be like without her and the characters she helped to create. She has not really done a good movie in a good couple of years. But I knew that she had it in her. She just needed somebody to give her a chance. Winona Ryder's first role was the classic 80's movie "Lucas." She was only 15. Only 2 years later in 1988, Tim Burton gave her the role of a lifetime when he cast her in "Beetlejuice." She will be remembered forever for this pivotal role. Sort of like Christina RIcci in "The Addams Family" and Kirsten Dunst in "Interview with the Vampire." They were all sort of teen goth idols because of these rolls. We all wanted to be them, to date them, or just sort of hang out with them. Me being one of the latter group.

Both Christina Ricci and Winona Ryder would go on to star in "Mermaids" with Cher in 1990. I really can't imagine anyone else playing the role of Lydia in Beetlejuice. She was perfect. Next up was the movie that would cement her into our consciousness. She played Veronica Sawyer in the 1989 movie "Heathers." I could seriously talk about this movie for days and days. The movie was brilliant and she was again cast brilliantly. She was quickly becoming the Molly Ringwold of the the late 80's and early 90's. But there was something more dark and cynical about her that really got us all ready for the 90's. After roles in "Great Balls of Fire" and "Welcome Home Roxy Carmichael," she starred in her second Tim Burton movie. This would be "Edward Scissorhands." She then seemed to make the rounds of all the great directors of the period. She had a role in "Night on Earth" by Jim Jarmusch, "Dracula" by Francis Ford Coppola, and then "The Age of Innocence" by Martin Scorsese.

She again created a brilliant character we all sort of fell in love with in "Reality Bites" in 1994.  She still managed to find some good roles in the 90's, if not as memorable as her 80's roles. She starred in "Little Women," "How to Make an American Quilt," "Boys," "The Crucible,"  "Alien: Resurection," and "Celebrity." Her 90's were finished with  "Girl, Interrupted." She was nominated for and oscar in the 90's for both "Little Women" & "The Age of Innocence." She was also nominated for best kiss by the MTV awards a total of 3 times. She seemed to sort of disappear the last couple years. She finally scored a good role in "Scanner Darkly" last year. I was very excited to see that she would be in "The Ten." She does a fabulous job and creates another role that I will remember forever. I never got that "Forever Winona" tattoo that I wanted. But I am seriously glad that she is back. I only hope everyone will realize that she still has the power to create some amazing characters. Go see "The Ten."


Posted by Billyjam, July 25, 2007 09:56am | Post a Comment

If you are a regular at Amoeba Music you may have already seen the silk screened poster art of Forest Stearns, who has done several pieces specifically for Amoeba events. Or maybe you've been lucky enough to catch Forest doing his art live at one of the interactive music-and-art Amoeba instores he has been a part of over the past year.

Instores Forest has been involved with include one with DJ Shadow (San Francisco Ameoba instore) and two with Cut Chemist (San Francisco and Hollywood Amoebas). He has also done live interactive art with hip-hoppers such as Z-Man and at other events such as Reggae On The River.

Additionally, the NorCal artist designed the poster for the Noisettes instore at Amoeba San Francisco, which reportedly everyone loved, including Universal. Forest says the label wants to take the poster and flesh it out to make an animated versions of the band based on the illustration for clothing and more. I recently caught up with the artist to chop it up about life and art, and art and life. For more information visit his website: draweverywheredotcom.

What inspires you to make art?

Continue reading...

what is coming out today 7/24...U.N.K.L.E...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 23, 2007 10:47pm | Post a Comment
I had almost forgotten about Unkle. It seems so long ago that "Psyence Fiction" came out. I guess 1998 was almost 10 years ago. If you remember correctly, this album was huge. These were the years when Electronica was breaking through to the mainstream. This was one of the albums that really put the genre on the map and made people start noticing electronica acts as artists. One of the reasons they got so popular is because they combined all these different genres into one album. With the help of DJ Shadow they incorporated sounds of hip hop with dance. Trip Hop had already been created and this had been done before. But Unkle also brought in major popular rock vocalists such as Thom Yorke from Radiohead and RIchard Ashcroft from The Verve. Like many new fans, this is what first made me check out the album. I was obsessed with Radiohead and The Verve. So I was obviously going to check out anything that they were attached to. I did not pay much attention to their second album out in 2003. But I am again finding myself listening to Unkle.

The new album is "War Stories." There is also a larger special version that comes in vacuum sealed plastic. I think they made it with one of those vacuum sealers that they advertise on infomercials. This time, we have vocals by Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Autolux, Gavin Clark, 3D of Massive Attack, the Duke Spirit, and Ian Astbury of The Cult. Ian Astbury is actually on two tracks. "Burn My Shadow" and "When Things Explode." So far they seem to be my two favorite tracks. Maybe this is because I have been a big Cult fan for a very long time. I sort of keep it a bit of a secret. But I really do love myself some Southern Death Cult, Death Cult, and Cult. His vocals, especially here, sound a lot like Jim Morrison. He has one of those voices that is very recognizable. I could not really imagine these songs working until I actually heard them. It ends up working beautifully. His voice fits in nicely with the orchestrated electronics on the album.

However, it is not just the Ian Astbury songs that are making me like the album. It is actually kind of a loud sort of rock album. It might make some people upset who are expecting a 90's trip hop album. But I really do like it. And I am still a bit surprised. I really went into this expecting to not like it. But the folks of Unkle managed to prove me wrong. I actually really like the album. But I do keep going back to those Ian Astbury songs. I am going to for sure listen to some Cult tomorrow.

Also out this week is a new EP from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. As a big Yeah Yeah Yeahs fans, I am happy to take anything that they give me. The songs on this EP were written in 2004 in between touring for "Fever To Tell." The songs are "Rockers to Swallow," "Down Boy," "Kiss Kiss," "Isis," and "10x10." Three of the tracks were featured on the live DVD "Tell Me What Rockers to Swallow." The version of "Down Boy" is amazing. It sounds like everything you want the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to sound like. Karen O is really one amazing lady. If you have never seen her live it is really hard to get the whole Yeah Yeah Yeahs obsession. Shehas an absolutely amazing stage presence. When I saw them at the Fillmore a couple of years ago she ran back and forth from each side of the stage during every song. She seemed so excited to be up on stage performing for us. And the songs always sound fantastic live. She is just one those ladies that loves to be on stage. Or she at least comes off that way. I also got to meet her briefly when she stopped by Amoeba a couple of years ago. She was super nice and a little awkward. Kind of what I expected.

At least three of these songs will be familiar to fans who have seen them live or at least seen the DVD. The songs are just as good as any that made it on the last two albums. But "Down Boy" really does stand out as the best. I can't stop listening to it. This EP only leaves me wanting more. I am not sure how long we will have to wait for a new album. But at least we have something to help us get through the period while we are waiting.  They are also going to be releasing a new DVD soon of a live show.

also out today...

"Four on the Floor" by Juliette & the Licks

"101 Tambourines" by The Dilettantes

"Martin Hannett's Personal Mixes" by Joy Division

"The Freed Man" Reissue by Sebadoh

"The Simpsons Movie" Soundtrack

"Send Away the Tigers" by Manic Street Preachers

"Hands Across the Void" by Tiny Vipers

I'm ready if you are! Tuesday, here we come!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 23, 2007 04:12pm | Post a Comment

That is some hot stuff, Baby!


Posted by Billyjam, July 23, 2007 11:45am | Post a Comment

Talk about hitting two senses at once! That's exactly what the new line of graffiti themed, rich chocolate bars do. And nothing could be more tempting to this graffiti fan with a sweet tooth than the colorfully eye-catching, decadently yummy tasting new line of "graffiti" chocolate candy bars unveiled recently by downtown New York City's Chocolate Bar company -- the award-winning chocolate maker with an eye for style and originality.

The ten individually flavored chocolate bars are each beautifully presented in graffiti-tagged wrappers, each specially designed by such legendary graffiti artists as Crash, Dondi, Blade, Crime 79, Lady Pink, Dr. Revolt, Iz the Wiz, Voice of the Ghetto, and Spar One.

The confection creation, with proceeds benefitting the NYC children's arts' All Stars Project (which benefits New York City high school kids' arts programs) was the idea of Chocolate Bar's Alison Nelson, who said that the reaction from the longtime graf artists was "positive, if not a little suspicious" when first approached to be a part of the candy-wrapper project. But, she said, once the graffiti artists got involved, they had fun with the unique collaboration, even getting to "choose the flavor they wanted to design."

Lady Pink chose Banana Milk, which is described as Milk chocolate filled with banana cream ganache, while Crash chose Dark Rum (dark chocolate with rum infused ganache). Blade's flavor/design is Milk Caffeto, milk chocolate with ground espresso, and Dondi White's is S'mores (milk chocolate with marshmallow and graham bits).

Continue reading...

Poison Ivy

Posted by phil blankenship, July 23, 2007 12:20am | Post a Comment

RCA Home Video 60759

Out For Justice

Posted by phil blankenship, July 21, 2007 01:47am | Post a Comment

Warner Home Video 12219

Hard To Kill

Posted by phil blankenship, July 21, 2007 01:22am | Post a Comment

Warner Home Video 11914

If this video is BANNED ...

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 20, 2007 11:38pm | Post a Comment
I'm not real good at forgiveness, myself. If you've ever wronged my family, you can keep that in mind as you watch this cute as a bunny in a jumper video:

Banned: no blood, no sex, no drugs ... interesting as to what this society will not tolerate, dontcha think? She reminds me of someone real specific that I have love for, and I have to say she is one tough cookie from all I have heard.

- The Insomniac is Back


Posted by Billyjam, July 20, 2007 08:20pm | Post a Comment

-- the great UK rock group performing "Look Wot You Done" from 1971 when they were more rock than glam, since glam rock didn't fully kick in til 1972/73. In 1972 they released the hard rock album Slayed, featuring such timeless chant-alongs as "Gudbuy T-Jane" and "Mama Weer All Crazee Now." Then there was the song "Cum On Feel The Noize," which years later was popularized in the US by Quiet Riot. Formed in 1966, Slade's lineup was Noddy Holder (vocals/guitars /bass), Dave Hill (guitars/vocals/bass), Jim Lea (bass/guitar/vocals/keyboards/violin), and Don Powell (drums/percussion). Their most successful years were 1971 to 1974, during which time they made some truly classic hard rock and glam songs -- scoring over a dozen UK Top of the Pops hits.

I Am Mist, You Are Steam, We Are Clouds...We Are Drifting Away

Posted by Miss Ess, July 20, 2007 05:47pm | Post a Comment
I just read that rock photographer Autumn DeWilde is going to be putting out a book of Elliott Smith photos in November.  She's an LA based photographer that took many of the pics of Elliott toward the end of his career.

The book is going to come with a CD of songs from a performance at Largo.  Here's a tracklisting:

'Between the Bars'
'Clouds' (Quasi)
'All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down' ( Hank Williams Jr.)

God, "Clouds" is one of my favorite songs ever.  It was written by Sam Coomes, one of Elliott's best friends.  Elliott always had the most impeccable taste in covers. 

Largo is a club in LA that Elliott started showing up at right after he moved there in the late 90s.  Jon Brion still performs there every Friday night.  There are many stories of Elliott drinking at the bar, then being coaxed up onstage, sometimes with Jon, sometimes with whomever was performing that night, and taking requests, jumping from instrument to instrument effortlessly, covering Beatles and metal songs.  I still want to go!

Autumn DeWilde also came to my attention through Elliott when she took the promo and album shots for Elliott's album Figure 8.  Now she takes pics for bands like the Foo Fighters and White Stripes.  Big time.

She made the video for "Son of Sam" -- most of it is a collection of stills threaded together into a film!  Fabulous.  The quality's kinda crap (thanks, youtube), but check it out:

This book is gonna be fantastic and even though I bet I already have the recording of the show somewhere in my stacks of CDs, whatever comes with the book is bound to sound a lot better than whatever bootleg I have.   Exciting!

I've Got Trouble...Female Trouble

Posted by Miss Ess, July 20, 2007 01:15pm | Post a Comment
Look, I had never seen Female Trouble before last weekend at Midnight Mass.  I know, I know, and I am trying to make up for lost time here.

I am sure everyone has already spoken their piece and covered everything I would want to say about this movie, but if for some reason YOU still haven't seen it, what the hell are you waiting for?  It's genius, esp Divine's performance.
Unlike most of my pals, I am no John Waters expert. I have seen about 4 of his films before and mostly enjoyed them. At times I have felt the same way about John Waters movies that I feel about punk rock: I greatly respect and appreciate the aesthetic and message of the work but sometimes find the overall experience abrasive. Other times I find it exhilarating. What I am trying to say here is that I think John Waters is a total genius and think his ideas are dead on, but sometimes I find his movies or portions of his movies somewhat...harsh. Does that make any sense? 

In person, he's one of the sharpest, most intelligent and gracious people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and he is twisted in all the right ways. Who else would suggest a Sing Along screening of his favorite film of the year, United 93? Who else would insist that the fact that the 9/11 attack on the more vaginally shaped Pentagon building is largely ignored while the more phallic Twin Towers are focused on further proves America's sexism?

911 Response:  Sexism at work?  You make the call.

Anyway, all that said, I adored Female Trouble. I loved it through and through. It's hard to imagine what audiences in the 70s must have thought when they saw it.  Well, I guess John told us himself in his interview with Peaches Christ before the screening of the movie: They thought it was total crap. He got horrible reviews. Those reviewers completely missed the point of the movie. It's about art and seduction and madness and control and it's all done so deftly and with so many hilarious characters.

Divine is absorbing and Real and fantastic to watch. I couldn't keep my eyes off of him. AsDawn Davenport, Divine plays a woman who is desperate for attention, any kind of attention. She just wants to be adored. 

She runs away from home, starts hanging out at the Lipstick Salon, a kind of uber-hipster-ville, and when the owners want her to model for them because they want to explore the blurry lines between beauty and crime, Dawn becomes an overly willing objet d'art.

The owners of the salon, Donald and Donna Dasher, are hilarious arty types whose outfits and attitudes remind me too much of hipsters today...The same things that are worth making fun of now were apparently also worth making fun of in 1974. I don't know if that is comforting or scary. I guess it's just a fact of life! Donald and Donna think sex is disgusting and would never do such a thing, but they just love watching and encouraging Dawn to commit crimes with greater and greater flamboyance! I don't want to ruin any of the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it, so I'm gonna stop there. 

It reminded me in a way of Boogie Nights, the way the movie focuses on one person and their god given "talent", the way the individual rockets to "fame" and acquires a sense of family, gaining speed more and more and more until the inevitable, equally rapid but sickly tragic downfall. I love the way both movies assume the viewer is actually intelligent enough to catch on to subtlety and to irony.

All the social commentary throughout Female Trouble is completely brilliant and I have nothing but admiration for John and Divine.

My next Waters flick viewing is gonna be Serial Mom, which I have not seen since I was about 13. I've seen enough Waters films to know that there is no way it will not leave an impression on me.

the state is coming to DVD...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 20, 2007 09:19am | Post a Comment
The State is finally making its way to DVD! There have been rumours for years, but it is finally happening. Still no exact date, but it will allegedly happen in the fall. I am just so excited that I had to share it with you all. The show was originally on MTV from 1993-95. This was followed by a special on CBS. The show may have disappeared, but its cast has been busy ever since.

The original cast included:
Kevin Allison, Michael Ian Black, Ben Garant, Todd Holoubek, Michael Patrick Jann, Kerri Kenney, Thomas Lennon, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, Michael Showalter, and David Wain. Kenney, Black, and Lennon went on to star in Viva Variety. Black, Showalter, and Wain created Stella. Kenney, Lennon, and Garant all went on to create and star in Reno 911! The entire cast had roles in the recent movie Reno 911! Miami. Many original members have also been busy in the film world. David Wain directed the new movie The Ten and it stars some of the cast of The State. It looks amazing...check out the preview here...

The State was on back when MTV was actually still a good channel. The show was simply brilliant. I did not even have cable back then, but I watched it every chance I got, so I have been waiting and waiting for this to finally come out on DVD. This is one of those shows with crazy obsessive fans that have been demanding its release on DVD. They had to redo the score for the show. Back when this aired, MTV had a special deal with the record labels -- as long as the artists that they used in the scores of the TV shows also had music videos in rotation, the music could be used for free. Things have obviously changed. MTV does not really play music videos anymore. They also would have had to charge like 300 dollars for The State DVD box sets if they had not changed the music. No worries. The music is not what got me obsessed with the shows. The cast was amazing and worked really well together. Most of the skits were original and they did not use very many recurring characters. The only thing that I can compare it to is a really good skit on MADTV. I am also a huge fan of Kerri Kenney, Tom Lennon, Ben Garant, and Reno 911! I can't get enough of that show. Maybe Viva Variety! will also be released soon as well!

and in other exciting news...
The Complete Twin Peaks Series DVD will be released on October 30th. This is the pilot and the 1st and 2nd Season and a bunch of special extra stuff.

My So Called Life: The Complete Series will also be released October 30th. This will be a much better and fancier version than the one released years ago. It will also have a bunch of interviews and things on it.


Posted by Billyjam, July 20, 2007 08:13am | Post a Comment
  girls against boys
The folks who throw the fun themed All Tomorrow's Parties/Don't Look Back series, in which they invite chosen acts to recreate an album live from their back-catalog, have convinced the seminal D.C.-born, NYC based Girls Against Boys to perform their classic early nineties post-hardcore album Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby. And this weekend, the band, which began as a side project of Eli Janney and Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty and whose lineup then became Janney plus Scott McCloud, Johnny Temple, and Alexis Fleisig, will perform the entire album from start to finish in exact sequence for two performances only -- one in NYC and one in LA.

The first concert is tonight, Friday (7/20) at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City and the second is scheduled for Sunday night (7/22) in Los Angeles at the El Rey Theatre. This will be the first time the band has performed in LA or New York in five years (they performed in Europe this year -- most recently in Spain last month). I recently caught up with Johnny Temple, one of the band's two bassists, to ask him about this unique, two-gig, bi-coastal event and the idea of a dual bass rock band.

AMOEBLOG: How did the two bass players idea come about and how does it affect the band's sound?

JOHNNY TEMPLE: A lot of the rock bands of our era, well, really the rock bands of any era, tend to be more melody driven, while we tend to be more rhythm driven. Basically, we all grew up in Washington, DC, which is very funk music oriented. We grew up listening to a lot of soul and funk and Go-Go music which, as you know, is native to DC. And a lot of bands from DC have a greater emphasis on rhythm and groove than a lot of other (non DC) rock bands do. So by having two bass players it kind of pronounces the bottom end, the sort of rhythmic feature of the songs, more so than the melody.

Above The Law

Posted by phil blankenship, July 20, 2007 01:39am | Post a Comment

Warner Home Video 11786


Posted by Billyjam, July 19, 2007 06:35pm | Post a Comment

Brokeback Blogs, Part 1 - Persian Films & Baseball

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 19, 2007 05:35pm | Post a Comment
On Sunday I threw my back out and I’ve been in bed ever since. I haven’t been able to do much other than lie on my back and watch endless hours of TV. I watched endless hours of movies and baseball. Flipping back and forth from Blue Jays v. Yankees, Red Sox v. Royals, and Angels v. Devil Rays games put me fast asleep. Nothing is better than a baseball game nap! To me, it’s a part of the ritual. I spent a good part of the games snoozing. The combination of the games, summer heat and the softness of the bed made me forget the oppressive pain in my back that has been running my life for the last five days. It was the best sleep I’ve had in years.

It reminded me of when I saw the movie Taste of Cherry. A few years ago, on a whim, I rented Taste of Cherry. It took me several days to watch it. It was story about a man who wanted to kill himself and was searching for someone who would either bury him or save him. The movie, shot in Iran, had these long gorgeous shots of the hills outside of Tehran. The pace was beyond slow. Each night I’d pop the DVD into my player before I went to bed and I would fall asleep after a few minutes. It took me many nights to finish the film. The movie wasn’t boring -- it put you in a dreamlike state, thus leading one into slumber. When I finally finished the movie several evenings later, I watched an interview with the director, Abbas Kiarostami. He said he purposely made his movies to be like a dream and that the highest compliment would be if someone would fall asleep during one of his movies.

I can imagine the highest compliment Abbas would like to receive would not be the applause of the audience after his movie had been shown. Rather, it would be the snoring of the audience members, in deep sleep, only to be awoken by the ushers once the movie was d

When The Rain Begins To Fall...That's When White Motorcycles Rev Up

Posted by Miss Ess, July 19, 2007 03:48pm | Post a Comment

All of my 80s lovin' friends must be rubbing off on me today, cause this video is hitting the spot at the moment. It's almost like Romeo and Juliet, Pia and Jermaine. (Thanks, Miss Elise!)

It feels very strange to say I actually miss the 80s (so I'm not gonna say it), but can't we all agree that we miss 80s videos at the very least?  I think so.


Posted by Billyjam, July 19, 2007 07:27am | Post a Comment
More shots of graffiti from around the San Francisco Amoeba Music on Haight Street -- including some pics from directly across the street from Amoeba.

The Glimmer Man

Posted by phil blankenship, July 19, 2007 01:13am | Post a Comment

Warner Home Video 14479

the cult of the polyphonic spree...7/17 at the great american music hall...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 18, 2007 10:04pm | Post a Comment
 Last night Curt and I went to go see the Polyphonic Spree at the Great American Music Hall. Like I said before, I really do love the GAMH. But I had no idea what I was in for at a Polyphonic Spree show. This was my first time seeing them. And to be honest, I thought they would be maybe a bit over the top but a also maybe a bit annoying. The opening performer, Jessica Hoop, kept telling us that the show was going to be amazing. She basically said, "You are really in for an amazing experience if you have never seen them before." Whatever. I was not convinced. We did get to sit in the little VIP section up in the balcony  where the lights are controlled. I dropped off some CD'S for the band from Amoeba because  they had not received them yet from the label. So their manager gave us some VIP type seats. The manager was very nice but the most amazing thing about him was that he had a baby with him in a baby bjorn. So he was basically controlling the light show with the baby. I didn't get to ask him if it was his, but it sure was a cute little thing. But don't worry, the baby had big headphones on to block out the noise. I figured with 23 people in the band at least two of them were probably a couple and probably had a baby that they brought on tour with them. So basically, Jessica Hoop was correct. The show was amazing.

  The show started with lead singer and band leader Tim Delaughter cutting through a curtain that the entire band was hidden behind. I knew it would be a large band. But it really was amazing to see 23 people crammed on to the stage at the GAMH. I tried to memorize what everyone did in the band. Here is what I remember. Besides Singer Tim, there were 7 back  up singer ladies who were also a chorus and a synchronized hair dancing group. They had some great moves. 2 drummers, 2 keyboardists, 2 guitarists, 1 bassist, 2 violins , 1 cello, 1 harp, 2 trumpets, and 1 trombone player. It is sort of like a mix of a church revival and a bar mitzvah performance and a jam band. That does not really sound like it would work. But it does. The whole band seems to be having so much fun playing music that you can not help but to enjoy it as well. They often get unfairly compared to a cult. Any band with so many members that performs in robes is bound to get that comparison. And after seeing the show I was ready to sign up for the cult. Tim is a great ringleader and sort of seems to have some sort of power over the whole band and audience. I can almost understand how people like Jim Jones had that similar cult power. But these guys are just making good fun music. They are not waiting for armageddon or planning some mass suicide. So I really don't think they are a cult but if they are, I'm OK with it.

Li'l Bit #2

Posted by Job O Brother, July 18, 2007 09:30am | Post a Comment
Last Sunday, I was in the car with Corey and his parents. We stopped at a gas station to fill up the tank before our drive to Santa Barbara to eat tacos.

Corey knows where the cheapest gas is; unfortunately, so does everyone else, so the place was packed. There was one unused pump, but a woman had parked her car so that it took up two places. After waiting a bit and allowing her to notice that a car full of people were staring at her and sending her "vibes", I got out.

I approached. She was sitting in her front seat, rummaging through her ample purse.

"Pardon me, ma'am," I said in my least intimidating voice, "Would you please back up so we can reach the other pump?"

"I'm handicapped!" she yelled. And I mean she YELLED this, and started digging though her purse more frantically.

"Uh, if you could just move your car back, please, we could..."

"I'm too poor to pay for gas!" she cried.

"Okay, well, if you could just move your car back..."

"LEAVE ME ALONE IT'S AN EMERGENCY!!!" she screamed, and ran away from me.

Folks, she ran away from me.

By that time, another pump had opened up, so we pulled in there. The woman had run inside the mini-mart where she stayed.

It was an omen. While we did make it to Santa Barbara, we never made it to the tacos.


Posted by Billyjam, July 18, 2007 08:30am | Post a Comment

Have you ever committed a crime or offense for which you were not arrested? In other words: have you ever done something illegal (anything at all) but never gotten caught for it? If so, and you are a legal resident applying for US citizenship, you legally must admit all details of your crime, and essentially turn yourself in. The direct question is part of the US government's current INS (Immigration & Naturalization Services) form for permanent residents, who have been here in the USA for over five years, who are applying for US citizenship. The form in question is the N-400 INS Application for Naturalization ten page questionnaire. It must be accompanied by a money order for approx $400, a fee that is scheduled to increase substantially by the end of this month when it's raised to $675. As a result there's been a significant surge in the number of applicants at INS offices around the US trying to get the application process rolling by the July 30th cutoff date for the lower application fees. NOTE: Due to the huge rush on INS offices, the same day this AMOEBLOG was posted, the date for the new rates was extended until August 17th.

But the fee increase is only one reason for the rush. The other reasons are more serious and are rooted in the new post 9/11 America -- where racial profiling has become more common a practice and border crossing has gotten increasingly more difficult for non-Americans, even if they are US "residents' or Green Card holders. More importantly, the consequences of the possible new immigration laws means that many immigrants, especially Mexicans, whose status is currently "Alien" figure that now is the time to up their status and try to become US citizens. 

Cathy's Curse

Posted by phil blankenship, July 18, 2007 12:43am | Post a Comment

Continental Video 1049

The Keeper

Posted by phil blankenship, July 17, 2007 11:40pm | Post a Comment

Trans World Entertainment 10031


Posted by Billyjam, July 17, 2007 05:14pm | Post a Comment
This is the second part in the ongoing series of San Francisco and Bay Area rave fliers from the 1990's, mainly early nineties, like the ones below that include 1993 and 1994.


(In which Job educates you and also lies here and there.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 17, 2007 12:06pm | Post a Comment
I’m looking around my apartment (it’s a bachelor, so this doesn’t take much time) at my collections of who’s-its and what’s-its (you want thing-a-ma-bobs? I got plenty) to find something I want to tell you about, in hopes that it will inspire or delight you, as it has me.

Which is awfully presumptuous. I mean, there’s a small chance that you and I don’t have the exact same tastes in everything, right? Maybe you don’t think that “Love & Rockets” is one of the finest works of literature in the history of mankind; perhaps you’d disagree that beholding a Rothko in person can be an emotional experience; mayhap, though this seems ridiculously far-fetched, you might even balk at my pronouncement that both Isaac Albéniz’s operas and “SCTV” are under-appreciated.

My idea of a chick-flick. No. 14, 1960, by Mark Rothko

But I digress. Life is confusing and challenging enough without entertaining the idea that you and I might be different. The best course of action is to assume we’re on the same page, and that the only real difference between us is that you don’t know about some of the stuff I do, and my job is to tell you about these things, so you can rush out and discover them. D’accord?

I’ve been employed by Amoeba Music Hollywood for nigh three years. For the first year, I worked full time in the classical music section. This was a valuable opportunity to further develop both my collection and knowledge of the genre. (For instance, I learned that the piano is actually played with hands, and that Mozart wrote most of his music during his lifetime!)

My tastes in classical music are broad. I’m particularly fond of British music of the Victorian era, modern Scandinavian composers, German lieder, and most Baroque music, especially if it involves woodwinds. I’m not a fan of Mozart, except for his operas which are some of my favorites; I detest Chopin and die a little inside when a customer asks me for advice on which recordings of his music to buy; Russian romantics leave me wanting and Anne Sofie Von Otter’s 1993 recording of songs by Edvard Grieg makes me rock out with my cock out.

Frédéric Chopin. "You can just tell from my music that I was lousy in bed. I'll bet I slept with my mouth open, too, and made smacking noises with my mouth when I ate crackers!"

One composer that has brought me much happiness is one that many haven’t listened to. His name: Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges - a Renaissance man who was thankfully born before they invented “Hello, My Name Is” stickers.

Total stud and all-around dignified chewer, Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges

Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, whom we’ll refer to as "Joe" for the sake of time, was born in 1739 and was a Capricorn.

Capricorns, as those of you who study astrology know, are famous for being ambitious, focused, and more likely to disown bastard children than any other sign in the Zodiac. They were, for a brief period during the reign of King Louis VIII, forced to wear their clothes on the inside of their skin, which is where we get the saying “I’ve got you under my skin,” a term later popularized when Ella Fitzgerald ate a sleeping Cole Porter for lunch.

Joe’s pa was a white, French, plantation owner and aristocrat; his ma was an African slave. As a child he excelled in fencing, violin playing, and music composition. Of these skills, fencing came in the handiest when he fought against the monarchy in the French Revolution, and he eventually became the first black colonel in the French army. He was also the first black, French mason. And, though this is under dispute by some historians, the first black Frenchman to call Marie Antoinette a cow-faced hooker.

"That's nothing compared to what Perez Hilton said about me last March!"

His music is of the “Mannheim school” style, like Mozart and another favorite of mine, Franz Joseph Haydn (affectionately called “Papa Haydn” because he made so many of his Audiences finish their homework before letting them listen to his music).

Sadly, Joe’s life, while often illustrious, ended in abject poverty and isolation. He died in 1799 when his body stopped living.

I love his music. It is sparkling, intelligent; seductive and impassioned without being emotive or gushing. It’s especially nice in the daytime when you want everything to feel clean and alive (a perfect soundtrack for dusting furniture or reading that copy of Penthouse Forum you’ve been putting off).

Like the best of classical-period music, it is trim and precise, yet effervescent, evoking a sense of purity-of-will perhaps only attainable in music before Kurt Cobain shot himself.

I highly recommend it to people interested in starting somewhere with classical music, but unsure where or with whom. That is, if you’re looking for music that evokes a joie de vivre. Those dudes who are looking for something to round-out their collection of Neurosis albums and black metal CD’s would do better to seek out Kronos Quartet’s album “Black Angels” or a symphony by Shostakovich.

I hope this information is of some interest. If you have any questions about where to start with classical music, feel free to write me, or sneak into my house while I’m sleeping and tie me up until I make a few suggestions. I’m happy to help!

coming out today 7/17...editors...the knife...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 17, 2007 12:50am | Post a Comment
Out today is the new album from the Editors. It was nice of them to wait until the week after the release of the new Interpol. It is easy to compare the two and I could imagine many getting them confused with each other. Just like when people were looking for the new Interpol album after they heard "She Wants Revenge" for the first time. However, I think "She Wants Revenge" were just cashing in on a current  trend in music. After all, they were a hip-hop band right before becoming another post-punk rip off band. The Editors seem a bit more sincere and more of a real band to me. So although the similarities to Interpol are definitely there, the Editors are just about good enough to stand on their own.

"The Back Room," the first album from this Birmingham, England band came out in July of 2005. It was not until almost a year later that the album came out in the U.S. The label decided to make the transition a bit quicker this time. There were only a couple weeks between the U.K. import and the domestic release of the new album "An End Has a Start." I  have to admit that I am a big fan of bands putting their entire new album up on their myspace page. I always feel like bands have something to hide when they don't let their fans hear their new album. Fans these days are not like they used to be. I would always just go buy albums before I even heard them. But the internet has made it so much easier to check out the albums before you buy them. And of course, you can listen to the albums at those listening stations in record stores as well.

The Editors have nothing to hide with this new album. The first album sort of blew everyone away. And it is always hard for a new band to top their first album. The Editors have done a pretty good job. They played it smart by creating an album similar enough to the first album so as not to lose any fans. But different enough to still be interesting. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" is the first single. Although my favorite track comes all the way at the end of the album with "Spiders." It's a slower song but I am really liking it.

Horror House On Highway 5

Posted by phil blankenship, July 17, 2007 12:19am | Post a Comment

Simitar Entertainment 7369


Posted by Billyjam, July 16, 2007 02:30pm | Post a Comment

For a long time the New York Times has cost one dollar-- just a dollar, whether purchased in New York City or a newsstand in California. But the price of today's (7/16) edition of the New York Times, which coincidentally seemed slimmer than usual, went up in price by a quarter to $1.25 -- which is still good value because it's a great newspaper (despite some faults) that does a thorough job and covers topics that others do not, and has been doing so since 1851 -- winning more Pulitzer Prizes (95) along the way than any other American news journal.

But regardless of its historic legacy, like all newspapers across the US today, the New York Times is also feeling the economic fallout of the new digital age in which advertisers are increasingly taking their dollars elsewhere, and news and information seekers are going online in increasing numbers.  Simply put: people don't read newspapers quite like they used to. In a recently published study entitled "Young People and News," reported coincidentally in today's New York Times, findings showed that only 9% of teenagers surveyed read a newspaper every day. Meanwhile 18 to 30 year olds rated higher, with 16% of those surveyed daily newspaper readers.

Recently both the San Jose Mercury News (long considered among the country's finest newspapers) and the San Francisco Chronicle laid off a chunk of staff. They had no choice: the economy ruled, and journalists lost jobs. But the tragedy is that with these investigative reporters gone, or going, so too is good journalism. The idea of the traditional city newspaper office, filled with reporters who go out with a pad and pen to dig deep in investigative stories has pretty much become a thing of the past -- and that sucks. While there are now more and more news and information sources than ever before, with everyone and their mama blogging, it often seems in this new digital age that we've traded in quality for quantity.

The Invaders

Posted by phil blankenship, July 16, 2007 10:11am | Post a Comment

Panther Entertainment PE-4012

Slumber Party Massacre

Posted by phil blankenship, July 16, 2007 01:07am | Post a Comment

Embassy Home Entertainment 4026

tura satana...john waters...mink stole..peaches christ...& midnight mass

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 15, 2007 02:10pm | Post a Comment
Midnight Mass just had its tenth year anniversary opening weekend. I can hardly believe that it has been 10 years. Both Josh "Peaches Christ" and I moved to San Francisco in 2006. So it was also just my anniversary of moving to San Francisco last year. Peaches Christ has been entertaining the film freaks of San Francisco for the last 10 years with his amazing summertime movie series at the Bridge Theater. But this is not just your regular midnight screenings. He really puts on an amazing live preshow that is often better than the film he is showing. The movie itself often starts at more like 1:00  am or 1:30 am. Before the movie there is usually some sort of musical number spoof of the movie we are about to see. Sometimes there is roller derby or costume contests.

The crowd is often as entertaining as what is happening on stage. There is nothing quite like a San Francisco midnight movie crowd and it is the reason we all live here. Most of us have come from all over the country and world to live in this wonderful place we call San Francisco. We feel safe and at home here because of the sense of community. And there is always someone weirder and crazier than you when you live in San Francisco. Midnight Mass has always been a place for the freaks of the city to meet and celebrate the movies that have helped make us who we are.

The first weekend of midnight mass was dedicated to our hero John Waters. Friday night was "Desperate Living" and Saturday night was "Female Trouble." Mink Stole, star of many John Waters films, was on hand on Friday for some live performances and a little talk with the audience. Divine was usually the star of most of the John Waters films. But the costars of the movies were often given the best lines and the most amazing characters to portray. Two of Mink's best roles were as Taffy Davenport in Female Trouble and Peggy Gravel in Desperate Living.  Friday also featured some of the best performances from past midnight mass nights. Tura Satana was also on stage with Peaches Christ for a brief chat. John Waters was in the audience but his day was really Saturday.

Tura Satana also did an instore at Amoeba on Haight Street on Saturday. I have to say, she is the nicest lady you will ever meet. Much like John Waters, she just seemed like one of us. Seriously, she is stil as tough as her original character Varla, but she was also charming and hilarious. She just celebrated her 69th birthday and is really not that different now from the character "Varla" that we all grew to love from the brilliant "Faster! Pussycat!...Kill! Kill!" in 1965. Tura signed autographs, took pictures, and met with fans for almost 3 hours. Most of the fans acted out there fantasies in front of the camera as they acted out scenes in the movie with her. Most just wanted to be but in a headlock. She asked one fan what he wanted to do for the photo and he asked to put her in a head lock. She of course put him in a headlock instead. I am sure Tura never thought she would have developed such a cult following from her film over 40 years ago. This is the power of cult films and the fanatical devotion of its fans. These films really change our lives and having lasting impressions on us. It is hard to imagine filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino even existing without Faster Pussycat. The movie is still brilliant and amazingly holds up after all these years. And in glorious "black and blue" it still looks great on DVD. It is hard to believe that Tura has not made a film in over 30 years. I can only imagine all the great roles she could have filled in the 80s. Someone has finally decided to bring her back to the big screen and cast her in the new film "Sugar Boxx." It will hopefully be coming to a theater near us very soon. Here is a picture of me and Tura Satana at the instore....

Saturday was the night of the John Waters interview. I have already met him at the two in-stores we have done at Amoeba and have seen him speak at various events over the years. But it is always new and exciting to see him again. He has amazing stories of his life and all the films he has made over the years. It was really an awesome night of midnight mass to see Peaches on stage with John Waters. Midnight Mass has really come a long way. I did get a little tear in my eye when the talk moved to the subject of Divine. I would have loved to see Divine up on the stage with John. Divine really made all those John Waters movies what they were and really paved the way for many drag queens.

Like many in their 30's, "Hairspray" was my first John Waters movie. I was only 14 and quickly realized the genius of John Waters. After Cry Baby in 1990 I was on a mission to find his other films. It was not until college that I could find them all at a video store in Santa Barbara. Each movie  became my favorite after I watched it. That still kind of happens. As soon as I watch one of his films again, it quickly becomes my new favorite. Until I watch the next one. There is nothing like John Waters and there is nothing like a John Waters movie. His movies have never really been gay movies. But they have been movies that are obviously made by a gay man.

I have been planning to skip the new version of Hairspray which comes out in a couple weeks. But I think John and Peaches kind of talked me into it. It is a movie version of the musical based on the original movie. But we can't think of it as a remake of the movie that we have loved all these years. As my first John Waters movie it has a very special place in my heart. I am going to think of it as sort of a tribute to John Waters. It only shows how far he has come and how much of an influence he continues to have. And as Peaches Christ said, it will only get him more fans and they will then go discover his older films just as we had. This will insure that there will always be John Waters fans and there will always be fans of the Midnight Mass and midnight cult movie screenings around the world.


Posted by Billyjam, July 15, 2007 01:10pm | Post a Comment

Some of the best Bay Area parties from the early nineties onwards had some of the best DJs (that goes without saying -- da Bay is home of the DJ) ... and also some of the best fliers. Being an avid collector of fliers, I saved a bunch of them. Many others have saved them too, including the ever-evolving San Francisco music fan Porkchop and of course, the wonderful folks at SF Raves Dot Org, who have archived numerous fliers from the nineties on their recommended website.

This is Part I in a series that could go on forever. If you have any URL links to fliers of SF/Bay Area parties from the nineties especially -- or any memories to share of specific Bay Area parties or DJs, please scroll on down to the COMMENTS box and share. Thanks!


(In which Job clarifies the difference between the gay community and lunch.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 15, 2007 01:08pm | Post a Comment

Thursday night, after a sexy and glorious workday at Amoeba Music Hollywood, my boyfriend Corey picked me up and whisked me away to the premiere party for Outfest, held at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown LA.

Outfest is LA’s most popular film festival for the GLBT community. (GLBT stands for Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender and should never be confused with the BLT, a popular sandwich.)

Know the difference - Bacon, lettuce, tomato vs. gay actor, Montgomery Clift

"Outfest is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that the extensive but threatened LGBT film heritage is preserved. Since the beginning of the struggle for LGBT equality, visionary filmmakers have recorded their lives, challenges and triumphs on film. Outfest is committed to saving, preserving and providing access to that precious, affirming heritage for generations to come." - quote from their website

Put another way, this is a chance to see lots of muscle hunks come to terms with bullies and remakes of “Pretty Woman” that could be called “Pretty Women”.

If I sound cynical, it’s because I am, a bit. But that’s not a reflection of Outfest, rather, a problem I often have with queer cinema. I’ve never been a fan of romantic comedies, and because the definition of gay is indicative of sex, so many gay films are “romantic”.

That’s just one issue I have. On the whole, queer cinema suffers from the same things that mainstream films do. Clichés and what-not. It’s particularly discouraging to see gay films that mimic straight films but, you know, with gay people in ‘em. It’s rare to find a film that is distinctively “gay” outside of the love scenes.

That’s not to say there’s no room for light entertainment within queer cinema. Don’t get me wrong! I realize that not everyone wants the films I do – in fact, most people don’t.

Beyond my personal tastes, I absolutely believe it is important that organizations like Outfest exist. It is vital that minorities see themselves represented in media. When I was a kid and still mystified by my own sexuality, seeing gays in film and on TV provided a sense that I was not alone, that there were others like me, and they were successful and unashamed.

Of course, being born in 1974, those glimpses were rare, and it took a real stretch of imagination to feel kinship with kd lang as she got a straight-razor shave from Cindy Crawford. Still, it helped.

Straight-razor… heh…

The party was populated by the usual crew to be found at such an event. I didn’t see anyone A-list. Tori Spelling mingled as camera crews followed her every move, gathering footage for her “reality” TV show. Perez Hilton stood behind me in the line for free booze. Chi Chi Larue strode through the crowd looking much like Marilyn Monroe would have if she were still alive.

The biggest treat was listening to my man Corey as he talked shop with the people who really keep the Hollywood business functioning. I got to hear a hilarious story about Arianna Huffington from one of her former assistants, but I’m not allowed to tell you about it. You just can’t keep a secret, I’m afraid. You have only yourself to blame.

In honor of Outfest 2007, and because I don’t want you to think I’m homocinemaphobic, I offer up the following films as suggestions of rad things to watch; one for every letter in the aforementioned acronym:

"Dude, your nipple is, like, hella awesome!" Keanu Reeves & River Phoenix

For the ‘G’, I recommend watching “My Own Private Idaho”, Gus Van Sant’s modern take on Shakespeare’s play “Henry IV”. It beautifully explores gay love and desire without offering moral platitudes, and doesn’t content itself with only “gay” issues. Oftentimes funny and always poetic, it also perfectly captures the (sometimes self-destructive) essence of the Northwest grunge scene of the early 1990’s. It also stars the late River Phoenix in one of his finest performances.

Next is the ‘L’. This is a tough one, because there’s actually quite a list of movies I love that qualify. Ultimately, though, I’m going to settle on the classic film “The Children’s Hour”, starring Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn.

"Darling, I would never confuse you with Katherine..." Shirley MacLaine & Audrey Hepburn

I realize the irony that my choice of lesbian film didn’t actually star a lesbian, but the movie stands as significant. It broached a topic that dared not… urr… film its name…? Furthermore, it starred two A-list celebrities, adding weight and credibility at a time when homosexuality was still widely believed to be a psychological disorder. It is beautifully shot and packs an emotional wallop.

I can’t help but sneak in another film, however. It’s more obscure. “The Sticky Fingers of Time”, written and directed by Hilary Brougher. The story, essentially science-fiction in nature, is still human in a way that reminds me of a Philip K. Dick novel. It’s very low budget but uses this to its advantage and struck me as intriguing, haunting and, how you say, dope.

Terumi Matthews & Belinda Becker in "The Sticky Fingers of Time"

Then on to the ‘B’. B, B, B… hmm. Oh, I know!

“The Hotel New Hampshire”. This gem has a cast of stars a mile long, yet remains surprisingly unknown. This is perhaps due to its acute quirkiness, and storyline which ambles along without clear climaxes, much as our lives do. Alternately hilarious and slapstick, then suddenly tragic, it follows the lives of an eccentric family headed by a whimsical father (played by Beau Bridges) as they find fame, fortune and love, then lose it, then gain it again. (Wow, that sounds awful… I’d never see it if I heard someone describe it that way!)

Jodie Foster makes love to Natasha Kinski in a bear suit! I mean, what more do you need?

It features a very naughty, yet somehow sweet, incest love scene between siblings played by Jodie Foster and Rob Lowe. I cannot recommend this movie enough, even if I can’t recommend it well.

Rob Lowe & Dorsey Wright, working it all out

Finally, the ‘T’. Again, so many to choose from. I’m afraid I’ll get my Fan Club status revoked for not championing “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, but that’s so obvious and anyhow, writing about it would lead to another eight pages of me boring you with nostalgia.

So, I’m going to settle on “Orlando”, Sally Potter’s gorgeous adaptation of the book by Virginia Woolf of the same name.

Superlative actress, Tilda Swinton as "Orlando"

It’s the story of a young man, Orlando, born in Renaissance England. Having been ordered by the aging Queen Elizabeth I (played with humorous gravity by Quentin Crisp) to never grow old and die, he doesn’t, and the film takes us through major time periods unto present day, all the while exploring love and sex as relating to gender.

It is quite simply a visually perfect film. Anyone who delights in set and costume design must take a peak. It stars the amazing Tilda Swinton in the title role. And you get to see her naked, if that matters to you. And it does.

Tilda Swinton, Tilda Swinton, Tilda Swinton, and also, Tilda Swinton

So, there you have some considerations for queer cinema that transcends the usual bunch. If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to check out Outfest. Just watch out for Tori Spelling’s camera crew, ‘cause those dudes are f**ing all over the place.

The Evil

Posted by phil blankenship, July 15, 2007 10:01am | Post a Comment

Embassy Home Entertainment 4006


Posted by Billyjam, July 14, 2007 03:44pm | Post a Comment

On a recent trip to the Haight Street Amoeba, I once again found myself drawn to the outside walls of  Amoeba Music San Francisco -- specifically the top part of the wall outside from Haight Street down to the corner of the alley (away from Golden Gate Park) that leads to the parking lot where all that gradually changing wall of graf lays in beautiful, bright colorful wait. It includes the barred windows with their intricate tags that always remind me of stumbling upon some hieroglyphics in some ancient cave.

Luckily, on the day I took these pics I caught the Amoeba parking lot almost empty -- with only one car parked in front of those beloved droopy eyed heads that offer comfort to many an admirer. There will be another set of pics (Part V) posted in a week, also taken recently and featuring more of the graf around SF Amoeba.

Among graffiti artists there is a code -- many rules of the game -- and one rule is that you only tag businesses or public property -- not private -- meaning people's houses or dwellings.

But today I passed a red brick apartment building with an ugly ole tag rudely scrawled along the side of it and I thought to myself: I guess homeboy didn't get the memo!


(I vilket författaren diskuterar hans favoritt direktör.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 14, 2007 08:23am | Post a Comment

Today is Ingmar Bergman’s birthday!

I know – you’re ready to leap from the computer to rush out to buy a piñata and cake.

Or, more likely, you re-read the above sentence a couple times as your brain grappled with confusion over whether or not I wrote Ingrid Bergman. Quite possibly, some of you still think I did.

Actress Ingrid Bergman, star of "Casablanca" and the Bergman film "Autumn Sonata";
no relation to the director and much better looking in a dress.

I’m not being (intentionally) condescending; it’s just that that’s what seems to happen every time I gush about my most favorite film director.

Fellini, Buñuel, Pasolini, Hitchcock, Godard, Woody Allen… There are many film directors that cause me to go weak in the superego, but none of them so deeply penetrate my soul and slop it on the screen like ol’ Ingmar.

Furthermore, many of his films star his ex-wife and one of my favorite actresses, Liv Ullman.

Liv Ullman looking ravishing as she has a nervous breakdown in "Persona"

I’m the first to admit that his films aren’t for everyone. They’re an intimidating option when considering an evening’s entertainment. When faced with “what to do”, who in their right mind would subject themselves to a somber, cryptic and psychologically penetrating film in which handsome Swedes come to grips with their innermost core-of-self amidst Midnight Sun landscapes?

Me. I would subject myself. Sadly, I’m often alone for the ride. It’s hard to convince your date that a five hour epic like “Scenes From a Marriage” – in which you see a happy couple crumble toward divorce in episodes that make “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” seem like “Oliver & Company” – is good material for snuggling.

"Oh darling, I can hardly wait until your treachery leads me to contemplate suicide!"
Liv Ullman & Erland Jospehson in "Scenes From a Marriage"
My father was a proud Swede. Actually, most Swedes are proud Swedes. Listening to him speak about Swedish culture, you’d think the Garden of Eden still existed, and it’s capital was Stockholm. He took me there when I was a teenager for a disastrous trip that was meant to bring us closer together but instead ended up in me pretending to have the flu and hiding in my hotel room to watch Euro-Mtv while he went out in search of museums and got lost.

Even so, his expressions of admiration for Sweden had an impact on me; not in that I was hypnotized with amour for the country itself, rather, it became a reminder of everything that was my father. He was a typical Swede, so Swedes remind me of him. (He passed away in 2000.)

Oh… I suppose I should have mentioned that Ingmar Bergman is Swedish. Those of you who didn’t know were probably wondering what the hell was going on as I leapt from subject to subject without any semblance of continuity. Sorry!

Anyway, milkshakes are a delicious, cool, dessert beverage that are wonderful to attract ants with on a hot summer’s day.

I cite my relationship with my father because it accounts for some of the profound emotional impact that Bergman’s work has on me. Those of you who didn’t have stoic, Swedish dads who were raised by Victorian women (and many of you don’t, it seems) may not buckle in the face of Bergman’s work like I do. The final scene of “Through a Glass Darkly” ends with the son exclaiming in astonishment that his father “spoke” to him (meaning honestly) and it makes me cry every time.

Even so, you may find yourself deeply pondering the nature of your heart and mind after watching one of his movies. Bergman himself stated (in a 2004 interview) that he can no longer watch his own films because they "depress him". Ouch.

Many, many filmmakers cite Bergman as an influence, and any film student will/has been presented with his work.

There are dozens of hilarious spoofs of his films: Chevy Chase and Louise Lasser do a sketch in the first season of Saturday Night Live about tricking Death into leaving them alone by sending him away to pick up a pizza; SCTV has a great scene in which listless women babble in fake Swedish while accosted by midgets; the character of Death in "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey" is a take-off of the Death character in “The Seventh Seal” and Woody Allen’s fantastic film “A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy” is rife with silly nods to the director.

"I would love to have children!" Happier times between Woody & Mia

Woody Allen very directly (no pun intended) went through a period wherein which he made films so obviously influenced by Ingmar that they are referred to as his “Bergman period”. They also account for the period in which fans of Woody’s comic pieces were frustrated and annoyed by him. Of these works, “Interiors” is the most obvious “Bergman film”.

Separated at birth: Scenes from Ingmar's "Autumn Sonata" & Woody's "Another Woman"

Are you still reading this? It’s not one of my funnier blogs. I get really worked up by Bergman.

If you’ve never seen any of his works, I recommend starting with “The Seventh Seal”. It’s his most famous, and it’s a good gauge to determine whether or not to continue with others. If you see it and like it, continue on with “Persona” (a personal favorite). If you hated it, try “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion” because it is funny and has nothing to do with Bergman. At all.

And let me know what you think. I’m always curious to hear people’s opinions about his films.

Grattis på födelsedagen, Ingmar!

Blade Of The Ripper

Posted by phil blankenship, July 14, 2007 08:11am | Post a Comment

Regal Video #1008

The Kindred

Posted by phil blankenship, July 13, 2007 10:37pm | Post a Comment

Vestron Video 5210


Posted by Billyjam, July 13, 2007 04:22pm | Post a Comment

Puerto Rican Queens, New York born and Bay Area raised emcee Rico Pabon loves hip-hop and lives hip-hop. He has for years. In fact, I first interviewed him way back in the day-- in 1991, right after he arrived on the Bay Area hip-hop scene with his group the Prophets of Rage. Sixteen years later, the conscious hip-hopper is still diligently putting it down in the Bay -- mainly in the East Bay. When not in Richmond recording or spending time with his family, Rico can be found at his other spot over in the Fruitvale district of Oakland -- Sofrito Authentic Puerto Rican Cuisine at 3451 International Blvd (E 14th St), which he owns and cooks for. As you know, there's no money to be made in conscious hip-hop these days. Besides, Rico treats the restaurant, like his hip-hop, with love. And he loves keeping his Puerto Rican heritage alive through its culinary creations and the concept that food can help create community and foster culture. The restaurant has become a needed gathering space for the East Bay's Boricua community. (14,000 Puerto Ricans in Alameda county alone!)

In the early days when Rico started, the Prophets of Rage consisted of himself, his good friend, known then as "Crazy" and his older brother DJ Park, who used to make most of the beats. By the time Prophets of Rage released the album My Power, the group was just Pabon and had been since then until recently, when he started using his own name on projects such as his recently released Louder than Fiction on Hard Knock Records. Note: Prophets of Rage also appeared on Independent Sounds: Amoeba Music Compilation Vol. III with the track "Make The Most."

What is the exact meaning behind the new album title?  

Wrong Lyrics Exposed! Transformers Expose Youthful Mistakes

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 13, 2007 03:50am | Post a Comment
My friend and sometimes host for 90.7 KPFK's Travel Tips For Aztlan Mari G confessed to mistaken lyrics on her myspace page. Because of all the latest hype about the Transformers, it was exposed that she had been singing the wrong lyrics to their theme song for years. She thought the Transformers song went: “Transformers, robots in the sky!” Rather than “Transformers, robots in disguise!” She also mentioned that her brother thought that "Red Red Wine" went, “Reg-gie White,” maybe because the late great NFL football player was all over the news when that song was out.

Along the same sports theme, when I was a kid I thought the lyrics to The Commodores song "Easy" went, "Why in the world would anybody Wilt Chamberlain?" rather than, "Why in the world would anybody put chains on me?” Don't ask me why, it's just what I heard. When that song was out Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was in L.A. and Wilt had long split the scene and was no longer in the news.
Also, for some reason, in Santana’s version of "Evil Ways," when they sang, “You got to change your evil ways, baby!,” I heard it, "Que hijo de tu (p*nCh#) madre, David!"

Maybe because my pops muttered that under his breathe to me all the time!

Got any mistaken lyrics of your youth you'd like to share?

El Cantante - The Hector Lavoe Made for Television Story

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 13, 2007 02:29am | Post a Comment

Thanks to director Leon Ichaso, I got to see an advance screening of the film El Cantante. Ichaso found out that I’m a huge Hector Lavoe fan, so he invited me to see the film. To me, the Willie Colon albums with Hector Lavoe singing rank up there with such albums as Sgt. Pepper’s, Pet Sounds, What’s Going On?, Innervisions, London Calling, Straight Outta Compton, Nevermind & Low End Theory. They are that good.

Lavoe’s story is legendary. His voice captivated a generation and pushed Salsa into the forefront. In the Fania Records heyday, the artists were filling up concert halls all over the world, including selling out Yankee Stadium. There were many talented musicians that were responsible for making Fania a giant in the record business, but Hector was Fania’s rock star. With that came his tragic rock star life.

In the movie, Marc Anthony has the daunting task of playing Hector Lavoe. For not being a Marc Anthony fan I think he does adequate job of it. During the film, especially during the live sequences, it's easy to forget Marc isn’t Hector. The same cannot be said about J-Lo. Jennifer Lopez plays the part of Lavoe’s wife, Puchi, and she never stops being J-Lo, perhaps her biggest downfall as an actress. There are very few moments when she slips out of the J-Lo role and is somewhat believable. Most of the film is done as a narrative from Jo-Lo’s character's point of view, a la a Behind The Music piece. It would have been better to skip that all together and perhaps develop a better script that gave the characters more depth. The rest of the cast is only serviceable, just enough to keep the story moving along. Besides the script never allowing the supporting cast room to develop, it never showed the development of the revolutionary style of music called Salsa. The way the film portrayed the origins of Salsa was as if the style developed overnight. rather than showing it was music that developed through time. The movie's pace seemed better suited for a T.V. movie. I wanted more from this movie than it could ever give me.

I have to say, to my surprise, the music is great. The score was done by composer/producer Andres Levin of Yerba Buena and he does an excellent job. Marc Anthony's renditions of the Lavoe classic are admirable in that he retains his style while trying to match Lavoe note per note. It would have been a mistake to try to emulate Lavoe’s voice because no one has ever sounded like him, before or since. There was too much pain in his voice, too much tragedy and that’s what made his voice unique.

Overall, I think movie critics and core Salsa heads will pan the movie and dissect every inch of it. I don’t believe Ichaso or the Anthony/Lopez team had them in mind when they made this film. They made the film for the audience who knew nothing about the legend before watching this movie. I’m still often surprised when music lovers, especially Latinos, have never heard Willie Colon’s or Hector Lavoe's music. He is so important to many of us who are fans of their music. Their music was the soundtrack to many of our tragic tales and joyful moments. Hopefully this movie will expose another generation of people the greatness of Hector Lavoe, Willie Colon and all the other great Fania recording artists not portrayed in this film.


klaxons at great american music hall

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 12, 2007 07:05pm | Post a Comment
So last night I finally go to see the Klaxons live. I refuse to go to popscene, so I had to wait for them to play a real show. They played at the Great American Music Hall. Not exactly where I expected to see them, but I do love it there. I have seen some amazing shows there and always love to look at the great architecture and ceiling. Curt actually told me that he would love to be the person who paints those ceilings, at least in his next life. However, I don't think I could handle being suspended from the ceiling like that. We eventually scored some seats in the upstairs area usually reserved for people eating dinner. But I think I only saw one person eating  dinner last night. It is kind of a weird thing to eat while a band is playing. Isn't that what you do before you go to a show? Dinner theater is one thing or maybe eating during a 3 hour Celine Dion performance. But not during the Klaxons. Last night was also the night of mistaken identities. Curt swore he saw my coworker Margo upstairs. But I didn't think it was her until we went upstairs to investigate and I saw her tattoo. But right in front of me, I swear I saw another coworker Nick, who also happens to look like one of the guys in Chromeo. But as soon as he turned around, probably cause I was staring at him, I realized it was not him. We did get some good people watching in, once we got our seats upstairs.

Opening up for the Klaxons was Fist Fite. We planned on missing them but ended up getting there early since we only live a couple blocks away Another reason that I love the Great American Music Hall.  But they ended up being awesome. Like a mix between the Gossip and the Lost Sounds. They are from Portland and really just the kind of band I think of when I think of Portland. The singer sang the entire show through a telephone. But she had trouble balancing the phone between her head and shoulder while playing keyboards. So she eventually got someone from the audience to help her tape it to her head. They had really great stage energy and played super fun loud music. Both bands actually made comments about San Francisco audiences being better than L.A. And I have to agree. I have been to many L.A. shows and they just don't dance or get excited down there as much as up here. I am really glad we got there early to see them. They currently don't have a CD out but I will be patiently waiting for one.

When I first heard the Klaxons, they reminded me of this video game "Klax." Me and my friend played it a bunch when I was at yearbook camp in high school. And ever since I have been trying to find it again. It was kind of like tetris but with bigger squares like blocks. And of course the music was cooler that tetris. It was released on nintendo and atari as well. I got a bit obsessed with it for a bit. Somebody actually remade the game and called it packin' plax. You can actually see some of the same graphics in the game cartridge for Klax and the Klaxons album cover. I think we know where they got their inspiration.

The Klaxons really impressed me with their live show. I really like the album "Myths of the New Future." But I was not sure they would be able to pull it off live. Since they only have this one album, they basically played the whole thing. But it was awesome. I spent a lot of the show looking for kids with New Rave printed on the back of their shirt in neon letters. I didn't find any but I did see a couple glow sticks.

The New Rave genre that got tagged on to the Klaxons makes me laugh. It seems to have started as a joke by the band but the media latched onto it. While they have adopted some updated rave fashion sense. They are basically just another arty experimental electro british indie band. So you really have to move beyond the New Rave tag and just appreciate them for what they are. They do write some catchy songs.They remind me of some of the early 9o's british bands like the Charlatans and Soup Dragons.  But obviously with a more modern sound. It is always fun to see a band have fun on stage. Maybe its because they are still new. Or maybe its the drugs that they were probably on. But I was totally impressed with the Klaxons and now I like them even more.


Posted by Billyjam, July 12, 2007 11:35am | Post a Comment

The recently published Bronx Biannual Issue No. 2 (Akashic Books) is the sophomore publication in the ongoing new ten-part black literary series that was founded and is edited by Bronx born and bred hip-hop journalist//author Miles Marshall Lewis. The 230-page collection boasts over a dozen talented hip-hop generation writers, both known and unknown, all carefully selected by Lewis, who began his hip-hop journalism career back in the early nineties working on the first edition of Vibe magazine as an intern. From there, he worked his way up to become that magazine's editor. He has also been editor at XXL and written for numerous publications including LA Weekly, Rolling Stone, Village Voice, and Essence.

A few years ago he published his first book, Scars of the Soul Are Why Kids Wear Bandages When They Don't Have Bruises, and last year kicked off the Bronx Biannual literary series.

I recently caught up with Miles, who splits his time between New York and Paris these days. I also caught up with one of Bronx Biannual's contributors -- noted hip-hop journalist and author Michael A. Gonzales, who co-wrote the groundbreaking hip-hop book Bring the Noise: A Guide: A Guide to Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture (Crown, 1991) and has written stories and reviews for Spin, High Times, Mode, XXL, The Village Voice and Entertainment Weekly. He penned the piece "Blues For Sister Rose" in Bronx Biannual No. 2.

The First Nudie Musical

Posted by phil blankenship, July 12, 2007 01:18am | Post a Comment

Edde Entertainment ED0018

Heavenly Bodies

Posted by phil blankenship, July 11, 2007 08:59pm | Post a Comment

Key Video 6844


Posted by Billyjam, July 11, 2007 05:03pm | Post a Comment

As hip-hop buyer for Amoeba Music in San Francisco, Luis (who spins at parties under the name DJ el-S) is always on the go and always listening to new hip-hop music. Throughout a typical hectic day at the Haight Street store, he deals directly with artists, orders from distributors, and even finds time to price the store's extensive used vinyl hip-hop section.

Consequently, Luis knows his hip-hop music: inside and out; so I was really happy to catch up with him recently to hear his views on music, his personal favorites, a good place to grab a bite near Amoeba, and to find out what the Top Five Sellers at Amoeba Music San Francisco were this past week.

Hip-Hop Top Five at Amoeba SF:

       1) T.I. vs T.I.P.
       2) Beastie Boys The Mix-Up
       3) Pharoahe Monch Desire
       4) Jaylib Reissue
       5) The Block Report  DVD

AMOEBLOG: What is the most popular reissued hip-hop album/CD in stock at Amoeba?cold chillin

: The Jaylib re-issue...though Traffic Entertainment Group has put out some old Cold Chillin albums with lots of extra goods...very interesting.

Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, and Mike…Ralphy & Johnny Gill Too! New Edition At The Gibson 7/07

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 11, 2007 01:55am | Post a Comment

Never in a million years did I think I would ever go to a New Edition concert. But there I was, at the Gibson Amphitheatre all in the mix with the New Edition fans. The audience looked what I imagined what my twenty-year high school reunion would look like. I was in junior high when “Candy Girl” came out and in high school when “Cool It Now,” “Mr. Telephone Man” and the other NE classics came out. I've told my young friends who are into the whole 80’s retro culture and were lucky to be no more than a child during that era that the eighties were not kind. Not only were the clothes, haircuts and the music hideous, growing up in the conservative Reagan era was no fun at all. It was Punk Rock and Hip-Hop that got me through the eighties, because for me, 80’s pop culture was as Joe Strummer called it, a "hamburger culture.” I felt I was force-fed mass marketed pieces of garbage and told it was nutritious. During the eighties, I felt empty and hungry for more, much more.

Still, I had a soft spot for NE because buried underneath the 80’s gobble-goop production there were great R&B songs. Their songs I imagined could have been performed by the likes of Smokey Robinson or The Temptations. Even when Ralph Tresvant would break out into his primeval raps, it wasn’t much different from the breakdowns of the Motown and Stax artists of the past. The fruit never fell too far from the tree as far as NE was concerned.

It was the complete line-up for New Edition at the Gibson, the OG’s and the replacements. For the most part the guys looked great and sounded flawless. All the guys hit the stage running, minus one Bobby Brown. Everyone was anticipating the unpredictable Mr. Brown’s arrive. Was he going to be performing tonight? No one seemed to know. In my mind if he didn’t show he wouldn’t have been missed. Johnny Gill, who replaced Bobby Brown back in 1987, sounded better than Bobby in his prime. They did all the NE big hits in the beginning, before they broke into Bell Biv DeVoe songs as well. It was then that Bobby Brown came out. The audience went crazy. There was a 40ish women seated behind who let out a big scream when he came out, like as if she were in junior high again. Her friends laughed at her when she did this. She screamed to her friends:


I almost died with laughter when she said that, it was a sentiment that seemed to be shared by the entire audience that was at the show. We all love our Bobby Brown, crack smoking and all. It was a premature ovation for Brown, as he could not hang with the rest of the guys. His voice was shot and he looked 50 when the rest of the guys look like they are in their early 30’s. If one needs a poster child to help them stop using drugs, Bobby's it. On top of that, Tresvant and Gill gave Bobby a vocal bitch slapping the rest of the night. I felt somewhat sorry for Bobby. He was no longer on par with the rest of NE.

The show ended with a strong rendition of the Bell Biv DeVoe classic “Poison,” followed by Bobby’s embarrassingly dated, “My Prerogative.” Still, it was much fun, watching people travel down memory lane and creating new "member when?” memories with my friends that I went to the show with. Thanks to Amoeba’s hardest working employee and part-time Amoeba heart throb Miguel for scoring the tickets for my friends and I.

Act Of Vengeance

Posted by phil blankenship, July 10, 2007 11:51pm | Post a Comment

Thorn Emi HBO Video TVC3512

Come As You Are: Let It Be

Posted by Miss Ess, July 10, 2007 09:26pm | Post a Comment
I'm watching the film Let It Be right now.

The Beatles look....exhausted.

Paul's singing "Let It Be" at the piano and he just looks like he's about to keel over. They look so worn out, so at the end of their ropes.

Paul seems like the only one who was even trying to give the cameras a little "entertainment"...if you count heavy eye contact as that. (When it comes to The Beatles I have to say I am entertained by pretty much anything.) He's irrepressibly a showman. It's so interesting to watch. They are phoning it in, practically asleep while playing, and yet their music and songs are still transformational. Even though the magic between them personally had faded their raw talent never faded.

I haven't watched this since I was a kid. When I was growing up I somehow found the one video store within a 20 mile radius of my home that had a copy. I would go about once a year and rent it ... until one year it was mysteriously gone.

The rooftop concert is, of course, my favorite part of the movie. One time when I went to London I found the Apple building. I stood on the concrete outside the door and tried to imagine what it was like that freezing day in January when everyone's regular old workday was interrupted by the sounds of the one and only Beatles filling their ears. How phenomenal! This is where that rawness really shows itself. I think it's beautiful and painful to watch; it's like observing a tiny happy moment within any necessary but sad breakup that's been a long time coming. I remember standing there on Savile Row, turning around to find the exact direction they had been facing when they performed by the view of the church spire and buildings.....yes, I am coo coo.

Ringo's red patent leather-y coat during the rooftop concert is easily the brightest thing in a sort of overall dismal movie.

I'd still rather watch this than Magical Mystery Tour though, despite all that movie's psychedelic insanity! I think Let It Be's super interesting. I think I would rather watch them not try at all than try waaaaay too hard, know what I mean? I can enjoy some melancholy, thank you.

It's interesting that Paul's live set these days includes "The Long And Winding Road," "Let It Be," "Get Back" and "I've Got A Feeling," (He performed all those songs at Amoeba in June!) cause one would assume these are maybe not the times he is most nostalgic for, but hey, the songs are great. And I guess obviously easier to adapt to live performance than some of the other stuff they created over the years! 

For years I searched for a bootleg of the rooftop performance....I remember on my first trip to New York City ever, in St. Mark's Square, of course, I finally came up lucky! I was 19 years old, and at last it was in my hands! I went back to college feeling like the coolest gal in school.....when I was really the biggest hermit!

"Don't Let Me Down" is pretty much my favorite Beatles song ever.  It encapsulates my favorite things about the band: lyrics, melody, harmony, heaviness, honesty, and even (on the record anyway) a bitty hidden inside joke. I adore watching John perform it on the roof. Finally, there's some abandon and life from him for a relieving but brief bit of the film. I think he and Yoko were on heroin during this time, which helps to explain their near-catatonic state. 

Things are so tense, it doesn't look good for our heroes throughout the film. 

But isn't it the best, though, to think that, despite all that, Abbey Road


Posted by Billyjam, July 10, 2007 03:56pm | Post a Comment
 Gabriella works in the DVD department of Amoeba Music Hollywood, located in the mezzanine area of the cavernous Sunset Blvd building that stretches one full block. She's been at Amoeba for almost three years now and was recruited by fellow Amoebite Chris Carmena. She works on the registers twice a week and three days amongst the DVD department's movies, which is her passion, she says. In total, twenty Amoebites (a lot!) work in the extensive Hollywood Amoeba Music DVD section, where there is a truly amazing selection of DVDs in every genre you can think of, found both new and used, and at damned good prices.
cocaine cowboys
AMOEBLOG: What are three of the most popular DVDs with Amoeba shoppers in the last week or so?

GABRIELLA: Cocaine Cowboys, An Inconvenient Truth, and with the recent Paul McCartney in-store performance, we’ve had a lot of Beatles music DVD’s selling out.inconvenient truth

AMOEBLOG: Who shops in Amoeba Hollywood's DVD section? And does the fact that the store is right in Hollywood -- home of the movies -- make a difference?

GABRIELLA: We have the most diverse clientele-- from celebrities to tour buses full of Japanese visitors. We attract all types of people because we satisfy every taste!
planet earth
AMOEBLOG: What is one of the most popular DVD box-sets these days?

Misty Water Colored Memories - XO

Posted by Miss Ess, July 10, 2007 09:32am | Post a Comment
I think I might finally be able to listen to Elliott Smith again!

I know I have posted about him before here, but really that was the first time I had talked about him at all since he passed away in 2003.  At that point I really had to stop listening, so it has been a while.

AND It's been very nearly 10 years since Elliott's fourth album XO came out!  Dang I am old.

So here I am in 2007 and this weekend I put on XO just to see what happened...and poof!

It took me right back to a very particular time in my life.  After being a huge music freak since I was a kid, it's hard to believe I can still be caught so off guard by how much one record, one assemblage of songs, can conjure.  It's so strange how  specific and deep music can make memories, and how easy it is to let it take you back right there.  Isn't it weird to realize that those memories have always been right there in your brain the whole time, and you never think about them, but hearing one particular album can access all that  once again in a flash?  It's like being completely taken away by a good, visceral dream....or a nightmare, depending! 

From the moment XO came out, I played it to death.  Like, waaaaaay too much.  I was completely into it.  I could not get enough, esp of the songs "Tomorrow Tomorrow," "Pitseleh," "Oh Well, OK,"  "Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands" [Elliott's version of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab"], and "I Didn't Understand" -- Geez, really the whole thing.

Over time a couple of the songs on XO were kinda naggingly overdone to me (I'm not a huge fan of lots of production), but I just couldn't put the thing away.  Some records are like that for me. 

This Sunday I couldn't remember the last time I had listened to it, which of course means, it's time to bust it out again!  What do you know, those songs I thought I could never hear again for all kinds of reasons, they sound GREAT again!  They sound fantastic, even!  Right now "Waltz #1" is the most amazing thing.  All production complaints forgiven.  Time is an amazing thing, right?!

The thing that time has given me when it comes to this record is a bit more perspective. 

Uh yeah, that's what I tell myself anyway.  When I think about who I was 10 years ago....I feel pretty much the same.  But I think I am weird in that way.  Well, one thing is different, I live in San Francisco now.  Ok maybe I am a little bit smarter, just a little.  And I have listened to a LOT more records. (Trying to give myself a little cred here.....!)

Anyway, I had such a good, bittersweet time listening to Elliott, something I wasn't sure I would have again.  Hearing XO was, potentially cheesy as it sounds, like revisiting an old friend.  I don't think there's any better way to describe it, really.

"if you get a feeling next time you see me
do me a favor and let me know
cause its hard to tell
it's hard to say
oh well

the new releases for 7/10...interpol...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 9, 2007 11:51pm | Post a Comment
Today is the day of the battle between Spoon and Interpol. I have always been a bigger Interpol fan so I am siding with them. I think most people are really either a Interpol fan or a Spoon fan. Or they don't really care about either. They both have big new albums out today. They both are on David Letterman this week. Spoon has been around a bit longer and has managed to stay on an indie label. This is their sixth abum and it is released on Merge. Interpol had two albums on Matador. And has now made the big jump to a major label with their third album, "Our Love to Admire." This album is released on Capitol Records.  It is kind of just how it works. Many indie bands have made the similar jump. Belle & Sebastian, Death Cab For Cutie, The White Stripes, and Modest Mouse have all done if before. They have all managed to somehow keep their indie fans and develop a whole new fan base that a major allows them. A whole new world is opened up with heavy rotation on mainstream radio and MTV. It works really well for some bands and will most likely work out for Interpol. Some bands don't do as good and end up back on the indies or just simply disappear into the clearance bin.

Don't expect a brand new sound for Interpol. They still sound most definitely like Interpol. The  band that you have either fallen in love with or never liked to begin with. As one of those that actually likes Interpol, I am liking the new album. Like most albums, it took me a couple listens. On about the third listen on my headphones I was hooked. I don't think they will ever be able to top what was their first album "Turn on the Bright Lights." I still remember when my friend at Matador told me about this new band "Interpol" that they had just signed. She told me that I was going to absolutely love them. And she was right. This may seem like old news now, but at the time it was  exciting to hear a band that sounded like some new indie version of Joy Division. Now there is a whole new group of bands that have ripped of Interpol ripping off Joy Division. But at least they sort of did it first.

 The songs are still dark and atmospheric. It should not really upset any fans. The first single off the album is the "Heinrich Maneuver." I have already moved on to "No I In Threesome" which I am guessing might be the next single. The last song on the album is also really awesome. "Lighthouse" kind of makes me think of the Pale Saints maybe mixed up with some Spaghetti Western style soundtracks. Carlos D has been working on his new hobby of scoring films, so it is not really surprising to find a song like this on the album. Nobody really needs to worry if Interpol has sold out or not. It would have been nice to see them stay with the label that gave them their start. But they needed to move on. It was just the natural progression of a band like this. Interpol are a band that are meant to conquer the world. This album should get them a bit closer.

Also out today is the brilliant new album from Ulrich Schnauss, "Goodbye." I have had this album for about a month now and have become obsessed. It really is brilliant. This is his third full length for Domino Records. I got into Mr. Schnauss by listening to his second album "A Strangely Isolated Place." But this new album is really what did it for me. He creates brilliantly textured ambient ethereal albums. Imagine what you wanted bands like Lush, Chapterhouse, and Slowdive to become. Imagine an even more ethereal version of Cocteau Twins but a bit more electronic. It really is that good. And every song is awesome. You will not be able to stop listening to this album if you are a fan at all of any of the bands that I just listed. There are not really that many bands that are still able to capture that brilliance that was the shoegaze 90's. But somehow Ulrich manages to capture all of that and somehow even improve on it. The second track on the album "Shine" is really what got me obsessed. It might just be my new favorite song of all time. I like it that much.  The songs with the vocals on this album tend to be my favorites. "Shine" features Rob Mcvey and "Stars" features Judith Beck on vocals. But all of the songs on this album are beautiful.

You need to imagine like "Gala" and "Spooky" era Lush. "Pygmalion" era Slowdive.  "Whirpool" era Chapterhouse. Then imagine all those mixed together. Only its better than you just imagined. This man from Germany manages to compose all this on computers and keyboards. And it sounds so organic and human. This music is like electonic emo to me. Very emotional, yet electronic. I can't get enough of it. This album will surely make you fell as good as it is making me feel. It is what music is supposed to do. Kind of like therapy. It gets inside your soul and fixes you all up. I can't really imagine what this guy sounds like live. But I will be there. Even if I have to fly to Germany and track him down and make him play live for me in his house. I might be a bit obsessed with Mr. Schnauss. But isn't that how really good music is supposed to make you feel?

also out today...

"Family Tree" by Nick Drake

"Super Taranta" by Gogol Bordello

"All the Sweet Stuff" by Gravy Train!!!

"Werewolves & Lollipops" by Patton Oswalt

"Zeitgeist" by Smashing Pumpkins

"Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" by Spoon

"Marry Me" by St. Vincent

"My Secret is my Silence" by Roddy Woomble


Posted by Billyjam, July 9, 2007 06:03pm | Post a Comment
Michael Moore
's latest film, Sicko, just out in theaters, may -- as its detractors so quickly accuse it of being -- be biased and one-sided, but you know what? I don't give a damn, because, like all of Moore's films to date, it is still a hell of a unique work: one that tells the side of the downtrodden, ill-represented majority of this economically unbalanced society in which we dwell. It is a story that long needed to be told and the fact that someone as high-profile as Moore, whose films get so much attention and so many viewers, is a wonderful thing that hopefully will lead to changes in the current corrupt medical insurance system in the USA. Sicko also brings to my mind some of the other great expose documentaries that have been produced in recent years and that are available on DVD -- which means you should be able to find them in Amoeba's DVD section.

Some of my personal favorites include OutFoxed, which takes a humorous but scathing look at Rupert Murdoch's Fox News network (an easy target for sure...but a well worth looking into one), presenting some of the shameless attempts at "fair and balanced" reporting that the TV "news" station practices.

Other documentaries in the whistle-blower style include Robert Greenwald's must-see 2005 documentary Wal-Mart: The High Price Of Low Cost (see clip below), which exposes the retail giant for the shady, exploitive, corrupt employer and corporation that it really is -- one that has the audacity to wrap itself in the image of the American flag when its practices (ranging from exploiting medicare, destroying small businesses and communities within the United States and exploiting overseas workers) are the most un-American that any entity could possibly execute. This documentary exposes the retail giant from the perspective of its hard-working employees and along the way exposes facts such as theenron high crime rate in the under-protected Wal-Mart parking lots.

The Farce Of July Festival - Live @ Self-Help Graphics 7/4/07

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 9, 2007 01:45am | Post a Comment

The Farce Of July, Xicano Records & Films' annual anti-colonialism celebration, was held at Self Help Graphics. Started by the group Aztlan Underground, The Farce Of July is an alternative celebration of freedom without buying into faux-patriotism. Many East Los bands, deejays and poets have performed for free each year, providing the community with entertainment beyond firecrackers and alcohol. Muralists usually create art on the spot and various independent vendors sell jewelry, clothing and alternative books that you will not be able to find in any mall.

The musical line-up varies from year to year. This year the festival included festival organizers Aztlan Underground; Olmeca, a conscious rap artist who just returned from a extended stay in Chiapas with the Zapatistas; recently reunited 80’s East L.A. punk legends, The Brat; and Quetzal, in one of their final performances for several years. The co-leaders of Quetzal, Martha Gonzalez and Quetzal Flores, are moving to Vera Cruz for a year, then to Washington State while Martha finishes her PHD. They will be sorely missed, not only for their music but for their work in the Chicano community as well.

The highlight of the event was the performance by Geronimo. They are like a modern day Goblin. For those who don’t know aboout Goblin, it was a 70’s –80’s Italian prog group that were responsible for many eerie soundtracks to Dario Argento’s horror movies. Geronimo captivated the audience with their minimalist noise and keyboard swells to go along with a heavy rhythm section. Think Sly & Robbie if they played in the Swans. Horror filmmakers should really check out this band. Geronimo has just signed to 3ONEG, the label run by the members of the band The Locust.

After a few hours out in the sun I was ready to leave the Farce and go home. By nightfall my neighborhood became a mini war zone. My neighbors’ fireworks far outshined the show from Dodger Stadium on the top of Chavez Ravine. Fireworks are illegal in L.A., but so are many other illegal activities that are done out in the open in my neighborhood. My girl and I sat on my porch and watched the madness unfold. Yeah, we missed The Brat, but It was 30 degrees cooler on my porch then it was at the Farce.

Check out this footage of The Brat from last year:

Robot Holocaust

Posted by phil blankenship, July 8, 2007 10:52pm | Post a Comment

Wizard Video 092


Posted by phil blankenship, July 8, 2007 10:41pm | Post a Comment

Lettuce Entertain You Inc.


Posted by Billyjam, July 8, 2007 08:20pm | Post a Comment

Heads up on the Kiki & Herb show coming soon (or rather returning) to San Francisco, scheduled to open Friday July 13th at the A.C.T. on Geary with tix starting at only $12 and going up to $45. My advice is get 'em now while you can -- especially at the cheaper end prices -- before reviews get out on this side-splittingly hilarious duo's show that makes its way back to the Bay from New York City where the cabaret comedy duo with a punk attitude got nominated for a Tony after their successful Broadway show. The talented duo started out in San Francisco in the early nineties before taking their cabaret drag act East a few years later.

I recently caught their most current show at Joe's Pub in New York where they did about a month of Sunday nights. Before going, I honestly had no idea what they would be like. I just knew that the show, in which Kiki (Justin Bond) and Herb (Kenny Mellman), was some sort of irreverent drunken drag comedy musical live show -- but frankly, that description sells it short -- way short. What it was, is one of the most entertaining, quick-witted, satirical-comedic, music-based stage performances I have ever witnessed. It was one of those perfectly crafted performances that is so smoothly delivered that it comes off as totally improvised, which it is not, and the ninety minutes or so of the show zipped by like it was only 20 minutes. Brilliant! Check this review of their Broadway show from the New York TImes.

AFFORDABLE SF ARTIST EXPO: It might seem hard to recall a time when artists exchanged ideas and information (images, sounds, videos, etc.) not via laptops, Blackberrys, or iPhones, but in person. It was really not that long ago. In fact, when the Expo for the Artist & Musician started back in the year 2000, there was no MySpace or YouTube and while most individuals had Email addresses and/or websites, the digital age wasn't in the progressive state it is in today. Regardless, then or now, nothing beats that personal touch -- especially when it comes to artists literally reaching out and meeting other artists and sharing ideas in a common physical space. And that is exactly what the affordable, recommended annual Expo for the Artist & Musician does. It is only $25 to secure a table at the event, which happens on Saturday, September 15th (11AM - 6PM) at SomArts 934 Brennan. Click right here for more info.

Roddy Woomble...My Secret is my Silence

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 8, 2007 12:21pm | Post a Comment
After a very slow week of nothing last week, this week coming up is crazy. July 10th is such a big new release date that I have to get an early start. It is the big week where Interpol and Spoon will battle it out for the number one spot at Amoeba. I am betting on Interpol.  Idlewild just put out a new album not too long ago. It was called "Make Another World." Around the same time Roddy Woomble, the singer with the group was working on slower and more folky songs. He decided to put out a solo album using these different, less Idlewild songs. This album, "My Secret is My Silence" is finally coming out domestic on Tuesday. It has been out for almost a year as an import. But I have patiently been waiting and actually have not ever heard it until a couple weeks ago.

 Idlewild has been one of my favorites over the last 10 years. They got their start in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1995. I was first introduced to them with their first real album "Hope is Important." I really liked the album. But they quickly became one of my favorites with the release of  "100 Broken Windows" in 2000. The songs are super catchy and not really too far off from what you could expect from an indie band from the U.S. Sort of similar to R.E.M. It is really their lyrics that set them apart. Very literary lyrics. Its almost like reading a book or maybe a collection of poems when you read the lyrics. Much like Morrissey, Roddy is a man obsessed with literature and authors. He did name his band after the book "Anne of Green Gables." There is really nothing like 100 Broken Windows. It easily was one of my favorites of 2000. I still go back to it every once in awhile. And it is still as great as it was when I first heard it.

 This new solo album is really nothing like any of the Idlewild albums. I have not heard very many traditional Scottish Folk albums. But this is sort of what I would imagine them to sound like. The album makes me want to get up and do a traditional Scottish Jig when I listen to it. I don't even really know how to do that but I just tried. It also reminds me of the Pogues every once in a while. I do always get Scotland and Ireland confused. But Scottish folk does tend to borrow a lot from that of Ireland. I was expecting some bagpipes.  However there are no bagpipes on this album.  The album features vocals from folk singer Karine Polwart and is produced by folky John McCuster. I didn't really think I was going to like this album. I am not much for the folk music. But I did end up enjoying this album. Maybe this will be my introduction to folk music. But I seriously doubt it. I have been obsessed with Roddy and Idlewild for a while. This is really what is making me like the album. But I would always rather listen to an Idlewild album. Roddy is good here when exploring other types of music. But he really is best when he is with his band Idlewild.

Li'l Bit #1

Posted by Job O Brother, July 7, 2007 05:00pm | Post a Comment
So, just now, I was returning from a walk to the grocery store, when this musclebound dude walks past me and barks at me, saying:

"If you keep wearing those flip-flops, by the time you get to be my age your ankles aren't gonna be worth sh*t!"

...and then, if a huff, dashes on ahead, allowing me to notice the cigarette he was smoking.

Uh, thanks for the health tip, yo.


Posted by Billyjam, July 7, 2007 12:05pm | Post a Comment
24 jack bauer
I am exhausted today. Totally exhausted, after spending 24 hours with Jack Bauer, or rather, with the entire seven DVD set of Season 5 (from 2006) of the popular television series 24 starring Keifer Sutherland. I watched it from start to finish over the past three days, and honestly, it wore me out, just watching it. It felt as if I was right there with Jack Bauer, going through every draining confrontational thing that the cool-headed Jack endured from moment to moment and never once having time to stop to just drink some water or even grab a sandwich. Poor Jack Bauer!

My goal was to watch the entire  season of 24 in real time, as in over the course of one day/24 hour period. * Actually it's 18 hours due to fact that each show is approx 45 minutes,   But even at 18 straight hours, it proved just too exhausting for this viewer. Simply put, I couldn't keep up with Jack Bauer! Not owning a TV, I had never seen the show before. Of course, I had read about it and heard about it from friends who are diehard fans of the show. They told me it was a rare good TV show and addictive viewing. They were right! They just didn't prepare me for the relentlessness of each minute of every hour (episode) of Jack Bauer's day.

Other things I learned from watching 24 include that the word "schematics" is used a lot and that Jack Bauer utters the word 'dammit' frequently. And I noticed that, despite all the turmoil and danger he finds himself constantly in, he never loses his head or that little shoulder bag of his. And neither he nor anyone else ever seem to have to charge their phone batteries -- yet they are on them all the time. Same for their laptops, although they are usually plugged in. They also never laugh or smile, eat food or drink water, or catch a wink of sleep as far as I could see from watching Season 5 of 24. I also learned, after doing a bit of online research, that there is a Jack Bauer Appreciation Day (May 9th) and that there are numerous spoofs of 24 including an episode of the Simpsons in which Bart prank calls Jack Bauer.
But exhausting as watching 24 for the first time was for me, I am hooked on the great TV show and want to see the other seasons (which should by the way be available in Amoeba's DVD section). I am told that the earlier seasons were better so I am looking forward to checking them out...but first I need to rest some more.

(In which the author celebrates our Nation's independence.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 7, 2007 10:53am | Post a Comment

The Boston Tea Party. (What - no Massachusetts-sized scone?)

It was the Fourth of July, which I recently learned is some kind of holiday? I dunno. Something about a “united” something-or-other; I guess it’s about, like, this one country where they killed a bunch of British people by making tea in the actual sea (I’ve tried this myself and let me tell you, there is no amount of cream or honey that will overcome the fishy flavor) and gave out blankets to native tribes… or am I confusing that with the day we celebrate our ancestors surviving a hard winter by eating Stove Top stuffing and hiding eggs under kids’ pillows for money?

Whatever. In any case, my boyfriend Corey, our friend Lisa, and good ol’ Logan of Amoeba Music fame, decided to mark the occasion by seeing “Transformers” at the Cinerama Dome (right across the street from Amoeba).

For those of you lucky enough to not live in Los Angeles, you are so unlucky that you don’t get to watch movies at this theatre. I am totally spoiled, and happily pay the outrageous fee for the experience. Reserved seating, witty/snide employees, no commercials before the previews, and none of those (insert whatever cuss word you think has the biggest punch here) SLIDES that propose stupid questions like:

“Which action film did Bruce Willis star in as a New York cop named John McClane?”

a.) Agnes of God
b.) The Little Mermaid
c.) The Little Mermaid, Part 2
d.) Die Hard

Really – if someone is dumb enough to find this trivia challenging, they probably can’t read to begin with, so they’re wasting everyone’s time!

I mean, (and I’m digressing into one of those ‘when I was a kid’ moments right now – best to just skip ahead) I remember entering a darkened movie theatre and just… reveling in the hush; the stillness of it. It was like entering a church. And then there was the excitement of hearing that first “crackle” that let you know your film was about to begin. That was terrific!

Nowadays you’re constantly faced with commercials and fake radio stations that play whatever Top 40 crap the major corporations are trying to convince you is worth the insulting price they’re charging for their tired product.

“Clap your hands if you prefer Diet Coke to regular Coke!”


I already spent half my paycheck on a medium popcorn! Leave me alone!!!

(Author takes a moment to catch breath and remember what the point of this blog was… …is.)

Oh yeah… “Transformers”.

I had a real good time. I thought it was entertaining. I also thought it was… a minstrel show. That is, every person of color was outrageous and comical and met the “entertaining” stereotypes of today, whereas every person in the film that saved the day or fell in love was not only beautiful, but beautiful and white.

"G-G-G-Golly! That choo-choo just transformed into a r-r-r-robot!"
(One of many scenes from "Transformers")

But I didn’t turn to this film for cultural enlightenment, so I’m not particularly outraged. Movies like these are, after all, less about the political agenda of the studios and more a reflection of target markets – so we only have ourselves to blame for what we see.

The final half hour is bewildering, and I think most people will leave the theatres feeling as though the Decepticons weren’t the only things to be obliterated – the flimsy plot was, too. Again, not that I expected Dostoyevsky (from what I hear, he was a GoBots man) but the moviemakers perhaps gambled that we, the Audience, would be so hypnotized by the action that we wouldn’t notice gaping plot-holes. Well, we all noticed, but in the end, didn’t care.

This climax, a super-violent war between cars and aircrafts in which old landmarks are demolished and crowds of people rush around in terror and confusion, takes place in downtown LA, so admittedly, it took a while before I realized it was supposed to be significant, rather than just a panorama of a normal day in the Garment District. Those of you who don't live here won't have this problem and should be sufficiently thrilled.

The film smartly turned to some deft dialogue, mostly featured in the first third of the film, centered on the lead actor’s family. It was like they hired Woody Allen as a script consultant for that segment. But don’t worry, mallrats, the overwhelming bulk of dialogue was your standard fare of Hollywood clichés and shallow, moral posturing.

"I know we're on the edge of complete annihilation but could I, like, see your boob?"

Corey, who went in with high expectations, left furious; I, who hoped only to feel him up at some point during the film, left surprisingly satisfied by the spectacle.

As far as action goes, this film doesn’t come close to matching the original, animated “Transformers, the Movie”, which is very simply one of the most hyper, battle-heavy films ever made. The fact that my generation survived it while sucking on Pop Rocks and discovering Jolt Cola is testament to… uh…

…Something, I suppose.

The Original. (Check out Optimus Prime's package! Whoa!)

I remember, when the first film came out, the schoolyard was buzzing with rumors that it contained the word “Shit!” Never had my class been so excited about grammar.

If you’re gonna see the new “Transformers”, see it on the biggest screen you can find, with the most friends you can gather, and with the lowest expectations you can muster. You’re bound to at least chuckle while you roll your eyes.

And if you’re like Lisa, Logan and I, you will drive home slightly paranoid that the car you’re driving may, at any moment, reconfigure itself into a giant, sarcastic robot.

Dangerously Close

Posted by phil blankenship, July 7, 2007 12:58am | Post a Comment

Media Home Entertainment M848

Planet Of The Vampires

Posted by phil blankenship, July 6, 2007 11:02pm | Post a Comment

Thorn Emi HBO Video TVC3671

Fats Domino tribute album to benefit Tipitina Foundation

Posted by Billyjam, July 6, 2007 08:30pm | Post a Comment
 paul mccartney amoeba musicHollywood Amoeba Music instore man of the moment Paul McCartney is among the many artists scheduled to be contributing to an upcoming Fats Domino tribute/benefit project. Entitled Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino and scheduled to be released by Vanguard in the Fall, the collection will feature numerous artists doing covers of the New Orleans great's music, including Elton John ("Blueberry Hill"), Randy Newman ('Blue Monday"), Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers ("I'm Walkin'"), and Willie Nelson ("I Hear You Knockin'"). According to the Goin' Home project's creative consultant Tim Donnelly, McCartney will be covering Fats Domino's "I Want To Walk You Home." The CD compilation, executive produced by Bill Taylor, will be a benefit for the Tipitina Foundation, whose goal is to "save the music culture of New Orleans."

  Big props to San Jose competitive hot dog eater Joey Chestnut, a 23 year old engineering student, who took the title the other day when he became the new reigning champ in the Nathan's famous hot dog eating contest in Coney Island on July Fourth. At the annual event, which makes food eating a competitive sport, he deposed the reigning champ, Japan's Takeru Kobayashi, when he ate a world record 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes. Damn!  And he's a skinny dude which, he said in one interview, is how he can manage to eat so many dogs -- by staying fit and in shape.

The Employee Interview Part VII: Ben Tuttle

Posted by Miss Ess, July 6, 2007 12:02pm | Post a Comment
Ben Tuttle
3+ years employment
Sound Man Extraordinaire

Q:  So Ben, what music did you listen to when you were a kid, like before you could pick yourself?  What was playing in your home?

BT:  My dad used to listen to the Beatles, I remember that.  Probably Rubber Soul and I remember listening to Chuck Mangione and Slim Goodbody.  He was an informative performer for kids and he wore a full body unitard that showed the inside of his body.  I saw him perform in Oakland when I was a kid, my mom took me.

What was the first music that really struck you and made you a big music lover?

George Gershwin "An American in Paris" and "Rhapsody in Blue" and Led Zeppelin.  Those were the first tapes that I ever listened to that I remember.  My brother turned me on to Houses of the Holy.

What's the first instrument you picked up?  Whatall do you play now?

Piano.  That was the first thing.  My mom made me take lessons when I was 5.  I didn't learn the music and I just did it by ear cause I figured out how to do it like that.

Now, drums, guitar, keyboards, vibes, saxophone.  Those are pretty much all the instruments I play on a regular basis.

What was the first live show you ever saw?
Slim Goodbody was the first show I remember but he didn't have a band or anything, so I guess the first live show I ever went to was the Dead.  My brother took me to see the Grateful Dead and while I enjoyed the new experience I ended up falling asleep.  I was a kid, I was 12 maybe.

Wow!  Where was it?

Oakland Coliseum.

Did you like the Dead?

I was not, like, a fan; my brother was waaaay into them and him being the older brother, I was definitely intrigued.

How did you get involved in sound engineering?

Originally through 4 tracking my own music in my bedroom and then going to many shows with bad sound and knowing that I had the ability to make it sound good!  Then I got thrown into the fire.


Lawrence, Kansas, the world famous Bottleneck, which is still kickin' it today.

Were you scared the first time you did sound?

It was a little nerve wracking but overall it was successful.

What was the music scene like in Kansas?

Um, it was incredible when I first moved there, tons of new music and live bands bands like Shiner, Boy's Life, Vitreous.  This is like 1993/95, something like that.  But that's how I ended up meeting Kori and Jason of Mates of State and we played in bands together in college.  I got to meet a lot of really great people.

Was there a good sense of community there?

Definitely.  Small town, midwest, nothing to do but drink beer and play music.  But the thing about Lawrence is there's nothing else out there between St Louis and Denver, nothing else cool.  Lawrence has great juke boxes.

  So bringing it back to SF, what is your favorite local band?

Ooooh that's a tough one.  I'd say it's between the Hooks, Kelley Stoltz, also Triclops and RF and Joanna Newsom.  I can't say just one.

What projects are you working on right now?

The Life on Earth, The Sheep Return and what else am I doing? I've got a surf rock band with two Canadians I am playing drums in.  No name yet.

What is your favorite local venue to see a show at?!

Great American and Bottom of the Hill, of course. [Ed's note:  Ben did sound at Bottom for years.]

Best show you saw this year?

Probably Blonde Redhead at Bimbo's-- that was magic--  but I haven't seen Rush yet, that's August 1.

Of course.

Cause that'll probably top the list.

Favorite instore ever?

Rush, in my dreams.  And since we are on the topic of dreams Joanna Newsom also, playing with Rush!

But for real, Lymbyc Systym when I did sound with them cause there was no one else to do the sound and I was in their band too so I mixed em until it was my turn to play and then I walked up on stage and just started playing.  It was so fun!

What's your favorite record right now, first one you think of?

Ooooooh crap. Field Music, Tones of Town.  That's like my new jam.  I did sound for them at Bottom [of the Hill] and we got on real good.

What else have you been listening to lately?

Rush's new album.  Um, Metallica Kill Em AllBjork VoltaJoe Henderson, some jazz sh*ts.

What is your favorite Joni Mitchell song?  Why?

That's tough.  Right off the bat, "Black Crow" from Hejira cause it's got Jaco [Pastorius]on it and it triggers a specific time in my life, a certain very awesome free, ignorant part of my life.  Those were some good times!

That song "This Flight Tonight" does that for me.  All of side 2 of Blue really.  She kills me.  So, who is your favorite record producer? 

Jon Brion.

I love Jon Brion!

He's my favorite of the contemporary producers.

He's so tasteful .

He's got chops for days, but you know,  Nigel Godrich, his production on Paul McCartney's last album was very tasty.

Jon Brion was friends with Elliott Smith.

Yeah totally and my friend Travis is friends with him, so I have a one man claim to fame!

What's your best find here at Amoeba?

All my friends that work here! No seriously, that's a tough question, prolly the dvd for Driver 23.  It's an insane documentary that every musician should watch.  Look for it!

What's your favorite part of working here at Amoeba?

All the mad hugs I get.  That and getting to say that I work sound at Amoeba.  Just being exposed to everything here.

Thank you for  your time.

Discover A World Of Sounds!

Posted by Miss Ess, July 6, 2007 10:48am | Post a Comment
Well, TODAY is indeed a special day.

My dear Andrew Dupuy has at last launched his eagerly anticipated website/podcast: Discover A World Of Sounds

Yes, the site is incredible and I am not afraid to say I am biased.  I daresay Dupuy is one of my favorite people in this great big world.  He's a Southerner in origin, and thus carries with him that particularly Southern sense of ballsy/cutting humor and deliciously gross charm, but most importantly and like me (perhaps why we get along!), he's a total pop culture whore.  His new site is many things, but it's mainly an exploration of how music relates to memory.  And trust me, Dupuy's memories and comments are HILARIOUS.  You can listen to his first podcast here.

Just push play!

This first podcast is an amalgam of childhood memories, setting the scene for what's to come.  Dupuy's gonna post a new radio show every two weeks, and just trust me here, dude's got it down!  His production is seamless and layered, but more importantly his detailed tales of growing up in Louisiana as well as living in the now here in San Francisco are quality entertainment.  He's not shy.  There will also be constantly posted blogs related to music and memory on the site.

Portrait of the artist as a young man.

Perhaps I will have to interview him sometime soon for this site.

Among the reasons to love him (and that make him an excellent, never-dull podcaster), Dupuy shares my affinity for lemon jelly filled powdered sugar covered Bob's Donuts.  (Of course, being Southern, he adores all fried food....though lately he's gotten all yoga mat on me (!)....I guess that's what happens when Southerners hit Cali.  I still love you, Dupuy.  We can get through this together.)

His favorite form of television is the infomercial.  Yes, this man can make even watching QVC an exciting experience!  This is something we have enjoyed together many a time, and is an interest which he discusses at length in an interview by the fabulous Peaches Christ.

He is also obsessed with Elizabeth Berkley and Showgirls.  While in his teens our young Dupuy created and bound a laminated book of all the articles he could find about anything regarding the film:  he'd find em, cut  them out, arrange and glue them on colored construction paper, laminate each page and finally bound them all up into one fascinating piece, a true tribute to creativity and obsession.  This book arrived in San Francisco with Dupuy after fleeing Hurricane Katrina.  It now resides safely in his Castro apartment.

Remember this?  "I'm so excited!"

And we both love Debbie Gibson.  And YM magazine.  And Dollywood.  And Richard Simmons.

At about the 46 min mark of the podcast, Dupuy's stories about his unbelievable Southern grandma "Maw Maw" begin, including their fabled trip to see Milli Vanilli in Lafayette, LA.  She and Dupuy are true partners in crime!

I adore this man, and you will too.  Quick, go check out Discover A World Of Sounds!

Also, come see Dupuy in action as he DJs Amoeba's own Tura Satana of Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill Signing next

What the HELL is wrong with people?

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 5, 2007 06:25pm | Post a Comment
I'm very shaken by this story, so I will just re-post the story from, in hopes that someone will come forward with a name ...

(07-05) 17:33 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- The 16-year-old drummer of a San Francisco punk rock band was seriously injured Wednesday night when fireworks thrown by someone at Dolores Park exploded near her right hand, police said.

It occurred shortly before 10 p.m. as Roisin Isner, who has played drums with the band Tinkture since 2004, and an unidentified girl watched San Francisco's fireworks display from a hill in Dolores Park in the city's Mission District.

"They were just sitting there chatting, then they saw a bright flash between them and the girl started screaming," said San Francisco police Sgt. Steve Mannina.

Police began canvassing the park for witnesses as paramedics tended to Roisin's hand and transported her to San Francisco General Hospital, but investigators didn't find much in the way of witnesses or evidence, Mannina said.

"We don't have a whole lot," he said. "We're definitely looking for more witnesses."

Mannina said police have not determined, and probably cannot determine, just what was thrown at Roisin and the other girl, who was not injured. Tinkture is an all-girl three-piece punk band that was founded in 2002. Roisin didn't know how to play the drums when she joined the band in 2004 after the founding drummer was dumped, according to the band's Web site. The band has performed at some of the area's most well known clubs, including Slims, Bottom of the Hill and 924 Gilman.

(In which we now have something completely different.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 4, 2007 04:29pm | Post a Comment
There’s few things more annoying than a  Monty Python fan. I should know, I am one.

The first thing I ever saw from this most-famous, British comedy troupe was “The Meaning of Life”, their fourth and final film, released in 1983. I was eight. It was completely inappropriate for a child and I still taunt my older sister for taking me to see it.

Being the baby of the family, I was inevitably stuck with my older sister on dates, so all the films I saw as a child were wrong for my age.

My first film was the whimsical and high-spirited “Reds”, based on real-life American Communist, John Reed, and his affair with a married woman. Tee hee! Next, I remember seeing “Gandhi”, that laugh-a-minute movie that’s warmed the cockles of so many tots. Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” was a memorable evening for me (I was still small enough to hide under my seat); “Mommie Dearest” caused a temporary phobia of wire coat hangers; watching “Sybil” resulted, ironically, in me developing a split personality to handle the memory of seeing it, and imagine my delight at being the only kid in class to say he’d seen “Chariots of Fire”… twice.

Just another childhood cartoon for Job: Pink Floyd's "The Wall"

In my sister’s defense, she did once take me to see a showing of “Bambi” at her college theatre, but the reel broke just after the forest fire that claims Bambi’s Mommy’s life. Whereas the other kids were crying and traumatized by this, I wasn’t phased. After all, what’s one dead deer when I had already witnessed the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre?

But this isn’t therapy and you’re not a psychologist*, so I won’t pursue this tangent.

Seeing Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life” was an influential experience, and, I know, had a tremendous impact on me and my sense of humor. Ask any teacher I had in school. Or, better yet, ask any principal I was sent to.

Eric Idle & Michael Palin

Most fans of Monty Python have seen all there is to see by the group. Besides their TV show, “Flying Circus”, there’s only the four films and the concert footage of their performance at the Hollywood Bowl. So, we must turn to the myriad side-projects from the various cast members.

Most human beings are familiar with John Cleese’s post-Python production “Fawlty Towers”, but have you seen Michael Palin and Terry Jones’ brief TV series “Ripping Yarns”? Ah, ha! I thought not.

Michael Palin & Terry Jones (Can you find the fish?)
“Ripping Yarns” played on the BBC in 1976. It consists of nine episodes that run half an hour, each. They star Michael Palin as the lead, but as every episode is a separate story, so his character changes (Terry Jones only appears in the debut episode and thereafter serves as a writer and director).

The episodes are chock full of the ridiculous type of humor found in “Flying Circus”, though they maintain plot-lines, rather than a constant flux of non-sequiturs and grotesque animation. (Remember that one episode of “Flying Circus” – “The Cycling Tour with Mr. Pither”? That’s a good idea of what “Ripping Yarns” is like.)

Nailing students as a means of hazing. Actually straight out of my freshman year in high school.

Anyway, you fans of Monty Python should check it out. The complete series is available at Amoeba Music’s DVD department. Watch it, memorize it, and then we can all recite the lines at parties and annoy the others, just as we do with our constant exclamations of “Ni! Ni!”

*My apologies to any psychologist who reads this blog and feels discounted by the assumption that no psychologist would read it. It’s not my intent to alienate you and, should you feel hurt by this, I would be happy to prescribe some lithium to ease your suffering.

Roller Blade

Posted by phil blankenship, July 4, 2007 10:18am | Post a Comment

New World Video 8602

(In which one of Job's dreams comes true... also a nightmare.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 3, 2007 05:40pm | Post a Comment

Is it wrong to have Coors Light for breakfast?

This is the question I’m struggling with right now. It’s so cuss-word hot in Hollywood today. It makes it hard to think. I need to write a blog!

I wish Amoeba Music sold Coors Light, then I could just blog about that. I could be drinking it and telling you how I “recommend it” and stuff like that. That would rock.

Oh hey – I saw a great concert the other night. It was the final performance of the True Colors Tour, which started a month ago in Las Vegas and ended at the Greek Theatre in LA, as opposed to the Greek Theatre in San Francisco, where they played the night before.

(The Greek thing is a tip off.)

I got to see Debbie Harry and Cyndi Lauper in the same line-up. Added to that was Erasure; between these three acts I felt as though I was 14 again and had escaped to the city for a concert. Except I was sober and the car wasn’t stolen, so I guess it wasn’t too much like being 14…

Erasure, top; Dresden Dolls, bottom ( know what I mean.)
The Dresden Dolls also performed, but my sweetheart and I missed it; we were cuddled on a grassy knoll eating the most expensive and, ironically, most horrid cheeseburgers I’ve ever had in my life.

I had never seen so many homos in my life. I’ve never been to Pride or Bed, Bath & Beyond, so this event was the gayest I’ve attended. Of course, Margaret Cho was the host, and as a particularly surreal touch, Cyndi Lauper’s encore was backed-up on drums played by… Rosie O’Donnell?

"I pretend the snare is Donald Trump's head!"

Gay. Gay, gay, gay!

At the end, all the musicians shared the stage and sang “True Colors” (duh) and a cover of ABBA’s “Take a Chance On Me”. At that point, anyone in the audience who might’ve been heterosexual must certainly have been transmuted.

This part of the show was actually a nightmare come true for me, because they brought out something like 20 enormous balloons and sent them out on the sea of people. Corey and I were sitting towards the back, so I watched, petrified, as these freakish multi-colored death bubbles slowly made their way to me. It was like a dream I couldn’t wake from. It left me feeling like I could relate to Vietnam vets.

Vietnam vets can drink Coors Light for breakfast and nobody gives them any grief for it.

Cyndi Lauper is an amazing performer. Did you know that? Yeah, we all love her for her record-breaking record “She’s So Unusual”, (the first debut album to have 5 top ten hits, FYI), but what I didn’t know was what a dynamo she is live. Where does this middle-aged mother get her energy? She’s on-stage, running around, dancing through the audience constantly, singing crazy notes and cracking jokes and being all cute and dramatic and delightful and then there’s me, who’s tired from “standing there” for so long.

I am nothing next to her.

The concert was her brainchild; a fundraiser for the Human Rights Campaign.

It was also Debbie Harry’s birthday. I choked-up seeing her, I’m not ashamed to admit it.

In the flesh - Debbie Harry

As a side-note, most of these performers I’ve mentioned have all been fat in the last decade, but they weren’t fat at the show. Andrew Bell looked fit, Cho was slim, Debbie and Cyndi looked like they were fresh from Curves. What’s going on?

Anyway, it was a great night. The tour is over, so I can’t exactly “recommend it” but I think it will happen again next year, in which case I recommend that you go, if only to see how Cyndi deals with instruments malfunctioning. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Oh, but don’t eat the cheeseburgers.


Posted by Billyjam, July 3, 2007 10:04am | Post a Comment

So I saw this car parked out in East Oakland -- dusty and dirty and truly in need of a wash and on its window was that age old finger-on-dirty-windscreen tag of WASH ME PLEASE. Wash Me Please with the please dramatically underlined, as if to strongly, but politely stress just how very dirty and in need of a wash this vehicle had become.

I find it interesting that people have been, without fail, tagging those same three words (or just the two words WASH ME) on dirty cars for decades and decades. For as long as people have had cars there's been people who've been neglecting to wash them, and consequently others who've been tirelessly tagging them with that kind reminder.

Forever it seems those exact same words have been written on cars, apparently never going out of style or being modernized with each passing new decade. You'd think they'd be updated to something more in line with contemporary slang, while still packing the urgency and importance of the request. Maybe something like "Wash My Ride Beyoootch!" But hopefully not, as it is nicer this way -- those same old-fashioned, demanding yet civil words with that message WASH ME PLEASE mark a return to both kinder times and to a graffiti tag classic.


Paul McCartney - Sound Check @ Amoeba June 27th

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, July 3, 2007 01:27am | Post a Comment

I have been fortunate to witness amazing events. I have been blessed to be at the right place at the right time, sort of. I also have unbelievable bad timing sometimes! When I heard Paul McCartney was going to perform at Amoeba, I was excited until I heard which day he was going to play. The evening Sir Paul was to play Amoeba, I had an opening night for Nativo!, a new club that I spin at. This wasn’t the first time a legend was performing and I had to miss it. Once I had a show the same night I had free tickets to see Tom Waits perform acoustic in front of a small crowd. I went to the show anyway but I had to bail to get to my own gig after a few songs. Another time I made the mistake of making a date during a SXSW conference, not knowing the time I made the date was the same time Johnny Cash was performing at Emo’s in front of 300 people, me being one of them. Once again I had to leave early after a few songs to meet my date and then I couldn’t get back in. On top of that, nothing happened between the girl and myself, ever.

I showed up to Amoeba early, hoping to catch at very least Paul McCartney’s sound check. The Amoeba bosses told us that we could watch sound check just as long as we weren’t gawking at Paul during the check. Having done many sound checks myself, I've always hated having people gawking at me while I was checking and know the feeling well. I’m usually trying to get the gallos out of my throat or awkwardly playing a part just to get a sound and it never sounds pleasant. I decided for Paul I would make it a point, from one musician to another, to respect his wishes and not be a fan. I would continue to get the store ready for the instore and not stop and stare.

The band was jamming on stage. Paul McCartney was nowhere to be found. I continued to take down box sets that might inhibit people from viewing the performance. The band blasted into “Ride My Car.” I had my head turned while they were playing the song. I figured one of Paul’s band mates was taking the lead vocal since Paul wasn’t around. I turned around and there he was, singing and playing that familiar Vox bass. I resisted the urge to go closer to the stage and continued to work. But soon the fan in me and in the rest of the staff won out. Slowly, like cats creeping towards some foreign object in curiosity, we all edged closer to the stage. Soon, none of us were working, only watching the “show” that was supposed to be sound check.

I have to imagine that Paul McCartney knew how much witnessing his sound check was a big deal to us. Rather than telling the staff to clear the floor, which was in his right to do, he continued playing, performing nine songs total, including a few he didn’t play during the instore. He played a version Of "Midnight Special" that was pretty cool. When he left the stage we all gave him a big hand! He joked that he thought more people would be at the instore than the staff that was watching him.

At six they started letting people in. I stuck around to see how many songs I could catch before I absolutely had to leave. Set time was for 7:30 but due to the amount of people trying to get in, Paul McCartney didn’t go on until 8:15. In order to get to my set I had to leave no later than 8:30 so, you guessed it, I only got to catch a few songs before I had to leave. Though I had to leave early, I have many great memories of the show, hanging out with my co-workers, which I really don’t get to do all that much, and witnessing the sound check, Jun’s great warm-up DJ set of Paul McCartney tunes that Beatle fanatics just absolutely hate ("Ebony & Ivory," "Nod Your Head" w/"Lady Saw" & "Open The Door," you know... someone’s knocking at your door, somebody's ringing the bell!) and trying to incite two high strung female T.V. reporters to fight it out when neither of them could get the shot they wanted. That would have been fun to witness!

Despite my somewhat rotten luck I have been so fortunate to see such performers as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, Tom Waits and now Paul McCartney in intimate settings and for free. Even if it was for just a few songs, it’s more than most people get to see in their lifetime, and for that, I feel blessed to have lived the life I have.

nothing out today 7/3...but there is this movie called transformers...

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 2, 2007 10:03pm | Post a Comment
In honor of the fourth of july the record labels are not putting much out today. Nothing worth me talking about at least. Besides Velvet Revolver, Collie Buddz, T.I. and Kelly Rowland. I don't really like to do bad reviews about things I know that I am not going to like. So I will not waste your time. But there is something I can't stop thinking about and that would be the new Transformers movie. I am allowing myself to talk about it only because the official soundtrack to the movie does come out tomorrow. So it kind of all ties in to today's street date.

It is really hard for this soundtrack to compete with the awesomeness that was the original soundtrack to the original 1986 Transformers movie. We have songs by Smashing Pumpkins, Linkin Park, the Used, HIM, and a new theme song by Mute Math. Nothing too exciting. It just gets me a bit more excited for the film. I did pick up the 20th anniversary special edition DVD of the original 1986 "Transformers The Movie." And it really is awesome. Just in case you forgot, this movie "starred" the voices of Judd Nelson, Leonard Nemoy, Casey Kasem, Scatman Crothers, Orson Welles, Robert Stack, and Eric Idle. This was the last film for both Orson Welles and Scatman Crothers.  This movie was obviously a big deal. The original TV series was on from 1984 to 1987. I was ten when the show first started and became obsessed with the show and got a lot of the toys. The show was basically one big commercial to go out and buy the toys. But one can really say the same thing about Star Wars or any movie aimed at kids. I didn't know about any of this as a kid. I just knew that I loved myself some transformers. This movie was rated PG which allowed it to be a sort of more adult movie. This was the movie that killed off its hero Optimus Prime. The themes were a bit more mature and the 80s soundtrack was aimed at an older audience. The soundtrack is by Vince Dicola. Vince not only did most of the music for Staying Alive, directed by Sylvester Stallone, but also was featured on the Rocky IV soundtrack. Sylvester Stallone obviously knew a thing or two about music.  This DVD features some amazing extra features. Commentaries by the director and also fans. Tons of trivia and trailers and some documentaries. The movie really is a classic of its time but it really is the music that holds it all together. But don't worry the original soundtrack is still in print if you want to pick that up as well.

The new Transformers movie opens Monday 7/2. I don't  really consider myself a huge fan of Michael Bay, the director of Transformers. But he really has come a long way since getting his start as a director of one of the Playboy Centerfold videos in 1990. He also directed videos for Great White, Wilson Phillips and Lionel Richie. I have never seen the Bad Boys movie or Armageddon. But I do kind of secretly like those big action movies every once in a while. There is a big place in my heart for wonderful little small independent films. But every once in a while I crave those big Hollywood movies. I find myself explaining to myself that The Rock is actually a good movie. And I actually find myself enjoying Pearl  Harbor whenever it comes on TV. So while many Transformers purists might be a little worried that Michael Bay will ruin their transformers, I am not too worried. He was made for movies like this. Its gonna be a big huge action movie. And I have no doubt that I will enjoy it. Maybe it is just that crazy thing called marketing that is convincing me that I will enjoy it. When you go to a movie like this you have to know what you are getting yourself into.  I do also remember how excited I was about "The Island," his last film. And I was really disappointed with that one. This has got to be better than that, right?

 The marketing people behind the original show really were brilliant. This show and the transformers franchise still have a power over me 20 years later. It is programmed into me that I have to see this new movie and that I will probably buy the DVD when it comes out. I like to think of myself as strong enough to battle against most advertising. I ignore most commercials and try not to let ads influence me. But at the tender age of 10 I was not strong enough to resist. And for something like Transformers I really don't mind. The show and toys gave me enough enjoyment at the time to make it worth it. Just the sound of the theme song and the sight of the original characters get me all excited. I hate to see movies the first week when they are all crowded. But I really don't know how long I can wait for this one.


Posted by Billyjam, July 2, 2007 04:00pm | Post a Comment

If you've ever checked out the murals on the outside walls of the three Amoeba Music stores (Hollywood, Berkeley, San Francisco), you may have noticed a similarity in styles between all three. That's because the same two artists, Larry Smulian as designer and Brian Blesser as art executor, contributed their art to the outside of all three music stores.  "Larry does all our ad art, and Brian did our murals on the front of Berkeley way back when, and the side of Haight street, and the top of the front of Haight," said Amoeba Music's Marc Weinstein.

Note that these artists contributed to the Ivar side of the Hollywood Amoeba (not the Cahuenga side of building -- more on that art and the artist who created it in a later Amoeblog) and that they are not responsible for the graffiti art side of the Haight Street store.

Most of the pics displayed here in this BLOG are from the Haste Street side of the Berkeley Amoeba Music store and are chosen because they are among this blogger's favorites for many reasons, including the historical content's significance -- mainly the fact that they represent the period during the 1960's history of Berkeley's Peoples Park, which is steeped in radical political activism, not to mention that People's Park is directly behind Amoeba Berkeley in the same block bordered by Telegraph & Bowditch and Haste & Dwight.


Posted by Billyjam, July 1, 2007 08:56pm | Post a Comment
joy division
One recent afternoon, while ambling through the rock vinyl aisles of Amoeba Berkeley, my eye caught that great Joy Division album cover Unknown Pleasures. Wow, I thought, just how perfect is that cover artwork that was actually taken from an edition of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy? And how even more perfect is that whole album -- originally released on June 15th, 1979!  I could listen to it and everything by Joy Division a million times over and never get tired of hearing it. Even the over-played and over-covered "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (released a month after Curtis' suicide) never ages in my head. Perhaps part of the greatness of all this music is that it is frozen in time, never having to be matched by later releases from a band that came to an abrupt early end after the tragically troubled lead-singer Ian Curtis had literally kicked the bucket -- instantly making him and Joy Division stuff of music legend, to be forever admired and romanticized in pop culture from afar.

But what (let's just imagine) if Ian Kevin Curtis hadn't hung himself back on May 18th, 1980, at the young age of 23? What if instead, he had kept on living and making music with Joy Division (meaning, of course, that there would have been no New Order), cranking out (increasingly weaker and weaker) albums throughout the eighties and up until an ugly break-up in 1997, followed by Ian Curtis completely disappearing for many years up until, let's again pretend, in 2004 when the producers of VH1's Band Reunited track him down. What if they find him old, fat, bald, bitter and living in a bedsit in Birmingham? Then, encouraged by VH1's intervention, he officially pulls himself together, temporarily kicks his age old habit, and tours small clubs with a new Joy Division lineup doing at best average covers of his old songs. Not pretty, eh? Not compared to the perfectly preserved, romantically tragic Ian Curtis that is the pop culture icon today.

piano magic is magic!

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 1, 2007 02:05pm | Post a Comment

I love Piano Magic. I know that I may throw that word "love" around a lot. But I would take back all the times I have used it, if I could use it just this one time. This band has been around for a bit over 10 years, but I only just discovered them maybe about 4 or 5 years ago. One of my friends, June, was obsessed with them. Since I like all the same music as him (Cocteau Twins/Lisa Germano/Red House Painters/This Mortal Coil/His Name Is Alive/etc.) I figured I would also love this band like he had. So my first introduction was "The Troubled Sleep of Piano Magic" back in 2003. I quickly discovered they were one of the bands that were made for people like me. I was excited for their next excellent album "Disaffected" in 2005. It is always exciting to discover a new band that has already been around for a while. It is like they somehow kept themselves hidden and their fans kept them a secret. Once you find about them, you want to keep them to yourself for a little bit. Until you just can't take it anymore and you to share them with everyone. When I always think I have already heard everything, it is nice to know there are still some great bands out there for me to discover. It's exciting.

 They have just released their new album "Part Monster" on Important Records. They have  been on about 7 different labels and have had many different members. They are currently Glen Johnson, Jerome Tcherneyan, Alasdair Steer, Franck Alba and Cedric Pin. They are of course from England. They sort of fit into that ambient rock category. Dreamy and ethereal but still a rock band. Sad and emotional and all tragic. The vocalist sometimes reminds me of a mix of Jesus & Mary Chain and The Tindersticks. Sort of like what Slowdive sounded like as they were transitioning into Mojave 3. They also remind me a bit of bands like Field Mice but just with a little Black Heart Procession. That is enough band comparisons. They are just awesome and do sort of have their unique little sound.

I have been listening to this album over and over again since I got it. The first song on the album "The Last Engineer" really sets you up for what is about to follow. I like when bands just go ahead and put one of their best songs first. By the time you have finished the first song, you will know if you love the band or not. If you don't like that first song, you really don't need to bother with the rest of the album. But don't worry. There are plenty more brilliant tragic pop songs that follow. And yes, there is some piano magic on this album. Joined by some synthesizers as well.

This is one of those bands that have been consistently putting out amazing little albums but have still not got the recognition that they deserve. They have developed little cult followings all over the world but not quite enough to come tour all those places. So all of us poor little fans across the world must continue to keep hoping that some day we will get to see them live. On their official website they have a listing of what seems to be every show they have every played. Not one show on the list is outside Europe. I guess there are also a bunch of bands from over here that never make it to Europe. I should consider myself lucky for all the bands that I do get to see that do make it out here. I might just have to fly on over to England or Spain to check out one of their shows. Or maybe if everyone who reads this goes out to a record store and buys their albums, they will be inspired to come out here and tour. I really do love this band. And so should you!

Jaguar Lives

Posted by phil blankenship, July 1, 2007 01:14am | Post a Comment

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