Amoeblog

MY MIND'S PLAYING TRICKS ON ME - OPTICAL ILLUSIONS

Posted by Billyjam, January 31, 2008 10:30am | Post a Comment
optical illusion
Your eyes and your brain can play tricks on you. The mind's eye can be easily tricked into imagining lines or images where they don't really exist. Hence, we have optical illusions (also known as visual illusions) that are characterized by visually perceived images that are deceptive or misleading like the one on the left, which can be either two faces or a candle holder depending on how you choose to visualize it.

This Amoeblog includes various optical illusions for you to take a look at. You can observe the altered images as the information is gathered by your eye and processed by your brain to give you a perception that does not tally with a physical measurement of the stimulus source. You follow?

Anyways -- according to the experts in these matters, there are basically two main types of illusions. There are the physiological illusions that are the effects on the eyes and brain of excessive stimulation of a specific type -- brightness, tilt, color, or movement. And then there are cognitive illusions, where the eye and brain make unconscious inferences. That is why you may see something in an image that the person standing right next to you doesn't comprehend equally.

                      


                     

                     
                                                


The optical illusion immediately above, which is one of the most commonly known, is a same color illusion in which Square A is exactly the same shade of grey as square B. The image shows what appears to be a black and white checker-board with a green cylinder resting on it that casts a shadow diagonally across the middle of the board. The black and white squares are actually different shades of gray. The image has been constructed so that "white" squares in the shadow, one of which is labeled "B," are actually the exact same gray value as "black" squares outside the shadow, one of which is labeled "A." The two squares A and B appear very different as a result of the illusion.

They Call Me The Mercenary #1

Posted by phil blankenship, January 31, 2008 10:03am | Post a Comment
 



Surf's Up

Posted by Miss Ess, January 30, 2008 08:48pm | Post a Comment

This clip fairly wraps up my mood this week.
 


Agh. Brian Wilson kills me. Absolutely kills me.  I'll just be in my sand box over here.

Gene Clark - A Tragedy In Two Parts: Part One - No Other

Posted by Miss Ess, January 30, 2008 08:14pm | Post a Comment

Once, on the long long long orange lit drive home from L.A., crap-o car stereo blaring, my better half asked me almost incredulously, "Why is this album pretty much the best album ever made?!" 

Why indeed? Sometimes writing about music is a real drag. Gene Clark's No Other truly is one of the most lasting and perfect albums I've ever heard.
 


On a tip from a coworker (I am almost certain it was Shayde), I bought No Other around four years ago. I liked Gene's previous album White Light, so I was ready to hear more. I popped in No Other and liked it immediately, but ultimately it was over time that this album became more and more haunting. Like, I couldn't get it out of my head ... like, for years. Seriously, waking in the night with just this one little moment of "From a Silver Phial" tinkering through my mind.

I read the liner notes earlier today from the cd reissue and someone describes Gene's sound as achieving the "Cosmic American Music" feeling Gram Parsons had once sought. I guess that's a fairly apt way to describe a fairly indescribable album.

Usually heavy production freaks me out. No Other was released in 1974, when it was all production -city all the time, unless you were Carly Simon or something, but let's not go there. The production work on this album is so layered, dense and, actually, perfect. There's wah wah guitar, backup singers, crazy piano licks. The best of L.A.'s session musicians were hired to play at the recording and they play the hell out of these songs, adding gravity to what was already great. The other thing that makes this album killer is that there is a theme and a thread that works its way through each of the songs and connects them, so as you listen closely to the album over and over again, it all becomes more and more clear and transporting.

Sometimes I will forget totally about No Other, maybe even for a year or so, but it always, always winds its way back in my mind.

I am almost done reading the bio of Gene, Mr. Tambourine Man by John Einarson, and I will have much more to say about Gene Clark at that point, plus a review of that book, hence the two part aspect of this blog entry. [Part 2 is right here.] If you've never heard his solo work before, you should maybe pick up No Other in the meantime. And some headphones.

M/R/X & Wolfpack this Sat. Feb 2nd

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 30, 2008 06:51pm | Post a Comment


DEATHROCK.GOTH.HORROR.PUNK
IN THE MAIN ROOM
WITH DJS
ERIC DEAD
TONY-X
GUEST DJ STEVE FROM SCARLET'S REMAINS

IN THE SIDE ROOM
MINIMAL.ELECTRONIK.WAVE.SYNTH.PUNK.GOTH
WITH DJS
ADAM XVI
JOB LEATHERETTE
GUEST DJ CHADWICK (((6))) SECRET SOCIETY OF THE SONIC SIX
&
NYDECAY WITH GIVEAWAYS FROM MUTANT TRANSMISSIONS RECORDS
AND DROP DEAD MAGAZINE N.Y.
..WWW.MUTANTTRANSMISSIONS.COM

..WWW.MYSPACE.COM/MUTANTTRANSMISSIONSRECORDS

..WWW.MYSPACE.COM/DROPDEADMAGAZINE


@
ROBERTO'S
686 NORTH SPRING ST.
TAKE ELEVATOR TO THE SECOND FLOOR
CHINATOWN, LOS ANGELES

2 DANCE FLOORS=YES
SMOKING PATIO=YES
BAR=YES!
ART FAG VISUALS=YES
THE BEST MUSIC THAT OTHERS DON'T PLAY=YES!!!

ONLY $6.00 BEFORE 10:30 $10 AFTER

18 PLUS=YES!



...AND REMEMBER

M / R / X
NEVER...EVER PUTS OUT!
SEE YOU THERE!!!!!!

Jaws 2 This Saturday At Midnight !

Posted by phil blankenship, January 30, 2008 06:24pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship are proud to present some of our film favorites at Los Angeles’ last full-time revival movie theater. See movies the way they're meant to be seen - on the big screen and with an audience!


Saturday Feb. 2

30th Anniversary !!

Jaws 2

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

http://www.newbevcinema.com


Upcoming:
Feb 9 Dirty Dancing
Feb 23 Commando
Mar 8 Streets Of Fire
Mar 15 Can't Hardly Wait (10th Anniversary!)
Mar 29 The Funhouse


 

Amoeba Music's Second Annual Art Show

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 30, 2008 03:28pm | Post a Comment

Friday, January 25th brought San Francisco a rain storm of biblical proportion. The incessant downpour superseded “dogs and cats” within the first few hours of daylight and went straight for much larger mammals – blue whales and pre-historic beavers? Believe me, it was bad.

Given that Californians aren’t known for their hardiness in torrential rains, it was a pleasant surprise – perhaps even an artistic triumph over nature – to find San Francisco’s sleek and urban Space Gallery packed that night with art connoisseurs, Amoeba employees, and friends for the Amoeba Music's Second Annual Art Show’s reception.

It’s apparent to anyone who has perused the stacks at any of Amoeba Music’s three locations that it’s much more than just a record shop. A friend of mine actually admitted that he refers to Amoeba as the “Wish Store” because he always finds whatever rarity it is that he’s been obsessing over. There is a magical aura of sonic wish fulfillment radiating from Amoeba, and the employees (from cashiers to managers and owners) are responsible for creating this musical wonderland on a daily basis.

It can be of no surprise that these same employees possess multiple talents beyond mastery of arcane musical knowledge. The 112 works on display at the Space Gallery from January 22nd through 26th proved that the staff is a formidably gifted team. The selection offered a wide range of formats, emotions, and influences, as well as levels of experience -- a variety befitting a cross section of the Amoeba crew.

Continue reading...

3:15 The Moment Of Truth

Posted by phil blankenship, January 30, 2008 11:17am | Post a Comment
 







Magnum Home Entertainment M861

special thanks to Scott Pellet for loaning me this modern day classic !

The Growing Global Problem of E-Waste

Posted by Billyjam, January 30, 2008 09:00am | Post a Comment

If you are like most people, odds are that your old cell phone or old phones are sitting gathering dust in a drawer or box at your home. 

Maybe you believe that you might actually use that outdated but technically still-functional old Nokia one day again. Or maybe you never got around to transferring all the old phone numbers. Or perhaps it holds a certain sentimental value and you just can't seem to part with it.

Almost statistically as likely are the odds that you also still have an old PC or laptop sitting around the house (or garage or storage unit) as well, even though you won't be using that anymore either.  Add up all of these obsolete electronic components in every household and you have a lot of future e-waste -- something that is already a serious problem with chronic potential on global scale.

Old unused cell phones, obsolete computers, cameras, old TVs, and various other assorted outdated or busted electronic units and parts are all part of the mounting global e-waste problem since they eventually will be dumped. And e-waste, like global warming, is a very serious pending problem for the earth and its inhabitants.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that there are approximately 500 million obsolete computers with millions and millions of unwanted cell phones being retired annually. Even by 2005 the United States Geological Survey estimated that there were already half a billion old unused phones in the US. In total the USA owns approximately 3 billion electronic products with approximately 2.2 billion tons becoming e-waste annually. And most of this e-waste gets shipped to poorer countries like China, India, and Nigeria.

The problem with e-waste such as old electronics like computers and cell phones is that they are highly toxic -- made out of metals and plastics and other non-biodegradable components that are complex and hence expensive to separate. Old computers are loaded with hazardous chemicals. Mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, cobalt, zinc, chromium are among some of the toxic materials found in your average PC. And when they are dumped improperly (which is usually the case), these chemicals seep into the environment or are dumped into rivers, or more immediately poison the poor workers in third world countries who, to eek out a measly living, are contaminated by the toxins and lack of protection in their working conditions.
 
So what do we do? How and where do we get rid of our e-waste? For starters, environmentalists suggest, try not to keep buying new electronic items when you really don't need them. And then when you are finished with them, dispose of them immediately and correctly. 

Continue reading...

January 29, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, January 29, 2008 06:13pm | Post a Comment

Thoundtrack of Thame

Posted by Job O Brother, January 29, 2008 12:17pm | Post a Comment


(He's Wang Chunging.)

Hiya, Kids! Time for another round of peek-a-boo from a skeleton in my musical closet!

This time, we’re going to go back, back, back – way back into the Dark Ages, sometimes referred to by historians as 1986. This was a terrifying time, full of exploding space shuttles, exploding nuclear power plants, and cassette tapes exploding from the stomachs of teddy bears named Ruxpin.


Unfortunately, I was too young to start drinking the pain away, and my insensitive parents forced me to go to – shudder – school. One thing I did have was my clock radio, which kept me abreast of popular music. One of the hits was “The Rain” by that year’s most deliciously named act, Oran “Juice” Jones. Below you’ll find the video for this… ur… masterwork.


With pulp.

As a teenager, I thought there was something haunting about this song, and whenever it came on the radio (which was like, every eight minutes) I would stop everything and listen carefully, as though for clues; another hint that Paul was really dead.

Now, with adulty ears and eyes, I watch this video and feel… weirdy. What’s with the tuxedoed trio? They seem to dissolve in order to form the singer, like some prom-date Voltron. Also, why so many references of cereal? When you consider the man’s name, you can begin to see some kind of breakfastal obsession.

Breakfastal. Breakfastal.

Uh… anyway, here’s the song.

sulla strada, capitolo tre

Posted by Whitmore, January 29, 2008 10:09am | Post a Comment
Now, let me be your travel guide, speaking to you in my big television Edward R. Murrow announcers voice: "Tuscany is an insanely beautiful land, a weird blend of man's orchestrated genius and  misadventure punctuated by the chaotic beauty of nature. Think of rows of arrow-straight vineyards marching gently up rolling hill sides, surrounded at every mind-blowing vista by natures perfectly sculpted cypress trees calling you into the shade for yet another glass of vino. Every gently winding, narrow road leads to ancient farmhouses, moss covered castles, stone walls, cream colored villas, more stone walls, swimming pools, and the earths finest tableau of golden browns, sienas, burnt umbers and deep rich greens. Add the dizzying effect of too much wine, the visual and sensual overload of too many attractive people, midst the ensuing hangover from the previous nights folly at a Tango Club and you'll understand why Tuscany still enchants us today like that forbidden dance enchanted our touristy-grandparents of yesteryear."

Now back to our Winter 2008 tour of Italy and perhaps I should warn you ...  you should anticipate a terrible, terrible pun. I apologize now, but I had too use it.

Years (decades?) of bad habits, an ever shortening attention span, little actually useful talent, and the never ending need to disrupt and push the limits of wholesome god fearing good taste has taken a toll on my musicianship. There is little precision in what I do, I'm not really a loose cannon, but more like an untethered crate of oranges cracking against the hull of a Listing Ship.

The catastrophic effect of such imprecise methods was really hammered into my heart last year when I mistakenly took a gig playing pieces by Erik Satie in a classical guitar duet. My performance, lets say, was flawed. Flawed like you've never seen flawed before!

Continue reading...

FINALLY, A FILM ABOUT THE REAL PIONEERS OF GRUNGE: TAD

Posted by Billyjam, January 29, 2008 08:00am | Post a Comment

They may never have made as big a splash commercially as some of the other "grunge" (a genre they pioneered) acts out of the Great North West, but Tad (named after band leader & ex-butcher Tad Doyle), who formed in 1988, sure made their mark in other lasting ways.

They were banned by MTV, sued by Pepsi, dropped by their label and got into heavy drinking and drugging, not to mention heavy situations, it seemed, wherever they went-- including landing in legal trouble over the found picture of a couple that they utilized (without permission) as an album cover.

Now finally there is a film about the long-defunct band Tad.  Titled Busted Circuits and Ringing Ears and made by Ryan Short and Adam Pease for King of Hearts Productions, it's planned for release on DVD on February 19th. Check out the clip above and visit the film makers' MySpace for more info on this documentary which looks like it will be pretty damn good.

Exactly twenty years ago, in early '88, Tad was formed by singer/guitarist Tad Doyle and bassist Kurt Danielson who recruited both Gary Thorstensen as guitarist and Steve Wied (formerly of Skin Yard) as their drummer. That was the original lineup and the band signed to the then new label Sub Pop, who released their debut album God's Balls in early 1989. The album track "Wood Goblins" was released as a single and video but was reportedly banned by MTV over content (scroll down to see the video).

Continue reading...

Brandi Shearer's show, last night: a rainy Sunday in SF

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 28, 2008 01:08pm | Post a Comment

Well, holy shit. I got to go out to a show last night. Did Hell freeze over?

I mean, "It was a dark and stormy night ..."

As some of you know, I don't get out much. Too very chronically sick, too very tired, too very many things that make it impossible to travel across town - much less across the bay. I mean, damn, maybe if we had something more like the Paris Metro instead of the wallet-breaking Bart (see bart.gov, out of towners, see the pathetic the bit of land it covers, down Market Street or Mission Street as if the rest of the city doesn't exist - and see the prices one pays for such paltry service.)

I could make my way around, with decent public transportation if it existed. Erm, most days.

But even the beloved and precious to me Paris Metro couldn't do a thing about the fact that I feel constantly as if I'm first day out of the hospital after a long stay for serious pneumonia. I'm quick to exhaust, wobbly baby deer legs, you name it. But I have a big brother who loves music.

My big brothers Kevin and Brian were instrumental in where I ended up today. Yes, I spent my childhood with a transistor radio glued to my ear, running it up the AM and FM in search of anything, which back then meant pure magic like Gladys Knight & The Pips. But it was my brothers' voluminous collection of vinyl records that brought me above what was easily found on the radios. Lest I forget, I am eternally grateful to my beautiful sister Jill who introduced me to the B-52's when I was 11, and my brother Scott who brought to me gems like Madman Across the Water, and Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy from Elton John. I eventually graduated to a clock radio which was heavier to hold against my head but did sound better, and a bit later on had my own turntable and a generous donation of vinyl spanning big band jazz LPs, Tom Jones 45s on the Parrot label ... to Jesus Christ Superstar from my beloved Godmother, Aunt Helen.

Continue reading...

Dirty Dancing Live In Concert

Posted by phil blankenship, January 28, 2008 11:46am | Post a Comment
 




Vestron Video 5266

LIFE OF BRIAN: THE IMMACULATE EDITION DVD

Posted by Billyjam, January 28, 2008 09:30am | Post a Comment
Thanks to reading the resourceful Movies/New Releases section of this Amoeba Music website, I learned ahead of time that there will be a special new edition DVD reissue of the classic Monty Python movie Life of Brian being released tomorrow, January 29th, titled Monty Python's Life of Brian - The Immaculate Edition.

This new DVD release of the hilarious Terry Jones directed 1979 Monty Python film starring John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and many others, is not the first time it has been released on VHS or DVD over the years, but this new 2 DVD reissue includes some extra bonus "immaculate" additions not seen before.

Life of Brian is so worth watching if you have never seen it before or watching again if you have already seen it. Life of Brian is the Monty Python crew at their comedic very best with a film budget to really stretch out their already hilarious TV sketches. Basically the plot outline is that "Brian," who is a lot like Jesus, is constantly getting confused with JC. Brian, who was born on the original Christmas and in the stable right next door to the Messiah, ends up spending most of his life being mistaken for the messiah. 

The movie is chock full of memorable (and oft imitated) parts. The two clips below include the movie's crucifixion, ending when all break into song (always look on the bright side of life) and the hilarious scene where Brian, the reluctant messiah, is being chased by his devoted mob up the hill, where he encounters the holy man in the hole who has sworn to silence for 18 years.

Tomorrow (Jan 29th) the new Monty Python's Life of Brian - The Immaculate Edition will be available at Amoeba Music in the DVD section. Ask if you have any difficulty finding it.

Continue reading...

Joshua

Posted by phil blankenship, January 27, 2008 11:58pm | Post a Comment
 



Magnum Home Entertainment 3140

sulla strada, capitolo due

Posted by Whitmore, January 27, 2008 06:11pm | Post a Comment
Dreaming on a tour can only twist your waking hours...

In the morning before our long drive to Florence, guitarist Lyman woke dreaming of zombies and a world segregated into vegetarian and constantly hungry, brain-eating zombies. Violinist Julie had a terrible dream about a job interview and making spreadsheets, in her words "a wasted dream" while traveling in Italy. Violist Heather keeps on dreaming of tasty meats, smoked sides of ham, pigeon pies
and cornish hens.

On the long drive from Naples to Florence it was my turn to dream twistedly. I snoozed in the sun in the van until the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped, I woke up cold and confused and with a massive headache. I dreamt I worked at Ikea and I was up for a promotion, but first I had to pass a physical. The attending nurse detected that my spinal fluid was low, so she hooked me up to an IV and inserted a spinal tap.  While I laid there in bent discomfort, friends and acquaintances came by and rubbed my fore head. At one point someone started singing quietly in my ear, I looked up to find Bjork smiling down at me.

But its my brain in my waking hours that keeps on gyrating as if dreaming...

I assumed from the very beginning that the disappearance of our luggage was no accident, that it must have been 'displaced' on purpose, on the sly. Perhaps an inside job? (Remember- there are no coincidences). Were we the guinea pigs to a sinister Karl Rove, mind control, kind of plot? Secret governments/ organization/ syndicates trying to pin some international crime on us -just because they can!- an act accomplished by simply doctoring and packing our bags, guitars, toothpaste with something only evil-doers would pack. But something I've learned, the hard way, on the mean streets of LA, driving those wretchedly cracked freeways, trying to share the road with gargantuan SUV's, gargantuan egos, and gargantuan film companies screwing up traffic at their will at every turn, (as if they built this entertainment capitol of the world!), for their precious movie shoots.

Continue reading...

sulla strada, capitolo uno

Posted by Whitmore, January 27, 2008 05:57pm | Post a Comment

Bungled is a great word, its one of those words that even if you're not sure of  the definition, just the sound  -'bungled' - quickly gets you to the gist of  the situation. What Bungled is, is not a great situation.

Right now I'm in Italy on tour with the LA's own Listing Ship, and by no fault of our own... and I swear its wasn't our fault ( though historically there are two essential elements built into any band; incompetence and eventual obsolescences... these truths are perhaps not so written in stone if you play in the Rolling Stones or The Lawrence Welk Orchestra) ...  anyway, somewhere along the line all our luggage disappeared. Somewhere between the sunny palm tree lined dystopia we call home and the airport called the worst in Europe, Rome, all twelve pieces of our luggage vanished off the face of the earth.

Those of us who grew up on the west coast blamed it on our stop-over in New York's JKF airport, those of us who grew up on the east coast blamed it on the airport in Los Angeles ... our Italian friends blamed it on the airport in Rome. Ultimately it appears to have been yet another bungled moment for an airline we'll call "American Err-lines" ... All twelve pieces gone. Poof! We filled out the paperwork and were assured that somehow the heavens will open and our luggage will fall though a worm whole,  magically appearing on the front steps of our Managers apartment in Naples the next morning. But 24 hours later no record of our luggage - bags, guitars, drum gear-  existed anywhere, online or otherwise.

We played our first gig at the Cantina Mediterraneo in Frosinone... with borrowed gear, and I have to say incredibly nice gear! It doesn't get much better than this. Thanks to the excellent opening band, The Mosquitos, based in Naples, we played through gorgeous Fender amps and electric guitarist Lyman
was greeted with a vintage Gold Top Gibson Les Paul to play. When Lyman opened the guitar case a beautiful golden light filled the back wall of the stage, and I swear I heard a litany of cellos quietly filling the air ... and a voice, a deep resonating voice that said something profound in Italian, but I don't understand Italian. I'm not sure what was more inspiring for our first show in Italy, the great gear we were using or the 5 course meal the club provided for us. And the wine... the wine! Like the great river Euphrates, the purest waters from the river flowing from of the garden of Eden, the flowering of civilization, the flowering of sin, wine bringing us back back to life, yeah baby...wine wine wine!!!  we knew everything would be copacetic.

Stories Of A Young Gomez, Pt. 2

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 27, 2008 03:08am | Post a Comment
When I was in eighth grade, I would come home from school and this would be on the television.:



No Prince, no Funkadelic, not even metal or punk rock. A bunch of bad 80’s videos with a bunch of rich suburban kids in the audience doing that new wave dance. It was depressing, but since they took off the reruns of The White Shadow and replaced it with MV3, there was nothing else better to watch.

There was one song I wanted to like. It was Thomas Dolby’s She Blinded Me With Science. The video was so goofy I was embarrassed to like it, even though it was funky.  A few days later I went to the park and all the breakers were pop locking it to it. I figured if they liked it, it wasn’t so bad. My sister had the first Thomas Dolby record and I started to listen to it more than her. Outside of the annoying song, Europa, I liked it. Still, I kept in the closet about my love for the TB, except for a few friends.

When the second Thomas Dolby album, The Flat Earth came out, I bought it right away. I didn’t like the single, Hyperactive. It sounded like a weak attempt at The Talking Heads. The rest of the album was surprisingly chill and somewhat acoustic. It took me a bit off time to like this album, but at the end, I did. The song that hit me was Dolby’s cover of Dan Hick And His Hot Licks’ I Scare Myself. It was haunting with a slight Jazzy Brazilian feel to it. I soon went on the hunt to find the original version. When I found it I noticed that it was very different. Dolby’s version was haunting, yet calm and melodic. Dan Hicks original version sounded frantic and straight up paranoid, thus validating the title. It was a little too much for me to take at the time. Still, there was something about it that I liked.

I noticed that Dan Hick was on Blue Thumb Records. I started to buy other artists that were on Blue Thumb Records as well. Blue Thumb introduced me to The Last Poets, The Crusaders, Hugh Masakela, Gabor Szabo & Captain Beefheart. All those records all came from that Thomas Dolby connection. There was another artist that was on Blue Thumb that I had heard about but could never find his records. His name was Sun Ra.

(To be continued)

Pelones, Sideburns & Songs About Heatbreak

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 27, 2008 01:35am | Post a Comment

While Latin music artists based in metropolitan cities such as Miami, Buenos Aires, and Mexico D.F. get all the press, it is the Regional Mexican groups are the ones that actually sell records. Case in point, Ramon Ayala. For over 40 years, Ramon Ayala, also known as “El Rey Del Acordeon” (The King Of The Accordion), has been selling out arenas in both Mexico and in the United States. He has over 105 releases, most of which sell in the 250,000 to 750,000 units. He’s been in thirteen movies and is a multiple Grammy winner. During his sold out show at The Gibson Theatre on Saturday, Ramon packed his two-hour set with hit after hit and had the crowd singing along to every song. Ramon played a few Los Relampagos Del Norte songs, a group he had in the sixties with the late great Bajo Sexto guitarist & vocalist, Cornelio Reyna, before forming Ramon Ayala y Sus Bravos Del Norte in 1971.

I was a little lost at this show. I’m only familiar with the early Ramon Ayala solo work. It’s like if you went to see Merle Haggard but were only familiar with a couple of his songs. He played the songs I knew, such as "Un Rinconcito En El Cielo," "Chaparra De Mi Amor" and his version of "Golondrinas," all which I have on his Greatest Hits CD that didn’t leave my car's CD player for a month. Why was it in my car CD player that long? Because of heartbreak, that’s why. When the girl (or guy) you love doesn’t love you back, nothing is better than blasting Ramon Ayala and singing the words on the top of your lungs. When he went into "Chaparra De Mi Amor," I sang loudly with everyone else and relived that pain of rejection. It’s funny because the cause of my great pain and heartache was with me at the show. She is my girlfriend now. I think she takes great joy in remembering how much she made me suffer.

It was a good time. So many Mexicanos in one place and more Pelones than a Psycho Realm show. I also liked the fact that some of the male audience members had the same sideburns as Ramon. Now, that’s a tribute!

When Critics Attack! Cloverfield as the Battleground for the Horror Genre

Posted by Charles Reece, January 26, 2008 01:51pm | Post a Comment
As to those in the World Trade Center . . .
 
Well, really. Let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire – the "mighty engine of profit" to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to "ignorance" – a derivative, after all, of the word "ignore" – counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in – and in many cases excelling at – it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it. 
--  Ward Churchill, Some People Push Back

Cloverfield is fantasy. The movie is meant to be entertainment — to give people the sort of thrill I had as a kid watching monster movies. I hadn't seen anything that felt that way for many years. I felt like there had to be a way to do a monster movie that's updated and fresh. So we came up with the YouTube-ification of things, the ubiquity of video cameras, cell phones with cameras. The age of self-documentation felt like a wonderful prism through which to look at the monster movie. Our take is what if the absolutely preposterous would happen? How terrifying would that be? The video camera, we all have access to; there's a certain odd and eerie intimacy that goes along with those videos. Our take is a classic B monster movie done in a way that makes it feel very real and relevant, allowing it to be simultaneously spectacular and incredibly intimate.
  -- J. J. Abrams


Just like the recently departed Karlheinz Stockhausen, I can appreciate a good explosion.  I love to see things get blown up, particularly buildings.  If I hear of an old building about to be imploded, I'll go out of my way to watch; and judging by the crowds and media coverage, I'm not alone.  All the time and manual labor it takes to make such a structure being erased within a few minutes surely says something significant about our lot in the order of things.  I don't know if that's a testimony for Freud's thanatos, but destruction within a controlled environment simulates a god's eye view over the course of existence.  All that groping around in the dirt, discovering that hard objects can be used to hammer other hard objects for hundreds of thousands of years will eventually amount to naught, a fuzzy memory of brief entertainment for any deity who happened to watch on the sideline.  Destruction is as awe-inspiring as creation and being able to safely witness it gives us a  sense of control.  Unlike with a god, however, that worrisome feeling of needing to duck our heads never quite leaves us.

Making an aesthetically successful monster movie is largely the result of finding the correct ratio between the destruction within a controlled environment (the god's eye perspective) and effecting the thoughts and feelings one would have in the middle of a real apocalyptic event (the human perspective).  The effect of finding this golden ratio is the difference between the experience of Lynchian dread and playing RAMPAGE in an arcade, where the former is the result of our being reminded of just how tenuous a grasp we have on our humanity and the latter a way of temporarily reinforcing our repression of such doubts via diversionary entertainment.  It's not important if you agree with me that Lynch is the best contemporary cinema has at analyzing the human-all-too-human strictures of our existence.  My point is that for horror fiction to work as horror it has to tap into something very real about us.  The more distance it puts between us and the fantastic diegesis it creates (e.g., making the humans nothing more than food to score points with), the less horrorific it will be.  Too much a sense of control dehumanizes the diegesis, and vice versa, thereby resulting in a failure to deliver the goods of the horror genre, making the work more like a video game.

In his classic analysis of the horror film genre, Robin Wood suggests its basic formula:  "normality is threatened by the Monster."[1]  That sounds pretty damn good to me, where normality is understood to be an effect of our collective cultural repressions (all those sexual, violent, Id-driven desires we tend to direct into more "respectable" behaviors and/or beliefs) and the Monster is the otherness which tends to dredge up all those things being repressed thereby threatening our social order.  It was his application of this formula to Romero's DEAD films that helped them to be seen by much of the critical establishment as something more than cheap thrills.  Although now taken as an obvious allegory for the inhumanity of the Vietnam (or, really, any) war, the realworld import of his first zombie feature wasn't so obvious at the time of its release, even to the filmmakers.  As Romero says, "[w]e weren’t actually trying to use NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD as a forum for our socio-political leanings. They simply crept in through the back door."  Even if the filmmaker and his audience don't explicitly, or consciously, know what the horror film is tapping into, their collective body does.

Some thirty years on and the genre still gets little respect.  The majority of professional critics [2] might begrudgingly acknowledge Wood's analysis as commonsensical (as opposed to an argument against what was accepted wisdom at the time), but feel little need to apply it to just about any other horror film they have to see, unless the film itself makes its allegorical potential more literal and actual.  The current failure in such criticism, one might say, is a matter of following the letter of Wood's law and not its spirit.  Thus, in the collective set of reviews for CLOVERFIELD, one can see how the tendency to dismiss its genre still predominates, but pace the arguments of serious minded genre critics, the dismissive tactics have changed.  Where once a monster movie like CLOVERFIELD would've been dismissed as juvenilia, as fantastic entertainment with no importance to reality, it's now dismissed as not living up to allegorical/realworld content of Romero's films or, for a more current example, THE HOST.

Horror's albatross (as well as any fantastic genre's) has always been realism, particularly the conflation of realistic style with the Real.  A critique in the latest issue of Cineaction of Italian Neo-Realist critic and theorist, Cesare Zavattini, gives as good example as any of the lure of realism.  The essay quotes Zavattini paraphrasing an American producer: "In America, the scene of a plane passing over is shown in this sequence: a plane passes, machine-gun fire opens, the plane falls.  In Italy: a plane passes, it passes again, and then again."[3]  For Zavattini, the ethical failing of the American film is that it makes a realistic  phenomenon subservient to the highly constructed dictates of, say, the action genre, whereas Italian Neo-Realism celebrates the quotidian recording of real life, presumedly unencumbered by the ideological baggage of genre or spectacle.  As the essay's author, Nicholas Balaisis, suggests, Zavattini's view fails to acknowledge that something like the constructed narrative of a genre can make an ethical point in the very way its constructed, which might often be lost in the ambiguity of just letting the film roll.  That is, even though UMBERTO D might be more realistic with its narratively questionable extended scenes of quotidian life, those don't in and of themselves make that film a more relevant commentary on the Real than something like CLOVERFIELD.

Therein lies the importance of Wood's approach.  He bases the success of horror not in escapism, but in its ability to return us to the Real, the "return of the Repressed," as he puts it.   The relevance of horror is not all that different from the relevance of Neo-Realism: if either is to have resonance, the artist has to find a good balance between control (or construct, narrative points to make) and the ambiguity of the images themselves (touching upon that surfeit of reality, which can't be summarized by the plot, but which pulls the audience into the diegesis).  To the extent that Wood's view has become critical parlance while a bias for realism is still primary, horror films aren't dismissed for being merely fantastic, but for not having subtextual themes that are direct enough.  Realism has been replaced by its offspring, directness, but the bias against horror remains.  Such themes are direct if, as with GOJIRA and THE HOST, the film spells them out for the audience, or as with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and PSYCHO, the analyses of certain critics have become influential.  As if it were a judicial system with realism the judge, current monster movies, if rejected, are done so on precedence, for not easily fitting into the established criteria.

If a monster movie doesn't fit into those well-worn criterial grooves, then it's back to talking about gimmicks and cheap entertainment.  Realism's ethics of viewing has at its core, as should be obvious from the example of Zavattini, a resistance to the commercialism of art.   I'm certainly not going to argue against that tendency itself, but it does lead many with a predilection towards equating realism with ethics to reject out-of-hand art which requires a good deal of capital to get off the ground.  By requiring a lot of special effects, many horror films, particularly of the apocalyptic variety, need to have the potential of commerce by promising an appeal to the widest audience possible.  And it's a lot easier to  widen a hole without deepening it.   I remember Godard contrasting the economic possibilities of his filmmaking to that of Spielberg's, saying something like he could make 50 movies for every 1 of the latter's.  A quick look through Entertainment Weekly will tell you that the American film industry and its biggest target audience tend to prefer the splash of large puddles over gazing at a lot of small, but really deep holes.  I'm with the radical Neo-Realists that commercial demands aren't likely to ever help deepen the impact of a film, but I do think there are filmmakers who can make a spectacle existentially resonant while still playing to generic expectations of the highly prized demographic.

By cutting out stars from CLOVERFIELD, producer and creative prime mover Abrams was able to make his genre spectacle for a modest sum of 25 million (that's about 25 Godard films if you're keeping tabs).  While serving the bottom line, this decision also served the film's conceit of being found footage documenting the last hours in the life of Manhattan and a particular group of its high-rise dwelling inhabitants at the hands and tail of a super-sized amphibian.  By using unrecognizable actors, the audience is more likely to be pulled in by the simulated verité.  Sure, the film uses young, beautiful people in portraying not particularly likable examples of the haute-bourgeoisie.  I wouldn't want to hang out with these assholes, but, so what, I don't spend any time with real world analogues to the characters in a De Sica film, either.  It is in its fidelity to its conceit that the film begins to resonate on a level deeper than the majority of big horror spectacles, making it more likely to eventually be placed alongside Carpenter's THE THING than the American GODZILLA.  By letting the subjective camera record a good 20 minutes of yuppie minutiae, director Matt Reeves -- in a monster movie, of all things -- practices a bit of Bazinian filmmaking, reminding us, like the Italians used to, "the world is, quite simply, before it is something to be condemned."[3] 

As a few friends and some of the critics I link to below have objected, this beginning segment is boring and serves no real purpose.  Purpose being here, I take it, a synonym for plot or narrative.  While these friends probably wouldn't find Tarkovsky's shooting some plant being swayed by water any more purposive or interesting, I'm betting the typical critic who fancies him or herself high-minded wouldn't be as quick to dismiss the phenomenological excesses of the celebrated auteur of boredom -- likewise, with classic Italian Neo-Realism.  Thus, plants and the drudgery of the working class suggest the ineffable, but we get nothing from the daily rituals of yuppie scum (just die already!).  But that's letting ideology cloud one's experience of the film.  While the beginning segment probably doesn't make many of us like these sorts of characters any better, it does link us to them as people by capturing that surfeit of reality not easily summarized in an analysis of plot motivations.  It's enough to make us feel them as people, by providing a humane link.  Without the segment, the ensuing mayhem would become little more than a first-person video game, which is what the pithy marketing slogan "Godzilla meets Blair-Witch Project" would have it reduced to.

So, what about the ethics of seeing this spectacle?   As can be read above, Abrams cites as his inspiration for the film the increasing documentation of our lives through personal video-recorders.  There’s something worrisome about this tendency, as it shows an increasing comfort in having ourselves recorded.  Along with that comfort level comes the lack of concern most people seem to have with the videocameras in the majority of businesses and the ones popping up on every street corner; any civil libertarian should be alarmed.  On the other hand, there’s an ethical dimension to something like YouTube despite all of its questionable content, namely that it serves as something of a collective autobiography of its users.  At least, the potential is there, provided its users feel the moral impetus to use it as such.  Which is what I see in CLOVERFIELD’s chief cameraman, Hud (played by Timothy Miller).  He takes on the job somewhat reluctantly at the party, but as the behemoth begins its rampage, he begins to feel a duty to record the carnage, even when his life becomes increasingly endangered for doing so.  With the power of video recording comes great responsibility, Stan the Man might say.

Without Hud’s dedication, there would be no movie, of course, and thusly no entertainment.  But its practical function of delivering entertainment doesn’t mean CLOVERFIELD has nothing to say.  By combining the phenomological aesthetics of realist cinema with the entertainment concerns of the American spectacle, the filmmakers have fashioned a monster movie that could serve as a correction to the blithely dismissive attitude Ward Churchill displays in his summary of 9-11.  If the emotional charge of an entertaining monster movie can be increased by fictionally recording the mundane, average human behaviors of characters we don’t like, wouldn’t the same effect obtain, but even more so, for the real victims of the Twin Towers destruction?  Churchill created a narrative, where the victims merely served as plot points in his objection to an imperialist capitalist system.  Who knows if being privy to their status as humans through documentation would’ve changed Churchill’s attitude towards those upperclass victims who held jobs which he condemns?  It would certainly change the story he tells.  As Abrams’ would-be popcorn blockbuster reminds us, ideology and concepts aren't all there is to morality; horror won’t be understood or felt without recognizing another’s subjectivity first.   And that’s surely worthy of Bazin. 


[1] Robin Wood, "The American Nightmare" in Hollywood: From Vietnam to Reagan ... And Beyond, 2nd Edition, p. 71.
[2] I emphasize professional critics here, meaning ones who make their living writing for newspapers and other periodicals like the New Yorker.  The critics who inspired the current topic are: Scott Foundas, Peter Travers, Dana Stevens, Manohla Dargis, John Anderson, Richard Corliss, and Anthony Lane.  As can be seen by CLOVERFIELD's tomatometer rating, the majority of reviews have been positive, but that's due to a lot of fanboy internet reviews, which tend to uncritically enjoy anything with a lot of big explosions and pretty girls.  That might be the will of the people, but it's hardly an argument for the merits of the horror genre.
[3] Nicholas Balaisis, "The Risk of Ambiguity: Reconsidering Zavattini's Film Ethics," Cineaction 72, 2007, p. 42-5.

David Lynch says .... Au Revoir Simone

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 26, 2008 12:41pm | Post a Comment
I'm an absolute nut fan when it comes to David Lynch. This thrilled me to no end:


Au Revoir Simone, performing live on the Amoeba Haight Street Stage, Sunday.

Yes, tomorrow - Sunday January 27th, at 2pm in the afternoon.


Free and all ages. That's how we do it.

Thank you Mr. Lynch for your mind, and thank you for sharing it with us.

Happy Australia Day

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 26, 2008 09:23am | Post a Comment
  
The Flag of Australia                                             The Australian Aboriginal Flag        The Flag of Torres Strait Islanders


Australia was discovered about 45,000 years ago when they either walked or made short sea-crossings from Papua to the north in what is now the Torres Strait. In Australia they grew into diverse cultures with around 250 languages spoken by nations such as the Koori, Murri, Noongar, Yamatji, Wangkai, Nunga, Anagu, Yapa, Yolngu and Palawah, who together may've numbered around 3 quarters of a million.  43,830 years later (give or take a few thousand) it was claimed, like a quarter of the planet, by the tiny, faraway island of Great Britain.


   
Initially, it served as a penal colony set up at Port Jackson on January 26, 1788, which is why it's Australia Day today. 50% of the indigenous population died from smallpox within the following years. Massacres and land seizures reduced the indigenous population another 30%. Often the convicts sent to Australia were charged with minor offenses. In the 1850s, the Gold Rush began and with it, an Americanization of the language. For example, "bonanza" (borrowed from Spanish) became "bonzer." By 1827, Australian English was already diverging significantly from British English. Author Peter Cunningham noted a distinct vocabulary and a non-rhotic accent that owed heavily to Cockney. It is typically divided into three accents which owe less to region than UK English or US English.

      Broad: Exemplified by larrikins Paul “g’day mate” Hogan, Steve “crikey” Irwin.
      General: The typical Australian of Cate Blanchett, Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman.
      Cultivated: The British-sounding manner of Geoffrey Rush or Judy Davis.

None of the examples above probably say "shrimp on the barbie" since "shrimp" are called "prawns" in Australia.
     
Most of the wildlife and plant life is endemic. It's the flattest country on Earth, mostly desert and covered with the least fertile soil. It seems like wherever you go in the world, you run into loads of Australians. Luckily, they all have multizone DVD players.

      

One animal that rivals the kangaroo and koala as a symbol of Australia is the dingo. However, the dingo is not native to Australia and is partially responsible for the extinction of some native Australian fauna such as the Tasmanian Tiger. It was brought to Australia a mere two or three thousand years ago by Austronesians.


I think one of the things that makes Australia so interesting to me is that it seems like some kind of Bizarro America. It has gold rushes, coastal cities separated by a wild west, beer drinking and sprint-car racing, English people waging genocidal war against natives. Remember Chris Gaines? Garth Brooks' alter-ego was Australian. Bizzaro! Bizzaro! Maybe that's why Australians, as a rule, are so much better at playing Americans than the English. Do Americans play good Australians? Has that ever happened?


AUSTRALIAN CINEMA


Australia's first feature length, narrative film was 1906’s Story of the Kelly Gang, about the beloved bushranger, Ned Kelly. In the 1910’s, Australia produced a large number of silent films. Following World War I, however, American films flooded the market and effectively smothered Australia's film industry.

In the 1940s and 50s, an effort was made to popularize Australian Westerns with examples like The Overlanders, The Kangaroo Kid, The Phantom Stockman and Bitter Springs.

But it wasn’t until the 1970s that Australia began making films with any degree of popularity. Examples include Peter Weir's Picnic At Hanging Rock, The Last Wave, and The Plumber. George Miller's Mad Max achieved success at home and abroad, although it was dubbed in “American” for U.S. audiences.

The 1980s were and are widely considered the golden age of Australian Cinema. The other George Miller made The Man From Snowy Creek. There was also Young Einstein, The Year My Voice Broke, Breaker Morant, Gallipoli, Dogs In Space, BMX Bandits and the film that still defines Australia for most Americans-- Crocodile Dundee. In the television world, the never-ending Neighbours began.

The 1990s produced many (often campy) cult films like Flirting, Proof, Romper Stomper, Strictly Ballroom, Muriel’s Wedding, Adventures of Priscilla- Queen of the Desert, and Babe.

In the past decade we’ve seen Chopper, The Proposition, Lantana, Moulin Rouge! Rabbit-Proof Fence, Wolf Creek, and Happy Feet.

The Top 20 Selling Australian Films at Amoeba (so far)

1. Chopper
2. Adventures of Priscilla-Queen Of the Desert
3. Moulin Rouge!
4. The Proposition
5. Muriel's Wedding
6. Strictly Ballroom
7. Road Warrior
8. The Piano
9. Picnic At Hanging Rock
10. Rabbit-Proof Fence
and The Year Of Living Dangerously
12. The Last Wave
13. Mad Max
14. The Pirate Movie and Shine and Babe
17. Mad Max-Beyond Thunder Dome and Romper Stomper
19. Ghosts Of the Civil Dead
20. Happy Feet



AUSTRALIAN MUSIC


                   Slim Dusty                                          Tex Morton                                    Simon Bonney

One thing that’s interesting about Australia is that it has a strong Country Music Tradition. Oh, 'course there’s Keith Urban, but it all began with Slim Dusty (“A Pub With No Beer”) and Tex Morton, who both reflected a strong American influence. The more home-grown variety, often with a stronger Celtic influence and a lyrical focus on Australia, is usually called “bush music” or “bush band music,” exemplified by the Bushwackers.

Continue reading...

Shoundtrack of Shame

Posted by Job O Brother, January 25, 2008 07:19pm | Post a Comment
As promised, here's the next installment in my new series: songs I absolutely love that I am ashamed of absolutely loving.


Norway's most popular export since... urr... eh....

Many of you are familiar with a-Ha's hit, "Take On Me". In fact - I'm going to say it - ALL of you are familiar with a-Ha's hit, "Take On Me". The video for the song is well-loved, and considered a rare gem in a genre that is all too often unremarkable (that is, music videos). But there's a sister video to it, and it features a song so over-wrought with romanticism that even Sandra Bullock would think twice before being associated with it. Even so, as predisposed as I am to disliking romance in my art, I - for whatever reason - swoon like a third grade girl whenever I hear a-Ha's lesser hit, "The Sun Always Shines On TV".

Below, you'll find the video. It strikes me as odd that the object of the singer's affection is a middled-aged woman in a bathrobe (...or is that just 80's "fashion"?). When watching, please take note of the "Channel 3" logo and tell me - is that not something you've seen scrawled on a men's room wall?

Anyway, I can poke fun all I want. I still love this silly thing. Feel free to beat me up after gym class...

Misty Mountain Hop - Why I Love Black Mountain

Posted by Miss Ess, January 25, 2008 11:28am | Post a Comment
Just wanted to say that Black Mountain's new album In the Future is fantastic!  I love a real rock n roll band, especially these days, since so few exist anymore. 


They have a heavy sound with tons of drums and lots of hot vocal vibrato.  Bands that have many different lead singers rule (i.e: The Beatles, The Band), and Black Mountain has the added bonus not-so-secret weapon of Amber Webber and her super powerful voice.  The sheer confidence of her vocals remind me of none other than Grace Slick at times.  This gal won't back down and she knows how to wail! (Yeah, I just quoted Wayne's World, so sue me.)  I love how they trade off vocals during the songs.  It just adds to the overall intensity of the sound.  And it's intense, people, really.

The band is from Vancouver.  Don't we all just love Canadians? Well, I do anyway. Their first, self titled record really caught my ear a few years back-- catchy but loud as all hell crazy Zep-esque songs with  some kamikaze chops to boot!  It's truly a great record and I kept it in my cd player for months on end when it came out.  Hardly anyone puts out good effin' rock music, and these guys are tops as far as those who are trying to keep it alive.  I think this new record cements that for me.

Stephen McBean is the dude who writes most of the songs.  He's also in Pink Mountaintops.  He's really quite prolific.  Amber wrote one song on the new album too.  We had an instore with them lo, 3 years ago now I think.  I was so into their first record I made all the arrangements to get them here!  They were nice cats, if a bit spaced out!  They just came to kill it, not to make small talk.  I can respect that.  That said, checking these guys out live is totally worthwhile.  They will be touring the West Coast soon:

01/31/08
Seattle, WA
Neumo's

w/ Yeasayer, MGMT, Howlin' Rain

02/02/08
Portland, OR
The Doug Fir
w/ Howlin' Rain

02/04/08
San Francisco, CA
The Independent
w/ Howlin' Rain

02/05/08
Los Angeles, CA
The Troubadour
w/ Howlin' Rain

02/07/08
San Diego, CA
Casbah
w/ Howlin' Rain

I also happen to adore the other band on the bill,  Howlin' Rain, featuring one Ethan Miller of Comets on Fire, another fabulous band that brings the rawk.  With these two groups on one bill, the upcoming shows are virtually guaranteed to kick ass.  See you at The Independent!

Check out this oldie but goodie from the first album.  The footage is...trippy:

January 25, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, January 25, 2008 10:11am | Post a Comment

MARKETING FORMULA FOR RAMBO BOX OFFICE SUCCESS

Posted by Billyjam, January 25, 2008 06:00am | Post a Comment

   +                              =
About a month ago when I first started seeing the poster (above) advertising the brand-new Sylvester Stallone Rambo movie, that opens in theaters today, my eyes were just drawn to its strong imagery.
I immediately thought to myself, Wow, what a really great poster, admiring its simple yet powerful, black-on-white stencil silhouette image of Rambo.

No clutter like most movie posters, just that burning image of our hero Rambo -- underneath the actor's last name spelled out in attention-grabbing bold red capital letters. Despite its basic retro simplicity, it was instantly memorable and for some reason seemed so subliminally familiar.

But how? Why?  Well, about a week ago I think I figured it out when I read an interview with Tim Palen from the marketing department at Lions Gate (fhe company banking on the film being a big hit). He stated as a matter-of-fact that the poster, which had been very shrewdly designed for the marketplace, was a carefully structured combo of familiar icons.

"We called it Che Guevara crossed with Jesus Christ by way of Andy Warhol,” he told the New York Times, adding about the Rambo character, that, “In a way, he’s all of those.” 

WELCOME TO THE FOURTH WEEKEND OF 2008

Posted by Billyjam, January 25, 2008 05:04am | Post a Comment

We are only on day twenty-five and weekend number four of the new year and already Amoeba Music has kicked into full gear with quality in-store performances already underway. Last weekend talented local hip-hop outfit 40Love put on quite a show at the San Francisco Amoeba Music and last night Sia was scheduled to perform at the Hollywood store. And if you missed that show, don't worry -- Hollywood Amoeba has lots more lined up.

Tomorrow (Saturday) at the Hollywood Amoeba Music store Grace Potter & the Nocturnals are scheduled to perform a mid-afternoon show, starting at 3PM. Meanwhile on Sunday afternoon up in the Bay, Brooklyn's ever-pleasing, hook-laden, synth-driven, female trio Au Revoir Simone (see video above of the song "Fallen Snow" off their new album The Bird of Music) will play a 2PM show at the San Francisco Amoeba on Haight Street that I recommend you attend. 

And as always with Amoeba -- all of these cool-ass shows are FREE and ALL AGES. Such a deal! Oh yeah, it may be over three weeks away, but mark your calenders now for Feb 18th when legendary hometown group Flipper play the San Francisco Amoeba Music stage at 6PM.

Elliott Smith by Autumn De Wilde

Posted by Miss Ess, January 24, 2008 02:14pm | Post a Comment

Of course for Christmas I received the new Elliott Smith book by photographer Autumn DeWilde.  All I knew about this book previous to reading it was that it was a photo book of Elliott by Autumn, who photographed him for his Figure 8 cover and made the "Son of Sam" video. I knew it was gonna come with a CD of a Largo show.  But I really didn't have any expectations-- and now that I have read the book I'm so glad I didn't because turning each page brought a surprise.

Autumn included not only gorgeous photographs and the live CD, but also interviews with Elliott's friends.  His old friends.  The ones who truly knew him and cared for him.  Toward the end of his life, many of these friends either were left behind or had falling outs with Elliott.  As a fan, when I heard about this at the time I was wondering what the heck was going on, thinking things must have gotten really bad.  This book answers many questions.  It's not exploitative though, it's merely friends talking about a complicated person they love, in good times and in bad.


There are many fantastic stories of Elliott in this book, many that even his biggest fans have not heard before.  The interviews were fascinating for me.  With each turn of a page, there was someone else I'd been waiting to hear from since his death.  The interviews cleared up some mysteries for me, like why he and Jon Brion had stopped talking in the years before his death, and what long time manager Margaret Mittleman was going through in dealing with a highly talented but also highly addicted client.


By the end, it left me feeling warm, in a way.  Reading all these tales of Elliott's deep obsessions with specific teensy moments in songs, and how certain songs' lyrics could reduce him to tears no matter where he was when he heard them actually made me think (for the first time in a long while) about why I love music so much in the first place.  Elliott's genuine adoration for and obsession with music, down to the most minute detail of a track, sparked back in me that feeling of excitement -- the feeling of discovery and gratification that music can so profoundly provide.

This book is really for fans only.  It's not the place to start if you've never listened to Elliott before.  Please avoid that trashy biog that was released after his death also!!  If you've never heard Elliott before, pick up Either/Or-- that seems like the best point of introduction to his work.  Once you have soaked in the music for a while, and worked your way through all of the albums, then check out this new book.  It presupposes that the reader already knows Elliott's basic life story.

Though the book was highly enjoyable, the author came off as somewhat self aggrandizing at times-- but all is ultimately forgiven by what this book provides. This book is by no means a definitive statement about Elliott.  It's more of a graceful, elegiac tribute to the musician and the man.  There are so many brilliant, beautiful stories about such a beautiful, brilliant man that the book left me smiling and sparked my own imagination.  And that's precisely what great artists are here to do, even when they are no longer with us.

LETTERMAN SHOW POSTING YOUTUBER MANGOFACE247

Posted by Billyjam, January 24, 2008 01:20pm | Post a Comment
letterman
If you go on YouTube and do a search under the Late Show with David Letterman, odds are that within the first few results netted in your seach will be a clip of the Letterman show posted by active YouTube member MangoFace247. One of several YouTube members who religiously post Letterman clips, MangoFace247 has been a member since last July when he began posting clips with the Letterman show as his specialty. Since then he has posted over 220 clips, an average of one a day, selectively choosing Letterman monologue, interview, and live performance clips to post on YouTube, which he will usually do within hours or by the following day of the actual TV broadcast. 

But it was one particular Letterman posting that catapulted MangoFace247 to fame (in YouTube land)  when on September 28th, 2007 he uploaded the Paris HIlton interview where Letterman grilled the pouting heiress on her jail stint (which she clearly did not wish to discuss). This clip (below), which he had posted on YouTube even before CBS, created a buzz and ended up getting well over four million hits-- even more than the original broadcast itself. (Note that on average Letterman TV broadcasts get 3.6 million viewparis hilton on lettermaners nightly.)

It also made MangoFace247 an instant YouTube celebrity. His name was linked to Paris Hilton's and he was mentioned in gossip columns in papers like the New York Post. I recently caught up with the anonymous "Mango" (who likes to remain incognito but did say that he lives in LA and works in the music business, and also that he sells T-shirts online) via YouTube messages and email to interview him for the Amoeblog.

Orgone - Live Friday night at Elbo Room

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 23, 2008 07:41pm | Post a Comment

LA's Orgone, easily one of the funkiest up-and-coming combos around, have received a fair share of publicity lately, enjoying comparisons to hot modern funk acts such as Sharon Jones and Amy Winehouse.

While the band is clearly rooted at the backbone of the modern funk sound, what makes Orgone's sound unique is that it draws as much from disco and afro-beat as it does from Memphis soul and New Orleans funk.


The results definitely shine through on their monstrous full length debut on Ubiquity Records, The Killion Floor. The album contains a solid collection of heavy hitting, organic soul grooves, including a stellar version of "Funky Nassau" and a killer cover of Isaac Hayes' "Do Your Thing," which feature the sultry vocals of Fanny Franklin.

Orgone's reputation has been growing steadily, as evident on their impressive resume that includes touring as the backing band for The Pharcyde and Plantlife, and backing the legendary Eddie Bo at the Hurricane Katrina benefit. Some of the band members have also performed and recorded with such acts as Breakestra, Dakah (the 30-piece hip hop orchestra), as well as The Lions and Connie Price.

Cool As Ice at the New Beverly Cinema

Posted by phil blankenship, January 23, 2008 05:43pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship are proud to present some of our film favorites at Los Angeles’ last full-time revival movie theater. See movies the way they're meant to be seen - on the big screen and with an audience!


Saturday Jan. 26

Vanilla Ice is...

Cool As Ice

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


Upcoming:
Feb 2 Jaws 2 (30th Anniversary!)
Feb 9 Dirty Dancing
Feb 23 Commando
Mar 15 Can't Hardly Wait (10th Anniversary!)

Star Crystal

Posted by phil blankenship, January 23, 2008 02:34pm | Post a Comment
 





New World Video 8610

Stevie Knows Best

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 23, 2008 12:30pm | Post a Comment




"Don't Drive Drunk"

He and his wife have had problems
That he's played off like nothing's wrong
'Til he comes home from work early
Just to find the girl is gone
Oh but he gets into the cupboard
Picks out that bottle of gin
Drinks like there's no tomorrow
And decides to take a spin

No don't drive drunk
Don't drive drunk, no
Don't drive drunk
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers are mad

Teenager at a live party
Says, "give me one for the road"
But he's already so inebriated
If you lit a smoke he'd explode
But bartender says, "I don't think so"
Young one says, "I can deal"
Staggering out he says, "check you all later"
But I really don't think he will

No don't drive drunk
Don't drive drunk, no
Don't drive drunk
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers are mad
[Repeat]

[Background]
Don't drive drunk
d-d-d don't drive drunk
Don't drive drunk
Hicup
[repeat]

Boy out with girl on their first date
Gets pulled over by the law
Officer says, "hey can't you drive straight
Or have you been drinking alcohol?"
Boy says, "man are you crazy?"
Cop says, "hey then walk this line"
But results from the breathalizer
Proves he's charged with D.U.I.

No don't drive drunk
Don't drive drunk, no
Don't drive drunk
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers are mad
[Repeat]

[Background]
Don't drive drunk
d-d-d don't drive drunk
Don't drive drunk
Hicup
[repeat]


So someone smashed into & totalled my parked Geo Friday morning.  A Half consumed case of Tecate was left in the backseat!

Listen to Stevie, Don't Drive Drunk...


IN CELEBRATION OF THE DRUM: PART SIX, TWO DRUMMER BANDS

Posted by Billyjam, January 23, 2008 09:00am | Post a Comment

Q: In a rock band what could be better than hearing the drummer banging out a killer rhythm?
A: How about two drummers?

Most popular with groups formed in the seventies, the phenomenon of bands with two drummers -- each with their own full drum kits set up live and/or in recording sessions -- have included the Allman Brothers with drummers Jai Johany Johansen & Butch Trucks, the Doobie Brothers, the Grateful Dead with Mickey Hart & Bill Kruetzman, .38 Special, the Outlaws, Genesis (post Peter Gabriel as in the above clip from 1976 with dual percussionists Bill Buford and a bearded/pre vocal pop sensation Phil Collins), (for part of their career) space rockers Hawkwind, King Crimson (in the nineties), Foreigner, Yes, Adam & the Ants, and the more contemporary rock group Modest Mouse. Note that some of these only occasionally/sporadically utilize the two drummer set up.
               













The advantage of having two drummers varies depending on who you ask. In fact, many believe that it is just plain unnecessary -- that if one drummer is good enough, that he/she can do an adequate job alone. There are many reasons to utilize two drummers, including that together two drummers can create a more full big beat sound and groove, that they can switch up types of drums each play, and that together they can really speed up the tempo.

Heath Ledger

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 23, 2008 08:27am | Post a Comment
I can't even bring myself to post a picture here.  Tragedy and anguish for his family, senseless bewilderment for all who looked to him with respect to his talent and potential.  Confusing and inexplicable, especially to a 2 year old, who hasn't just lost her dad, but has to grow up in a world as cold and cruel as this one:

the papers:

Outside the Manhattan building on an upscale street, paparazzi and gawkers gathered, and several police officers put up barricades to control the crowd of about 300. Onlookers craned their necks as officers brought out a black bodybag on a gurney, took it across the sidewalk and put it into a medical examiner's office van.

As the door opened, bystanders snapped pictures with camera phones, rolled video and said, "He's coming out!"    (AP)


What is this? Who are we, and how dare any of us lay claim to be living in a civilized world? It has all gone so far past decency for me, that I can't imagine our society ever finding it's way back to common decency. I'm a fool to ever think anything else about this place. If there had been camera phones when M. Monroe died, the same situation would have unfolded. Years after I am gone, the same ugliness will happen. I never had humanity on a pedestal, but I certainly thought we were much better than yelling barbarians with cell phones taking pictures of a young father being taken out in a bodybag.

Something has gone terribly wrong with Evolution - in fact, for those like Presidential hopeful Huckabee, things are even more disturbing if you can call this Creationism. It matters not one bit how you look at how we got here: what matters is that there is something terribly, awfully wrong with how we have turned out.

                                                   - The Insomniac, still not sleeping

Deadly Obsession

Posted by phil blankenship, January 22, 2008 05:22pm | Post a Comment
 





Republic Pictures Home Video 0975

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 22, 2008 11:55am | Post a Comment
Aaaaw, that ever delightful Foghorn Leghorn imitator has gone bowed out of the race.  Maybe he'll go back to this gig, leading the "Guadalajara National Philharmonic".  This label is out of San Diego, I didn't know that Fred was my homie.  He should grow the moustache back...



IN CELEBRATION OF THE DRUM: PART FIVE, THE ROOT OF ALL MUSIC:

Posted by Billyjam, January 22, 2008 07:52am | Post a Comment

To me, the drum or percussion is the basis of all music. I believe that the drum has to have been the original instrument played by our earliest forefathers on this earth. All they needed was a stick and some (preferably hollow) object to bang out a rhythm on. In fact, they didn't even need that when they had their mouths to make percussive sounds with, a la Biz Markie.

In fact, I would bet money that at the beginning of human life on this earth -- long, long, long before hip-hop was born in the Boogie Down Bronx there were some cavemen in a circle (who couldn't even articulate words to communicate with one another) making music with their mouths, primitive beat-boxing.

And to this day there is some distinctive quality about the drum that is automatically universally communicative, not to mention healing. Everyone  understands and feels the drum, even if they don't speak each others' language. That is why, I believe, house or electronic music, which is typically vocal-less and based on rhythm, is the most popular (even over hip-hop) on a global scale. People of all races and backgrounds can readily relate to the hypnotic, tribal feel of the drum. For proof, go sit in or nearby a drum circle in any place in the world.

So for this fifth installment in the ongoing In Celebration of the Drum Amoeblog series, I say let the drummer get wicked, well wicked -- in the form of these three great video clips including the French beatboxer Joseph, the Japanese drummers whose formal attire should not fool you into thinking they can't get funky, and the wonderful American marching band, hip-hop drummers in the clip on top of this Amoeblog.

Stories Of A Young Gomez, Pt. 1 - How Prince & Funkadelic Rocked A Young Mind

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 22, 2008 01:17am | Post a Comment

It was 1982. I was on a school bus with my classmates, coming back from a field trip. We went to one of those historical Spanish ranches that were built when California was still Mexico (or Aztlán, if you swing that way). I was in a haze, staring out the window when my classmate, Krystal, yells out to me, “Hey, have you heard the new Prince yet?” She threw me her cassette Walkman and I pressed play.

“Don’t worry, I won't hurt you. I only want you to have some fun…”

I knew "Little Red Corvette;" it was all over the radio. But by the time I got to "Lady Cab Driver" I was a full-blown fan and 1999 was my Sgt. Pepper. It took me months to figure out that this was the same Vato that sang "Wanna Be Your Lover" a few years back.

Orale! I always thought it was a woman who sang that song!

A few weeks later, my cousin Diana had a party in Buena Park. She had a pretty big record collection. I managed to ignore all the other records and went straight to 1999. As soon as the needle hit the wax, Diana’s boyfriend, Larry, was like, “Aw hell no, Prince again?’ At that moment I remember hating Larry. Like most kids, I held every discovery sacred and I thought I knew more than everyone. Larry looked at me like he knew what I was thinking. “You want to hear where Prince got all that from?’ He went to the record collection and pulled out Funkadelic’s One Nation Under A Groove and Uncle Jam Wants You. He played each album consecutively, side a, side b, side a, side b. All those songs, "Who Says A Funk Band Can't Play Rock?!," "Cholly (Funk Gettin' Ready To Roll), "One Nation Under A Groove," "(Not Just) Knee Deep Pt.1," "Freak Of The Week." I stood staring at the speakers, digesting every song, every note, every deep bass note, every keyboard bend, every guitar solo and vocal harmony. It was as if I was trippin', way before I knew how that felt.

Once again my little world was rocked.
(To be continued...)

Soundtrack of Shame

Posted by Job O Brother, January 21, 2008 10:47pm | Post a Comment

Hello again!

This is Job, emerging, not only from the illness you last read about, but also a grueling work week. I had a deadline for a TV project. I’ve alluded to this in the past, though only vaguely, which is how it must remain until things are (if they are) finalized. Sufficed to say that this blog is not my only writing project, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t suffering in attention as a result of the other.

Someday, when you’re older, your mommy and I will sit you down and explain everything.

In my last entry, I wanted to list some songs that were guilty pleasures. I'm gonna go ahead with that now, much to the dismay of the part of my ego in charge of making sure people like me.

My criteria has met the following stipulations:

1) I must be able to find a YouTube clip for you, so you can actually hear/see the song for yourself.
2) I must be GENUINELY EMBARRASSED that I like the song. No typical, cop-out Madonna songs and no hits by Boston or Journey (you know the ones) - that is, no things that are ridiculous, yet everyone loves. It must be a song that I enjoy when I'm alone and no one's looking, and I have second thoughts about posting on my blog.

Why am I doing this? I don't know. I think I'm being kind of mean to myself, frankly, but I can't afford a therapist to help me figure out why. Maybe I was really, really good in a past life and this is my way of correcting things.

I'll post one song every day until... well, until I stop.

Please, don't judge me. Or if you do judge me, wait until my back is turned. When we're face-to-face, pretend that you respect me - I'm naïve and will probably never catch on. Plus, that way you keep me as a viable option for borrowing money from, if the need should arise later.

To kick things off, here's a song from my LEAST FAVORITE MOVIE EVER MADE, "Pete's Dragon." This movie makes me seriously angry. I'm getting a riled now, just thinking about it. What better song to start this list than it's (literal) torch ballad, as sung by Helen Reddy? I love this song, and I HATE that I love this song. Not only is it from my least favorite movie of all time, it's unforgivably cheesy. Check out this clip - it looks like a music video from some alternate reality where Lawrence Welk gained control of MTV...

I'll Kill You... I'll Bury You... I'll Spit on Your Grave Too!

Posted by phil blankenship, January 21, 2008 04:34pm | Post a Comment
 





PIF Films International


Yes, that really is the title.

TV Shows On DVD

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 21, 2008 08:07am | Post a Comment
There are so many shows still not on DVD. For years there was a daily chorus of "Where's Martin!?" or, sometimes, "Where's Mar' in!?" So, as a DVD guy who's supposed to have the answer to all of life's most pressing questions, I went searching for answers. I found a website devoted to TV shows on DVD. It's called TVshowsondvd.com. If you sign up, they'll let you know ages before anyone else when a show is coming out. That's how I knew about Newhart way before any of the more reputable blogs.

So, sign up at www.tvshowsondvd.com and start crying out for your shows. With the never-ending writer's strike, now seems like a good time to start laying those golden eggs of yesteryear. Here are a few I've been pining for for a while now.



Highway Man
debuted in 1988 on NBC. It had a truck with a built in helicopter. I like the way both the travel of distance and time are conveyed in the credits by the passing of hitch-hiking skeletons and road signs. And, you may recognize co-star Tim Russ as Tuvok Shakur from STV (or Star Trek Voyager).



Max Headroom from Channel 4 was amazing. If you didn't watch it you probably think of Max Headroom as a shill for Coca Cola and little more. But this show from 1987 was much more. It made me want to be a (bigger) computer nerd. Suddenly, playing Sabotage on my Apple ][e wasn't enough. I needed to surround myself with wires and screens. And I "fancied" Amanda Pays to use a Britishism (you know, how real critics do when they're writing about British stuff).

Last Goodbye

Posted by Miss Ess, January 21, 2008 02:20am | Post a Comment


Since I just wrote about Live, I was inspired check out another video from around the same time period I also remember loving:  Jeff Buckley's "Last Goodbye."

Sadly, I can't embed it, but check out the video here if you are wanting to indulge in a little early 90s nostalgia.

Oddly enough, upon viewing it fits right in with today's fashions and look!  There's flannel, scraggly good looking tortured boys, wolf/lightening/nature imagery!  What goes around comes around I guess.  Pretty incredible.

Still think it's a great song.

Just thought I would share.

Live - Time For A Little Trip Down Memory Lane

Posted by Miss Ess, January 21, 2008 01:03am | Post a Comment
When I was in high school, I was really into sincerity.  I mean, I'm still into sincerity now, don't get me wrong, but in high school I desperately clung to sincerity with the intense fervor of youth.  I think it was a natural reaction to navigating lockered halls at 15.

It made sense, then, that when popping a cd into my sound system, I pretty much only listened to sincere bands.  Bands that were serious about their music and their message. 


These dudes are intense.

So it follows that I really liked the band Live.  Remember "Lightening Crashes" and "I Alone"?  Their big album was their second, Throwing Copper.  They bled sincerity and seriousness to me back when it meant the most to me, in those teenage years.

Times were simpler then.

Basically, when I think back, my enjoyment of Live taught me about musical obsession, about the intricacies and excitement that come along with absorbing one's self in a particular band.  They weren't the first band I was acutely taken by, but they did hit me hard at the time, I have to say.  I knew and analyzed every track on that album.  I was intrigued by the energy and earnestness of the band.  I learned about the transcendent quality of music, sitting in my bedroom with the sound pumping.  At the time I thought Live were trying to uphold the values I held dear:  connection, truth, and all that kind of thing. (Soooooo high school! And sooooooo serious!)  I read every article I could find about them and sought out information about the authors and ideas they wrote about in their songs.  Everything they did seemed so fraught with meaning.

Because the vast majority of the bands I was obsessed with in high school were from the 60s, Live was one of the only groups I could feasibly see perform.  Once someone I knew had their drivers license, a gaggle of friends and I piled into their car and were off to the Warfield.  I recall pretending to be more seasoned at show-going than I was, since attending was my idea and all.  I was horrified when I was stopped by security at the door for trying to bring in a whole box of Strawberry Newtons of all things. (No joke! and NO idea why I tried to bring those in.)  Oh, sweet youth!

I taped Live Unplugged when it aired on MTV and would watch it constantly.  I remember eagerly putting it on for the umpteenth time with some new friends, gauging their all-important sincerity by their reaction to the tape.  My friend Vicky's only comment was that lead singer Ed Kowalczyk had "caterpillar eyebrows."  After that comment, those brows were all I could ever see on poor Ed's face.  Guess I had never thought about it before.  It became a little harder to be so serious.

Their third album, Secret Samadhi, failed to really pique my interest but I tried to like it, I really did.  Some of the lyrics made me cringe.  The songs felt overwrought.  Also, my focus became more and more divided into a bunch of other bands, and Live slipped away into a faded memory.  I haven't heard it in a million years, but I bet if I put on Throwing Copper today I could capture the exact feeling I had about 14 years ago, standing on the old track at practice, spiked feet crunching in the dust, learning to jump hurdles and singing every word to the song "Shit Town" with my other Live-loving friends and having a grand old time.  Of course, just the title of that song kinda makes me cringe now.

But times were simpler back then.


If you want to see some seriously fierce poses by a bunch of straight, white, mid 90s rocker dudes, check out this old video for "I Alone"-- whew, that braided rat tail is intensely hawt!

What To Do on A Sunday Night in Los Angeles

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 21, 2008 12:46am | Post a Comment

"Gawd daamn!' I said to Richard, my co-worker and Amoeba Hip-Hop specialist, thinking I was Ice Cube for a moment. "This bar reminds me of...'
"The Short Stop," he replied.
"Yeah," I replied. "But when it was still a cop bar." By now the tequila in my drink hit me pretty hard.
"It's because it is the same owner...'' he answered, as my thoughts trailed. What was worse? A bar full of corrupt Rampart police or lame hipsters? To me, it's all the same.

Footie's was part of the hipster's exodus from the Silver Lake/Echo Park area and into Highland Park. The first steps occured at Mr. T's Bowl back in the early 90's, followed by such places as The Cave. The Cave is now a bar full of annoying 20-somethings that wish they lived in the 80's. The latest gentrified bar is The York, located on York near Ave 56. It is so tame and boring there that it might as well be located in Pasadena.

For all my shit-talking, I have to say I like Footsie's. It still retains some of that neighborhood hole-in-the wall appeal that it once had. DJ Ant, or
Antony Valadez, spins there every other Sunday night. He is one of L.A.'s many underrated DJ's. All the clubs know about him because he can flat out rock a club. In fact, The Little Temple has him on lock down every Friday, along with fellow Deejay Sloe Poke, for the very popular Resident Fridays. It's a mean pick-up spot if you are newly 21-years old. It's the night they play the commercial shit for the ADD generation...with a slight slant to throw them off, just a tad.

On Sundays, Antony gets to play whatever he wants. One minute he is on a Isley Brothers/Meters trip, then he is on a Sa-Ra/Bowie trip, followed by classic Hip-Hop and Reggae tracks. The genre breaking mix matches the crowd at the bar. Soon all the heads are bopping. The bartender dances with glee after every deep cut. Vato Locos, hipsters, bikers, Post Laker and Dodger game sport freaks, lost east coast girls who came to L.A. to find themselves and the Midwestern boys who love them, conjoin in one room.

I sit back and watch as all the stories unfold. Antony provides the soundtrack.

Footsie's
2640 N. Figueroa
Highland Park, Ca. 90065
323-221-6900


January 19, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, January 20, 2008 10:30pm | Post a Comment

Pattie Boyd - Harrison & Clapton's Former Wife Finally Speaks

Posted by Miss Ess, January 20, 2008 07:08pm | Post a Comment
At long last, Pattie Boyd has written a book!


I read it last weekend.  It's entitled Wonderful Tonight and it's quite a page turner.

You'll remember Pattie Boyd-- she's the beautiful blond who met George Harrison on the set of A Hard Day's Night and married him a few years later.  She lived the high life, literally, during the entire height of Beatlemania and beyond.  She and George discovered India and meditation together. Years after all that, Eric Clapton came a-calling, wrote "Layla" for her and soon she was Mrs. Clapton...until all that ended unhappily in divorce as well.

Her story is one that I have always wanted to know more about.  There are plenty of juicy details in this book!  Perhaps I was hoping for even more juice though, seeing as this woman lived through some of the most exciting musical times right in the vortex of the whole thing.  Her writing is a bit polite, a bit hesitant, but the book is still a good one, still highly readable.

Pattie Boyd grew up in Africa, and moved back to England when she was about 10 or so.  She ended up a model, working with Twiggy and for Vogue, among many other publications.  When she met George, she was swept away by his charm and fame.  (Who wouldn't have been?)   In the book she recounts their many years together with affection, but also notes that eventually a pattern emerged:  for a few months George would become so absorbed in his meditation and Eastern Thought that he would neglect everything around him, and then he would go completely the other direction and party so hard she lost respect for him.  Then he'd turn back to transcendental meditation again for a while, and so on.  During one of his party phases, he declared his love for Maureen Starkey, Ringo's wife, and Pattie had had quite enough. (Ringo was not pleased either.)

When Eric Clapton began writing her fiery love letters, she found herself unable to resist him.  Unfortunately, despite the fact that he was very obviously a raging alcoholic, she moved in with him and quickly married him.  His relentless alcoholism kept her from ever knowing really who the real Clapton was.

It is interesting that she reports that her main regret in life is not standing up for herself in her first marriage.  She feels she should never have left George.  [I read an interview with Clapton recently where he also says his regret is messing with the Harrison marriage.]  Also, not being able to have children has haunted her all her life, and she writes extensively about her anguish over being childless.

Boyd seems to have lost herself continually in her relationships.  She played the part of the dutiful wife, although she was in the midst of the 60s/70s feminist movements.  Seeing as she was married to two gale force personalities who lived quite draining and drug/drink addled lives, she wanted to steady the boat.  She aimed to please, to hang on to her man at all costs.  She paid a price for this, as she ended up twice divorced and having to pick up the pieces and discover who she truly is in her 50s.  Her life story shows how easy it is to continue making the same mistake (in her case, marrying attractive, successful, highly addicted musicians) until one finally learns the err of her enabling ways.  The addiction is what ultimately corroded her relationships.

The most  compelling portions of the book for me were when she describes The Beatles' stay in India with the Maharishi and when Eric's young son (by another woman-- this portion of the book is kind of agonizing), Connor, dies.

Despite the fact that sometimes I felt this must be the PG-13 version of what her life actually entailed, I enjoyed reading the book.  Pattie comes across as a shy, intimidated girl who literally got lucky and rode this luck all her life.  Who can really blame her? She's still likable, and she has intimate knowledge of two of the most celebrated musicians of all time, which at last she has been kind enough to share (

40Love hits the Amoeba SF stage

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 20, 2008 06:10pm | Post a Comment

The San Francisco Amoeba’s first in-store performance of 2008 - and what better way to set off the new year than with a live hip hop show?! (LIVE indeed…) It was just before six p.m. as I stood stage-side awaiting San Francisco based crew, 40Love’s set in support of their debut, full-length release: Advantage. This was my second opportunity to see them in action as my first, only a week prior, was to a packed house a the popular Milk Bar where they opened up for a duo of heavy-hitting out-of-towners. 

(Impressive…)

 


Soon after a quick opening set from SF natives, Dregs One and his crew, GMC, 40Love’s DJ Whooligan, local favorite and former Amoeboid… much love, stepped up to the 1’s & 2’s rockin’ a fat gold chain, which immediately etched a wide smile across my face. One by one the 40Love crew was introduced to the stage and the steadily growing crowd applauded the home team. They set it off with a real banger, just as they should, and (emcee) G-Off hits the beat runnin’ with a polished flow that packs a punch and doesn’t let up ‘til the show’s over. In fact… They ALL do. Fellow emcee, Mikos, who also takes on  the task of production for the trio, equally held his own on the mic -- something that so many have tried and failed at in hip hop. (Don’t front!)

Songs About Immigration, Pt. 4 - Calle 13-Pa'l Norte

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 20, 2008 12:59am | Post a Comment

Unas piernas que respiran… veneno de serpiente… por el camino del viento… voy soplando agua ardiente

El día a día ha comenzado entusiasmado y alegre

dice… Pasaporte

Tengo tu antídoto… Pal’ que no tiene identidad
Somos idénticos… Pal’ que llegó sin avisar
Tengo tu antílico… Para los que ya no están para los que estás y los que vienen (x2)

Un nómada sin rumbo la energía negativa yo la derrumbo
Con mis pezuñas de cordero me propuse recorrer el continente entero
Sin brújula, sin tiempo, sin agenda…
¿? Por las leyendas
Con historias empaquetadas en lata, con los cuentos que la luna relata aprendí a caminar sin mapa…
A irme de caminata sin comodidades, sin lujo… protegido por los santos y los brujos…
Aprendí a escribir carbonerías en mi libreta y con un mismo idioma sacudir todo el planeta…
Aprendí que mi pueblo todavía reza porque las “fucking” autoridades y la puta realeza… todavía se mueven por debajo’ e la mesa… aprendí a tragarme la depresión con cerveza…
Mis patronos yo lo escupo desde las montañas y con mi propia saliva enveneno su champaña…
Enveneno su champaña…

Sigo tomando ron…

 En tu sonrisa yo veo una guerrilla, una aventura un movimiento…
Tu lenguaje, tu acento… Yo quiero descubrir lo que ya estaba descubierto…
Ser un emigrante ese es mi deporte…
Hoy me voy pal’ norte sin pasaporte, sin transporte… a pie, con las patas… pero no importa este hombre se hidrata con lo que retratan mis pupilas…
Cargo con un par de paisajes en mi mochila, cargo con vitamina de clorofila, cargo con un rosario que me vigila… suelo con cruzar el meridiano, resbalando por las cuerdas del cuatro de Aureliano…
Y llegarle tempranito temprano a la orilla…por el desierto con los pies a la parrilla…
Por debajo de la tierra como las ardillas, yo vo’a cruzar la muralla… yo soy un intruso con identidad de recluso… y por eso me convierto en buzo… y buceo por debajo de la tierra…
Pa’ que no me vean los guardias y los perros no me huelan… abuela no se preocupe que en mi cuello cuelga la virgen de la Guadalupe…

Oye para todos los emigrantes del mundo entero… allá va eso…

Hip-Hop 101 - Test Your Knowledge Of Hip-Hop Self

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 20, 2008 12:12am | Post a Comment
Match the following artists with the graphs below. Thanks to jamphat.com for the graphs.

Dr. Dre
Unk
2Pac
The Geto Boys
Souls Of Mischief
Rick Ross
Ice Cube
Naughty By Nature


The People That Time Forgot

Posted by phil blankenship, January 19, 2008 04:26pm | Post a Comment
 





Embassy Home Entertainment 1701

ANGRY AMOEBLOGGER RANTS ON BUSH, PUNK, AND THE 80's

Posted by Billyjam, January 19, 2008 11:00am | Post a Comment

Man! I miss the eighties. I miss the 1980's mainly for the music and the vibe surrounding it. Yes in-fuckin-deed!

Perhaps even more than the hip-hop of that decade (which I love to death), I miss the American punk rock of the 1980's even more.

I miss 80's US punk because the music was still fresh and vibrant and hard(core). It was when punk itself was still an ideal that hadn't been fully exploited yet, not some fuckin pre-packaged commodity hawked as a fashion accessory at the Hot Topic outlet down at the local strip mall USA. 

Back then punk zines from MRR all the way down to every small but passionately put together two-page Xeroxed, circulation of ten had balls. And near everything related to punk, from zines to album covers to concert fliers and of course the music/lyrics itself, had a strong scent of political activism. And the one thing that seemed to cement everything together? The president at the time: Ronald Reagan. 

If you've forgotten who Reagan was, let me refresh your memory. He was a former governor of California who made some bad decisions but still became president of the USA. Reagan was (like George W. Bush) a Republican and (also like Bush) someone that folks liked to mock and imitate and disdain. He liked jellybeans. He asked "where's the beef?" and (like Bush) was the puppet of corrupt big business powers behind the scenes. 

And at that time it seemed every punk rock group had a song or album or show flier about Reagan. I thought of this when I went crate-digging in my punk section this morning and dug up my copy of the great Alternative Tentacles compilation Let Them Eat Jellybeans and also an album by the great former band Reagan Youth -- just two examples of punk releases fueled by their contempt towards the then-president of the USA.
reagan youth
Reagan Youth, which was formed in Queens, NY by Dave "Insurgent" Rubinstein and Paul "Cripple" Bakija, used to play bills with the likes of the Dead Kennedys and Bad Brains (both on the Jellybeans comp on Jello Biafra's label).

The Butcher Rests

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 19, 2008 09:22am | Post a Comment

Allan Melvin passed away this week, and regardless of the headline - he was far more than Sam the Butcher: he also was beloved in The Phil Silvers Show, All In The Family, appearances on Gomer Pyle, The Andy Griffith Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show. A lot of folks who remember Magilla Gorilla don't even realized that Magilla was voiced by Mr. Melvin.

Nonetheless ...  to many he will always be remembered as the love interest of Alice (Nelson), the maid on The Brady Bunch - played by Ann B. Davis. In this day and age, how many of us even know the name of our local butcher ... heck, how many of us still eat meat?

It's an era passing by, and I pause here to stand solemnly as it slides by us in the night, never to return.

Our respects and condolences go out to his wife and family.


           

Somewhat Redundant

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 18, 2008 05:10pm | Post a Comment
Original album artwork, only smaller
















Obviously this was a very popular idea in the mid 80's, I would imagine that the idea was to make an album jacket design iconic by re-emphasizing a main theme from the original imagery...

Here's a bonus, alternate Janet sticker...

CORNELIUS' "BAD TASTE" IN MOVIES IS GOOD

Posted by Billyjam, January 18, 2008 07:31am | Post a Comment
cornelius
We all know that Planet of the Apes is musician/producer Cornelius' favorite movie since the Japanese artist, born Keigo Oyamada, chose his pseudonym in tribute to the character Cornelius from that movie. Not only that, but he also went so far as to  name his son Milo after Milo -- the son of Cornelius in Planet of the Apes. 

But the artist, whose current five-date US tour titled the Sensous Synchronized Show played at Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles last night and plays the Fillmore in San Francisco tonight (Friday 18th), has a lot of other favorite movies on his list -- maybe not all as close to his heart as Planet of the Apes is to him, but faves nonetheless.

So when yesterday I got the opportunity to interview him (via his translator) and ask a few questions, I had to ask-- what is another movie that he likes a lot? His reply? Something that would no doubt please Amoeblog's Phil Blankenship and other fans of horror and gore -- sprinkled with some humor. He named the 1987 New Zealand b-horror movie classic Bad Taste directed by (and also acting in the film in the role of Derek)  Peter Jackson -- who would later come to megafame as the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

HG Lewis Grindhouse Fest January 22

Posted by phil blankenship, January 17, 2008 12:03pm | Post a Comment
http://www.myspace.com/grindhouse

The Grindhouse Film Festival is presented by Brian Quinn and Eric Caidin at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles and features the screening of rare 35mm prints of cult and exploitation films from the 1960s through the 1980s, many of which have not been publicly shown since the drive-ins and inner city grindhouse theaters faded away twenty years ago. For one low price attendees get two rare films, a reel of rare exploitation trailers, a free raffle, and very often appearances by the directors, cast and crew of the films being shown.

Tuesday • January 22nd, 2008

NEW BEVERLY CINEMA
7165 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 938-4038
Admission: $8.00


7:30pm THE WIZARD OF GORE (1970)
Directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis

10:00pm SCUM OF THE EARTH (1963)
Directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis

See Herschell Gordon Lewis' original GORE Classic in 35mm!
Plus, Biker Babes & Hellcats of the Road!

BAY AREA HIP-HOP TRIO 40LOVE BRING UNIQUE SOUND TO AMOEBA

Posted by Billyjam, January 17, 2008 10:34am | Post a Comment

Tomorrow, Friday, Jan 18th @ 6PM at Amoeba Music, San Francisco -- the promising new Bay Area hip-hop trio 40Love, who recently dropped their strong & well-rounded debut album Advantage, will be performing as part of Amoeba's Homegrown in-store series.

I recently caught up with emcee G-off from the group, who also works at Amoeba Music on Haight Street in addition to putting in time across town at the A&R department of San Francisco's OM Records, to ask help introduce the uninitiated to 40Love.
 
AMOEBLOG
: Can you give a brief history of your group for those who don't know?

G-OFF: 40Love is a hip hop group from San Francisco which features emcee/vocalist Haze, producer & emcee MIkos, and myself, an emcee, G-off. Our first album Advantage features Jern Eye of Lunar Heights, The Genie, plus Malik of Aquarius and HBO Def Jam Poetry. In early 2007 we were signed to a two year deal with DJ Qbert's manager and even had a track with DJ Qbert on the album. However, because we are 19 and new to the industry, they wanted us to hold back on the release of the album to a later date. This resulted in us opting out of our contract to follow the infamous Bay Area tradition of being completely independent artists.

A Great American Next-Door Neighbor: Mr. Conservative, Goldwater on Goldwater (2006)

Posted by Charles Reece, January 16, 2008 02:57pm | Post a Comment
Now, I'm liberal, but to a degree
I want ev'rybody to be free
But if you think that I'll let Barry Goldwater
Move in next door and marry my daughter
You must think I'm crazy!
I wouldn't let him do it for all the farms in Cuba.
-- Bob Dylan, I Shall Be Free, No. 10
Back when I was living in Detroit, I had a philosopher friend who was as smart as they come, but as bugfuck crazy a right-winger as they come (well, the right-wing can get pretty goddamn insane, so maybe I exaggerate a bit for rhetorical effect, but he was a good deal nutty, regardless).  He was an atheist with a militant libertarian streak whose silver tongue could convince you of the rational basis for just about any right-wing position if you didn't have every 't' crossed and 'i' dotted in your own arguments.  Over drinks, we'd see who could one-up each other in our beliefs of how many freedoms a person should be permited.  I'll save our conclusions for the faint/pc of heart, but suffice it to say that his ideas for what should be socially permissible (at least, by law) might make the most ardent ACLU attorney blush.  On social issues, having his view in ascendancy in the political world would only make for what I would consider a much better society.  But, then again, he'd also proclaim his admiration for dipshits like Jesse Helms. 

To this day, I find it odd that such libertarians tend to side with right-wing extremists while holding civil views much more in line with my own.  I suppose it comes down to some radical belief in states' rights -- as if a state is any less bureaucratically unfair to its citizens than the federal government -- and seeing businesses as individuals possessing the same rights as, well, actual individuals.  That last belief tends to ignore the long history of businesses being prime real estate where those in power freely piss on the rights of those not in power.  The former tends to tie the more radicalized libertarians, at least, with certain egregious unreconstructed Southern apolegetics regarding the Civil War (as the recent brouhaha over Republican candidate, Ron Paul, demonstrates [1]).

My friend would always get a chuckle at my suggestion that I was, in fact, more libertarian than he, since I believe in using government for maximizing the freedom of individuals when the states or businesses don't see fit to grant individuals their inalienable rights.  Why, I wonder, isn't there a libertarian branch of the Democrats?  If libertarians can swallow all the anti-personal freedoms of the influential Christian Right in the Republican Party, why can't some swallow the anti-laissez faire tendencies of what is by now only a minority in the Democratic Party?  It's a telling sign of just what's ultimately the most important to the majority of socalled libertarians who, instead of "throwing their vote away" on the Libertarian candidates or having no such candidate to vote for, choose, like the rest of us, the lesser of two evils.  Only they tend to choose the more evil.  Unless, that is, we're talking about Barry "Mr. Conservative" Goldwater.

In her celebratory and loving, without being hagiographic, documentary of her grandpa, Barry, Julie Anderson provides multiple reasons why I wouldn't mind living next to the man or having him for a son-in-law:
  • If the Rockefeller-favoring press were expecting some mealy-mouthed acceptance speech from Goldwater at the '64 Republican convention, he didn't oblige.  Instead, he delivered his famous lines: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.  Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"  Granted, the devil is in the details, but them's words to live by, providing a worthy complement to Kris Kristofferson's "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."
  • In '86, Robert MacNeil went to interview the retiring Senator for one of those nostalgic puff pieces the media tend to do with politicians.  After concluding the interview and shutting down the camera, Goldwater asks MacNeil if he's going to ask him about the recent reports of the Reagan administration selling weapons to Iran.  MacNeil asks him what he has to say.  He replies, "it's the goddamnedest stupid foreign policy blunder this country has ever made."  With the camera turned back on, Goldwater is a bit more diplomatic, saying for the record, "it was a dreadful mistake; perhaps one of the major mistakes the United States has ever made in foreign policy."  This then turned into a question for a very surprised Reagan at a subsequent press conference by MacNeil's partner, Jim Lehrer, making him one of the first reporters to put the president on the spot for what turned out to be the Iran-Contra Affair.
  • With that thin tie, well-fitting dark suit and industrial iron jaw line underneath his slicked back hair and thick-framed glasses, Goldwater presented a visage which deserved to be on those beautiful Soviet propaganda posters.  Who wouldn't want to leave for work in an Oldsmobile with a face like Barry's watering his perfectly geometrical lawn and waving at you?  Just look at that dvd cover above; that's a suburb worth dying for, alright.


















  • Being deeply troubled by Watergate, legal counsel John Dean arranged a meeting with Goldwater over just what he should do in his testimony before the Senate, feeling some loyalty to President Nixon, while morally not wanting to lie for his boss.  Goldwater advised, "that SOB was always a liar, so go nail him."  The rest is history.
  • Although the supposedly Goldwater conservative, Ronald Reagan, was willing to applaud a theocrat like Rev. James Robison at a 1980 Evangelical conference as he went on about the perverts, liberals, leftists and communists "coming out of the closet" and how it's time for "God's people" to "come out the closet and change America," Goldwater himself wouldn't have any of it. He knew that it was nothing more than another attempt by some group using moralism as a facade for bureaucratic administration of our freedoms.  In reference to Jerry Falwell and his moral majority play for power, Goldwater said, "all good Christians should kick him in the ass."  With the examples of Ted Haggard and Cardinal Roger Mahony "coming out of the closet" by mixing religion with political power, any good Christian shouldn't have to look very far in his or her heart to know Barry was right.
  • After retiring from the Senate, Goldwater came to regret his past belief that homosexuals shouldn't be allowed in the military, realizing that such a position was a hypocritical contradiction of his conservative beliefs.  He wrote an op-ed piece entitled The Gay Ban: Just Plain Un-American, wherein he used quite familiar conservative rhetoric: "Government governs best when it governs least - and stays out of the impossible task of legislating morality. But legislating someone's version of morality is exactly what we do by perpetuating discrimination against gays."  Can you imagine our current Democratic frontrunners being that consistent in their philosophy, much less the Republicans?
  • Finally, he supported his daughter getting an abortion back in the 50s and continued supporting a woman's right to choose all the way up till his death.  This became most notable in his stalwart defense of Sandra Day O'Connor's nomination for the Supreme Court against all the conservative Christian backlash in the early 80s.  His view was that their horseshit should have no role in politics.
Besides his honesty, what's so admirable about him was the way he made a distinction between open ideological discourse and ideological politics.  He wanted to fly around the country with JFK in 1964 debating issues for the people to make up their mind on whom to vote for.  On the other hand, he recognized the rise of the socalled moral majority as an attempt to seize control over public discourse where one contingent wants to set into law how others have to act.  It's never enough for the right-wing Christians and like-minded ideologues to behave according to their own beliefs, you have to, as well.  That's not discourse, but a power grab.  It's what Goldwater opposed in communism and it's what he opposed here at home.  Our cultural property value went up when he moved in.

[1] James Kirchick, "Angry White Man" in The New Republic.  Since they don't seem to allow hyperlinks, here's the link for you to copy and paste:

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=e2f15397-a3c7-4720-ac15-4532a7da84ca

It's a good article.

Plutonium Baby

Posted by phil blankenship, January 16, 2008 11:54am | Post a Comment
 



Trans World Entertainmetn 0620

TEENS MORE TECH SAVVY THAN ADULTS & OTHER ONLINE TRENDS

Posted by Billyjam, January 16, 2008 09:25am | Post a Comment

As reported recently by the ever insightful Pew Internet & American Life Project who are constantly doing studies and surveys on the online activity of all age, economic, and societal groups, an estimated 64% of those ages 12 to 17 have created some form of online content -- which is much more than adults have. For example, when it comes to creating a blog, only an estimated 8% of adults have created one while 28% of teens have created a blog. 

And as more and more individuals, especially younger ones, get wired in 2008, this figure will undoubtedly go up. And regarding the gender breakdown of this teen online activity, the Pew Project has determined that teenage girls are much more likely than boys to create blogs, post items online,  or to have joined a social  networking group like Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook the word "facebook" (as a verb) came in second place in 2007, behind the online gaming word "w00t" as examples of technology-based words that have been appearing quite often in Merriam-Webster's annual "word of the year" list (see Whitmore's Amoeblog from recently for more on this topic). "Blog" was the word of the year in 2004, while "google" (as in the verb to google) came in second place in 2006. 

And speaking of  "to google," in the Pew Internet Project's recent Digital Footprints report they have determined that people searching for information about themselves online (googling their own name) has increased dramatically over the past five years, from 22% to 47%. The same study also reports that 74% of those who google themselves have only checked their search results once or twice.

The Seabiscuits

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 15, 2008 07:16pm | Post a Comment
  
It's award season, which can only mean one thing: It's time for the Amoeba's 5th annual Seabiscuits! Let me back up for a second. For those who have never worked at Amoeba, our jargon can sound (in my Mr. T voice) confusing, confounding and sometimes downright curious. As a customer, you may have found yourself being told by one of our helpful staff to "check the 'hat' adjacent to the 'blueline waterfall' while I go check 'Wally',"  leaving you scratching your buzzing noggin in psychedelic wonder. Well, one of those jargon words we use is "evergreen" which, somewhat counter-intuitively, refers to titles that will always be in demand (and not to titles that will only sell on "the Green Tag Island," where we exile bargain titles to.

When Seabiscuit came out on DVD, right before Christmas of 2003, there was an audible buzz (or "nicker," in horse language). It was released in widescreen and fullscreen, a sign of its broad appeal to both film-lovers and people who "don't like it when they cut the heads off with those black bars." Several films attached themselves like filmic remoras to Seabiscuit's celluloid whale shark, hoping to feed off of the crumbs of interest -- or maybe to be purchased by the confused and functionally illiterate. There was, as there often is, debate about whether or not the film would be an evergreen. It didn't prove to be ... But let's go merrily back in time to the early oughts, back to 2003. It was the year a second space shuttle blew up, SARS was discovered, Bush landed on a ship flying a banner reading "Mission Accomplished," the last vocho rolled off the assembly line in Mexico, Gary Ridgway (the Green River Killer) admitted to killing 48 women and Jacko was charged with being a chester (again). And in the dream factory the year of the Sheep proved, in fact, to be the year of the horse.



The Baltimore Sun's Michael Sragow wrote, insightfully, "Seabiscuit revives the sweeping pleasures of movies that address and respect the mass audience, raising the common denominator instead of pandering to it. This crowd-pleaser rouses honest and engulfing cheers."


The New York Post's Lou Lumenick waxed prophetically, "A thrilling, beautifully crafted, fact-based horse story that's not merely the summer's finest movie, but may well be the one to catch come Academy Awards time."


The Chicago Tribune's Michael Wilmington touted, over rising strings and brass, "A grand ride. Sleek, beautiful and packed with emotion, not too flashy but full of heart, this is a movie worthy of its unlikely yet glorious subject: Depression-era America's best-loved racehorse and the two races that made him a legend."

The Portland Oregonian's Shawn Levy echoed his anachronistic use of the word grand when he said, "This is grand, inspiring entertainment of a sort that Hollywood aspires to and rarely achieves. "

There were only a couple of dissenting votes in the Critics' Congress: party-pooper Jonathan Rosenbaum at the Chicago Reader, apparently crippled by cynicism wrote, "
Maybe the magic will work for those who loved the book, but I found this film stultifyingly self-important and, despite the regularity with which it cuts to the chase, weirdly static."
The Christian Science Monitor's David Sterritt cattily dismissed, "I found much of it as emotionally rigged as a crooked horse race. "

A couple years later, when Kentucky Derby champion Barbaro shattered a leg. The still-horse-loving world gasped and watched as the news gave daily updates on his condition. Of course, approximately 800 thoroughbreds die from racing-related accidents every year in the U.S. alone-- but they're not all champs, so who cares-- right? Barbaro was killed the next year, a martyr for the glamorous sport of horse racing.

 
Various horses making the ultimate sacrifice for our amusement

I never saw Seabiscuit. The previews made it look like a particularly hokey Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that you only have to suffer through if you're trying to justify paying for cable. But the Seabiscuits aren't about what movies I've seen and haven't. No-- they're a celebration of hype and hyperbole that makes people briefly go nuts over a movie (more often than not flaunting Oscars, plaudits and popularity) only to quietly retire to the bargain and clearance pastures a few months later, never again to arouse interest, lending to friends, or any possibility of viewings by those who didn't see the film during its brief, shining "moment."

Some highlights of past Seabiscuit Award Ceremonies...

In 2005, the Aviator earned five Academy Awards. A cottage industry of Howard Hughes-related documentaries popped up in its wake as a hungry public seemed insatiably starving for info on a guy obsessed with peas (what sane person isn't?), who built a plane that wouldn't fly and saved his urine in jars... sorry-- that's all I know about him.



I was wrong that year. I thought Crash, one of most-praised films (and the worst of the decade so far) was a sure thing, but it surprised me by remaining immensely popular thanks to an endless stream of concerned Europeans who for some reason think it's important to know what some deluded, preachy, contrived, laughable, paranoid, Westside fantasy imagines L.A. is like without even a hint of realism. The race ended up being a close one between the Aviator and Ray with the latter narrowly losing.

Last year, early Seabiscuit-watchers predicted The Da Vinci Code would win a Seabiscuit. It was from Ron Howard (who will get a lifetime achievement award if the Seabiscuit Academy has any sense). Everyone knows Beautiful Mind would've won a Seabiscuit if they'd been around back then. Anyway, we actually created a Da Vinci Code section at Amoeba for the innumerable documentaries released to cash in on the anticipation of hype expected to carry over from the inexplicably popular book. Interest exploded with anything having to do with secret societies like the Rosicrucians, Illuminati, Freemasons, Sororities and the Ramthan Cult (the people who defeated Atlantis and gave us What the Bleep Do We Know?) However, the movie arrived in theaters stillborn and generated, at best, indifferent shrugs from viewers who saw it and, at worst, indifferent shrugs that bordered on dislike.

This year, the special award, the Seabiscuit Tarzan Award, is being presented to Hollywood for giving us last year's Blood Diamond, Last King of Scotland, Catch a Fire, and the previous year's Constant Gardener. These insightful films from Hollywood showed us through the clear-sighted and compassionate blue eyes of Caucasians that morality on the Dark Continent is rarely... black and white. With lots of sweating and squinting performances from earnest, over-actors, viewers patted themselves on their collective back for caring about a continent which, despite not even having oil for us, gets people to wear GAP t-shirts showing their level of commitment and care. Well, not caring enough to bother watching a film actually made by Africans because, let's face it, they don't have any white celebrities now that Hollywood snagged Charlize Theron for our team.

The early buzz for next year's Seabiscuits is that the race for the special Seabiscuit Lawrence of Arabia award is going to be between In the Valley of Elah, Lamb For Lions, Rendition and Redacted. In these films, Hollywood reveals its courageous (though belated) enlistment in the War On the War On Terror in a way that makes understandable the mayhem in Mesopotamia for us simple-folk, by helpfully letting us peer into that scary, swarthy world with the clear-sighted, blue eyes of Caucasians actors.

So what DVD of 2008 will take home the Seabiscuit next year? My vote goes to Sweeney Todd. Defiantly loud, completely empty and bafflingly popular with both critics and audiences, it has a lot going for it. But it's not based on an Oprah-beloved book so it's hard to say.  I welcome your predictions! 

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Celebration of the Feast of the Ass

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 15, 2008 05:20pm | Post a Comment
January 15th is the Feast of the Ass, an ancient Roman pagan celebration to the Ass who saved the Goddess Vesta, Goddess of the sacred hearthfire. I present this gallery of asses as my humble offering ... who'd have thought Prince would be the prude of the bunch???



Is the Moontan model the same as the Yes model below???





Rush are the Kings of manbutt covers






Our final pieces come from a sports obscuro, the Jon Keyworth record.  Jon's lounge act opened for Sinatra back in the day, but he wasn't able to capitalize much beyond that ...The Keyster was a star RB for the Broncs. Nude models are all Denver Broncos. The Lp was on Aspen records. Insert Beavis & Butthead laughter here... 


 

Steroid abuse from baseball to ... music?

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 15, 2008 11:53am | Post a Comment
I'm reading today about how the District Attorney of Albany, N.Y., David Soares, is investigating allegations that 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige and "others" have been using steroids. (Thank you Digital Music News for the tip.)

Am I the only one who finds this to be absurd beyond comprehension?

Maybe I'm cynical, but hmmm ... they skipped right over the entire NFL (National Football League) in the 'steroid scandal.'

I have an idea! Here's the proud pigskin man of the NFL back in the early days:

 









- and here's a later shot of a steroids slammin NFL player:



....and they have skipped over every violent offender on their docket to go after soul singers? Rap dudes? Seriously?! Come in, american justice upholders! Come in! Are you there? Have you been abducted by Aliens? Should I expect Donald Sutherland to walk up and point at me now and make that horrible screaming noise?


Did someone slip some wacky juice into my cereal or is this a clear cut case of someone pathetically going after HEADLINES?

WHEN THE STALKER BECOMES THE STALKED

Posted by Billyjam, January 15, 2008 07:13am | Post a Comment

I must admit I felt a certain satisfaction when I read the report of current Britney Spears boy toy, paparazzo Adnan Ghalib, getting into a shoving match with the pestering paparazzi over the weekend while he and Spears were trying to get in a little peaceful shopping at a mall in Studio City. 

Reportedly Ghalib got into an angry shoving match and tempers flared as he tried to push back the menacing gang of shutterbugs that routinely shadow Spears' every move. And who cabritney spears adnan n blame him? Check out the video footage (scroll down below) of when the two went to a Rite Aid and the mob-like paparazzi descended upon them. It would be enough to drive anyone to some to some form of retaliation. 
 
Of course the obvious irony here is that for many years, until very, very recently, Ghalib himself was one of that very same gang of papparassholes (as Brad Pitt and certain other frustrated celebs have dubbed them) who make a living off of hounding Britney and other similarly high-profile celebrities.

But now that Ghalib has crossed that line from paparazzo to celebrity (or rather from stalker to the stalked), and he is finally getting a taste of his own medicine. Or maybe not. Maybe he is really enjoying the sudden celebrity status, although from watching videos like the one below of him and Brit being hounded by paparazzi I really couldn't see why if he indeed is.

Of course, why Britney couldn't just hire a temp for a couple of hours to run down to Rite Aid and pick up her Alka Seltzer for her is a valid question. It often seems that she and Paris Hilton and the many other celebrities that are constantly popping up in the tabloids put themselves in places and situations that are prone to paparazzi being present.   Meanwhile others -- Matt Damon comes to mind -- appear to make an effort to stay out of the paparazzi's radar since they live secluded lives away from LA, NY, Vegas and other such high-profile places. 

Hard Ticket To Hawaii

Posted by phil blankenship, January 14, 2008 11:13pm | Post a Comment
 









Lorimar Home Video 422

Mort Garson 1924 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, January 14, 2008 06:58pm | Post a Comment

Every once in while you realize certain names are always appearing in the credits of old albums, and it’s a constant surprise. I was always astounded by how often I’d find Mort Garson's name, and on some of the most unlikely records. From Doris Day to Mel Torme to Glen Campbell, and all those albums of nice soft-pop vocals from the likes of The Letterman or the Sandpipers or the Glenn Yarborough record of Rod McKuen covers. And you would usually find Mort Garson conducting or arranging those safe but somewhat innocuous collections of ‘pop hits of the day’ by the Hollyridge Strings or the Sunset Strings. And if you’re lucky enough to find it, you’d see Mort Garson provided background music to Laurence Harvey reading poetry on Atlantic. And why do I think it’s so odd? Because whenever I think of Mort Garson I think of the legendary pioneer in electronic music, and not the multi-faceted, in demand arranger and conductor.

Mort Garson, who also co-wrote the classic "Our Day Will Come," died this past January 4th of renal failure in San Francisco. He was 83. Born July 20, 1924, in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, Garson attended the Juilliard School of Music. He was a pianist and arranger with dance orchestras before serving in Special Services during World War II and before moving onto Los Angeles and the pop music world. But it was his work as a composer using the then novel Moog synthesizer on a series of albums in the late 1960s and '70s that is his lasting claim to fame, especially to record collectors and electronica enthusiasts. These albums, especially the 1967 exotica classic, and influential, The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds,  established his cult following. The Zodiac: Cosmic Sounds is one of the first electronic and psychedelic albums put out by Elektra Records.

Drenched in sitars, unusual percussion, twisted and tweaked guitar sounds, weird electronics and augmented by a narrator coolly reading each Astrological sign’s characteristics, the album comes with instructions written on the back in large purple letters: "Must be played in the dark". The first track is perhaps the best: “Aries - The Fire Fighter”, just too groovy, too dramatic! Garson’s following album, Electronic Hair Pieces, was based on the music from the hit Broadway musical and counter-cultural phenomenon Hair, the album featured liner notes written, by of all people, Tom Smothers of the Smothers Brothers. Other heavily collected and much sought after albums include the musical soundtrack, meant to accompany and enhance the reading of the book,The Sensuous Woman, by Z, and perhaps his oddest and most esoteric release, the 1976 album Plantasia, is a collection of music to help plants grow! In 1969 he recorded a 12-volume set for A&M Records Signs of the Zodiac, featuring one album for each astrological sign. He wrote the brilliant electronic album Black Mass under the pseudonym Lucifer, featuring once again the Moog synthesizer. Garson followed Black Mass with Ataraxia- The unexplained, electronic musical impressions of the occult, a collection intended to accompany meditations to a mantra of the listener's choice.

In addition to "Our Day Will Come", co-written with Bob Hilliard, which was performed by Ruby & the Romantics  and rose to No. 1 on national charts, (more recently covered by K.D. Lang), Garson also worked on film scores, such as Beware! The Blob and on theme songs for game shows including Gambit, The Magnificent Marble Machine and Baffle. In 1975 Garson composed the music for Mel Brooks' and Carl Reiner's animated television special The 2000 Year Old Man, and later on The Untamed World documentary series, plus he provide incidental music for many of the National Geographic Specials. Mort Garson's is survived by his life partner, Florence; a daughter and a grandson.

Pacifying the Inner Man-Child: New Study on Violent Film Effects

Posted by Charles Reece, January 14, 2008 11:40am | Post a Comment
In the short run, if you take away violent movies, you’re going to increase violent crime.   -- Gordon Dahl

+    


= 

Entering into the contentious world of media effects, economists Gordon Dahl and Stefano DellaVigna have found, contrary to the typical social psychological paradigm, that violent crime rates actually dropped during the periods when popular violent movies were released.  Like the majority of economists, they apply the assumption of rational choice theory to movie viewing where the violent-movie audience chooses it over other possibilities, such as going to a bar and getting drunk, slamming their long-necks into someone else's face and/or mauling his girlfriend.  The researchers note that it's not only during the opening weekend that the crime rate drops, but there's no compensatory rise in the following weeks.  In other words, a true reduction of crime occurs (within the short-term sense).

Having had to wade through a bunch of articles on violent media effects in my social psychology classes back in school and as a fairly non-aggressive guy raised on Bronson and Eastwood flicks (thanks, Dad, God rest your soul), I'm pretty skeptical of what's passed for the established consensus of social psychology.  The majority of it tends to rest on fairly artificial procedures where children (as the subjects typically are) watch stuff like Road Runner cartoons or the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and then act out what they saw in playtime situations.  Just as kids who pretend to cook Play-Doh aren't by that act alone likely to have a propensity for being great chefs, these subjects don't seem any more likely to be really violent adults.  And, in fact, the longitudinal studies of long-term effects of violent media are the least consistent  (statistically reliable) aspect of the media-effects paradigm.  I shot a lot of Indians and massacred even more aliens as a child, but I'm about as far from being sympathetic to our imperialist past as one can get, nor would my first inclination upon being visited by beings from another planet be "get the nukes." 

Anyway, Dahl is quick to state that his and DellaVigna's findings don't contradict the consensus, but comment on a facet not dealt with by the psychologists.  As the Times article notes, Dahl is a Mormon, which despite that sect's own violent history, seems to be a way of softening the reception of what many might consider a contradiction to commonsense.  He doesn't let his own kids see violent movies, "professing discomfort with SCHINDLER'S LIST."   How could it be that anyone might find social benefits to violent films without being a blood-thirsty overly intellecual academic?

What I find most fascinating about this result is that it suggests a link between aesthetic views and the choices people make.  The demographic most likely to commit violent acts is young men (I suspect with an unhealthy amount of machismo and little intellectual predilection), which also forms the core audience of much of the popular junk at the local multiplex.  It's not likely violent adults were the ones  raised on the violently sexual transgressive literature of a Bataille or a De Sade (those would be the effete intellectuals with a taste for the naughty).   That would require the effort of not only reading, but finding art not heavily promoted by media conglomerates in this country. Nor is it likely that violent films like I STAND ALONE or AUDITION would have the same distractive effect of TRANSPORTER, since they have subtitles and too much talking between the violent acts.   As Dahl notes, the findings aren't even about movie violence per se, but about any type of film or social activity that captures the attention of the violent young male.  It could be an Adam Sandler comedy, which shares the same target audience as the popular violent films the researchers looked at.  In other words, dumb mass culture keeps the dumb from doing other dumb things which might harm the less dumb.  Break the cycle and raise your  kids with good art, I say.  Stupidity is its own raison d'etre.



   

Robot Love: When Love and Sex with Robots is Commonplace

Posted by Billyjam, January 14, 2008 11:00am | Post a Comment
terminator
In the weeks leading up to the debut last night (Jan 13th) of the new Fox TV show Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles much of its national outdoor advertising campaign (bus-stop and billboard posters) featured the poster (shown left) of the show's attractive actress Summer Glau who plays the half-woman/half-robot terminator unit Cameron Phillips sent to protect John Connor -- Sarah's son.

No doubt this image of a sexy woman who is really a robot will fuel discussion or at least fantasies (especially with lusty hetero males) on the popular, recurring Sci-Fi theme of the possibility of humans having relationships with human-like robots.

But really, just how likely is a time when humans will have sexual or loving relationships with lifelike female, male, or transgender robots? Well, according to David Levy, an expert in robots and artificial intelligence, a time when humans will routinely be having sex with robots is actually only about forty years into the future.

Levy is the author of Robots Unlimited, published in 2005, and more recently the provocative book Love + Sex With Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships, which was just published by Harper Collins. He asserts that such technological advances are just around the corner and that they will be not considered weird but, he believes, generally be very warmly accepted.

HIGH ON FIRE

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 14, 2008 10:13am | Post a Comment
HIGH ON FIRE, North American Tour:

January 17 Santa Cruz, CA Veterans Hall (also w/ ARCHONS)
January 18 San Jose, CA Blank Club (also w/ ARCHONS)
January 19 Pomona, CA The Glass House (w/ ARCHONS)
January 20 Tucson, AZ Plush (also w/ ARCHONS)
January 22 Lubbock, TX Jake's Backroom (also w/ RWAKE)
January 23 Corpus Christi, TX The Compound (also w/ RWAKE)
January 24 Denton, TX Rubber Gloves (also w/ RWAKE)
January 25 Little Rock, AR Revolution Music Room (also w/ RWAKE)
January 26 Memphis, TN Hi Tone (also w/ RWAKE)
January 27 Nashville, TN Exit/In (also w/ RWAKE)
January 29 Birmingham, AL Bottle Tree (also w/ RWAKE)
January 30 Atlanta, GA E.A.R.L (also w/ RWAKE)
January 31 Orlando, FL Back Booth (also w/ RWAKE)
February 1 Miami, FL Churchhill's (also w/ RWAKE)
February 2 Tampa, FL Crowbar (also w/ RWAKE)
February 3 Gainesville, FL Common Grounds (also w/ RWAKE)
February 5 Charlotte, NC The Milestone (also w/ CAR BOMB)
February 6 Carrboro, NC Cats Cradle (also w/ CAR BOMB)
February 7 Virginia Beach, VA Steppin Out (also w/ CAR BOMB)
February 8 Wilmington, DE Mojo 13 (also w/ CAR BOMB)
February 9 Allentown, PA Crocodile Rock Café (also w/ CAR BOMB)
February 10 Brooklyn, NY Europa (also w/ CAR BOMB)
February 11 Milford, CT Daniel Street (also w/ CAR BOMB)
February 13 Worcester, MA Palladium Upstairs (also w/ CAR BOMB)
February 14 Pittsburgh, PA Diesel (also w/ INTRONAUT)
February 15 Columbus, OH Ravari Room (also w/ INTRONAUT)
February 16 Louisville, KY Uncle Peasants (also w/ INTRONAUT)
February 17 St. Louis, MO 2 Cents Plain (also w/ INTRONAUT)
February 18 Iowa City, IA The Picador (also w/ INTRONAUT)
February 19 Lawrence, KS Bottleneck (also w/ INTRONAUT)
February 20 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater (also w/ INTRONAUT)
February 22 Sacramento, CA Blue Lamp (also w/ INTRONAUT)
February 23 Oakland, CA Uptown Nightclub (also w/ INTRONAUT)


The Word(s) of the Year

Posted by Whitmore, January 14, 2008 10:10am | Post a Comment

(Drum-roll please)
 
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2007:

w00t. – interjection: expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word "yay", example: “w00t! I won word of the year”

The word has yet to find its way into the regular Merriam-Webster dictionary—but its inclusion in the online Open Dictionary, along with the top honors might just improve its chances. This year's winning word first became popular in competitive online gaming forums. Although the double "o" in the word is usually represented by double zeroes, the exclamation is also known to be an acronym for "We Owned the Other Team". In 2006 the Merriam-Webster dictionary voted “truthiness”, from the Stephen Colbert Report, as the word of the year.

However! (Drum-roll please)


New Oxford American Dictionary 2007 Word of the Year is “locavore”. Locavore was coined two years ago by a group of four women in San Francisco who proposed that local residents should try to eat only food grown or produced within a 100-mile radius. Another spelling variation sometimes seen is “localvores”. The locavore movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to grow or pick their own food, arguing that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locavores also shun supermarket offerings as an environmentally friendly measure, since shipping food over long distances often requires more fuel for transportation. The New Oxford American Dictionary word of the year in 2006 was “Carbon Neutral”.

Modern Rock

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 14, 2008 10:00am | Post a Comment

The early 80's fascination with blossoming computer culture seemed to go hand in hand with an apprehensive take on its possible uses... These themes made for some very interesting makeovers.  Throw in a little Sci-fi and a touch of New Wave and you've got some very "Modern Rock"...

Grace Slick and the Airplane folks had a few records with technological themes...



Peter Frampton attempted his own computer makeover below, the 80's were not his decade...



Survivor had quite a run the 80's...this album is rather typical of their take on the "Modern Rock"
aesthetic, with a touch of the Wargames thrown in...






Aaaah, Blue Oyster Cult had their finger on the pulse of the youths- Space Ships, Niteclubs & Ninjas...



The Who had a couple of big videos off of this record...Pete looks more like Simon in this photo shoot...


No image was more at odds with the "modern rock" new wave-isms than Jethro Tull, but they tried...Also a Barclay James Harvest bonus...




Let's finish it off with one more from the Jefferson Airplane gang...

Appreciating Crass

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 14, 2008 08:10am | Post a Comment
Crass, the seminal English punk band that formed in 1977, is most known as the first band to cohesively promote anarchism as a political ideology. While other punks might have been singing about "AN-AR-CHY" for shock and fashion, anarchism was a way of life for Crass.
 
They made their records available to the public as close to cost as possible and even printed a "Pay No More Than..." price on their record sleeves to avoid the product from falling victim to unscrupulous transactions!
 
Their lyrics, albeit snarled, warned against consumerism, corporatism, racism, and globalization. They formed a rock and roll resistance movement against the excesses of culture, using an aggressive sound and image to gain creditability for a pacifistic ideology. Complex, man.
 
So where have the members of Crass been since the band dissolved in 1984? Everywhere! Especially drummer Penny Rimbaud, who has gone on as a performer and writer. Gee Vaucher, the main artist and some-time musician for Crass, has become a well-revered illustrator and painter.
 
This month, on Saturday, January 19th, Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher will appear at San Francisco's Hypnodrome theater (regularly home to the Thrillpeddlers, the only theater group in America I know of that specializes in Grand Guignol). Rimbaud will give a spoken word performance, followed by an interview with Rimbaud and Vaucher by legendary Bay Area punk-documentarian V. Vale of RE/Search
 
Here's the specifics:
RE/Search & Hypnodrome present CRASS!!!
ONE NIGHT ONLY!!!
TWO SHOWS!!!
Saturday, January 19th
7:30 & 10PM
General Admission: $10
6 Shock Boxes (2 person capacity each; includes signed poster): $40/box
 
The Hypnodrome, 575 Tenth Street /Bryant St., San Francisco
For Advance Tickets, call RE/Search 415-362-1465 http://www.researchpubs.com/

Songs About Immigration, Part 3 - Manu Chao - Clandestino

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 13, 2008 11:16pm | Post a Comment
Solo voy con mi pena
Sola va mi condena
Correr es mi destino
Para burlar la ley
Perdido en el corazón
De la grande Babylon
Me dicen el clandestino
Por no llevar papel
Pa' una ciudad del norte
Yo me fui a trabajar
Mi vida la dejé
Entre Ceuta y Gibraltar
Soy una raya en el mar
Fantasma en la ciudad
Mi vida va prohibida
Dice la autoridad
Solo voy con mi pena
Sola va mi condena
Correr es mi destino
Por no llevar papel
Perdido en el corazón
De la grande Babylon
Me dicen el clandestino
Yo soy el quiebra ley
Mano Negra clandestina
Peruano clandestino
Africano clandestino
Marijuana ilegal
Solo voy con mi pena
Sola va mi condena
Correr es mi destino
Para burlar la ley
Perdido en el corazón
De la grande Babylon
Me dicen el clandestino
Por no llevar papel

Songs About Immigration, Part 2 - The Clash - Straight To Hell

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 13, 2008 11:09pm | Post a Comment
If you can play on the fiddle
How's about a British jig and reel?
Speaking king's English in quotation
As railhead towns feel the steel mills rust water froze
In the generation
Clear as winter ice
This is your paradise

There ain't no need for ya
Go straight to hell boys

Y'wanna join in a chorus
Of the Amerasian blues?
When it's Christmas out in Ho Chi Minh City
Kiddie say papa papa papa papa-san take me home
See me got photo photo
Photograph of you
Mamma mamma mamma-san
Of you and mamma mamma mamma-san
Lemme tell ya bout your blood bamboo kid.
It aint coca-cola it's rice.

Straight to hell
Oh papa-san
Please take me home
Oh papa-san
Everybody they wanna go home
So mamma-san says

You wanna play mind-crazed banjo
On the druggy-drag ragtime U.S.A.?
In parkland international
Hah! Junkiedom U.S.A.
Where procaine proves the purest rock man groove
And rat poison
The volatile molatov says-

Pssst...
Hey chico we got a message for ya...
Vamos vamos muchacho
From alphabet city all the way a to z, dead, head

Go straight to hell

Can you really cough it up loud and strong
The immigrants
They wanna sing all night long
It could be anywhere
Most likely could be any frontier
Any hemisphere
No man's land and there ain't no asylum here
King Solomon he never lived round here

Go straight to hell boys

Roadhouse 66

Posted by phil blankenship, January 13, 2008 10:48pm | Post a Comment
 







Key Video 6742

For The Metalheads Pt. 1 - Metal en Espanol: Mago De Oz

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 13, 2008 09:56pm | Post a Comment
Mago De Oz (Wizard Of Oz) is a metal band out of Spain. Their sound is quite unique, to say the least. It is Metal, Celtic music and also has some folky elements. Think Iron Maiden meets The Dropkick Murphys and Jethro Tull.




AMOEBA GETS LOVE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

Posted by Billyjam, January 13, 2008 08:40pm | Post a Comment
amoeba music hollywood
Amoeba Music Hollywood got much love from today's (Jan 13th) New York Times in the Sunday paper's supplemental Travel section as part of its weekly "36 Hours" feature. Each week "36 Hours" focuses on a certain town, city, or small region, offering up a list of the essential things to do -- imagining that one has only a thirty-six hour period to spend in that place. And for this week's "36 Hours in Hollywood," Times travel writer Jennifer Steinhauer picked twelve essential stops in Hollywood, including Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles, the ArcLight Cinema, and of course Amoeba Music on Sunset.

Under the heading "Before iPods," Steinhauer, who allocated a little under two hours for the Amoeba stop, wrote: "From Roscoe’s, it’s a fast walk to Amoeba Records (6400 Sunset Boulevard, 323-245-6400; www.amoeba.com), one of the last great independent record stores in the country, where new and used CDs and DVDs are found by the mile. There are also live in-store performances (with a special emphasis on up and coming Los Angeles bands)."

To see the full article pick up today's NY Times (avail in most major cities) or check the article posted on the New York Times website. Note that the printed version also includes a nice photo of the main floor of Amoeba looking down from the stairwell by the DVD section.

my top 10 movies of the year...or my top 15 films of the year...

Posted by Brad Schelden, January 13, 2008 08:38pm | Post a Comment
I just saw "There Will Be Blood" yesterday and I still can't stop thinking about it. Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Dano were both brilliant. And the score by Johnny Greenwood was weird and great and totally changed the whole mood of the film. Seeing this movie at the Bridge Theater was on my list of things to do before I make me big move back to Hollywood. I can't really still believe it yet but next week I will no longer be an official resident of San Francisco any more. I had to expand my top 10 films to 15 since there were so many good films out this year. I still am a bit in disbelief that there will be no Golden Globes tonight. The show itself is always a bit disappointing but it is always a good dress rehearsal for the Oscars. I hope the studios and writers can come to some sort of agreement in time. Please, if you are reading this, let me know if there is anything I can do to help out. I am a good mediator.

I wanted to finally get this list out there before everyone forgets about what made 2007 so great. The movies are in a basic sort of order but they were really all fantastic films that I enjoyed immensely this year. They made life just a little bit easier to get through this year and made me even more excited for another year of great films. Films like Juno, The Savages and Before the Devil Knows Your Dead may have ended up in the list but I did not get a chance to see them yet. Juno is in enough top ten lists this year already. So I don't feel so bad.  Sweeney Todd almost made the list. But I have a hard time taking musicals seriously.  I really enjoyed it but I just don't think it is one of the best of the year. I also really liked Sunshine and Halloween this year but they didn't make the cut. Just in case you were wondering here are the top box office films of 2007 starting with number one. Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, The Bourne Ultimatum, Ratatouille, The Simpsons Movie, Wild Hogs, and Knocked Up. The only film to make it on my list was Knocked Up. And seriously, how did Wild Hogs make $168,213,584?




"No Country For Old Men" (Coen Brothers)













"There Will Be Blood" (Paul Thomas Anderson)













"I'm Not There" (Todd Haynes)














"Zodiac" (David Fincher)














"Planet Terror" (Robert Rodriguez)















"Death Proof" (Quentin Tarantino)
















"American Gangster" (Ridley Scott)















"Into the WIld" (Sean Penn)














"Atonement" (Joe Wright)














"Eastern Promises" (David Cronenberg)














"Control" (Anton Corbijn)














"Lars & the Real Girl" (Craig Gillespie)














"Hot Fuzz" (Edgar Wright)














"Knocked Up" (Judd Apatow)














"Away From Her" (Sarah Polley)



Dave Day in Memoriam

Posted by Whitmore, January 13, 2008 12:43pm | Post a Comment


The winds came first … the neighbors tree falling came next, and when the haunted harmonica sounds of the wind blowing through my office door, (sounding like a Ennio Morricone soundtrack), started imitating an Armenian duduk, (the most beautiful sounding instrument on the face of the Earth), I knew I was going to find something sadder than usual in my morning New York Times.

Dave Havlicek, aka Dave Day, guitarist and banjo player for one of the most original, legendary  and enigmatic bands ever to grace a stage, The Monks, died last Thursday, January 10th. Day, who was born and lived in Renton just outside Seattle, Washington, suffered a stroke or a heart attack on the previous Sunday morning which left him on life support for a short time before he passed.

Many years ago, way too many to actually acknowledge, I used to work at the original Onyx Café when it was next door to the Vista Theater in East Hollywood. One evening a customer gave me a home made cassette tape of a band I had only vaguely ever heard of named The Monks, the record Black Monk Time.

I put on the tape. What I remember most are two distinctive reactions: mine of total amazement and awe, how the hell did I miss this band (I’m a record geek for chrissakes!), and the reaction of another customer saying almost the same thing. But his “what the hell is this?”  was followed by something like  “do you have to play this crap now!” 
 
The Monks were five American GIs stationed in Germany who billed themselves as the “Anti-Beatles”. They played it heavy, weren’t afraid of feedback or dissonance and Dave Day added to the mayhem and the whole crunching rhythmic sound by playing the hell out of the electric banjo. They shaved their heads into monks' tonsures, dressed in black monasterial robes, sometimes wearing nooses as neckties, mocked and rocked harder than any of their sixties counterparts while basically inventing what would become kraut rock, industrial, and punk music.  Am I overstating their importance in rock music history? No! Their nihilistic deconstruction of Rock and Roll, owing in part to the Dada Movement of the ‘20s, predated Punk’s similar efforts by a good ten years or more. The Monks were easily 30 years ahead of mainstream rock’s time.

IN CELEBRATION OF THE DRUM: PART FOUR, BUDDY RICH

Posted by Billyjam, January 12, 2008 11:16pm | Post a Comment
                                                  
Above is video clip of a drum solo by legendary jazz drummer & band leader Buddy Rich. As witnessed by this amazingly superfast drum solo, it is no surprise that Rich, who died back in 1987 at age 69, is still reverbuddy riched the world over by drummers and fans of drumming for his swift skills. In fact, back in his day he was commonly billed as "the world's greatest drummer." He is also one of the fastest, most skilled drummers of all time and got honored by Drum magazine for the "fastest drum solo ever" specifically for the song "Machine" off his 1967 album Big Swing Face.

And talk about taking to the drum at an early age!  Reportedly Rich was just two years old when his father, who first noticed his baby son's keen sense of rhythm,  enlisted (exploited?) him in vaudeville playing the drums, billing him as "Traps the Drum Wonder"buddy rich at the top and as such he was an extremely successful young artist. In fact by the time he reached the ripe old age of 11 he was already a band leader. Unlike a lot of child stars Rich didn't quit or burn out but rather continued playing throughout his teens, consistently honing his style and getting better and better at his art. It has been written that Rich is one of the few drummers to ever master the so-called "one-handed roll" on both hands.

Songs About Immigration, Part 1 - Maldita Vecindad: Mojado

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 12, 2008 07:24pm | Post a Comment
Maldita Vecidad Y Los Hijos Del Quinto Patio is a legendary band from Mexico, D.F. They started in the mid-80's and are still going strong. "Mojado" is from their first album. It is song about someone who left for El Norte for a better life and died on the way and how the death affects the people they left behind.

Yo sabía que te ibas a ir
hoy por fin te vi partir
Yo temía que te ibas a ir
hoy tu voz la oí decir:
"Yo me voy de aquí,
me voy de aquí.
No tengo nada que darte a ti
El otro lado es la solución
por todas partes
se oye el rumor:
yo me voy de aquí"
Te ví partir
Ahora estoy sola
sola sin ti
Yo te ví partir
partir , partir, partir

Ya son dos días que no estas aquí
Hoy Pedro corre gritando hacia mí
Trae en la mano un diario gris
hay una nota perdida entre mil
que habla de ti
Habla de ti
"MOJADO MUERTO, AL INTENTAR HUIR"
No dice nada, no hay explicación
eras un cerdo oculto en un camión,
que quiso huir
Lloró por ti
A mis espaldas oigo decir:
"Yo lo ví partir,
partir, partir, partir"


The Cyclonic 2007 Celebrity Mugshot Whirl-Around, part 2

Posted by Whitmore, January 12, 2008 09:00am | Post a Comment

Sometimes I get the impression that our old friend Orenthal James "O. J." Simpson just wants to end up at the top of an old oil refinery like James Cagney in White Heat, screaming at the top of his Hall of Fame lungs “Look at me Ma! Top of the world!” Then boom … infinity and vapor … melted down like a Heisman Trophy.






David Huckabee
, the eldest son of presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, made headlines when he was arrested in April for having a loaded Glock pistol in his carry-on bag at the Little Rock Airport. Yeah, but that’s nothing compared to the stunt he pulled as an 18 year old, when he was fired from his Boy Scout counseling job for torturing and killing a stray dog he caught at Camp Pioneer in Hatfield, Arizona. First he hung the dog by the neck, slit its throat, then stoned it to death.



You would think that the biggest story this year in sports would have been Michael Vick and his massive screw-up, but luckily for him we live in an era when athletes massively screw-up all the time.



I’m not trying to play the elitist-snob game here, but I’ve never seen an episode of American Idol … but shit, with characters like Jessica Sierra hanging around, I think I have to mend my ways and check this show out! But the first order of business, get Season Four from Netflix for a better look at this femme fatale.






And finally, the Cyclonic 2007 Celebrity Mugshot Whirl-Around wouldn’t be complete without Paris Hilton, renowned singer, model, diva, actress, author, sex video siren, goddess, humanitarian, entrepreneur, television personality and professional party girl. And as mugshots go, she still looks pretty good here,if not a bit coy; it’s as if she’s posed for one before.

D E M O N S - Saturday Midnight At The New Beverly !!

Posted by phil blankenship, January 11, 2008 08:56pm | Post a Comment
THIS SATURDAY - Tell Your Friends!
Come out and help us celebrate our first showing of the new year !

Amoeba Music & Phil Blankenship proudly present the 80s Italian Horror Classic:

DEMONS
1985, dir. Lamberto Bava


New Beverly Cinema
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Midnight, $7

http://www.newbevcinema.com/
http://www.myspace.com/newbeverlymidnights

The Cyclonic 2007 Celebrity Mugshot Whirl-Around, part 1

Posted by Whitmore, January 11, 2008 07:06pm | Post a Comment
 
I guess you can say that Daniel Baldwin isn’t the best looking Baldwin, nor is he the Baldwin most likely destined for a career in politics. And you know that’s OK; it’s a terrible profession anyway.

Unfortunately, as I look closer at this mugshot, I have to add, oddly enough … and sadly enough… I can’t decide whether he looks more like my dad or more like me.





 At one point I thought Mickey Rourke was one hell of a weird but pretty interesting actor. With movies like Angel Heart, 9½ Weeks, The Pope of Greenwich Village, Rumble Fish, Diner, Johnny Handsome, they’re not all necessarily great or even good films, but sometimes it doesn’t matter,  I watch Mickey Rourke and I think to myself; “what the hell?’. (Actually way back in the day, before Amoeba-time itself, I used to work for the law firm of Parkinson, Wolf, Lazar and Leo in Century City. One day one of the attorneys walked up to me and said “Hey Whitmore, I just saw a movie starring Mickey Rourke and I thought the character he played reminded me of you. Have you seen the movie Barfly yet?”  What can you do? I lied and said no, then quietly walked away.) Anyway, I haven’t seen much of Mickey Rourke since his last mugshot … by the way; this arrest in November was for drunk driving on a Vespa scooter.


 



Well I wish I could tell you some interesting story or tidbit about the life of thespian/pre-teen role model Lindsay Lohan, but I can’t… anyway, here is her complete set of mugshots from 2007. Collect ‘em all, trade ‘em with your friends.



This arrest and mugshot actually took place in December of 2006, when Nicole Richie was stopped for driving under the influence on the 134 freeway in Burbank. It all started when a few upstanding citizens reported a black Mercedes-Benz entering the freeway on the exit ramp. In July, 2007 Richie was sentenced to four days in jail, but served only about 82 minutes of the sentence at the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood. Specifically, she checked in on August 23 at 3:15 in the afternoon and was released at 4:37 that same afternoon.

The Employee Interview Part XV: Brad Schelden

Posted by Miss Ess, January 11, 2008 12:40pm | Post a Comment
Brad
7ish years of Employment
Rock Buyer


This is a special farewell installment of The Employee Interview.  Don't worry-- you are not going to lose Brad's insightful blogs, it's just that we, the SF store, are losing him to the LA store this week.  Just like in baseball, he's been recruited for their team and will be moving next week. It will be quite a loss for those of us up here in SF to suffer.  Brad, we salute you!  It won't be the same without you.  But at least we will probably still get to watch the Oscars together. (If they happen-- agh what an awards show season!)

ME: What was the first concert you remember going to?

BS: Depeche Mode...Even though my seats were so far away I could barely see them it was one of the highlights of my life. It was just exciting to see that all these other people actually liked the same band as me.

I loved that feeling when I first started going to shows.  I was thinking, "Who ARE all these people?"  I've actually met so many people who work here who were at shows I was also at in the late 90s/early 2000s!  I love it.  That's how I knew Amoeba was my home.  So who was the first artist that really got you into music and why?

I am sure it was probably Morrissey and The Smiths. He was for sure the first person I was obsessed with, other than maybe Michael Jackson or Cyndi Lauper. Morrissey was the first artist where I was actually reading all the liner notes and buying all the magazines with him in it. It was fantastic as a young kid to listen to music and lyrics that you could completely relate to even though they were coming out of a man from a totally different world and reality.

Tell me about the first Oscars you remember watching.

My family watched them every year and I would always make a ballot for us to fill out. I remember making a ballot on a typewriter with corrective tape to fix my mistakes. I was really excited when we got our first computer so I could type it up on there. I was really obsessed from the first time I watched them. I just always loved movies and even though I had not seen half the movies back when I was still 9 years old I still wanted to know who was going to win Best Art Direction and Best Screenplay.

God, that is so adorable! I was the same, but I never made the ballots for some reason-- I used ballots from the Pink Section of the Chronicle or wherever.  Why did we care who won best screenplay when we were 9?  All I know is that I was totally hooked too.  What is it about the Oscars that is so compelling to you? 

I don't even know why I became so obsessed with them. But I am for sure not alone. It is just fun to see the actors as themselves even though I guess they are still scripted and acting for the camera.

Yeah, I love watching the acceptance speeches and seeing who comes unglued.  Who is, in your opinion, the most enjoyable Oscar red carpet interviewer?  I still kinda miss Joan and Melissa, even though Joan's got a few screws loose.

I really love when people like Kathy Griffin or the cast of MadTV try to freak out the stars with weird questions. I absolutely hate most of the people they have on the red carpet these days. I did like it when Roger Ebert was talking to people before the show one year. It is nice when the stars actually like and respect the people asking the questions because then they sort of know what they are talking about.

What about Isaac Mizrahi grabbing Scarlett Johanssen's boob about 3 years ago?  That was cringeworthy!  I just like someone who knows what they are talking about and (important) who they are talking to.  I actually  think Guiliana DiPandi has a good combo of humorous and factoid type questions.  Now, another obsession we share:  How did your enjoyment of Love Boat  begin?

I have long been a big fan of the hour long episode of television. This show was great because it was sort of meaningless and completely unimportant but totally fascinating to me at the same time. I loved all the guests stars even though I didn't really know who half of them were when the show as originally on. It will be fun to go back once it comes out on DVD and to watch the shows with a different perspective. I really wanted to work on a cruise ship for a while because of this show.

Yes, I am waiting with baited breath for those DVDs!  What is your favorite season of Golden Girls and why?  Which girl is your favorite?

The first season is really weird. Sort of like on Roseanne, you can tell that the cast is just getting to know each other and really still getting to know their character. You can actually tell that they are reading jokes. I think Season 2 is really where it all starts to work. Dorothy (Bea Arthur) is of course my favorite.They really gave her some great lines. My favorite episode is hard to figure out...but  maybe the episode where they get mistaken for prostitutes and put into jail and when Blanche gives Rose's stuffed animal away to a girl scout played by Jenny Lewis from Rilo Kiley.

That Jenny Lewis popped up everywhere in the 80s.  I always liked Rose.  When I would watch when I was little I felt sorry for her because everyone made fun of her and I thought she was pretty.  Please tell me about when/how you got into Twin Peaks and your viewing experience when it originally aired.

I really liked this show when it was first on when I was in High School. I watched it whenever I got the chance but my full obsession did not start until College when Bravo showed an episode every night. I watched it almost every night and then had the VHS Box Set and watched it about once a year. I just got the fantastic new DVD set but I am waiting until I move back to Hollywood to break into it. The show really is amazing and I am not sure there will ever be anything like it ever again.

Tell me about how you found Amoeba and how you got hired and what you did here initially.

Everybody knew about Amoeba and I had wanted to work here since the Haight St. store first opened. But my boyfriend at the time got a job here so we didn't really want to work together. I had heard rumors about a Hollywood store but when I knew for sure it was opening up I got in contact with Karen and applied for that store. I was friends with Kara [another LA employee] and I think maybe she helped me get the job or at least talked me into it. I have been up at the Haight St. store for almost 5 years now but now I am going back to Hollywood again. I guess I just like to move every 5 years or so.

Now let's have some San Fran nostalgia questions:

What is your favorite place to see a live show?

So many...but Bimbo's is at the top of the list along with the Great American Music Hall. I do like the Palace of Fine Arts a lot as well. But mostly just because of where it is. The venue itself is just sort or boring like a lecture hall on the inside. But I did meet my boyfriend at a Magnetic Fields show there, so it is pretty special. And I did see Paul Reubens there.

What is your favorite theater to see a movie at?

I do love the Castro and have seen some great movies there. Love the Bridge as well, mostly because of Midnight Mass memories. I like the Lumiere because it is right by my house and it is so small and cute and they show great movies there. I did like the Regency Theater that is now where the Regency Ballroom is. That theater was really amazing looking inside. The Clay is also great and The Vogue. I am also a bit in love with the new Sundance Kabuki that they just redid. I love The Grand Lake in Oakland but don't get out there much. And the Embarcadero is sort of special in my heart as well. I have spent a lot of time there and sort of love that is all dead and quiet around there at night.

You are quite the theater connoisseur.  I knew that would be a good question for you, although I think you named every single theater in the near vicinity!  What has been the best show you have seen while living here in SF?

Probably Sigur Ros at the Paramount in Oakland. I also saw some really great shows at Bottom of the Hill over the years. At the Drive-In was pretty awesome at the Bottom of the Hill. Murder City Devils at Cafe Du Nord. The Cure at the Fillmore.

And finally, how could live so close to Bob's but not like donuts!?

It is weird but I just don't like donuts.

That is completely beyond me.  I'm sure it helped keep you skinny though!  What are you looking forward to about LA/LA Amoeba? (Pinkberry/More star sightings!)

I am looking forward to the warm nights in L.A.  I am a bit sick of the cold weather right now but I will not be looking forward to the summer. I may have to come back to San Francisco during the summer. I do love that store down there a bunch. I love both stores for different reasons. But it will be nice to see all the people that I worked with down there when the store first opened.

What will you miss about SF Amoeba/SF in general? You are such a fixture here.

I will miss the weirdos of San Francisco. But Hollywood for sure has its share of weirdos. I will miss living in a city that does not revolve around cars. I am going to miss my friends in the city and at the store but L.A. is really not that far away. San Francisco is really fun to visit as well.

I doubt you will miss the weirdos once you are off Haight St! Care to talk a little about your own personal Oscar picks for this year?  What has been your favorite movie so far this year?  Favorite acting performances?

I still have not seen There Will Be Blood yet, but I am pretty sure I am going to love it. No Country For Old Men was amazing and still might be my favorite of the year. But I was blown away by I'm Not There. I really did love the Grindhouse movies a lot as well. Both Planet Terror and Death Proof were some of my favorites. Anything with Josh Brolin in it this year was my favorite. But I did also really like Goonies when I was younger. So maybe there is a pattern here.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

I have many but Silence of the Lambs is still close to the top. The ExorcistAlien. Carrie. Escape from New York. The Muppet Movie! Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. My two favorite movies are actually probably Heathers and Tootsie. I don't really know why but I love Tootsie. I seriously watch it whenever I am a bit sad and it really cheers me up.

My mom is obsessed with Tootsie and it's one of the few movies (besides The Muppet Movie!) I was allowed to watch as a kid.  Who is your favorite director?

John Waters of course. Also John Carpenter, David Lynch, Todd Haynes, David Cronenberg.

John Waters is brilliant. I think Todd Haynes is one of the best of the younger generation for sure.  Maybe someday he will be named at the Oscars!  I doubt John ever will though.  Well, actually, with his career who knows!  I guess I would never count him out.  That would rule. What is your favorite thing about working at Amoeba?

I love being surrounded by a bunch of music nerds that love music and movies as much as I do. I really learn something new here every single day.

Thank you for your time!  I'll miss you.

"BAD BAR BEHAVIOR" LEADS TO BAN ON CURSING & PROFANE MUSIC

Posted by Billyjam, January 11, 2008 05:45am | Post a Comment

Did you catch that small but significant news item from a couple of days ago about the Missouri town of St. Charles where, it appears, they are about to pass a bill that would ban swearing in bars?

It's for real, and the decision about this new bill, which will be made on Monday (Jan 14th), extends beyond just cussing. It also is hoping to outlaw table-dancing, drinking contests and profane music (meaning, I guess, most new popular rap).

Reportedly the St. Charles city officials insist that the bill is "needed" in order to "keep rowdy crowds under control because the historic downtown area gets a little too lively on some nights." Richard Velt, the St. Charles councilman responsible for this new proposed bill, said that he decided to push it through after hearing numerous complaints about "bad bar behavior." 

And he reasons that, if passed, it would allow local police some rules to enforce when things get "too rowdy." (READ: now cops will have even more leeway to abuse their powers). Thankfully some individuals in this town are speaking out. These include restaurant/bar owner Marc Rousseau who said that it's a violation of a person's rights. On the topic of the music playlist, he said: "We're dealing with adults here once again and I don't think it's the city's job or the government's job to determine what we can and cannot play in our restaurant."

A town meeting to discuss the proposal, which would essentially ban indecent, profane or obscene language, songs, entertainment and literature at bars in St. Charles, is scheduled for this coming Monday January 14th. I bet it will be well attended and publicized. Check back here for any updates.
           

Stranded

Posted by phil blankenship, January 10, 2008 09:47pm | Post a Comment
 









RCA / Columbia Pictures Home Video 62771

Art! What Is It Good For? More on The Lives of Others Vis a Vis Clockwork Orange

Posted by Charles Reece, January 10, 2008 09:44pm | Post a Comment
Regarding what I wrote about the the transformative power of music in THE LIVES OF OTHERS being a lie, a pal of mine, K, suggested the possible counter-example of the Nazi being moved by piano music in Polanski's THE PIANIST.  I still haven't seen that film due to its starring Adrian Brody, but I suppose if a digitized giant ape can get me to put aside my aversion for 2 and half hours, the name 'Polanski' ought to, as well, even if it's later Polanski.   So maybe I'll get around to that film at some later date. 

A film that does approach what I was talking about from a truer perspective than Donnersmarck's is Kubrick's CLOCKWORK ORANGE.  The film was based on Burgess's novel, which was a rejection of the panglossian futurism of B. F. Skinner's behaviorism, most notably his sci-fi novel, WALDEN TWO, where the happiness of individuals is derived from the outside-in, every aspect of culture being a stimulus which, if functioning properly, keeps the whole community flowing along in prosperity, promoting the desired actions/"responses" -- the providence of which is defined by the organizers.  Things like art have value insofar as they help shape the "proper" behavior, value being defined top-down.  If that strikes you as totalitarian, that's because it is.  And Kubrick's film is an all-out satirical attack against the reifying tendency of the bureaucratically minded whereby value obtains as a place within the system, never for the thing itself.

Contrary to the story Donnersmarck tells of the incommensurability of violence and art, the love of both happily co-exist in CLOCKWORK ORANGE's protagonist Alex.  As it was with Lenin, he loves smashing heads, but unlike with Lenin, he does so to the accompaniment of Beethoven.  It's not until Alex undergoes reconditioning at the Ludovico lab that Beethoven becomes associated with nonviolence.  Getting a dose of some noxious serum while being forced to watch acts of violence and hearing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony results in just the sort of transformative effect Donnersmarck associates with art.  Donnersmarck might argue that his Stasi Captain gives up his ideology in favor of the intrinsic qualities of the piano piece he hears while spying through headphones, whereas the effects of the Ninth on Alex are due to its extrinsic associations with negative stimuli (via Pavlovian, not Skinnerian, conditioning, but the point remains the same).  This potential distinction, however, rests on the shaky notion that such music has ideological content internal to its nature as art-object, rather than associated with it as a social object.

I'm reminded here of a story Ligeti tells of composing his Musica Ricercata No. 2 where every stroke of the piano was intended as a stab into the heart of the communist regime in Hungary.  Stabbing is a good visceral description of the sound, but is there really anything intrinsic to the music about who's doing the stabbing and who's getting stabbed?  If it weren't for the aesthetically conservative Hungarian apparatchiks defining the piece as decadent, it could've (a la Reagan's attempted appropriation of Born in the USA)  inspired quashing anti-communist resistance.  Furthermore, the violence Ligeti associates with his piece suggests that art can most definitely be linked to ideology with violent intent -- albeit, in his case, a morally defensible position -- and even serve to justify it.  The social effects have more to do with the ideological lens through which the music is refracted than any inherent ideology of the music itself.

Thus, it's as a conditioned stimulus that music comes to support or oppose one ideology over another.  By having a committed Stasi captain give up his ideology after hearing a committed communist playwright play a piano piece that has no anti-communist ideological stance associated with it, Donnersmarck does little more than create a narratively convenient lie.  The danger of this lie is that it shares with the prominent management regimes the view that art is inherently ideological, another object whose value is determined by the function it assigns to humans operating within the social order.  As the bureaucrats in CLOCKWORK ORANGE suggest, who cares what happens to the Ninth so long as Alex is no longer committing acts of violence?  What's forgotten here is the aesthetic value of art where any human interacts with art on its own terms, rather than those mandated from the top down.  Thus, the problem with the LIVES OF OTHERS isn't that a communist or Nazi or any other totalitarian functionary might have exquisite taste in art (many do), but its unwitting perpetuation of the value of art as utility, even when its instrumentalist function is what most of us would call socially beneficial.  It's the horror of losing the aesthetic value of art -- which can only come about through a free interaction with art that hasn't been precategorized -- that is central to the terror Alex feels when he makes the leap out the window, no longer able to stand having his love of the Ninth so violated as a byproduct of ideological reconditioning.  The celebratory ending to Kubrick's film isn't the result of some thuggish desensitization to violence, but is one of an individualist aestheticism managing to slip through the cracks of an overdetermined utopia, even if it's under the sign of brutality.

Iran in the Local News

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 10, 2008 08:26pm | Post a Comment

I caught a “local news” story the other day on one of the local stations. Under the headline “Desert Wonderland?” they ran footage of snow in Iran and (with those slightly robotic chuckles that all newscasters are able to activate thanks to their Hillary Clinton Brand emotion chips) they talked about what was made out to seem a freak occurrence, or at least a newsworthy event. I mean, weather in Tehran isn't exactly local.


I admit, before I ever watched an Iranian film or visited Tehrangeles, I had only the vaguest notions of what the country and its people looked like. I kind of reckoned that the middle east was one big sandy desert sparsely populated with turbaned Arabs and veiled harem girls. I am, after all, a product of Hollywood stereotypes and American public schools where we prefer to teach about 1000 years of Dark Ages serf rebellions in Europe rather than even mention the developments in math, science, technology, literature and the arts occurring at the same time in the Muslim world which helped jump started the Renaissance.

Our country’s relationship with Iran has been prickly ever since the 1953 CIA-orchestrated Project Ajax, in which their elected (and secular) leader Mohammed Mosaddeq was removed from power after he nationalized Iran’s oil industry, knowing full well that Iran’s oil belonged to England! Perhaps because of this (despite Iran frequently being in the news over the decades since) it has felt like there’s a ban on showing any actual images from the country, lest the American people start to recognize it as an actual country and not the hatred-stirring bogeyman it’s made out to be by politicians and the media when it's time for uniting we the people in mistrust and xenophobia.

Out of curiosity I decided I'd watch an Iranian film a few years ago. The first one I saw, on a recommendation, was Majid Majidi’s Color of Paradise. I was surprised. There were misty, wooded mountainsides. Who knew? I read a bit about Iran afterwards. They supposedly invented skiing 4,000 years ago (although there is disagreement about it, with the Chinese and Scandinavians also claiming that honor). There were major metropolises with shiny buildings and fancy cars, not mud huts and donkey carts. And to boot, the film itself was sophisticated, poetic and profound.

Persian film began in 1900 when Mizra Ebrahim Khan Akkas Bashi brought a camera back from Paris. The first theater was opened in 1904. Sound films began with Lor Girl in 1932. Throughout the 1930s and 40s films drew from Persia's rich mythological and literary background.
                        

In the 1960s, melodramas and thrillers dominated Iran's film output. With Masoud Kimiay's Kaiser, a new genre began that would prove popular with Iranians and influential with Iranian film, the "Tragic Action Drama." That same year Darius(h) Mehrjui's Gaav heralded the beginning of Iranian Art Film, often referred to as thereafter as "Iranian New Wave." Iranian New Wave became popular worldwide (at least with critics and adventurous film goers) with its focus on quotidian affairs and the struggles of regular people, the style is reminiscent of Italian Neo-Realism and yet also owes heavily to French New Wave's  encouragement of "La politique des auteurs." The 1970s saw a proliferation of films in the Iranian New Wave which then came to a sudden halt when the oppressive and elitist Shah, considered by most a corrupt puppet of the U.S. and UK, was run out of town. Of course, the void he left was filled not by art-loving populists but by another oppressive gang, the Islamist government that remains in power today despite their broad unpopularity.

   

After the revolution, the new, iron-fisted government severely restricted and censored the content and exposure of domestic and foreign films. Subsequently, apolitical commercial films which generally fall into two groups have dominated: Films dealing with the Iran-Iraq War or the Islamic Revolution on the one hand, and star-driven formula comedies and melodramas on the other. In the mid-80s there was a marked boom in crime dramas. Major stars included Mohammad Ali Fardin, who (though unpopular with the government for having starred in pre-revolution films with scantily-clad women and depicting alcohol consumption) had his funeral attended by 20,000 mourners. Just looking at our Iranian films at Amoeba, actress Niki Karimi seems to grace the cover of half of them. In the 1980s and 90s, the so-called "New Iranian Cinema" (sometimes still referred to as "Iranian New Wave") began to be celebrated at film festivals around the world despite usually being banned in Iran -- although they're readily and easily viewable in Iran thanks to a healthy black market, the proliferation of satellite television and avoidable and/or bribe-taking morality police. These films, while obviously varied, usually share an emphasis on visual beauty, lyrical storytelling, and a disregard for the boundaries between fiction and reality.

Majid Majidi بچه‌های آسمان

 

Father (1996) concerns a 14 year old boy who is forced to find work to support his family after his father dies. When he returns home, his mother is re-married and there is predictable tension between the child and his new stepfather. In a plot contrivance, the boy and his stepfather end up handcuffed in the desert and the film is easily the least enjoyable of Majidi's works that I've seen.

Children of Heaven (1997) is about two siblings forced to hide the fact that they share a single pair of shoes after the brother loses his sister's pair on the way to getting them repaired. He enters a race hoping to get third since the prize is a pair of shoes. He accidentally gets first and receives a different prize that means nothing to him. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film but lost out to the singularly awful, sentimental Oscar-bait, Life Is Beautiful.

Color Of Paradise
(1999) deals with a blind boy returning home from school who, though loved by his sisters and grandmother, is seen as a burden by his struggling father. His father attempts to pawn him off as an apprentice to a carpenter to make himself a better prospect in his attempts to re-marry. A tragic and sentimental event occurs in the climax and yet it somehow avoids being as cloying as my description suggests.

Baran (2001) is about a young man who starts developing feelings for an Afghani refugee at his work, not realizing that the tea boy of his interest is actually a girl. The young man, Lateef, discovers his love interest is a girl and goes out of his way to protect and help her but the refugees are forced back to Afghanistan.
 
Jafar Panahi 

 



The White Balloon (1995) isn't on DVD so I was lucky to grab a VCD of it at Amoeba. This is the perfect sort of family film -- the kind that you can watch and enjoy even if there are no kids around. It concerns a little girl wanting a fat goldfish for Nowruz. She loses the money to purchase it and the film concerns her attempts to retrieve it.

The Mirror (1997) begins as a story about a similar little girl trying to overcome obstacles when, all of a sudden, the actress removes her cast, her chador and her microphone and stomps off annoyed at the helplessness she's supposed to convey. The film crew spends the rest of the film trying to convince her to come to her senses and finish the film.

The Circle
(2000) is about several women, again confronting obstacles of contemporary Iranian culture: disappointment at having given birth to a girl, having to wear the chador, and not being able to travel alone. Most critics thought it was Panahi's best film yet, but I found it unpleasantly and relentlessly grim, with none of the uplift of his previous films. It seemed defiantly and annoyingly preachy, making its points with a heavy hand.

Crimson Gold
(2003) is very dark. It begins with the protagonist, in a botched jewelry story robbery, shooting the shopkeeper and then shooting himself in the head. The action that follows shows the events leading up to his suicide and meanders and flows in a way that makes me not want to get into the plot. I thought it was amazing. It was written by Abbas Kiarostami.

Abbas Kiarostam  



Close-Up
(1990) concerns the true story of a man who impersonated director Mohsen Makmalbaf. He entered a household and convinced the occupants that he wanted to make a film about them. Their lives become intertwined but they end up discovering his deception. The actor playing the con artist is the actual con artist and, toward the end, he's introduced, in tears, to the real Mohsen Makmalbaf.

Taste Of Cherry
(1997) follows a man driving around the outskirts of Tehran picking up various passengers. At first, his aims are unclear but he soon reveals that he's dug himself a grave and is looking for someone to bury him. If that sounds depressing, it is. If it sounds humorous, it's that too. And ultimately it's one of the most uplifting films I've ever seen without providing easy or false solutions to real and eternal problems. The highest praise I can give it is that it was on Roger Ebert's "Most Hated Films of 1997."

The Wind Will Carry Us
(1999) is about a documentarian who travels to a remote village in Kurdistan to make a film about Kurdish funeral customs. Unfortunately for those waiting, the old woman whom the funeral is for just won't die. I liked it but found it Kiarostami's least memorable film.

Ten
(2002) is a fascinating film. Shot entirely on a dashboard-mounted camera, the film entails a woman driving around Iran with ten different passengers. The logistics of making such a film are amazing. Think about the actors waiting in various locales to be picked up by the star. The fact that it doesn't feel static given the setup is incredible.

Mohsen Makhmalbaf محسن مخملباف

The Cyclist
(1987) is about an Afghan refugee who, in a desperate attempt to raise money for his ailing wife, enters a bizarre contest wherein, if he can ride his bike in a circle for one week without stopping, will earn the money necessary to buy the medical care his wife requires. The portrayal of the horrific effort involved, with a small industry of bet-placing observers and vendors springing up around him is nightmarish  and so tragic that it borders on comic in a way that many Iranian films do.

Darius Mehrjui داریوش مهرجویی



Gaav (1969) is the film that began the Iranian New Wave. A poor villager, whose closest companion is his cow, is away from home when the cow dies. The villagers, worried about how he'll take the news, tell him that the cow has run away. The man, Hassan, begins to lose his mind and adopt the behaviors of a cow himself. Of course, the ending is tragic.

Hamoun
(1990) portrays a middle class intellectual, Hamid Hamoun, and his mental deterioration arising from his wife's demands for divorce. She's an artist who's gained greater critical acclaim (which reminded me of Anotonioni's Les Amiches). He buys a rifle, planning to kill his wife. The film, frequently described as Fellini-esque and notably voted as the best Iranian Film of All Time by a group of critics, was hard to enjoy for me, as I found Hamid a pretty unlikeable and unsympathetic character.

Babak Payami بابک پیامی
   
Secret Ballot (2001) is a low-key comedy about a female civil servant's attempts to get the citizens of the Iranian island of Kish to vote in an upcoming election. She is escorted by a soldier who chauffeurs her around. Coming up against gender discrimination, mechanical difficulties and widespread and understandable apathy toward the voting process, Payami constructs a comedy that everyone in the audience I was in (myself included) found downright hilarious.    

Tahmineh Milani تهمینه میلانی

 

Hidden Half (2001) stars the ubiquitous Niki Karimi as a woman who meets a female activist scheduled for execution. It was interesting for a variety of reasons. As with a lot of the more commercial Iranian films, it deals with the 1979 revolution. It was interesting for me to see how internationalist the revolutionaries were. Students in army surplus with images of Ernesto Guevara everywhere... and a lot of the driving force was apparently communist and populist, not Islamist. The fact that it was directed by a woman isn't actually that out of the ordinary. Iran probably has more female directors than any other country that I can think of. There are more women in their government than our own, too. It's also a melodrama, and as such deals chiefly with romantic relationships. My main obstacle in enjoying it more was the love interest -- a smug, patronizing, smarmy and completely obnoxious know-it-all who I couldn't for the life of me see as the charmer that he seemed designed to be.

So, if this has piqued your interest in a cinema almost completely neglected by your local movie theater, head down to Amoeba and check it out.

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IN CELEBRATION OF THE DRUM: PART THREE, JOHN BONHAM

Posted by Billyjam, January 10, 2008 07:25am | Post a Comment

John Bonham of Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dicjohn bonhamk" drum solo off the 1969 album Led Zeppelin II is considered by many to be the best rock drum solo of all time The track is featured both above and below in two very different versions.

The above clip, taken from The Song Remains The Same DVD, captures the late, great artist (tragically dead at the young age of 32) at his best live -- only problem with the film clip is that it keeps cutting away to non music footage when all you want to see/hear is the drumming.

Meanwhile, below is an audio only (just one still image) YouTube clip of the song but in a completely different, raw version. It is the drum solo as it was originally recorded -- isolated from all other sounds. Reportedly recorded in May 1969 in Los Angeles, this earlier solo (only the drums for whole track) was originally titled "Pat's Delight" and the solo here, as you'll hear, is much longer than the one that later appeared as part of the Led Zep Moby Dick track.

Revisiting this drum solo now -- at a time when Led Zeppelin have surprised the world and reformed after not playing a full concert together as Led Zeppelin since Bonham died in 1980 -- makes it all thled zeppelin iie more fitting and profound, not to mention sad. One can't help but wonder what if John Bonham hadn't died so young in life? What if he were alive and able to join Robert Plant and the newly re-banded Led Zeppelin?

January 9, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, January 10, 2008 02:22am | Post a Comment

The Employee Interview Part XIV: Jimmy

Posted by Miss Ess, January 9, 2008 10:51pm | Post a Comment
Jimmy
2 years Employment
Cashier/Behind the Scenes/All Around Rad Dude


ME: What music was playing around your house when you were a kid?

Jimmy: My parents weren't really into music, but I do remember listening to and watching The Wiz a lot. A LOT! I loved it. In my mom's car, it was the Pointer Sisters. In my dad's car it was talk radio, or Metallica's Black Album, which is really psychotic because my dad is hella Catholic, and it was one of the only albums he owned!

Do you remember the moment when you suddenly really really got into music?  What was it that made you GET IT?


As soon as I discovered punk, my life totally changed forever. It wasn't just the music: I began a love affair with extreme politics and aesthetics. It was the high of using art (music, zines) and politics to go somewhere unknown. It's super weird how important music is when you're a teen. Recently, I listened to Patti Smith's Horses again, which I hadn't heard since I was a freshman in high school. I kinda freaked in my head! I remembered listening to this album, thinking I might die like Johnny in the song at any moment and that seemed really normal. Basically everything was so literal then: the music was the same as real life. Anything could happen. ('Cause I was crazy and wasted and only fifteen!)

Yeah, when that intensity of youth starts to die out, it's such a strange feeling because by then you've lived with it for so long. You grew up in Alaska. What was the music scene like in Alaska when you were growing up?  What were people into? Did they form bands? What style of music did they play?  Were there any venues in Anchorage?

The music scene was very small, only a couple punk bands that would sound like either The Ramones or Crass. (There was an all ages club in Anchorage called, stupidly enough, "Gigs." Bands would sometimes come to Alaska to play and when they did it was a big deal! I mean a total fucking hootenanny!) In high school, I was reading Maximum Rock and Roll religiously so I knew we were way behind the times.

BUT! We were way ahead in terms of personality, and we were punk without being self conscious about it. I thought when I moved away I would meet all these weird people into alternative lifestyles, but the weirdest and craziest kids I grew up with in Alaska. We did some cool things, like zines and music, but we also did a lot of really bad things! I think you just learn creative ways to entertain yourself, and no, they don't all involve drugs and drinking, but those were very popular activities with us bored Alaskan kids!

How and when did you develop your current (and amazing!) project, 100s of Dismembered Handbags?

I have been super into zines since the moment I laid my hands on one. I did a zine I started in high school, called Hairaffair, which was like the written form of what I do now. But sadly the zine scene died cause of the internet. I'm not a computer nerd so I stopped that shit. A few electronic noise bands were starting in Portland, and I started doing weird little plays to a very simple beat.

At that point in my life, I was really into fashion, and my shows involved extreme costumes that I would make out of weird crap I'd pin together or glue to my face. (Man, I spent so much time on every  single costume!) I'd also find the harshest noises on my synthesizer and choreograph dance moves to every single sound. Looking back on it, it was like Wolfeyes meets the Cockettes! I stopped performing when I moved to San Francisco. (It's so hard to survive here!) But now I've been playing again. Right now it's about the story and the people I become. You can't fuck with the narrative! ('Cause it's already fucking with itself.)

What, if anything, is running through your mind as you are performing?

I think about this question a lot because I have really bad stage fright, but I think the answer to this question is changing. Often I experience complete panic that makes me wanna concentrate on not puking. But lately, I've been able to live with the characters a little more. I've been trying to forget myself, which works if I don't make eye contact with anyone who knows me. Sometimes, it just feels so good to be someone else!

I think I would have to just concentrate on not puking too. There's a reason I've never been able to get up and play in my fantasy Fleetwood Mac cover band at Amoebapalooza!  So now, what song is guaranteed to get you dancing, every time?


"The Monster Mash!" Sadly, I've only danced to it once in public. It's tragic isn't it? I think Justin Timberlake could learn a thing or two from Bobby Pickett.

Why? Because monsters are SEXY!!!

What is your pick for best release of 2007? (Reissues count!)

Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep totally rocked my world this year. It's weird because a lot of critics were comparing it Italian Neorealism, and true, there is a gritty feeling to it, but to me it was so delicate. It was more of an American Stalker because the camera and the location both become characters in the film. It seems so out of place as an American film, and I really like that about it. I'm glad it made it out of the vaults finally!

What is your favorite thing about working here at Amoeba?

I actually like the registers because of the amazing people that come in from time to time. My first week on the job, this very old woman walks up to my register, and with her hands shaking, passes me a Village People Greatest Hits CD. After I rang her up for it, I asked her if she wanted a bag, and she answered, "Yes, to protect it!" I instantly made like five movies in my head about this old lady in two seconds flat. It was like magic information. It's like you hand people their bag, and then they go into their own special universe that we can only try and imagine.

I love that feeling! Fantastic! Thanks for your time!

White Bicycles: Joe Boyd's Extraordinary 60s

Posted by Miss Ess, January 9, 2008 06:54pm | Post a Comment
Joe Boyd's recently written autobiography, White Bicycles, is amazing.  I've previously professed my jealousy of Cameron Crowe's life, but I actually think Joe Boyd has overtaken Crowe in that race.  By far.


Although he never won an Oscar (like Crowe), Boyd has had an extraordinary run in the music biz. He was always in the right place at the right time.  It's hard to even hit on all the amazing things he has taken part in here-- there's just so many of them. He was one of the first to arrange and manage European Jazz and Blues tours.  He worked for Elektra and eventually formed his own production company called Witchseason.  He booked an extremely successful club night in London in the 60s that hosted Pink Floyd and The Move, among many others.  He went on to produce artists like Nick Drake, The Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention.

In one of my favorite passages in the book, Boyd describes the night at The Newport Folk Festival when he was a stage manager and Dylan went electric.  Reading that portion of the book made my heart race!  If for nothing else, it's worth buying White Bicycles just to read about this momentous occasion in rock history from a fresh viewpoint.  Boyd was truly a part of that evening and remembers it all!  He really must have kept a journal.  It answers some questions about who exactly was in a physical fight that night, who started what and if Pete Seeger did indeed cut the electricity with an axe.  There really was an axe there that night, and that's all I'm gonna say!

There are too many great stories in the book to recount.  I enjoyed the passages about Nick Drake. I felt like Boyd's voice had been missing in the recent books and films about Drake and at last he has gotten his word in about someone who is still such a mystery to his fans.  Seems Drake was a mysterious figure even to those who loved him the best. Boyd has a way of writing that reveals details yet still seems to protect those he keeps near and dear.  It's an admirable style that held my interest throughout. 

I'd never read much about The Incredible String Band before, and Boyd was their right hand man.  He even went to Woodstock with them and recounts the regrettable events that occurred there for ISB.  He also describes ISB's incredibly interesting and bizarre decline into Scientology soon after. 

Basically, the fascinating bits just keep coming in this book.  Boyd went to Harvard.  He's a smart guy, and it shows in his writing.  It's the kind of book where there is so much to dig into that Boyd will just drop a seemingly tiny detail in a sentence at the end of a chapter, like that he had dated Linda Thompson for years, until she finally left him for Richard Thompson!  His life has been pretty nuts. 

I highly recommend this book to music buffs.  The writing is straightforward, entertaining and intelligent, and (more importantly), there's a pleasurable amount of good old fashioned dirt included.  Boyd indulged in drugs during the 60s, but as he says, he didn't overdo it so his memories are all still so beautifully detailed!  Living in London and Los Angeles, Boyd crossed paths with almost everyone who was anyone in the 60s/early 70s pop culture-wise, like Muddy Waters, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Roland Kirk, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Vashti Bunyan, and Martin Scorsese.  That's just naming a very few! Boyd's anecdotes about each are hilarious and/or intimate.  The book is one of the most enjoyable I've read about 60s/70s music.

Hollywood Harry

Posted by phil blankenship, January 9, 2008 05:34pm | Post a Comment
 





Media Home Entertainment M907

(In which Job fails to complete the

Posted by Job O Brother, January 9, 2008 05:07pm | Post a Comment

"Eat this plate, you'll feel better."

I’ve been ill again. Ever since I moved to LA, I get sick all the time. Oh, well. That’s the price I pay for getting to nosh with Posh and Becks every Tuesday.

…Okay, technically, only Becks and I do any actual “noshing” – you get the idea.


Victoria Beckham: "No thanks, I couldn't possibly eat after that huge dinner I had. In 1982."

Yesterday was my boyfriend’s birthday. I got him a rad gift. (I know what you’re thinking – “Job, what better gift could you give him beyond your hacking, disease-ridden body?”) An AMOEBA GIFT CERTIFICATE, that’s what I gave him. Who doesn’t want one? Even I want one for my birthday, and I don’t even need one! Because, as many of you know, all Amoeba employees are allowed as many free albums and DVD’s as they want. In fact, we’re PAID to take them home! We drive them home in the cars our bosses buy us, which we park in our gold-plated garages with matching tiara encrusted, truffle-flavored diamond mines.

I’m delirious. I have no idea what I’m writing. We’ve been through this before, dear reader. This is how my sick day blogs read. If you feel inspired to pray for me by the end of it, please do. It’ll give you something to do while you’re waiting for Limewire to finish downloading a crappy copy of that Rockwell single.




See? I know what you hipsters are doing with your free time. For instance, I know that you have recently started reading the nutrition facts labels on groceries; you read them almost obsessively, even though you don’t really understand what they mean.

I’m not judging you; I’m the same. I, too, once suddenly felt compelled to hear “I Always Feel Like Someone’s Watching Me”, not because I had a hankering for Rockwell, per se, just that one hit.

I’m always looking for (sometimes improbable) works of genius by otherwise forgettable artists. Oftentimes it’s because I remember the song from childhood, and for we Americans born after the 1960’s, pop culture is pretty much what passes for roots. Why else would we scramble to buy complete box sets of Voltron?

Because face it, Generation X, Y and Z, that cartoon is not good. It’s not. It hurts to hear it and believe me, hurts more to say it, but it’s true. Even Posh agreed with me, and God knows that woman could deny fire on the face of the Sun. (And yes, I’m including the Lion version.)

Sometimes a personal, one-hit wonder is from a legitimate artist or group that you usually don’t like. Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out” qualifies in all of the above categories I’ve mentioned. For my ex-roommate Mat, he admitted to really liking this one song by Erasure, a band he would otherwise equate with the fatty slime that sticks to the lid of cat food tins. (The song, FYI, was “Breath of Life”.)




(Mat and I usually got on well, musically speaking, when we lived together. He introduced me to This Mortal Coil and I turned him into a fan of ABBA [I was only 16 at the time and he, a glamorous and mature 23, had a decided edge on me.] Our only irreconcilable difference was his love of Neil Diamond and my admiration of The Chipmunks. Either were off-limits when we were both at home.)


But... Who will take New Hampshire?

Some songs are just guilty pleasures. I have nothing in my history to justify liking Mel C’s “I Turn To You”. Perhaps it was because I first heard/saw it on Dutch TV, high out of my mind on hashish, but could that explain why I own a copy of it? Again – I don’t own anything else by Sporty Spice, just needed that one song.

There’s been mention of two Spice Girls in this blog entry so far, which really bothers me, considering I didn’t sit down to write about any of them. I didn’t even enjoy them when they were A-list. I was busy having a nervous breakdown in New Mexico, listening to Native American flute music, mastering East Indian cooking and sobbing uncontrollably.

Is this still my blog?

I don’t remember my name.

Uh… All this was headed to a listing of songs I love that are guilty pleasures. It was going to tie in with the fine art of making mix-tapes, which I recently did for my friend Rosa… who, upon reflection, probably wouldn’t want me to use her real name (I’m pretty sure she’s an undercover agent) so, for the sake of anonymity, I’ll just refer to her as Valerie Plame.

Ech… I’m still sick, though, and I’m exhausted. I’ll have to finish this later. Sorry folks. I know I have a few fans left out there (though I might be related to them) and I don’t mean to leave you hanging, but I’m starting to see flying toasters on my computer screen, and I don’t use a screen saver.

I’ll try again later…

4AM CRITIQUES PUBLIC'S FASCINATION WITH DECEASED POP STARS

Posted by Billyjam, January 9, 2008 01:49pm | Post a Comment

 
You know, James Dean is dead.
But don't worry or get upset or anything, He's been dead for a long time
But a week after he died he received more fan-mail than any other living American actor,
Which is weird right?  'cause he's dead, he's not gonna read that shit
But still, people felt inclined to write him

I think that's the first sign about what's happening with the entertainment industry today,
Especially with music:
I mean, you're gonna make more money dead, have more fame dead
And more people are going to hear your message dead, than ever would've alive. And that's weird

I mean, no one cared about Nick Drake until they put his song in that Volkswagen commercial and now everyone loves Nick Drake...
He died, man, he died poor and alone and no one gave a crap.
2Pac, Biggie, sure they were big in their lifetime but how many albums did they put out after they died...? Man that's fucked up!

Stop messing with peoples legacies like that!
Stop jumping on the bandwagon the second somebody dies and then make a movie about them.
Go out and find that music right now 'cause there are people out there right now working, living, and creating to help make this world a better place and if we don't help them now, or wait until after they're dead, what point is there to being an artist? What point, what point is there?

 Stop doin' that shit, stop ridin' shotgun for the industry and jump in the car with us cause we're going to Weinerschnitzel, then maybe later we can have some muffinz

         
- 4AM from the track "Ridin Shotgun" off the new Dopestyle 2CD set
                         The Little Happy/Fool's Pool
(Daly City Records)


WHEN CLONED PIGS GLOW IN THE DARK & PASS GENES ONTO PIGLETS

Posted by Billyjam, January 9, 2008 01:45pm | Post a Comment

This story below titled "Glowing Pig Passes Genes to Piglets" was published 
today by the Associated Press and is worth reading.

A cloned pig whose genes were altered to make it glow fluorescent green 
has passed on the trait to its young, a development that could lead to the 
future breeding of pigs for human transplant organs, a Chinese university 
reported.

The glowing piglets' birth proves transgenic pigs are fertile and able to 
pass on their engineered traits to their offspring, according to Liu 
Zhonghua
, a professor overseeing the breeding program at Northeast
Agricultural University.
"Continued development of this technology can be applied to ... the production of special pigs for the production of human organs for transplant," Liu said in a news release posted Tuesday on the university's Web site. Calls to the university seeking comment Wednesday were not answered. The piglets' mother was one of three pigs born with the trait in December 2006 after pig embryos were injected with fluorescent green protein. Two of the 11 piglets glow fluorescent green from their snout, trotters, and tongue under ultraviolet light, the university said. Robin Lovell-Badge, a genetics expert at Britain's National Institute for
Medical Research,
said the technology "to genetically manipulate pigs in this way would be very valuable." Lovell-Badge had not seen the research from China's cloned pigs and could not comment on its credibility. He said, however, that organs from genetically altered pigs would potentially solve some of the problems of rejected organs in transplant operations. He said the presence of the green protein would allow genetically modified cells to be tracked if they were transplanted into a human. The fact that the pig's offspring also appeared to have the green genes would indicate that the genetic modification had successfully penetrated every cell, Lovell-Badge added. But he said much more research and further trials -- both in animals and in humans -- would be necessary before the benefits of the technology could be seen. Other genetically modified pigs have been created before, including by Scotland's Roslin Institute, but few results have been published. Tokyo's Meiji University last year successfully cloned a transgenic pig that carries the genes for human diabetes, while South Korean scientists cloned cats that glow red when exposed to ultraviolet rays.

First Mandala Of 2008...And It Starts With...Me !

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 9, 2008 12:29am | Post a Comment
electrocumbia-chicano chill-salsa clandestina-
south american psych & hip hop en español
plus:
classics from discos fuentes, fania, areito & rampart records

MANDALA is Amoeba's weekly in-house DJ series -- the evening when the Amoeba staff take to the stage to spin their favorite tunes!

Each MANDALA session is two 90-minute DJ sets, guided only by the far-ranging imagination of the DJs. Started at Amoeba San Francisco in 1998, MANDALA continues every Friday in San Francisco and Wednesday at Amoeba Hollywood.


Tomboy

Posted by phil blankenship, January 8, 2008 11:51pm | Post a Comment
 



Vestron Video VA5087

Vietnamese New Wave - Part I - German Euro-disco

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 8, 2008 10:14pm | Post a Comment
Vietnamese New Wave

Are any of my readers out there Vietnamese? I was turned on to this amazing genre by "the Jewel of La Puente," the one and only (OK, one of thousands but still one of a kind) Ngoc Nuyen. I have asked the experts here at Amoeba Hollywood about "Vietnamese New Wave" (also referred to as Asian New Wave at times) groups and no one seems even remotely familiar with any of them, with the exception of Chris Matthews, to whom "Modern Talking" sounds familiar ...

First of all, when people talk about Vietnamese New Wave, they’re not talking about Vietnamese artists (although there is Thu Thuy, Lynda Trang Dai and supposedly a tieng viet cover of a Night Society song), but rather a movement that includes mostly German Euro-disco, Italo-disco and English synthpop artists who acquired, through means that no one seems to understand (although it definitely involves mixtapes) massive popularity amongst Vietnamese in Cali, Texas and Canada (and maybe elsewhere).

And whilst there’ve been at least four or five documentarians who’ve explored the still supposedly strange popularity of Morrissey amongst Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, to my knowledge no one has yet delved into the mysterious “Vietnamese New Wave” movement in which (in addition to OMD, Pet Shop Boys and Gazebo's "I Like Chopin") four German performers, with no radio play, no MTV exposure, no Amazon recommendations, no local performances came, against all odds, to achieve stardom in the Vietnamese immigrant population.

To start with, the term “new wave” as used in music means many different things to different people. History records that Sire records head Seymour Stein was the first to borrow the term from the 1950s and 60s film movements from Europe to describe the bands that played at CBGB like Blondie and the Talking Heads. Before long it seemingly became applied to any band formed after 1976 and was applied to such musically dissimilar artists as Spandau Ballet, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, the Thompson Twins and definitely anyone with asymmetrical hair or '80s fashions regardless of their sound. By the late '80s, I don't remember anyone really using it anymore. "Alternative" had pretty much replaced it as the term for anything underground or bizarre (at least in Columbia, Missouri, where I was still living.) Anyway, in the context of Vietnamese New Wave, four performers loom large that are pretty much completely unknown by every non-Vietnamese I’ve talked to (except DJ Lance Rock, pictured below, with Vietnamese New Wave expert Ngoc-Thu Nguyen and some people who've never even heard of Modern Talking, including Amoeba blogger Chaz Reece).


Hi-NRG” was a term coined by the UK magazine Record Mirror which had a Hi-NRG chart and was used to describe songs with a staccato sequenced synthesizer as heard in Hazell Dean’s “Searching (I Got To Find a Man)” and Evelyn Thomas’s “High Energy.” This music, filtered through songs like Dead Or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” became known as Eurobeat to some, although I had never heard anyone arguing about the distinctions of these sounds until the age of the chatroom, many years later. There's arguements about what’s what and even Freestyle was frequently marketed as Hi-NRG in the US (as well as Latin Hip-Hop and who knows what else). Canadian band Lime was often considered Italo-disco. I’m not an expert but there is a common sound to the stars of Vietnamese New Wave, as I’m sure you’ll hear if you take the time to watch these awesome videos.

In my research I have found that they have a “New Wave Night” at the Shark Club in Costa Mesa on the first Friday of every month (in the Red Room) and it's specifically Vietnamese New Wave, so I’m going to have to check it out for further research and get back to you.


Bad Boys Blue

Bad Boys Blue was formed in Cologne, Germany in 1984 by producer Tony Hendrik and his lyricist wife Karin van Harren. The group itself was comprised of a Brit, an American and a Jamaican. They became most popular in Russia, South Africa and Ukraine.






C.C. Catch

C.C. Catch, born Caroline Catharina Müller in Oss, Netherlands, moved to Germany in the 1970s and eventually teamed up with writer Dieter Bohlen in 1985, who produced all of her hits (well, hits in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Yugoslavia) until they fell out in 1989.




Modern Talking

Modern Talking was formed in Berlin by Dieter Bohlen and Thomas Anders in 1984. They split in 1987 after achieving considerable popularity in Argentina, Austria, Finland, Iran, Scandinavia, South Africa and Switzerland. In the UK they were marketed toward fans of gay duos like Erasure, the Pet Shop Boys and trios Bronski Beat and Culture Club, despite their heterosexuality. In their videos and live performances they usually consciously appeared with a measured distance between them, fearing that their assumed gay image was holding them back. In 1985, Thomas Anders began wearing a necklace which spelled out his girlfriend’s name in gold letters.







Sandra

Sandra Cretu (born Sandra Ann Lauer in Saarbrücken, Germany) was in the disco group Arabesque and before she began performing solo as Sandra in 1984. After teaming up with her then boyfriend Michael Cretu, she became immensely popular in Germany, Israel, Lebanon and Switzerland. In America she is still mostly known, if known at all, as the female voice in “Sadeness,” the hit single of her by-then-husband’s group Enigma. She’s the one whispering “Sade, dit moi. Sade donne moi.”

 


Go here for Part II of Vietnamese New Wave!

Become a fan of Eric's Blog on Facebook!

2007 – IT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS!

Posted by Amoebite, January 8, 2008 03:22pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Hollywood Wraps Up 2007

There’s always lots of fun stuff happening here at the big Amoeba in beautiful downtown Hollywood CA. But 2007 was just bananas! Rock stars, reissues, bashes, balls, Beatles, etc. etc.! Should auld acquaintance be forgot, I shall now fire up my poor abused memory chip and attempt to recall all the good times from last year. For auld lang syne that is!

Surely the most memorable event of 2007 was our biggest in-store performance ever, when Paul McCartney played a “secret” 90-minute show on June 27! Yes that Paul McCartney, “the cute one” as teen Beatles fans knew him in the ‘60s! Sir Paul had just released his latest album in the Spring, his best in years, entitled Memory Almost Full and he wanted to celebrate with secret shows in London, New York and Los Angeles.


His choice of Amoeba as a venue (while enormously flattering and logistically terrifying to us) showed his true lifelong passion for music. What better way to show it than to play a career-capping concert in a room full of every kind of music from around the world, past present and future?

Suffice to say, the “secret” of his secret show got out somehow and next thing you know, we had a half-mile long line of fans camping out outside our building! 400 fans made it in at last (along with plenty of VIPs including Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne and more), and Paul showed that he’s no fossil – he rocked harder than most young’uns on a joyous set of Beatle favorites and his newest tunes.

January 7, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, January 8, 2008 12:43pm | Post a Comment

IN CELEBRATION OF THE DRUM: PART TWO, CHILD DRUMMERS

Posted by Billyjam, January 8, 2008 11:22am | Post a Comment

Recorded circa 1988 when he was just a wee lad of seven years old is the mind-boggling video footage    above of percussionist prodigy Jacob Armen. Pretty damn impressive skills for such a young kid! However as you can witness for yourself if you go onto YouTube and do a search on Jacob and follow threads linking to later drum performances by him up to recently, you will see that while he is still a damn good drummer -- as is often the case with child prodigies -- he didn't continue to evolve and develop his skills at such an impressive level.

Equally impressive is the video below, given that the young percussionist in it, Levi Eshleman, is only 3 years of age. Amazing considering most kids are having difficulty just doing basic skills at this age! This clip below was originally featured on a DVD titled Be A Drumhead that featured Will Kennedy and Bob Gatzen, who produced a series of inspirational DVD's featuring young talents like Levi.

The Story Of Calvin Weston (and Tony)-1986

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 8, 2008 01:53am | Post a Comment

Tony was uptight about loaning out his drum kit. It wasn’t because he thought another drummer would damage his kit. The reason was that he played in a band that opened up for the guitar legend James Blood Ulmer back in 1986. Ulmer’s band used to tour without a back line and would borrow the opening band’s equipment.

On that evening, Tony felt his playing was exceptional. After his set, James Blood Ulmer’s drummer Calvin Weston asked Tony if he could borrow his kit. Feeling confident, Tony agreed. Calvin liked Tony’s kit, it was set up just the way he liked he liked it and would have to make very little modifications to it.

After James Blood Ulmer’s first song, Tony regretted loaning out his kit. Calvin was amazing and had erased anything he had played before. It wasn't just that Calvin was better than Tony that night, but he showed him up on his own kit.

Currently, Calvin Weston is on tour, playing with the Noise Jazz group Monster Cock Rally, out of Oakland. They are playing several shows up and down California this week.

Here are some pic’s from their show at Mr. T’s Bowl with Mike Watt’s Missingmen. Damn...now I know what Tony meant.

out today 1/8/08...the riches...zodiac...sunshine...

Posted by Brad Schelden, January 7, 2008 11:39pm | Post a Comment
I would like to start off by welcoming everybody to 2008. Congratulations to all of us for making it through another year. 2007 was really a great year full of amazing new releases. We are just about through the really slow period at the end of the year and getting ready for some great new releases again. There were some great DVD's out at the end of last year. The Deluxe brief case version of Blade Runner sort of made up for the lack of any decent music new releases. I really can't stop looking at it. I have opened the brief case more times than necessary but I just can't get enough of it. It was my big Christmas present to myself and I really dolove it. The Final Cut version of the film looks fantastic. I have only watched the Final Cut version and about half of the main documentary so far. But what I have watched already of this documentary is really amazing. But I am sure that I will be talking all about my love of Blade Runner very soon.

Last week only had one new release. The new Radiohead album "In Rainbows" finally got its real release on CD and vinyl. The music new releases don't really start up again until next week. We have the new Magnetic Fields album out next week and then the amazing new Cat Power out the following week. New albums by The Mars Volta, The Mountain Goats, Vampire Weekend, and Dolly Parton are also right around the corner. I still have not seen the movie Juno yet, but hopefully I will get to see it this week. I have heard great fantastic things about it. The soundtrack, featuring the songs of Kimya Dawson from The Moldy Peaches, comes out today. I am still not sure why these labels are putting out the soundtracks weeks after the movies have been out. But that is the way it is. The Golden Compass soundtrack featuring Kate Bush will finally see a street date in another 2 weeks. But as always, we can count on the DVD's to keep us excited about new release Tuesday.

One of my favorite cable shows of the last year gets its release on DVD today. The F/X original series "The Riches" is coming out in a season one box set. I am already getting excited for season two to start. Just a couple more months. I have heard a rumor it will be on March 10th on the F/X channel. I have never been a big Minnie Driver fan. While I have always sort of loved Eddie Izzard, I was not really looking forward to a family show starring Minnie Driver as his wife. But she really surprised me and I am now officially a huge admirer of Minnie Driver. She and Eddie Izzard are both really amazing in this show. I don't really want to give too much away about the show if you have not watched it yet. But the basic plot is about a family of gypsies who get a bit "lucky" and find themselves living the life of a rich family in fancy suburbia. They do not fit into the life at all but somehow manage to fake it and convince their neighbors that they are in fact  "The Riches."  The show reminds me a bit of Big Love (HBO). Sort of another family living in a community that is very different from what they are accustomed to. They have three children played by Shannon Marie Woodward, Noel Fisher, and Aidan Mitchell. They are all also perfectly cast and amazing. The youngest son is sort of a transvestite. You might expect Izzard to be playing the part of the transvestite. But they actually do a great job developing the story of a young boy who wants to dress and act like a girl. The show takes place in both their original family of gypsies and also their new suburban community. Both are created beautifully. The show is just one of those unique and brilliant shows that only come around every once in a while. The brilliance of Six Feet Under has not yet been matched but this really comes very close. It is always fun to watch these shows all at once without the commercials. A perfect TV show that is really made for a DVD release. Minnie Driver is just so good. You really have to see it to believe it. I really hope she gets the Golden Globe for this series. She did not win the Emmy. And even though it looks now that the Golden Globes will not really be happening, I still hope she wins. As the writers strike continues they have decided to not have the Golden Globes awards show. It will simply be a sort of press conference announcement of the winners. The writers guild would not give the awards show a waiver and I don't think any of the actors and actresses would have crossed the picket line to go the show. I really hope this will help things move along a bit faster. I am of course on the side of the writers. They are notoriously underpaid and overworked and probably deserve whatever they are asking for. A show like "The Riches" is the perfect piece of evidence showing how brilliant and hilarious these writers can be.

I have been waiting for this version of Zodiac to come out on DVD since it originally came out on DVD last year. There was just the regular basic release widescreen release last July. The movie is easily one of my favorites of the year. I think a lot of people maybe missed out on seeing this when it was in theaters. But it really is worth your time. I have always been fascinated with this story and it is always fun to see a movie that is filmed in San Francisco. I love seeing San Francisco transformed back into the 1970's. This version includes the new and improved directors cut, a couple of commentaries and some special featurettes. There is a both a "fact" segment and a "film" segment. I am really excited to see this movie all over again. It is a bit lengthy and very realistic and brutal in parts. But for any fan of true crime this film is really fantastic and well done. The film is directed by David Fincher and stars Jake Gyllenhall, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., and Chloe Sevigny. I have been a big fan of David Fincher for a while. But how can you not be. He directed Se7en, The Game, and Fight Club. But it really had been almost ten years since he directed a really great film again. This is seriously a great film and San Francisco looks fantastic.

Another of my favorites of the year comes out on DVD this week. It is directed by another of my favorites, the great Danny Boyle. The man who brought us Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, and 28 Days Later. I am a big fan of the Science Fiction film but there really have not been any good ones in a while. The Alien vs. Predator franchise is just not doing it for me. I really have been waiting for another Blade Runner or another Alien type movie. The movie "Sunshine" actually really impressed me. It stars Cillian Murphy and Michelle Yeoh. The story is basically about a crew of astronauts that are sent out to reignite the sun. I know we have already seen this sort of story before. But it really is much better than "Sphere" starring Sharon Stone or "The Core" starring Hilary Swank. It is just  a great science fiction movie. The film has great art direction and does a great job developing the crew and the spaceship relationship. It really comes close to the greatness of the crew and ship relationship of films like Alien and The Abyss. The story might be a bit unbelievable. But it really is important to let your mind accept some impossibilities when watching science fiction films. You really can't keep asking "how" or "why" when watching a film like this. This DVD release includes a commentary with the director. It also includes a commentary by the scientific consultant and 11 deleted scenes.


also out today






"Juno" Soundtrack













"3:10 To Yuma" DVD













Richard Simmons "The Complete Sweatin' to the Oldies" DVD















"Eagle vs. Shark" DVD






Honeymoon Academy

Posted by phil blankenship, January 7, 2008 05:43pm | Post a Comment
 





Trans World Entertainment / HBO Video 90514

IN CELEBRATION OF THE DRUM: PART ONE, COZY COLE

Posted by Billyjam, January 7, 2008 11:31am | Post a Comment

Perhaps it is because it is a much smaller nation than the USA that the United Kingdom pop charts have historically been more prone to having unusual or esoteric records making their way onto and up the British pop charts. But that is not to say that surprise hits never occur here in the United States. They do, just not as often. But every once in a while a record that you just don't think of as a "pop" record somehow breaks through into the mainstream. A good example is  the cool swinging, drum-based instrumental single "Topsy, Part 2" by jazz drummer Cozy Cole, which was a surprise cross-over hit exactly fifty years ago in 1958 for the talented percussionist when it went to the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100 Charts.

What was unusual and unprecedented about the number one pop single by the late New Jersey born jazz percussionist (1909 - 1981) was that it contained a lengthy drum solo, and remains one of the few drum solo recordings that ever made the popular Billboard pop charts.  Additionally, it appeared not on a major label but instead was released on the tiny Brooklyn-based Love Records.

Protect Your Investment

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 6, 2008 11:45pm | Post a Comment















It is not my personal recommendation that you replace any inner sleeves with a plastic or plastic lined "upgrade" as it's been my experience that all they tend to do is "degrade" over the course of a decade or so...sorry...

Why You Should Shop In The World Music Vinyl Section #3 - Classic Disco Fuentes LPs

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 6, 2008 03:07pm | Post a Comment

I asked a sales rep from Miami Records, the U.S. distributor of Discos Fuentes, why they don't release older Disco Fuentes titles with the original covers. She told me that their core market wants new music and doesn't care about the older titles anymore. I have to tell you, the biggest selling Discos Fuentes related title we had at Amoeba Hollywood last year was the Colombia! compilation, put together by the Soundway label out of England. Soundway licensed classic Discos Fuentes tracks that the Miami Records rep said no one cared about and added a great booklet with liner notes and photos of the original album covers. The Colombia! Compilation was geared towards the Anglo market, people who aren't familiar with the music, but many Latinos who grew up with the music bought it because it included many tracks that had been out of print for years. It goes to show you that most record company people tend to be oblivious about their own market.

The best place to find those out of print Fuentes titles is in the World Music Vinyl section, now located at the end of the Rock Vinyl section.

V/A-Cumbias Cumbias Cumbias

Rodolfo Y Su Tipica R.A.7-Show Bailable!
The Latin Brothers-Te Encontre
Latin Brothers-Suavecito, Apretaito
V/A-Salsa/Cumbia (double album)

not that anyone asked, part two ...

Posted by Whitmore, January 6, 2008 02:27pm | Post a Comment

Here are some of my favorite Presidential campaign quotes, miscues, gaffes, and faux pas’ for 2007…





On Apr. 5, 2007:  Mitt Romney in trying, once again, to re-defend his undetectable machismo stated:  “I'm not a big-game hunter. I've made that very clear. I've always been, if you will, a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will. And I began when I was 15 or so and have hunted those kinds of varmints since then, more than two times.” Later he acknowledged he had only gone hunting twice in his life.















April 18, 2007:  John McCain, not only proved he was an old rock and roller at heart but a fan of Dr Demento’s as well, when in response to the question, “When do we send them an airmail message to Tehran?”, he sang a parodied version of the old Beach Boys tune of “Barbara Ann”, crooning “Bomb, bomb, bomb ... Bomb, bomb Iran.”















Sept. 21, 2007: Rudy Giuliani, in a classic Rudy moment, explained why he interrupted a speech to the National Rifle Association by answering a cellphone call from his wife: “Quite honestly, since Sept. 11, most of the time when we get on a plane, we talk to each other and just reaffirm the fact that we love each other.” Giuliani answered: “Hello, dear. I'm talking to the members of the NRA right now. Would you like to say hello?” The next day the New York Times under the headline, “Just a Moment. It's My Wife. Again,” questioned whether Giuliani staged the call in front of an unreceptive audience, reminding readers that a similar scene occurred earlier in June during a speech to Cuban immigrants.






Jan. 31, 2007:  the same day he was filing the official paperwork to launch his presidential campaign, Joe Biden’s comments about fellow candidate Barack Obama basically ended any of Biden’s serious aspirations he may have had for the presidency:  “I mean you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that's a storybook, man.” Biden later apologized saying he should have used the word “fresh” instead of “clean”.

Not that anyone asked ...

Posted by Whitmore, January 6, 2008 10:58am | Post a Comment

Not that anybody asked, but I thought I’d toss up a couple of my picks for the best photos of the year.

This image is of Mary McHugh at the grave of her fiancé, Sgt James J. Regan at Arlington National Cemetery. He was from Manhasset, New York. Sgt Regan was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

After a record drought year, this past fire season was one of the most destructive and costly in Southern California history, photographer Karen Tapia-Anderson took this photo of 12 firefighters trapped atop a ridge in Orange County after flames jumped the road sending the fire up the hillside, prompting the firefighters to deploy their fire shelters. "We just remained calm, everyone did," one firefighter said after he was checked out by paramedics. All 12 firefighters were treated at the scene, none of them wanted to be sent to the hospital. 

A photo of the gruesome aftermath of Pakistan’s oppositional leader Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, the suicide attack left more then 20 people dead.

Why You Should Shop In The World Music Vinyl Section #2 - Part 2 -The Salsa Arms Race

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 6, 2008 01:46am | Post a Comment
My roommate took me to a house party in which the owner of the house had this insane record collection. I try to live minimally, not buying more than I need, but when I saw the amount of Salsa vinyl this guy had, I went nuts. After that night, I made it a point to try to amass a Salsa Vinyl collection bigger than the one I saw at the party. I guess I had Salsa envy. Thus began the Salsa Arms Race. Check out what I've found lately at Amoeba's World Music vinyl section...Ha! take that, Salsa Vinyl Collection Guy!

Andy Montañez-Una Dimension Desconocida
Oscar D'Leon Y Su Salsa Mayor-2 Sets Con Oscar
 Grupo Irakere-Self-Titled X 2
El Gran Combo-In Alaska

Why You Should Shop In The World Music Vinyl Section - Part 1 - The Roc En Español Edition

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 6, 2008 01:09am | Post a Comment

Caifanes
-
La Negra Tomasa










Manu Chao -
Radio
Bemba Sound System









Enanitos Verdes- Contrareloj  








Titan-
C'mon Feel The Noise


Electric Dreams

Posted by phil blankenship, January 5, 2008 11:16pm | Post a Comment
 





MGM/UA Home Video MV800487

Smokey And The Hotwire Gang

Posted by phil blankenship, January 5, 2008 09:17pm | Post a Comment
 







World Video Pictures WV-1017

rain, rain go away Part 2

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 5, 2008 06:29pm | Post a Comment
After writing the blog "rain, rain go away" yesterday, I was inspired to ask some of my co-workers what their favorite rainy day comforts are, and I got some pretty interesting answers.  Let's check it out:

Doug
security/cassettes/receiving


John Coltrane's Ole
"My sister actually mentioned it once when we were driving around listening to the album.  She said it was good rainy day music.  It's got a groovy baseline."


Brendan

cloud city

When I asked Brendan what his rainy day favorites are, he told me that he was feeling sick and was actually looking for something to bring home and watch tonight. 
"The Hole is about obsessive neighbors.  It's weird and Taiwanese. 

I was listening to Country Blues by Lightnin' Hopkins yesterday.  It's quiet."






Ben W.
metal/buyer

"The Boatman's Call by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.  This album was released during the winter.  The first morning I listened to it, I woke up at 10am while my girlfriend was still asleep and put it on at a low volume.  I opened the window and there was 2 feet of snow, so I crawled back into bed."

22nd Vibe For Philo - Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy) Anniversary

Posted by Billyjam, January 4, 2008 06:38pm | Post a Comment

Exactly twenty two years ago today, January 4th, 1986 Irish rock legend Phil Lynott, who came to fame as the frontman of Thin Lizzy (perhaps best known stateside for their hit "The Boys Are Back In Town") died of pneumonia and heart failure, apparently the result of complications from a heroin drug overdose.

And today many people around the world are honoring the man. Most notable is the big annual 22nd Vibe For Philo: Johnny the Fox meets Jimmy the Weed celebration tonight in Dublin, Ireland at The Button Factory at Curved Street in the Temple Bar district where numerous artists will perform, including Cait O'Riordan (formerly with the Pogues), the tribute band Tizz Lizzy as well as Satoshi Shibata  -- lead guitarist with Japanese tribute band The Lizzy Boys. The late singer's mom, Philomena Lynott, will also be on-stage tonight in Dublin.

Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy (who in recent years reformed but it ain't the same without Phil) are one of those bands whose influence is very great and wide with countless Thin Lizzy tribute bands popping up worldwide over the years, as well as numerous bands who do Thin Lizzy covers/tributes, including Europe, Motorhead, and Metallica, whose cover of Thin Lizzy's version of the old Irish traditional folk song "Whiskey In The Jar" is perhaps better known with American audiences than the Lizzy's 1972 recording -- their first hit single, which is below in video form (check out the opening which features the Celtic influenced art of modern Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick who did most of Lizzy's album covers).

rain, rain go away...

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, January 4, 2008 12:37pm | Post a Comment
*warning:  I have a mouth like a sailor, and I write the same way


(Richmond-San Rafael bridge from the San Quentin end)

So, today fucking sucks! (I warned you.) Like, seriously!  I hate being cold and clammy and not able to dry my clothes.  I'd rather have cramps or a sunburn on my ass ...  But anyway, how are you?  Do you have your tea?  Do you have a warm blanket to curl up under?  If you do, it sounds like you're ready to watch some TV.  I know hunkering down in my living room and watching stuff makes me feel better, so here is a list of some of my  favorite, rainy day comfort DVDs:

I have a huge soft spot in my heart for some of the classic Disney movies.  101 Dalmatians was always one of my favorites.  How cute is Roly asking for more food?
  "I'm hungry, mother.  I really am."
My brothers and I used to wake up early on Saturday mornings to watch this movie. (Keep in mind we couldn't get up and make it to school on time to save our lives, but you bet yer ass we were up on Saturdays to watch cartoons!)

I also love Peter Pan.  I always wanted to be a lost boy (or at least Wendy) and fly away.  "Second star to the right and straight on til morning."  Pirates, fairies and a crocodile with a clock in his tail... hell yeah!

Best Of 2007, Part 9 - Gomez Comes Alive! Picks His Favorite Songs Of 2007

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 4, 2008 02:13am | Post a Comment
In no particular order:

"Space Cumbia" - Poncho Kingz
(Sonidero Nacional re-mix)
A good song by the "so-so" Poncho Kingz gets a makeover. Best thing Sonidero Nacional has done since Celso Pina’s “Cumbia Sobre El Rio”

"Afrobeatnik?"- Gecko Turner

Like a modern day "Soul Makossa" without completely biting the original.

"Mi Sonsito"-Ticklah
This little known song is better and lots more fun than Lily Allen’s “Smile”

"Scared Money" - Saul Williams
One of the less bombastic songs of his Internet-only release. A simple roots-reggae loop behind his potent lyrics and it works well.

"Cumbia De Los Aburridos" - Calle 13
Nastier and almost as good as 2005’s “Atrévete."

"Arenita Playita" – 4to Poder
I must have listened to this song a million times over the summer. I’m looking forward to a full-length release by this Venezuelan band one day.

"Be Easy" - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

We have Sharon Jones to thank for giving us the best lesson on pursuing love.

"Heater" - Samim
German techno meets Colombian Cumbia. XLR8R magazine put it best, “It was the only way the Germans would get introduced to Cumbia.”

"Café Con Sangre" - Jose Conde Y Ola Fresca

My personal favorite song of the year. Freshest Salsa tune I’ve heard in years.

"El Outsider" - Café Tacvba
There are many great songs off of Si No, but this one's my favorite. Café Tacvba become The Latin Playboys on this track.

"Rehab" - Amy Winehouse

The first line of the song alone made this an instant classic.

"Mi Chat Latin" (feat. DJ Mexic
an) - Up Bustle & Out
Wins the award for Best Mexican Reggae Dancehall Song Made By Englishmen 2007.

"La Segunda Mano" - Ozomatli
A mixture of Son Jarocho and Hip-Hop and the best song off their Don't Mess With The Dragon release. I would love to see Ozomatli continue on this path rather than continue their path towards "radio-friendly" songs that taint most of this album.

"Nuestra Demandas" - B-Side Players

This one had to grow on me a bit. It seemed a little “sloganish” at first but now I see it as a modern day Chicano anthem.

"Chicago Falcon" – The Budos Band

Best instrumental of 2007. The band just burns on this one.

Foiled Again

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 3, 2008 11:59pm | Post a Comment


































January 2, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, January 3, 2008 02:01am | Post a Comment




             photo by Rameen Mansour

AMOEBLOG PREDICTIONS FOR 2008, PART FOUR

Posted by Billyjam, January 2, 2008 10:55pm | Post a Comment
JACK WHITE & DAVE GROHL JOIN LED ZEPPELIN IN SAN FRANCISCO:


 In my wildest fantasy Led Zeppelin is going to go on one last amazing, kick-ass world tour. They will play at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco and, as offered, Dave Grohl will be playing drums (that is, if Jason Bonham is unavailable). Waiting in the wings is Jack White to sing and play on a song or five. Jimmy, Jack and Dave on a stage together... that's my prediction.


                         - Maggie the Cat (Bay Area Crew AMOEBLOGGER)




RETURN OF THE OLD SCHOOL TO HIP-HOP'S RESCUE:


I predict that old school rap will come to the rescue helping to guide the music out of its slump. Also, i think there will be more old school film projects, maybe a Busy Bee movie or a Scott La Rock film.

   
             - Michael A. Gonzales (author, journalist, blogger at BlackadelicPop)





RETURN OF VINYL, DOWNFALL OF HANNAH MONTANA, & MUCH MORE

TABLOID TALES: In 2008 Britney Spears, no longer hounded by a pack of paparazzi -- just that one guy she took back to her hotel room-- will be completely upstaged by lil sis Jamie Lynn Spears who will lead tabloid headlines for the next seven or more months. She will then be suddenly upstaged herself by the even more shocking, tabloid-ready real-life story of Hannah Montana (the alter ego of Miley Cyrus), who will have an unexpected and sudden, widely publicized downfall into drugs and sexploits. So shocking will this news be to the parents of tween fans of the wholesome Disney Channel star that there will be a huge backlash culminating in a Hannah Montana doll burning gathering at a Florida sports stadium in November with tickets to the event being as much in demand as Hannah Montana concert tickets were just a year earlier.

January 1, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, January 2, 2008 01:57am | Post a Comment

Triangulation...was the triangle the shape of the 80's???

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, January 1, 2008 11:00pm | Post a Comment


almost identical placement for these two 80's classics...maybe MCA got a good deal on this sticker shape & size...



Southern Pacific, a band big with the duster wearing crowd...mentions the duet with Emmylou, herself a duster queen...working on a duster gallery in fact I am...





The ultimate power ballad (the Search is Over) was written and performed by these Grammy winners, not to be outdone, their triangle is inside a circle!



Finishing off with a triangular obscurity...why doesn't it say featuring "the sister of  the Mellowbeard"? Yet again MCA was lovin' the triforce...

Sweeney Todd

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 1, 2008 10:02pm | Post a Comment
Sweeney Todd is a villain who began as an urban legend sometime around 1800 and was, a few decades later, the protagonist of a penny dreadful called The People's Periodical, which was published in 1846. The issue was titled The String of Pearls: A Romance written by Thomas Prest, a popular writer who also wrote Varney the Vampire, which I've wanted to get a copy of ever since I was in third grade.

Another popular urban legend of Victorian London was that the unsuspecting victims ended up in meat pies.

There was no evidence of Sweeney Todd having been an actual character, nor that anyone turned up in the popular takeaway dish, but when the story was turned into a play in 1847 the advertising claimed that it was "founded in fact."

Remember that lady that claimed to find a finger in her chili at Wendy's? Of course, she turned out to be a serial scam-artist and got sentenced to nine years. I think if I found an identifiable piece of meat in my fast food chili it would actually be sort of comforting like, "Hey- at least it's not the pig's genitals!" ... but meat-eaters are a crazy bunch with all sorts of hang-ups about what species are good (chicken, cow, fish, lobster and pig) and what are bad (cat, dog, horse, cockroach or person). So picky!


 

 
Anyway, back to Sweeney Todd.
 


A Pathe "news" clip promoting Tod Slaughter

In 1936 the first sound film adaptation (following two silent versions) was produced in England. Most of the "ingredients" of subsequent adaptations are present here: a love interest named Johanna, a meat pie-making Mrs. Lovett and of course Todd, his mechanical barber's chair and straight razors. The film starred Tod Slaughter, an actor famous for his over-the-top performances as murderous maniacs. As this clip above illustrates, his acting has pretty "hammy."
 
The next cinematic adaptation was 1970's Bloodthirsty Butchers.
 
In 1973 playwright Christopher Bond wrote a play version wherein new twists were added to the play. In his version Sweeney Todd was motivated by revenge, not greed. A judge wrongfully imprisons Todd and rapes his wife, which leads to her committing suicide.

Six years later Stephen Sondheim adapted it into a musical, which proved quite popular. In 1982 it was filmed and this version is available on DVD. 




In 1997 John Schlesinger filmed a version called The Tale of Sweeney Todd, which is currently only available on VHS.

In 2001, another version of the musical showed up. This one is a pretty bare-bones production from the look of it.



In 2006, another non-musical version was filmed. This version is, I've read, an attempt to inject a bit more realism into the over-the-top tale.


And now, Tim Burton brings us yet another version.


As with most Tim Burton films, a lot of attention obviously goes into the costumes and sets, which look  dark and lovely and pretty much just as you'd expect. And, as you'd also expect, there is ample cream-complected cleavage on display, a blond waif Christina Ricci-lookalike, a damaged woman with dark circles around her eyes, and finally a guy with large, improbable hair who seems to be a version of the guy Tim Burton must fantasize about being.

You can tell Burton casts largely for type, often at the expense of technical abilities. Sweeney Todd is so unmistakably like a Tim Burton film that it's kind of hard to get emotionally involved since every detail from the cast, the look, the subject and everything else is so... predictably and unchallengingly Tim Burton.


Tim Burton and his partners in hair (both blade-wielding hairdressers)


Burton's peroxided Innocents


and some of his his consumptive brunettes

First, since it's a musical, let me talk about the music. This was my first exposure to Stephen Sondheim. I'd heard wildly varying descriptions of his style but with Johnny Depp's thin yet appealing voice, it brought to mind Anthony Newley and his work with Lesley Bricusse. Overall, however, most of the songs didn't strike me as either especially melodic or memorable (except "Johanna") and sometimes the unprofessional voices delivered clever lyrics that I had to strain to hear over the bombastic score. And every number seemed to end in a clamorous crescendo.

I did like the story a great deal, having as I do a sweet spot for revenge, tragedy and 19th urban settings. At the same time, I squirmed in my seat more from the rather slow pace and from the fear that the singing would start again rather than from the grand guignol-style bloody action which unfolded in a manner that seemed strangely remote and dispassionate. It wasn't until the climax of the film when the apparently disparate strands of the film pleasingly yet predictably start to come together that I sensed any sort of heartfelt emotions from the characters. The final scenes were surprisingly touching and then it abruptly ends, just as it's getting good -- a mere two hours after it begins. Ngoc Nguyen, who is never wrong about such things, shared my opinions for the most part, as well as a headache.

So, I'm fairly ambivalent about Tim Burton's take on an oft-interpreted tale. He's made his share of flawless films - for example Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Ed Wood, and Edward Scissorhands. And yet, so many of his films seem lush and pretty but vacant and remote. His choices seem so unfailingly predictable and one-note. His next film is going to be Alice In Wonderland. I do like that book ... but I feel like, come on!  Does he perversely enjoy doing exactly what everyone expects?

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BRAND NEW YEAR BRINGS PUBLIC DOMAIN DAY

Posted by Billyjam, January 1, 2008 09:15pm | Post a Comment
Welcome to January 1st, 2008, otherwise known as Public Domain Day. Each New Year's Day thousands and thousands of new creative works pass from being copyrighted material into the public domain -- meaning movies or music, etc, become free to you or me or anyone who wants them.

As reported today on the Copyright Watch website today "January 1st is Public Domain Day in most countries of the world, where copyright runs from the death of the author of a work until the end of the 50th, 70th, or some other year thereafter. In the largest bloc of countries of the world, with the majority of the world’s population, the general copyright term of life+50 expired no later than midnight this morning for the works whose author, or last-surviving of multiple authors, died in 1957."

There are already thousands of works out there (movies, music, plays, books, etc) that are public domain that many people are unaware of. They just don't know that are out there for the pickings. In fact there are some individuals who trawl online sites looking for obscure public domain movies to download, and then burn them on DVD and sell them on eBay for a profit. The New York Times, which recently did a story on this practice, said that what makes it unprecended is that traditionally people would be more likely to hawk copyrighted material. But in a case like this the seller is taking the time to research and dig and see what material is out there in the public domain, downloading it, and then marketing it via eBay and other outlets.

Just Before Dawn

Posted by phil blankenship, January 1, 2008 06:41pm | Post a Comment
 


 
Vogue Video