Amoeblog

Midnight Mass Is Upon Us and Peaches Christ Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, June 30, 2008 03:34pm | Post a Comment

It's the 11th year of Midnight Mass! We here in San Francisco are so lucky to have Peaches Christ's maniacal midnight film screening series. It is definitely one of the best things about living in this city. The screenings are truly out of this world, with fabulous preshows and special guests. For a full schedule of this year's Midnight Mass, click here. The opening night screening of Showgirls including special guests is appropriately on that most American of holidays, July 4th!

Peaches and I recently had a chat about the upcoming season of Midnight Mass, her favorite cult films and of course, her favorite Disney ride!

Miss Ess: This year's Midnight Mass includes perennial fave Showgirls! Tell us about the cast members that will be joining you at the screening.

Miss Peaches Christ: Showgirls is the only film we've programmed in all eleven seasons of Midnight Mass and it's kinda considered our "signature show."  I'm thrilled that this year we're finally adding actual cast members from the film to our bill.  We've been promised behind-the-scenes tales about the making of this modern day cult classic! Patrick Bristow, who plays Marty the dance instructor, is coming, along with Rena Riffel, famous for receiving the infamous line hurled at her character "Nobody wants to fuck a Penny! They wanna fuck a ‘Hope,’” so she's actually listed as having played Penny/Hope. I love it! Both of the actors are really enthusiastic about sharing stories with us so I'm beyond excited.

ME: Will you be performing any songs this year, like last year's enduring "After Midnight?"

PC: Yes, in fact I will!  In honor of our Starrbooty screening I'll be debuting a brand new Peaches single and it's genuine bona-fide hip-hop. Thank Christ for producer Ric Ray or I'd be completely lost. Rapping is hard! It's like hard to breathe and get all those words out. I'll be premiering the song at Starrbooty and then we'll be releasing a single with a b-side and remixes in October. The song is called "Peaches Christ Is Gangsta" and was actually inspired by a Peaches story told by Ana Matronic (of Scissor Sisters). She told us about being approached by some Brooklyn thugs when she was wearing her "Peaches Christ Is My Homegirl" hoodie. One of the guys looked at her sweatshirt and said "that's gangsta!"

ME: And the screening of Starrbooty is the same night RuPaul Charles appears. Will you be interviewing him onstage? 

PC: Yes, I will! I'm a little bit nervous about performing "Peaches Christ Is Gangsta" for the first time in front of RuPaul Charles, but thrilled as well. I'll be interviewing RuPaul in the sort of midnight version of our Inside the Actor's Studio stage-show we've become known for. I'm SUPER excited to get to sit down and talk with RuPaul about having this incredible, legendary career. Also, it will be really fun to see Starrbooty play at Midnight Mass! It's a blaxploitation send-up that' s outrageous, hilarious, and retarded. I love it! We'll also be presenting our 2nd Annual SF Hooker Pride Parade that night, so it's a BIG show.

I miss RuPaul’s show on VH1! James Lipton is kind of a queen already, but your Inside the Actor’s Studio interviews ratchet it up another notch altogether. You plus RuPaul will be one fabulous night! Ok, so in honor of your screening of Purple Rain, what is your favorite Prince song?

Definitely "When Doves Cry." It's just total drama.

Actually, that is my favorite too, without question! It doesn’t sound like any other song ever and it totally rules in every way. You are screening Pee Wee's Big Adventure and I remember that you met Pee Wee Herman last year at an Amoeba signing. Any highlights from that day? Was it everything you hoped it'd be?

It was such a thrill meeting Paul Reubens at Amoeba last year and even though we weren't able to work it out for this summer, I'm still talking with him about doing a Midnight Mass show someday. For our show this summer we're re-mounting our "Peaches' Playhouse" pre-show, which is a real crowd favorite, featuring an all-star cast of drag superstars.

Speaking of, your preshow entertainment is always flawless. How do you generate all your ideas?

I usually come up with stuff when I'm doing something. I don't sit still very well so my better ideas usually pop into my head at the strangest moments. There's not really a patented process I guess. Lots of times it's collaborative and I'll come up with some kernel of an idea and then our co-stars and crew will help nurture it and contribute. The most important part though is that we can never take ourselves too seriously. 

It shows during your performances! Do you have a favorite Midnight Mass moment ever?

I have too many to pick one favorite. So much has happened in the past eleven years. But if you put a gun to my head and demanded I choose just one, I'd say that last year's opening weekend show where we were performing all this crazy stuff while John Waters, Tura Satana, and Mink Stole were sitting in the audience watching us-- well, it was simply amazing. And that word 'amazing' is totally over-used these days, but in this instance I'm using it in the traditional sense. It. Was. AMAZING!

I was there and it was totally out of control! What preshow is your personal fave to take part in?

Hmmm, I honestly don't know. It changes all the time. Maybe I'd say Showgirls this week and Pee Wee next week. It probably depends on what I'm focused on when you ask.

I had the pleasure of watching you erupt from a volcano last year at the Showgirls screening and it was quite the experience! Also last year, we had a special appearance at Trannie Dearest by Mrs. Christ, your mother. Will she be making a return to force?

Unfortunately she's not able to make it to SF this summer. Her fans are disappointed.

Count me as one of them! You were feted at the DeYoung Museum last year for your fashion and cultural contributions-- what has been your most cherished outfit for Midnight Mass?

Well, this year the Reader's Poll of the SF Weekly voted me "Most Fashionable" and when I found out I called my long-time costume designer and personal couturier Tria Connell and announced "You won an award!!!" She's incredible and has made so many incredible outfits for me over the years, but I think maybe my favorite is the dress she made utilizing 35mm Film for last year's opening weekend. 

Tria outdoes herself constantly, it’s true. You are a busy bee, year round. What do you have coming up aside from Midnight Mass?

Well, I'm finally moving forward with my first feature film and it's really taking up loads of time. We hope to be shooting it in early 2009 and it's a massive project. Besides that, I'm also going to be appearing withElvira at Comic Con in San Diego on Friday, July 25th. Yes, the night before the Starrbooty show with RuPaul in San Francisco. What am I thinking!?! The Elvira show features a 20th Anniversary screening of her fantastic movie Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and we're actually talking about taking the show on the road later this year. I'm giddy with excitement about the idea of a Peaches/Elvira tour!

That’s fantastic! Speaking of Miss Elvira, what is your favorite horror film?

A Nightmare On Elm Street. [Ed. note: which will be screened August 15th at Midnight Mass!]

What movie are you dying to star in a remake of?

In general, I'm not a fan of remakes. I don't know that I'd want to do one of these new, polished versions of an older film I love. 

Name a cult film that you think more people should check out. (I'm still not over the one you showed me, Sleepaway Camp!)

Well, Sleepaway Camp is pretty fantastic and I still want to do it at Midnight Mass someday. I'd also recommend that folks check out Spider Baby, The Honeymoon Killers, Astro Zombies, Night Of The Comet, Vixen, and I could probably go on for days so I'll just stop there.

What other film would you love to get for Midnight Mass that you haven't yet?

Heathers.

It seems like Winona must have more availability in her schedule these days-- she should come for that one! If you could have the career of one entertainer, whose would it be?

Barbara Streisand... not!  Seriously, I don't know how to answer that question.

What is your favorite John Waters movie?

Female Trouble.

Since you and John are pals now, care to tell us about your visit to his home in your home state of Maryland?

It was amazing in the traditional sense of the word. And surreal; I was sitting there looking around wide-eyed, eating lunch and thinking, "is this really happening?"

Since we are Amoeba here, name an album that changed your life.

Black Celebration by Depeche Mode. It still holds up for me. LOVE IT.

And, finally, since I know you secretly are a Disney World whore, what is your favorite Disney ride?

I'm coming out of the closet as being a Disney dork. It's true! I spent a week in Walt Disney World last year and it was so fantastic that my gentleman friend Dupuy and I are heading back for another week of the World this September. It's the happiest place on Earth! My favorite Disney attraction is still the Haunted Mansion. It's perfect.

Thank you so much for your time despite your hectic schedule, Peaches! 

Collision Course

Posted by phil blankenship, June 30, 2008 09:04am | Post a Comment
 




HBO Video 90528

Alternate (Universe) Album Art

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, June 29, 2008 10:45pm | Post a Comment
Being that it's been some time since I gave you all some found art, I've put together a gallery for you chock full of homespun goodness (badness?).  Here's a batch that has a bunch of customized LP covers, direct from Vinylandia...






Lovely piece here, I think it might even be more appropriate than the actual album cover...below is an original Aladdin Records comp that someone created an awesome pink cover for...
















A  tough beautiful swinging set, yes. But why would you tape this dull Blue Note comp. cover to the front when the original cover is so cool?? Must have had some serious damage underneath.






This radio sleeve was a bit too dull for a previous owner, so they dolled it up a bit...



Interesting word play below?





Above is a note from CBS records to the Quad radio station in Gainsville that I had mentioned in my previous Quad blogs. To the right an eraser adds a nice to touch the Buddy Miles classic...







Nicely done lettering fills in this classic cover.  Below, very nice original art for a Dio-era Sabbath bootleg, very niiice....






Song to the Siren

Posted by Whitmore, June 29, 2008 03:07pm | Post a Comment


On this date in 1975 one of my all time favorite musicians, Tim Buckley, died of an accidental overdose of heroin; he was 28 years old. Today he is mostly remembered as the father of Jeff Buckley, but
Tim should also be remembered for his brilliant songwriting, his extraordinary voice, and for being one of those rare musicians who relentlessly pushed boundaries, whose experimentation was often mesmerizing and sometimes disquieting. Some people get him, some people don’t, which is how it should be

.

Tim Buckley was one of my very first musical discoveries of something I couldn’t find on the radio. I was a prepubescent, guitar plucking Catholic school boy with some stolen change from my mom’s piggy bank when I bought a used copy of Blue Afternoon at Platterpuss Records on Hollywood Blvd for under a dollar. Blue Afternoon was a revelation, and over the course of the next couple of months I tracked down the rest of his albums, and played them all till I knew every nuance to every breath to every note to every chord to every song. A couple of years later when Buckley died, it was my mom who told me; she had heard the report on the radio. And I think she was a little nervous in breaking the news to me.

Anyway, one of his greatest, most beautiful and famous compositions is “Song to the Siren” from his 1970 album Starsailor. Here is a peculiar sampling of some of those who have covered the song: I’ve included the original version performed live by Tim Buckley on the final episode of the Monkees TV show (and with the original lyrics-- he eventually changed the ‘oyster’ line because someone once laughed). Of course I’ve included the famous hit version by This Mortal Coil, the Cocteau Twins side project. Probably my favorite version, with the original lyrics, is by Damon & Naomi (whose version is probably one of the few that reflects Buckley’s and not This Mortal Coil’s). Susheela Raman version is magnificently striped down to the bone. I’ve also included two versions which surprised the hell out of me: George Michael’s (drenched in reverb, but holy shit, I have to admit he nails it!) and Robert Plant, who oddly enough sounds just like Jeff Buckley at times… I know that doesn’t make sense but give it a close listen …

Continue reading...

Phantom Of The Mall: Eric's Revenge

Posted by phil blankenship, June 29, 2008 12:04pm | Post a Comment
 



Fries Home Video

Hues of Corporations

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, June 29, 2008 12:59am | Post a Comment
Corporate sponsorship and rock and roll go hand in hand, at least in some circles. I think the Poison Girls had it right...Anyhow here's a batch of Killer Korporate Klassicks for all you "Swingin' Corporate Raiders." (The absolutely lamest pop culture reference I've ever dropped-- anyone who can tell me what TV show it's from gets a big kiss from Rain Phoenix.)









I have it, from an expert on the pills of yesteryear, that Placidyl was even better than Quaaludes. Kind of like a less gelatinous feeling than SOMAs, but just as strong of an effect. Not that I know anything about those, I mean it's not like I grew up 8 Miles from TJ or anything...



Superman eats a lot of Carl's Jr???



Hmmm, powerful Rock fashions courtesy of Alabama...
 



As I love to do, I've saved the best for last.  From the inner sleeve of what I believe to be their Greatest Hits LP...

TRAILER PARK BOYS

Posted by Charles Reece, June 28, 2008 10:39pm | Post a Comment
What have Anthony Stewart Head from Buffy, Paris Hilton, Ogre from Skinny Puppy and Sarah fucking Brightman in common? Repo! The Genetic Opera:



Someone must've been a fan of that "very special episode" of Buffy, "Once More With Feeling," because the music here is just as bland. The key to the cult status of Rocky Horror Picture Show wasn't bad music, but a nutty storyline set to good music ("Science Fiction" is a great song, film or no film).  Repo! only gets it half right. I'll go see it, anyway.

This next one is a travesty of a remake, decultifying one of the great cult films, Death Race 2000, presumedly for some ideal mainstream audience:



Why is it that we have to see Asian films for murderers, pedophiles and rapists to be used as the heroes? As a minority, they're certainly a bigger proportion of the American population than they are of, say, the Japanese. So much for pluralism. This trailer is a perfect example of what one of the co-hacks behind Wanted was discussing after its showing this past Thursday night. When answering the question of why adapt a comic book of the same name when the film had 90% of nothing to do with it, the hack said films have a hard time getting made these days if they're not based on something already in existence (that is, with the same name -- original ideas have always had a hard time in Hollywood, licensed property or not). Then, despite the hack's suggestion that there were no content constraints placed on his script, he went on to explain why he didn't keep the fact that the hero was a serial rapist as part of the story -- namely, no one would accept a story about a serial rapist if he's treated as the hero, even if he's the anti-hero. That's a good example of Jeremy Bentham's panopticon (which has been popping up lately in Lost): who needs a production code or HUAC as a threat of censorship when the filmmakers censor themselves? Thus, we get the new Death Race where the hero has been framed and is being forced to kill, rather than just participating for the sport of it. That there might've been a moral point to the original film's scenario about a society where it's a sport to run over people seems to be lost on the hacks behind this current production. Anderson should stick to religious adaptations of games like Frogger. I'll pass.

Earworms, brainworms, and sticky music

Posted by Whitmore, June 28, 2008 10:05pm | Post a Comment

An Earworm is a term for a portion of a song or other musical bit that gets "stuck" in someone’s head and repeats continually against a their will. Often, relief comes only when it is swapped with a newer fragment from another tune. Research indicates that the people who get the most earworms tend to listen to music frequently and are more likely to have other neurotic habits, such as biting pencils or finger nails or tapping fingers. In Oliver Sacks latest book, Musicophilia, he defines the phenomenon as “involuntary musical imagery.”

I’m regularly haunted by fractions of tunes wandering between lobes. And more often than not, these are unfamiliar melodies incessantly repeating, tumbling about, until my slipping weak-ass sagacity cracks. Musicians tend to more susceptible to earworms, and it probably doesn’t help that I listen to scraps of songs all day at Amoeba as a I comb over the piles of used, alien 45’s littering my office. Yesterday, for example, I played snippets of possibly three hundred different singles just trying to figure what is what and what is not. I seem to have survived the experience, at least for the moment; in any case I won’t know until the next ghostly notes infest my synapses. Unfortunately some melodies or musical moods are so perfectly defined; my simpleton’s grey matter is rather easy prey to a full-on earworm assault. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been re-watching all 29 episodes of David Lynch’s 1990 -1991 television show Twin Peaks. And no, the Twin Peaks Theme is not the exact piece of music bouncing around my skull, but Twin Peaks is the source of the latest spell.

In the final episode, in the red-curtained room, legendary jazz singer Little Jimmy Scott makes an appearance, singing this hauntingly gorgeous song “Sycamore Trees,” written by David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti … and the song won’t go away, it just won’t go away … it won’t go. So here, you listen to it for a while-- it’s insanely beautiful. I mean insanely … OK, there it is, again. I hear the click and the 17 note phrase cycling around yet another time and yet another time.

I got idea man
You take me for a walk
Under the sycamore trees
The dark trees that blow baby
In the dark trees that blow

And I'll see you
And you'll see me
And I'll see you in the branches that blow
In the breeze,
I'll see you in the trees
Under the sycamore trees

June 27, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, June 28, 2008 07:16pm | Post a Comment




BILLY JAM'S WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 6:28:08

Posted by Billyjam, June 28, 2008 11:32am | Post a Comment

After having the plug pulled prematurely on the concert he was a part of last Saturday at the Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival in Norfolk VA where authorities charged him with "abusive language" (apparently for uttering the lyrics "What the fuck" during one of his songs),  Boots Riley of The Coup has issued a statement saying that the local authorities' charges against him are "racially motivated."

The obscure local Virginia law, on the books as # 18.2-416, has never before now been applied to a performer, nor has it been enforced against anyone in over 25 years.   But yet the city of Norfok is determined in pressing forward with the charges against the visiting Oakland emcee.

"City Officials claim that they are making the statement that profanity will not be tolerated," said Boots Riley in a prepared statement sent out yesterday by his label. "Obviously, since no one has been charged with this in 26 years, profanity IS tolerated. The statement they are making is that the culture and the people they feel I represent won't be tolerated. I was already off stage; the man they asked to leave the stage was Trombone Shorty, another Black man who looks nothing like me."

"This happened at 10PM, and it was far from a 'family' atmosphere, most of the audience was intoxicated after drinking at the festival's bar -- 'The Missing Kidney.' There was also a VIP section where free alcohol was distributed by the keg. Anyone who has been to a music festival on a Saturday night understands the scene. I did not leave the park afterward, as was claimed by FestEvents, the organizers of the Bayou Boogaloo Festival. I stayed and debated the validity of the charge with police and festival promoters. It is clear that this is part of a larger debate that has nothing to do with profanity, one that is being dealt with nationwide. That debate is about racism, gentrification and the ownership of public space."

Continue reading...

Spotlite on Paul Anderson

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 27, 2008 09:04pm | Post a Comment

Background

Paul Anderson is a prolific Generation X filmmaker with a trademark style and five Academy Awards under his belt. He's also made music videos for everyone who's performed at Largo. In addition to his film-making, he's dated models turned singers, singers turned models, daughters of singers and models who only sing in the shower.

Style

Paul Anderson's films are notable for their flashy style and complicated, interweaving story lines. As one of the video store generation of filmmakers, he employs a large bag of cinematic tricks, including quick cuts, constant camera movement, stunning scenery, dutch tilts, low angles, high angles and revolving pullback shots-- tricks gleaned from growing up with a VCR rather than film school learning. He frequently employs female-led ensemble casts drawn from a stock of trusted actors. Making up that group are such players as Julianne Moore, Sean Pertwee, John C. Reilly, Colin Salmon, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jeremy Bolt, Melora Walters, Jason Isaacs, and Luiz Guzman, to name a few.

Themes

Anderson's ostentatious style is frequently used to elevate the seemingly mundane to epic proportions. Sometimes the point of this ostentatious streak seems merely like showing-off, perhaps an effect of Anderson's high level of film exposure but probable lack of theory. He frequently revels in the seedy underside of outwardly blissful environs. Other frequently recurring themes include constructions and examinations of makeshift families, the role of media, divine acts, secret governmental organizations and the unintended consequences of technology run amok.

Films

He made his first film while still in High School. It was The Dirk Diggler Story. It was a short mockumentary inspired by the teenage Anderson's voracious appetite for porn.

Continue reading...

North Asia

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 27, 2008 07:53pm | Post a Comment


While trying to beat the heat, I often think of what far-off cold places I'd like to go before the world turns to desert. North Asia is high on my list for sheer obscurity. Even the designation "north Asia" sounds like something that never gets said. I think that my first awareness of North Asia as a place came with playing Risk (aka La Conquête du Monde) when my conquering cavalry rode triumphantly into Yakutsk, Irkutsk and Kamchatka. It's expensive to fly there, they almost all love throat-singing, the curiously named Jew's Harp and occasionally stumble across frozen mega-fauna. Beyond that, I know more about the member Planets of the Federation than the little-known nations of North Asia... (in Ying Yang Twins voice) at least til now.
******
(If interested, there are similar entries about Caucasia, Eastern Europe and South Asia.)

******



The Altay (also known as Altai or Altayans ) people are a nomadic Turkic people who've settled in the Altai Republic (and neighboring Altai Krai).

 

According to the website waytorussia.net:

Alexey respects Altay people, but he thinks that they are quite weak. Actually, it is true — a lot of people at Altay, especially men, are alcoholics. When the Cossacks were exploring this region a few hundred years ago, they brought with them the "fire water" -- vodka -- and local people got addicted to it. They don't have any immunity against alcohol, so they become drunk very fast. Often, there are problems related to it, like bullying and trying to get money from travelers. However, it's not something too common. However, generally, Altay people are very kind and sincere. They have a great respect for older generations and for their culture.

The Altay came into contact with Russia in the 1700s. At that time they were a nomadic people who lived primarily through hunting & trapping and tending to sheep, cattle and goats. While many Altay have adopted Orthodox Christianity, some practice Ak Jang (or Burkhanism). The name means "White Faith," which refers to both its emphasis on the Upper World and its use of horse milk alcohol as an offering instead of animal sacrifice.


Bashkirs live in the Republic of Bashkortostan. Their earliest mention in writing comes from Arab writer Ahmad ibn Fadlān ibn al-Abbās ibn Rašīd ibn Hammād, who described the nomads as warlike and idolatrous. According to him, they worshiped phallic idols. They also raised cattle and practiced bee-keeping. Now they are mostly Sunni Muslim. After being ruled by Russia since 1921, they declared their sovereignty in 1990 and became a member of UNPO in 1996. They like braids.



    

Buryats
live in the Buryat Republic. They're nomadic and their earliest literary mention of them comes in the Mongolian (Secret History of the Mongolians, 1240). Originally Shamanic, most are now Bhuddist or Orthodox Christian. The French actor, Valéry Inkijinoff (star of Storm Over Asia) was Russian-Buryat, as is Irina Pantaeva (Mortal Kombat: Annihilation) (pictured above).



The majority of Chukchi live in Chukotka. Their name comes from the Chukchi word Chauchu, which means "rich in reindeer." Coastal Chukchi also hunt sea mammals who sometimes are referred to as
Anqallyt which means "sea people." Their religion is animistic within a dualistic cosmology. Traditionally, Chukchi travelers would have "partner families," which is a polite way of saying that Chukchi were swingers of sorts, with women giving birth sometimes to partner family's patriarchs.



Most Dolgans live in Talmyria, on the Arctic Coast. Their homes are tiny, wooden structures called baloks. They mostly subsist on reindeer and salted fish. The temperature gets down to 71 below zero- Celsius!



The People of Evenkia have several self-designations, including Evenk, Orochen (inhabitant of the river Oro) or Orochon (rearers of reindeer). They are the most populous North Asian people and they live in China as well as their homeland.



The Republic of Khakassia is home to the Khakas. Previously, the land was home to the Kyrgyz but most migrated to Kyrgyzstan after being crushed by the Mongol Horde. Khakas regard themselves as descendants of the few Kyrgyz who stayed behind and number only about 65,000. Their principle industry are mining and timber harvesting.

 

Nenetsia is situated in the far north, along the Arctic Ocean. The Nenets live in tundra and taiga and they have been the focus of several films, including 7 Songs From the Tundra, and Jumalan morsian.
They found a really well preserved mammoth there a few years ago (see below).





The Sakha Republic is an enormous nation in North Asia and home to the Sakha people. Due to it's size, the lifestyles of the people vary depending on where they live. In the northern tundra, occupations include breeding yak, breeding reindeer, hunting and fishing. In the southern taiga, people raise horses and cattle. Originally, the Sakha homelands were centered in Olkhon, an island on Lake Baikal. They migrated north in the 1100s. Russians began arriving in the 1600s. Tygyn, a Sakha king, entered a pact with Russia, granting them land in exchange for military cooperation in crushing their North Asian neighbors. When gold was discovered in their new home, Russians came in search of wealth, resulting in conflict between the two peoples. The Russians got the upper hand and Stalin killed thousands of Sakha.



Interested in traveling to Sakah, but unwilling to eat meat unless absolutely necessary? I'm pleased to report that there is a restaurant which offers vegetarian food and alcohol in the capital of Yakutsk.

Fyodor Okhlopkov became a famed sniper in the red army.



Mountainous, forested and foggy Sakhalin is a large island north of Japan and home to the indigenous Ainu (in the south), Nivkhs (in the north) and Ul'ta (in the middle). In 1616, the Chinese sent 400 troops who later returned, reporting there was no threat posed by the inhabitants. In 1679, Japan sent people there with plans to colonize that never went anywhere. In 1857, Russia established a penal colony there. All three occupiers have made claims on Sakhalin, often at the same time. There is a sizable number of Koreans who were brought there as slaves by the Japanese.



The Ainu were the aborigines of Japan, before being limited to Hokkaido and southern Sakhalin. Traditionally they made their clothing from the inner fibers of tree bark. Their traditional appearance is strikingly different from most of their neighbors, with their fondness for earrings, massive beards and mouth tattoos.

    



The Nivkhs traditionally fished, hunted and raised dogs. They moved to the island when it was still connected by a land bridge. When the waters rose, they were cut off from the mainland. Dr. Chuner Mikhailovich Taksami is a well-known Nikvh advocate for rights and recognition.

The Ul'ta are known to their neighbors as Oroks. The name seems to come from their term "oro" meaning "domestic reindeer."



Tyva Republic
(or Tuva) is located in the dead center of Asia, but for political reasons is still identified with North Asia. The people were known as the Uriankhai ("Forest People") to the Mongolians. For thousands of years they herded reindeer, yaks, goats, sheep, camels and cattle. The Chinese wrote of a people they referred to as the Dubo in 200 A.D. who were probably Tuvans (or Tuvinians, as they're also known). In the 6th century, the Altaic Göktürks established a large empire over the silk road and conquered the pastoral Tuvans. In the 8th Century, the Uyghurs took over and built fortresses which still survive. In 840, the Uyghurs were run out by the Kyrgyz. In 1207, Oirat prince Kuduku-Beki led the Mongols into the region.



Out of the Tuvan people, Genghis Khan took the teenage Subutai, who became a general and his primary strategist. Today he is best remembered for decimating the Polish and Hungarian armies within two days of one another. Later the Oirats took over and made the Tuvans subjects of Dzungar.

Today, the Tuvans practice a blend of Tengriism (a Shamanic Turkic religion) and Tibetan Bhuddism. When Paul Pena, an American, made the documentary Genghis Blues about his travels to Tuva, the Tuvan people suddenly became well known on the world music scene for their throat singing. Although throatsinging is widespread across North Asia and the far North of North America, for most, throat singing is synonymous with Tuva.

So there you have it, a glimpse into the one of the most obscure necks of the woods. Turns out it doesn't all look cold, all of the time. Anyway, if you're still curious about North Asia and want to learn about other nations, look-up:

(Far North)
Aleuts, Besermyans, Alyutors, Chuvans, Enets, Eskimo, Itelmens, Kamchadals, Kereks, Koryaks, Nganasan

(Central North Asia)
Chulyms, Evens, Kets, Khants, Mansi, Nağaybäk, Selkups, Teleuts

(Eastern North Asia)
Ainu, Nanais, Negidals, Nivks, Orochs, Oroks, Tazs, Udege, Ulchs, Yukaghir

(Southern North Asia)
Kumadins, Chelkans, Shorians, Soyots, Telengits, Tofalars, Tubalars,






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One Man's Basura is Another Man's Trash - 5

Posted by Whitmore, June 27, 2008 08:12am | Post a Comment

Some facts on garbage: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 pounds of garbage a day, or a total of 29 pounds per week and 1,600 pounds a year; multiply that by the United States population of about 300 million, and you have one hell of a mountain of trash. And this average only considers households and not industrial waste or commercial trash.

The garbage produced in a year in the U.S. alone could fill enough garbage trucks to form a line to the moon… or cover the entire state of Texas two and a half times … or bury more than 990,000 football gridirons six-foot deep in compressed waste. Also, Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild the entire fleet of commercial jets in the US.

And for those inclined, here are a few more dumpster diving tips.

Tip # 1 - Never, and I do mean never, climb inside a dumpster that is equipped with a trash compactor. Sure some of those tales may be just urban myths, but once in a while down at the ol’ landfill a grisly discovery finds some poor sucker, flashlight still in hand, squished like a bug.  

Tip # 22 - I always avoid climbing a fence to reach a dumpster. Here are a couple of reasons why: first, if there is anything worthwhile to be had, chances are middling to good that the wares will be lying around outside the fence. The fact is most people are lazy and won’t take the time to put their trash bag down, reach in their pocket, fiddle for some keys, struggle with selecting the right key, unlock the fence, pick the sack of garbage back up, open the dumpster, drop it in and the relock the gate unless they absolutely have no other choice … and even then they’ll find an excuse. And the second reason for not climbing a fence: As a kid, my little sister slipped climbing over a chain link fence. She caught her arm on a spike, and as she dangled there, frantically clawing at the air and at the fence, screaming “there’s a hole my arm, there’s a hole my arm!” every thrashing twist ripped a bigger gash in her bicep, until finally it tore loose. The sight of a dripping hunk of skin hanging from a spike on a fence and the blood soaked cement below has stayed with me for many a decade. Simply put -- I don’t climb fences.

Continue reading...

June 26, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, June 27, 2008 01:12am | Post a Comment


AMOEBLOG INTERVIEW WITH ESPERANZA SPALDING

Posted by Billyjam, June 27, 2008 12:55am | Post a Comment

Hard-working jazz singer/instrumentalist Esperanza Spalding, who recently played several dates in California and whose latest album Esperanza on Heads Up International has been available at Amoeba Music since it was released last month, took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with the Amoeblog this week. The jazz acoustic bassist/vocalist  talked about how she defines the type of music she plays, her recent gig at the Roots Picnic in Philly, the state of jazz music in 2008, and how she got into the style of music initially. 
 
"I fell in love with the music via the bass," said Esperanza. "Playing the instrument automatically made me a draw for jazzers who needed bass in their band, or on a gig. People would literally tell me, 'Hey if you check out these records or learn these songs, you can have this gig.'  And, when the music I was assigned or turned onto was jazz, I would take it to heart and try my best to understand it. Of course, for my musical palette at that time, it took a while before I could really    
   appreciate what I was listening to."

As for the challenge of being both a vocalist and an instrumentalist simultaneously, the artist said that it just takes practice as far as executing the music. "But what can be difficult is being a singer, in the sense that you are engaged with the audience, and really responsible for emoting, and getting into the lyrics, melody, etc and being an effective bassist/band leader," she added. On the topic of Esperanza's music, I asked the artist how she herself describes her style? "Hmm, investigative," she replied. "I am trying to synthesize all the elements that are present, or at least present in my intention, if it doesn't always translate to the listener. I figure in a few years I'll really be able to peg my sound."

Continue reading...

out today 6/24...sigur ros...studio...hercules & love affair...

Posted by Brad Schelden, June 26, 2008 03:01pm | Post a Comment

It seems like I just talked about Sigur Ros on the blog, but that was way back in November when they released their live/unreleased stuff sort of album. I just can't talk enough about how much I love this band. This week they are putting out the brand new full length album full of all brand new songs. The album is called Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust. For those of you that do not speak Icelandic or Hopelandic, this translates into "With A Buzz In Our Ears We Play Endlessly." As you can imagine, the new album is fantastic. After all, it is a new Sigur Ros album. How can it not be great? But it is a bit of a departure from what we have come to expect from these guys. While still managing to very much be a Sigur Ros album, it comes off as being a bit more of a pop record I think, but in a Sigur Ros kind of way. Don't worry, it is still weird. The opening song and single is "Gobbledigook." The song includes a lot of hand claps, and I am a big fan of the hand claps. It is a nice way to start the album, but it really gets me with the second song. This is the kind of Sigur Ros song that I fall in love with. I have no idea what they are signing about but it just doesn't matter. It is like some huge classical anthem that you just fall in love with. It speaks to you without the words. I don't even really think of the vocalist as a singer. His voice is just another instrument in the band. The song has a lot going on. It sounds like a full orchestra and a choir of young Icelandic singers, and it's all brought together by Jonsi's beautiful voice. It is that voice that first made me fall in love with the great Sigur Ros, and it is that voice that keeps me a loyal member of the Sigur Ros fan army. His voice is like the most beautiful instrument in the world. I know I sort of sound like a cult member, but they really are that good.

You can go here to watch the video for "Gobbledigook" -- Sigurros.com. I must warn you that there are naked people in this video, but don't worry, it is very tastefully done in an Icelandic, Sigurrosian kind of way. There are also naked people on the cover of the album, so I am not sure if Target and Walmart are carrying this one, but it makes me love it even more. Another favorite of mine on the new album is Track 4, "Vid Spilum Endalaust."
It is great and I love it. Sigur Ros is also one of my favorite bands to see live. They are coming to the Greek Theater in Los Angeles on 10/2, and I will for sure be there. Here is their schedule for the North American part of their tour...

9/17 & 9/18 New York/United Palace
9/19 Boston/Bank of America Pavilion
9/20 Montreal
9/22 Toronto
9/24 Chicago/Chicago Theatre
9/25 MInneapolis/Orpheum
9/27 Morrison,Colorado/Red RocksAmphitheatre
9/28 Magna,Utah/Great Saltair
9/30 Tempe/Marquee
10/1 San Diego/Copley Symphony Hall
10/2 Los Angeles/Greek
10/3 Berkeley/Greek
10/5 Seattle/Benaroya
10/6 Portland/Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
10/7 Vancouver/Chan Center

I am sure they will be back for more after this. Part of me wants to get all Grateful Dead fan and follow them on this tour. It would seriously be amazing to see all these shows. I really want to go to the show in Colorado at least. I have been wanting to go to see somebody at Red Rocks forever. I think Sigur Ros would be the perfect band to see there, but I really should not complain that I am stuck with Berkeley's Greek Theatre. It is one of my favorite venues in the Bay Area. But I also really love the Greek Theatre in L.A. I have not been there in a while and there has not been a show there that I have wanted to see since I moved back. However, I will be seeing Dolly Parton there this summer as well! It is the perfect venue for a big show, right in the middle of Griffith Park. I am especially excited since I now live about a 20 minute walk away from The Greek in LA. I was just on a hike up there this morning and they were having a High School Graduation there. I imagine that would be an awesome place to graduate. So if you can, go see Sigur Ros live -- I highly recommend you see them. I also highly recommend the new album. I think you will love it if you are already a Sigur Ros fan. Just open yourself up for something a bit different but mostly the same. If you are just starting your journey into the world of Sigur Ros then start with an earlier albums like Agaetis Byrjun or (Untitled).

This week is also the week of the domestic release of Hercules & Love Affair. If you did not already get the import, then please go buy this album. You will not be disappointed. It is easily one of the albums of the year. If you want to read my sort of review of the album then go here. They are also coming to your town soon! They are playing at the Echo in Los Angeles on July 23rd.

Another great album out this week is the new album from Studio. It is called Yearbook 2. It is basically remixes and re-imaginings of songs by other artists. Studio really take songs by Kylie Minogue and the Shout Out Louds and make them their own. I love this band and the new album is fantastic.



also out today...






Get Damaged EP by Be Your Own Pet












Eccentric Soul: The Tragar & Note Labels











Hercules & Love Affair by Hercules & Love Affair











Very Best of Billy Idol by Billy Idol












Holy by Love as Laughter











Saints of Los Angeles by Motley Crue











Huffin Rag Blues by Nurse with Wound











Exile in Guyville reissue by Liz Phair











Singles 06-07 by Jay Reatard











Sam Sparro by Sam Sparro











Yearbook 2 by Studio











Detrimentalist by Venetian Snares

Humanoids From The Deep at the New Beverly

Posted by phil blankenship, June 25, 2008 11:15pm | Post a Comment
ULTRA RARE THEATRICAL SCREENING!

 

Saturday June 28


Doug McClure
& Vic Morrow in


Humanoids From The Deep

1980, 80 min.


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




From The Caverns Of The Deep... It Strikes!





Amoebapalooza San Francisco is a swinging success!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 25, 2008 12:13pm | Post a Comment
Employees Kelly and Sean share their hazy impressions of another year's sonic bedlam!

As you may already know, here in San Francisco we recently celebrated the uproarious madness that we like to call Amoebapalooza! Here are two first-hand accounts of the controlled chaos that is Amoebapalooza SF!

First, we hear from Miss Kelly Sweeney:


Every spring, say around March or so, ideas begin buzzing around inside the heads of Amoeba’s staff. These inklings and urges are born of a question: What should I do, or rather, who can I be at Amoebapalooza this year? Could it be that this is the year that your dream Thin Lizzy cover band enables you to live your classic rock fantasy on stage for fifteen minutes? Is it finally time for you to rediscover your inner Buddy Guy, Stevie Nicks, or Michael McDonald? Everyone’s whisperin’ Fleetwood Mac -- will it happen? Whether you’re of the impression that Amoebapalooza is nothing but a glorified talent show or, conversely, that it’s perfect conduit through which Amoebites can shed some of their geekdom while gaining an odd sort of street cred, one cannot look past the fact that when it comes to “office parties” Amoebapalooza celebrates the uniqueness of the people that daily breathe life into the overall experience of one of the world’s best record stores.


This year’s Amoebapalooza hosted a motley lineup of acts featuring employees and friends of Amoeba SF. Tributes to our fellow employee and cherished friend Anthony Marin punctuated the playful atmosphere of the evening, with everyone expressing their reverence and grief in gestures, dedications and in some cases bizarre shout-outs; the love we feel for Big Ant was very much a part of the celebration.

Interview with revolutionary hip-hop emcee Immortal Technique whose new album The 3rd World drops this week

Posted by Billyjam, June 25, 2008 08:20am | Post a Comment

It might well look from a mainstream glance that hip-hop today has evolved into nothing but slickly produced, bouncy, party music with mindless lyrics that are more concerned with ringtone-designed, catchy choruses than any type of political message.

We are in a time in the once widely revolutionary music that whenever you hear of an artist accused of being 'offensive' it is more likely that they are being misogynist  than being lyrically threatening or offensive to the government or the economic or social system.

But there are still hip-hop artists today making politically charged, socially relevant music in the tradition of such militant rap artists as Public Enemy and Paris. Immortal Technique is such an artist and his latest album, The 3rd World (Viper), which arrived in Amoeba Music yesterday, is a prime example of an artist using his craft and resources as a platform to make powerful political, economic, and sociological statements.

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with the outspoken Harlem, NY emcee, who is as critical of the music industry as he is of the Bush administration. The 3rd World, like his previous releases such as the classic Revolutionary Vol.2, is  released on his own label, Viper, with carefully monitored distribution by KOCH. He told me he would rather have control of his music and his business than have some huge corporation pimp him. Not that any large entertainment conglomerate would not be scared away by such a loud political rapper. The industry won't really push political artists, he told me. "They will champion someone who is not fit to defend those positions for our people," he said, noting that this only inspires him to stick to the script. "It's very important for us to never lose sight of the revolutionary aspect of hip-hop.....that's the 3rd world: the revolutionary side, the street side, the hardcore side, and the independent."

THE CHURCHES OF WEST OAKLAND (Pt. 2: the signs)

Posted by Billyjam, June 25, 2008 08:08am | Post a Comment

        

 
        

        
     
        

              

        

       

      

     

    

      
 

THE CHURCHES OF WEST OAKLAND (Pt. 1)

Posted by Billyjam, June 24, 2008 06:43pm | Post a Comment
      
 

One of the distinctive features of the expansive East Bay city of Oakland is the amount of churches that dot its wide landscape from Deep East Oakland to North Oakland, and of course West Oakland. Churches are everywhere --every few blocks in most parts of Oakland it seems there's a church building.

What's so wonderful about these churches is how they range so widely in architectural styles and types.

Each church boasts its own unique structure and they vary from the fancy to the functional. 

If time allows, it's fun to leisurely travel Oakland's streets and take in their beauty.

Click on this website for a list of many (not all) of the churches of Oakland. But really, you don't need a guide to find them.  Go anywhere in Oakland and you'll pass a church within no time.

West Oakland (the red part in opposite map of Oakland) is a good place to start where there's a church on every second or third block. As a result the churches of West Oakland play a key role in defining the image of this East Bay neighborhood. However, with the fast advancing gentrification that's been going on in West Oakland in recent years, many longtime residents may be forced out due to rising real estate value. 

Hence economics would dictate that many of these little West Oakland churches, most of which draw a steady but small congregation every Sunday, will in short time become an endangered species, so if you want to see them in all their beauty do it now.

Deathstalker III: The Warriors From Hell

Posted by phil blankenship, June 24, 2008 05:12pm | Post a Comment
 

Vestron Video 5352

Rebellion!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 24, 2008 09:34am | Post a Comment
Come and join us for a night of rebellious music -- Dance floor Afro-Beat, Reggae, Hip-Hop, Salsa & Cumbia classics, all with messages of freedom and rebellion. Amoeba employees Gazoo (Edwin), Askari (Eric) and myself will be on the turntables with Ray Ricky Rivera as our host. Special guest will be East Los Angeles Reggae En Español band Umoverde.

All of this for only five bucks!



The Scene
806 E. Colorado St.
Glendale, California
Cost: $5

magic and chance

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, June 23, 2008 12:00pm | Post a Comment






Jennifer

Posted by phil blankenship, June 23, 2008 12:19am | Post a Comment
 



Vestron Video VA4348

GEORGE CARLIN R.I.P.

Posted by Billyjam, June 22, 2008 11:23pm | Post a Comment

George Carlin
died earlier today (June 22, 2008) in Los Angeles. He was 71 years old. The truly unique and always outspoken American comedian/social commentator/actor, who had a history of heart problems, died of  heart failure at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica at approx 6PM today. 

Unlike so many comedians who tend to tone down their act as the years slip by or as they become more famous & widely accepted, George Carlin consistently kept his work  on the edge by always being brutally honest and darkly satirical as he routinely tackled such targets as religion, culture, politics, and the hypocrisies of America.

The ever anti-establishment Carlin will probably be best remembered for "The Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV" routine of his (found on his Class Clown album) in which he tested the limits and challenged the government regulated words that dared not be uttered on television (or the radio).

In 1972 in Milwaukee at a show Carlin did this routine, uttering those seven "dirty" words from the stage, resulting in his arrest for disturbing the peace. The same routine, when played on American radio, led to the 1978 Supreme Court ruling upholding the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language.

Personally, I loved everything he ever did that I got my hands on: records, books and filmed performances-- three video clips of which are included below. One is the aforementioned "The Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV" from a 1978 concert. Another is the wonderful "Modern Man" from more recent years, in which he does an inspired piece about modern technology (great for mixing over beats because of its poetic flow) and another amazing recent piece - the no-holds-barred "America Is Tyranny" in which Carlin tells it like it really is today in the messed up United States of America.

Birth of the LP

Posted by Whitmore, June 22, 2008 10:04pm | Post a Comment

60 years ago this week on June 21, 1948, at a press conference in the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Hotel (former home to such 20th century luminaries as Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, Nikola Tesla, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Cole Porter, and former President Herbert Hoover), Columbia Records unveiled their latest concept; the “LP.” This choice in dates was by no means a random selection. Columbia picked the summer solstice because it’s the longest day of the year and “LP” stands for "long playing."

The new “LP’s” played at a speed of 33⅓ rpm, and came in two sizes: 10in (25cm) and 12in (30cm) in diameter and were pressed out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or what we now simply call vinyl. This new material was more durable and much less brittle then the shellac used in the previous 78rpm format. (By the way, ‘shellac’ is a substance obtained from the secretion of a Southeast Asian beetle). The LP’s audio quality was better and the playable length of time for each side increased dramatically. This new format was revolutionary.

Although they released approximately 50 records simultaneously to help push the fledgling LP market, the first popular music catalogue number for a ten-inch LP, CL 6001, was a reissue of the Frank Sinatra 78 rpm album set from 1946, The Voice of Frank Sinatra. (Initially the 12in format was reserved for higher-priced classical recordings and Broadway shows, though that would change just a few years down the road). Not only was The Voice Sinatra’s first studio album, but many music critics claim it holds the distinction of being the first concept album … no way dude!

Here is the first track on The Voice of Frank Sinatra, “You Go to My Head.”


Worldwide Underground 6-15-08

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 22, 2008 09:29pm | Post a Comment

Worldwide Underground is every Sunday at Amoeba Hollywood from noon til one. Here is my set list.
You can also hear or download my set by clicking here. Thanks to Jayme for recording it.

"Nana de Colores"-Diego Carrasco
"Oye Mi Olelole"-Celina Y Reutilio
"Senor Presidente"-Los Cojolites
"Tres Golopes"-Toto La Moposina
"Oualahila Ar Teninam"-Tinariwen
"Osman Pehlivan"-Arif Sag
"Sonido Amazonico"-Los Mirlos
"Usti, Usti Baba" - Senor Coconut Vs. Kocani Orkestar
"Cumbia"-Columna De Fuego
"Watergate"-Tipica 73
"Astronautas A Mercurio"-Sonara Casino
"Tifit Hayed"-Wganda Kenya
"Che Che Cole"-Antibalas
"Afrobeatnik?"-Gecko Turner
"Paloma"-Sidestepper
"Cumbia Sapuesana"-Aniceto Molina
"Volaron Las Brujas"-Los Erederos De La Cumbia
"Cologiala" - Rodolfo y su Tipica R.A.7
"Rebellion"-Joe Arroyo
"Lloraras"-Dimension Latina
"Bacalo Con Pan"-Irakere
"Rico Suave Bossa Nova"-J Dilla
"Wanda Vidal"-Marcos Valle
"Pe Da Roseira"-Gilberto Gil
"Tive Razao"-Seu Jorge

Land Of Doom

Posted by phil blankenship, June 22, 2008 05:35pm | Post a Comment
 




Lightning Video LA 9929

Pansy Division: Life in a Gay Rock Band

Posted by Miss Ess, June 21, 2008 01:13pm | Post a Comment

The Bay Area's own Pansy Division are the stars of a new documentary chronicling their blood, sweat and tears as one of the country's first out queer rock bands. The title of the film is, appropriately, Pansy Division: Life in a Gay Rock Band. It will have its first US festival screening this Thursday, June 26 at 7pm at the Victoria Theater as part of this year's Frameline LGBT Film Festival. For more info on the screening click here.

The film was created out of older footage and recent band member interviews and was directed by Michael Carmona. Bass player Chris Freeman has a film degree and was the editor of the film! I spoke to band member Jon Ginoli about it and he related that the documentary is "an outsider's perspective with insider's access." 

The band will be in attendance at the screening and there will be an afterparty at the fabulous Eagle Tavern, where Pansy Division will perform!

He's Lost Control Again! The UnControllable Hulk

Posted by Charles Reece, June 21, 2008 12:12pm | Post a Comment

An experimental mishap with gamma radiation transforms Joy Division frontman into uncontrollable Id.

As a young lad in Manchester, Bruce Banner discovered a love for the proto-punk music of David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.  Although possessing a high aptitude for science, Bruce dreamed of being a rock star. However, he had to pay the bills, so he took a top secret government research job in what back in the days of WWII was called the Super Soldier Project. The Project was an intergovernmental operation existing between the Yanks and Brits. What it produced was a gamma-radiated concoction called, appropriately enough, the super-soldier serum. After testing it out unsuccessfully on a bunch of minority servicemen in the US Army, the science team found one skinny white dude named Steve Rogers who was turned into the Nazi-fighting hero, Captain America (soon to get his own feature film -- directed by John Cassavetes' son, Nick -- which, in turn, will lead into an Avengers movie). Poor old Cap was frozen in ice and thought to be dead, leaving it a mystery what was so special about his cellular structure. But Bruce is unaware of the Project's history, naÏvely believing he is using his degree in molecular biology for finding a cure to epilepsy, not developing a human killing machine.


Little known fact: the name Joy Division was inspired by one of Captain America's greatest battles in Warzaw,
in which he freed women from the evil prostitution rings established by the villainous Red Skull.

While on tour with his band, Joy Division, Bruce has his first seizure. With a new wife, Betty (née Ross), and a baby on the way, he can't let a debilitating illness destroy his future earning potential. His research now has personal urgency. Already proving his willingess to experiment with pharmaceuticals, Bruce decides to inject himself with the serum. Never one to stand in the way of her husband's decisions, Betty agrees to monitor the experiment along with a team of scientists. 



We'd have no movie if things didn't go horribly awry: Bruce is transformed into the rampaging 2-ton monster, the incredible Hulk! The team of scientists is killed and Betty injured as the Hulk breaks through the concrete wall, leaping away into the night.


Eventually the monster calms down, shrinking back into the form of his human alter-ego. Bruce returns to check up on his American sweetheart who has just given birth to their child. But things will never be the same. Betty still loves Bruce, but he can't get past the danger he now presents to his family. This should be the best time of his life, with a new recording contract and a career as a respected scientist. But Bruce can no longer control the beast within, his radiated testosterone making the lure of French women irresistible. Betty is an old-fashioned gal who deserves a good, mild-mannered husband, but Bruce is increasingly drawn to the dark temptations of a groupie-succubus, who's only interested in the green glamor of his emerging super-stardom. As he writes in one of his songs:
Why is the bedroom so cold
Turned away on your side?
Is my timing that flawed,
Our respect run so dry?
Yet there's still this appeal
That we've kept through our lives
Love, love will tear us apart again
The impotency he's experiencing as a mere mortal makes him more susceptible to Hulking out, when he can release his rational moral concerns and become pure libidinal potency.  The groupie makes him feel like a superman, whereas his wife only inadequate.  But, as the song suggests, he still loves his wife, creating the kind of dramatic tension into which Ed Norton, master thespian, can really sink his actor chops.  As the tension increases, so does the frequency of the epileptic seizures.  And with that loss of control comes the Hulk.  
Betty's dad, General Ross, was already dismayed by her daughter's taste in lovers, disappointed that she tended to choose skinny, effete rocker types over real men.  But his interest in Bruce isn't purely familial. Ross is the head of the Super Soldier Project, so damned if he's going to let this anthropomorphic WMD be wasted on the British underground rock scene, throwing TV sets through hotel room walls during alcohol-induced seizures.

Local British celebrity and part-time scientist Tony Wilson promised to help Bruce control the Hulk, but with dubious motives. As was detailed in his biopic, 24 Hour Party People, Wilson had been doing his own research with the effects of gamma radiation on a group of impecunious Manchester youth. His experiments were a miserable failure, producing a bunch of shaggy haired mutants whose sole superpower was dancing like monkeys in baggy clothing. These mutants might've went on to cause a minor stir in the late 1980s pop world, but they were hardly capable of ripping a tank apart with their bare hands. Thus, Wilson needed Bruce and his band, knowing that his top secret Factory would never manufacture anything of equal military or aesthetic worth. Signing Joy Division's contract in his own blood, Wilson is contaminated by Bruce's radiated cells, setting the ground for an inevitable sequel featuring the former's transformation into the super-intelligent villain, the Leader. We even get to see Wilson's head begin to bubble up and swell before he disappears from the narrative.



With Betty wanting a divorce and Wilson nowhere to be found, Bruce seeks refuge in Brazil with his guitarist, Bernard Albrecht. Since all scientific procedures have been failures (nature always wins, after all), Bernard attempts to control the Hulk by training Bruce in the martial arts and meditation.



Things are going fairly smoothly with Bruce, who's taken a job in a bottling plant down there. But his bandmates and fans are getting antsy, wondering when he'll return to performing and recording. Joy Division's manager even tries another singer live, but it causes a riot. Hearing this, Bruce begins to tense up, finding it harder to control his urges once again. Compounding his stress, a droplet of his blood has leaked into one of the bottles, poisioning none other than Stan "the Man" Lee, who drinks the cola that has made it -- thanks to NAFTA -- all the way into his Californian home. Following the poisoning, the intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D. traces the bottle's production back to Bruce's current whereabouts.

Ross shows up in Brazil with a team of specialists led by the Russian expat Emil Blonsky. Blonsky is a middle aged military assassin whose best years are behind him. All he wants to do is kill, but killing is a young man's game. Not since the casting of Sean Penn's arboretum of hair in The Thin Red Line has there been a worse casting choice for a soldier than Tim Roth as Blonsky. He looks to be about 5 feet tall standing next to William Hurt as Ross, and he never shaves or cuts his hair, even when the costume people put him in a over-sized military uniform. He looks like an aging Little Rascal playing dress up. No wonder the Hulk kicks his ass -- he wouldn't be a match for Bruce.

Feeling humiliated, Blonsky becomes a guinea pig for Ross' Project, getting injected with the super-soldier serum. At first, he successfully turns into a Captain America sort of soldier, which renders the entire point of hunting for Bruce kind of moot. Why do they need his knowledge and power if the Project is already capable of replicating the effects found with Steve Rogers? Regardless, the Hulk beats the tar out of Blonsky again, resulting in his desire for more serum.


Having managed to capture Bruce, Ross is faced with an even worse problem -- stopping the Abomination that Blonsky has now become. Realizing his mistake, Ross lets Bruce turn into the Hulk to stop Blonsky. After an hour and a half of boring dramatic buildup, we finally get what the ads promised, two raging, enormous phalli cockblocking each other through the decimation of New York City (a staple of the summer movie). Why is it that in biopics and superhero films, the filmmakers so often feel like the way to make them more interesting is to focus on the most average aspects of the protagonist's life, namely love. What interests us in the artist or superhero is his or her ability to  leap miles in a single jump or create art, not having a family. Unless you're going to show the Hulk in coitus, we don't care about his problematic home life. "Hulk smash and write catchy pop ditty!" -- that's the point. And for all the attempts to market this film as a fanboyish improvement over Ang Lee's version, we still have to wait a long time to get there.

Sensing that his band, the government and groupies won't stop until they use him up, Bruce fakes his own death with the aid of his still adoring wife, and retreats from the glittery world of NME and the military-industrial complex. In a nod to the TV show starring Bill Bixby, Bruce is shown moseying off to the next thrilling installment.




This review is dedicated to Eric Brightwell.

The Summer Solstice, Renewing My Blather

Posted by Whitmore, June 21, 2008 07:20am | Post a Comment

I’ve spent the last month or so moving, filling my new apartment and emptying my previous life. Funny, once my old house was bare and the garage was cleared of all its natural debris, I wanted to stay. Then again, no surprise there, just a few weeks earlier I wanted to torch the garage with all my crap inside: the thousands of records, the hundreds of books, the furniture, memorabilia -- destroy everything that wouldn’t fit into a Trader Joe’s shopping bag and my pants pockets, and the rest just send up in an electrifying whoosh of a bonfire. I could have used a purifying ritual about then, no matter how cruelly naked the results. Sorry to muff such a blissful moment, an unfulfilled act I needed to execute decades ago. I just didn’t have a gas can or matches this time around.

Actually, I couldn’t hang onto the mindset I’d need to genuinely cleanse my life. Besides if I did burn it all down, I would have ruined this fine-looking tableau of rafters, conduit and cobwebs. Right now, with my weary, worn back, boxes weighing down every square inch of walk-able space in my new digs, living in an empty garage staring at the rafters seem so much more appealing than sorting through my fifth edition dog-eared books and my bubblegum records and the scraps of paper that explain who the hell lives here.

Summer began June 20th at 23:59PM, coordinated Universal Time, which is mean solar time at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich in London, overlooking the River Thames -- Coordinates 51° 28′ 40.12″ N, 0° 0′ 5.31″ W.  And here in sunny ol’ Tinseltown -- coordinates 34° 6′ 0″ N, 118° 20′ 0″ W, summer began at 4:59 P.M, June 20th.

 

Such A Pretty Mess

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, June 21, 2008 12:10am | Post a Comment

OK, a couple of weeks ago I was speaking to a friend about what movies I'd especially like to see screened... At the top was Kamikaze '89, Fassbinder's starring role in a totally depressing (now retro) futurist New Wave sci-fi thriller. Second on the list was Never Too Young To Die. Only a matter of a couple hours went by before I noticed that, due to the terrible fire at Universal Studios, Phil had changed a few of the titles he was showing. Boom, there it was!!! A real life, full screen showing of one the 80's strangest creations.  Gene Simmons dressed up looking like Carmen Miranda morphed with Frank N Furter, wearing Lynda Carter's old fake Kiss costume. The God of Thunder as an eco-terrorist by day and Pre-Op glam-metal cabaret singer by night. Vanity flying "high" after her big role in Barry Gordy's the Last Dragon. John Stamos as the 2nd generation secret agent gymnast sent to save LA. It's all waiting for you 24 hrs from now, down at the New Beverly which is located at  7165 Beverly Blvd., just west of  La Brea. Phil will take your $7 at the window, please thank him for showing this film!!! 





Eric Dolphy

Posted by Whitmore, June 20, 2008 04:04pm | Post a Comment

80 years ago today, in 1928, the legendary jazz musician and groundbreaking force of nature Eric Dolphy was born in Los Angeles. He was one of guiding forces who piloted the "new thing" of jazz though the late fifties and the 1960’s. His unique improvisational style intoned wide intervals, extended techniques, scorching intensity and unexpected sonic explorations on alto sax, clarinets, and flute. Such sounds were seldom heard before and seldom sound as accomplished since.

Educated at Los Angeles City College, he walked the fine line between traditional/mainstream jazz and the avant-garde like few musicians could. Though his work is often classified as simply “free jazz,” Dolphy’s playing was more then just his own idiosyncratic personal voice. He touched on the history of most jazz styles, from New Orleans to bop to third stream; he experimented with various non-Western music and 20th century classical ideology, pioneering extensions as both a soloist and as a jazz composer. His influence is still felt today.

During his short time on the scene Dolphy played with almost every great jazz musician of the day including, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Chico Hamilton, Oliver Nelson, Max Roach, Gerald Wilson, Abbey Lincoln, Gunther Schuller, and Andrew Hill. In his own bands Dolphy included the likes of Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson, Woody Shaw, Richard Davis, Ron Carter, Jaki Byard, Roy Haynes, Mal Waldron, Booker Little and Freddie Hubbard.

At the age of 36 Eric Dolphy died in a diabetic coma in Berlin on June 29th, 1964. Dolphy was posthumously inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame shortly after his death.

Here are some moments:





Tartufi Chats About How Their Writing Process is Like Potato Latkes, Among Other Things.

Posted by Miss Ess, June 20, 2008 12:22pm | Post a Comment
Tartufi is one of the greatest local bands around here in the Bay Area. Co-members Lynne and Brian spoke with me recently about the progress on their new album, their guilty pleasures, and the musical collective they have created. If you are in the Bay Area, you can catch them next at a free show at Cafe Du Nord on Monday, June 23!


Miss Ess: How did you form together and come up with your sound?


Lynne: Like Voltron, just like Voltron. It was a natural progression from the direction we were headed in musically, spiritually...and Transformerally.

Brian: I saw Lynne play years ago, was blown away by her style and was determined to be in a band with her. Our musical tastes are very close and our vision is so in line it's frightening. Tartufi presented us both with the opportunity to write and play exactly what we wanted without the interference of extra band mates and the burden of unnecessary, inflated egos.

ME: Sounds ideal. How does song writing work within the band?

Lynne: We both bring things to the table and sculpt them into something we are both happy with. Like potato latkes.

Brian: We often give ourselves technical or musical challenges and problem solve our way to writing something we are both excited about. There's a lot of "what if we tried this...?" in our practices. Then we spend the next several hours rearranging our gear, experimenting, studying electricity, and making pained expressions as we try to wrestle our ideas into something tangible.

What do you think of the SF music scene at the moment?

Lynne: There's an incredible amount of amazing bands producing amazing music in the Bay Area right now. I feel privileged to be a part of something so consistently productive and inspiring.

Brian: We've played all over the country and there are great, hard working bands everywhere, but the number of great bands in the Bay Area is staggering.
 
Tell me about your collective, Thread Productions.  What is the idea behind it and what do you hope to bring about by joining together?

Lynne: Thread has been our own vehicle for a while -- we have released most of our albums through it -- and we decided that working as a collective with other bands we love and respect could only be beneficial to the group as a whole. It is a production tool, a promotional platform, and a way that we can all share information with each other, with touring bands, and with bands we meet on the road. We have compiled a large data-base of everything from record labels to industry contacts to media resources and reviewers to tour contacts and booking information, and we share these with others as a way of contributing to the music community and deconstructing the "do it by yourself, for yourself" stigma attached to "the scene."

What is your favorite local band besides yourselves?

Lynne: I freakin love Low Red Land. They just plain rule. I also freakin' love Silian Rail. They also reign supreme over this crazy noodle pot.

Brian: I second Ms. Angel's comments; she is a wise, wise woman saying what she just said. Not only are they our favorite bands, and Thread mates, but they also inspire us to keep pushing what we are doing. We know they will always be at our shows and sometimes write parts into our set that reference their playing. It's fun to find them in the audience at those moments to see if they got it.

How did you first start working with your producer Tim Green?  What does he add to your equation in the studio?

Lynne:  We were introduced to Tim by Seth and Juliana from The Quails. Seth and Tim grew up in D.C. together and The Quails had just recorded at Louder [Green's studio]. We scheduled our first session with him in 2003 and haven't looked back since. Tim adds giant ears that can hear when a person sneezes in San Leandro, a killer and mane-eating shoulder rub that will leave you happy...but bald, and the patience of a saint when it comes to recording Tartufi, who sometimes need 1,254 tracks per part, per song. Killer.

How is your new album coming along?  Any secrets you can divulge?

Lynne: Swimmingly. We are about to go in next week to finish up overdubs and then mix 'er down. Secrets? Well, I heard that Paul's sister Mary stole the pie and then fell in the river! Then her shoe came off and Mikey took it and put it up in the castle by the unicorn they just discovered in Italy!!!!! Don't tell!

Brian: We are so excited for this album. It's only halfway done at this point and already feels like a major step forward for Tartufi. Here's a secret: After recording for 10 days straight we were completely exhausted but still had 4 more songs to track. We thought about taking a few days off but then realized a better solution-- day laborers. It won't say so in the album credits, but tracks 11-15 were played by Javier Ramirez, Flaco Garza, Humberto Pena, and Encarnacion Herrera-Soto. Thanks guys. You did a great job.

What are some of your favorite cities you've played on tour and why?

Lynne:  Fireworks Fireworks Fireworks.

Brian: We have a blast in North Carolina and Texas, as we have a decent fan base there and people really seem to get what we are doing. Our favorites stops are those that surprise us-- Yakima, Norfolk, South Bend (thanks Sean), Portsmouth-- small towns full of kids who are really into good music.

Tell us a bit about the bands you will be playing with, The Dont's and Finn Riggins, at your upcomingfree Cafe Du Nord show.

Brian: The Dont's are another really good SF band. They write catchy, cool songs, put on a fun, high energy show, and are super nice guys. Finn Riggins are our friends from Hailey, Idaho.They are great musicians and awesome to see live. I would describe them as sort of a prog-dipped Arcade Fire

What have you been listening to lately?

Lynne: D Numbers...Beach House...Grayceon....Russian Circles...Bowerbirds...Des Ark...Witch...Giraffes? Giraffes!..French Miami...Shearwater.

Brian: A whole lot of Pandora. Do they have to play Elliott Smith on every station, all the time?

Name an album you are obsessed with that you think more people should know about.

Lynne: Stevie Nicks - Crystal Visions.

Brian: Menomena - Friend and Foe.

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

Lynne:  Stevie Nicks - Crystal Visions

Brian: Seal...I  have no guilt or shame over this. Bring it on.

Lynne, I am so right there with you! Brian, that is, indeed, quite the guilty pleasure. What has been your peak musical experience thusfar?

Lynne: The past two and 1/2 years have been pretty amazing.

Brian: We have just put our packs on and started climbing. Ask us again in 10 years or so.

What's coming up next for you guys over the summer?

Lynne:  We are playing a bunch around California this summer and are also promoting a bunch of shows through Tartufi Presents and Thread Productions. We look forward to finishing the album, Nests of Waves and Wire, and heading back out on the road this fall to promote it. And England....hold steady! We are a'commin for yeh! 

Brian: We also will be offering another series of rock classes for kids ages 4-7-- SATURDAY MORNING ROCK OUT! (www.owies.org) -- and explore how to develop the classes into an actual school. We plan as well to begin writing a more stripped down, largely acoustic Tartufi album, hopefully to record before we go back on tour in the fall.

Thanks so much for your time, you guys.

Upcoming Tartufi Shows:
6/20 @ Luna's Cafe in Sacramento w/ Neal Morgan and Alas, Alak, Alaska!
6/23 @ Cafe Du Nord in SF w/ The Donts and Finn Riggins   Free Show!!!
7/24 @ Chief Crazy Horse in Nevada City w/ Them Hills
7/25 @ The Starry Plough in Berkeley w/ Cloud Archive and The New Centuries
8/21 @ Tokoyo Garden in Fresno w/ Rademacher
8/24 @ Treat St bet. 17th and 18th, SF!  TARTUFI & WhizBang Presents The 1st Treat St. Fair!!!!
9/24 @ El Rio in SF performing the scores to several silent films for the 12th annual Madcat Film Festival
10/11 @ El Rio U.S. TOUR SEND OFF SHOW

Tartufi Presents shows:
6/21 @ El Rio in SF - French Miami, Master Slash Slave & Vows
7/19 @ El Rio in SF DAY SHOW - The Plagiarists, Maus Haus & Andy Tisdall [CD Release]
7/19 @ El Rio in SF NIGHT SHOW - Cloud Archive, Form & Fate, MANUOK, Silian Rail
9/17 @ El Rio in SF - Dot Punto

Thread Productions Shows:
7/4 @ El Rio in SF - The 3rd Annual EL RIO BIG TIME FREEDOM PARTY!!! 2-8PM - Two Sheds, Low Red Land, Caves, Paper Airplanes, Pope of Yes, I Was Totally Destroying It & Time and Place!!

EARTH, BORIS and AMOEBAPALOOZA SF!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 20, 2008 11:13am | Post a Comment
This Summer’s awesome shows have already begun, and this weekend alone is going to BLOW MY MIND!!  And it’s not going to be one of those weekends that starts pretty good and builds into one huge final show, oh no.

We begin big on Friday night with Earth at the Great American Music Hall. Dylan Carlsen’s sludgey, droney, stoner metal band has grown and evolved into the template that so many other bands have tried to emulate-- like SunnO))) for example. The line-up is complete with Adrienne Davies on drums, Steve Moore playing trombone and Wurlitzer, and Don McGreevy on bass. I LOVE THIS BAND. And co-headlining with them is Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, which is exciting for me for 2 reasons:  I’ve never seen them, and the last time I saw Earth they played with Neurosis, so this will be a completely different experience. I can appreciate and respect a band not contained in a box, either internally or externally created. Click here for a great new interview with Earth. For more info on tonight's show at the Great American, click here.

Then we have:


Saturday night at the 12 Galaxies is Amoeba Music San Francisco’s Amoebapalooza!  Employees and friends perform in 15 minute sets, with assured madness to ensue. Some acts have been together and performing for a while, some acts are purely for fun—a one time gig. 

out today 6/16...notwist...joy divison...

Posted by Brad Schelden, June 19, 2008 02:29pm | Post a Comment
It is now officially the week of Coldplay. I knew the album would be huge but it has seriously done better than anybody's expectations, and the week is not even over yet. It will for sure be the Sex & the City of the summer. Everyone is expecting it to do well, but this is just craziness. I think it might end up being the biggest debut at Amoeba ever. However, the most exciting release of the week for me would have to be the new Joy Division Documentary. Control really left me wanting more Joy Division in my life, and now I can finally have it.

There has not really been a good Joy Division documentary yet-- a least not one that I have seen-- so it is nice to finally have one on DVD. I just got the DVD yesterday but I have not had a chance to watch it yet, so I can't exactly talk all that much about it, but it is "Fantastic" according to Russ Fischer from Chud.com. This is the quote on the back of the DVD. I really hate quotes on the packaging of DVDs. At least CDS usually have little quotes on stickers on the outside of the plastic. I know they are great marketing tools but it really ruins the artwork. I should be happy at least they put the quote on the back of the DVD. I would think that they could get a quote from somebody more well known than chud.com... but I guess not. I had not really heard of chud.com, so this quote did not influence me to buy the dvd but it did make me check out their website. I might now be a fan of chud.com. I had been looking for some other movie blogs to check out and I think I might have found one. C.H.U.D. stands for Cinematic Happenings Under Development. It seems to be a website/blog for comic book and sci-fi/horror nerds, but I will have to do some more investigation. I do believe them though. I bet the DVD is fantastic. It includes the documentary with all the surviving members of Joy Division and also 75 minutes of additional interviews.

While Coldplay might overshadow any other releases this week. There are actually some albums out that I have been excited about. The new Notwist comes out this week on Domino Records. It is called The Devil, You + Me. You might be surprised to know that they have been around since 1989. They became a band way back then in Germany. I first heard them when they put out Neon Golden in 2002. The album got them a bit more popular than they ever had been in America, but hopefully this new album will take them even further. They have gone through many changes since their metal roots on their first few albums. The last couple albums have been more like the Indie electronica you would find on the label Morr Music. It is pretty music that sort of seems to just float out of the speakers. It has elements of minimal electronica and elements of British indie bands.

I had to listen to the album a couple of times before it really sank into me. Because it is so mellow and pretty it is easy to not even notice that you are listening to it. You really have to pay attention. It didn't really get my attention until track 8. The song is "Boneless." The first song on the album is also really great, but I recommend that you start with track 8 and then start the record over and listen to the whole thing again. Then by the time you get to track 8 again you will love the song even more. If you don't like this song then you probably don't have to bother with the rest of the album. I have been just keeping this song on repeat. It is a perfect little song, one of those really pretty songs that gets you in your heart. It could easily make you cry. The album really is fantastic. It just needs a little of your time and attention. I really hope that people find this album. It is just one of those albums that deserves to be found. It deserves a place in your heart.


also out today...





Viva La Vida by Coldplay












Sunlight to Blue... by Durutti Column











For Your Consideration by Kathy Griffin











Nostradamus by Judas Priest











Liquid Liquid by Liquid Liquid











A Thousand Shark's Teeth by My Brightest Diamond











Freddie & the Trojan Horse by Radio Dept.












Bubble & Scrape by Sebadoh











Lookout Mountain by Silver Jews











O by Tilly & the Wall











At Mount Zoomer by Wolf Parade




Nick Drake, happy birthday ...

Posted by Whitmore, June 19, 2008 09:58am | Post a Comment


60 year ago today Nicholas Rodney Drake, enigmatic British folk musician, was born. Today he lives only in myth, legend and allegory. Drake, who released three albums in his lifetime, Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter, and Pink Moon  failed to find a wide audience thirty odd years ago, but since his death in 1974 has found a continuing growth in popularity and influence.

Nick Drake was twenty years old when he signed to Island Records, releasing his debut album Five Leaves Left in 1969. Over the next few years he recorded only two other albums, though none sold more than five thousand copies in their initial releases. His reluctance to perform live or be interviewed no doubt contributed to his lack of commercial success.

Throughout his life Drake constantly battled depression. After the completion of his final album, 1972's Pink Moon, he ceased performing and recording, and chose to withdraw from society to his parents' home in rural Warwickshire. Drake died from an overdose of the prescribed antidepressant, amitriptyline, on November 25th 1974.

There was no public announcement or notice of his death. Initially there was no effort to even reissue his three albums, but in 1979 the box set Fruit Tree, compiling his three completed albums plus a handful of home recordings and left over sessions, was released. However, once again, sales were poor, the album received little notice from the press, and by 1983 Fruit Tree was deleted from the Island Records catalogue. Still, a fanatical following and interest never ceased. Musicians such as Robert Smith, Peter Buck, Kate Bush, and John Martyn cited him as an influence. In early 1999, BBC2 aired a documentary, A Stranger Among Us—In Search of Nick Drake. And most notably in 2000, Volkswagen featured the song Pink Moon in a television commercial, and within one month Drake had sold more records than he had in the previous thirty years.

Lyrically mysterious, full of symbolic meaning, often existential, Nick Drake wrote heartbreakingly, beautifully sad songs. Here are a few.

June 18, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, June 19, 2008 12:19am | Post a Comment

Never Too Young To Die - Saturday Midnight At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, June 18, 2008 11:05pm | Post a Comment
Watch the trailer today. Watch the movie on Saturday.

 








 

Saturday June 21


John Stamos, Vanity
& Gene Simmons in


Never Too
Young To Die

1986, 92 min.


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

Vanity: the new breed of temptress! Stamos: the new breed of hero!



 



June
June 7 Heavenly Bodies

(Phil's 30th BDay Party - FREE screening of this unjustly overlooked aerobics classic! Leg warmers & leotards encouraged!)
June 14 Burial Ground
(The Italian Zombie Classic!)
June 21 Never Too Young To Die
(What would happen if John Stamos, Vanity, Gene Simmons and George Lazenby starred in the SAME film? Find out at this RARE screening!)
June 28 Humanoids From The Deep
("They're not human. But they hunt human women. Not for killing. For mating!" The deliriously tasteless Roger Corman monster fest!)

July
July 5 Delta Force

(celebrate Independence Day weekend - watch Lee Marvin & Chuck Norris kick terrorist BUTT in the Cannon Films classic!)
July 19 Just One Of The Guys
(Sony's LAST 35mm print of the ultimate '80s role reversal comedy!)
July 26 Chopping Mall
(w/ special guests director Jim Wynorski & star Kelli Maroney in attendance, schedules permitting)


August
August 2 Night Of The Juggler

(No one can stop James Brolin!)
August 9 Rainbow Brite & The Star Stealer
(Rainbow Brite's first movie - insanely RARE performance!)
August 23 The Gate
(... pray it's not too late!)
August 30 Little Darlings
(Paramount Archive 35mm Print! Rare Screening!)

September
September 20 Michael Mann's The Keep

(Paramount Archive 35mm Print! 25th Anniversary!)

Ronnie Lane - One For the Road

Posted by Miss Ess, June 18, 2008 05:27pm | Post a Comment
Ronnie Lane is one of those musicians who never really got recognized for the great talent he was.

He was mostly know for being in the Small Faces and the Faces, where he played bass and wrote songs, but was largely overshadowed by front men Steve Marriott and Rod Stewart, respectively. 

His later work both as a solo artist and with his band Slim Chances is what I have really been enjoying lately. He left the Faces in '72 and chose a quieter life on a large farm in Wales.  At one point he arranged a tour that was literally a circus-- they traveled as a caravan across England and set up tents, had animal attractions, etc. It was Ronnie's dream and it turned out to be a financial failure he never really recovered from.

Some of his songs for his first solo album, Anymore for Anymore, were recorded by the band outdoors in the hills of his property, surrounded by sheep and children playing.That era of the early to mid 70s seems to have been the most idyllic of his life.

And here's a performance of the lead track from that album, "How Come":



Lane's music fits into the classic rock idiom in some ways, the Americana idiom in others, but it has a buoyancy and a sparky energy that make it special and idiosyncratic. Ronnie's essence is truly captured in his songs.

I recently watched a documentary about him, The Passing Show, which contains awesome live footage and interviews with friends and family. Although one interview with Ronnie is contained in the film, his voice is noticeably and sadly largely missing from the 2006 movie; Ronnie Lane died of complications due to multiple sclerosis in 1997.Throughout his illness, his medical bills had kindly been paid by friends such as Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart.

Unfortunately it's difficult to find many of his recordings, either on vinyl or cd. Used copies float through Amoeba from time to time, and there are also some compilations that include much of his fantastic work, including the one I have, Just For A Moment.

I love this performance of "You Never Can Tell" from the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1974. 

Cyd Charisse 1922 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, June 18, 2008 03:35pm | Post a Comment


There was one thing my Dad and I always agreed on, even when I was a teenager and we were unlikely to find any common ground: we were both awe-struck by Cyd Charisse, the greatest and sexiest of all of the Hollywood Musical dancers. She was gorgeous, strong, and always brought a little extra sizzle and nuance to her work.

Charisse died Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after suffering an apparent heart attack. She was 86.

Cyd Charisse danced in some of the greatest Movie Musicals during the hey-day of Movie Musicals. She first gained attention in 1943 in The Harvey Girls, and went on to appear in The Zeigfield Follies, Till the Clouds Roll In, and Words and Music. But she really hit her stride in the early 1950’s with Singin' in the Rain, where she danced with Gene Kelly in what can only be described as one of the steamiest of all Hollywood ballets. She went onto star in other classic films such as The Band Wagon, Brigadoon, Deep in My Heart, It's Always Fair Weather, and Silk Stockings.

In 1952, at the height of her career, her legs were reportedly insured by Lloyds of London for $5 million dollars. She was even featured in the 2001 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records as the "Most Valuable Legs" in Hollywood history.

Born Tula Ellice Finklea on March 8, 1922, in Amarillo, Texas, her older brother nicknamed her Sid as a variation on Sis. She eventually changed the spelling of her name while at MGM, to “give her an air of mystery.”

She began ballet lessons at the age of 6 after developing a mild case of polio, leaving her right side slightly atrophied. Later her family moved to Los Angeles where as a teenager Cyd married her dance instructor Nico Charisse. But after eight years of marriage they divorced in 1947. The next year she married singer, actor and nightclub entertainer Tony Martin. A marriage that would last till her death this week -- almost 60 years.

Multiple Personalities

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, June 17, 2008 10:25pm | Post a Comment
A few months back I got a real chuckle out of friend who has years of experience working some big time gigs at a couple of major labels. He thought the sticker blog featuring multiple Janet Jackson stickers was a riot.  He had helped with the albums design, including the stickers, but really didn't recall designing different stickers for it.  Here's a whole gallery of sticker variations, none of which are as fun as the Janet example, but they do provide anecdotal details regarding the chronology of hits, attempted hits, awards, milestones etc...










(In which Job explains his long absence.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 17, 2008 10:46am | Post a Comment
Oh… (gasp!) …thank God! You would not believe what happened to me!

As my faithful readers* will attest to, I haven’t blogged in a record-length of time. You know that there’s nothing I love more than blogging – except maybe getting a CPBF** – so you know something dramatic must have happened to keep me away for so long. Here’s the story…


I was at Canter’s with my good friends Bob, Rupert and Fiona, discussing the possibility of a Hearts of Fire reunion tour.


Fiona was in the middle of her usual rant about how Tori Amos stole her thunder and how “Me and a Gun” had been her idea for years; how she had a list of perfect words to rhyme with “rape”… blah blah blah… The rest of us kind of tune her out when she gets like that.
Suddenly, I started choking on my poppyseed rugelach (they make it so dry!) and Fiona starts yelling for help while Bob just kind of zones out and watches – so typical, he’s never sure what’s actually happening in front of him or whether it’s a flashback of some kind. Rupert was the only one to have the sense to give me the Heimlich Maneuver. It worked, and the buttery crust that deemed to kill me coughed out like a cannonball and hit the back of the head of some trollop du jour that Hugh Grant was treating to a Marilyn Monroe Special.
We’d all been avoiding making eye-contact with Hugh because, at the slightest provocation he’ll bore you to death with some complaint about “ladies and their oral hygiene". I mean, honestly Hugh, we know you’re European but you CAN kiss on the cheek to greet people – you don’t have to go plugging your tongue in like a hose to a Hoover.
It was awkward because Rupert and Hugh have a long-standing grudge between them. Something to do with a game of capture-the-flag at Julia Roberts’ house that took a turn for the ugly.


America's Sweetheart: Julia Roberts

Anyway, Rupert had badly bruised my ribcage. No fault to him, of course, he saved my life after all. But then Hugh sweeps in and is all touchy-feely with my torso and tossing out medical terms like “musculoskeletal injury” and basically making Rupert feel like a jerk for being so rough. While Rupert, who was totally focused on me, sweetly ran for some water to clear my throat, Hugh calls for an ambulance, like he’s some hero or something.

The ambulance comes and Rupert and Hugh are arguing over who’s going to ride with me, but they’re doing it in that passive-aggressive British way – like, what they mean is, “Get the hell out of my way you bitch” but it all sounds like, “Would you care to join me for a round of cricket?”
By now, of course, Fiona has completely disappeared as she usually does before the bill arrives. And Bob doesn’t even have a wallet on him – honestly I don’t know how he makes it through a day. I finally asked if anyone was interested in what I wanted, which was to forgo an ambulance altogether and simply get someone to drive me in their car. It’s not like I was dying anymore – these actors are such drama queens, I swear.
So, after convincing Hugh that he’d better stick to his date (whose name I still don’t know because he never introduced us – between you and me, I don’t think he even remembered her name), Rupert gave me a ride to Cedars where we waited in the lobby for what seemed hours.
To pass the time we played the trivia game on my iPod. Would you believe, he had no difficulty naming every single track by Diamanda Galás…


…but couldn’t remember who sang this…?


Anyway, I was in and out of the medical exam quicker than I had waited for it. The doc hooked me up with these amazing pain pills and Rupert insisted that we swing by Madonna’s palatial Bel Air estate for a game of “pill poker.” I was confused – hadn’t Madge cleaned up cold turkey on the set of Evita? And anyway, I thought she and Rupert were still “on the outs"? Well, they are, but he’s apparently still buddy-buddy with Guy Ritchie, who was alone at the house while Madonna was off somewhere in Japan filming a billion dollar commercial for vaginal ointment.
So we did. And for the last month that’s where I’ve been – in a drug-induced haze with Rupert and Guy and Natalie Portman, who doesn’t pop pills but can’t say no to a game of poker.

But I’m sober now, kids, and ready to blog. Let’s do this!
*that is, my Mom & Sisters

**CPBF is a Chunky Peanut Butter Facial. Simply smear a jar of chunky peanut butter on your face (I think Laura Scudders works best). The nuts exfoliate dead skin cells, while the oil rejuvenates new skin. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and best of all, it’s delicious!

red tags

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, June 15, 2008 11:50pm | Post a Comment


Here at Amoeba, customers know to look for the red tag. Red tags = bargain. It looks like red was also used to tag deals at the Bargain Circus, Jive Time and Licorice Pizza, as well as many more retail outlets. Anyone out there know what "the Dalles" was? I know that it's a place in Oregon, but was there a chain named that as well?



سكر بنات Sukkar banat Caramel dir. Nadine Labaki.

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 15, 2008 06:23pm | Post a Comment

In a Beirut beauty salon, the lives of five women from different backgrounds interweave as they share, support, confide in and bicker with each other. The “caramel” of the title refers to the candy, which they use as a depilatory. My guess is that it's supposed to be some kind of metaphor for tearing away secrets or something.

Labaki's video for Nancy Ajram's "Akhasmak, Ah"

First, Rima (the spittin’ image of Jerri Blank from Strangers With Candy) is a secret Sapphist, which is primarily conveyed through her enjoyment of washing a woman’s long tresses. Nisrine, a bride-to-be, isn’t a virgin but is marrying a traditional Muslim who expects her to be, so she goes to the doctor to get surgery. Jamale is an aging former television actress whose attempts to seem young (from taping her eyes up to staining maxi pads with red nail polish) come across as so shrilly hysterical that she earns unintentional laughs instead of sympathy as she competes, in vain, against younger, prettier women. Layale (played by the writer/director) is bitchy and snobbish and she stubbornly pursues an affair with a married man, going to amazing lengths to please him, even though he continually blows her off except for their brief romps in her car. Rose is a seamstress who gains the attractions of an dapper, older American whose suits she tailors. He asks her out but she chooses to devote all of her energy and time to her senile sister -- who was a voice to which nails-on-chalkboard is preferable. The message seems to be that women have to turn to each other, not men, no matter how stupidly they behave.  And, girl, men have no idea what they go through.

IF YOU WANT TO SING OUT, SING OUT: ON FATHER'S DAY OR ANY DAY

Posted by Billyjam, June 15, 2008 04:19pm | Post a Comment

When you think about, it all holidays are basically the same -- days of celebration, all similar,  just with different names.

Father's Day, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Memorial Day, BIrthdays and the million other "days" that we celebrate are all pretty much one and the same thing: days where we stop to celebrate life, sometimes past, but usually present. 

It's about the love...for life: a time to sing out on the positives and to vow to live each day to the fullest.

Hence I think it appropriate on this "day" (or any) to re-watch that celebratory scene from Hal Ashby's 1971 film Harold and Maude (avail on DVD @ Amoeba) in which Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort's characters sing Cat Stevens' "If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out." Immediately below that clip is Cat Stevens performing "Father and Son." Another appropriate Father's Day song is the 1991 hip-hop single from Ed O.G. & da Bulldogs "Be A Father To Your Child." The third video below is "Father and Daughter" which is "animacion con acuarela por Michael Dudok de Wit," and below that is "Father's Day Poem: to Dad" -- a stop motion animation by YouTuber indiestopmotion.





Communities of Los Angeles County

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 15, 2008 04:16pm | Post a Comment
And here's a survey for the Los Angeles County communities. Vote for whichever communities you'd like to see me visit and blog about as part of California Fool's Gold. With each blog comes a hand drawn map courtesy of Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography.

And remember, Eric's Blog gives you a voice!

Click Here to take survey





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Rituals

Posted by phil blankenship, June 14, 2008 06:45pm | Post a Comment
 





Embassy Home Entertainment 1330

Based on True Events: Rambo (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, June 14, 2008 05:12pm | Post a Comment


So this isn't, practically speaking, a summer movie, but if they still made 'em like they used to, it would be. This time around John Rambo is a snake handling loner living in Thailand who makes money on the side by ferrying people across the river to their inevitable death in Burma. As in the previous films, he hates humanity and has little patience for ideology of any kind. He's content playing with his snakes until a hot Evangelical missionary (played by Angel's ex, the vampire Darla) convinces him to take her group over to feed a Karen village being tormented by the Burmese military. I read a few reviews that found this scenario unconvincing, suggesting that her platitudes wouldn't be enough to get Rambo to care.  Rambo's been playing with snakes for the past 20 years in a jungle, what more reason does he need?  It's not what's said, but who's saying it. Fear not, Rambo doesn't have sex, only its substitute, killing, which brings up a question I had while watching Bret Michaels in Rock of Love: how does the bandana stay on during intimate moments? Does Bret pay the girls not to say anything, has it written in their contracts? You'd think at least one of his rejects would call him on it. Is this why Rambo takes no prisoners? Regardless, kudos to both men for laying waste to a bunch of bodies while keeping their hair on straight.

Rambo is the second part of Stallone's Christian marketing diptych, following Rocky Balboa. Originally he wanted to call it John Rambo, but the studio demanded it be changed for some reason. He saw how well Mel Gibson was doing marketing bloodletting and violence to the fundies and decided to continue his successful franchises with that strategy in mind. Look how well it worked with the Rocky sequel:
What was also wonderful about the film was how Stallone incorporated, what I like to call, the faith factor. As part of his corner crew, Rocky brings along Spider Rico, portrayed by another former boxer Pedro Lovell, as his spiritual advisor. Before going out to take on Dixon, Rocky is sitting in his dressing room while Rico is reading scripture verses to him. In his restaurant, Rico always gets a free meal from Rocky until he takes it upon himself to start washing dishes for Rocky telling him, “Jesus wants me to work.”
Over there on Christian Spotlight, the reader responses were overwhelmingly positive, with only a couple of negatives that had to do with the profanity (these guys use the aesthetic criterion of bean-counting the number of salacious words in a film) and some kiss between a supposed 10 year old and a 40 year old (but this problem was brought up by teenaged reader). Christian moralizing has come a long way since the days of the Hays Code and the League of Decency, when violence itself was largely deemed indecent, irrespective of who was killing whom and for what reason. Now, as Gibson's Pollack-cum-blood manifesto, The Passion of the Christ, demonstrated, it's okay to get off on unrelenting gore so long as it serves a higher purpose. This a good thing; Christian films have finally caught up to their brutal legacy. Therefore, when Rambo is trying to get a group of mercenaries to go in and risk their pagan lives to save the Christian tail who inspired him earlier in the film, he mumbles, "live for nothin’, or die for somethin’."  Like the ambiguity of all that S&M Catholic self-flagellation and torture, is Rambo's new found higher calling a sublimated rejection of his celibacy or a belief in Divine Will?

Going by the Spotlight responses, the conservative Christians seem to take the film as an allegory for God's Wrath. But this film proved a bit more divisive than Rocky Balboa. The sheer amount of gore showed that there are some old-fashioned moralists who just can't take it, regardless of intent. As for the largely positive reviews, the violence was seen as a necessary realism for the way war is, carnage adding verisimilitude. Expressing the ambiguity I alluded to in the previous paragraph, one reader says:
My main objection to this film was the scene of a woman's breasts. I really am trying to stay away from films containing such material. There are other scenes of sexually related material as well. This film is EXTREMELY violent -- but this is to be expected fom a Rambo movie. The violence did not bother me, especially considering it is a means by which we privileged people can see the genocides occur in areas where few even know exist.
Why sex in art is never taken by the fundies as being a necessary depiction of the way life is continues to be unexplored, or outright shunned (cf. the differing reactions to The Last Temptation of Christ and Gibson's magnum opus). Had Stallone decided to give Rambo peace of mind by having him fuck a lot, rather than murder a couple hundred Burmese soldiers, the film wouldn't have been as well received by the right-wing Christians. God is always vengeful, loving in a strictly platonic way, never ordering His followers to go fuck their enemies, but only smite them. Unlike violence, fucking would be turning away from God, not towards him:
This movie so accurately portrayed the evil that man, without God, is capable of. To think that these acts of torture and cruelty actually happen in Burma. May God save those people. Is this what King David faced when he and Israel went to war? Of course, not the modern weapons, but the sheer hatred, the brutality, the lack of concern for life, the lack of respect for God?

Is this what will happen to us if America turns from God? Is it really a waste of life to go into these areas and try to bring the peace of Christ? Rarely does a movie cause me to ask so many questions, but this one did and still does. An excellent movie!! I salute Stallone for his bravery in making this film.
Just so the fundies know Stallone is on their side, he made the junta leader a HOMO-sexual predator -- along with the groping of some Burmese hookers and a touch of rape, it's the only sex directly referenced in the film. Any positive depiction of sex would be cause for concern for right-thinking parents everywhere. If these Christians watched more Battlestar Galactica, they'd know that even genocide can be forgiven with a lot of sex. Sleeping with the enemy produces hybrid offspring, ideological miscegenation. But, then again, that's not something the Evangelical types strive for, as it would dilute the purity of their beliefs -- "segregation now, segregation forever."  That's why they have their own Christ-brand simulacra for everything we secularists and pagans enjoy, like death metal, theme parks, feminism, genre fiction and the aforementioned example of torture porn (well, in fairness, this last one is merely returning to its roots). These Christian extremists exist in a alternate world that's akin to the Star Trek holodeck, where any kind of story might happen, but in the final instance, the flock can rest assured that it hasn't left the Biblically literalist sub-structure. It's certainly homo-ideological, even while it denounces any -sexual part. 

Besides, the inclusion of negative homosexual stereotypes -- as with 300 -- will ultimately give this film, featuring a bunch of overly muscular men slaughtering everything in sight, an interesting angle for future queer theoretical analyses, rather than any sort of consistent moral agenda for the impressionable masses.   In other words, any sort of sexual argument the film makes will probably go unnoticed to anyone who doesn't over-think their mass entertainment (like yours truly). Since the Sixties, the medium has been the message, and Stallone's medium is violence. It is in violence that pagans, Christians and atheists can all come together and love the same thing.  Take my god-hating limey pal, Simon (who's trying to be American, but he still doesn't drink coffee):
I've never seen so much awesome carnage! Legs getting blown off, people exploding in a fountain of blood and getting cut in half, and don't forget about babies being thrown into burning rubble. That's especially awesome! And what about the ending of this movie. It brought a tear to my eye. I give this movie a roman thumbs way up. This movie gets a perfect 10 for total entertainment! I have to say I love Stallone for making this picture.
Everyone loves babies and everyone loves specular violence; they go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Rambo is a rejuvenation of the Eighties superhuman action flick for a post-Saving Private Ryan generation. Back in the Reagan era, the muscular hero would mow down an impossible number of villains at a distance with very little bloodshed. Stallone's great aesthetic innovation here is to personalize the carnage, giving the audience both quantity and quality. Rather than just keeping the camera with Rambo, he locates it within the ranks of those being lacerated à la the first 30 minutes of Spielberg's film, letting the finely detailed blood splatter and limbs fly across the camera eye. The result is as close to a summer movie being directed by Takashi Miike as we're likely to get. That's high praise in my book.

One doesn't have to be a homophobe and/or Christian to appreciate Stallone's ability to use realworld events to occupy our leisure time. It's a sign of the new interventionist aesthetic where it's politically correct to enjoy violence involving the Other so long as Our Hero is stopping it from killing an-Other (as was recently seen in Iron Man). What's not as widely acceptable is when we're supposed to be entertained by the fictionalized versions of acts perpetrated on us (confer the conservative reaction to United 93). Thus, Stallone cherry-picked the worst of the current political crises that didn't directly involve the U.S. and interpellated his hero into the story. As an action director, Stallone knows how to entertain.

In fact, so committed to violent entertainment is Stallone as an auteur that any proselytizing ability the film possesses is only going to work on the most committed, red-meat eating kind of Christian (you know, the ones who see the story of Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son for God as a sign of loving devotion). On the way down the river, Rambo kills a bunch of Burmese marauders who were trying to steal supplies from him and the missionaries and keep Darla as a sex slave. Instead of thanking him, the head missionary chastises Rambo with a bunch of claptrap about "thou shalt not kill." Reminiscent of the moral dilemma in End of Days where Schwarzenegger has to give up his gun and go fisticuffs with Satan in order to prove his love to the Lord, this pacifist missionary is shown gleefully smashing in Burmese skull with a rock later in the picture. What a right-wing Christian might see as an allegory for Divine Wrath, a homo-loving atheist might see as leisurely entertainment. Such is Stallone's complexity as an artist. Truly heady stuff: like the morality of sex, is violence only to be appreciated when it's done for God?

Cityscapes

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, June 14, 2008 02:05pm | Post a Comment


New York, Chicago, Sydney and beyond...






Berkeley's Amoebapalooza!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, June 14, 2008 01:48pm | Post a Comment

Los Angeles Neighborhoods -- Survey SAYS!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 13, 2008 07:55pm | Post a Comment
Dear readers,

I've created a survey that I'd like you, if you have a second, to fill out. I want to know which Los Angeles neighborhood(s) you'd like me, your ersatz Huell Howser, to visit (and blog about) next. Just click on the link below and I'll go to which ever neighborhood receives the most votes... maybe it'll be your hood! And each map means a new Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography map!

Click Here to take survey




*****


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Wavelength

Posted by phil blankenship, June 13, 2008 05:20pm | Post a Comment
 





Embassy Home Entertainment 4018

AMOEBLOG INTERVIEW WITH DOSEONE OF SUBTLE

Posted by Billyjam, June 13, 2008 03:42pm | Post a Comment

Oakland band Subtle pictured left to right: Jordan Dalrymple, DoseOne, Alexander Kort, Jeffrey 'Jel' Logan, Marty Dowers, and Dax Pierson.

In 2004 Subtle released A New White and in 2006 they dropped the second installment, For Hero: For FoolVery recently they released their third full-length, Exiting ARM on Lex Records. Amoeblog caught up with DoseOne to learn more:

AMOEBLOG:
For those who may just now be hearing your band's music for the very first time, can you bring them up to speed on what Subtle is all about and in particular the central character Hour Hero Yes? Additionally, how important is it to be familiar with the previous two Subtle albums, with their ongoing intricate themes, to fully appreciate Exiting ARM? In other words, is it like that TV show 24 where if you missed the previous episodes you feel kind of left out in following the storyline?

DoseOne: To be honest: all along we have woven these themes and motifs into the music knowing that the music should also remain accessible from any point in listening. These works should be accessible as both a work of song and as a timeless four minute chunk of layered creativities. So that being said, there is by no means "homework" that comes with Subtle records. It's meant to be rich and abound with things to interpret: next decade proof, if you will.

Otherwise the lore runneth over. Hour Hero Yes is a modern man. As flawed as he is brilliant; both hero and fool. The three Subtle full-lengths follow his arm and ascension entirely. A New White is the writings of the shell and man Yes once was, the man he must reconcile with. It all takes place in one bedroom in
Oakland. And as his quest for self intensifies, his one bedroom begins to come to life as his night terrors and day dreams begin to flood with omen and creature. At the end of A New White, Yes opens his door and takes to the world, fear at his back.

Artists in the Workforce: 1990-2005

Posted by Whitmore, June 13, 2008 01:21pm | Post a Comment

"Artists in the Workforce: 1990-2005," a 140-page study, was released this week by the NEA and is the first nationwide look at artists and their demographic and employment patterns in the 21st century. The report profiles eleven different artistic occupations, including actors; announcers; architects; art directors, fine artists and animators; dancers and choreographers; designers; entertainers and performers; musicians; photographers; producers and directors; and finally writers and authors. The study draws its conclusions from the U.S. Census Bureau data and other government agencies and arts organizations. Here are some of the NEA’s findings:

Numbering almost two million, artists are one of the largest classes of workers in the nation, representing 1.4 percent of the U.S. labor force. As a group, artists number only slightly less than the U.S. military’s active-duty and reserve personnel, which stands at about 2.2 million. Based on the findings in "Artists in the Workforce," artists earn some $70 billion annually, but the median income from all sources in 2005 for an artist was $34,800, higher than the $30,100 median for the total labor force, but well under the average for professionals of $43,200. And artists generally earn less money than workers with similar education levels.

Between 1970 and 1990, the number of artists more than doubled, from 737,000 to 1.7 million -- a much larger percentage gain than for the labor force as a whole. Between 1990 and 2005, the growth of artists slowed to a 16 percent rate, about the same as for the overall labor force.

Some of the findings were a little surprising. For example, computers have apparently led to a decline in traditional visual artists. There was a huge jump in those who identify themselves as "designers," which includes Web designers. The number of art directors, fine artists and animators fell from around 280,000 in 1990 to around 220,000 in 2005. Designers, nearly 40 percent of all artists, increased from around 600,000 to around 780,000.

Artists tend to be more entrepreneurial -- 3.5 times more likely to be self-employed. And at the same time, artists are underemployed; one-third of all artists work for only part of the year. A couple of examples: only one out of eight actors works full time, and just one out of four musicians.
Artists holding college degrees rose between 1990 and 2005, and they are twice as likely to have a degree as any other U.S. workers. Among artist occupations with the highest educational attainment levels are architects, writers, and producers.

Women remain underrepresented in several artist occupations. Men outnumber women in architecture, music, production, and photography. Women outnumber men in the fields of dance, design, and writing. The percentage of artists who are Hispanic, Asian or Native American grew from 9 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2005.

The Pacific Coast region has the highest number of artists per capita, 95 per 10,000. The East South Central, which includes Alabama and Kentucky, has the fewest, 47 per 10,000. And some regions have their own unique concentrations of artists. New Mexico has the highest share of fine artists, mostly due to Santa Fe, which has the second highest number of overall artists per capita. Vermont has the highest proportion of writers, and Tennessee --  mostly due to Nashville -- has the highest proportion of musicians. Las Vegas has the highest rate of dancers and choreographers, whereas Orlando, Fla., home to Walt Disney World, leads the nation in entertainers and performers.

Since artistic employment opportunities are greater in metropolitan areas, nearly 20% of all U.S. artists live in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington, and Boston. Los Angeles-Long Beach area has the most artists overall, around 140,000, followed by New York City, around 133,000. And half of all artists live in just 30 different metropolitan areas.

THIS IS FUNK. THIS IS NOT FUNK

Posted by Billyjam, June 13, 2008 01:09am | Post a Comment
Exhibit A
THIS IS NOT FUNK:

Blame it on the music? Maybe. But watch the first video below and ponder the fact that for such a large gathering of "dancers," nary a one possessed even a grain of soul or funk in their groove. And was that the electric slide?

Exhibit B
THIS IS FUNK:

May James Brown rest in peace, but his music, the funk and nuthin' but the funk, lives on, especially when it's James Brown and band live in concert. For best results, play Exhibits A and B together with sound down on Exhibit A.    
 
Exhibit C 
THIS IS NOT FUNK EITHER:

Classic episode of The Larry Sanders Show where Wu Tang Clan are guests and during sound-check beloved dufus sidekick Hank "hey now" Kingsley (actor Jeffrey Tambor, right) comes out on the set to introduce himself to the group, with their CD in hand -- one song off which he particularly likes. At the end of this hilariously disastrous encounter, Jon Stewart apologizes to the group on behalf of his people. 

Put your THIS IS FUNK or THIS IS NOT FUNK in comments below-- include video or images or links.

Exhibit A: 
 

Worldwide Underground

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 12, 2008 11:54pm | Post a Comment

I am very proud to be a part of Amoeba Hollywood's very own World Music DJ series. Worldwide Underground starts this Sunday from noon to one p.m. Every Sunday we will explore a different sound from across the world. Most of the DJ's participating make their living spinning at various hot spots around Los Angeles. Worldwide Undergound is a chance for you to check them out playing music that is near and dear to their hearts. All of us participating will attempt to cross every musical & cultural border possible.

Below is a description of the series, the DJ's biographies, as well as links to their websites and the clubs they spin at.

Amoeba’s World Music DJ Series! Beginning on June 15th, Gomez Comes Alive! brings Worldwide Underground to Amoeba Hollywood! The sounds start at noon and include everything from Afro-Beat to Turkish Psychedelia to Reggae en Espanol and beyond. Special guests and surprises galore!


EVERY SUNDAY BEGINNING AT NOON
AT AMOEBA MUSIC HOLLYWOOD

JUNE 15TH
Gomez Comes Alive! (Odds& Ends, Anda)
 Folkloric & Modern World Music

Burial Ground Saturday Midnight At The New Beverly !

Posted by phil blankenship, June 12, 2008 10:17pm | Post a Comment
JUST ADDED !





Saturday June 14


The Italian Zombie Masterpiece!


Burial Ground

aka Le Notti del Terrore
1981, 85 min.


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



 


out today 6/10...my morning jacket...

Posted by Brad Schelden, June 12, 2008 09:07pm | Post a Comment
This is the big week that we have all been waiting for. No, I am not talking about the new Coldplay. The world must wait one more week for the album destined to be the biggest album of the year. I am still not sure how Coldplay became as big as they are. I really remember selling the import of their first album almost 10 years ago, back when nobody knew who they were. Now they are the biggest thing ever. I really don't think Coldplay needs much help in selling records. But iTunes has partnered with Coldplay and plays the commercial with the new single about 100 times per day. I have gotten a little sick of the Coldplay...but for some reason I like their new song. I guess it is the power of Apple. I had resisted getting a Mac for so long but am now so happy to finally have one. I guess they somehow got a hold of me. I guess I am not as strong as I thought I was. I was always strong enough to resist commercials and advertising in the past, but I guess I just gave in.

So what is really out this week is the new album from My Morning Jacket. It is called Evil Urges. I know that I have talked about My Morning Jacket a lot lately --at least I feel like I have. Some of those conversations have for sure been in my head, but I know I have also mentioned them on my blog a couple of times. I had held out for a while on My Morning Jacket as well. They got their start back in 1998 and it seems to have taken me almost 10 years to get into them. It took that little movie called I'm Not There to finally bring me around to falling in love with My Morning Jacket. I have slowly given time to each of their four albums and fallen in love with all of them.

The Tennessee Fire and At Dawn were their first two albums released on the fabulous Darla Records. They both just got a fantastic reissue on vinyl. I have yet to pick them up myself but they are limited pressings so I will for sure be bringing them home soon. They are the sort of albums I need to own on both CD and vinyl. After these two albums they jumped to a major label and signed with ATO. They released It Still Moves in 2003 and Z in 2005. They are all fantastic. They mix the sound of country with some good old indie rock, and also a good dose of some jam band and psychedelic rock. This might sound like a sort of scary mix, but Jim James has an amazing voice and it just works. I love this stuff. It is a nice change from what I normally listen to. Sometimes I just need a little country jam band in my life. I was really highly anticipating this new album for a while, so I think I put my expectations up pretty high. I think maybe we all did. It is really hard to top four amazing albums. I don't even really know how you would do it...so I have to admit that initially I was a bit disappointed in the album. It is just kind of all over the place. But it is growing on me, so just give it a chance. You just might end up liking it a lot more than you thought you did. I do find myself constantly going back to the old My Morning Jacket albums. They are sort of like the Antony & the Johnsons albums. I just can't get enough of them. Sometimes records take a little bit of time to grown on you. I get sad when people dismiss new albums after only listening to them once. This one deserves your time. You might need to start at the beginning and go all the way back to The Tennessee Fire --but it is for sure a fun and fantastic journey to go through all their albums. I might just go do it again right now.


also out today....






You Cross My Path by The Charlatans











Here We Stand by The Fratellis











Seeing Sounds by N.E.R.D.











The Dream by The Orb











Parallel Play by Sloan











Diamond Hoo Ha by Supergrass











I've Got My Eye On You by Syclops











I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too by Martha Wainwright

20th Anniversay of the Second Summer of Love -- Madchester and the Baggy Explosion

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 12, 2008 09:00pm | Post a Comment

The Second Summer of Love

It was 20 years ago today (well, this coming summer, which is just around the corner) that what was known as The Second Summer of Love occurred. England's youth fell in love with Ecstasy, which they combined with a taste for Chicago House Music and the results made history. As is often the case, the fashions of 20 years ago (in this case, the 1960s) became fashionable again. Tye dye and peace symbols abounded on teens around the world. Thousands of people started attending massive Acid House raves. A feeling of pacifistic and environmental optimism swept much of the planet (or maybe that was just my teenage outlook). The Factory label's Hacienda nightclub featured DJs and bands which mixed disco, house, hip-hop, electro and indie rock. Soon, other northern clubs followed their lead, such as Boardwalk, Devilles, Isadora's, Konspiracy, House, Soundgardens, Man Alive, The International, Bugsy's and The Osbourne Club. And the hooliganish Casuals tuned in and begat Acid Casuals.

Madchester, So Much to Answer For

Half a world away in Columbia MO, I used to listen to KCOU, which would play lots of Acid House and Belgian New Beat. It was the first contemporary music that I was into as it was happening. My parents only played soul, bluegrass, jazz and classical records. Then I discovered the Doors, T Rex and the Beatles through the radio. And after discovering College Radio, a new world opened up. I would dance (in private) on the hearth in the living room to these strange, new sounds and hope that my mother wouldn't ask what the hell that stuff was all about because I couldn't really explain its hold on me, although it's debt to my beloved Kraftwerk was evident. Our exchange student, Alexis Poul, found an Acid House button at JFK which was, of course, a smiley face with the words "acid" and "house" printed on them. Alexis told me that all anyone listened to in France was house music. And when I went there, in '89, it was true. Even the buses played house.

OPTICAL ILLUSIONS Pt. 3: THE VIDEO SERIES

Posted by Billyjam, June 11, 2008 07:32pm | Post a Comment




"Not Fade Away" in Its Many Mutations.

Posted by Miss Ess, June 11, 2008 06:06pm | Post a Comment
"Not Fade Away" is one of the best songs ever written: simple, direct, pleading, mentions a Cadillac in its lyrics...I mean, what more could you want in a song?

I had the great pleasure of witnessing a Bob Dylan show in 2000 from about four people back. It was incredible, and one of the highlights was "Not Fade Away."  I've pretty much been thinking about the song ever since then.

For Buddy Holly to write something so pure and so fantastically mutable, especially at the age of 21, is remarkable. He owes a debt to Bo Diddley for the beat, that's for sure! The song's been covered a zillion times over and each time there's something new-- whether it's Dylan's band's killer harmonies or Mick Jagger's haughty congas--  and "Not Fade Away" retains its greatness. Yeah, even in the Rush version.

Here's Dylan performing the track back on the same tour I saw him on with his kick ass band.  The sound quality's not the greatest, but I still think it rocks:


Now here's Bruce Springsteen, back when he was the hardest working man in show business, performing the song:


And of course there's the Stones:


Just cause I'm kinda a Gene Clark obsessive, here's The Byrds' version with Gene on harmonica...they pretty much just ape the Stones though:

Wired To Kill

Posted by phil blankenship, June 11, 2008 06:02pm | Post a Comment
 





Lightning Video 9959

Local San Fran band Or, the Whale chats

Posted by Miss Ess, June 11, 2008 11:57am | Post a Comment
San Francisco's own Or, the Whale is on the rise. Their album LIght Poles and Pines contains a country-tinged bunch of slow burners and their live shows are jam packed with energy and fantastic musicianship. Here, the band collectively answer the first half of the questions, and then sometime-banjo wielder Alex answers my nitty gritty questions toward the end of the interview.  The band explains how the group came to be, their current obsessions and what is in store for the future of Or, the Whale.


Miss Ess: How did Or, the Whale form?

Or, the Whale:
We formed from the renewed friendship of Alex Robins (guitar) and Matt Sartain (guitar), who had gone to high school together in San Diego and both coincidentally moved to San Francisco in the fall of 2005. Subsequently, Alex put an ad on Craigslist about forming a "Sweet Country Rock Band." Jesse Hunt (drums) and Tessa Wagner (former lap steel player) both replied to the ad; in the meantime, Alex responded to a separate ad posted by Lindsay Garfield (vocals) about finding a guitar player to collaborate with. Matt went to school with Justin Fantl (bass); Lindsay worked with Julie Thomasson (keys). Our first show with this original line-up was January 2006 with Two Gallants at Making Impressions Fine Printing Salon in SOMA. Tessa left the band in November 2007; Alex then answered the Craigslist ad of Tim Marcus (pedal steel) who then replaced Tessa and solidified the current line-up.

Miss Ess: How did you guys develop your sound?

Or, the Whale:
We'd like to think that our sound continues to develop with every song we write. We are confident that our coming album will sound very different from our previous album, Light Poles and Pines. Initially, our love of The Band, The Rolling Stones, and other contemporary Americana bands pushed our song-writing. However, recent songs show influences of indie rock, power pop, folk, and soul. Ultimately, we'd like our sound to keep moving in different directions.

ME: Why do you think there is so much interest in the Bay Area at the moment in young country/bluegrass tinged bands like you, Devil Makes Three, Trainwreck Riders, etc.?

OtW:
The Bay Area has always had different movements going on (psychedelic music in the late-60s, punk in the late-70s/early-80s, freak-folk in the last few years, currently dance punk and experimental pop), some that reflect the country's music movements and some that are anomalies. There is an interest in this formerly rural music being played in urban places. However, the genre has existed for many years and will most likely continue. Although we set out to be a "sweet country rock band," the truth is that we've always been open-minded about the songs we write and the sound that our music would eventually make. That being said, listening to The Devil Makes Three, Trainwreck Riders, us, and other "Bay Area alt-country" bands, the differences are obvious. Music fans are fickle but also looking for bands to champion and support. Hopefully we will all be so lucky.

What show that you've played stands out the most in your mind and why?

Our show at the Great American Music Hall [in San Francisco] after a month-long tour was pretty vindicating. A year before, we had all gone to a show together there. We swore that one day we would play in that room. To play there a year later was just so special. We'll tell our grandkids about that show.

What's next for you guys?  Shows/tours coming up?

We're starting to record our next full length album this summer and fall and also heading out on a West Coast tour, culminating in another show at the Great American Music Hall with The Federalists and Emily Jane White on August 15th.

Was there someone in your life early-on that supported your love of and interest in music?

All of us have had support from our families early on. Whether playing music at young ages, having music majors/minors in college, or having music playing/loving parents, we have all been given an opportunity to continue our creative lives within this band. With a democratic outlook, we are all invited to help shape and mold our songs into what they eventually become.

How do the songs form in your band?

Usually someone will bring in the basic structure/chords/lyrics of a song. Sometimes there's a melody and some words, sometimes there are just some chords. Ultimately, the songs are worked out in practice until the band is confident performing them live at the next show. Each person takes the structure and is pretty free to work out their own musical parts.

So what is your favorite album right now, if you had to pick quick-style?

The new Bonnie "Prince" Billy record [Lie Down in the Light] is great. Love the Rhodes/clarinet dual solo on "For Every Field There's a Mole."

I'm loving that record too! What have you been listening to lately?

A lot of smooth stuff. Genesis, Michael McDonald, The Doobies. Oh, and Midlake.

What artists/songs can instantly bring you back to your childhood?

"Sister Golden Hair" by America. Hall and Oates. Nothing awesome. If you wanna go way back, Raffi. The "Mandolin Rain" record by Bruce Hornsby. My mom wore that tape out in her minivan.

Oh yeah, my mom was way into Hall and Oates and Bruce Hornsby too. Have you always been interested in down home style music and if so, which artists have made the biggest impact on you?

The Band, Neil Young, and Gram Parsons have been our favorites since we started the band. Matt and I saw the Townes Van Zandt movie (Be Here to Love Me) together in the theater, smuggled in some whiskey, and just cried and cried. Julie and Lindsay were in a country cover band called The Country that played covers of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Loretta Lynn. I actually really used to hate the song "Amy" by Pure Prairie League. It was my dad's song for my mom (named Amy) and I didn't like the country-ness of it. Now I kinda love it. I still hate the Eagles, though.

What is your favorite local band besides yourselves?

We probably listen to Bless You by The Court and Spark the most as a band. Just an incredible record. Lindsay always asks (without fail) who the woman singing on the record is (it's Wendy Allen). As for current local bands, we love Low Red Land, Emily Jane White, Dame Satan...the list goes on and on. Music in the Bay Area is unbelievable right now.

The Court and Spark were such SF staples for so long. It still feels weird that frontman M.C. Taylor no longer lives here. What's the best live show you have ever seen?

One of the best was definitely The Arcade Fire at the Magic Stick in Detroit. It was right after Funeral came out and they were still asking people if they could sleep on their floor. It was my "Nirvana before they broke" show. And it felt like that as I was leaving the venue! Just incredible, desperate, wonderful music. I didn't even like the record much before that.

I love it when that happens. It's so rare! What musician would you trade careers with if you could (living or dead)?

Will Oldham seems to have the life. I got to meet him with my fiance in April up at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin County. Just a really humble, creative guy that seems to have just the right amount of success, respect, and public anonymity. Not to mention crush-worthy facial hair.

Hah! Which is your favorite Beatle and why?

Harrison
. When Sinatra gives you props for writing the greatest love song ever, you've made it!

Didn't Sinatra say "Something" was his favorite Lennon/McCartney song? They had to set him straight about who really wrote it! Just goes to show what a true dark horse Harrison was. What's an album you love that you think more people should be aware of?

The new Last of the Blacksmiths record [Young Family Song] is so great! And Gord's Gold, the Gordon Lightfoot greatest hits record on vinyl. If everyone had a copy of this record, there would be world peace and no global warming. Too bad "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" isn't on it.

I absolutely adore Last of the Blacksmiths.  Good call on that one. What song is your theme song right now? (You know, the song that appears in your head in your quieter moments.)

"Twilight" by The Band. I have a demo from the box set that's just Richard Manuel playing piano and singing. It makes me really, really sad. In a good way.

Richard Manuel is another dark horse. What is your favorite music related movie?

The Last Waltz! How great are the Staples Singers!? How coked up is Neil Diamond!?

Yes, the Staples Singers' "The Weight" is my favorite part of a movie full of favorite parts!  There's a guy who works here at Amoeba SF who was at that show and all he remembers about the entire night is the Thanksgiving turkey they served before the set. Now that is a mid-70s experience!  Anyway, thanks so much for your time!

Promotional promotions

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, June 10, 2008 10:00pm | Post a Comment
Promotion companies and distributors make the records go round.  As everything in the music industry scatters and morphs, let these classics from the 70's and 80's remind industry lifers, as well as record collectors, of the "good old days"...













Eye Of The Eagle

Posted by phil blankenship, June 10, 2008 05:56pm | Post a Comment
 









MGM/UA Home Video M801283 

One Man's Basura is Another Man's Trash - 4

Posted by Whitmore, June 10, 2008 12:28pm | Post a Comment


Dumpster-diving is the practice of sifting through the trash, either commercial or residential, finding discarded items someone else has deemed disposable. The art of dumpster-diving is variously known as urban foraging, alley surfing, curbing, dumpstering, picking, garbage gleaning, binning, skip-weaseling, skally-wagging, pearling or simply trashing. Here are some more suggestions, rules of etiquette and safety measures to consider.

#16- When sorting through the goodies in a dumpster DO NOT TAKE paperwork containing someone’s confidential records. It’s dishonest, immoral, and you’d be equal to the trash, scum and vermin you’ve been digging through. And besides, it’s really bad karma. I suspect in your next dive you might meet with a razor-sharp, rusty, hepatitis-tainted jag of metal slicing into perhaps the most personal and indispensable part of your carcass, or you might just get lucky enough to come face to face with a pissed off rat the size of a cat! Keep in mind the garbage gods have a way of exacting revenge!

#19- I don’t want to sound like your Mother, but always wash your hands and arms afterwards. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to wash your face and neck. Oh, and don’t forget to get behind your ears.

#8- Be inventive: look around and use the items in the surrounding environment to construct tools or poles or steps to help you reach that desired piece of treasure just out of reach. And though this is something everyone should already know, be careful. In dumpster diving, death defying stunts are not necessary; no piece of garbage is really worth injury. Being aware of your comfort zone is kind of essential. And though I seldom followed this creed because I am something of a nimrod -- and I have paid the price-- be prepared to walk away … and forage another day.

PUBLIC ENEMY BRINGS THE NOISE TO IRELAND: PAUL LOWE REPORTS

Posted by Billyjam, June 10, 2008 09:41am | Post a Comment

In 1988 Public Enemy released their groundbreaking album It Takes A Nation of Millions To Us Back (Def Jam). 

In celebration of the twentieth anniversary of this historic hip-hop album (considered  by many to be the greatest hip-hop album ever), Public Enemy did some concerts in Europe as part of the Don't Look Back concert series, playing the entire album.

Don't Look Back is the concert series produced by All Tomorrow's Parties in which established artists perform in concert an album of theirs (generally an agreed-on classic release) from start to finish in its original sequence. Sonic Youth partook in the series when they performed their seminal Daydream Nation and Girls Against Boys did the Don't Look Back series last year when they performed their Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby, for which Johnny Temple of the group was interviewed for the Amoeblog.

For the recent Public Enemy Don't Look Back performances of It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, they did a short series of shows, including stops in Manchester, England and in Dublin, Ireland.  Tall Paul Lowe, today's special guest Amoeblogger, attended the group's Dublin, Ireland performance two weeks ago (5/25), which was at the Tripod in the Irish capitol. Paul's report follows, below the track listing to the classic 1988 LP. Note that the photo above and the photos below of Public Enemy in Dublin two weeks ago were all taken by Tall Paul Lowe.

Best Of The Summer Outdoor Concerts, Part 2

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 9, 2008 11:41pm | Post a Comment
Spanish Harlem Orchestra
July 10, 2008 7pm @ The Santa Monica Pier
Free

Spanish Harlem Orchestra
is one of the leading modern Salsa groups today. This night will be for the dancers. If you want to hear a really great Salsa group and see some incredible dancing, you shouldn't miss it. On top of that, Amoeba will have a booth set up in which we will be selling CD's and doing numerous giveaways. I'll be there as well, along with other Amoebites at the Amoeba booth. Come say hello!



Son de Madera & Nati Cano's Mariachi Los Camperos
July 11, 2008 8:00 PM @ Grand Performances (Downtown Los Angeles)
Free

Son De Madera are the Beatles of Son Jarocho music. They are very melodic and aren't afraid to experiment with a traditional genre. Their music is filled with improvisation, both lyrically and musically. Nati Cano's Mariachi Los Camperos are known as the group that backed up Linda Ronstadt during her Canciones De Mi Padre session and subsequent tours. On their own, they have put out many classic releases, including their last three excellent releases on the Folkways label.



Rachid Taha
July 12 2008, 8:00 PM @ Grand Performances (Downtown Los Angeles)
Free

Rachid Taha is a rock star everywhere except, you guessed it, The United States. The Algerian-born singer is not one to typecast himself. He can perform tradition Algerian music, but live would rather rock out on Clash covers and bombastic rock anthems. However, 2006's Diwan 2 was a return to his Algerian roots and one of my favorite releases from the year. Other than Manu Chao, no one mixes genres so well in a high energy show. Just don't let him get too drunk.

FAVORITE BAND ALERT!!! #2

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 9, 2008 11:17pm | Post a Comment

I had the pleasure of seeing the band Mystery Hangup at Self-Help Graphics on Saturday. Mystery Hangup are three sisters from Orange County (plus a token guy bass player) that just rock harder than anyone I’ve seen in a while. Their sound and look come straight out of the classic 80’s L.A. Goth compilation Hell Comes To Your House with Sonic Youth and psyche rock influences. From my description, they may not sound all that original. I had the same feeling when I saw their first few songs. I figured it was just another young bilingual band heavily influenced by 80’s Goth and Punk. However, my attention was caught in the middle of the set when lead singer/guitarist Kat put down her guitar and played various percussion instruments as the rest of the band played a Birthday Party-like vamp with folkloric influences. Another thing that caught me by surprise was at end of the set, when the band launched into a full-on Cumbia. It wasn’t a modified Gothic Cumbia ala Caifanes, but a straight up keyboard/bass/drum/guitar Mexican style Cumbia like Los Dinners would have played in the 70’s. So, just to recap, Mystery Hangup is a bilingual Gothic Punk with Latin Music influences. If that was a sport (bilingual Gothic Punk with Latin Music influences), Mystery Hangup would be in the top three. It's not that I don't like the more rocking element of their sound, but it's with cultural influences that sets them apart from the rest of the bands.

I spoke to band briefly after their set. It turns out that they went to a Latin Music school for three years in which they learned to play various styles of Latin music such as Cumbia, Baladas and Mariachi.  The school also gave them a strong sense of their Mexican roots. Still, it was The Cranberries, Sonic Youth, Radiohead, and other alt rock groups that gave the sisters the ganas to start a band.

They released an album last year entitled Three Moons and The Crashing Sun, produced by former Screamers/45 Grave keyboardist Paul Roessler and Geza X (The Germs/Dead Kennedys). They have plans to record two albums, one in English and the other in Spanish. Their goal is to tour Mexico as well as the rest of the U.S. in a few months.

JAZZ ARTIST ESPERANZA SPALDING ON HER WAY TO THE TOP

Posted by Billyjam, June 9, 2008 04:41pm | Post a Comment

Jazz artist Esperanza Spalding is one of those rare talents that comes along every once in a while: an artist that when you first see and hear, you immediately sense is destined for bigger things, and deservedly so. 

The acoustic bassist/vocalist's recommended latest album Esperanza on Heads Up International, which dropped five weeks ago and is available at Amoeba Music, displays the impressive chops of this vocalist who sounds like someone far more mature in years.

Her music, while rightfully labeled jazz (she does a lot of standards including "Body and Soul"), sometimes subtly melds elements of soul and hip-hop, hence widening her appeal. And of course the fact that she is also a most beautiful woman doesn't hurt either.  Over the weekend she won over the crowd when she played at The Roots Picnic in Philly and likewise when she performed on David Letterman last week. 

Also below is a great clip of Esperanza and her band live in concert in Copenhagen (courtesy of STV) performing a variety of songs including "I Adore You," and "She Got To You." There is also a short interview with the New Jersey resident in this Danish TV video clip. Over the next two nights Esperanza will be in Los Angeles. Tomorrow (Tuesday, June 10th) she will be doing a show at the Catalina Bar & Grill and on Wednesday she is scheduled to perform on The Jimmy Kimmel Show.  On Thursday (6/12) she will be in the Bay Area when she performs at Oakland jazz club Yoshis down by Jack London Square.

For more information visit Eperanza Spalding's MySpace page and/ or check back here on the Amoeblog for an interview with the artist sometime over the next two weeks.

June 8, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, June 9, 2008 10:39am | Post a Comment



FAVOURITE SUMMER MOVIE SO FAR

Posted by Charles Reece, June 8, 2008 11:07pm | Post a Comment
What's the difference between North Korea and Heaven? You can at least die and escape North Korea.  A friend directed me to this debate from April 7th between Christopher Hitchens and his younger brother, Peter. I had a good time with the Hitchens family (as I always do), so I figured I'd pass the video along.

OPENING ARGUMENTS ON THE IRAQ WAR

Peter:


Christopher:


OPENING ARGUMENTS ON THE GOD PROPOSITION

Christopher:


Peter:


Those were, in order, parts 2, 3, 5 and 6. You can find the other parts here.

June 7, 2008

Posted by phil blankenship, June 8, 2008 10:39am | Post a Comment



The Barbarians

Posted by phil blankenship, June 7, 2008 06:09pm | Post a Comment
 





Media Home Entertainment M986

Minnie Riperton's Sure Got Some Pipes on 'er!

Posted by Miss Ess, June 7, 2008 03:19pm | Post a Comment


Minnie Riperton makes singing this song look and sound easy! I had never seen any live performance footage by her before, so it was fun to find this. She has such a beautiful and interesting voice-- and a 5 and a half octave range, which is pretty insane! I remember when I first heard "Lovin' You" I was a teenager and I thought it was Michael Jackson! She still sometimes sounds like a little boy to me for some reason...

It's sad that her life and career were cut short so quickly by breast cancer. She was only 31 when she died in 1979.

If you are looking to hear more of Minnie, her 1970 album Come To My Garden is flawless.

Happy Birthday Phil

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, June 7, 2008 11:50am | Post a Comment
OK....to some there is an art to the bank label. To others, it's a cost cutting measure...
For Phil, they're his birthday gift...





Smaller and Smaller and Smaller: Indiana Jones 4 (2008)

Posted by Charles Reece, June 6, 2008 08:54pm | Post a Comment


I don't know what to say about Indiana Jones and the Subtitle I Can't Remember Without Looking It Up. It's called something like "The Castle of Grey Skull," but I know that's He-Man.  A 20-something year old toy tie-in is more memorable than the new Spielberg-Lucas flick. You won't find any images like the above in the new reiteration. That shot reminds me of the crops-on-fire one from Days of Heaven, which was a celebration of cinematographic possibilities. And it evokes memories of Lawrence of Arabia. It's a beautiful image of Western power, with the silhouette of Indy's hat -- a metonym for imperialism -- lording over the working Egyptians as they dig for an old Christian talisman.  The older, wiser Indy now says "Ike is right," with the empire-building majesty of Douglas Slocombe's cinematography being unfortunately replaced by the middling containment-style imagery of shooting in front of green screens and on sets that look like Disneyland rides. "The adventure continues" indoors and on desktops:


 
You don't see any indoor scenes which aren't on real world sets, with real sunlight coming in, like this:


And maybe Harrison Ford's salary ate up all the money for extras, the availability of which previously gave you shots like this:


And monkeys regain their dignity by teaching Indy's son to swing on vines, I guess, but they look like lowgrade Pixar and you don't get any framed shots like this one:



In short, Indiana Jones 4 just shows how small the spectacle of epic cinema has become. Even Indy's trademark hat has been reduced from sign of Western subjugating knowhow to mere nostalgic tie-in (i.e., mere trademark). It's ironic that the two directors most responsible for manufacturing Boomer nostalgia for the children of the Boomers are now the most responsible for dismantling the related artifices. The hootin' and hollerin' at the sight of the Lucasfilm logo is only audible at the 12:01 am premiere showings nowadays, but that's because fanboys will take what their masters give them.  Such fanboys are constantly waiting for Godot, or are like the dogs in Martin Seligman's experiments with learned helplessness. This hardcore fan still believes E.T. really liked the taste of his product placements, that the perpetually next Star Trek movie will be the good one, and that Kevin Smith is an acute satirist. The only way to like the new Indiana Jones film is to believe it a sign of the Spielberg-Lucas Industrial Complex getting ready to flip on the switch for their next project (Beckett not being required fanboy literature), or just get used to the pain of disappointment.

What was my point?  Oh yeah: the impoverished spectacle.  Indy 4 will surely look a good sight better when it's been shrunk down to fit on the cell phone.  That way, the viewer won't notice how cheap everything looks, how diminished the iconography has become. Which reminds me of David Lynch's rant against watching movies on the iPhone:



Poor, old-fashioned Lynch doesn't consider the possibility that films might actually be made with reduction in mind. Kind of like they frame everything on widescreen tv shows to fit the standard ratio without losing any crucial information (thereby making widescreen perfunctory, an aesthetic trinket -- "oh look!  You can't see that empty chair on a normal tv set!"), summer movies are starting to feel like they're being shot with the cell phone and iPod viewership in mind. There's a bunch of blurry shit moving around, so it's not as if any info will be lost when watching it on a smaller format. And, in fact, verisimilitude might actually increase for the CGI effects as they get smaller.


Machismo may appear closer than it actually is.

With the smaller spectacle comes the smaller star.  Still working through his Oedipal fixation, Spielberg thought what this action adventure series needed was more family dynamics, so along with the return of Marion from Raiders comes the introduction of her and Indy's son, Mutt (Shia LaBeouf).  LaBeouf's specialty appears to be supplying the dramatic mask to action directors who fancy themselves making more than popcorn entertainment. Just as he did last summer in Transformers (another epic of miniaturized proportions), LaBeouf gums up the action with a dramatic role that turns what should be an 1 and 1/2 hour flick into 2 or more hours. He is the actor par excellence for the fast forward sequences during home viewing, the realworld dramatic analog to JarJar Binks.  When he appears in Indy 4 aping Brando from Wild One, the age of the inflated mini-star has arrived.  On an iPod, he'll look just as tough as Harrison Ford.

As for the story, Indy gets into trouble at the beginning, puts on his hat, makes some one-liners, is fucked over by an archeologist (Ray Winstone), is told about some mysterious stuff existing in exotic locations, which leads him to more mysterious stuff, meets up with Marion, exchanges insults with Marion, rediscovers that he loves Marion, and everything ends with a swirling mess of special effects.  If that sounds like the Raiders, consider screenwriter/scriptcobbler David Kroepp's approach:
You can’t write a fan script[.]  You have to pretend that this movie exists without the other one[.]  The worst thing to do would be to have [Indy] make reference to things he said in the first movie, like to pun on lines of dialogue[.]  That’s tempting, because you’ve seen the movie a hundred times and you know all the dialogue, but no human being remembers exactly what they said 25 years ago word for word, much less make reference to it. So you try to put aside the other movies and yet be in the spirit of them.
Pretending the previous movies didn't exist, Kroepp establishes that Indy really hates snakes, for example. And this time around, he goes up against communists (led by Cate Blanchett) and aliens, rather than Nazis and Christian magic. And, correcting what was evidently a perceived problem with the second and third films, we fans get what we've supposedly been clamoring for, a resolution to his relationship with Marion -- or at least that's what Harry Knowles has been clamoring for:
Then there’s Indy’s reaction to seeing Marion for the first time. I couldn’t describe it to save my life. It’s about 40 different emotions all at once. And only Harrison Ford’s face could deliver that… effortlessly. And at the same time – there’s Marion’s reaction – and ya know… It’s a combination of relief & joy. When you’ve been captured by evil agents of the Soviet Empire and are threatened at Gunpoint… You want your life in the hands of someone that loves you like Indiana Jones.

Honestly at that moment – that second of connection between the two of them. I honestly haven’t had the emotional impact anything like it in years. That look shared between them… suddenly it wasn’t just the entirety of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK – but suddenly it was a flood of what probably happened between that film and LAST CRUSADE. And you could tell that they fought… my god, it’s Indy and Marion. It’d be a sad world in which they didn’t fight. They’re Lions in Human form – courageous, passionate and tough as hell.
But, seriously, there are two basic rules for action films: no wives/girlfriends and no children.  Every single action film with those two elements has been awful. Domestic equality ruined Schwarzenegger's career (he never recovered from True Lies). Don't get me wrong, it's okay to have them as victims, waiting to be rescued, or when their deaths serve as the basis for vengeance, but never as agents of action. This isn't masculinist, however; there's nothing better than a female-fronted actioner with the heroine wielding blades and/or guns, but her family either has to be annihilated at the start of the film, or suffering from torture for the better part of its running time.

Well, I'm rambling. In summary, Indiana Jones 4 made me want to watch the new Rambo dvd, so I did.


The reduction is complete: Indiana Jones and His Boring Domestic Problems

Bury Me An Angel

Posted by phil blankenship, June 6, 2008 06:18pm | Post a Comment
 






New World Video 9501 

BILLY JAM'S WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 6-6-08

Posted by Billyjam, June 6, 2008 08:30am | Post a Comment

Sadness struck both Amoeba and the local Bay Area hip-hop community this week with the tragic passing of the much-loved Anthony Marin (aka Big Ant) who, at the young age of 37, died of heart failure last weekend. 

A DJ/producer and multi-instrumentalist, not to mention an incredibly knowledgeable musicologist, Big Ant had been a fixture on the local hip-hop scene for many years -- ever since he moved north from LA in the nineties. Before working at Amoeba SF he had worked at Tower Records in the South Bay and Cue's in Daly City.

If you were into the local DJ or hip-hop scene you would have seen Big Ant over the years at countless events. A large framed man with a warm hug and a winning smile, plus an unbridled knowledge of all types of music (far beyond hip-hop), he had DJ'ed all over, played damn near every instrument it seemed (including guitar/drums/keyboards in Black Fiction - the experimental rock band he was a member of along with fellow Amoebites Jason Chavez and Tim Cohen), and was a ham at Karaoke.  This evening, Friday June 6th, from 5PM to 9PM, those who knew this great man will gather in his honor at Milk, which is directly across the street from Amoeba on Haight St.

For more in depth tributes to Big Ant, visit 4AM/Jason Chavez's MySpace or the text/photo dedication to him on the homepage of the Amoeba website, where Jason Chavez, his best friend, wrote so poignantly: "The best lesson he taught me is the lesson that every loved one that passes teaches us, that we are all still alive and we need to live, love and find our purpose and passions for ourselves and our passed loved ones who are watching us and guiding us towards our destinies. Everyone stay up, he'd want us to."   R.I.P. BIG ANT.

AMOEBA MUSIC SAN FRANCISCO HIP-HOP TOP FIVE (6.6.08)

1) J-Live Then What Happened? (BBE)
2) TOPR The Marathon of Shame (Gurp City)
3) Giant Panda Electric Laser (Tres Records)
4) Subtle Exiting Arm (Lex)
5) The Cool Kids The Bake Sale (Chocolate Industries/A&M)

Best Of The Summer Outdoor Concerts

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 6, 2008 01:24am | Post a Comment
Summer is almost here, which means Los Angeles will have a barrage of outdoor concerts. Venues Like The Greek Theater and The Hollywood Bowl have already kicked into gear. Nothing is better than seeing a show outside of a dank, dark club that smells like fifteen years of spilled alcohol and overflowed toilets. My picks center around World Music because that's what I like. Some of the artists are folkloric but most are modern musicians pushing the envelope of modern music beyond what we can see right now. On top of that, most of these shows are free.

Here are my picks for June:






Seun Kuti & Egypt 80
June 20 2008
8:00 PM @ Grand Performances
Free


Seun Kuti is the youngest son of Fela Kuti. Much like his father, his lyrics are politically charged and the Afro-Beat rhythms the band creates are just as infectious as they were in pop's days. His highly anticipated release, Many Things, is due out in June.









Quetzal
Jun 28, 2008
8:00 PM @ Levitt Pavilion (Pasadena)


Los Angeles suffered a major blow late last year when Quetzal moved to Vera Cruz. However, they are back in Los Angeles for the summer and this show promises to be a great welcome home. Their mixture of Son Jarocho, Cuban Son and rock is coupled with one of the best singers ever, Martha Gonzalez. If you haven't bought their last album, Die Cowboy Die, you're missing out. It's the best album to come out of East L.A. since Los Lobos' Kiko.






Sunday, June 29   
7:00 PM @ The Hollywood Bowl
KCRW's World Festival w/
Gilberto Gil • Devendra Banhart
The Album Leaf featuring Mike Heron from The Incredible String Band
Tickets from $10 (cheap seats for the working class) up to $90 (bourgeois)


Gilberto Gil was the most soulful member of Brazil's Tropicalia movement. Gil's last album, Gil Luminoso, was a collection of songs featuring just Gil and a acoustic guitar that recaptured the spirit of those days.

Devandra Banhart is known by the retro- psychedelic folk pagans as a god. To those who don't subscribe to the same hero worship, you'll find that he is has a great voice and original ideas. What won me over was his version of Caetano Veloso's "London London" he performed a few years back with Brazilian singer Ceu. Almost as good as the original...almost.

Coming next blog: Picks For July.
 

AMOEBA MUSIC HOLLYWOOD HIP-HOP TOP FIVE: JUNE 5, 2008

Posted by Billyjam, June 5, 2008 08:00pm | Post a Comment

AMOEBA MUSIC HOLLYWOOD
HIP-HOP TOP FIVE (6.5.08)


1)  J-Live
    Then What Happened?
(BBE)

2) Atmosphere
   When Life Gives You Lemons, You  
   Turn That Shit Into Gold
(Rhymesayers)

3) Gnarls Barkley
    The Odd Couple (Atlantic)

4) Flobots
    Fight With Tools (Universal Republic)

5) Lil Wayne
    Lil Weezy-Ana Vol. 1 (Noiseland)

If ever a hip-hop release deserved to do well it is the highly recommended new J-Live album, Then What Happened? on BBE, which is this week's number one release on the Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five Chart (thanks Marques Newson). The album, the artist's fourth and featuring some guest shots including Chali 2na and Posdanous, is also doing well this week at the Berkeley and San Francisco Amoeba Music stores.
 


What is most amazing about this under-appreciated hip-hop artist is that he is not just a great emcee but he is also a gifted producer and DJ. See the clip of him above, live in Amsterdam, simultaneously rapping on the mic and cutting up on the
ones and twos. Impressive stuff! J-Live's rich style is both respectful and inspired by the genre's golden-era past while still sounding new and  pushing forward. Just back from some shows in Europe, he currently is in Atlanta, with East Coast shows lined up but unfortunately no Cali dates locked down in the immediate future. You can expect an Amoeblog interview with J-Live sometime over the next couple of weeks.

out today...6/3...joy division control out on DVD!!!

Posted by Brad Schelden, June 5, 2008 06:00pm | Post a Comment
Control is finally out on DVD this week! However there is no Blu-ray. This just might have been the movie to push me over the edge and buy a Blu-ray player. I still am not completely sure what a film looks like on Blu-ray since I have yet to see one, but I imagine that this film would look amazing in high definition. It seems like it was out in theater like forever ago, but I guess it was only last November. The film was scheduled to come out a month or 2 ago but was pushed back until this week. I am really excited-- as excited as I can be about one of the most depressing films that I have ever seen. If you are in the mood for another depressing movie you should also check out The Bridge. I had been wanting to watch this movie ever since it hit the theater last year, but I just could not bring myself to watch it until recently. I normally love intense and disturbing documentaries, but this one was especially hard for me to watch. The movie is about people who have committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Maybe it was hard to watch because I love that bridge so much. I guess this is sort of selfish, but I have spent many days walking across it and I just didn't want to associate it with death. I will for sure not feel the same next time I cross the bridge.

At least you know what you are getting with the Joy Division movie. You know how it ends. And if you are a fan of the music then you know how the music can affect you. Joy Division is a very unique band for its fans. Many of us didn't even start listening to the band until after Ian Curtis killed himself. I was still too young to be listening to anything but Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Club records when Ian Curtis took his own life, so I never had that period of enjoying the band while he was still alive. At least with bands like Nirvana there was a significant period when Kurt Cobain was still alive for his fans to still enjoy him. So Joy Division is always associated with death in my mind. I always can hear his depression and confusion in all of his songs, but for some reason I can completely disassociate New Order from that feeling, maybe because they ended up sounding so different.

If you did not have a time to watch this movie in the theater. Now is the time. Just get it over with it. I guarantee that you will like this film if you like Joy Division even a little bit. The film is shot so beautifully that you could even appreciate it without liking the movie. I was a bit worried about the movie since I knew it was based on the book by the wife of Ian Curtis. Deborah Curtis consulted on the film so I really worried that the film would not be completely accurate in regards to the relationship between Ian and his wife. While I am sure that it is not really completelyaccurate, the film does not exactly portray Deborah Curtis as a saint. I tend to always side with the female character in movies, but this was not the case in Control. The movie really made you side with Ian and feel bad for him. I really just wanted to jump into the movie at certain points and tell him that it was going to be OK. We all have had our own relationship problems. Of course, it becomes a bit more serious when you throw marriage, kids, fame, drugs, and epilepsy into the mix. While the movie ends like you would expect with his suicide, I was surprised at how they portrayed his final moments with his wife. It almost seems like it was her fault and as if it could have been avoided...but even if she had acted differently in these final situations, it also seems like he would have eventually killed himself regardless.

The film is cast perfectly. Sam Riley is absolutely amazing as Ian Curtis. He seriously amazed me by how fantastic he was in this film. The whole film just looks like one continuous amazing black and white photograph. They managed to find four guys that looked very similar to the actual guys in Joy Division, if not a bit more attractive and movie-like. The film somehow captures the feeling of a Joy Division song. It seriously gave me shivers as I was watching it. I ended up forgetting that this was a cast of actors and not the actual people.

There are some nice special features to go along with this already amazing film. The DVD includes a director commentary with the brilliant Anton Corbijn. It also includes a making-of documentary and a conversation with the director. There are some extended versions of live performances from the film and also some videos of the real life Joy Division. This is one of those movies that I wanted to see twice in the theater, but it was not really out for that long. I have been looking forward to this day when I can watch it all over again on DVD. I might cry a bit more since I will be in the privacy of my own home, but I am looking forward to it. I am just happy that people like Anton Corbijn were around at the time to capture these bands on film. This is why I was so excited when I heard he would also be directing the film about Joy Division. He was there at the time and had filmed and photographed the actual band. There could not have been a better person to handle the job of directing a film about them, and the film could have really been a disaster if put in someone else's less capable hands.


also out today...






Velocifero by Ladytron










Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes











This is Not the World by The Futureheads











Jaguar Love by Jaguar Love











They Make Beer Commercials Like This by Minus the Bear











Best of Radiohead by Radiohead












We Started Nothing by The Ting Tings











Rook by Shearwater











Nervous Circuits by The VSS











Weezer by Weezer

Yellow Tags

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, June 5, 2008 11:50am | Post a Comment













Robert Kennedy

Posted by Whitmore, June 4, 2008 09:24pm | Post a Comment

40 years ago this evening Senator Robert F. Kennedy won the California primary in his bid for the nomination as the Democratic Presidential candidate. Following his victory speech in the early morning hours of June 5th 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. Though I was just a little kid going to Catholic School, I remember June 5th vividly -- from my morning walk to St. Casimir grammar school with my sister, to the kids I played with at recess, the afternoon Mass, the ride home from my Mom and Grandmother, to eating a Swanson’s Salisbury steak TV dinner that evening. I can almost remember the prayer I said that night for the Kennedy family before my bedtime … so much of that day remains clear in my head, or at least I imagine it so.  

Here is the eulogy, in its entirety, given a few days later by Ted Kennedy. I know it’s almost ten minutes long, but relax for a few minutes, have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine or a cigarette, and give it a listen.

 

Long Shot

Posted by phil blankenship, June 4, 2008 05:26pm | Post a Comment
 



Thorn EMI Video TVC 1635

New Beverly Midnights Summer Schedule !

Posted by phil blankenship, June 4, 2008 03:47pm | 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!


June

June 7 Heavenly Bodies


(Phil's 30th BDay Party - FREE screening of this unjustly overlooked aerobics classic! Leg warmers & leotards encouraged!)


June 21 Never Too Young To Die

(What would happen if John Stamos, Vanity, Gene Simmons and George Lazenby starred in the SAME film? Find out at this RARE screening!)


June 28 Humanoids From The Deep

("They're not human. But they hunt human women. Not for killing.

For mating!" The deliriously tasteless Roger Corman monster fest!)


July

July 5 Delta Force


(celebrate Independence Day weekend - watch Lee Marvin & Chuck Norris kick terrorist BUTT in the Cannon Films classic!)


July 19 Just One Of The Guys

(Sony's LAST 35mm print of the ultimate '80s role reversal comedy!)


July 26 Chopping Mall

(w/ special guests director Jim Wynorski & star Kelli Maroney in attendance, schedules permitting)



August

August 2 Night Of The Juggler


(No one can stop James Brolin!)


August 9 Rainbow Brite & The Star Stealer

(Rainbow Brite's first movie - insanely RARE performance!)


August 23 The Gate

(... pray it's not too late!)


August 30 Little Darlings

(Paramount Archive 35mm Print! Rare Screening!)



Unfortunately, due to the recent fire at Universal Studios our screenings of Prince of Darkness, Sudden Death and Bride of Chucky have been indefinitely postponed. It appears that the archive print of each was destroyed. We apologize & will post any updates ASAP.

The Strangers

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 4, 2008 01:56pm | Post a Comment



The other night I went to see The Strangers with my favorite person, Ngoc Nguyen. The film begins with a caveat, "The horrifying events that took place in the Hoyt family's vacation home at 1801 Clark Road on February 11, 2005, are still not entirely known." We are also told that the film is "inspired by actual events." Those inspirational events most likely included watching Helter Skelter and maybe Fatal Vision. But the "based on actual events" gimmick is a tried and true one; and one indicative of The Stranger's formula-following strengths and weaknesses.



Is there anything scarier than hippies?


One guy went to the trouble of mapping the address given in the film and many others have taken the opening claim as truth. I'll try to help by adding that I heard the cry of a Great Horned Owl at several points and I've included this handy map of their range so that we can narrow it down further.

      

In interviews, speaking of his influences and tastes, first time director Bryan Bertino praises The Blair Witch Project ("I'm one of the people who loved The Blair Witch Project. I don't care that the camera is shaky and Heather says f**k a lot"), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Descent. He also mentions John Cassavetes and Terence Malick, whose work is reflected in the main characters' strained relationship and the film's measured pacing. By and large Bertino succeeds in creating a low budget '70s vibe. The summer home (a ranch home, naturally) is furnished in heavy, brown furniture and lit by 15 watt bulbs (apparently the owners are either photosensitive or very energy conscious). Crackly records of Gillian Welch, Joanna Newsom and Merle Haggard play. It almost feels like a Pinter play or a Bob Rafelson drama.

The film story begins (like last year's not-entirely-dissimilar Vacancy) with a couple traveling in a car-- their feelings for each other obviously strained but not entirely explained. As the preceding events become more clear, the tension slowly and expertly builds on the viewer's anticipation of something awful. Nothing happens and yet we know something will. Nothing new here, but it's well done and sticks to the thriller formula closely so it works.



Unfortunately, when the villains show up, the film switches gears.  Whilst maintaining the slow pacing that worked in the first half, in the second it works to the film's detriment. The villains seem designed with more the toy market in mind than to create terror. The cutesy nickname given them by the filmmakers are
Pin-Up Girl, Dollface, and The Man in the Mask. The girls have Mark Ryden-inspired masks that seem completely out-of-place. The Man in the Mask lumbers around like Leatherface and wears a sack like pre-hockey mask Jason or Bubba Ritter (Dark Night of the Scarecrow the Phantom Killer in The Town That Dreaded Sundown or the Zodiac Killer) which, to his credit, is one of the scarier looks available to psychopathic killers although not terribly original.

 

Bertino has also named Alien as an influence. But in Alien, a lot of the fear was created by never seeing the alien clearly or for too long. In The Strangers, the ample screen time the villains are afforded allows us to grow comfortable, even bored with them. The viewer also has too much time to question the painfully obvious contrivances necessary to maintain an unrealistic situation in which two languid teenage girls and an overweight asthmatic effectively terrorize a couple with a 12 gauge. The couple's actions become maddeningly nonsensical and unlikely. This could be chalked up to following formula too closely too, I guess. After all, many horror-thrillers have become unintentionally dull when the initial tension is replaced by goofy, obnoxious antagonists, as in The Hills Have Eyes.

It's too bad that it takes such a predictable and unfortunate turn into the over-the-top territory. What made the first half so enjoyable is that it avoided being like the film it becomes in the second half. But, despite some disappointment, it's a better-than-average exercise in suspense that may stick with you for an evening but it's not something you'll likely go back to.

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Sex and the City: The Movie!

Posted by Miss Ess, June 4, 2008 12:46pm | Post a Comment
Brad and I both saw the Sex and the City movie this weekend! After years of waiting on baited breath, we both agree that the movie is fabulous in every way, shape and form. Our discussion is extremely SPOILER FILLED, so if you haven't seen the movie yet and want to go in without knowing key plot details, skip reading for now. The conversation that follows is more for those who have experienced the movie already-- we want to celebrate the film's arrival and dish about it a bit.


Miss Ess: I think of Sex and the City overall as a fluffy and fun treat, so the movie really lived up to that description for me. I liken the series to reading a trashy gal magazine like Glamour-- there's fashion, there's men, there's life advice! It all comes in a slightly cheesy and ultimately fantastical package. Sure it's all a fantasy, but it's fun to be swept away sometimes and that's what the show always provided for me. The movie was more of the same and it felt so good to have the ladies back in action! I appreciated the way the film was like a bunch of episodes condensed into one enjoyable whirlwind of Manolos and cobblestone. What did you think of the movie?

Brad: I really enjoyed the movie so much as I was watching it, but I really love it now even more since I have had a day to think about it. I really got obsessed with the show and always thought the episodes were too short. They always left me wanting more. The stories felt rushed sometimes -- but with the movie you could really settle in for a long fun story. The actresses were all fantastic and seemed to just pick up right where they left off. It really made me realize how great the show was, and also the fact that there will probably never be one just like it. It sort of made me wish I could go back and see a whole new movie the next week. Much of it was sort of predictable but that didn't make it any less enjoyable. It was the perfect mix of tragedy and comic relief that made the show so great. The show was always sort of unbelievable and a great big fantasy but at the same time totally believable and realistic. I need to go watch the whole series again now. I need more Sex and the City!

Miss Ess: Me too, me too! That's what I thought as I walked out...can we get more episodes please? Another movie would be nice too, but that will take a while to make.  The fact that Carrie gets to try on wedding dresses for Vogue is like a dream come true for her and I loved seeing all those gowns-- probably the best part of the film for me. My favorite was the Oscar De La Renta one with all the intricate beading. It was pretty much like the one Jenna Bush just wore at her wedding. Michael Patrick King, who wrote the movie, seemed to know and acknowledge just what we as viewers wanted to see: not only Carrie's relationship with Big (seemingly) moving forward, but also as much fashion as possible throughout the process!

One of my other favorite parts was Charlotte and her determination to bitch out Mr. Big.  When they finally met face to face on the street, I thought it was hilarious! What was your favorite part?

Brad: It is obvious they made the movie for us....the Sex and the City TV show fans. The movie is not really made for somebody who has not watched the show, which seems to be what some of the criticism is aimed at. But that works out fine for us. It is nice to be sort of rewarded for being a loyal fan. This is also what I am hoping the new X-Files movie will do. My favorite part of the movie was probably the trip to Mexico...even if it was really just filmed in Malibu. I love when movies take you on a trip with them. This part also has one of the most depressing scenes in the movie, but also has one of the funniest scenes, sort of like the show: the perfect combo of humor and sadness. I also really liked the scenes of Samantha in Los Angeles. It was fun to see her out of her element.

ME: I want to live in Samantha's house in Malibu, with the waves crashing right up against it! That was too fab. There was so much eye candy through the whole film. Speaking of Mexico, I loved all their outfits during that section of the film, especially Carrie's rainbow colored butterfly wing-patterned dress. I think you are right as well about the sad scenes there. I was happy that the film was willing to go to a depressed, dark place -- probably Carrie's lowest low -- and that it wasn't all puppy dogs and ice cream. Same goes for Miranda's bumpy story line, which was realistic and also shocking.  The characters all seemed to have grown, even Samantha, and the writer's inclusion of that growth impressed me, cause he could have easily merely picked up where they left off. The growth brought more depth to characters we already thought we knew maybe even too much about. What was your favorite outfit?

Brad: My favorite outfit in the movie would have to be Samantha covered in Sushi for Valentine's day! I am also really a sucker for holidays in movies. I don't know why but I love the holidays and I love seeing characters dealing with the stress and fun of different holidays in TV shows and movies. And this movie covered them all: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, and even Samantha's 50th Birthday! The New Year's Eve stuff in the movie also made up some of my other favorite scenes. Carrie going to Miranda's house was maybe predictable, but I still loved it.

Are we being too nice to this movie?? There has got be something wrong with it, right? What did you think was missing from the movie...or what would you have like to seen in the movie?

The only problem I had was maybe the stuff with Carrie's assistant. I thought Jennifer Hudson did what she could with the script, but I really thought her character could have been written a bit better and maybe more interesting.


ME: Wow, you are a total mind reader, cause I was just going to bring her up. I thought she nailed it as well as she could. I wasn't sure what to think when I heard the news that she would be joining the cast, just cause the only thing I've seen her in is Dreamgirls, but she blended in pretty well and she and Carrie's relationship felt pretty realistic. You're right that she was somewhat underwritten, but I guess she almost had to be to make room for the other ladies! I thought the Vuitton bag Carrie gave her was hideous! And it is too bad that they got rid of her by sending her off to St. Louis, cause they could make a spin off with her and three gals lookin' for love in the city! Like SATC the next generation!

If I had to pick on something in the movie, it would definitely be the whole Love keychain plot. I rolled my eyes but overall I was willing to ignore the cheese because I was so swept up in the film.

I think Michael Patrick King did a great job of covering plot points as well as moments that he knew we as fans would like to see-- Carrie prepping for a huge wedding, Charlotte with her daughter, Samantha's 50th birthday, Carrie's old apartment...I can't really think of anything I wish he'd included that he didn't! I know that scene of Carrie trying on her old clothes before she packs them may have seemed gratuitous to those who hadn't watched the show or maybe to straight men in the audience, but that was another moment that I adored in the film!

I guess I would say, if anything, more Anthony Marantino [Mario Cantone]!

Did anything fall flat for you?

Brad: It would have been fun to see some other characters. I would have loved to see something with John Corbett "Aidan," or Blair Underwood. And we could always use some more Amy Sedaris. But the movie couldn't have really been any longer, so I guess they did what they could. I can't really find any other problems!

ME: Yeah, you're right-- I saw John Corbett on E! the other day and he was saying he really wanted to be involved too. Who wouldn't? I loved Blair Underwood on SATC! Good call. Maybe if they make another movie they can squeeze em in, and Amy Sedaris too. They did kinda leave the door open for another movie, with Steve and Miranda on semi-shakey ground and Samantha single again. I heard it might happen, so we will have to wait and see.

My last question is what did your boyfriend think of the movie? Since Curt went to a special screening, did he get to meet Stanford Blatch [Willie Garson]?

Mine actually went with me voluntarily! I think he has seen so many episodes of the show because its been on in our apartment often enough, so even he was curious to see what had happened to the ladies! He liked it too, but was noticeably a bit bored by the last half hour. His criticism is that he thinks the show is one big push for consumption, which I understand and agree with, but heck, sometimes it feels good to revel in the beauty of a gorgeous gown...and it is true that the ultimate message of the film and the series as well is that money can't buy us love OR friendship. It just helps the ladies look more fabulous along the way.


Brad: Curt liked it as well, but he was not too impressed with Willie Garson. I guess someone asked him if he was gay in real life. He claims to not be, which is fine, but he got really angry for people wanting to know. Of course they want to know! It is funny that the character who happens to be gay in real life is Cynthia Nixon. I love it. Miranda is actually probably the character I identify with the most. She just seems like a Taurus -- a bit obsessive compulsive, independent, and stubborn. The show is sort of like a younger Golden Girls, I just sort of realized. Maybe this is why I love it so much. In 20 years they can make another movie and it can be just like the Golden Girls. Can you imagine the Sex and the City girls living in Miami? I of course identify most with the Bea Arthur character [Dorothy] on the Golden Girls. I guess she is the most similar to Miranda.Samantha is obviously Blanche. Charlotte is for sure the Rose character. That leaves Sophia as the Carrie character...those two don't really match up so well. But all the other characters are kind of perfectly matched. What character do you see yourself as most?? On both Sex and the City and Golden Girls!?

ME: You are hilarious. The other day when I was watching Golden Girls I actually was thinking the same things, about which gal was which. As far as who I identify with, on Golden Girls I always loved Rose the most. I am definitely a bit too gullible, but I am not THAT gullible! It would be a cross between her and Dorothy, which is funny because I feel like a cross between Charlotte and Miranda on SATC, although hopefully I am not as hyper-conservative as Charlotte and I am not as cold as Miranda. Charlotte is a bit traditional in a world of untraditional people, kinda like me, and Miranda is a realist, which I think I am most of the time. It's a fun question to answer. And yes, I can totally see them in Miami and I am crossing my fingers that the day will come when we see that series!

What Does It All Mean? Steinski 2008 Interview

Posted by Billyjam, June 2, 2008 11:22pm | Post a Comment

Last week the label Illegal Art did the world a great favor and released a nicely packaged comprehensive retrospective of the best of hip-hop cut-n-paste pioneer Steinski -- something that has never been easily available before, and not all nicely presented together like this.

But this great collection beautifully showcases the legendary producer who, both along with studio partner Double Dee and as a solo artist, directly influenced so many artists, including most notably DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist and Coldcut

Steinski: What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective is something that belongs in every music collection.  The 2 CD set comes with a nice booklet and liner notes by Hua Hsu that include Steve "Steinski" Stein's comments on each of CD 1's fourteen tracks. Included are the three legendary "Lessons" with Doug DiFranco (Double Dee) -- the first one originating as an 1983 entry in a Tommy Boy Records remix contest -- plus the artist's most important solo outings and remixes including the JFK assassination-themed "The Motorcade Sped On," recorded under the name Steinski & The Mass Media that came as a track on a free 7" EP compilation given away with UK mag NME in 1987.

The second CD is the artist's relatively recent Nothing To Fear mix made for BBC London's Solid Steel radio show a few years ago, with song titles for all 28 tracks in the CD booklet.

Retribution 叫 sakebi (2006) dir. by 黒沢 清 Kurosawa Kiyoshi -- Touching From a Distance

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 2, 2008 09:33pm | Post a Comment
 

A grizzled police detective named Yoshioka investigates a murder in a muddy waterfront in Tokyo. The victim, although drowned in a puddle, has lungs full of saltwater. As Yoshioka investigates, all of the clues all seem to point to the him.  In the process, he grows more unhinged and defensive whilst troublingly remaining unable to write himself off as a suspect. His violent, murky memories seem to implicate him as well, and he suffers from insomnia and possible hallucinations.


Soon afterward, more killings occur with the same under similar circumstances. Yet they're easily explained and, in doing so, fail to exonerate Yoshioka in the first case. Kurosawa uses twists and turns not merely to keep the audience guessing about the true nature of the crime, but also to take the viewer somewhere unexpected-- into a feeling of loneliness and a state of guilt about ignoring the plight of others because of our collective societal embrace of insensitivity and deliberate emotional isolation.


Although the cover of Lion's Gate's DVD suggests that the film is merely another "scary hair" ghost story (and in some ways it is), it's mainly an atmospheric mood piece that has more in common with Antonioni and his ilk than horror directors. The title, Sakebi, literally means "Scream," which makes a lot more sense than the English translation of "Retribution," which seems chosen to mislead potential viewers into more false expectations. Anyone expecting horrifying vengeful ghosts will likely be disappointed by the glacially paced and contemplative film, although there are (mostly startling) moments of horror.


Tokyo, as depicted by Kurosawa, is a grimy, crumbling place unnerved by frequent earthquakes. Every wall is covered with peeling paint and the muddy ground is covered with dead weeds. The result is a grimly and beautifully stylized world where there is a vague suggestion of an apocalypse around the corner.

The film avoids close-ups for the most part, subtly emphasizing our feelings of isolation and confusion. It's hard to recognize characters at times, since they're usually filmed from a distance. And confusion over the identity of characters is a key element to the film's hallucinatory tone.

Although Retribution and most Japanese films like it are usually pinned with the J-Horror tag in the US, this one (and others) really belong more in the thriller genre, where suspense, psychological perturbations, and the supernatural are favored over terror, violence and gore. All in all, it's a satisfying and beautiful film that depresses while it dazzles.
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Eliminators

Posted by phil blankenship, June 2, 2008 05:10pm | Post a Comment
 







Playhouse Video 6669

ROCK 'N' ROLL PIONEER BO DIDDLEY DIES AT AGE 79

Posted by Billyjam, June 2, 2008 11:22am | Post a Comment

A rock n' roll musical pioneer, guitarist Bo Diddley, died earlier today (June 1st) in Archer, Florida as a result of heart failure. He was 79 years of age.  Known for such pioneering rock n roll songs as "Who Do You Love?" and "Bo Diddley," Diddley influenced legions of guitarists for generations to come.  In fact his uniquely distinctive sound became known as the "Bo Diddley beat."  You can read the obit/full report on CNN.com. R.I.P., Bo Diddley.

For Fans Of Retro Salsa & Cumbia

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 2, 2008 09:50am | Post a Comment

Fellow Amoebite Ray Ricky Rivera & I are always talking about old Salsa & Cumbia records. We both spin at various clubs where we play a bit of Salsa & Cumbia in our sets but not throughout the night. One day we thought, "Why not have a night at a club where all we play is that?"  Thus, Anda was born.
This is our opening night. Ray and I will be spinning selections from the Discos Fuentes, Fania, Tico, SAR, and Allegre labels. Also we will play some great music from obscure South American, Mexican & Central American groups from the 70's & 80's.

We will have a performance by the best Cumbia/Vallenato group in L.A. right now, Buyepongo. On top of all that, there is no cover charge.

We hope to have that dance floor moving. I think we should enforce the Midnight Star "No Parking On The Dance Floor" rule that night. Maybe we could have someone in a cop uniform go up to someone who's not dancing and say:

Excuse me, madam
You’re standing still in a no parking zone
You don’t get a move on that body
I’ll be forced to give you a ticket
So get with it

Ok, I'm real tired, because that was really funny to me.

Wednesday, June 4th
Mal's Bar
2331 S. Hill Street
Los Angeles, Ca. 90007
213-746-2177
Starts @ 9 p.m.
21 and over
FREEE!!!!

Endgame

Posted by phil blankenship, June 1, 2008 05:18pm | Post a Comment
 



Media Home Entertainment M763

MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT

Posted by Billyjam, June 1, 2008 03:02pm | Post a Comment

The music of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, who are back touring and scheduled to play the DNA Lounge in San Francisco tonight, stands the test of time two decades later -- as proven by the videos to three of their songs below.  While labeled "industrial" music, even helping push the genre to popularity and being one of the most popular acts on Wax Trax! (the label known for industrial music, with such other acts of the genre as KMFDM, Ministry, and Front 242), My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult actually transcended the genre as they continually evolved.

As well as being industrial music, the duo (Buzz and Groovie -- pictured left back in the day & below with their ensemble in more recent years) were equally heavy metal, electronic, goth, dance, and cut n paste in musical styles. Meanwhile their imagery was consistently deeply rooted in the occult and Satanism -- something that led to them causing controversy and being targets of various religious and parental watch dog groups. Unpopular with these groups were the songs and videos for "This Is What The Devil Does" and "Kooler Than Jesus" -- both below.  Also below is one of two video versions of their song "Sex On Wheelz" (off their 1991 album Sexplosion!). This version is directed by Ralph Bakshi and features parts from his semi-animated movie Cool World, which featured the group's music.

The current tour by the group, which stopped last night in Hollywood (Bar Sinister) and will be in San Diego (Beauty Bar) on Tuesday, is being billed as a 20th Anniversary Tour and "reminiscent of their 1989 Inferno Xpress Tour," so expect to hear all the old classics including the ones below and such others as "The Devil Does Drugs" and "The Days of Swine & Roses." My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, who played the Folsom Street Fair two years ago, play the DNA Lounge, 375 11th Street in San Francisco tonight (June 1st).  9PM doors. Tix $13. More info.
 


Ya Llego Las Fresas!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 1, 2008 01:30am | Post a Comment

I thought that Maria Daniela would be the first Fresa to go mainstream with her blend of Electro-Cumbia. I guess she got trumped by Amandititita --the daughter of infamous Mexican rockero Rockdrigo Gonzalez has a hit with "Metrosexual," a song about a too-cute boyfriend that is obsessed with his looks. The lyrics are both catchy and kitchy. For instance:

Tengo un novio metrosexual, usa extensiones, no se deja de peinar,
en todos los espejos se tiene que mirar.Va al gimnasio hasta en navidad.


which roughly translates to:

My boyfriend is metrosexual, He uses extensions and never stops combing his hair. He always has to look in mirror and he works out until Christmas.

and of course, my favorite line:

una vez estuvo en prisión, lo arrestaron por robar productos de avon.
one time he went to prison, they arrested him for stealing Avon Products

Like my mom used to tell me, "It sounds much better is Spanish."


I love the music behind her, it bumps! It sounds like Sonidero Nacional produced the track but I do not have the info to back that up. Mix it all together with that retro 80's cheerleader chorus and you got another big Fresa hit. Maria Daniela might have been just a little too late.
 
Amandititita's album, La Reina De La Anarcumbia (The Queen Of Cumbia Anarchy), hits stores June 10th.