Amoeblog

James Presley Ball

Posted by Whitmore, February 28, 2009 07:31pm | Post a Comment

James Presley Ball
was one of the most successful and famous African-American daguerreotypists of the19th century. Born in 1825 in Virginia, Ball opened his first photography studio at the age of twenty in Cincinnati, Ohio, just a few years after the invention of the daguerreotype. Business didn’t fare well, but the following year when he returned to Richmond, Virginia, Ball found considerable success with his new studio. By 1847 he took to the road again, this time as a traveling daguerreotypist, eventually returning to Cincinnati. In 1855 Ball published an abolitionist pamphlet depicting the horrors of slavery; accompanying his publication was an exhibition of his daguerreotypes on the subject of slavery, which he exhibited several times in the pre-Civil War years. After living some three decades in Ohio, he moved to Minneapolis, opening a daguerreotype studio there with his son. In 1887 Ball moved to Helena, Montana. That same year he was selected as the official photographer for a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. While living in Montana he was also elected a delegate to the Republican convention for the Montana territory in 1894. In his years in Montana he produced hundreds of incredible photographs depicting life in the White, Black and Chinese communities. In 1900, he moved to Seattle, Washington opening his final studio, the Globe Photo Studio. In poor health, James Presley Ball moved once again, this time to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he died in 1904. His extensive body of work is housed at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Historical Society, Montana Historical Society, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, as well as in many private collections.

Alela Diane's To Be Still

Posted by Miss Ess, February 28, 2009 06:59pm | Post a Comment
If you live in a hectic big city like me, you probably need a bit of respite now and again, but maybe can't afford the time and dough needed to get somewhere as far-flung as you'd like. If this is your lot in life, and you just need a little escape, I can't recommend Alela Diane's new record To Be Still enough.


The songs are bittersweet fables, longing recollections and evocative bits of each season in turn. It's all perfectly lovely, laid out with production work by Alela's own father and recorded partially in his studio in Nevada City. Alela is helped out on a few tracks by the always amazing Mariee Sioux and the legendary Michael Hurley, whose duet with Alela couldn't be more delectable.

The album chugs and flows along, from one memorable melody to another. The songs won't stay out of my head-- whether I am walking the street or attempting to sleep, Alela's always whispering in my ear. Her music has an openness and honesty that are quite reflective of the artist herself. The album can't help but be natural and real just as Alela is, yet it still has the power to pull you away from your reality and into an alternative existance, even for just a few minutes. Stay tuned for an interview with her on the Amoeblog sometime in the very near future! [It's up now! Check it out here.]

To Be Still is out now on Rough Trade. Here's the video for "White As Diamonds":

Jon Ginoli of Pansy Division Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, February 28, 2009 05:05pm | Post a Comment
Jon Ginoli is the beloved founder and lead singer of the revolutionary gay rock band Pansy Division. He has recently completed a book about his experience, Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division, which is available now! To celebrate, Jon will be embarking on a book tour, crossing America and hitting everywhere in between! Check out the dates here. There will be a veritable blitz of Pansy Division in the coming months! Their 7" single "Average Men" is out now and features Jello Biafra; the band also has a full length album called That's So Gay to come very soon AND the release of a documentary about the band-- Pansy Division: Life in a Gay Rock Band. Information about screenings of the film can be found here. Following the book tour, Pansy Division will be touring as well! Dates will be up soon on their official website. Read on to learn more about Jon's fabled career, PD's future plans and what to expect from his book tour dates. For a past interview Jon and I did click here.


Miss Ess: How did this book come about?

Jon Ginoli: Over the years I'd tell people stories about my experiences with the band, and it was often suggested that I should write a book. Eventually, I did. I worked on it on and off for a long time before making a final push to get it done.

ME: Obviously you have a lot of writing experience when it comes to songs. What was the experience of writing a book like for you and what was your general approach?

JG: With song lyrics I try to squeeze a certain amount of information into a small amount of space, and make it rhyme. With the book, I could expand on things in a way a song would not allow.

ME: When you formed Pansy Division, did you have any specific dreams of how big you wanted to get?

JG: Our goals were modest. We wanted to make records and play in cities we figured would react favorably to us. We never expected to play arenas opening for Green Day!

ME: I think your band helped start the ball rolling as far as further evolving some people's perceptions of how diverse the gay community is. Did you hope to provide anything specific like that for the GLBT community or was your goal just to write songs, make music and live the dream?

JG: I was trying to make space for myself. I have always had issues with what is defined as gay culture. There is a kind of assumed set of tastes and experiences, and sometimes that was (is) an awkward fit. So I was conscious of trying to create some kind of alternative.

ME: Can you share maybe a rougher moment from when you were first starting touring and experienced homophobia?

JG : On our first tour, Chris, the bassist, called his roommate every day at a certain time to let him know we were OK. The wonderful thing about the experience of having this band is that there has been so little homophobia directed at us. It's out there in the country, and the world, but we've managed to avoid it pretty well. It showed us how much the country was changing for the better. The only incidents, and they're mentioned in the book, are minor. Sometimes we've wondered if certain opportunities were closed to us because of the gay factor, but the gay factor has opened up so many doors that I don't fret about it too much.

When you experienced that kind of prejudice, even if it was minor, how did you keep going and were you ever afraid?

We were afraid early on, and on the Green Day tour. But our fears turned out to be pretty unfounded; on the Green Day tour we had good security, which certainly helped.

Do you feel that Pansy Division has provided a legacy for younger, emerging gay rock bands? What has your legacy been?


I hope so, but I don't really know. I know our being out within a certain scene where being gay was unusual did help people, and some of them are in bands. Our legacy, I think, is that even as outsiders we were able to be honest and open and succeed at what we wanted to do. Because we're tenacious people, we've stuck with it for along time.

What can fans expect at your book tour dates?

A mixture of stories, funny and serious, and me doing a few songs on the acoustic guitar. I've never toured with an acoustic guitar, cause I'm a rocker at heart, so this will be different. I'm looking forward to that.

Tell me about your upcoming album -- where was it recorded and who produced it?

We recorded it in the East Bay with Willie Samuels, who has run a studio in Pittsburg, CA for over a decade. We all produced it together, with him as engineer. We call him an Aural Surgeon-- he makes us sound really good. The album is called That's So Gay, and it'll be out at the end of March.

Will you tour to support it and when?

2 weeks on the east coast in late June; 1 week & change on the west coast in mid-August. My book tour will go for as long as I can. My schedule is freer than any of my bandmates, so I'm visiting cities PD hasn't played in years.

How are you guys doing, all living in very separate cities but keeping the band together? How has it changed your creative process?

We communicate via computer and talk on the phone. When we convene, we are very efficient. This batch of songs went through fewer permutations than any batch of songs we'd ever recorded, in part because most were recorded without the benefit of playing them live. That's the opposite of the way we used to work.

How do you feel about gay rights today? Have things changed since when you first started making music?

Things have improved tremendously. The Jesse Helmses and Jerry Falwells are gone, and their successors seem far weaker. Not without followers, but less influential. But gay people still lack full rights in terms of achieving life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, though I think it's coming. I am sad Prop 8 won in California but I was under little illusion it would lose. One reason it was on the ballot last year is because its proponents know they are fighting the tide of history. We'll get there.

Any decadent, super rock and roll tour moments from the past you'd like to share here?

At this point I'll just say read the book, which is titled Deflowered: My Life In Pansy Division.

And I should mention that there's new 7" single out now, "Average Men," where we share the lead vocals with Jello Biafra, ex-Dead Kennedys. That song is on the upcoming CD, but the B-side is a cover of a Green Day song that won't be. I should also mention the upcoming DVD of the documentary film about us, similarly titled Pansy Division: Life In A Gay Rock Band. It's out at the end of March as well. We had all the stuff in the pipeline and decided to make it happen around the same time for maximum effect.

What has been the musical highlight of your life thusfar?


The Green Day tour. Being able to play for thousands of people each night, especially younger ears, was an opportunity I wasn't expecting to have.

Did you ever imagine in your wildest dreams you would become an gay indie rock icon? How does it feel? What is it like to meet fans who have listened to your music for 15+ years now?

It feels pretty good. We're not a huge band, but our music has affected some people who really needed it. I think we make great music, but if it speaks to you in a unique and deeper way, that's more rewarding. It's the kind of band we wanted when we were teens; the fact that we're out there for them to find (even though they'll have to dig a bit) makes us feel good.

Thank you so much for your time! Best of luck with everything.



Jules Lion

Posted by Whitmore, February 28, 2009 03:07pm | Post a Comment
The daguerreotype was the precursor to the modern photography process; an image is exposed directly onto a highly polished silver metal plate, its surface coated with silver halide particles deposited by iodine vapor-- a later advancement was the use of bromine and chlorine vapors to shorten the exposure time. The daguerreotype produced a negative image, but the mirrored surface of the plate reflects the captured image, making it appear positive once light is exposed to the photograph. Early experimenters had tinkered with the idea of photography for over a hundred years, but it was Louis Daguerre who finally perfected the technique in about 1839. Less then a year later the rich history of American photography began in New Orleans at #3 St Charles Street, in the private studio/residence of Jules Lion, "a freeman of color," who opened the first daguerreotype studio in New Orleans and one of the very first in the entire United States.
 
Born in 1810 in Paris, France, Jules Lion was the first of about fifty documented black daguerreotypists who operated galleries/studios in the first half of the 19th century in the U.S. He originally moved to New Orleans from France in 1837 where he was a lithographer and portrait painter -- at the Exposition of Paris of 1833 he was the youngest lithographer to be awarded an honorable mention. It’s believed that Lion returned briefly to Paris in 1839 and 1840 to study photography with Louis Daguerre. Upon his return Lion exhibited his first daguerreotypes in New Orleans in 1840; unfortunately only a couple of them have survived. By 1841 in New Orleans, he was lecturing on photography, co-founded an art school and was running a successful studio. Not much more is known of Jules Lion, except the occasional newspaper announcement and city records listing him as a professor of drawing at the College of Louisiana from 1852 to 1865. In his later years he returned to painting portraitures. Among his most famous commissions were portraits of President Andrew Jackson and naturalist John J. Audubon. Throughout his career he continued teaching and occasionally returning to Paris to exhibit his lithographs and daguerreotypes until his death in New Orleans in 1866.

Heavenly Bodies 2

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 28, 2009 01:35pm | Post a Comment






GETTING DUMB WIT IT: SAT SCORES RELATED TO MUSIC LISTENED TO

Posted by Billyjam, February 28, 2009 11:09am | Post a Comment
The above image, courtesy of TMZ.com, pretty much sums up the overall results of the intriguing recent scientific study by young computer wiz Virgil Griffith which came to the conclusion that smart people listen to Ludwig Van Beethoven while dumb peeps bumped Lil Weezy, and average intelligence folks knew all the lyrics to "Mr Jones" by The Counting Crows.

This SAT scores related to music habits study, which it goes without saying should be taken with a grain of salt, was conducted by comparing SAT scores with music listened to by a sample of college students. The study utilized Facebook profiles' listing of favorite music/artists and correlated this with said students' SAT scores.

Andy Lau frees Chow Yun-Fat

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 27, 2009 05:27pm | Post a Comment

"Your plan worked, Lau. With Trapjaw rusted, he can't even move or call for help! To the Talon Fighter!"

Chow Yun-Fat
is a renowned actor whose career spans several decades, but who is best known to American audiences for his roles in John Woo’s heroic bloodshed films and a couple of wuxia films that were released in the oughts. Andy Lau, whilst less well known in America at large, has an enormous following both among film fans, especially well known for his work with Johnny To, and his career as a Cantopop star. Throughout both of their careers, Chow and Lau have appeared in several films and a television program:

1982 - Sou hat yi
1986 - 楊家將 aka Yang ka cheung aka The Yangs’ saga
1987 - 江湖情 aka Goo woo ching aka Drifter love aka Jian hu qing aka Rich and famous
-and - 英雄好漢 aka Ying hung ho hon aka Hero aka Heroic hero aka Rich and famous II aka Tragic
            Hero
aka Ying xiong  hao ban
1988 - 精裝追女仔 aka Jin zhuong zhui nu zi zhi er aka Romancing star II
1989 - 賭神 aka Du shen aka Dao san aka God of gamblers
1991 - 賭神2 aka  Dou hap aka Du xia aka God of gambers II aka Knight of gamblers
 
Although their careers haven’t intersected in a long time, that didn’t apparently stop Andy Lau from bailing out his old friend who seems to have been imprisoned underneath Snake Mountain, judging by the eerie green light and the ancient magenta bricks. How did Lau and Woo find themselves on Eternia? Who painted this amazing picture? [Insert Orco saying something silly.] I found this ad in a Vietnamese rag whilst hanging out with the ever astonishing Ngoc cung.

"Curses Lau! You win this time but I'll be back! Meh heh ha ha hanh!

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Secret Society of the Sonic Six meets Medusa Sun March 1st

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 27, 2009 04:00pm | Post a Comment
Come down to the former Lowenbrou Keller, it's an absolutely beautiful venue...




Medusa Lounge


3211 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
90057


Club Queen Mother, 18+
                 $5

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 02:27:09

Posted by Billyjam, February 27, 2009 09:27am | Post a Comment
AMOEBA MUSIC HOLLYWOOD HIP-HOP TOP SEVEN: 02:27:09
knaan
1) K'NAAN Troubadour (A&M/Octone Records)

2) Exile Radio (Plug Research)

3) Joe Budden Padded Room (Amalgam Digital)

4) Q-Tip The Renaissance (Motown/Universal)

5) Various Artists Fly Girls! B-Boys Beware (Soul Jazz)

6) Mobb Deep Instrumentals (SONY)

7) Madlib Beat Konducta 5 & 6 (Stones Throw)

Thanks to Edwin at the Hollywood Amoeba Music store for this week's chart of the top selling new hip-hop full length CDs. And this week, rather than the usual Top Five, we extended it to the Top Seven since there were just so many hot selling releases at the LA store this week. And in the number one slot is K'NAAN, the Somali artist that the LA Times pegged as "Artist to watch in 2009," with his sophomore release Troubadour. K'NAAN, who grew up in war-torn Mogadishu, doesn't glorify violence like so many American rappers. Instead he weaves a message of peace and positivity -- at times channeling the spirit of Bob Marley. Having son Damien Marley joining him as guest on the song "I Come Prepared" helps achieve this.

Among the many other notable guests on Troubadour is Chubb Rock (remember him?) who joins in on the song "ABC's," which cleverly portrays the ugliness of life during civil war. In that same vein, only deeper, the song "Somalia" addresses the larger political issues of his homeland, including the heavily publicized rash of recent offshore attacks on ships by Somalian pirates. Other guests include Mos Def, Chali 2na, and (surprise) Metallica's guitarist Kirk Hammett who joins K'NAAN on the track "If Rap Gets Jealous."

Continue reading...

The Nicholas Brothers

Posted by Whitmore, February 26, 2009 07:09pm | Post a Comment

Back in the hey day of the Hollywood Musical, during the 1930’s and 40’s, there was a plethora of extremely talented high flying family dance troupes, starting with the ballroom sophistication of Fred and Adele Astaire to the lightning fast feet of the Condos Brothers to the tap dancing brilliance of Four Step Brothers to the over the top athleticism of the Berry Brothers. But the best, most explosive, and daringly innovative were the Nicholas Brothers, Fayard (1914–2006) and Harold (1921–2000). With their highly acrobatic "flash dancing" tap style and spectacular choreography, they are considered by many to be greatest dance team not only of the era, but of all time.
 
Growing up in Philadelphia, Fayard and Harold were the sons of vaudevillian musicians-- a pianist mother and drummer father who led their own band working the circuit. In 1932, when Harold was 11 years of age and Fayard 18, they became the featured act at Harlem's legendary Cotton Club. That same year they shot their first film, a short subject musical called Pie, Pie, Blackbird.
 
The Nicholas Brothers made their Broadway debut in the Ziegfeld Follies in 1936, directed by Vincente Minnelli and choreographed by George Balanchine, they performed alongside stars such as Fannie Brice, Bob Hope, and Josephine Baker. Two years later in a packed Cotton Club, Fayard and Harold reigned supreme in the legendary dance-off against the other leading tap dancing family of the day, the Berry Brothers. By some accounts the Berry Brothers trio showed perhaps more bravado, but the Nicholas Brothers brought down the house with sheer finesse and artistry.   
 
Shortly thereafter, Fayard and Harold found themselves in Hollywood starring in a series of short subject films and guesting in several big budget musicals, like Down Argentine Way and Tin Pan Alley. In 1941 the duo appeared in both Glenn Miller movies, Sun Valley Serenade and Orchestra Wives. The former included the definitive version of “Chattanooga Choo Choo;” the brothers' dance number also included Harold’s future first wife, the incomparably beautiful Dorothy Dandridge.
 
In 1943 the Nicholas Brothers filmed what Fred Astaire has called the greatest dance sequence ever put to celluloid. In an amazing display of strength, agility and timing, they danced to Cab Calloway’s hard swinging “Jumpin' Jive” in the classic film Stormy Weather. The routine included Harold and Fayard hopping from table to table and over music stands, bounding between musicians in the orchestra and finally leap-frogging over each other down a flight of stairs, landing a complete split each time. Mikhail Baryshnikov called them the most amazing dancers he’d ever seen.
 
They’ve received numerous awards and accolades. In 1948 The Nicholas brothers gave a royal command performance for the King of England at the London Palladium and over the years they danced for nine different Presidents. Retrospectives of the Nicholas Brothers' work in film include a special presentation at the 1981 Academy Awards and a Kennedy Center Honors in 1991. They were awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Harvard University where they taught master classes in tap dance as teachers-in-residence. In 1994 they received a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7083 Hollywood Blvd and were inducted into the first class of the Apollo Theater's Hall of Fame and the Black Filmmaker's Hall of Fame. The Nicholas Brothers were also recipients of the 1998 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement in Modern Dance.
 
I once met Fayard and Harold back in the 1980’s while I was attending LACC. They were invited to give a talk about their careers and incredible lives. Both of them still looked pretty damned fit, but unfortunately neither danced. I wanted to ask a question about life with Dorothy Dandridge, but I figured the conversation might take a gloomy turn, so I just kept my mouth shut; I suspect it might have been the right decision. Her life ended prematurely and tragically. Somewhere in my pile of papers I still have the program signed by both brothers.  
 
Harold died July 3, 2000 of a heart attack following minor surgery. Fayard died January 24, 2006 of pneumonia -- a complication from a stroke.
 
Check out the footage below-- some of the dance routines are simply mind blowing.





Mardi Gras Mambo

Posted by Amoebite, February 26, 2009 04:08pm | Post a Comment
Mardi Gras Sign
Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya! It's carnival time again!

Mardi Gras is always a wonderful time at the old Amoeba, but this year the festivities were truly "marmalade!" More people attended than ever before, the floats were crazier, the music was funkier, and the Mardi Gras spirit was so strong some folks still haven't recovered. I saw a guy stumbling down Cahuenga covered in beads two days later... if it ain't the real thing, it's the closest you can get outside the French Quarter. If you were there, we love you; if you weren't, we wanna see you next year!

As usual, it snuck up on us again... we were still coughing from the flu and getting soaked with weeks of rain when we realized it was coming up on the calendar. Preparations kicked into high gear! We decorated the store in purple, gold and green, and then we redecorated it, and then we decorated it so much it was ridiculous. The PURPLE NURPLE krewe flung itself headfirst into float-making... the Yellow Submarine float made a battered but beautiful return, a sphinx & purple pyramid was set in motion, a tribute to recently deceased punkabilly pioneer Lux Interior of the Cramps (1948-2009), as well as an inexplicable float involving a space chicken surfing on a huge Dali-esque piano... at the last moment Karen dropped off a giant psychedelic timbale which this chicken was made to play like Tito Puente, and the floats were complete!


MEANWHILE... secret preparations were underway for the first ever Amoeba Irregular Marching Band! Led by Kim Pryor on trumpet and avant-garde sax player Becca, this motley ensemble worked up the spookiest, freakiest version of "When The Saints Go Marching In" we've ever heard! Augmented by the banjo of Matt Polley, a wheelchair-riding accordionista (Jada) and a second line anchored by Tom Wunder, Kris Konrad and Edythe, a truly celebratory zu-zu sound was pounded forth! It was left only to the Witch Queen of New Orleans, Mama Elicia, to howl wildly through a homemade megaphone and several feet of aluminum tubing and the sound was "ice cream."

Continue reading...

Indy Arts' Censorship Panel in San Francisco tonight - free

Posted by Billyjam, February 26, 2009 03:20pm | Post a Comment

Independent Arts & Media
(aka Indy Arts) is presenting a panel tonight in San Francisco on the ever-topical subject of censorship in arts and the media. As outlined by the organizers, freedom of speech doesn't necessarily mean that we are completely free to actually say or print anything that we wish.

Tonight's discussion, which is free, will be moderated by V. Vale from RESearch Publications, and will include panelists Jennifer Joseph of Manic D Press, Jesse Townley of Alternative Tentacles, KALX, & 924 Gilman, and John Hell of SF community micro radio station Pirate Cat Radio -- all of whom will offer their insights and experiences with censorship issues.

Tonight what exactly it is that can and cannot be said will be discussed and analyzed. Further, the panel will examine if what we aren't allowed to say should be said or not, and if so, who should determine these things. On this same topic, a few days ago I finally got to the wonderfully revealing Kirby Dick directed 2006 investigative documentary on the US film rating system This Film Is Not Yet Rated (avail on DVD at Amoeba) which opened up my eyes to some of the ridiculous grey-area forms of censorship that take place just within film rating. Worth watching.

Earlier today I asked one of tonight's panelists, Jesse Townley, who was profiled in a recent Amoeblog, what specifics might be addressed this evening by himself and other panelists: "I think it's about personal incidents of censorship/prior restraint (hello FCC!) as well as the larger issues," he replied. "No one is 'pro-censorship' but I wonder if there'll be any discussion of the 'crying fire in a theater' test, or child pornography, or the video game you mention, etc. I think there will be... Vale will keep it moving and interesting, no doubt about it."

Continue reading...

The Black Cobra

Posted by phil blankenship, February 26, 2009 10:31am | Post a Comment
 


Trans World Entertainment #0617

RANDY BEWLEY, GUITARIST WITH ATHENS, GA BAND PYLON DIES

Posted by Billyjam, February 26, 2009 07:32am | Post a Comment
       Pylon live at Hurrah (1981)

Randy Bewley, the guitarist with influential Athens GA band Pylon, died late yesterday afternoon. Bewley had been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack while driving in Athens on Monday when the van he was driving drifted off the road and tipped over, according to bandmate vocalist Vanessa Hay in an email message sent out to fanpylon gyrates of the band.

Considered the seminal group of the Athens music scene (later groups included B-52's who cited Pylon as influences and R.E.M. who later covered the Pylon song "Crazy"), Pylon formed in 1978 when all four members (Bewley & Hay -- then Brisco, bassist Michael Lachowski, & drummer Curtis Crowy) met up while attending the University of Georgia. A year later they released their debut and continued recording and performing up until 1983 when they temporarily disbanded. While they reformed in 1989 for two years and once again more recently five years ago, their most important years remain 1979-1983. 

When R.E.M. was chosen by Rolling Stone as "America's Best Rock And Roll Band" in 1987, R.E.M.'s drummer Bill Berry dismissed it famously, saying at the time, "We're not the best rock'n'roll band in America," and insisting that Pylon, who had been broken up for four years at that point, was much more deserving of the honor than his own group.

Continue reading...

Fat Tuesday at Amoeba San Francisco

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 25, 2009 05:43pm | Post a Comment
amoeba san francisco fat tuesday 2009

Not a Mardi Gras goes by uncelebrated at Amoeba Music SF, where locals of all ages gather to party, parade and laissez les bons temps rouler! This year's Fat Tuesday festivities included a low-country cooking, swamp-tastic feast of jambalaya, spicy salad and cornbread to die for provided by San Francisco's famous Cajun Pacific restaurant; traditional Mardi Gras King Cake procured especially for the fête; a parade and costume contest featuring a whole mess of masquerading merry-makers from the Boys & Girls Club dressed in their best Mardi Gras flair; very "Big Easy" 'centric DJ sets by the incomparable DJ Shona's Dad and DJ Vinnie spinning from Dixieland to Zydeco and all sounds in between; and last, but not least, at the helm of it all was Amoeba's Mardi Gras 2009 master of ceremonies and parade marshal Queen Crab Cake.

king cake at amoeba san francisco's fat tuesday 2009


Mardi Gras always seems to land on one of those crisp yet gloriously sunny days between the usual February rains that distinguish the "Northern California winter months" from the rest of the year and this year was, thankfully, no different from those of the past in spite of the conflicting, wet-blanket weather predictions. Not that a little rain would have made that much of a difference, I imagine. Seeing the amount of enthusiasm that swells the celebratory cup to the point of overflowing during Amoeba's Mardi Gras party each year is but one joy of many shared by both those who came to join the fun and those who find themselves suddenly caught in the revelry. For all the soulful sounds, sizzling rhythms, sugar and spices, sequins and feathers, and the traffic-stopping dance moves of DJ Shona's Dad (a kindred spirit) and the general gaiety, it cannot be said that Amoeba Music SF doesn't do Fat Tuesday any which way but vraiment bien.

ANDY WARHOL'S OUTSOURCING OF ART + TDK TV AD + DAVID BOWIE

Posted by Billyjam, February 25, 2009 03:57pm | Post a Comment

ANDY WARHOL + BRIGID BERLIN ON WHO ACTUALLY DID WARHOL'S ART

This post is inspired by the upcoming 3rd Annual Amoeba Art Show + Factory Party in conjunction with the East Bay Express next Friday, March 6th (6-11PM), which is bound to be hella fun -- like all Amoeba events and the East Bay Express'  Best of the East Bay event at the Oakland Museum a few months ago which Amoeba was also a part of. And the art show is free too! warholAnyway, above is an excerpt from the interviews in which Andy Warhol (sans glasses) credits Brigid Berlin (also in the clip) for contributing to the creation of many of his paintings, resulting in folks becoming highly skeptical of "his" work and whether or not "his" work should be rightfully credited to him or someone else.

What I love most about this open admission by Warhol is his pure honesty, his unbridled  don't-give-a-fuck attitude as to what people (serious art critics) may think, and the fact that even by not doing all of his own art or by outsourcing it, that he was in effect still creating a new style of art -- one that is so influential that even the "Photo Booth" program in the Mac I am working on comes complete with a Warhol derived "Pop Art" feature. 

Longtime Sacramento Hip-Hop Artist C-BO is Truly Gangsta Rap & Despite a Career Interrupted by Long Stretches Behind Bars, He Has Remained Highly Prolific

Posted by Billyjam, February 25, 2009 02:27pm | Post a Comment

c-bo
Rapper C-BO has long been known for his no-holds-barred, shock-filled, self-described "killer style" of gangsta rap. Ever since his debut album Gas Chamber sixteen years ago, the Sacramento rapper has been consistently satisfying his dedicated legions of hardcore rap fans with both controversy and countless releases. In addition to a string of solo albums, he has also collaborated on songs or albums with the likes of first cousin E40, 2Pac, Yukmouth, Killa Tay, Spice-1, Master P, Brotha Lynch Hung, as well as his crew Mob Figaz, to name but a few.

Unlike so many self-described "gangsta" rappers, Shawn "C-BO" Thomas is genuinely 'gangsta'. Growing up in the notorious gang-filled Garden Block of Sacramento, the artist became a member of the Crips while barely into his teens, and openly admits his past involvement in drug dealing and other gang related crimes before he became a full time recording artist. His rap name stands for Cowboy: "I got the name cowboy from being around guns all the time," he told me in a 1997 interview.

Not surprisingly, that lifestyle resulted in C-BO's spending several periods of his life incarcerated from his teens onwards. It was in jail in 1993 that he first met Killa Tay, who he would later collaborate with. And it was also during a separate stint in the Sacramento County Jail that he collaborated with fellow inmate X-Raided on writing some music. In fact, it was X-Raided who wrote the song "Deadly Game" for C-BO, a song that later landed C-BO back in jail and caused a national controversy -- drawing attention and outrage amongst freedom of speech advocates while simultaneously only further fuc-boeling C-BO's notorious reputation amongst hardcore rap fans.

Continue reading...

Euro Chick Rebellion

Posted by Smiles Davis, February 25, 2009 01:34pm | Post a Comment
My ipod, bless its heart, is always on shuffle. I listen to it while driving to work, while I’m cooking, working out, while I’m cleaning, when I’m playing dress up, whenever the spirit moves me really. Today I noticed a forming pattern. The female artists on my ipod for the most part are from foreign countries, and the majority of them hail from European countries. Maybe it’s some new thing-- for me, I mean. Like some sort of “phase,” as my mother likes to call it. Before long it will pass, then I’ll be into music from Kazakhstan or Mozambique or Utah or sometimes I’m in the mood for some good ol’ fashion gibberish from Nomansland. My point is this, um, err, oh yes: Euro chick music. Amy and Lily aren’t the only girls making a rawkus.

Are you familiar with Annie? No, not the freckle faced, red head with pigtails from our favorite childhood sing-a-long, I mean, musical. Did she have pig tales? I digress. If you haven't familiarized yourself with Norwegian electro pop singer Annie, you should. Her sound is like early Madonna doped up on bubble gum and pixie stix. Yes, that means dance music. She's woven from the same cloth as Datarock and Skatebård. Well, they all come from Bergen, Norway, anyway. England's Richard X, who has produced for Róisín Murphy and M.I.A, along with a handful of productions from fellow Norwegians Röyksopp and Timo Kaukolampi of Op:L Bastards, formed the basis of Anniemal, Annie’s debut album.

Her highly anticipated second album Don’t Stop is to be released on April  27th. Popjustice got their paws on a copy and declared it a “complete modern masterpiece.” The first single, a cover of Stacey-Q’s "Two of Hearts," was produced by Richard X and was leaked on the Internet a while back. It is a modern day dance till it hurts kind of song, complete with all the trimmings to make you move your feet till you get a cramp in your big toe. The second single, "My Love is Better," features this one guy from this one band...
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand. Ring any bells? Kind of a big deal. They just performed a packed show at Amoeba Hollywood, though without Annie. Anyway, he plays the guitar on this track, another track called "Loco," and in general for that band I mentioned. They won some awards or something. Oh, yeah and he sings the lead vocals for them too-- the band, I mean. My bartender told me the girls go crazy for him.

Peaches, who is originally from Toronto, Ontario, makes the cut as a "Euro Chick" because she currently resides in Berlin. The first reason we love Peaches: she pushes the limit for female dominance in a predominantly male dominated field. The second reason to love Peaches is that, in her perpetual state of raunchiness, she makes Luke and 2 Live Crew look like inexperienced virgins. Oh, and the fact that such vulgarity comes from an ex-school teacher makes it all the more enticing.

Another reason to love Peaches is her forthcoming album, I Feel Cream, said to be released May 4th in Europe and the UK and May 5th in North America. Producers alongside Peaches include Simian Mobile Disco, Digitalism, Soulwax and Drums of Death, which will make for an interesting dance sound, slightly different than what we’re used to hearing from the queen of obscenity. Oh, the madness. I heart her.

Get your sample on with the Drums of Death vs. Peaches mixtape currently available on the Drums of Death MySpace page. It features bits of three new songs—"Lose You," "Buck You Like A Billionaire" and "I Feel Cream"—along with lots of classic Peaches cuts.

There are quite a few other ladies I wanted to mention but my left index finger just started twitching. I know what you’re thinking: you got me all juiced up and ready to go, then you fed me peanuts and dirty gym socks. I’ll save it for another day. Till next time…chew the corners off.

Road House Saturday At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, February 24, 2009 10:06pm | 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!


February 28

Patrick Swayze in
Road House

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

20th Anniversary!


March
March 7 Aliens
First Screening Of A BRAND NEW 35mm Print!

March 20 & 21 MAD MAXATHON
Triple Feature of ALL THREE Mad Max Films. Running Two Nights Only!
MAD MAX
THE ROAD WARRIOR
MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME



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3rd Annual Amoeba Art Show & Factory Party

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 24, 2009 02:57pm | Post a Comment
If you could time travel, where would you go?

warhol's factory

Well, like most kids who grew up watching Quantum Leap, I've given it a lot of thought. I'd want to hit the vevet underground and nicohip and happening hotspots of the past 2,500 years or so. First, I'd cruise down to Athens circa fourth-century B.C.E. where I'd walk along the agora to hear some great oration and maybe catch an Aristophanes play or two. The next stop would definitely be the salons of Central Europe in the 19th century to watch Franz Liszt play his own compositions, and maybe swing by Gustav Klimt's studio just a few decades later. I'm sure I could get in a visit to Kafka's Prague and some early New York vaudeville shows before I had to get the time machine back to the shop for a tune-up. After that, I suppose I'd have the ol' time machine drop me by Andy Warhol's Factory in early 60's New York and leave me there.
nico and lou reed
Sure, we can watch I Shot Andy Warhol or Factory Girl, but to actually be there at the cultural ground zero…to watch it all unfold around Andy, The Velvet Underground, and Edie Sedgwick! Now that would be something! Sound good to you too? Well look no further… 

On March 6th, Amoeba Music is going to offer YOU the time travel opportunity of a life time… to travel in time to the world of Andy Warhol and his original 1960's New York City Factory!

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Talking Book - Just One of Stevie Wonder's Masterpieces

Posted by Miss Ess, February 24, 2009 12:30pm | Post a Comment
An album that consistently brings me to tears is Talking Book by Stevie Wonder.


I was fortunate enough to grow up near a classic independent record store, Village Music, where I purchased Talking Book many years ago during one of my dreamy hours-long visits there.

When I got the album home, I stared and stared at its front. I absolutely love the cover of Talking Book -- on it, Stevie is literally feeling the earth between his fingers, much like he does verbally on the record. He doesn't need to literally see it to understand what it is made of; with music, he captures both the grit and the softness that make up humanity.

Over the years my favorite track has changed bunches of times, but since college I have predominantly played side 2, skipping "Superstition," which kicks it off (killer track, just heard it enough times, plus its mood feels different from the rest of the side), and going straight from "Big Brother" to the end. The four songs that close side 2 of Talking Book are definitely my favorite run of songs on any Stevie album.

Throughout this album, which Stevie largely wrote, produced and played all the instruments on, he touches on unscrupulous politics and the possibility of everlasting love with salient clarity. He sheds light on the daily lives of those living in poverty, noting that the corrupt politicians in charge, not the poor, "will cause [their] own country to fall" (still quite apt these days). He also sings songs with overwhelming optimism regarding love despite past disappointment, both in himself and in others. The album captures an illuminating feeling of hope, a vibrant sense of anticipation.

I'm continually staggered by the fact that over all the years I have been listening to this album, my enjoyment of it only grows.

Here's a '95 performance of "Big Brother" -- not nearly as good as on the album, but fun to see and hear, nonetheless:

A Raisin In the Sun

Posted by Amoebite, February 24, 2009 12:28pm | Post a Comment
a raisin in the sun
"What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?"

Langston Hughes' opening lines to his poem "A Dream Deferred" inspired the title of the film A Raisin in the Sun, which is adapted from Lorraine Hansberry's 1951 Broadway play. The story is about the working-class African American family in Chicago, each member struggling against the idea of deferred dreams. The way each character has to fight against generational prejudice to achieve their dreams makes a most powerful, touching story, cutting deep to the core of African American history. And while I want to cry at the injustices that bind many to social despair, I am inspired by the moments of strength that the human spirit can possess.claudia mcneil in raisin in the sun

Every character is a symbol that has to find what value they have to play out in order to gain a better life. They must confront oppression, identity, assimilation, poverty, and African-American racism. The most beautifully portrayed role goes to Claudia McNeil, who is the mother holding the family together like "a syrupy sweet."

Dreams deferred: 
"Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?"

These questions are not simple to answer, but answers need to be explored.

-Tiffany Huang

SEX & VIOLENCE IN MUSIC TARGETED IN JAMAICA's RECENT BAN

Posted by Billyjam, February 23, 2009 04:25pm | Post a Comment

Vbyz Cartel feat. Spice "Ramping Shop"

Following their decision two weeks ago to place a ban on both violent and sexually explicit lyrics in popular dancehall records, the Jamaica Broadcasting Commission (JBC) has followed up, in a controversial decision a few days ago, by also issuing a ban on soca and hip-hop songs with both sexually explicit content and lyrics that encourage violence through gun use.

Two weeks ago, in its current quest to clean up the broadcast media, the Jamaican broadcast regulating commission first targeted reggae dancehall "daggering" songs and videos ("daggering" is a popular dance style with dancehall reggae fans that simulates sex via pelvic grinding moves) such as the popular, auto-tune happy single "Ramping Shop" by Vbyz Kartel featuring Spice (video above). The dance, as seen in the Mr Vegas "Daggering" video below, is very similar to the female booty ass shaking moves associated with Miami bass and most of current era popular hip-hop dances in BET music video play.

Hence it is no surprise that a lot of explicit hip-hop and soca were targeted by the JBC in its follow up ruling ban of few days ago. The reaction to this ban has been mixed. Some in Jamaica are outraged, calling it a double-standard since there is still a lot of explicit material in TV shows and movies. Others, such as US based YouTuber and big time dancehall fan Daggasista, said that, "Mi nuh care if dem ban di daggerin song dem mi still a whine an galang bad fi dem." As with any other past instances of censorship of music, bans like this usually only drive the music further underground while simultaneously fueling an interest in it.

Continue reading...

(In which our hero returns from the Caribbean...)

Posted by Job O Brother, February 23, 2009 03:45pm | Post a Comment

I should've been so lucky...

I’ve just returned from a two week cruise in the Caribbean islands.

Stop right there! Undoubtedly your reaction is one of jealousy, but it’s unfounded – or would be, if the cruise you went on was the same as mine. Not so much a “luxury cruise” as it was… well… a floating Budget Inn. I was confounded gastronomically, degraded socially, and had an overall poopy time. You should be no more jealous of me than you would of some forgettable uncle who attended a dental convention one week in Sacramento. Olé.

One of the many, many awful attributes this cruise had was the piping of pop music in the halls; a convoluted mix that sounded as though it had been compiled by a twelve-year-old schoolgirl using her tape recorder and whatever radio station came in best. Now, even this is an improvement over, say, smooth jazz or Top 40 contemporary country, but they not only re-looped the same music (imagine hearing this every seventh hour!) but kept it playing all through the night! Had the cabins been sound-proof, this would’ve been fine, but they weren’t. So every night, I could hear the muffled beat of Kylie Minogue from the door, the thirty-something, sex-crazed, Italian couple making babies on the forward side, and what sounded like a TB ward on the aft. Olé.

My iPod became an important part of my survival kit, and I found myself gravitating towards easy-listening music; something to soothe the myriad ways in which my humanity was compromised. (Ever been molested by a shower curtain? It happened to me, daily. Ever eat a lasagna that tasted of peppermint candy and WD40? I have, now.)

There's no amount of parmesan cheese that can help this.

I couldn’t get enough of Anita Kerr. For those of you unfamiliar with her, she’s a singer / composer / producer of large success but smaller fame, these days. Her hey-day was the 1960’s, where her talents were lent to many projects beside her own. Anyone who listens to country music from that period has almost certainly enjoyed her handiwork, whether you knew it or not.




More recently, one of her compositions was sampled for the Madonna song "Drowned World/Substitute for Love."

Another life saver was the group The Sandpipers. They, too, enjoyed their greatest success in the 60’s, where they covered songs with their trademark mellow harmonizing. Not only is their music sumptuous and relaxing, I’ve learned it aids in the digestion of cruise-line room service brownies, which are apparently made of powered fructose and dried bone marrow. Olé.





Anyway, I’m glad to be back here with you, dear reader. You never try to coax me into a conga line with tipsy, sunburned senior citizens from France, nor have you ever brought me two bowls of soup and a bucket of ice after I phoned and asked you for some hair conditioner. We’ve got a pretty sweet thing going on here, you and I, and if I don’t say it enough, I’m saying it now. I totally like you.

Like, more than friends.

Winslet Wins It! (it's about freaking time, people)

Posted by Kells, February 23, 2009 11:57am | Post a Comment

Being an avid Kate Winslet junkie since my first viewing her performance in Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures (a film that forever changed my life and that permanently resides close to the top of my all time favorite films), I must say that it is satisfying to me she that she finally won one of those coveted statuettes that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences bestows upon the proud, the few, the fabulous "chosen ones" every year come February. I mean, let's face it, girlfriend had it coming after, what, six nominations?!? Of course she doesn't need a little, golden naked-man mascot to prove to the world that she's got the goods; however, the best thing, in my opinion, about this Winslet-finally-getting-the-Oscar reality is the fact that she pretty much predicted how it would have to happen for her in an episode of Ricky Gervais' hilarious comedy show Extras. Check it:


Because I feel the need to leak my inner geek that loves the Winslet, I'd like to take this opportunity to share a few of my favorite lines (from a few of my favorite movies) Winslet has delivered over the years:

As Juliet Hulme, played opposite the vastly underrated actress Melanie Lynskey, in Heavenly Creatures (1994):
"All the best people have bead chests and bone diseases. It's all frightfully romantic."

"I'm going to The Fourth World... it's sort of like heaven. Only better, because there aren't any Christians!"

"Bloody Bill's sniffing around Mummy something chronic!"

"Affairs are much more exciting than marriages...as Mummy can testify."

"Only the best people fight against all obstacles in pursuit of happiness." 

As Sue Bridehead in Michael Winterbottom's Jude (1996): "Do I irritate you...even though I'm always trying to prove how much cleverer than you I am?"

As Clementine Kruczynsky in Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004): "My crotch is still here, just as you remembered it." 

As Marianne Dashwood in Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility (1995): "Is there any felicity in the world superior to this?!"

"And as for you, you have no right, no right at all, to parade your ignorant assumptions..."

"[sobbing] I loved him as he loved me! Oh God!"

"What care I for colds when there is such a man?"

"Are we never to have a moment's peace? The rent here may be low but I believe we have it on very hard terms."

"Neither of us have anything to tell. I because I conceal nothing and you because you communicate nothing."

As Julia in Gillies MacKinnon's Hideous Kinky (1998): "London's cold, cold and sad. No camel, no Abdul's a jellybean."

As Rose DeWitt Bukater in James Cameron's Titanic (1997): "I'd rather be his whore than your wife."

As Ruth Barron in Jane Campion's Holy Smoke (1999): "Ha! Ladies!? You wouldn't know any! I bet you date little Barbie dolls, don't you? 'Oh, you're so brainy, you're so big! Can I suck your dick?' Can I be alone now?"

As Sarah Pierce in Todd Field's Little Children (2006): "Nail his penis above the entrance to the elementary school. That'd really teach him a lesson."

As Madeleine 'Maddy' LeClerc in Philip Kaufman's Quills (2000): "If I wasn't such a bad woman on the page, I couldn't be such a good woman in life."

Congrats Kate! You've earned it.

OSCAR RESULTS 2009

Posted by Charles Reece, February 22, 2009 11:09pm | Post a Comment
Welp, I only got 50% this year. In hindsight, after the deluge of promotion for Slumdog Millionaire, I would've probably changed a few of my choices (for music) if playing in an Oscar pool. But since I wasn't losing any money, who cares? Orange is for my prediction; blue is for what I got wrong (or, rather, when the Academy didn't live up to my iron-clad reasoning).

Performance by an actor in a leading role
  • Richard Jenkins in The Visitor (Overture Films)
  • Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon (Universal)
  • Sean Penn in Milk (Focus Features)
  • Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
  • Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler (Fox Searchlight)
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
  • Josh Brolin in Milk (Focus Features)
  • Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt (Miramax)
  • Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.)
  • Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)
Performance by an actress in a leading role
  • Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Angelina Jolie in Changeling (Universal)
  • Melissa Leo in Frozen River (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Meryl Streep in Doubt (Miramax)
  • Kate Winslet in The Reader (The Weinstein Company)
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
  • Amy Adams in Doubt (Miramax)
  • Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (The Weinstein Company)
  • Viola Davis in Doubt (Miramax)
  • Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
  • Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler (Fox Searchlight)
Best animated feature film of the year
  • Bolt (Walt Disney) -- Chris Williams and Byron Howard
  • Kung Fu Panda (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount) -- John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
  • WALL-E (Walt Disney) -- Andrew Stanton
Achievement in art direction
  • Changeling (Universal) -- Art Direction: James J. Murakami / Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt / Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- Art Direction: Nathan Crowley / Set Decoration: Peter Lando
  • The Duchess (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films) -- Art Direction: Michael Carlin / Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
  • Revolutionary Road (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage) -- Art Direction: Kristi Zea / Set Decoration: Debra Schutt
Achievement in cinematography
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Claudio Miranda
  • Changeling (Universal) -- Tom Stern
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- Wally Pfister
  • The Reader (The Weinstein Company) -- Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Anthony Dod Mantle
Achievement in costume design
  • Australia (20th Century Fox) -- Catherine Martin
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Jacqueline West
  • The Duchess (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films) -- Michael O'Connor
  • Milk (Focus Features) -- Danny Glicker
  • Revolutionary Road (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage) -- Albert Wolsky
Achievement in directing
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- David Fincher
  • Frost/Nixon (Universal) -- Ron Howard
  • Milk (Focus Features) -- Gus Van Sant
  • The Reader (The Weinstein Company) -- Stephen Daldry
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Danny Boyle
Best documentary feature
  • The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) (Cinema Guild) -- Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
  • Encounters at the End of the World (THINKFilm and Image Entertainment) -- Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser
  • The Garden (A Black Valley Films Production) -- Scott Hamilton Kennedy
  • Man on Wire (Magnolia Pictures) -- James Marsh and Simon Chinn
  • Trouble the Water (Zeitgeist Films) -- Tia Lessin and Carl Deal
Best documentary short subject
  • The Conscience of Nhem En -- Steven Okazaki
  • The Final Inch -- Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant
  • Smile Pinki -- Megan Mylan
  • The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306 -- Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde
Achievement in film editing
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- Lee Smith
  • Frost/Nixon (Universal) -- Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
  • Milk (Focus Features) -- Elliot Graham
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Chris Dickens
Best foreign language film of the year
  • The Baader Meinhof Complex A Constantin Film Production - Germany
  • The Class (Sony Pictures Classics) A Haut et Court Production - France
  • Departures (Regent Releasing) A Departures Film Partners Production - Japan
  • Revanche (Janus Films) A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production - Austria
  • Waltz with Bashir (Sony Pictures Classics) A Bridgit Folman Film Gang Production - Israel
Achievement in makeup
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Greg Cannom
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O'Sullivan
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Universal) -- Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Alexandre Desplat
  • Defiance (Paramount Vantage) -- James Newton Howard
  • Milk (Focus Features) -- Danny Elfman
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- A.R. Rahman
  • WALL-E (Walt Disney) -- Thomas Newman
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
  • "Down to Earth" from WALL-E (Walt Disney) -- Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman / Lyric by Peter Gabriel
  • Jai Ho from "Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) -- Music by A.R. Rahman / Lyric by Gulzar
  • O Saya from "Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight) -- Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam
Best motion picture of the year
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
  • Frost/Nixon (Universal) -- Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
  • Milk (Focus Features) -- Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers
  • The Reader (The Weinstein Company) -- Nominees to be determined
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Christian Colson, Producer
Best animated short film
  • La Maison en Petits Cubes -- Kunio Kato
  • Lavatory - Lovestory -- Konstantin Bronzit
  • Oktapodi (Talantis Films) -- Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
  • Presto (Walt Disney) -- Doug Sweetland
  • This Way Up -- Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes
Best live action short film
  • Auf der Strecke (On the Line) (Hamburg Shortfilmagency) -- Reto Caffi
  • Manon on the Asphalt (La Luna Productions) -- Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont
  • New Boy (Network Ireland Television) -- Steph Green and Tamara Anghie
  • The Pig -- Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh
  • Spielzeugland (Toyland) -- Jochen Alexander Freydank
Achievement in sound editing
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- Richard King
  • Iron Man (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment) -- Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Tom Sayers
  • WALL-E (Walt Disney) -- Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
  • Wanted (Universal) -- Wylie Stateman
Achievement in sound mixing
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
  • WALL-E (Walt Disney) -- Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
  • Wanted (Universal) -- Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt
Achievement in visual effects
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
  • The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.) -- Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
  • Iron Man (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment) -- John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan
Adapted screenplay
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) -- Screenplay by Eric Roth / Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
  • Doubt (Miramax) -- Written by John Patrick Shanley
  • Frost/Nixon (Universal) -- Screenplay by Peter Morgan
  • The Reader (The Weinstein Company) -- Screenplay by David Hare
  • Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) -- Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy
Original screenplay
  • Frozen River (Sony Pictures Classics) -- Written by Courtney Hunt
  • Happy-Go-Lucky (Miramax) -- Written by Mike Leigh
  • In Bruges (Focus Features) -- Written by Martin McDonagh
  • Milk (Focus Features) -- Written by Dustin Lance Black
  • WALL-E (Walt Disney) -- Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon / Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter
Another reason to love two time Oscar winner Mel Gibson:


The strange bedfellows of Hugo Ball and Marie Osmond

Posted by Whitmore, February 22, 2009 07:56pm | Post a Comment

Today is the anniversary of the birth of one of the creators of Dada, Hugo Ball -- Feb 22nd, 1886. In 1916 he co-founded the Cabaret Voltaire club in Zurich along with the likes of Jean Arp, Emmy Hennings, Tristan Tzara, Marcel Janco, and Richard Huelsenbeck, where the anti-art movement of Dadaism began. The same year Ball wrote his poem Karawane, which consists of nonsensical words, I like to think they’re German nonsensical words. Another poem, Gadji beri bimba, was later adapted by David Byrne and the Talking Heads for the song entitled "I Zimbra" on their 1979 album Fear of Music.
 
Marie Osmond is of course a member of the legendary show business family the Osmonds. She has also had her share of hit records like “Paper Roses” besides working with her big brother, Donny, on the hit TV variety show Donny & Marie back in the 1970’s. Most recently she’s been a spokesman for the Nutrisystem brand of weight loss meals. And to be perfectly honest I think she’s looking pretty good -- a side note, I think she also got hosed on Dancing with the Stars back in 2007 (sure she received the lowest scores ever in a Dancing With the Stars finals history, but her ridiculous attempts were sort of ...dadaistic. Well, anyway ...)
 
But once a long time ago, in a distant galaxy, in a bright neon yellow bathrobe befit for perhaps Arthur Dent on Xanax washed down with a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, Marie Osmond was also a spokesman for the Dada Movement. Believe it or not, here is some footage of Marie talking art history, Dadaism, good ol’ Hugo Ball and reciting his sound poem Karawane. First, a warning-- don’t look too closely into her eyes...
 
Happy birthday Hugo, and a happy gadjama affalo pinx gaga di bumbalo bumbalo gadjamen back to you....
 
Gadji beri bimba (1916)

gadji beri bimba glandridi
laula lonni cadori  
gadjama gramma berida
bimbala glandri
galassassa laulitalomini  
gadji beri bin
blassa glassala
laula lonni cadorsu sassala bim

gadjama tuffm i zimzalla binban  
gligla wowolimai
bin beri ban  
o katalominai rhinozerossola
hopsamen laulitalomini
hoooo 

gadjama rhinozerossola
hopsamen  
bluku terullala blaulala loooo

Junior McCants

Posted by Whitmore, February 22, 2009 01:08pm | Post a Comment
Last weekend I found myself babbling on about rare 45’s at a dinner party. I couldn’t shut-up, though I think someone other than myself was listening ... Anyway, the subject -- as to be expected in these hard economic times -- was what is the most valuable record waiting to be rescued from someone’s garage. It’s not an easy answer; there are a lot of hoaxes and misinformation on valuable vinyl out there in the serious record collecting world. I blame the recent rise of tantalizing yarns on bored muckrakers and conspiracy theorists having outgrown tall tales of Area 51, JFK, the Masons, and the New World Order as a viable entertainment option. Now they have moved on to Ebay auctions and hobbyists.

 
More often than not, a record which exchanges hands for an astronomical amount of cash sits in the genre known as Northern Soul, a style best described as a mid-tempo to slightly uptempo heavy-beat soul music that was danced to in Discothèques in Northern England from the early 1960’s till about the early to mid 70’s. Many of the recordings were heavily influenced by the Tamla/Motown sound and, if not exactly rare, these 45’s are at least hard to track down. Most of these singles were originally released in limited numbers on smaller labels in the US. Finding their way to UK nightclubs was nothing short of a miracle and usually required luck, perseverance and a round trip ticket to Detroit or Chicago. Clubs like the Twisted Wheel in Manchester, King Mojo in Sheffield, The Catacombs in Wolverhampton and the Golden Torch in Stoke-upon-Trent would go till the wee hours of morn, dancers and DJ’s hopped-up on amphetamines acrobatically cutting the rug in a mad, unhinged style that in some respects resembled later day break dancing.
 
Last October on Ebay, one of those never seen, legendary, Holy Grail of Northern Soul singles came up for auction -- Junior McCants' "Try Me For Your New Love" / "She Wrote It, I Read It" on King Records #6106 -- and went for an astounding ... wait... wait ... you’d better sit down for this ... $15,099.
 
That is not a typo, the bidding started at a very humble $9.99 but after 25 bids the price went Fibonacci-like. Most reasonable and fearful people are very suspicious of the authenticity of such a final bid. But if it’s true ... holy mother of friggin’ god!
 
I could find very little info on Junior McCants other than that he was from Cincinnati and he usually sang in a falsetto. This was his follow-up single to another great King release #6076; "The Boy Needs a Girl / Help My Love” from 1967 which failed to chart but did receive regional air play. On the liner notes to a Kent CD collection called King Northern Soul, it states that McCants died of a brain tumor at the age of 24. But I’ve also read that Junior McCants died in a motorcycle accident when he and King staff songwriter/producer/arranger Charles Spurling went out riding. According to the back story "Try Me for Your New Love" was pulled, in respect for McCants family’s wishes. Only a couple of white label promos saw the light of day, obviously at least one survived.
 
Inevitably another part of the “how much can a 45 be worth!?” question is always “what does an expensive record sound like?” This time I tried not to come off typically jaded and blasé at the dinner party with the usual reply: “not all that interesting.” The fact is, these McCants records are really pretty great, and besides, my New Year’s resolution was to reduce my cynicism --- actually reduce, reuse, recycle my cynicism ... I’ll save it for another day.
 
So here it is ... what 15 grand sounds like! So pop a couple of bennies, throw on your brogues or your black suede loafers and now groove to the left...


Mr. T's Be Somebody... Or Be Somebody's Fool

Posted by phil blankenship, February 22, 2009 11:43am | Post a Comment
 




MCA Home Video 80088

Defects

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 21, 2009 07:15pm | Post a Comment






I've always loved finding damaged labels on LP's. This batch covers a nice cross section from burned edges and small rips to labels pressed a couple inches off center and what appears to be a buckshot hole.

I feel like bootin' up -- The Take Fo' story

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 20, 2009 06:06pm | Post a Comment


Take Fo' Records
is a little known (outside of New Orleans) music label that truly broke ground with its motley roster of artists and progressive attitude, yet it's never received adequate recognition for its pioneering role in music. Whereas New Orleans's other big labels: Big Boy, Cash Money, Mobo, Parkway Pumpin', Untouchable, Tombstone and No Limit all seemed to consciously project a hard-as-nails image with tales of slangin', bangin', head bussin' and wig splittin', Take Fo' welcomed gangstas but also ball busters, dancer-cum-rappers, party starters and probably the first openly gay rapper. Despite the possible negative associations that might come with being part of this hip hop Island of Misfit Toys, the rappers on Take Fo' seemed unbothered and showed up on each others' albums in a show of courageous support.



 

Take Fo' evolved from the public access show Positive Black Talk that began in 1990 and was co-hosted by Earl J. Mackie. Their definition of "positive" wasn't necessarily in line with American mores at large, where violence is pretty much embraced and sexuality is incredibly repressed. Even in New Orleans, which is largely a lot more open-minded, not everyone appreciated Mackie's conception of positivity and he got grief from his pastor. But all of the show's guests conveyed messages of self-empowerment in their own ways, even if they ruffled some feathers along the way.





In 1992, Positive Black Talk lost its grant and Mackie hosted a dance at a local high school to raise funds for the show. The centerpiece was meant to be Da'Sha Ra' (pictured above) but a special ed teacher asked if he could warm up the crowd. After half an hour of captivating the audience, Henry "Henry the Man" Holden and Mackie began to formulate a new idea. After raising more in one night than the show had in two years, they switched tracks and soon Positive Black Talk Inc. morphed into Take Fo' Records and the show was no more. It took a couple months of pressure to get the warm up act, DJ Jubilee, to sign, as he already was commited to teaching and coaching, but he ultimately did and became the label's biggest star. Joined by partner Elden Anderson, the new label operated in the back of Mackie's father's roofing business. Henry the Man and E-Jay handled the production for the tracks and the label's ranks grew as more artists signed.


In the early '90s, Take Fo' quickly became one of the two labels that most epitomized Bounce music, the other being Mobo. Cash Money and Big Boy were both then primarily focused on producing a gangstafied Bounce variant, pioneered by U.N.L.V., who coined the term Gangsta Bounce. No Limit, having started in Richmond, California, was decidedly straight gangsta, albeit with a southern flavor courtesy of the second line-influenced production of Beats By the Pound. Jubilee's music, on the other hand, was in the vein of the Bounce's pioneers, TT Tucker & DJ Irv, DJ Jimi and Everlasting Hitman-- mixing the triggaman beat, the brown beat, calling out dance moves and shouting out wards, projects and occassionally neighboring southern states. "Stop Pause," his debut single, sold 30,000 copies and gave the label its first hit. By the mid-to-late '90s, Take Fo's New Orleans neighbors had all but completely dropped the Bounce aspect of their music but Take Fo' kept wobbling into the new millenium, ultimately spawning Bounce's shrill, gay offshoot, Sissy Rap.


By the late '90s, with the nationwide ascendancy of southern rap, the increasingly marginalized old record labels carpetbagged it down to N.O. hoping to exploit the city's East and West coast obliterating scene. First, Priority signed a deal with No Limit, then Universal signed a major deal with Cash Money. In 1999, DJ Jubilee signed a deal with Tommy Boy but they didn't allow him to record and eventually freed him. Meanwhile, Big Easy Distributing, Take Fo’s distributor, went out of business. That same year, Take Fo’s promoter, the legendary Bobby Marchan, also passed away.

Take Fo' famously ended up going to court several times over the years. In one case, DJ Jubilee sued Juvenile, alledging that the Juve's "Back That Azz Up" ripped off Jube's "Back That Ass Up" based on the claim that he'd originated the dance at block parties. As much as I like Jubilee and feel bad that he's never achieved anywhere near the fame he deserves, I have to say he didn't really have a case since he wasn't suing that his dance had been ripped of, but that his song had. Mannie Fresh, for his part, admitted that "Back That Azz Up" was inspired by Jubilee's song, but with significantly varied production and even the lyrical conversion of what was a dance chant into more sexual territory, the court ruled in Juvenile's favor. A few years later Take Fo' sued Master P for breach of contract, alledging that No Limit failed to adequately pay Take Fo' in their joint venture with Choppa and I guess they settled for an undisclosed sum.


In 2001, Take Fo' became The New Take Fo'. After Katrina, the label relocated to Houston but returned by 2009, when they celebrated 17 years in the game. Whilst they may be fairly obscure, they've shown remarkable perseverance, a defiant open-mindedness, and created some classic music along the way.

Partial Take Fo' timeline/discography


1994 - Flesh & Blood - Flesh & Blood



1995 - Da'Sha'Ra - Still Bootin' Up, DJ Jubilee - Stop Pause, DJ Jubilee - DJ Jubilee & the Cartoon Crew


1996 - War Time featuring The Hideout - The Album,  Big Al & Lil Tee - B***h You Know Who I Am, DJ Jubilee - 20 Years in the Jets


 

1997 - 2-Sweet - Actin' Bad, Willie Puckett - Doggie Hop, DJ Jubilee - Get Ready, Ready!



(original Choppa Style - poor quality)


(No Limit remake - medium quality)

     

1998 - Willie Puckett - Million Dollar Hot Boy, DJ Jubilee - Take it to the St. Thomas

   

1999 - Katey Red & Dem Hoes - Melpomene Block Party, K.C. Redd [RIP] & the Shake 'em Up Girls - It's a G-Thang, Lisa Amos - Cause You Love Me

 Katey REd Y2 Katey 

2000 - DJ Jubilee - Do Yo Thing Girl!, Katey Red - Y2 Katy, Tec-9 - Ready 4 War



   

2001 - Choppa - Choppa Style, DJ Duck - Duck Remixxes, Junie Bezel -
That's How Mess Get Started

Post Script: Kasey "K.C. Redd" Segue was shot to death in 2006. Katey Red filmed her first video in 2011, for "Where Da Melph At?"

*****

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High Stakes

Posted by phil blankenship, February 20, 2009 05:45pm | Post a Comment
 


Cinema Group Home Video 7004

L.A. Covered

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 20, 2009 01:35pm | Post a Comment


Nice shot of the Rainbow above on the Silver, Platinum & Gold Lp. Below David Ruffin is rushing down Vine St. just North of Molly's Burgers. He's actually headed right to the strip of Hollywood Blvd. pictured on the Racer X back cover, which is the image to his right. Maybe he's running up for a quick peek inside the Cave strip joint, but most likely he had a transaction pending up on Yucca.


The "Lonely Street" that David Remsing is standing on? That would once again be the blvd. of broken dreams, in the same vicinity as the Racer X cover. The George Jones pictured above is contemplating a burrito @ Dos Burritos, which was directly west of the Pantages. It's now on the opposite side of the street about a block down. He's actually standing in front of the famous Frolic Room sign. I believe Randy Newman is on a downtown LA overpass...


Aah, two classic Sunset Strip covers, picturing the Whisky a Go Go in its prime along with a nice shot PJ's on the Freddy Cannon cover. The Crusaders take a stroll down Rodeo drive. The next row returns us to the dirty blvd -- not somewhere that I would crawl & writhe around on, but then again I'm not in WASP. To the left of Blackie we have the back of that George Jones record, with a full view of said sign.  I'm sure that there was once frolic to be had at the Frolic Room, but the last time I walked in, there were 3 losers and a jukebox blaring Pearl Jam. Instead of rockin out to "Evenflow," I frolicked on down to Musso & Frank. Musso & Frank is Hollywood's oldest resturant, and their sign can be seen in the background on the LP to right of the WASP record.


Some classic theatre shots. The Rialto is still standing in South Pasadena, but is in pretty rough shape.  Of course you have Graumans Chinese Theater in the center and then the Palladium, which has been renovated to look very much like it did on this Jerry Gray LP. A couple of eastside shots, including a nice pic of the Paramount Ballroom, surround the Muffs. You'll have to stop by the buy counter and ask Ronnie where they're at in the photo; he told me once but I've forgotten. I think it's in the Wilshire area, but I might be off on that one. Below we have a shot of the old Capitol Records Melrose Ave studio.  The shoes I'm currently wearing came from the Supply Seargeant, pictured in the surreal take on Hollywood Blvd. that adornes the Little Feat record below. And finally, back to the Pantages, which was photographed and then painted over for this Mancini record. 


AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 02:20:09

Posted by Billyjam, February 20, 2009 09:17am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 02:20:09
zion i the take over
1) Zion I The TakeOver (Gold Dust Media) 

2) Madlib Beat Konducta Vols. 5-6 (Stones Throw)

3) 40Love BANGERANG! (No Label)

4) P.O.S. Never Better (Rhymesayers Entertainment)

5) Various Artists NASA: The Spirit of Apollo (Anti)

Thanks to Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for this latest Hip-Hop Top Five, compiled from weekly sales figures of new hip-hop full-length CDs at the Haight Street store. And in the number one (with a bullet) slot is the off the hook just released Zion I album, The TakeOver on Gold Dust Media. This is the sixth album from the Oakland based duo who released their first full-length back in 2000. Comprised of producer AmpLive and emcee Zumbi, who moved out to the Bay Area from Atlanta, GA thirteen years ago where they first met up as students attending Morehouse College, Zion I just get better and better as time goes by. And The TakeOver is without a doubt their finest release to date. It is also their most musically diverse, incorporating elements of hyphy, boom bap, dirty south, power pop rap, and more.
amplive
And impressively, much of the music is live, not sampled. "On this album we wanted to keep it more live and also electronic so as to just have it as a tight combination," AmpLive told me recently, noting that the drums on the New Orleans flavored track "Gumbo" are all recorded live. Meanwhile, guest artists on the album include Rhymesayers emcee Brother Ali; Oakland power vocalist Jennifer Johns, whose numerous other collaborations include recording with former Amoebite DJ Platurn; Devin The Dude, who collaborates on the infectious, hit-bound "Country Baked Yams;" female vocalist K. Flay, whose vocal style is reminiscent of Sinead O' Connor; and talented UK emcee Ty, who deserves more attention Stateside than he has gotten to date.

Continue reading...

out this week 2/10 & 2/17...lily allen...lonely island...morrissey...asobi seksu...

Posted by Brad Schelden, February 19, 2009 06:51pm | Post a Comment
lily allen it's not me it's you
It is getting to that point in the year where I am having a hard time keeping up with all the music coming out, so you really should not have that hard of a time finding new albums to listen to this month or the next. I keep finding a new favorite album but it is then overshadowed or replaced by some other album that I get obsessed with. The new Lily Allen album came out last week, and I do love it. If you already love her then go get this album. It is very different than her first album but you will love it for all the same reasons that you loved the first album. Her song writing is still that great combination of cute and brilliant and sassy. I can't really imagine liking any other singer that could get away with her lyrics, but she pulls it off. I might be throwing the word love around a bit too much, but I did fall in love with her voice the first time I listened to Alright, Still. I do also associate that album with Los Angeles. It was one of those albums that I listened to a bunch on trips to LA a couple of years ago, so it is now perfect that I am actually living in LA again for this new album. Lily Allen just has one of those catchy and cute voices that makes me smile. It is what all pop music should sound like. Perfect for those of us still obsessed with British music and culture and a nice pop alternative. The new album is called It's Not Me It's You. She has a brilliant way of switching around some popular phrases, as she does with "Thank You Very Much," one of my favorite tracks on the album. I saw her show for the first album in San Francisco and can't wait to see her again down here. She will be playing at the Wiltern on April 2nd. The album is just as catchy as you want it to lonely island incredibadbe. It does what it sets out to do. The album is pure pop entertainment with that signature Lilly Allen feel to it. I do have a habit of loving the artists that most people either love or hate. It is the better artists that I think have this effect on us. You should love her like I do, but I will not hate you if you don't. She is for sure not for everyone.

Also out last week was the debut album from Lonely Island called Incredibad. This is the music project of Andy Samberg from Saturday Night Live. It is basically all the songs from thelast couple of years of the digital short segments with some added new songs. I know that there are many out there that think that Saturday Night Live is just not funny anymore, but Andy Samberg and Kristen Wiig are two of the funniest people on television and I think have both saved the show. This is of course just my opinion, but I really can't get enough of either of them. They both started on the show in 2005 and I think they both tend to get the best material on the show but are seriously funny regardless. I will keep my fingers crossed for a Kristen Wiig album. I don't think I have every laughed so much as I do whenever she comes on the TV screen. The guys in Lonely Island have all been friends since junior high in Berkeley and are all now writers on Saturday Night Live. The humor might be a bit juvenile but I still love it. The album comes with a DVD of 8 of the digital shorts of your favorite songs like "Jizz in My Pants" and "Dick in a Box." One of my favorites is "Space Olympics." I can watch that one over and over again. I realize I sort of sound like a boy in his teens right now, but sometimes you need some silly humor in your life. They are sort of like a more hip version of Weird Al. Unfortunately, "Natalie's Rap" did not make it on the DVD, but the song is still on the album. This was one of the most brilliant and suprising moments on Saturday Night Live with Natalie Portman. Even if you think you are no longer a fan of Saturday Night Live, you need to give it another try. At least watch these Lonely Island videos. And please try and not laugh at the brilliance that is Kristen Wiig. Everything she does is absolutely brilliant.

One of the most exciting albums of the year is out this week: That would be the new album by Morrissey. The album is called Years of Refusal and is released by Lost Highway. I hope that by now those of you that have turned your back on Morrissey are ready to let him back in your life. I never really understood how people claim to be hugemorrissey years of refusal Smiths fans but have never bothered getting into Morrissey as a solo artist. I have some friends who I am very jealous of who actually saw The Smiths live. I was just a bit too young to really even know who they were when they were still a band. But I grew up with Morrissey and he was for sure one of my first obsessions. My obsession has not always stayed as strong as it was in the late 80s and early 90s. I know I have talked about all this before -- it really came back with this new group of solo albums starting in 2004. He may be getting older but he is just as talented and relevant as ever, and his fanbase seems to be growing once again. There are those of us still obsessed with him since Viva Hate first came out in 1988. 20 years later we still love him as much as ever. There are also those who were fans back then but then gave up on him but are now back in love with Morrissey. But I do love all the new younger fans -- the fans that were born in 1990 when Bona Drag came out just turned 18 last year! I really do love it that he is getting new fans with every album. He is not losing fans and fading into obscurity. He remains a totally huge old school cult status singer but also is managing to grab the attention of a whole new generation. I don't even know what else to say about this guy. I love him and the new album is fantastic. But maybe I wouldn't feel that way about the album if I was not so blinded by my love of Morrissey. It is hard for me to be subjective about a album by him, but I gaurantee you that there are some great songs on here -- although this album is another one of those albums worth buying for the cover alone. The baby he is holding is apparently a digitally created baby that sort of looks like what his baby would look like. Or maybe he actually has a secret baby! The album is strangely familiar. I already know all the words somehow. "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore" is currently my favorite track on the album. I love having Morrissey back in my life every time there is a new album. But if you grew up a Morrissey fan he has probably never really left your life. He is just waiting on the sidelines for some of us, waiting to be let back in.

My new favorite of the week is the new album by Asobi Seksu. It is hard to compete with Morrissey, butasobi seksu hush this album puts up a good fight. Asobi Seksu sort of reminds me of the band Lush. I was obsessed with Lush for many years and still put them up very high in my all time favorite bands list. Try to imagine Azure Ray mixed up with Lush. There is obviously some shoegaze influence on this New York group. The band is basically Yuki Chikudate on keyboards and James Hanna on guitar. Yuki does most of the singing on this new album but James helps out on a couple of tracks. They have actually been recording albums for a couple of years now and this is their third album. But I am new to the world of Asobi Seksu, which apparantly means "casual sex" in Japanese. I don't really know much about them. The new album is called Hush, which even sounds like the band Lush. I have become totally addicted to this album. It is one of those albums that makes me happy but also makes me want to cry the whole time, just like the way I feel when I listen to Maria Taylor or Azure Ray. Speaking of, Maria Taylor has an album out next month that I am very much looking forward to. The other half of Azure Ray, Orenda Fink, also has a new album out next month for a project called O+S. Azure Ray fans like me have a lot to look forward to next month! But I really do highly recommend this new Asobi Seksu album. It is also one of those albums that manages to be cute and sort of dark at the same time, which I guess is why it makes me happy and full of tears at the same time. This is sort of what shoegaze does to me. If you have any doubt whether you will like this album just listen to track 9, "Glacially." It sounds a bit like My Bloody Valentine. Fantastic. The album will grow on you as it has me. Like a really good movie it stays with you and you long to experience the feeling you had again. Get some Asobi Seksu in your life. It will make you feel better -- but just a little bit sad as well.

also out 2/17...

beirut march of the zapotec




March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland by Beirut
 





m. ward hold time




Hold Time by M. Ward






dark was the night




Dark Was the Night by Various Artists











Tight Knit by Vetiver











To Be Still by Alela Diane











For the Whole World to See by Death











Cranes by Cranes






lindstrom where you go i go too




Where You Go I Go Too (special edition) by Lindstrom











Choral by Mountains





abe vigoda reviver




Reviver by Abe Vigoda











Part 1: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made by Fol Chen








Sanctuary Of Fear

Posted by phil blankenship, February 19, 2009 11:52am | Post a Comment
 


CBS Fox VIdeo 9032

AMOEBA AS THERAPY & NINE OTHER REASONS TO LOVE THE SF STORE

Posted by Billyjam, February 19, 2009 08:55am | Post a Comment


"Amoeba has so much more vinyl and is a much more happening store to forget about life worries ... it's therapy for me. Amoeba has always been THE BEST!" So recently wrote Amoeba fan "Lovedrop Says" in a posting on the NBC website as part of a poll amongst Bay Area residents intended to decipher which is a better store, Rasputin or Amoeba.

By end of the voting Amoeba had beaten out Rasputin with 68% to their 32% of votes by Bay Area NBC website visitors. The poll was actually about the Berkeley Amoeba but what Lovedrop Says about the Telegraph Ave. Amoeba is equally true of the Haight Street Amoeba, as reaffirmed about a week or so ago when I stopped by the San Francisco Amoeba Music store for some therapy myself.

Besides that feeling of "therapy" described by Lovedrop Says -- when you get so lost in the rows and rows of vinyl and CDs that time just magically slips away and what seems like ten minutes can be two hours -- there are many other reasons to love visiting the Amoeba Music San Francisco store. I made a list of ten of the top reasons to shop Amoeba right here, including what Lovedrop Says wrote about Amoeba as therapy -- reason #1.

As an art lover, especially graffiti, I have almost as much fun outside Amoeba SF gazing at the walls of colorful art on the store's outer walls (reason #2) including the image above (minus the photoshopped in Tony Bennett I Left My Heart in San Francisco LP -- that record can found inside in the used LPs section). So impressive are the colorful outer walls of Amoeba SF that they have been used in many photo and video shoots including in Bored Stiff's most recent video "@ A Distance." There is also lots of other graf art on walls nearby all within a block of Amoeba SF. It is like a free outdoor art gallery. Well wicked!

TIME ON FACEBOOK Vs FACE TIME IN THE REAL (NON VIRTUAL) WORLD

Posted by Billyjam, February 18, 2009 02:30pm | Post a Comment
"Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life," claims the heading on Facebook once you arrive on their website. But we all know, or should suspect, that the phenomenally popular social networking site (175 million + members worldwide) would love to share your information with more than just "the people in your life" (i.e., advertisers or anyone willing to pay), especially when increased revenues for the company are at stake.

Hence the news this week that, following a tidal wave of protests from its justifiably anxious users that Facebook (FB) would again modify its rules by withdrawing recent changes to its so-called "terms of service" (TOS) dealing with the data (personal information, wall postings, messages, images etc.) supplied by its legions of devoted members, should not come as a big surprise.

The new message posted on FB reads, "Over the past few days, we have received a lot of feedback about the new terms we posted two weeks ago. Because of this response, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised." That recent adjustment to the Facebook/member contract occurred about two weeks ago when the site deleted a provision from its TOS: an important one that said users could remove their FB data anytime they wished, and once they deleted it, that the license would expire. Suddenly FB added new data stating that FB could and would retain users’ content and licenses even after a user's FB account was terminated. Understandably this was perceived as meaning that FB forever owns everything you post on their site and naturally this unnerving bit of news set off a domino effect of paranoia amongst its members.
facebook ceo zuckerberg
Hence the back-peddling by FB top dog Mark Zuckerberg, who assured members in a blog posted two days ago that the fact that “people own their information and control who they share it with has remained constant.” This is the guy, you will recall, who forked over a whopping $65 million settlement in a lawsuit by his three old Harvard buddies who said they came up with the idea first -- intended for their own site, ConnectU -- and that that Zuckerberg (whose net worth is guestimated to be $1.5 billion) simply stole it from them. The case got settled before going to court so we really don't know the real dealio and it is possible that Zuckerberg is innocent, but I sure doubt it. This is the guy who millions are entrusting with their most personal information! 

Continue reading...

FOXES Saturday Midnight At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, February 18, 2009 10:18am | 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!


February 21

Jodie Foster
& Scott Baio in

Foxes

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





February

February 28 Road House
(Dalton lives like a loner, fights like a professional. And loves like there's no tomorrow. The dancing's over. Now it gets dirty.)

March
March 7 Aliens
First Screening Of A BRAND NEW 35mm Print!

March 20 & 21 MAD MAXATHON
Triple Feature of ALL THREE Mad Max Films. Running Two Nights Only!
MAD MAX
THE ROAD WARRIOR
MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME



Continue reading...

MADNESS SONG BAGGY TROUSERS IN TV AD CLEVER, NOT CRASS

Posted by Billyjam, February 18, 2009 09:25am | Post a Comment

Madness song "Baggy Trousers" in TV ad for Colgate toothpaste
madness absolutely

Sometimes when artists license their music for use in a TV commercial you feel compelled to cringe, oft feeling like they have somehow betrayed you (the dedicated music fan) by selling out and discrediting all the sincere association you once had with said song. But then in other instances the use seems perfectly fitting. Such is the case with the early 80's use of the great ska/pop song "Baggy Trousers" by the ever-distinctly British band Madness in a UK TV commercial for Colgate's (then new) Blue Minty Gel line of toothpaste.

The song is taken from the 2Tone band's 1980 album Absolutely and was written by lead singer Suggs (born Graham McPherson). Its lyrics reminisce about school days and the song's accompanying music video was partly shot in a boys school, hence the madness baggy trousersuse of the song in the TV spot featuring school boys (who do a fun spot-on imitiation of Madness) seems most appropriate, with their re-appropriation of the lyrics into a ditty promoting dental hygiene coming across as clever, not crass.

Above is the UK television Colgate spot and below is the Madness video for the original song, released as a single in September 1980, which peaked at number 3 in the UK singles chart that year. Note that the song was also featured in the 2001 film soundtrack to Mean Machine and was additionally used continually throughout the play The History Boys. Reportedly the inside joke is that baggy trousers are one of the initial signs of madness.


Madness video for "Baggy Trousers"

THE HISTORY OF FUNK BY RICKEY VINCENT

Posted by Billyjam, February 17, 2009 12:51pm | Post a Comment
rickey vincent
Rickey Vincent
literally wrote the book on funk. The college professor, writer, and radio DJ, who resides in Berkeley CA with his wife and two sons, is the author of the acclaimed music history book Funk: The Music, the People, and the Rhythm of The One (St. Martin's Press) which won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. If you don't already have this book, with a forward by George Clinton, I highly recommended it since it is the most comprehensive study on funk.

In addition to being an author & journalist, Vincent has taught at City College of San Francisco and SF State University where he taught a course entitled Protest Music Since 1965: Funk, Rap and the Black Revolution. Rickey is also a longtime Bay Area radio DJ at stations KALX and KPFA, where he still hosts his popular weekly funk show The History of Funk, Fridays at 10PM on 94.1FM.

The widely respected funkateer's musical knowledge (and music collection) is unmatched. I recently caught up with Vincent to talk about the funk/hip-hop connection and the impact of funk and black music in general on both American and global cultures, among other things. The conversation inevitably turned to godfather of soul / funk pioneer James Brown a few times during the interview. 

Vincent is currently finishing up last minute details on his next book Party Music -- a fascinating historical account of the Black Panther Party's own funk band, Oakland's The Lumpen, who took popular funk songs and rhythms but substituted more revolutionary lyrics. (Look for a future interview with him about this upon its publication.) For more information on the author, you can visit Rickey Vincent's website or his MySpace. You can also read his book or check out his show on KPFA.

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Joe Cuba 1931-2009

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 17, 2009 12:02pm | Post a Comment
Another legend has left us. Joe Cuba, who was known as “The Father of Boogaloo," passed away on Sunday, February 15. He had many hits during the 60's and 70's with his "Boogaloo" style, a mixture of Latin music and R&B sung in both Spanish and English. It was the perfect marriage between Motown and Fania, which were the sounds of New York at that time. It was the kind of music that got Afro-Americans listening to Latin music and got Latinos into soul. He had a number of hits, such as “Bang Bang,” “Push Push,” “El Pito,” “Ariñañara,” and “Sock It To Me Baby,”

He also helped launch the careers of many great singers, including Ruben Blades and Cheo Feliciano.

I got into Joe Cuba from the infamous bodega scene with RuPaul in the movie Crooklyn. In the background was the song "El Pito" and it knocked me out. I slowed down the VHS tape so that I could read the credits at the end of the movie. If you don't think you know Joe Cuba's music, maybe this scene from Crooklyn would refresh your memory:


I knew about Willie Bobo and Mongo Santamaria, but discovering Joe Cuba opened a door into the world of boogaloo and from there, into all the great Fania artists. Joe Cuba was instrumental in helping me to develop a deep love of Salsa and Afro-Caribbean music in general.

Thank You, Mr. Cuba, for helping all of us who were into your music expand our horizons.

Love Story - The Band Love and Arthur Lee's Skewed Genius

Posted by Miss Ess, February 17, 2009 10:45am | Post a Comment

One of my favorite bands from the 60s has to be Love. Their music is so unexpected and so unconventional, both lyrically and sonically. I give Arthur Lee the lion's share of credit for this (sorry Bryan MacLean). Lee was truly one of a kind.

I've just watched the recent documentary about Love, Love Story.

Lee formed the band under various names in Los Angeles in the early 60s. It was one of the very first integrated rock bands to hit the scene and gain popularity -- something that is discussed in the film quite a bit, as band members feel they were represented to the press/public early on by colorful psychedelic drawings as a way for the record company to avoid presenting the potentially "risky" fact that the band was made up of both black and white musicians. 

Love was one of the first rock bands to sign to Jac Holzman's Elektra Records and it was not to be a simple relationship between the band and their label. The band members spend a great deal of time in Love Story accusing Holzman of not promoting their work enough. Holzman counters this by pointing out Lee's aversion to touring outside of California. Regardless, the band made three brilliant albums within a span of a year and a half (!) -- Love, Da Capo and Forever Changes -- and increasingly, Lee's moments of brilliance were aggravated by longer and longer durations of virtual insanity because of his drug use.

Due to the fact that he was a young African American man in Los Angeles in the 60s and also because of Lee's skewed view of the world and his paranoid and idiosyncratic thoughts, Love's music portrays the world from an outsider's perspective. This lyrical innovation is just one part of what marks the band's music as distinctive and even refreshing; while Love's albums have some of the hallmarks of the psychedelic era, if you listen to the lyrics, they are highly critical of hippies and their "peace and love" stance. (Yes, ironic considering the band is named Love.) The lyrics are dark and question the way the world works.

Sonically, each album grows more multi dimensional; from Love, which is garage-y and poppy, with sudden time changes and inventive drumming; to Da Capo with its flute accents and experimental full-side-love-it-or-hate-it jam; to Forever Changes which takes the listener on an uncomperable trip through Lee and MacLean's brains with flamenco guitar, strings, Latin-flavored horns, etc. Although the documentary Love Story ends its story after the release of Forever Changes, when the original band broke up, I highly recommend the next album Arthur Lee released under the Love banner: Four Sail, in addition to the first three albums. Four Sail has some of my favorite Love songs ever, and Lee forges a solid comeback in all his quirky glory.

Love Story is a great documentary. Arthur Lee is such a character that it is fun to watch and listen to him. Although his diction is sometimes difficult to understand (and the film's sound is amature), he still presents an ever-strong point of view. There are so many great bits of footage and the interviews, particularly an interview with Bryan MacLean, who died in 1998 and several with Lee, who died in 2005, are precious. Guitarist Johnny Echols is also extensively interviewed and he seems to be the band member who has done the best job of keeping his head together, post drug addiction and fame. Echols adds astute comments to the unfortunately short story of the band Love. Their music is singular, electrifying and resonant; there will never be another group like Love.

Because Love never had a legit radio hit, there is almost no footage of them performing. It's a bummer, but here is the closest they ever came to a hit, a cover of Burt Bacharach's "Little Red Book."
 

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Killer of Sheep

Posted by Amoebite, February 17, 2009 10:43am | Post a Comment
Killer of Sheep is a beautifully simple urban tale of an African-American community set in Los Angeles' Watts district during the 1970s. Yes, the 1960s included a cultural revolution toward racial freedom, but history often assures us that problems are far more complex than just a cry for racial freedom. Every community has its individual fight, and here we follow Stan, frustrated with the monotony of working at a slaughter house, and we see how it affects his life at home.

killer of sheep

It is notable how personal the film feels. It makes sense – Charles Burnett wrote, produced, shot, and killer of sheepdirected it with a budget of less than $10,000 with the help of many close friends and family. The result is a natural, humanistic style. It takes a lot of courage for a director to let a story work inside out, and that's where the simplicity lies. Emotion is often wallpaper when complicated plots involve twists and turns. Instead, here, we are embraced in moments within relationships, moments of hardship, moments of tenderness, and moments of family togetherness.

Our generation is fortunate to witness this DVD release of the film – the film never saw its release until 30 years (2007) after its completion due to music rights not being secured. It also includes another feature length, My Brother's Wedding, Burnett's timeless second feature about characters from Los Angeles' South Central.

-Tiffany Huang

February 16, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, February 17, 2009 10:23am | Post a Comment




Who's black and whose black?

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 17, 2009 12:00am | Post a Comment

As Black History Month rolls on, I asked myself a question that may seem stupid to most people: Who exactly is black and who is not? And how is it decided? Does the individual or society determine what we are or is it a combination of both? Are there other factors? Is this the Family Feud or actual objective science?
 

In 2009, all rational and educated people now accept that race is a human construct, which isn't to say that it's meaningless. As long as people are treated differently (preferentially, discriminatorily or just differently based on presupposed differences) on the basis of race, how society constructs and applies that race is worth thinking about. And, ideally, there shouldn't be any shame in recognizing broad cultural differences either. Why should "white pride" be offensive? Pride in er-one, I say. Minor caveat: to even assume that American society has reached a consensus on race defies reality – that's why Dave Chappelle instituted the racial draft. So step with me into a blog of shadows and substance, things and ideas into, to coin a phrase, The Twilight Zone.

 

Requiem for The Phantom: marking a decade since the passing of the legendary Horace Tapscott

Posted by Mark Beaver, February 17, 2009 12:00am | Post a Comment
I remember lying on a couch in my room in Oakland, sometime in either 1989 or 1990. Afternoon light was pouring in my window and I was in a hypnogogic state, somewhere between waking and dreaming. My mind was occupied with the vision of long and dark brown hands holding what looked to be a piece of blue glass. The agile hands turned the glass over and over again, and with each turning, facets appeared, polished and refracting light. The glass was becoming more and more ornate and I remember thinking that it was "perfecting." Suddenly, I sat bolt upright, realizing that I was having a visual experience of the music I was listening to at the moment: The title track from the recently issued LP by Horace Tapscott, Dark Tree.

Tapscott was working a theme on the piano, turning it over and over, and every time it came around, there was more beauty in it. And every time it came around, there was less of anything superfluous. The theme, under his long, dark fingers, was "perfecting."

Released again in 2000 by Swiss Hatology label on double limited edition CD with its companion volume, Dark Tree 1 & 2 is a document of what I have come to consider one of the most important jazz quartets of all time. Featuring Tapscott on piano, John Carter on clarinet, Cecil McBee on contrabass and Andrew Cyrille on drums, it is a fleeting glimpse into not only a rare recording by this astounding group, but a rare small group recording for Tapscott, altogether.

Born in Houston, Texas in 1934, he moved with his musical family to Los Angeles when he was 9, where he was steeped in the vital jazz scene around L.A.'s Central Avenue. He studied piano as well as trombone with teachers who also taught the young Eric Dolphy and Frank Morgan. After a stint in the U.S. Air Force Band, he returned to L.A., and eventually joined Lionel Hampton's Big Band as a trombonist.

Back in Los Angeles through the sixties, Tapscott's work in the emerging Avant Garde was gaining more attention. In 1968, he worked with Sonny Criss, providing all of the arrangements and composition for Sonny's Dream (Prestige).

His first recording as a leader, The Giant Is Awakened, also featured the debut recordings of saxophonist Arthur Blythe and bassist David Bryant.

Tapscott was outspoken about racial discrimination and his role as a community organizer, social critic and his perceived connection with the Black Panther Party (he arranged and conducted Elaine Brown's controversial Seize The Time album) got him blacklisted from the music industry through most of the early '70s.

Increasingly vital as a community organizer and musical force in Watts and surrounding communities, Tapscott formed the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, based out of Watts' Immanuel United Church of Christ. Over the years, his work with the Arkestra and the U.G.M.A.A. (Union of God's Musicians & Artists Ascension) would involve and develop some of L.A.'s most brilliant composers, vocalists and performers, including vocalist Dwight Trible, poet and vocalist Kamau Daaood, bassists Roberto Miranda and Henry Franklin, saxophonists Azar Lawrence, Sabia Matteen, James Andrews, and flautist Adele Sebastian, amongst scores more.



















The '80s and '90s saw more recording work for Tapscott, as his importance gathered greater international recognition. He recorded his aforementioned Dark Tree recordings as well as multiple solo and group recordings for the Nimbus label and a duo of astounding documents, Aiee! the Phantom (1995) and Thoughts of Dar Es Salaam (1996) for the Arabesque label.



















There are two fine books on the market that document not only Tapscott's life, but the Los Angeles Arts Community to which he was so committed, both by Steve Isoardi.


























Horace Tapscott passed away from lung cancer 10 years ago this February 27. I consider myself blessed to have seen him perform at least once, in a series of duets concerts organized at Oakland's Koncepts Cultural Gallery in the late '80s. If I remember correctly, his duet partner was the legendary drummer Andrew Cyrille.

People who know me know that I love jazz. I find it both amusing and sad that, when asked who my favorite jazz musician is (an impossible question to many), I answer, "Horace Tapscott." No hesitation. My reply is, more often than not, received with a confused silence. Too many have never heard the name before.

He was the pinnacle, the jewel in the lotus. Tapscott was a man of community and family, he was a craftsman who worked and worked at his art, turned the unformed blue glass of his life into a perfected and multi-faceted jewel that sent refractions of sheer beauty across timespace. His work reverberates today, a decade after his passing, and it will for a long time to come. And all of this was accomplished without the energy provided by what we classically call "fame." I am always humbled when I reflect on his life and work. May peace be on his soul.

Kamau Daaood reads his poem for Horace Tapscott:

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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 02:16:09

Posted by Billyjam, February 16, 2009 09:01am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 02:16:09
rza afro samurai resurrection: the soundtrack
1)  RZA Afro Samurai Resurrection:The Soundtrack
     (TVT) 

2)  Madlib Beat Konducta 5 - 6: (Stones Throw)

3)  Kayne West 808s & Heartbreak (Roc-A-Fella
    Records)

4)  Foreign Exchange Leave It All Behind (Hard Boiled)

5)  Q-Tip The Renaissance (Motown/Universal)

Thanks to Inti at the Telegraph Avenue Amoeba Music store in Berkeley for the latest Hip-Hop Top Five, a weekly chart of best selling hip-hop full-length CDs. RZA, who recently rocked it in San Francisco at Mezzanine, where he headlined last Sunday night, scores the number one chart position with his wonderful Afro-Samurai Resurrection: The Soundtrack on TVT for the ultra-violent Spike TV animated show. This latest release k-the-i yesterday today and tomorrowfrom the prolific WU warrior, who nowadays lives in LA, is also selling well at the other two Amoeba stores. Meanwhile, another SoCal resident, the even more prolific, endlessly talented and highly influential producer Madlib, who considers himself a "DJ first, producer second, and MC last," continues to dominate the Amoeba top 5 (and near every other hip-hop chart) -- this time with his latest installment in the Beat Konducta series on Stones Throw Records.

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Be My Belated Valentine

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 15, 2009 10:58pm | Post a Comment
Gregory Isaac -"Night Nurse"

I once listened to this song over and over in my car for days while love sick.


Ramon Ayala Y Los Bravos Del Norte - "Chaparra De Mi Amor"

I also listened to this song over and over in my car for days while love sick. Same girl.


Barry White - Love's Theme

Here is Barry White in Mexico in the 70's. He was huge in popularity and in stature all over Latin America during that time. I have at least a half a dozen cover versions of this song done by Latin American bands. I had the pleasure of seeing Barry White in concert while on tour in Australia. I was happy to see him, but I remembered I was bummed that I was single at the time and had no one to share that moment with.


Apparently, YouTube doesn't want Serge Gainsbourg to be your valentine unless you go to their site. So go and see this heart filled song.

Shows: A Pictorial Blog

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 15, 2009 10:15pm | Post a Comment


Quantic at Mas Exitos. He played some great records, but Chico Sonido stole his thunder with a great set before he went on. Call it home town advantage.



Jun and Eric with pretty girl in the middle at Mas Exitos



The Latin Project at Real Wednesdays. It was a live Brazilian House set by these world travelers.



Ruben Guevara & The East Side Lovers. Ruben becomes Funkahuátl, The Aztec God Of Funk, from the top of the bar at East Side Luv in Boyle Heights. The former Ruben & The Jets legend (and one-time Frank Zappa colaberator) rocks harder at his age than most people in their twenties. That night, he put everyone to shame.



Cute girl at Tormenta Tropical



Toy Selectah returns to L.A.



The VBC (Very Be Careful) at El Gallo Giro in East L.A.

Tormenta Tropical

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 15, 2009 09:10pm | Post a Comment

Tormenta Tropical is an Electro-Cumbia club that has its roots in San Francisco and Buenos Aires. This was the second Tormenta Tropical in L.A and the first at their new spot, Guatalinda’s. The club mostly caters to Latin American immigrants, mostly from Central America and Mexico. It’s the kind of place you go to escape Americanism, even for just for a night. The waitresses, complete with the “barely there” mini-faldas, served drinks as the music blasted out of the sound system. To say it was loud was an understatement. The combination of Electro, Dancehall and Cumbia was as varied as the people who went to Tormenta Tropical. It was a mixture of hipsters, regulars and those who felt comfortable in both worlds.

Oro 11 and Disco Shawn from Bersa Discos started the evening. They played the perfect blend of Sonidero, Hip-Hop, Cumbia Villera, Vallenato that had the regulars up and dancing. Uproot Andy from New York, who followed them, was heavier on the electro vibe that night, which made the regulars sit down and got the electro crowd up on the floor. He did play an amazing Prince Nico remix that I wish I had. I think it may be one of his remixes...it was my favorite song of the night. Toy Selectah was the best of both worlds. He got everyone up. I spoke with Toy briefly before his set. Looks like he will have two 12" singles coming out soon, one on Discos Bersa and the other on Mad Decent

It looks like Tormenta Tropical will happen every first Friday of the month. Despite some grumbling from the regular Guatalinda’s crowd, I think this is a good thing for L.A. Not the “same old, same old” Cumbia and not some overly douchebag electro. It was the best of both worlds.

a little art for a bunch of little records

Posted by Whitmore, February 15, 2009 04:22pm | Post a Comment

This Week At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, February 15, 2009 10:25am | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly!

RIAN JOHNSON'S FESTIVAL OF FAKERY
Coming to the New Beverly Cinema Feb. 18-28
A week of films regarding frauds, fakers, charlatans, hoaxers, hucksters and other unsavory sorts, each selected and presented by Rian Johnson for your "viewerly" edification!

Rian Johnson exploded onto the film scene in 2005 with BRICK, a modern day film noir. Beloved by audiences and critics alike, the film is clearly the beginning of a long and brilliant career. Johnson's second theatrical release, THE BROTHERS BLOOM, will be released this year and will receive two advance screenings at the New Beverly as part of the "Festival of Fakery"!

Schedule permitting, Rian Johnson will introduce the films in person all 10 days of the festival.


Sunday, Monday & Tuesday February 15, 16, 17

New 35mm Print Of Saturday Night Fever!

Saturday Night Fever
(1977)
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0076666/
dir. John Badham, starring John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney
Sun: 3:15 & 7:30; Mon/Tue: 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

Flashdance
(1983)

http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0085549/
dir. Adrian Lyne, written by Joe Eszterhas & Thomas Hedley Jr. music by Giorgio Moroder, starring Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri
Sun: 5:35 & 9:50; Mon/Tue: 9:50 Watch The Trailer!


Valentine's Day Got You Down? This'll Make It Hurt So Good...

Posted by Miss Ess, February 14, 2009 02:27pm | Post a Comment
Let's be real: Valentine's Day is not necessarily a happy day for everyone. In the accurate words of Sir Elton John, "Sad songs say so much," so I thought I would round up some of the sadder songs of longing and unrequited love, maybe with a bit of twang, even, in protest of all the lovey-dovey crud that Hallmark foists upon us at this time of year.






Samurai Valentines: falling in love with Kudo Kankuro's Yaji & Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims

Posted by Kells, February 14, 2009 01:39pm | Post a Comment

Perhaps the only thing better than seeing a highly anticipated movie you suspect you'll love is seeing a random, unexpected movie you never knew you needed until after you've seen it. A few days ago some friends and I sat down to watch a movie, like you do, without any prior knowledge of the film, only to find ourselves physically exhausted by the time the film had ended. No joke, we had to pause the movie several times to take breaks for the fits of laughter we were driven to. I cannot ever remember any film causing such violent cries of laughter to escape from my face the way viewing Kudo Kankuro's Yaji & Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims did. I'm fighting back the giggles even now.

This film leaps into oblivion from the very beginning when Kita admits to Yaji, his lover, "I can't make heads or tails of reality." The film could easily be summed up with this single line alone, but it falls short of capturing some of the, let's say, more memorable moments in the film (hello! the bath scene!). A short synopsis of the film might go a little something like this: A gay samurai couple, Yaji and Kita, leave Edo (old Tokyo) on a quest to rid Kita of his heroin addiction. A song that could be called "Born to be Gay" gets the whole town singing and dancing in synch as they send our boys off on their merry way. A motorcycle appears and they hit the road. Hilarity ensues at every stop along the way and there are many, many points of departure and arrival in every sense (making no sense at all in most cases). The couple cuts a 7" single love song; like it or not, it is as popular as the Bearded Courtesan's single. The audience is treated to an impromptu karaoke sing-along featuring the Bearded Courtesan herself. King Arthur's sword is drawn from the stone and the two are separated by the river Styx and everyone looks like the same guy in the after life.... Well, I don't want to spoil it for you.
 
By comparison one could say this movie is an orgy involving the sucker-punch gauntlet of a plot Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (and to a lesser extent Spike Jones's Being John Malkovich -- especially in the "afterlife" sequences), the modern meets Japonisme of Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation, or, better yet, the colorful, comedic retelling of Takeshi Kitano's Yojimbo. Add to that the Broadway medley insanity of Takashi Miike's Happiness of the Katakuris, the psudo-lezzie, unconditional BFF love found in Tetsuya Nakashima's Kamikaze Girls and, just for good measure, the drug-induced porno-bowling musical montage from the Cohen Brother's The Big Lebowski. The list could go on and on, but that's the best I can do at the moment to try and capture just how lethally laughable and uniquely enjoyable this carnival on acid of a love-buddies-on-the-road flick this is. I've tried a few times to find the right words, heck, barely adequate words to give this movie life in the mind of those who haven't seen it; I know it's cliche to say "seeing is believing" when attempting to summarize the glory and afterglow of Yaji & Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims. By my standards I declare it to be one of the great new additions in contemporary Japanese cinema with a cast comprised of many of Japan's finest and famous comedy stalwarts and standard bearers to prove it. Nope, this one's not to be missed, but like Levar Burton says, "don't take my word for it, find out for yourself."

Here's an excellent fan-made music video set to Kenny Rogers' "Just Dropped In" (which incidently was the song used in the above mentioned porno-bowling montage from The Big Lebowski) that features many of Yaji & Kita's finer moments. Well done!

Valentine's Day Hearts

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 14, 2009 01:30pm | Post a Comment







MY FUNNY VALENTINE

Posted by Billyjam, February 14, 2009 11:44am | Post a Comment
chuck mangione my funny valentine
Long a jazz standard, the beautiful song "My Funny Valentine," which originally was unveiled to the world as a show tune in the 1937 Broadway musical Babes In Arms by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, has remained a most popular song for musicians, especially vocalists, to cover ever since-- the song has reportedly appeared on over 1300 albums to date, and still counting.

Artists who have covered the song over the years include Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Costello, Nico, Rufus Wainwright, Sarah Vaughan, Chuck Mangione, Chaka Khan, Stan Getz, Dolly Parton, Chet Baker (who scored the first major hit with the song), Miles Davis (who in 1964 released the live album My Funny Valentine recorded at a concert at Lincoln Center, NYC), Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Sammy Davis, Jr., Van Morrisomy funny valentinen (off his 1994 LP A Night In San Francisco), Carly Simon, and Etta James (Kanye West sampled her version on the song "Addiction" on his album Late Registration).

Although the song was first performed in 1937 in Babes In Arms on Broadway, where it ran for an impressive 289 performances, it wouldn't be recorded for another 8 years when the first record release of the song by Hal McIntyre with vocals by Ruth Gaylor briefly charted in 1945.

February 13, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, February 14, 2009 12:32am | Post a Comment




Tricks of the Trade

Posted by Whitmore, February 13, 2009 10:50am | Post a Comment
I recently remembered some tricks of the trade, so to speak, dwelling in my fever shucked head. Here is some new artwork for the singles boxes from Amoeba Hollywood’s world of 45-rpm-7-inch little-records-with-the big-holes. Though it wasn’t the intention, these arty little boxes seem to work in the same vein as a flame mesmerizes the moth; seduction by the bright light of desire, a glint of reckless narcissism, the corporeal flicker of vinyl nuggets -- the need to touch, commune, possess ... OK, I know, that’s horrifically over stated, but god knows I’m not the only one who has spent a small fortune on vinyl around here. Oh, the plight of a record geek.

Dick Conte on Black Orpheus 50 Years After Its Release

Posted by Billyjam, February 12, 2009 09:00pm | Post a Comment

The 1959 Marcel Camus directed film Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro in Portuguese) is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary with a special screening on Saturday night (Feb 14th) at the Culver Plaza Theaters as part of the ongoing Pan African Film Festival which Amoeba has been promoting. If you can, you should attend this screening. I have already seen the film about black orpheusa dozen times, but never on the big screen where it is meant to be seen. What I love most about Black Orpheus, even on the small screen, is the music, which is a seemingly never ending percussion based track that plays throughout the entire film as everyone moves to its rhythm. It is like one long dance.

Beautifully shot, it is a love story based on the play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, which is an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice only set in (then contemporary) late 1950's Rio de Janeiro during the Carnaval festivities. If it were not for this film the whole Bossa nova (which is Portuguese for "new trend") movement would not have taken off.

The film influenced many people in the US upon its release and in subsequent years. One of these was longtime jazz musician and Bay Area jazz radio DJ Dick Conte who, as a jazz piano player/keyboardist, has long fronted his own trio and as a radio DJ has been on such Bay Area stations as legendary jazz station KJAZ where he started his radio DJ career in 1962 and worked on-and-off until 1983, KMPX, KSFO, KKCY, KKSF (where he worked for over 20 years until last month and where he hosted the Sunday night jazz show that included the popular feature "A Taste Of Brazil"), and KCSM 91.1FM where he hosts the Saturday afternoon jazz program from 2-6PM.

Zombie Island Massacre

Posted by phil blankenship, February 12, 2009 08:31pm | Post a Comment
 





Media Home Entertainment M981

February so far

Posted by Whitmore, February 11, 2009 07:45pm | Post a Comment
Stand back; you don’t want any part of this. I think it all got kick started on Groundhog Day. I went to some kind of birthday shindig/gig thing bent on intoxication and good ol’ fashion trouble. It had been a tough couple of weeks. My fatigue was palpable. I suspect the psychological scars may have been grossly apparent. A night of depravity was prescribed by an alcoholic friend of mine, so I took my doctor’s advice.
 
Anyway, some young buck walked up to me that night, shook my hand saying, “Hey you’re the guy who plays that weird guitar.” While I said “yeah,” expecting some other comment (perhaps, dare I say, a compliment), he started hacking up a cough so deep and far down he fell out of his Beatle boots. He didn’t say another word, turned blue and at once vanished into the party, never to be seen again. Unfortunately he tagged me good with whatever pathogen he was sharing. Two and a half days later some ghastly virus, intent on killing me, hit me like a rock, kicking me in the chest and smashing in my skull. Well, shit happens. The good news is this is my first cold/flu thing since last summer. The bad news is, I’m as sick as a dog -- an old dog that should be put out of his misery.

Needless to say, I haven’t gotten much done. There were certain esoteric news items I planned on writing about, like “the oldest human hair was found in a Hyena poop fossil,” or the discovery of “five new species of pygmy seahorses,” or how “hordes of caterpillars are devouring crops in Liberia and are threatening a cataclysmic food shortage.” I planned on composing obits for Lux Interior and James Whitmore and Max Neuhaus. But those ideas have gone by the wayside, along with my intentions to write about the 45th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and the anniversary of the publication of Ulysses by James Joyce.  Anyway, anyone up for the etymology of “phlegm”?

No Direction Home: Dylan Was Always Bound for Glory

Posted by Miss Ess, February 11, 2009 07:05pm | Post a Comment
I rewatched Scorsese's No Direction Home, the documentary about Bob Dylan, last night for the first time since it aired on TV a few years back. The DVD is 3 and half hours long! But fabulous, through and through.


The most interesting points in the movie for me were the moments where Dylan's self creation was discussed. He's long been known as something of a shape shifter and it was interesting to think about the concept of home through his eyes -- where it is and how one gets there. I still wouldn't call Dylan a straight shooter or anything after watching the documentary, but my interest was piqued by both his comments and those of his many friends and collegues who were interviewed for the project, among them: Dave Van Ronk, Joan Baez, Mark Spoelstra, Al Kooper, Liam Clancy, Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, Mavis Staples and Suze Rotolo.

Dylan says he was "born a long way from where [he was] supposed to be" and that he's been looking for his home, forging his own version of it ever since -- and he definitely doesn't look back. He's been inventing his own truth, his own identity throughout his career, allowing no one to pin him down at any one moment. Even his last name is an invention, purely his way of creating an identity for himself.  Dylan believes he had no past, and totally seperated himself from his Hibbing, MN upbringing. He only looked to the present moment, and did what pleased him then. This goes a long way toward explaining his career and its diversity as well as the period in the mid-60s where he took a lot of heat for "going electric." The film covers this period with dynamic energy, interviewing those who were on the side of Dylan's "authentic" folk music/protest songs and those whose eyes were fixed on the future of rock in 1965. It's thrilling to watch the portion of the film where the audacious 1965 Newport Folk Festival performance is discussed, but then again, I always seem to find this a thrilling moment in musical history.

In one clip, Dylan states that he only started writing his own songs because he had something to say to Woody Guthrie, and it had to be written in song. Dylan realized early on that you can invent your own identity, you can invent your own home and then find yourself there by your own invention. I believe his work allowed him to create his own world, and his own culture and vision. He instinctively felt what the rest of American culture vastly had still been sleeping on: that the chains of conformity and expectation had to be broken. Through opening himself to his own flow of ideas on the page and then inserting them into musical form, Dylan, at once cheeky and dead serious, and whip smart all the way through, smashed the old ways to pieces and forged a new landscape (and thus, home) for not only American artists but American lives.

No Direction Home may only cover his career up till '66, but it is an extremely invigorating and enlightening ride, all three and a half hours of it. For whatever it's worth, I think it's as close as anyone has ever come to presenting a true portrait of the man's career. Its interviews definitely seem to be the most honest Dylan has ever been on record about his art, his life and his legacy.

In the film, Dylan says, "as an artist, you have to stay in a state of discovery," and I think that pretty well sums it up for him and his career. Has anyone else controlled his own puppet strings so nimbly and with such inspiring and exhilerating results? Dylan has done nothing but defy everyone's expectations ever since he hit the scene in the ea

Zaireeka listening party!

Posted by Kells, February 11, 2009 03:09pm | Post a Comment

 Trolling around on the internet looking for choice nuggets of info on the Flaming Lips' Zaireeka, a four CD set which prompts listeners to play all four discs simultaneously with meticulous attention paid to track numbers and accompanying instructions, I came across a really awful review from respectable online music publication. Now, Zaireeka comes with a fat warning label on the front that is unique to its creation in that it is not a parental advisory sticker or, in the case of Guitar Wolf's Jet Generation, a label suggesting that your speakers might blow when played at normal volume levels (Jet Generation is, or at least was at the time of its release, the loudest album ever recorded), but a simple statement that attempts to convey the lengths one must go to merely try to listen to the thing properly-- that is to say, the way the Flaming Lips intend for their audience to hear it. I, for one, like to think of the act of listening to music as an effortless pleasure that requires little more than pressing 'play.' The thought of puzzling out four walls of sound via four audio components, for me, is tired from the get go. I guess I could spread out on my bedroom floor with four boom boxes all loaded with all four Zaireeka discs at finger's and toe's length, but I own only one boom box and I don't think I'm coordinated enough to seriously consider contorting my free time just to check out a silly little alt-rainbow-rock record made in 1997. Anyone can see how an album like Zaireeka may be doomed to less-than-stellar reviews from folks who frankly can't be bothered to give a damn about properly experiencing it, folks who don't have friends (and the necessary extra boom boxes) who unconditionally love music.

And so Zaireeka had always been a blasé "whatever" for me until recently when one of my most esteemed co-workers asked me over for a Zaireeka listening party. He invited me with the assurance that it was going to be great, after all he had already hosted many Zaireeka parties in the past and claimed that the best thing about it was that it is a singular sound experience as it never, ever sounds the same twice. I must admit that had any other person alerted me to participate in such an event I probably would've declined the invitation. This particular person, however, I hold in high regard for many reasons: too many to disclose here. His taste in music, as far as I understand, knows no prejudice and it is as as broad in scope as it is epic in depth. A master musician/DJ/actor/cosmic innovator, his repertoire has given many at Amoeba cause to regard him as a talent that is more than a little bit legendary and less than absolutely mysterious. Meeting friends at his place to do the Zaireeka thing proper was an offer I simply could not refuse. Not everyone has a musical guru to escort them through the lesser travelled waters of musical innovation, but here are a few tips for enjoying Zaireeka:

1. Get your people and equipment together. Four CDs means four CD players and four people to man and synch them. The set up at the party I attended consisted of one boom box, one stereo component, one computer CD drive with speakers attached and one portable CD player coupled with a small amp -- one in each corner of the room.

2. Get your den together. The listening party we enjoyed resembled a one of those pleasure paintings of an off duty harem and rightly so. Plenty of snacks, big jugs of wine and varied sorts of creature comforts any music nerd might wish for. Plus, pillows and cushions strewn about the room to afford maximum relaxation in the middle of the speaker set up so that those who would, could drift away in a vortex of Zaireeka sound. 

3. Be patient. Zaireeka must be synched track by track thus requiring those who man the CDs to re-collaborate their efforts after each song-- hence the statement "Zaireeka never sounds the same twice."

4. Give your inner critic the night off. There is no need to steel oneself against any preconceived ideas of Zaireeka being an awful wreck of pretentious crap, as the album itself is essentially an experimental work worth any music-lovers' inquisitive bite. 

Zaireeka is immensely enjoyable and a great banner to rally friends under for the specific purpose of gathering to enjoy music together -- a pastime that should be enjoyed more frequently. Anyone who writes off the Flaming Lips for this wondrous, technically involved endeavor, and their fans for eating it up, should embrace the comfort of their niche interests in music and refrain from pooing on others for foraging further afield. After all, record store clerks aren't always gazing down from on high in aloof indifference these days, and I suspect that music reviewers can no longer afford to. 

She's Out Of Control At The New Beverly Saturday At Midnight!

Posted by phil blankenship, February 11, 2009 10:10am | 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!


February 14

Tony Danza & Ami Dolenz in
She's Out Of Control

20th Anniversary!

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

African American Lives

Posted by Amoebite, February 10, 2009 04:36pm | Post a Comment
African American Lives is a great documentary that uses history, genealogy, and new technologies toafrican american lives retrace the violently and deliberately erased ancestral histories of a group of participants, all of African ancestry, whose relatives were, for the most part, brought over involuntarily from Africa. The answers it provides are often thought-provoking in ways that most discussions about race aren't.

The host is Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr, a W.E.B. DuBois professor of the Humanities and the Chair of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University. I’d seen Gates in Wonders of the African World where he seemed to feign ignorance about everything he learned about through his travels in Africa. I mean, he’s got some pretty big credentials and yet he’d continually act like he had no idea about the realities of his chosen subject of expertise until his interviewees revealed it to him. It seemed like he felt that pretending that everything was new to him would make him more identifiable to us, the presumably ignorant viewers. In this documentary, unfortunately, he does the same schtik which is just about its only shortcoming, although it can be sort of funny. For example, he “guesses” that, given his appearance, his ancestors came from the East African kingdom of Nubia (huh?!), despite the fact that nearly all slaves in the U.S. came from the West Coast slave centers built centuries earlier, not by Europeans, but by other Africans. Of course it turns out that 0% of slaves were Nubian. His surprise at his DNA results seems genuine though when they reveal that his matrilineal line goes back to Ireland.

And race gets complicated for others too. The documentary points out that the vast majority of African-Americans have suboprahstantial genetic ties to Europe through slave owners and, far less often, voluntary miscegenation. Realizing that more blacks are descended from slave owners than whites was something I’d never thought about before. Chris Tucker is the only participant to go back to his African roots, in his case to modern Angola, revealing a sedate and emotional side quite unlike his hysterical, shrieking film persona. South Africa-obsessed Oprah Winfrey seems positively gutted to find out that Dr. Mae Jemison her ancestors came from, you guessed it, West Africa and not the out-of-the-way Zulu homeland she was clearly rooting for. Dr. Mae Jemison (the first African American Woman in space) finds out that she has Chinese relatives whereas her physical appearance had always been passed down as having been owed to that old stand-by, Native Americans. Everyone’s results are interesting and frequently revelatory and show how all of us, regardless of our backgrounds, preconceptions and physical appearance, can find out a lot about who our ancestors were, and that it often won’t bear much similarity to what we’d thought was the truth.

Black History Month 2009: A Convict's Perspective - X-Raided, Part II. Q&A with incarcerated rapper from Pleasant Valley State Prison

Posted by Billyjam, February 10, 2009 03:07pm | Post a Comment
x-raided the eternally unforgiven project
This is the second part in the exclusive two-part Black History Month: A Convict's Perspective by X-Raided, for the Amoeblog Black HIstory Month series. The first part, posted a little earlier and found immediately below this Amoeblog, is an essay that I invited longtime incarcerated Sacramento rapper Anerae "X-Raided" Brown to pen on what Black History Month means to him from where he sits: the California State Penitentiary in Coalinga. This part is a Q&A with him.

Due to the prison recently being on lockdown, both this interview (via mail) and his insightul essay on what Black History Month means to him, took longer to get done than initially anticipated. But such is the plight of living a life behind bars, something that Anerae addresses in both of these engaging Black Hisotry Month Amoeblogs which might be a little long but are well worth taking the time to read.

Now 34 years of age, Brown has been incarcerated for half of his life, since the age of 17. From his early to mid teens in Sacramento, X-Raided had been an active member of the 24th Street Garden Blocc Crips gang -- even long before his first release came out. In 1992 he was arrested for his alleged part, along with several others, in the fatal shooting of Patricia Harris (the mother of a rival gang member). Brown has never denied being present at the shooting but has always maintained his innocence, in that he was not the one who pulled the trigger. Adhering to the unwritten "No Snitch" code of the streets, he would not tell cops who did pull the trigger. “I could have testified and gone home,” the rapper famously said in an interview at the time. “But I kept it real.” Hence, he is still incarcerated on murder conspiracy charges with a 31 year sentence. His first album, Psycho Active, came out in 1992 and made history when it was used in court against him, with authorities playing music from the indie rap album and also citing the cover art (the rapper's face with a .38-caliber handgun pressed to his temple --see below) as evidence in the case against Brown.

Black History Month: A Convict's Perspective, Pt 1: Longtime incarcerated California rap artist X-Raided offers his perspective

Posted by Billyjam, February 10, 2009 03:05pm | Post a Comment
Black History Month – A Convict’s Perspective By Aneraé “X-Raided” Brown

As a 34 year old incarcerated African-American male, as a hip-hop artist, and as a human being, I can unequivocally say Black History Month has a deeper meaning to me now than it ever did, any prior year. You see, I am a California boy, a real child of the 80’s. You know, Reaganomics, Oliver North, Freeway Rick, Manuel Noriega… no Rick Ross. I am the fabled crack baby. A boy who became a teen during what some argue was one of the roughest, most dangerous periods in U.S. history. I turned 14 in 1988, a black boy, a fledgling member of the notorious Crip gang, trying to learn how to fly, in the wrong direction, unknowingly, with lead wings. Pistols, cocaine, HIV/AIDS, the Cold War; how those things became the concerns of a 14 year old, who, according to a paternal grandmother named Jesse Mae Martin, of Mobile, Alabama, had “the bright eyes of an old man and an old soul,” God only knows. A boy who learned by what he decried, I was an impressionable teen absorbing the teachings that emanated from the conditions I saw on a daily basis, which included police brutality, the devastation of the gang and crack epidemics on the black community, and an overall fear and disdain of both white people and law enforcement, issues with were largely ignored by the mainstream media. The only journalistic reports being published that addressed these matters to reach my eyes and ears were coming to me in the form of hip-hop music, videos, movies and magazines: Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing; Yo! MTV Raps; The Source magazine; In Living Color; and the strongest voices of all, which came from a few little groups you may have heard of that went by the names of Public Enemy, NWA, and the Geto Boys. They were, to the streets, what The Beatles were to white folk. What James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye were to older black folk. They were the voices of our generation. Chuck D and Ice Cube’s voices are as recognizable to us as Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s are to, say, a Baby Boomer, for perspective.  "Fight the Power," "Fu*k the Police" -- you know Chuck D and Ice Cube’s voices and the sounds of Dr. Dre and The Bomb Squad, even if you do not know their names and faces.

The Great Black North

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 10, 2009 12:56pm | Post a Comment

One fact that’s widely overlooked during Black History Month is that it’s not only Black History Month in the US. Besides having the stated aim of highlighting the contributions to human history made by the entire black diaspora, BHM is simultaneously observed in Canada. People who've never been to Canada may not believe that black people live there. While it's true that the black Canadian population is minute compared to the black American populartion both in terms of numbers and percentage, black Canadians have contributed significantly to Canada's mostly overlooked music scene and their contributions are surely worth honoring (oops! ...honouring). [Special thanks goes to MuchMusic].


Dream Warriors - Wash Your Face in My Sink


Maestro Fresh Wes - Let Your Backbone Slide

Interspersed with exemplars of black Canadian musical contributions, allow me to ponder the controversies surrounding terminology used to discuss black Canadians and hopefully in the process shed a little light on history. No doubt we'll never come to a consensus on what's the most accurate/least offensive/least ridiculous terminology, but just thinking and talking about it is worthwhile far as I'm concerned... or at least fun.


Oscar Peterson - Waltz For Debby

MCJ & Cool G - So Listen

First of all, the black population of Canada as a whole is fairly different from the black population of the US. Whereas nearly all Black Americans are descended directly from Africans brought over in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, 62% of Black Canadians are descended from voluntary immigrants to Canada from the West Indies. Of course, most of them came from Africa, but in the West Indies they created a unique culture fairly distinct from the black American South's. This is undoubtedly part of the reason that most black Canadians reject the term “African Canadian” just as slaves did early on, hoping to separate their identities from Africa and gain recognition as Americans. Of course, the politcally correct designation “African American” is also used to describe black Canadians since most Americans can’t recognize Canadians from themselves, especially accent-deaf political correctionalists.

K-OS - Musical Essence


Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers - Little Miss Sweetness

The term “African Canadian” not only erases the broad cultural distinctions between West Indian-descended black Canadians and Canadians from Africa, eh, it also implies an African homogeneity quite at odds with reality. After all, Africa has the widest variety of indigenous populations on the planet and reserving the prefix “African” for the continent's black residents effectively excludes the non-black, yet just-as-African Arabs, Berbers, Bushmen and Malay from the equation… not to mention the more recent but still substantial (and, I would argue, equally African) European, Chinese and Indian immigrant populations. This fact is made more obvious in Canada, perhaps, than the US. In the US, most African-descended people are black west Africans so the term African-American isn't as obviously flawed. In Canada however, most African immigrants are Moroccan Berbers, Algerian Arabs, and European-descended South Africans... yes, most African-Canadians are whities. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.


The Dears - Lost in the Plot

In order to further recognize their distinct culture within Canada, many West Indian-descended black Canadians use the term "Caribbean Canadian," although it’s also not without controversy because, just like African-Canadian, it implicitly homogenizes the Caribbean, excluding the substantial, just-as-Caribbean, non-Black Chinese, European, Indian, Lebanese, Native and Syrian populations that are integral parts of Caribbean culture and the heritage of many black Canadians.

Kardinal Offishal - Bakardi Slang

As well, in order to avoid saying “black” at all costs, some Canadians have even taken to saying "Afro-Caribbean-Canadian" although that’s just too much a pain in the mitiss for most. Anyway, a smaller but relevant percentage of Canada's black population is descended from those who used the Underground Railroad, which took substantial numbers of former slaves to freedom, mainly in Nova Scotia and Southwest Ontario. So, while there may be no resolution to this question, hopefully you enjoyed thinking about it or at least the Canadian music.


Rascalz - Northern Touch

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Sweaters

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 10, 2009 12:05pm | Post a Comment
Sweaters were a big deal in the 80's. Obviously black artists did not have a monopoly on outrageous sweater covers -- see early 80's Cheap Trick for some serious sweater related catasrophes. However, I must say that there's a ton of soul, funk & R&B covers featuring various knit jobs. Bunny DeBarge takes the cake, if you ask me. How many of you could pull off a full skyline pattern???




Patti Labelle
looks like she's wearing a snuggie. I don't know which look I like better on the Force M.D.'s- the ultra preppy sweater vest action we have here or the giant fur coats they wear on the
Chillin' album.


Blackboard Jungle

Posted by phil blankenship, February 9, 2009 08:23pm | Post a Comment
 


MGM / UA Home Video M205963

(In which the writer takes a break from writing to write.)

Posted by Job O Brother, February 9, 2009 08:02pm | Post a Comment

My baby’s been under the weather. And by baby I don’t mean a child I gave birth to; I mean it as a euphemism for “that one dude I smooch and go to Target with.” Baby is just much easier to say.

Anyway, when my baby’s feeling poorly, he likes to watch predictable films, like... well... anything you can come up with that stars Jennifer Aniston or Sarah Jessica Parker and ends with them proving that they really were destined for true love, after all. Normally I protest and suggest we watch something with more substance, such as The Killing of a Chinese Bookie or The Cranes Are Flying – y’know, something that provides perspective and/or promotes psychological examination, to which my baby will argue that he just wants to “be distracted and get lost” in a film, not be intellectually stimulated. I argue that it’s hard for me to “get distracted” watching a film that makes me want to stab a Phillips-head screwdriver into my left aortic arch.

It's like this:

ME...


...VS. MY BOYFRIEND...




AGAIN, ME...



...AND HE...



YOU GET...



...THE IDEA.


Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks, I guess.

These arguments usually lead to a stalemate, at which point we’ll watch some promo copy of a TV show he’s received. It was such a circumstance that led us to gander the first two episodes of United States of Tara, which we both enjoyed. FYI.

For now, however, I am alone and working on a spec script. For those of you unfamiliar with terms we use in the “Business”… well, you’re screwed, because you probably wouldn’t know what I mean by “Business.” Let’s start from the top:

By “Business” I mean the entertainment industry, of which Los Angeles is our Nation’s epicenter, and by “spec script” I mean a film or TV script that has been dropped on the floor and gotten covered with the dirt and stray poppy-seeds that cover the streets of Hollywood. So, we’re all on the same page now? Sweet.

I’m working on a spec script for It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, which is a show I’m keen on. I assumed everyone knew about this program already, but lately have learned that my nephew (we’ll call him Gvorshüxdlo to protect his anonymity), who is much more in touch with pop culture than I am [Me: “What do you mean ‘Who is Lisa Lisa?!’ She’s only one of Mtv’s greatest stars!”], had never watched it.

In case you’re like him, or in case you’re stuck at an office job and desperate for something to watch that doesn’t involve a cat falling off or into something, here’s some excerpts from the show…

[Insert fifteen minutes of Job weeding through tons of off-putting YouTube clips here.]

Urr... Well, it seems there's no good clips of said show available, due to all the copyright bro-ha-ha that's plaguing YouTube. In lieu of aforementioned clips, here's some alternate eye candy. The top is for me, the bottom is for my boyfriend -- though both are for you, dear reader. [Insert "Aww...!" sound here.]



Now then, I have to stop writing so I can get back to writing. Hi-ho the glamorous life!

Factory Party. Amoeba's 3rd Annual Art Show. 3/6/09.

Posted by Amoebite, February 9, 2009 05:09pm | Post a Comment

Factory Party
Amoeba's Third Annual Art Show
Music * Art * Film
Friday March 6, 2009
6-11pm

On March 6th, step into the world of Andy Warhol and his original 1960s New York City Factory. The Factory Party takes place in a massive warehouse space divided into nine distinct rooms where guests are immersed in a wide range of art mediums, as well as live art, musical performances and theatrical art forms.  

Several warehouse spaces in the Factory will be curated by Amoeba Music. Our third annual art show will feature work from over 30 representatives of Amoeba's three locations – San Francisco, Berkeley, and Los Angeles. The creativity and diversity of the accomplished Amoebites knows no bounds; look out for film installations and a dedicated graffiti/live mural room, in addition to more traditional formats.

A portion of this event features a re-creation of Andy Warhol's Factory, and is brought you by the East Bay Express; visitors entering the Factory will see live production of art in the style and process performed by Andy Warhol, including silk screening, filming, screen testing, and painting. A Velvet Underground Cover Band will perform, recreating sounds at the Factory.

Guests are encouraged to dress in their 1960s best, and are welcome to lounge in the Factory with "Warhol" and his "Super Stars."

Visitors are encouraged to bring a can of Campbell's soup for the Alameda County Food Bank. Each can of soup donated will enter donors to win prizes (museum passes, original art, local restaurant gift certificates, or Amoeba gift certificates).

Vehicular

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 9, 2009 10:35am | Post a Comment

There's a theory out there that a picture of a cool car on the cover of an otherwise uninteresting LP will increase its saleability. Maybe that phenomena crosses over to record label design, but I doubt it.


The Whittier records design pretty much rules this set, but I've always had a soft spot for the Roadshow label. I picked up quite a few 45's back in the late 80's simply based on their label design and I remember buying a BT Express record with this design. That van drawing just made the record feel like that much more of a party.


For some reason the blue Beach Blvd. label always struck me as particularly evocative. There's nothing to the design, but staring at the label while the Simpletones are blaring just transports you to the OC circa '80.



In Which Gomez Only Writes About One Grammy Category

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 9, 2009 12:38am | Post a Comment
I figured I can only write about what I know. I couldn't tell you what deserved album of the year, record of the year, song of the year, best rap/singing vocal or most anything nominated, because truthfully, I never bothered to listen to 99% of the albums nominated. There, I said it.

When I went down the list, there was only one category in which I had heard every album that was nominated, "Best Latin Rock Or Alternative Album," so here's what I thought:

Jaguares is one of those legendary Spanish Rock bands that is painfully dated. So dated that their Grammy winning album, 45, sounds like they finally tried to modernize. Now they sound like they reached deep into the future…to the year...1994! Dated or not, this is the first Jaguares record I could finish all the way through. This album reminds me of U2’s back to the basics, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, from a few years back. Better than previous releases, but more like a lifetime achivement award for Saul Hernandez. It wasn't quite a Jethro Tull winning over Metallica. It was more like Saul Hernandez, The Color Of Money.

I thought The Nortec Collective would give Jaguares a fighting chance. Their Tijuana Sound Machine album was in many top ten lists of 2008 (mine included) by both Anglo and Spanish press. Plus, they had the best plea to the academy to vote for them. With all the violence that has been happening in their hometown of Tijuana, MX, Nortec felt that winning a Grammy would be good for the image of Tijuana.


Locos Por Juana
was the token Latin fusion group, a mixture of Spanish Reggae, Cumbia, Dancehall and lots of fun…and that’s why they had no chance. Doesn’t mean you can’t have yours though. They are playing this Thursday at AfroFunke at Zanzibar.

COULD SOMEONE DIRECT ME TO THE CROSSROAD?

Posted by Charles Reece, February 8, 2009 09:44pm | Post a Comment
I went down to the crossroad
fell down on my knees
I went down to the crossroad
fell down on my knees
Asked the lord above "Have mercy now
save poor Bob if you please"
-- Robert Johnson, "Cross Road Blues"
Corporate-manufactured popular music aka The Mainstream is like a ninja, everywhere and yet hidden to me. The best place to hide from my ears is on the radio, out in the open. Thus, out of curiosity, I caught a bit of the Grammy Awards tonight. (It's still on as I write this: Smokey Robinson is currently teaming up with Jamie Foxx).  Here's something that I saw:
I've never been a fan of Stevie Wonder. In fact, I hold him responsible for the moribund course R&B has been on since he first appeared -- all that meaningless vocal gyration that's called winning on American Idol.  Just when I thought his music couldn't get any less soulful, he surprised me with the above. That's little Stevie performing with Generation Next's version of the Hanson Brothers. I'm guessing the Jonas Brothers are some spin off from a NIckelodeon or Disney Channel show.  Why is it that the more famous and successful a star gets, the more likely he or she has no concern for artistic integrity? I can understand why some up and coming bar band would be willing to sell one of their songs to an ad agency, but a rich artist who doesn't need the money? Hell, a Grammy appearance probably doesn't even pay, rather it's about exposure -- as if Stevie fucking Wonder needed exposure!  Anyway, his appearance reminded me of an old essay by John Densmore, drummer for The Doors.  He wrote:
Apple Computer called on a Tuesday--they already had the audacity to spend money to cut "When the Music's Over" into an ad for their new cube computer software. They want to air it the next weekend, and will give us a million and a half dollars! A MILLION AND A HALF DOLLARS! Apple is a pretty hip company...we use computers.... Dammit! Why did Jim (Morrison) have to have such integrity?

I'm pretty clear that we shouldn't do it. We don't need the money. But I get such pressure from one particular bandmate (the one who wears glasses and plays keyboards).

This Week At The New Beverly

Posted by phil blankenship, February 8, 2009 11:10am | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly!



Sunday & Monday February 8 & 9

Two By Pier Palo Pasolini

Il Decameron
(1971)
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0065622/
1971 Berlin International Film Festival Special Jury Prize Winner
dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini
Sun: 2:45 & 7:30; Mon: 7:30

Arabian Nights
(1974) 35th Anniversary!

http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0071502/
1974 Cannes Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Winner
dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini
Sun: 5:00 & 9:45; Mon: 9:45


Tags

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 7, 2009 02:25pm | Post a Comment
Digging through some very dirty boxes of records, I came across this time warp. Los Angeles, early to mid 80's style.





Whoever this guy is, he has great taste in music. There were a quite a few records with his markings, but these were the most eyecatching designs. In the same vicinity there were a couple of old suitcases with awesome but totally wrecked 78's and 45's from the 50's & 60's. It appears that all the stuff came from the same household; there must have been some serious parties there.



BOB MARLEY CELEBRATIONS IN DA BAY

Posted by Billyjam, February 7, 2009 10:50am | Post a Comment

Bob Marley + Wailers "Stir It Up"

Bob Marley, who would have celebrated his 64th birthday yesterday, February 6th, may be dead for three decades but his legacybob marley legend lives on and his legend grows through his timeless & universally loved music. Even in 2009 Marley remains the most widely known and loved reggae music artist of all time. Proof lies in the fact that the Bob Marley collection Legend seems to be in everyone's music collection. Released back in 1984 -- three years after his death -- it continues to sell well to this day.

And over the next week in the Bay Area there are several Bob Marley celebrations lined up. Tonight (Saturday, Feb 7th) at the Mezzanine in San Francisco the group Groundation with special guests Will Bernard and Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace will present their Annual Tribute to Bob Marley. 9PM show. Tix $25 avail here. Tomorrow night (Sunday Feb 8th) at the Shattuck Down Low in Berkeley the weekly King of Kings Reggae Dance party is paying tribute to Bob Marley. And next Saturday, Feb 14th, Jah Love UniversalClub Dread present their Bob Marley Celebration with music by such renowned Bay Area sound selectors as Spliff Skankin, Brixton Hitman, Humble Lion, and General Patton. 9PM to 2AM. Tix $10. 21+ More info on Pier 23.

February 6, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, February 6, 2009 11:22pm | Post a Comment


Hans Beck 1929 – 2009

Posted by Whitmore, February 6, 2009 04:56pm | Post a Comment

Hans Beck, the German inventor of Playmobil toys, created in response to the soaring cost of plastic due to the oil crisis in the early 70’s, has died after a long illness. Beck was 79 and passed away near Lake Constance in southern Germany, where he moved after his retirement in 1998.
 
Originally a cabinetmaker, Hans Beck was hired as a toy developer by the Brandstätter Group in 1958. In 1971 he was commissioned to create a new and collectible play concept that didn’t impose specific play patterns on children. It was initially suggested that he design a variety of cars. Instead Beck came up with the series of simple action figures standing less than 3 inches tall with moving arms and legs that bent at the hip and wore snap-on clothes. The original toys included knights, construction workers and Native Americans. They were unveiled at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1974 and needless to say, they were an instant and resounding flop.  Adults may not have gotten the concept, but kids certainly did. Playmobil toys became a huge international success. In the 35 years since their development, they have sold more than 2.2 billion figures in more than 70 countries. I have a 6 year old son whose room is, more often then not, cluttered with Playmobil pirates, rescue workers, police officers, knights and dragons -- strewn from wall to wall.
 
Beck created a whole fantasy world following his toy-making motto -- "no horror, no superficial violence, no short-lived trends."
 
Over the years Playmobil has won numerous prizes for their quality and ingenuity as well as for their educational potential. Expanding their line with a myriad of toys and sets, Playmobil has come up with every possible historic and vocational desire a kid could ever want, from firefighters, nurses, deep sea divers, cowboys, Romans, jewel thieves, hot dog vendors, astronauts, circus animal trainers, veterinarians, Egyptologists, police tracking dogs and airport security. Brandstätter, which employs a staff of 3,000, posted $408 million in sales last year, mostly due to their Playmobil division.
 
Hans Beck is survived by his wife and a son.

Likeness Labels

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 5, 2009 10:10pm | Post a Comment









AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 02:05:09

Posted by Billyjam, February 5, 2009 04:45pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Hollywood Hip-Hop Top Five: 02:05:09
diplo decent work for decent pay
1) Diplo Decent Work for Decent Pay
 (Big Dada)

2) P.O.S. Never Better (Rhymesayers)

3) Illa J Yancey Boys (Delicious Vinyl)

4) J-Dilla Yancey Boys Instrumentals
(Delicious Vinyl)

5) RZA Afro Samurai Resurrection (TVT)

A glance at the new top five hip hop albums chart above from the Hollywood Amoeba is proof that 2009 in hip-hop is already looking real good with numerous quality new releases dropping or about to drop from all over the map, both stylistically and geographically.

Multi-talented Staten Island Wu warrior RZA, who plays Sunday night in San Francisco at Mezzanine on a bill along with Pariah and DJ Radius and others, has just dropped the album soundtrack to the Spike TV animated show Afro Samurai Resurrection on TVT. Meanwhile from Calgary, Canada comes the talented duo of Dragon Fli Empire, which is DJ Cosm and Teekay. The pair have been putting it down for a minute in their homeland. Both their 2004 release Conquest and their 2006 album Invasion got warm responses. On their new 2009 album Redefine they are joined by several guests, including fellow Canadian Cadence Weapon and Bay Area resident emcee Raashan Ahmad (of solo and Crown City Rockers fame) who joins them on "Ride On" -- one of the best tracks on the album. Other good cuts on the 14 track CD include "Just That Nice."
mic crenshaw thinking out loud
Out of Portland, Oregon come two great yet stylistically very different emcees: Sapient and Mic Crenshaw. Mic Crenshaw's Thinking Out Loud on Focused Noise is the debut solo release by the emcee who has built a fan base as part of Suckapunch, Hungry Mob, and Cleveland Steamers. Although associated with the Northwest's hip-hop scene, the artist is not from there originally. Born and raised in Chicago (Southside), he moved to Portland via Minneapolis. As much an activist as an emcee, Crenshaw is a founding member of Anti Racist Action and the famed Minneapolis anti-racist skinhead crew, The Baldies. He is also reportedly co-founder of a non-profit caled Global Farm which has been instrumental in setting up computer centers for Iraqi refugees, as well as for disadvantaged youth in Burundi in Central Africa. Not surprisingly then, Crenshaw's new album addresses some of the issues that are close to his heart. On the album he is joined by another politically minded hip-hopper, Stic Man of Dead Prez. Other guests include Nightclubber Lang of Boom Bap Project.

Meanwhile, Portland emcee/producer Sapient's Letterhead is a refreshingly original sounding new hip-hop album. To date he is best known as part of the Northwest crew Sandpeople, whose members Ethic and Onlyone each make cameos here, and whose most recent release, Honest Rocket, released last May featuring The Grouch and Sean Price, got quite a good buzz.  Letterhead is even better and proves how sometimes when the emcee is also the producer things can really click perfectly. Sapient doesn't even try to adhere to the unwritten rule of only digging in the funk and breaks crates for his soundscapes. Instead he has an arsenal of unconventional samples and sounds, like the bugged out computer effects on the song "Stay Connected," to draw from and funnel into the mix and still have them come out hip-hop sounding.

What Your Favorite Fleetwood Mac Member May Say About You...

Posted by Miss Ess, February 5, 2009 02:39pm | Post a Comment
One of the best things about working at Amoeba is that I am surrounded by people who think like me. No, I don't mean we all worship Brian Wilson and Jeff Mangum and listen neverendingly to Roy Harper imports... I just mean that employees here always already relate everything back to music somehow. Our life lessons are only concrete when they are reverberating in song.


A friend and I were chatting yesterday with a customer at length about Fleetwood Mac. We talked around and finally settled on the idea that you can really tell a lot about someone by which Fleetwood Mac member is his or her favorite. I should add though that we only took into account the band's current incarnation -- this doesn't apply to the Peter Green-era Mac. Anyway, I've been enjoying thinking about it over the past day, so I thought I would share our musings here. Sure, they're reductive, but come play along:

If your favorite Fleetwood Mac member is...

Stevie Nicks: You may have always been a misfit or maybe you just have a flair for the dramatic. You might even have an affinity for crystals and spells. You live life with passion and are an opinionated leader. You are unfailingly guided by your intuition. Just guessing, but I bet somewhere inside you have always been a storm.

Lindsey Buckingham: You have a bit of an ego on you and it takes you time to check out and coif your hair in the mirror every day. You are intelligent and stubborn, and pretty much a perfectionist. I'm not saying you have a lot of chest hair but that might also be the case. And you probably have a penchant for wearing eyeliner (guyliner) on occasion as well.

Christine McVie: Her maiden name was aptly Christine Perfect. You are easy going-- cool as a cucumber, in fact. You are a fairly quiet individual, maybe a bit traditional. Still waters run deep with you. Your face does not often betray your inner emotions, and it's not just from that face lift you had a few years back. You root for the underdog and take pleasure in life's details.

Mick Fleetwood: You are probably a drummer too, or were one in a past life. You really don't care what anyone else thinks about you. Maybe you have a thing for berets too.

John McVie: You are a sarcastic jokester. Or maybe you are one of those people who just has to be different at all costs and likes an argument. You are the kind of person who is perhaps overly self-aware and so defiant that you wear shorts year round -- weather be damned! Look, McVie is clearly not the greatest member of the Mac. He just isn't.

I'm sure many people buck these trends and are nothing like the person they enjoy most in Fleetwood Mac; it's just kind of fun to think about.

The main thing about the Mac is that they are stronger and more powerful, moving and electric, when they join forces together onstage or in the studio -- The Chain, people! Different strokes for different folks is what makes the world go round -- and thank goodness or we wouldn't have an entity as dynamic and flawless as Fleetwood Mac! Truly a supergroup.

out this week 1/27 and 2/3....grouper....franz ferdinand...paul mccartney...barbra streisand...

Posted by Brad Schelden, February 5, 2009 01:21pm | Post a Comment
This year really flew by. I mean that 2008 really flew by. You might be thinking...it is already 2009, but I am still sort of living in 2008. I am now almost ready for the new year to start. I figure I will be ready by about March. I just moved back to Los Angeles last January and it has already been a year! I was barely done uppacking and settling down when we decided to move again. But I really did sort of fall back in love with Los Angeles this year, so we are still here for a while I think. It was just time to move again. Now that 2009 is officially underway to the rest of the world, the music is starting to come out again. I worry every once in a while about the state of the music industry. But I do get some faith back in it every time I fall in love with a new album. I just get excited thinking about all the new albums that are going to come out this year -- all the bands that might not even be bands yet that will put out fantastic little albums in the next couple of years. The albums are out there. You just have to look for them. The year might be getting off to a slow start but those new albums are coming. Just in case you don't have it already, please go buy the new Antony & the Johnsons. It is called The Crying Light and it is magical! I have also been obsessed with the debut album from Empire of the Sun. They are from Australia and sort of sound like MGMT. It is just an import right now but I am sure it will come out domestic soon.

There is something coming up for everybody, don't you worry. All you Kelly Clarkson fans out there don't have to wait too much longer, I swear. I don't really know how that Doolittle lady from american idol managed to get an album out, but it is true-- Melinda Doolittle has an album out this week. I try to avoid american idol as much as I can. I don't even think it deserves to be capitalized in this blog. But it does have an amazingly powerful hold over the country. They manage to find some of the grouper dragging a dead dear up a hillmost unattractive and worst musicians in the country and some how make people obsessed with them. Seriously, those are some magicians over there producing that show! But that Kelly Clarkson, there is just something about her. Maybe I have given into American Idol just a little bit. I never watched a single episode that she was on but somehow she got some power over me. I told you -- those producers have some crazy magical powers. Somehow those catchy pop songs get a hold of me sometimes. I do love listening to the radio though. Maybe that is my problem. So the new Kelly Clarkson is out March 17th and that is all I am going to say about it. Enough with my super guilty pleasure! But I feel like I have to give in to popular music every once in a while or I will explode or something. Some pop culture is good for you in moderation. To balance that out a bit I have been listening to this Grouper record a bunch lately. It came out last year, but my coworker Chris recommended it to me and I finally bought it and am now a bit obsessed. If you want some weird folky dark lady music than I highly recommend it. The album is called Dragging a Dead Deer Up A Hill. It is worth it alone for the amazing album cover. I seriously can't stop staring at it. I dare you to try and stop staring at it. I still can't figure out if it is a doll or an actuall girl.

Last week was the week of Bruce Springsteen and Franz Ferdinand. Two completely different generations but I imagine that I am not the only one that was interested in both albums. I have loved the Franz Ferdinand ever since I first heard "Take Me Out" about 6 years ago. I will admit that I am probably one of their older fans. Seems like their fans just keep getting younger. We went and saw them at Bill Graham Civic for the last album and the crowd was mostly 18 year olds. But they just did an instore at Amoeba last week and the crowd did mostly seem to be more like 13 and 15 year olds. But it made me happy -- not all 13 year olds just listen to the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus. I don't think I will be turning into a musical grandpa quite yet this year. But it might be getting close to that time. I still love Franz and that show was great and super high energy. Bruce was too busy performing at inaguration parties and super bowls to stop by Amoeba, but maybe someday he will stop by for a little instore. Also out last week was a new album from Andrew Bird and Amoeba's Secret by Paul McCartney finally came out on CD.

In case you didn't know. Paul McCartney did an instore at Amoeba a couple of years back and we made a recording of it and released it as a 12". This was before I moved back to Hollywood. It somehow got nominated for two Grammys! We are up against Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, The Eagles, Eddie Vedder, and Neil Young for best solo rock vocal performance, so that category might be harder to win. But the cd is also up for best male pop vocal performance. This category is way more random and hard to understand. I can't even imagine what Kid Rock, Ne-Yo, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, James Taylor, and Paul McCartney have to do with one another.  But they are in the same category! Seriously, you have got to love the Grammys. I think that we simply have to win this one....right?? I don't really think the Grammys are the best judge of the music of last year, but I do still watch them every year. Only at the grammys can Wayne Brady be a best traditional R&B Nominee and Gnarls Barkley be a best alternative nominee and Jonas Brothers be a best new artist. But still, it is an honor just to be nominated. I absolutely love the random categories of the Grammys. Did you know that Tony Shalhoub is up for best spoken word album for children and Sidney Poitier is up for best spoken word album? I still don't really understand why the Grammy's seem so outdated when they finally have the ceremony. It always seems like the are giving the awards for albums and songs that are two years old. I mean does Juno really need to still be nominated 2 years later? But the cut off period is October of 2007 through September of 2008. They really do need to do something about giving them out sooner. They should do the ceremony in the November of the year that the nominees are announced, so then it will only seem like the awards are for albums a year old and not two years old. I do also love the random performances that they put together. Where else can you see Dave Grohl performing with Paul McCartney? And Kenny G playing with Kirk Hammett and Cyndi Lauper? The Dave Grohl thing is really happening, but I would seriously not be surprised do see something as crazy as Enya performing with Tony Shaloub and Liza Minnelli. It gets weird for real. The Grammys are on this Sunday if you want to catch the craziness. Keep your fingers crossed that there will be a shout out for Amoeba if Paul McCartney wins.

There is really nothing out this week in the world of music -- at least that I am interested in. There is a new Babyland album called Cavecraft which I for sure be listening to very soon, but this is not for everybody. The big news this week is really the release of Yentl on DVD. I have actually never seen this movie but I have been sort of obsessed with it my whole life. Or at least since 1983. I have caught glimpses of it on TV over the years but have never actually seen the whole thing. I am a big fan of any movie where men dress up like women or women dress up like men. I especially love when actresses play men dressing up like women or when men play women dressing up like men. Tootsie, The Crying Game and Psycho are some of my favorite films. I am gonna put Yentl right up there with those even though I have not rightly seen it yet. I don't know what it is, but I think I just like when films and actors play around with gender roles and identity issues. Barbra Streisand simply plays a woman dressing up like a man in Yentl. But you still have to love it. It is all in the name of practicing her religion and she ends up identifying as a man and living like a man the rest of here life. It is way more complicated than this and I might discuss it more after I actually sit down and watch it. By the way, don't you think Kelly Clarkson would be perfect in the remake of Yentl? Rihanna could play the role originally played by Amy Irving. Just check out the picture at the beginning of the blog if you don't think Kelly can pull of male drag.

Yentl does have a well known sort of rabid fan base. They have been waiting for this film to be on DVD forever. It did win Barbra a Golden Globe for best picture and director, but only managed to win for best score at the Oscars. The DVD includes all sorts of extras including a commentary by Barbra herself. I will always be amazed at the turn out of a screening of Yentl in San Francisco a couple of years ago. I was going to see The Legend of Billie Jean which was playing on a double bill with Yentl. I had long been obsessed with LoBJ and was certain it would sell out the Castro theater. But Yentl, which screened right before it, was actually the movie with the crazy huge crowd. The theater was packed and almost everybody left before LoBJ started. I think there were only like 50 of us there for the Billie Jean screening. I was shocked a bit but I guess I really should not have been that surprised. Barbra has that power that those American Idol producers have somehow harnessed. She gets those fans that become fans for life and loyal to the end. So go watch yourself some Yentl and get ready for the music to start coming your way very soon. Here are some of the albums to look forward to in the next couple of months. There will be many more, I promise. These are just some of them...

2/10 Lily Allen
2/17 Morrissey!!!!!! and M. Ward and Beirut
3/2 Neko Case
3/24 Decemberists
4/7 Ciara
4/21 Depeche Mode!!!


Stripes

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 5, 2009 01:25am | Post a Comment
Of course a striped shirt is a must on any power pop album cover. In fact, many modern rock poseurs would don the stripes hoping to convince the record buying public that they really were new wave...





I can't choose between the Katarzyna Gartner cover below or the Armando Trovajoli above as my favorite design of the bunch. I'm working on a polka dot gallery to accompany this one...




10 Things I Hate About You At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, February 4, 2009 10:38pm | 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!


February 7

Heath Ledger in
10 Things I Hate About You

10th Anniversary!

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

ANTI RECORDS ALSO CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Posted by Billyjam, February 4, 2009 08:38pm | Post a Comment
booker t
The Amoeblog section of the Amoeba Music website is by no means the only blog recognizing and celebrating Black History Month in 2009. Over on ANTI- Records' blog they have an insightful, well-written piece reflecting on Black History Month penned by Booker T. Jones that was posted earlier today. And the musician / author of the blog knows what he is talking about. With a long history of living outside racial boundaries Booker T. and the MGs had both black and white members at a time when much of the country was integrating only under the protection of the National Guard; Booker T.'s was the perfect voice to bring attention to Black History Month on the Anti blog.

Read Booker T.'s insightful and hopeful essay by clicking here and check back on the ANTI blog this month where, like us here at the Amoeblog, they are celebrating Black History Month with music related blogs, all penned by African American recording artists. Upcoming blogs will include Bettye LaVette writing about Barack Obama, Mavis Staples on the the power of music to both heal and communicate, and Solillaquists of Sound's Swamburger talks of his experiences as a black male and a black artist.

Lux Interior 1948-2009

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 4, 2009 04:43pm | Post a Comment


There were rumors of a hoax of Lux Interior's death all day, but unfortunately, they were confirmed by Girlie Action, The Cramps’ media representatives:

Lux Interior, lead singer of The Cramps, passed away this morning due to an existing heart condition at Glendale Memorial Hospital in Glendale, California at 4:30 AM PST today. Lux has been an inspiration and influence to millions of artists and fans around the world. He and wife Poison Ivy’s contributions with The Cramps have had an immeasurable impact on modern music.

The Cramps emerged from the original New York punk scene of CBGB and Max’s Kansas City, with a singular sound and iconography. Their distinct take on rockabilly and surf along with their midnight movie imagery reminded us all just how exciting, dangerous, vital and sexy rock and roll should be and has spawned entire subcultures. Lux was a fearless frontman who transformed every stage he stepped on into a place of passion, abandon, and true freedom. He is a rare icon who will be missed dearly.

My favorite memory of Lux was when I used to work in the mailroom of Epitaph Records, when Lux & Ivy would visit the office. Lux and Ivy never stopped being Lux & Ivy. They were always dressed to the hilt in white pancake make-up and black leather, even in the hottest days. They were the niceset people. Still, they managed to scare the girls I worked with with all that make-up. When they would walk into the mailroom, one of the women would say, "Ya vienen los zombies"  I would laugh cause the more freaked out the girls would be when they were in the mailroom, the nicer Lux & Ivy were to them.

Here is one of my favorite clips of the band, performing "Tear It Up" from the movie Urgh! A Music War. They were so ahead of their time by looking to the past.

Michael Jackson Moonwalker

Posted by phil blankenship, February 3, 2009 11:09pm | Post a Comment
 


CMV Enterprises 49009

Lindstrøm in San Francisco

Posted by Mike Battaglia, February 3, 2009 01:49pm | Post a Comment

This past weekend San Francisco was one of a select few cities to welcome Norwegian producer Hans-Peter Lindstrøm, who brought his Cosmic Disco jams to the newly-reopened Paradise Lounge on a far-too-short three city tour (including Chicago and NYC). Lindstrøm's most recent full-length, Where You Go I Go Too, made many Best of 2008 lists including yours truly's and Amoeba SF's Electronica section's, as well as Pitchfork's (#12), Mixmag's, Time Out's and more, and for good reason. Branching out from making 6-minute dancefloor singles, Lindstrom crafted the title track into a 30-minute epic piece that rises and falls like the tides, taking the listener on a proper journey through disco basslines, laser FX and a vibe that brings to mind Can and Jan Hammer locked in a room with Hamilton Bohannon.

Touching down in SF alongside locals Conor, Beat Broker and TK Disko, Lindstrøm took the crowd to new heights after a blinding set of intense space disco by Ryan "Beat Broker," maxing out the dancefloor and propelling us through a selection of his best ("Contemporary Fix," "Another Station," "I Feel Space") and some new, unrecognizable jams, all threaded through the epic soundscapes of music from his current album.

Despite a mid-set laptop crash, a veritable midieval horde of pushy drunk dudes threatening to turn the party into an unthinkable sausage-fest (including fighting on the dancefloor), and more photographers getting in the way than on Sunset on a Saturday night, the set was uplifting, groovy as all hell and a joy to behold. But don't take my word for it -- YouTube user derekbobus sacrificed his pure experience of the moment so he could bring you an 11-part video series of the set, with above-decent audio quality for a YT video, embedded below for your convenience and listening pleasure.




THE HIGH DECIBELS' NEW HIGH PROFILE C/O SUPER BOWL AD

Posted by Billyjam, February 3, 2009 12:39pm | Post a Comment

Pop quiz: what Oakland rap act was featured prominently in a television commercial spot during Sunday's big Super Bowl event? If you answered MC Hammer, you would be partially correct, as indeed the long fallen-from-grace (and riches) bygone Oakland pop-rap star was featured along with another former big baller, Ed McMahon, in the funny (but in a sad/tragic way) Cash4Gold commercial in which Hammer and high decibalsMcMahon are seen selling off their worldly possessions to get some needed cash.

But also on Sunday there was another Oakland rap act featured, or rather their music was featured, in the new series of always anticipated Super Bowl commercials.

New up-and-coming Oakland hip-hop group The High Decibels' song "That Dude" was prominently featured in the "Sphere of Summer" Super Bowl Commercial spot for Budweiser's new Bud Light Lime line of beer. The commercial, which aired in the game's exciting final quarter, was one of many anticipated new TV commercials unveiled during Super Bowl and which famously cost advertisers $3 million per 30 second spot to run on NBC but are viewed by tens of millions of potential customers.

Considering that the High Decibels are a relatively little-known group with only one album out on a small indie local label, I was curious as to how they landed their music on such a major TV spot. So yesterday I caught up in person with the group's mainman/guitarist KC, who I hadn't seen since I did an Amoeblog profile on the High Decibels back in October when they had just put out their debut album HD on Rolling Jack Records and were doing a record release party in SF. In addition to putting together the hip-hop band, whose two emcees are Duke and Chief, KC also oversees the management and business of the group. high decibels

The History Of White People In America Volume II

Posted by phil blankenship, February 2, 2009 11:15pm | Post a Comment
 


MCA Home Video 80581

867-5309 FOR SALE ON EBAY AND FETCHING BIG BIDS

Posted by Billyjam, February 2, 2009 06:52pm | Post a Comment
tommy tutone 867-5309 jenny
Anyone who watches VH1 Classics, lived through the eighties or has listened to any bit of retro 1980's radio hits will already be quite familiar with the phone number 867 53 09 as enunciated by Tommy Tutone in his infectious pop-rock hit single "867 5309/Jenny" from 1982 which reached number 4 on the pop singles chart. But news is that five years ago, as a bit of a joke, someone in New Jersey actually requested that phone number  from their phone company. To their surprise, they were granted the seven digit number. They also got inundated with phone calls from fans of the song and of the ficticious Jenny.

According to the Associated Press, in the five years since the person who had the phone in his name, Spencer Potter, who is a music fan and mobile disc jockey in Weehawken, NJ, and his  housemates have been "fielding thousands of calls to one of rock 'n' roll's most celebrated phone numbers. Potter and his roommates requested the number on a lark for their home phone in northern New Jersey. They got it, along with about 30 to 40 calls a day."

The phone number, which doubled as Potter's mobile DJ business number, is currently up for sale on eBay along with the DJ business itself. The 28 year old has it listed as "Selling my DJ company with the most famous phone numbers in HISTORY....  867-5309!" But get this: at the time of posting this Amoeblog, it had received 104 bids with the latest one at $158,100.00, which seems ridiculously high. And who knows how much higher it will go and what might happen in the bidding process between now and when the auction closes in 6 days, 17 hours, and 8 minutes (as of posting this) and counting.

(In which we consider Michael Ian Black.)

Posted by Job O Brother, February 2, 2009 06:17pm | Post a Comment

Michael Ian Black

Lately I’ve been listening to and watching a lot of Michael Ian Black. So when the Amoegods* let it be known that we Amoebloggers might consider posting some musings celebrating Black History Month, I thought, “How fortuitous!” For nothing says Black History Month more than uproarious comic Michael Ian Black.

Like most people who are exactly like me, my introduction to Mr. Black came in the form of beloved sketch comedy show The State. Because Mtv is run by terrorists who hate America, however, you younger generations haven’t been able to enjoy The State on DVD, but must settle for choppy YouTube clips like the one below, in which the aforementioned Mr. Black plays the concerned home-owner.


Most fans of The State carry with them a sense of desperation and compulsion to seek out any projects to which a former The State cast member signs his or her name to (i.e., Reno 911, The Ten, the Oklahoma City bombing, etc.). This blog entry isn’t for them, because I’m going to showcase things they already know. If you qualify as a fan of The State, why not click on this link and enjoy reading this instead

Now that we’ve gotten rid of those losers, let’s you and I learn a little more about Michael Ian Black and his contributions to comedy. Take notes and pay close attention, because I’m not going to repeat myself and you’re never to read this post again.


The Congress of Vienna. The Marquis of Labrador is seated at the round table,
third from the right of the diplomats who are seated.


Drawing of breadfruit by Sydney Parkinson

According to my research, Michael Ian Black was born. Some time later he joined things and went on to succeed with stuff. In addition to his role as McKinley in the film Wet Hot American Summer, he hosted VH1’s television program, I Love the 70’s (and subsequent spin-offs), though he has later reported that he was forced into doing this at gunpoint by his abusive husband, Chuck Traynor.

Mr. Black would later join forces with fellow The State cast members Michael Showalter (pronounced Showalter) and David Wain to form the comedy troupe STELLA, named after 1932 Olympic Gold Medal winning athlete, Stella Walsh, who’s name was actually Stanisława Walasiewicz, who, though a hermaphrodite, was to one day ignore the rest of this paragraph and move on to the next one.

Stay with me here. As I said before, I’m not going to repeat myself. And I don’t wanna hurt you. Don’t make me hurt you.


Some time after 2004 (but before 2006) Comedy Central broadcasted a half-hour sitcom version of STELLA, which, sadly, lasted only one season before it contracted cholera and died – just one of many eerie coincidences linking STELLA with eleventh President of the United States, James K. Polk. (Indeed, some conspiracy theorists conclude that STELLA is still rightfully the Commander-in-Chief of, if not the entire U.S., at least Nebraska.)


Something else you may want to exchange money for at your local Amoeba Music is Mr. Black’s compact disc, I Am A Wonderful Man, on which you may delight in recordings of his stand-up comedy routine in the English language.

But of course the most interesting fact about Mr. Black is not his celebrity, not his collection of hobbies, nor his marriage to Sarah Childress or his part in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; rather, it is his uncanny resemblance to my boyfriend, Corey. But that plays no part in my liking Michael Ian Black – though it does explain why I did once mistakenly fellate him at the Golden Globes a few years back.


My boyfriend, Corey Scholibo

Once you learn about the contributions Mr. Black has made, it becomes clear that his name should and must be included when considering the tremendously positive role of Black America. Thank you for your time, and God bless.

*That’s a term I just coined to describe the ruling class of Amoeba Music. I plan on copyrighting it, so don’t use it without sending me money. I think a nickel per usage is fair until further notice.

February 2nd in Pennsylvania

Posted by Whitmore, February 2, 2009 01:04pm | Post a Comment

It’s February 2nd and once again the hamlet of Punxsutawney, PA has announced for the 97th time since 1887 that the world’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, the "seer of seers and prognosticator of prognosticators," has seen his shadow, which according to legend means we can expect six more weeks of winter. Though we’ve had a pretty mild winter here in Southern California, this is bad news for most of the country, sick and tired of being buried in snow, sleet and rain.

This morning Punxsutawney Phil's forecast was announced in front of some 13,000 revelers gathering at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, where many were dressed in black and gold to celebrate yesterdays Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl victory.
 
February 2nd is the Christian holiday of Candlemas; the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, when a 40 day old Jesus was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn. In German tradition if a hibernating critter casts its shadow on Candlemas, winter will last six more weeks. And accordingly if no shadow is seen, spring will come early.   
This year, however, there was a little drama. Punxsutawney Phil’s counterpart and co-conspirator, New York City’s groundhog named Charles G. Hogg saw things differently; he didn't see his shadow. And he also bit Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the ceremony. Drawing blood from the eighth-richest American billionaire, Bloomberg was told there was no risk of rabies as the 2-year-old groundhog was born and raised in captivity and has had no contact with other animals. I smell conspiracy! But what did Bloomberg expect, we’d forget he left the Democratic Party to run as a Republican for NYC mayor and then try and extend the term limits law by running for a third time!?

TECHNO IS BLACK!

Posted by Mike Battaglia, February 2, 2009 11:00am | Post a Comment

              

Even five short years ago, many clubbers, ravers and dance music fans would be hard pressed to recognize the names Ron Hardy or Larry Levan (above, R-L), let alone acknowledge African American influence on the music they get freaky to on the weekends. Even in the black community, whole generations seem completely oblivious to this part of their musical heritage. Thankfully, that's changing. With a renewed interest in disco, 80's uptempo R&B aka boogie, techno and early house music over the past few years, knowledge of dance music's history and the role blacks (and gays and latinos) played in its inception is growing. Nightclubs where the music was allowed to evolve, like Levan's Paradise Garage (right) in New York, Hardy's Music Box and Frankie Knuckles' Warehouse in Chicago (the latter being where the name House Music was coined) and Detroit's Music Institute remain legendary not because of the venues themselves or the people who owned them, but due to the DJ's who made those places immortal by performing an aural alchemy that transformed the American soundscape.

In honor of Black History Month 2009, I plan on taking a look at these legends so that they might gain a foothold with a new audience. People like The Belleville Three, legendary innovators of techno music from Detroit, or DJ's and producers like Tony Humphries at New Jersey's Zanzibar, that bridged the gap between disco's firey, racist and homophobic "death" and the birth of house and techno. I'd like to visit the lives and careers of people who changed the face of music forever, as well as ask a few questions. Questions like: Why is it that DJ's like Tiesto, Sasha & Digweed, Paul Oakenfold or Paul Van Dyk remain the most recognizable faces in mainstream dance music while Theo Parrish (left) remains an "undiscovered talent," or that popular knowledge of its history seems to go no further than the 90's, when white folks finally caught on en masse to what black folks in Chicago, Detroit and New York had already known for years? Or that the most popular strains of dance and electronic music seem to have erased all trace of African American influence? In a press release for a 2006 conference on techno's black origins at Indiana University, author and professor of folklore and ethnomusicology Portia Maultsby said:

"It is interesting how the music migrated from Detroit to Europe, and...became associated with rave parties, and then migrated back to the U.S., and Americans became involved...and the African American identity became invisible. Music can be appropriated and re-appropriated, and history can be distorted as a result of that ...Very few people associate techno with its African American origins."

                     

(The Belleville Three, L-R - Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson)

I may not even have answers to these questions (but would love to hear people's ideas in the comments), but I think raising them is almost enough. Questioning the status quo has never been a popular idea in dance music, but it's something that skeptical ol' me is hardwired for.

Now, obviously things are changing. These men have been regarded as gods in the underground for nearly 20 years and as new generations discover this music for the first time, it seems that it's the essence they immediately attach themselves to; the music's late 70's and early 80's beginnings are attracting the kids and new artists alike, such as Hercules and Love Affair or New York's DFA label, headed by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. These artists either consciously or unconsciously are realizing a concept-- that house/dance/electronic music (whatever you want to call it) has lost its way and needs to step back a bit to reflect, to capture what made it great in the first place. To remember the groove.
 

BOOTS RILEY OF THE COUP TELLS IT AS HE SEES IT

Posted by Billyjam, February 2, 2009 10:00am | Post a Comment
boots riley
In 1993 when Boots Riley and The Coup (Pam the Funkstress and former member E-Roc) first caught the attention of the hip-hop world with their socially & politically charged debut Kill My Landlord (Wild Pitch), hip-hop had already passed its political Afro-centric wave. 

It was when gangsta rap, with Dr. Dre and The Chronic leading the way, was fast becoming the prevalant hip-hop flavor, remaining so ever since. But none of that bothered the ever-outspoken, individually minded Raymond "Boots" Riley one bit, not then nor in the 16 years since. Boots as both an artist and acitvist has remained a refreshingly consistent voice of rebelliion; one constantly questioning authority, in particular the capitalist system of the country in which he lives.

Last week I caught up with Boots by telephone to talk with him about Black History Month, Barack Obama being in the White House, the relationship between police & minorities in the aftermath of the Oscar Grant case, and of course music, among other things. Riley was in LA in the studio sitting in on the finishing stages of mixing an album for a forthcoming release of an exciting-sthe coup kill my landlordounding side project by The Coup frontman, which is detailed further in the conversation that follows.

Amoeblog: So what is this new album side-project you are finishing up right now?

The Black Eliminator

Posted by phil blankenship, February 1, 2009 09:41pm | Post a Comment
 


Unicorn Video 1234

Cinema of Burkina Faso

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 1, 2009 01:27pm | Post a Comment

Background on Burkina Faso

What is now Burkina Faso has been continuously inhabited for at least 14,000 years. The main indigenous population of this Sahelian region were the Yonyonse, who remained for thousands of years until they were displaced by the Mossi people of what is now Ghana only a thousand years ago. The Mossi established several kingdoms; the first, Tenkodogo, was founded in 1120 and ruled by Naaba. The Dogon, who'd inhabited areas in the north, left between the 15th and 16h centuries. Two more Mossi Kingdoms followed and dominated the area for about 800 years until 1896 when France invaded and established a colonial occupation. Upper Volta, as it was then known, gained independence from the French in 1960. As is the case with most post-Colonial countries, the years since have been dominated by dictatorships, wars and coups.


Yet despite being plagued by poverty, unemployment and strife, Burkina Faso inarguably has one of West Africa's most vibrant cultures. Literature, primarily transmitted orally until collected in the 1930s, has long been a central part of Burkina Faso's culture. A strong theater tradition owing to both Burkinabé traditions and French influences has also been a major aspect of Burkinabé's cultural life. With over 60 ethnic groups, no one sort of music has yet dominated Burkina Faso's musical scene, although American and European pop are the most popular. Since 1969, Burkina Faso has been one of, if not the, dominant powers in Africa's film industry.

 
History of film in Burkina Faso
Although Burkina Faso’s film output is relatively small, their role in African film is large and they’re arguably central to the West African Film Industry. Burkina Faso are co-hosts of the Pan-African FESPACO film festival (alternating with Tunisia), which largely determines the few African movies that get distributed in the US and released on DVD. Even before Burkina Faso had produced any films, the status-conferring festival was established in Ougadougou in 1969.

 

Although many Americans have recently become aware of the popular Nollywood scene in Nigeria, FESPACO (and by extension the Burkina Faso film community) has shut out West African neighbor Nigeria’s prolific output of movies on the basis that that they aren’t “films” since they're shot on video. However, as more and more quality films are made on video, that argument holds less water. The real reason that Nollywood films aren't shown at FESPACO is because they're about as arty as an episode of Martin shot by public access crew. Even Nollywood fans wouldn't generally argue that they're great films, merely enjoyable star vehicles. At the last FESPACO, however, the Étalon de Yenenga did go to a Nigerian filmmaker, Newton Aduaka for Ezra. Judging from the trailer above, it's neither Nollywood nor typically arty FESPACO fare and perhaps a bit of a concession to the growing power of Lagos's film industry.
 

Despite the fact that most westerners assume that most Africans live in huts on a savannah, fighting over millet tossed from a UN aid truck, Burkina Faso has technologically modern film production and distribution facilities. In fact, they're probably the most advanced on the continent, with the likely exception of South Africa. But whereas South Africa tends to churn out glossy, soulless product that’s often aimed at nondiscriminating audiences such as Stander and Critical Assignment, or alternately, Western festival-baiting/liberal guilt-assuaging "poverty porn" like Wooden Camera or Tsotsi, Burkina Faso’s film industry remains steadfastly disinterested in commercial or Western trends.

Heavily indebted to Soviet technique, Burkinabe films tend be highly visual, thoughtful, formalistic and didactic. Some critics argue that, though targeted toward Pan-African audiences, they're only enjoyed by a small group of intellectuals, the implication being that African audiences are too simple to enjoy them, I guess. If they are targeted at all toward Western audiences, they're largely unsuccesful since African art films are almost impossible to see in the western hemisphere. It seems unlikely that, with little potential to reach audiences outside of Africa, African directors would cater their films to the tastes of outsiders.

At Los Angeles's Pan-African Film Festival, the program directors have used the "African diaspora" umbrella to move away from actual African films and toward "African"-American (and British) romcoms and thrillers, at the complete exclusion of actual African directors. Last year's PAFF, for example, featured not one African feature film. Even DVD companies that specialize in arthouse and foreign films usually ignore the dark conintent. The highly regarded Criterion label seems to have a strict policy of not releasing African films, in fact, since their catalog includes multiple works from every other inhabited continent, but not one African film. It's a shame. Having bred a large following of indiscriminate pretentious consumers willing to buy anything they release, they could use their power to shed light on the world's most ignored cinematic treasures. How an acclaimed director like Med Hondo can have a directorial career that spans 42 years and not one film available in America on DVD whilst Criterion releases Chasing Amy and Armageddon is frankly beyond me. I did write to them several years ago to ask but they still haven't replied. They can argue in Armageddon's defense all they want but that movie was like watching a four-year-old play with action figures for three hours, only slightly more nonsensical.
 

Burkinabe directors
Burkinabé cinema began with Mamadou Djim Kola (born 1940), who directed Le conflit (1972), Le Sang des parias (1972), Cissin... cinq ans plus tard (1976) and Kognini y Toungan, les étrangers (1992). He studied in film in Paris and, back in Burkina Faso, he served as president of L'association Nationale de realisateurs de cine de Burkina Faso between 1980 and 1987. Unfortunately, none of his films have been released in the US.

 Gaston Kaboré

Gaston Kaboré (born 1951 in Bobo-Dioulasso) is probably the most internationally well-known and highly regarded Burkinabé film director. Originally, he studied history at the Sorbonne, focusing on the history of Colonial racism. His studies led him to examine the way stereotypes are propagated in film and he attended film school after getting his Master’s in history. After receiving his degree in Film Production in 1976, he returned to Burkina Faso where he became the director of the Centre Natinal du Cinéma.

                      Lumiere & Company DVD

His debut, Wend Kuuni (1982), was only the second Burkinabé feature. It was put released, like most African films, by the no-frills Kino label. I was once asked by a random customer if I'd seen it. I said, "yes" and he pointed out Rosine Yangolo (Pongere). Pretty obscure "celebrity" sighting, eh?


 

In 1997, Kaboré won first prize at FESPACO for Buud Yam -- the same year he ended his twelve year term as Secretary-Genaral of the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers. He’s also directed Zan Boko (1988), Rabi (1992), a segment in Lumière and Company (1995).


Idrissa Ouedraogo
was born 1954 in Banfora and is, perhaps, the most prolific Burkinabé director. He's earned awards in many film festivals. He graduated from Institut Africain d’Etudes Cinématographiques in Ougadougou.


 

In 1981, working for Direction de la Production Cinématographique du Burkina Faso he made several shorts: Pourquoi? (1981), Poko (1981), Les Écuelles (1983), Les Funérailles du Larle Naba (1984), Ouagadougou, Ouaga deux roues (1985), Issa le tisserand (1985) followed by a feature, Yam Daabo (1986).

 
Yaaba

After studying in the USSR and Paris, he returned to Burkina Faso. He directed Yaaba (1989) and Tilaï (1990). I found the latter (released by New Yorker Films) rather formulaic and perhaps one of the better examples of a film seemingly crafted to appeal to western notions about what West African cinema is... as small of a group as that might be. But then again, it won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes, so arty Francophiles are included, I guess.

Ouedraogo's made a slew of features, shorts and television programs since, including: Obi (1991), A Karim na Sala (1991), Samba Traoré (1993), Cri du cœur (1994), Gorki (1994), Afrique, mon Afrique (1994), a segment of Lumière et compagnie (1995), Kini and Adams (1997), Les Parias du cinémas (1997), Entre l'arbre et l'écorce (1999), Scenarios from the Sahel (2001), Kadi Jolie (2001), a segment of 11'09''01 September 11 (2002), La Colère des dieux (2003) and Kato Kato (2006).

 
Sarah Bouyain was born in 1968. Obviously, that's her on the left, then. She has directed two films so far, Niararaye (1997) and Les enfants du Blanc (2000).


Fanta Régina Nacro
was born 1962 and received her film education at INAFEC and the Sorbonne.



She made her debut, a short film, Un Certain Matin in 1992. Since then she’s made many shorts: Un Certain Matin (1991), L'Ecole au coeur de la vie (1993), Puk Nini (1995), Femmes capables (1997), La Tortue du Monde (1997), Le Truc de Konaté (1988), Florence Barrigha (1999), Relou (2000), Laafi Bala (2000), La bague aux doigt (2001), Une volonté de fer (2001), La voix de la raison (2001), Bintou (2001), En parler ça aide (2002), Vivre positivement (2003) Her feature debut is La Nuit de la vérité (2004) and is available on DVD through First Run Features, who've released several African films on DVD.




 Adama Roamba, director of Garba (1998)

S. Pierre Yamégo has directed two films so far, Silmande Tourbillon (1998) and Delwende, lève-toi e marche (2005).

          

I love that Drissa Toure is rocking what looks like old time prison garb. His only film so far, Haramuya (1995), is available on a double feature with a Malian film, released by Facets, yet another small label who puts the bourgeois-favored Criterion to shame.


Daniel Kollo Sanou
's Tasuma (2003) and Dani Kouyaté's Sia, le rêve du python (2001) are also availble from Facets on a Burkinabé double feature.


With Burkinabé films being made by numerous directors and film crews, it's difficult to effectively characterize its film language. Since there are so many languages spoken in Africa, it tends to rely heavily on visual techniques developed in the silent era -- relying less on dialog which, even if subtitled, would still only reach those literate in the chosen language. Burkinabé films also tend to eschew western devices like calendar sheets blowing to suggest the passage of time or scrolling computer letters to notify the viewer of the setting, instead prefering to make their points more subtly and assuming that the viewer is intelligent enough to get it. This can be jarring to audiences used to the kid-gloved/heavy handed treatment they're used to, even mistakently being viewed as a defect by some who assume it's the result of incompetence. This isn't the case. Burkinabé's other main influence is the French New Wave, whose spirit of cinematic deconstruction is evident as well in its thorough, considered approach to cinematic language. So, put back your French/Italian/Japanese film. It'll be there tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. But if you pass on that Burkinabé film, you've probably missed your only chance at enjoying something completely different.

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Prince

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 1, 2009 06:20am | Post a Comment
Prince Rogers Nelson is easily the most daring, inventive, and subversive pop star in contemporary music. He is just as much Cole Porter as he is James Brown. Using an R&B aesthetic base, he has interwoven punk rock, rock & roll, pop, jazz, blues, and new wave to carve out a sound that is American, uniquely African-American.

prince

His diverse background, varied music palette, and pop/showbiz mentality can be credprince rogers nelsonited to his Minnesota upbringing. Like Bob Dylan (also from MN), he balances spirituality and humanity with heartache and yearning. He is part spiritual leader, religious zealot, sensualist and priest of carnality. His work is visceral yet calculated, both frank and overt. This is all anchored by his genius for laying out a great tune. I mean, who princecaught the first time that "Raspberry Beret" was a tale of a person losing his virginity? With attention to detail draped in poetry and the abstract, the lyrics sound idiosyncratic and real as anything Joni Mitchell ever wrote. But songs like "Darling Nikki" expose a rawness and sexiness balanced in a tale about the love and loss found in a one night stand. So what is he about? What does it all mean?

Prince's music, story and career are so singular that many have tried to trace where this all comes from. The Minnesota link was a start; maybe it's his mixed African-American heritage. Who knows? But Prince has continued time and time again to break the mold of pop constraints, social uptight-ness, cold war hysteria, bible reading, and corporate rock greed. And through all of Prince's moods, phases, flings, mysteries and crusades, he has gotten us to wonder, follow and believe with one thing-- our own body. So where it "all comes from" is beyond us all, but where it goes is rapidly obvious -- we feel it in our bodies. There is no doubt he has moved us.  

Dexter Gordon

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 1, 2009 06:16am | Post a Comment
dexter gordon

I recently rewatched the movie Round Midnight, for which Dexter Gordon was nominated for an round midnightAcademy Award. The story is taken from a nonfiction book on Bud Powell's life in Paris called Dance of the Infidels. In the 50s and 60s, many Americans took off to Europe. Many African Americans had extended stays because they were treated with more respect than they had been here in the USA. Like Bud Powell, Dexter Gordon also set up a base in Europe, but issuedexter gordond recordings made over there through the NYC located Blue Note label. He would also visit the states every once in a while to record. Each is recommended, including Doin' Allright,  A Swingin' Affair and One Flight Up.

Mr. Gordon finally returned to USA for good in 1976, and continued to record on a regular basis. One of the standout later recordings was made here in North Beach at the sadly long gone Keystone Corner. There's a jazz mural there now. Mosaic Records put out a budget priced three disc set of all the recorded material from that residency-- well worth a listen.

Emporer Jones

Posted by Amoebite, February 1, 2009 06:16am | Post a Comment
emporer jones

Paul Robeson
(1898-1976) was one of the towering figures of African-American art, culture, and politics in the 20th century. An All-American collegiate athlete and attorney, he becamepaul robeson a star of the dramatic and musical stage, an international concert luminary, recording artist, and the first black leading man on film. But his outspoken opposition to segregation and his support of Russia’s Communist regime made him a pariah during the Cold War ‘50s; the U.S. State Department lifted his passport for nearly a decade, until the Supreme Court overturned its action in 1958. Only near the end of his life did his singular achievements begin to be recognized without the taint of racial or political prejudice.

Robeson’s 1924 appearance in the Broadway revival of Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones launched him to stardom. He portrayed Brutus Jones, a Pullman porter turned murderer who becomes the despotic ruler of a Caribbean island. The expressionistic 1933 film production recreated that paul robesonheralded performance, and was expanded to include several musical numbers featuring Robeson’s peerless, profound bass voice. The last 15 minutes of the film is essentially a soliloquy by Jones, who, hunted by rebellious natives, is terrorized by “haints” from his past; it’s an acting tour de force.

Today, The Emperor Jones looks antique, and its liberal use of the n-word and broad racial stereotyping will make contemporary viewers cringe. But there is no denying the enduring power of Robeson’s performance. His great stature, booming voice, theatrical bravado, and magnetic presence amply demonstrate why he bestrode the theatrical and musical worlds like a colossus. A genius? Undoubtedly. (DVD: Criterion)

Otis Redding, The Big O

Posted by Miss Ess, February 1, 2009 06:11am | Post a Comment
Otis Redding has inarguably one of the most evocative voices in all our country's history, and like so many with such enormous talent, he died too young.


I think I first heard Otis in high school when I became obsessed with the Monterey Pop Festival, Otis' first big splash onto the pop scene. I was overwhelmed by his voice and energy during his famous performance there, including and especially a song he cowrote called "I've Been Loving You Too Long." In fact, one of my very first purchases at Amoeba quite a few years ago, and long before I ever worked here was the Reprise release of Redding's Monterey Pop set with Hendrix' on the flip side. I had never been able to find it anywhere else.


Otis came from Georgia, and he wrote and recorded for Stax/Volt, the famous Southern label. Not many people in his day were writing their own songs. Otis would write many with the legendary Steve Cropper, including "(Sittin On) The Dock of the Bay." Additionally, the many songs that he chose to cover were infused with a sprit and fortitude that made them all his own. Otis' career gained momentum throughout the 60s due to his incessant touring and massive talent for entertaining and moving crowds. He released a string of essential albums, including Pain in My Heart, The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads, Otis Blue, The Soul Album, Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul and King & Queen.

Otis died in a small plane crash that occured just a few months after Monterey Pop, on December 10, 1967.

One of my favorite songs that he sings so memorably on Otis Blue has always been "A Change Is Gonna Come." The song, which has never lost its power over the many years and zillions of cover versions since it was written by Sam Cooke, seems even more timely right now as our 44th president experiences his first months in office. I always hotly argued with my friends over whether the Otis version was better than the original, sung by Cooke. Although it is admittedly a tough call, Otis' was always number one in my heart -- it reverberates with grit and emotion, weariness and hope.

In addition to his great talent, as his official website states, Redding believed "that music could be a universal force, bringing together different races and cultures." Back when it was uncommon, his label, Stax, was famously integrated, his backing band was often the MGs, made up of black and white players, and he brought his music to both the chitlin circuit and pop festivals. He was loved by all. I just don't think there has ever been a better vocalist and some of the songs he wrote are some of the best ever, including "Respect," "Hard to Handle," "These Arms of Mine," and many more.

Here's my favorite Otis track, "Cigarettes and Coffee." One note from Otis and his gorgeous, expressive voice, and I am lost in sentimental memories.


I can't resist adding "You Don't Miss Your Water" as well: