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Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: Girl Talk

Posted by Amoebite, March 31, 2009 10:12pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth

Coachella LineupGirl Talk

Day #15 - Artist #15 - Girl Talk:

Girl Talk - Feed the Animals

Not a girl. And there's no talking.

Gregg Gillis, hailing from Pittsburgh, is a DJ/mashup extraordinaire that has released four albums since 2002, and is the sole proprietor of the musical chop shop persona that is Girl Talk.

I'm surprised Girl Talk's most recent album, Feed The Animals, released in 2008 by rabble-rouser sampling label Illegal Art, wasn't sold in a brown paper bag. Possibly due to the controversy it anticipated (by failing to legally license any of the sampled music), the album provides no song titles or identifing information anywhere on the packaging except for what looks like a ransom note folded inside the case, listing hundreds of songs/artists sampled for the album.
Girl Talk Laptop
Feed The Animals encompasses the last 40+ years of music and pop culture into 53 minutes and 53 seconds of "I can't believe he just did that..." internal monologues. Think mash-up inventor DJ Z-Trip meets 80's physical comedian Gallagher. (Including plastic sheeting on the laptop. See photo -------> )

Happy 75th Birthday John D Loudermilk!

Posted by Whitmore, March 31, 2009 09:57pm | Post a Comment

Today is the 75th birthday of a legendary songwriter most people have never heard of, but as the story so often goes, you may not know the name but you know the song. The songs of John D. Loudermilk have been recorded by hundreds and hundreds artists over the last fifty plus years. From Rockabilly greats like Arnie Derksen, Marvin Rainwater, Jimmy Newman, and Billy Lee Riley to Country Music Hall of Famers like Webb Pierce, George Jones, Kitty Wells, Brenda Lee and Hank Williams Jr. to soul, jazz and funk artists like Nina Simone, Ramsey Lewis, Brother Jack McDuff, William Bell, Solomon Burke and even James Brown. In the rock world Loudermilk’s songs have been recorded by everyone from Jerry Lee Lewis to Jefferson Airplane to Jimi Hendrix and The Jayhawks.
 
John D. Loudermilk was born in Durham, North Carolina March 31, 1934. He wasn’t the only family member with some musical chops; his cousins are Ira and Charlie Loudermilk, better known to country music fans as the Louvin Brothers.  
 
In the mid 1950’s Loudermilk got his start recording some of his own material on the Colonial Record label based in North Carolina under the stage name Johnny Dee. After signing with Columbia Records, he began using his own name and had a Top 20 hit in the UK with "Language of Love" in 1962. Though he continually recorded many solo albums and singles into the 1980’s, his lasting mark on music history is that of a solid first class tunesmith. Loudermilk not only could write some serious songs for serious people but he had an unusually successful career on the novelty side of things.
 
Starting in late 1956, Loudermilk’s songwriting career took off with "A Rose and a Baby Ruth" -- a top 10 country hit in 1956 for "George Hamilton and the Country Gentlemen." (Later to be covered by, of all people, John Fahey!) Later that same year Eddie Cochran recorded Loudermilk’s "Sittin' in the Balcony," becoming Cochran’s first top 20 single, which has since become something of a rockabilly standard. In 1959 Loudermilk scored his first huge international hit with the song “Waterloo” as recorded by Stonewall Jackson, which hit the top of the US Country charts but also saw chart action around the world.
 
But no doubt, Loudermilk's signature song is “Tobacco Road.” He likes to say it’s partly autobiographical, but I suspect that’s just good old fashion bullshit. Tobacco Road is a section in East Durham near to where Loudermilk grew up. There, bails of tobacco are rolled down the way to the warehouse, hence the name. According to almost everything I’ve ever read about it, Tobacco Road did have something of a bad ass reputation, and was known as quite the unsavory neighborhood and a part of town where after dark even the police department avoided entering. This song was a huge hit during the first British invasion, sung by the Nashville Teens in the summer of 1964. What works so perfectly in their version is the harsh, desperate spin they put to the lyrics and melody. It still sounds raw today. “Tobacco Road” has since been covered dozens of times from a wide variety of artists like Richard 'Groove' Holmes, the Blues Magoos, Jimi Hendrix and even David Lee Roth recorded a Spanish version, “La Calle Del Tabaco,” in 1986. Actually, any garage band worth its beans has rocked this classic tale of woe … I believe it's required playing.
 
Another top 40 pop-rock classic, "Indian Reservation," was originally written by John Loudermilk in 1959 and recorded by Marvin Rainwater, as "Pale Faced Indian." Later on Loudermilk reshaped some of the lyrics and released it in the mid 1960s as "The Lament of The Cherokee Reservation Indian." In 1969 Don Fardon shortened the title to "Indian Reservation" and scored a mammoth worldwide hit everywhere except here in the states, which was very fortunate for The Raiders featuring Mark Lindsay. Two years later their version mimicked Fardon’s interpretation almost note for note and scored a huge hit in the US. According to lore, Loudermilk was once asked by Casey Kasem of American Top 40 Radio about the back story of “Indian Reservation.” Loudermilk concocted a tall tale about being rescued by Cherokee Indians after crashing his car in a blinding blizzard only to be held captive by his rescuers. He was finally released once he promised he would write a song telling of their plight. The story appeared several times on the show; Kasem is quoted as saying, "one of the most incredible stories we've ever told on AT40." I bet!
 
One of my favorite John D. Loudermilk songs is “Torture.” Originally a top 20 hit for Kris Jensen in 1962, there is a slightly obscure 1980 version released as a single by the French cult artist Hermine Demoriane. I love her version! She sounds a bit like Nico, but pulls out a bit more drama in the delivery. I know very little about Hermine except she was supposed to be married to the English poet Hugo Williams and performed in the film Jubilee (1977). And though I don’t believe much of anything I read on the internet -- actually very little, and that includes my own blog -- Hermione supposedly studied and practiced tightrope walking and wrote a book about it called Tightrope Walker.
 
In 1969 Loudermilk temporarily tripped out, got hip and underground, and released the soon to be classic, neo-psych album The Open Mind of John D Loudermilk. Finally in recent years it has been re-released on CD. I recommend it, though it is ever so slightly peculiar, but in just … I don’t know … that peculiar, peculiar way.
 
John D. Loudermilk was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976.
 
Here is a small list of some of his other classic songs:
 
Angela Jones” -- Johnny Ferguson version peaked at #27 in Billboard's but the version to hear is by Milk and their bubble gum version from 1969
 
Break My Mind” -- covered by both Linda Rondstadt and Gram Parsons
 
Ebony Eyes” -- the Everly Brothers' perfect version was a huge tear-drop rock hit in 1961, reaching #8
 
Google Eye” -- kind of a ridiculous novelty song, though it was a big hit in France, sung in French by the neo Ye-Ye group Les Lionceaux
 
Norman” – Sue Thompson’s biggest hit peaked at #3
 
Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)” -- another big hit for Sue Thompson, this one reached #5 on the Billboard charts. This song was also a hit in France, this time for Sylvie Vartan in the French version: "Quand le film est triste." During her career, the Ye-Ye singer Vartan recorded several Loudermilk songs.
 
Talk Back Trembling Lips” -- A #1 hit by country singer Ernest Ashworth. This song has probably been covered a least a hundred times, and almost always by Country music artists.
 
Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” -- an absolutely great and beautiful song, probably the most recorded tune of John Loudermilk. There may be as many as 200 versions floating around; the most successful version was by The Casinos in 1967.
 
This Little Bird” -- was once recorded by Marianne Faithfull in the mid sixties. Her version reached # 5 in the UK, but only #32 in the US. Later it was recorded by Nancy Sinatra and by Jewel.
 
Thou Shalt Not Steal” -- from 1964, a classic track, became one of Dick & Dee Dee’s biggest sellers
 
Turn Me On” -- Nina Simone did a great early version of this song, so incredibly laid back. Just a few years back, Norah Jones re-did it in a similar manner
 
Anyway, Happy 75th Birthday John D. Loudermilk!




The Crying Light - Antony and the Johnsons

Posted by Miss Ess, March 31, 2009 08:02pm | Post a Comment
Antony of Antony and the Johnsons has created a more than worthy followup to his wonderful I Am A Bird Now. This new album is called The Crying Light, and it is as hauntingly gorgeous as anything else Antony has put out.


On The Crying Light there are some beautifully unexpected moments and, as always, a lot of vocal vibrato. Through it all, we glimpse Earth though the eyes of a keen observer of the natural world, who penetratingly sees both its agony and ecstacy. Strings abound on the first track "Everglade," while the second song "Epilepsy is Dancing" is delicate and features guitar and wind instruments. "Aeon" is an awesomely gorgeous torch song and plea dedicated to the universe and its eternity. One of the record's centerpieces, "Another World" (also included on this past fall's ep Another World), longs for a place beyond our planet, a place that is not so limiting and broken. There's a quite a bit of sonic variation for someone who has been so critically defined merely by the timbre of his voice. No doubt, that voice is there in all its smoky, vibrating glory. It blankets every track in its special, warm glow. The release, the silences, the showiness of it all is just perfection. But the music that flows through this album is just as glorious as the otherwordly vocals.

It's obvious to me that someone at the top of his game is making this music. The Crying Light is one of the more cathartic works I've heard in a long time. Antony knows how to both take risks and present his work with a humble confidence. Though his songs have a darkness to them, his brilliance shines through like the luminous, hazy moon in a cloudy night sky.

Antony consistantly creates the kind of music that seeps into your head slowly and then suddenly opens up what feels like an entirely new universe in there. It seems perfectly apt -- maybe that musical escapism, the space that transcendent music can allow us to enter in our minds, is the only kind of "(an)other world" we can find.

Here's Antony playing "Aeon" on Letterman last month:

Frightmare

Posted by phil blankenship, March 31, 2009 07:56pm | Post a Comment
 


Vestron Video VA 3026

From the women's picture to the chick flick

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 31, 2009 05:52pm | Post a Comment

I wrongly assumed that it would be easy to fire off a blog briefly summarizing the history of women’s pictures. When I began, I quickly realized that it is a genre that’s simplistically treated as synonymous with both weepies/tearjerkers and their near opposite, the rom-com; it quickly proved to be more than I bargained for, which is why it’s showing up on this, the last day of Women’s History Month. The history of the genre occupies an interesting position, little discussed and yet obviously affecting and responding to the Hollywood narrative, the larger global film market, and broader history. Anyway, it proved to be a bit too much so, here's the fast & furious driveby account of a genre that deserves more.


First of all, tear-inducing films are by no means all women's pictures, which is why someone coined the annoying term “guy cry” for young male-targeted stories/films about dying dogs (e.g. My Dog Skip, Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, &c). For adult males, sentimental melodramas (usually tempered by the macho backdrop of war, the wild west or sports (e.g. Bang the Drum Slowly, Brian’s Song, Knute Rockne) allow men the opportunity to cry with less shame. But, whereas men generally try to resist crying, telling themselves in the heat of a battle scene as the hero lies dying in his buddy's arms, "It's only a movie. It's only a movie. You will not cry!"; women, it is assumed, seek out movies with the hope that they will have "good cry." I have no doubt that this is part of why women’s pictures have rarely been afforded serious critical examination and were only lauded, for the most part, near the beginning of film history.


During the silent film era, most truly snobby critics still viewed film as an inferior art form unworthy of serious discussion, except to point out its deficiencies. Those few positive critics were usually decidely populist and they, of course, loved the maudlin stories, over-the-top action and improbable coincidence of silent melodramas. Most of still-critically-worshipped director D.W. Griffith’s supposed film innovations were borrowed directly from tawdry works of decidedly low, melodramatic fiction and much of his work can be considered in the women's pictures genre. True Heart Sudies is about a suffering country girl who continually sacrifices her own happiness to help advance the position of a man who barely knows she exists. In Way Down East, a young innocent is seduced and impregnated by a smooth womanizer who then tosses her aside.


Silent stars like Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford often played spurned or otherwise wronged innocents who suffered mightily at the hands of dastardly men. Both of the actresses played out in ways fitting the conventions of women’s pictures, albeit ones that demonstrate some of the under-acknowledged variety of the genre. Lillian Gish never married nor had any verified relationships (unless you count her close friendship with Helen Hayes or her sister, Dorothy). Instead, she devoted herself entirely to her career for 75 years before dying alone at 99 years old. Pickford’s husband, Owen Moore, was an alcoholic who -- unhappy about being overshadowed by his wife’s fame -- resorted to beating her, driving her into the arms of dashing womanizer Douglas Fairbanks.


The idea of campaigning for female audiences began when women still didn’t have the right to vote at the ballot box, but did at the ticket booth. With silent film’s reliance on visuals and, usually, highly stylized, dramatic acting, the medium practically seemed ideally suited for melodrama. In the 1920s, Doris Schroeder became in demand for her women’s picture screenplays. Her first screenplay was the provocatively-titled Heart of a Jewess. Her specialty was creating different characters that look like a who’s who of women’s picture stock characters: tomboys, fallen women, vengeful femme fatales and hedonistic gold-diggers. Of course, part of the fun of the pre-Hayes Code era was the ability to show all sorts of tawdry, sordid, gleeful immorality as long as the bad girls end up drug-addicted, rejected or dead. Madame X (1920) was one of the first of such films. In it, a woman (played by Pauline Frederick) is separated from her child and then defended by her unknowing, grown-up son when she's wrongly accused of murder. 


In 1927, the first Academy Award for Best Actress went to Janet Gaynor, the star of 7th Heaven, a woman’s picture wherein a poor, cheated, abused and persecuted woman finds a loving husband, only to have him snatched away to fight in World War I. He makes the unlikely promise to communicate telepathically with his wife every night. Eventually, the heroine thinks he’s died. Against all odds, he returns to her alive… but blind.

It was only when film began to be taken seriously that more serious critics began to dominate film theory. For the most part, they shunned the melodramatic hallmarks of the women’s picture as uncinematic, usually expressing the view that a more intellectual filmmaker’s concerns with film visuals should focus on composition, editing, &c and not emotionally appealing fancy costumes and sets. Somewhat oddly, whereas emotion seems perfectly acceptable in music, from the super sentimentality of Franz Schubert to the comically lachrymose Radiohead, emotion, we are told, has no place in serious film. Of course, all popular film remains, despite critical suggestion, primarily concerned with emotions, whether the genre is action, drama, horror, porn or thrillers. Most audiences go to the cinema in search of an emotional fix. It could be argued that the escapism offered by plutographic spectacle films is almost intrinsic to the genre and extremely cinematic.


The disparity between film critics and audiences is even more glaringly obvious when it comes to foreign films. In most countries, the melodrama (often also a women's picture) is usually favored by the populace, who've frequently never heard of most of the critically-championed films that end up released in America. Look, for example, at Iran, whose New Wave of directors are barely known at home where, conversely, the popular films are generally unheard of abroad.

Women’s pictures' roots in literature were also ultimately frowned upon as extrinsic contaminants stunting film's growth. The seemingly convoluted twists and border-line magical coincidences were looked down upon and yet books like Anna Karenina, Camille, Jane Eyre, Madame Bovary, Wuthering Heights and pretty much everything by Jane Austen have nonetheless proven lastingly popular with filmmakers and audiences, who often enjoy repeated movie adaptations every few years.


Occasionally, in the hands of the right director, what would otherwise be viewed as silly clichés are considered (usually in hindsight) ironic social critiques disguised in camp clothing. Many emotionally manipulative directors, despite their frequent forays into women’s pictures, are viewed as serious directors only because they've (despite frequently working within the genre) skillfully managed to avoid being seen for what they are, e.g. Erich Von Stroheim, Josef Von Sternberg, Lars von Trier, Michael Powell, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Todd Haynes. Others, like Douglas Sirk, Edmund Goulding and George Cukor, have been redeemed through re-assessment of their work. Because of their ongoing popularity, women’s pictures (though still viewed as low art) remain viable, now re-branded as "chick flicks." Given a hip, insouciant (and annoying) nickname, directors of chick flicks like Nora Ephron and P.J. Hogan are at least considered respectable, even as most of their works are scarcely different from the disparaged works of their predecessors. When you look at the top ten highest grossing American films, many are arguably women’s pictures and all contain most of the ingredients of the genre, despite their target audience.
  1. Gone with the Wind (1939)
  2. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
  3. The Sound of Music (1965)
  4. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
  5. The Ten Commandments (1956)
  6. Titanic (1997)
  7. Jaws (1975)
  8. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
  9. The Exorcist (1973)
  10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

The 1930s were noteworthy in the history of women’s pictures for several reasons. It was the dawn of the talkie and women’s pictures became known for featuring a lot of dialogue, another characteristic viewed as inherently anti-cinematic and more appropriate to books. In the first half of the decade, before the application of the Hayes code, studios could get away with more than they even do today. Bette Davis in particular enjoyed a string of successes as women of questionable character in films like Dance Fools Dance, Ladies of Leisure, Night Nurse, Illicit, Forbidden, Shopworn and Ladies They Talk About. Barbara Stanwyck, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich often appeared as either gleefully-immoral or in traditionally male positions to great success.


The musical was also made possible with the adoption of sound. Although almost never described as a subgenre of women’s pictures, there’s little doubt about who is the target audience, Musicals often send up and feminize traditionally male-oriented genres. In the face of the Great Depression, a lighter variation on the wicked woman archetype was the comedic, sympathetic goldigger, as featured in a series of backstage musicals and non-musicals like Red Headed Woman.

          

In Italy, a series of films were made that, in imitation of Hollywood, portrayed wealthy, conservative families living glamorous, happy lives in their posh homes. The neo-realist crowd called them “Telefoni Bianchi” (White Telephones), after that technological symbol of upper-class frivolity.


The 1940s saw several developments in the women’s picture, many seemingly fueled by the realities of World War II, which resulted in many women entering the workplace for the first time, filling jobs traditionally performed by men. At the same time, many men were shipped off to the battlefront, often never to return. Women’s pictures such as Random Harvest and Waterloo Bridge milked war for all its considerable, tragic emotional worth. In England, however, where the battle came to them, the tendency toward escapism was stronger and what came to be known as Gainsborough Melodramas were hastily cranked out, beginning with The Man in Grey and continuing with Madonna of the Seven Moons, Fanny by Gaslight, The Wicked Lady and Caravan. They were mostly based on adaptations from recent books and all were set in the distant past and provided momentary distraction with fancy costumes and considerable scandal. The years following the war saw an absolute proliferation of women’s pictures. The then newly-common supersaturated Technicolor process was perfect for the heightened emotional state aimed for by genre auteurs like Douglas Sirk.


Production of women’s pictures seems to have reached a low in the 1960s and ‘70s, viewed at the time as conservative, inartistic and passe. Films like Sweet November, Love Story and Looking For Mr. Goodbar all attempted to make some acknowledgment of women’s liberation. Looking for Mr. Goodbar, especially, seems like a cautionary tale to women everywhere who are too liberated for their own good.

The 1980s saw the dawn of the term “chick flick.” I can only assume that it has something to do with the then-popular Andrew “Dice” Clay. Throughout the decade and into the 1990s, Hollywood grew increasingly conservative and there weren’t really any significant developments in the women’s picture in the 1990s, just new faces like Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan. If anything, the women's picture was stripped of any sense of irony or satire and reduced to a nostalgic echo of a supposedly simpler time.

With the complete proliferation of cell phones in the 2000s, film conversations are now liberated from the confines of LAN lines and people can talk and talk in any situation. Elizabethtown was the first film to feature every line of dialogue spoken over phones. Still relying heavily on books as their sources, the decade saw so-called chick lit, which had enjoyed incredible popularity in the ‘90s, influencing the women’s picture. It’s surely why the proliferation of films about busy, professional women exploded.

As I noted earlier, there’s a lot more variation to the women’s picture than is usually recognized. And yet, part of the fun is recognizing how often time-worn conventions appear with little change. Most women’s pictures incorporate several conventions in varying combinations, albeit usually with similar aims, including realization of fantasies about the characters who are experiencing significant life changes that revolve, almost invariably, around the central importance of men, which is part of the reason they’re often viewed as socially conservative. But, as earlier noted, there’s often an satirical note and more than a bit of exploitation in the bulk hiding behind the tidy moralizations at the end. I would argue that adherence to formula frees up the viewer to focus their attention on the performer and is the primary way that action, martial arts, porn, westerns and women’s pictures are viewed. Audiences nearly always attribute their failure to enjoy a film to either predictability or bad acting and tend to enjoy films actually offering genuine surprises. Instead, with genre pictures, the enjoyment is derived primarily from the minor tweaks in formula or, more often, the joy derived from witnessing a particular performer travelling down a familiar path, knowing fully what's coming next. For all of film’s history, women’s pictures have favored not only revisiting similar themes, but frequently relying on the same actors like the vulnerable-but-tough Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, Glenn Close, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Julia Roberts, Lillian Gish, Marlene Dietrich, Mary Pickford, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Kiera Knightly, Jane Fonda and Sandra Bullock. The men are similarly tough-but-vulnerable, often English and pretty but not girly, sexually unthreatening fellows. Consider Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Kevin Costner, Tom Hanks, Rock Hudson, John Corbett, Harry Connick Jr, Matthew McConaughey and Richard Gere.

Variations on a theme with examples:


The Cinderella Story – The fantasy of an apparent everywoman being recognized and transported to a comfy life by Prince Charming is as old as time. The male equivalent is the dork being recognized for his skills (Dark City, The Matrix). Examples include: Woman’s Face, The Bride Wore Red, Low Birth and The Gorgeous Hussy


I'm Rich, Bitch! – A perhaps more realistic, grown-up variation on The Cinderella Story, these characters are born rich and usually stay rich. Having given up on Prince Charming, the viewer resigns themself to merely peeking voyeuristically at the fabulous outfits of their betters. Often based on real characters, the antebellum south was often formerly the romanticized locale. Now, in more PC times, the more distant past is favored. Of course, the sting of other people's wealth is lessened if their lives are still miserable. Consider: The Other Boylen Girl, Duchess, Jezebel,  Gone With the Wind and The Shining Hour


The Lovable Obsesssive – Another decidedly child-like cinematic fairy tale, the male characters in real life would terrify the objects of their affection. In these films, death, space-time, the fact that their lust is based entirely on stalking or physical appearance is supposed to be romantic -- e.g. Bed of Roses, Forever Young, Ghost, Somewhere in Time and While You Were Sleeping.


Dying Young – Whether it’s the protagonist or their love interest, perfect love is ended when fate cruelly intervenes in a story at least as old as Romeo & Juliet. Sometimes, the victim isn't even lucky enough to be in a relationship -- e.g. Beaches, City of Angels, Dark Victory, Dying Young, In My Life, Love Story, Steel Magnolias, Stepmom, Terms of Endearment and Titanic.


Operation: change-a-bro -- Whether taming the bad boy (usually a rich, cocky womanizer) or saving the suffering widower, these films offer the hope of molding a misshapen lump of man into something the woman likes as in An Affair to Remember, Autumn Leaves, Maid in Manhattan, An Officer and a Gentleman, Sabrina or Sleepless in Seattle.

Weddings – Many women's pictures' raison d'etre is focused on holy matrimony, as in 27 Dresses, Runaway Bride, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Bride Wars, The Wedding Planner, Rachel Getting Married, The Wedding Date, Made of Honor and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.


The Suffering Mother –  These films focus on mothers being terrorized by traumatic events involving their children and play up the old paranoia or maternal sacrifice, sometimes to cover for awful, unappreciative brats. See Cry in the Dark, Madame X, Mildred Pierce, Not Without My Daughter, The Sin of Madelon Claudet, Sophie’s Choice, Stella Dallas and To Each His Own.


Bird in a Gilded Cage – In these films, kept women are content to serve their useless husbands, sometimes reluctantly but selflessly taking part in the scumbag's schemes and even taking the rap for their illegal activities. Or maybe he’s an alcoholic and she’s the talent. See Hold Your Man, Lost Weekend, Riff Raff or Mannequin.


Mr. Wrong – Everything seems so perfect in these fairytale romances… until the husbands/boyfriends quickly reveal their true colors. Or, they’re already creepy, but the women find themselves trapped. Gaslight, The Net, Sleeping with the Enemy, Sudden Fear and Waitress.


The Romance of Adultery – Sometimes these women are trapped in loveless marriages with galoots, often with mistresses or alchoholic and impotent, but other times, a fling with a handsome stranger reignites the flames in the woman’s heart that her well-meaning husband can’t. Examples include Bridges of Madison County, Brief Encounter, Now Voyager, The Piano, Ruby Gentry and Waitress.


Not Enough Time --  Whether single mom’s slaving away at a greasy spoon or as a journalist/author/professional assistant, romance just doesn’t fit into these women’s goals… and yet it nonetheless inevitably finds a way. Check out Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Devil Wears Prada, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, My Brilliant Career, The Turning Point, Sex & the City or You’ve Got Mail.


Princess Charming
-- In the reverse of the Cinderella, the princess, usually urban and sophisticated, somehow falls for a lowly manual laborer, often whilst spending an extnded amount of time in the county. Examples: BUtterfield 8, Kitty Foyle, New In Town and Sweet Home Alabama.

Bouncing Back -– Fresh out of a disintegrated relationship, these films revolve around romantically-wronged women picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and finding some hot, young manflesh to make everything right, as in Hope Floats, How Stella Got Her Groove Back or An Unmarried Woman.

Cutting Loose -– Not yet ready to date again, these women burn their bodices and find (temporary) solace letting their hair down in the company of women, e.g. The Banger Sisters, Thelma & Louise or Fried Green Tomatoes.


This Woman’s Work -- These films show strong women (often queens) who often treat men as indifferently as the worst men do women, thereby showing that two wrongs do make right. These characters usually have more to do with the ice queen archetype than femme fatales. See Elizabeth, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle and Queen Christina.

Manhunt -– These frantic, frazzled, female protagonists won’t be whole until they capture a man. The race is on! See Bridget Jones’s Diary or He’s Just Not that Into You.


The Tramp's Progress –- Who doesn’t love seeing women sloot around and act like vain, catty, conniving bitches? Especially if they are felled by their sins. Check Beyond the Forest, Cabin in the Cotton, The Letter, Marked Woman, Mr. Skeffington, Of Human Bondage or Old Acquaintance.


Hooker with a Heart of Gold -- Basically the Tramp's Progress crossed with Cinderalla plus Not Enough Time. Or the characters resort to the oldest profession out of necessity, destitute and having given up on love, as seen in Anna Christie, Pretty Woman, Rain, Red Dust, Street Angel or Waterloo Bridge.


Combo Pack -- Ensemble casts allow for the examination of various aspects of love through the lense of the woman's picture, as witnessed in King’s Row; Love, Actually; Peyton Place; Three on a Match or Waiting to Exhale.

KUTMASTA KURT INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, March 31, 2009 06:20am | Post a Comment
kutmasta kurt
Kutmasta Kurt
is the ever- active Los Angeles based producer, turntablist/DJ, and label owner of Threshold Recordings. The Bay Area transplant, who started out at KZSU radio and who released his first record twenty years ago, is best known for his longtime collaborations with such artists as Kool Keith and Motion Man with whom he  worked jointly on the Masters of Illusion project and also individually on numerous other projects. 

Kutmasta Kurt embarks on the Dr. Dooom Vs. Dr. Octagon tour this week with former Ultramagnetic MCs frontman  Kool Keith. The two artists have worked on such projects as Dr. Dooom and Dr. Octagon as well as such Kool Keith albums as Sex Style, Diesel Truckers, and Matthew. Kutmasta Kurt also produced the Ultra (Kool Keith + fellow former Ultramagnetic MC Tim Dog) album Big Time in 1996.

Additionally he occassionally dons a long fake beard (see pic left) and morphs into his fun Funky Redneck alter-ego. As such he released the 2004 album RedNeck Games, whose original name had to be changed due to pressure from the Olympics Committee.

I recently caught up with Kurt to ask him about this run in with the Olympics folks and the reaction his Funky Redneck persona typically generates, his illustrious recording career, the status of his record label in these digital downloading times, his favorite recording equipment, and his earliiest hip-hop memories.

Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: thenewno2

Posted by Amoebite, March 30, 2009 06:12pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth

Coachella Lineupthenewno2

Day #14 - Artist #14 - thenewno2 (pronounced "the new number two"):

Thenewno2

Paul McCartney is not going to be the only one with Beatle blood on stage at this year's Coachella. On Saturday April 18, 2009, thenewno2 are prepared to grab the baton from where the "quiet one" unfortunately handed it off much too early. Dhani Harrison, son of the late great George Harrison, along with longtime friend and musical partner Oliver Hecks, comprise the creative mind of thenewno2. The result is the accomplished debut album, You Are Here, released tomorrow, March 31st, that sounds like what one would expect if post-Beatles George joined Radiohead. Dhani never gives the impression that he's trying to be a Beatle, but he definitely hasn't forgotten that he is the son of one.

FRENCH OSCAR-WINNING COMPOSER MAURICE JARRE DIES AT 84

Posted by Billyjam, March 30, 2009 04:48pm | Post a Comment
maurice jarre
Maurice Jarre
, the French conductor and Oscar-winning composer, and father of electronic music composer and producer Jean-Michel Jarre, died yesterday (March 29) at age 84. The cause of his death has not yet been announced. The composer, who had over 150 movie soundtrack credits to his name, won Academy Awards for his orchestral scores for the films Doctor Zhivago in 1965, Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, and A Passage to India in 1984.

Other films that the extremely prolific artist composed the scores for include The Train in 1964, Ryan's Daughter in 1970, The Man Who Would Be King in 1975, The Message in 1976, Dead Poets Society in 1989, Jacob's Ladder in 1990, Ghost in 1990, Witness in 1985, The Year of Living Dangerously in 1982, Fatal Attraction in 1987, No Way Out in 1987, The Damned in 1969, The Tin Drum in 1979, and Circle of Deceit in 1981. Jarre, who lived for many years in Los Angeles to be close to the Hollywood film studios, was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his a passage to indiacontribution to the art of film.

Born in Lyon, France in 1924, he began his third level studies as an engineering student at Lyon University and enrolled in the engineering school at the Sorbonne. But it was against his father's wishes that he quit engineering and switched to music, dropping out of the Sorbonne and soon after enrolling at the Paris Conservatoire. According to the UK Telegraph, it was there that he studied under the Swiss composer Arthur Honegger, the timpanist Félix Passerone and Joseph Martenot, inventor of the Martenot Waves, an electronic keyboard that prefigured the modern synthesizer and which Jarre would often use in his film scores.

[Insert wordless visual here.]

Posted by Job O Brother, March 30, 2009 03:55pm | Post a Comment

Not to lure you away from the safe and nurturing environment that is the Amoeblog, but, for those of you interested in reading it with your eyes, here is a link to a recent interview I had with one of my favorites, Marianne Faithfull.

Now then, on to a topic that is not oft spoke of; that is, silent films. Amoeba Music Hollywood has a small but rich silent film section which, at this writing, is located on the mezzanine. I’m taking this opportunity to advocate a greater appreciation and exploration of this antiquated genre.

For many people, silent films are a known but ignored craft, as though the technological progress that married sound to film rendered the silent precursors an inferior product. While I do hail “talkies” as a wonderful invention, I still feel there is much joy to be had in silent cinema. If nothing else, knowing a bit about it can be enough to get you laid by art-school chicks taking a break from experimenting with bisexuality.


The first silent I saw that rocked me was the tragic drama Pandora’s Box [original, German title: Die Büchse der Pandora]. Released in 1929 and directed by Austrian Georg Wilhelm Pabst, it stars the gorgeous and gifted Louise Brooks in the lead role.


Another gem I treasure is Wings, the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture (and the only silent film to do so). Released in 1927 and directed by William A. Wellman, it stars Clara Bow, the quintessential flapper icon, and has a cameo by not-yet-superstar Gary Cooper.


Clara Bow emerged from a childhood fraught with poverty and abuse to become a top Hollywood box-office draw. Her brash manners earned her scorn among celebrity circles, however, and after retiring from the movie business, she was reduced to living inside a milk carton and selling her toes for Necco Wafers.*




Clara Bow, coupled with pop vocal singer, Helen Kane, was the inspiration behind Max Fleischer's beloved cartoon character, Betty Boop.


I would be remiss to write about silent films without mentioning the biggest star to come out of them, namely, Charlie Chaplin. It is convenient that, while I am often annoyed by the actors which are today hailed as great, contemporary stars, I am satisfied that Chaplin is absolutely warranted the admiration he’s bestowed.


Chaplin distinguished himself as an actor, director, composer, and sex machine. After a career on the stage, he found greater fame in film as an actor for the Keystone Film Company. He debuted his now famous character “the Tramp” in two films: Kid Auto Races at Venice and Mabel's Strange Predicament, both released in 1914.




Hold on a second – I’ve a powerful thirst… I’m gonna go get a frosty beverage. While I do, enjoy this performance by Petula Clark of a song written by Charlie Chaplin…


…Okay. I’m back, with thirst quenched. Going on…

Because his political views were decidedly left-of-center, he was targeted by pretty, pretty princess J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. When Chaplin returned to his native England for the premiere of his film Limelight, Hoover sabotaged the actor’s U.S. re-entry permit. Chaplin eventually made his new home in Switzerland, where he spent his time on his hobby, collecting teenage, blonde girls.


Next, let us consider the great actress Theda Bara. While Bara made over 40 films (between 1914 and 1946), only six of these remain available in their complete form. Cleopatra, one of her most popular films, is now lost; only 40 seconds of film footage and photographs of Bara in her costume remain. Bara’s aesthetics have gone on to inspire future artists, like Siouxsie Sioux and, less obviously, Eazy-E*. She eventually married a wealthy man who wanted her to give up acting in films, so she switched her format to the bedroom [insert drum roll].




Different From the Others [original, German title: Anders als die Andern], released in 1919, is important as one of the first (and, perhaps, the first) films to portray homosexuals in a compassionate light. A product of the Weimer Republic, the film was eventually considered “decadent” by Hitler and the Nazi Party, and copies found were burned.




One of the actors from Different From the Others, Conrad Veidt, went on to achieve fame for his role in another film I fancy: the early horror flick, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari [original, German title: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari]. A neat-o example of the German Expressionist style, the film, with its eerie backdrops of painted-on shadows and warped stages, remains spine-tingling. It’s great for Halloween parties, or for snuggling and seducing art-school chicks taking a break from experimenting with bisexuality.


I am currently enjoying Die Nibelungen, director Fritz Lang’s cinematic version of the epic poem Nibelungenlied, written around the year 1200. I’m not finished watching it, so I’ll reserve commenting too much, for fear of making a fool of myself and reporting that it stars Sandy Duncan in her greatest performance to-date and is the only sex-comedy to be filmed using goat’s milk feta instead of the more traditional celluloid. I will say, however, that so far, it’s rather phat.


Most of the films mentioned here are available in the Silent Film section of Amoeba Music Hollywood. Next time you’re in the mood to challenge your ADHD and enrich your film viewing experience, be bold and give one of these a try. You can always pick up a copy of something starring Reese Witherspoon to watch afterwards, if need be. Tsk.


*Not actually true.

The Power

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 30, 2009 01:00am | Post a Comment



An amazing collection of powerful performers. I never realized just how many musicians have the power to hold flames or flaming objects. I wonder what gave Andy Gibb all that energy?



The fellow on the Kansas LP below (Audio-Visions) recieves his power from the lightning bolt pictured directly above him. Really. Said lightning bolt picture is the inner sleeve for Audio-Visions. And you thought he was just dipping into someone's crank stash...


Boris: Back to Black with a foggy new dronathon and super limited double-live LP.

Posted by Kells, March 30, 2009 12:21am | Post a Comment

Japan's reigning purveyors of thunderous heavy rock, Boris, hit the shelves of Amoeba San Francisco's Underground Japanese Rock section with a one-two punch this winter with their latest studio recording, Cloud Chamber (featuring, once again, guest Ghost guitarist Michio Kurihara), and Smile -Live in Prague-- a very limited (only 425 copies issued) double-live LP "official bootleg" recorded (with permission) in the Czech Republic on the trio's latest tour in support of their album Smile. Though both are pricey, as doubless many a Boris fan has already guessed, both are worth shelling out the exra dough for, as many a Boris fan surely already knows. Here's why: Cloud Chamber is a first class return to the strom and drang style doom that fans of (lowercase 'b') boris have found in previous releases like flood and at last -feedbacker. It is just the sort of storm surge of sound that lays defenseless listeners down as if prone on the slab, hypnotized for sacrifice; beware of drowning. Smile - Live in Prague, on the other hand, has garnered more pointed attention for its sleeve art than for the bounty of copies we've recieved, given its inherent rareness. Some call the artwork, an obvious homage to San Francisco black metal band Von, a flagrant rip off. I find it delightful and, really, par for the course considering the lengths Fangs Anal Satan (Boris' art-working name) goes to produce, or reproduce if you will, some of the most coveted, kick ass packaging that drives both sticker prices and collectors' expectations upwards of the norm. Here are some of my favorite of Boris' artful tributes as, the old adage says, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. (And check out images and reviews from Boris' amazing three Amoeba instores-- they've played each and every Amoeba -- here, here and here.)

            

       

        
















        



















                         































































































Charming, isn't it? Maybe it makes me just as big a rock n' roll dork as they are. I also like bands who refer to themselves in their songs (as if they needed constant reminders of how pumped they themselves and the audience should be about them). Though, thankfully, Boris isn't one of them crazy, name-droppin' bands, they sure pay a lot of tribute to those who made Boris the rock machine they are today. I wonder what they would have called themselves if it weren't for the song "Boris" by the Melvins.....

I wonder where they got the name and art concept for Cloud Chamber from. The artwork is pretty minimal and plain, but nonetheless suggestive of another one of Boris' many loves. 

   

Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: Paul Weller

Posted by Amoebite, March 29, 2009 07:52pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth


Coachella LineupPaul Weller

Day #13 - Artist #13 - Paul Weller:

Throw on your best Ben Sherman shirt with the crisp collar, jump on your Vespa, and scoot your way over to Indio, California where the "Modfather" himself, Paul Weller, will be performing during the now-infamous sunset time slot at Coachella on Sunday April 19, 2009.

(Writer's note: Three hours of writing and research for this post was just deleted in one second by a rogue click of the mouse. I feel sick to my stomach. For some reason, the only thing that is keeping me from launching my laptop out my front window right now is listening to "Escape" from Metallica's album Ride the Lightning [1984]. So please enjoy it with me.)


Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Since it is now 3:30am, there is no way I will be able to recreate the masterpiece that would have been this blog post. So in the spirit of Brian Wilson and Axl Rose, I will give you the best I have now, and for the next few decades I will talk about how the "lost Paul Weller profile" was the epitome of Web 2.0 creative genius!

This Week At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, March 29, 2009 05:41pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly!

The March / April calendar is now online:
www.NewBevCinema.com

March 24-31:
Legendary actor & cult movie icon Sid Haig will appear at the theater as we present some of his favorite movies as well as some of his own films.

Read the LA CityBeat article here.



Sunday & Monday March 29 & 30

Sid Haig Picks Some of His Favorite Films!

Lawrence of Arabia
(1962)
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0056172/
dir. David Lean, starring Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Omar Sharif, José Ferrer
Sun: 5:00 only; Mon: 8:00

The Master Waits while the Servant Baits: The Servant (1963)

Posted by Charles Reece, March 29, 2009 10:04am | Post a Comment

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
-- W. H. Auden, "September 1, 1939"

It was Harold Pinter weekend at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, so I had a chance to see one of the best Joseph Losey films, The Servant, on the big screen. Pinter contributed the screenplay, based on the novel by Robin Maugham. (Because I loathe writing plot summaries, here's one.) The presentation was co-sponsored by Outfest for good reason -- it's a classic of queer cinema. Not counting the fairly recent 300, the 60s produced my favorite gay films, The Victim and The Killing of Sister George, along with Losey's. The three form a trilogy to my mind: all are British; both The Victim and The Servant feature Dirk Bogarde, the finest of cerebral actors, making you feel every thought his characters have; Losey trained  and will always be closely aligned with Robert Aldrich, the director of Sister George. Although Aldrich was more of a bare-knuckles kind of director, his film shares with the more intellectual Losey's an approach to sexual identity and politics that I prefer: as a given, full of suggestion and with a good deal of nuance.

My good pal and fellow blogger, Job, said my preference was due to a film like Sister George not being really gay. That's sort of right. But, on the other hand, I find old Hollywood films to be a lot more sexually interesting due to their working under the Hays Code than the majority of the explicitly sexual variety we have today. Sex had to be coded, in other words, to get around the Code. A six-shooter was never just a six-shooter back then. Conversely, sexuality was never just sexuality, but indicative of whatever struggles were being depicted. That is, by embuing so much with libidinal allusion, sexuality became more matter-of-factly, another interpretive grid through which culture can be read. Sex is pretty well limited to its simulated practice in Last Tango in Paris or Midnight Cowboy, but it's everywhere in Sam Fuller's Forty Guns, while being nowhere explicit.

I think a parallel can be drawn to the matter-of-fact lesbianism in Sister George, where the indiginities heaped upon its protagonist, June 'George' Buckridge, are more common -- more universal -- than the more literal minded identity politics of, say, Philadelphia. In the latter case, oppression becomes a matter of sexual identity, whereas in the former, sexual identity is just another method those in power might use as a means for subjugation. Not that there's anything wrong with the more particularized morality of Philadelphia in principle (The Victim is doubtlessly a much better earlier version), but unless one already identifies with its gay protragonist, the story remains one about the Other. Sister George requires no such identification, but is instead a reflection of power itself, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender.

Likewise, the sexual desideratum in The Servant isn't as important as the way desire itself is used for control. The film overlays Hegel's master-slave dialectic onto the sexual dynamics of Gilda. Whereas Charles Vidor's film had Rita Hayworth coming between two men in love, making it impossible (along with the Code, of course) for them to ever conjugate their feelings in a more literal manner, The Servant features the corrosive effects a servant, Hugo (Bogarde), has on the relationship between an aristocrat, Tony, and his girlfriend, Susan. Befitting their class status, Tony and Susan have all the style privilege can buy without any personal involvement, or real taste. They are what they are because it's de rigueur for them to be so. Hugo, however, has had to hone his taste in order to survive. Tony doesn't have to think about aesthetics or much of anything, really, because he can just pay people like Hugo to do it for him. It's this lack of self-consciousness that Hugo uses to gain domination over Tony. This struggle is realized in Losey's triarchic mise en scène where Hugo goes from being a physical mediating presence between Tony and Susan to a psychological one, casting a shadow over every aspect of their relationship.

"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"

The master-servant domination in social hierarchy won't work if the upper class becomes fully conscious of the lower class as an equally present, fully conscious agent. Morally equivalent agents require a parity of treatment, the same respect one would give to another of one's own class. Thus, as Susan becomes aware of the structuring influence Hugo is having on Tony, she resists by reasserting her dominant position over the former through a variety of petty means. She rearranges Hugo's placement of flowers and demands that he drop what he's doing in order to walk across the room to light her cigarette.

The pettiness of cultural management.
 

Now, a lesser story would've set up Hugo as an anarchic outsider hero, demolishing cultural insitutions and declaring his independence. Certainly, Tony and Susan are real unlikable snots, but The Servant sets  up Hugo as just as dependent on social roles as the master class. When he can assert the power that comes from his position as an upper crust servant, he becomes just as petty as Susan. Rather than identifying with the carpenters working on Tony's home, Hugo micro-manages them, telling them to do things they already know to do.

Some are more equal than others.

Without a whit of self-reflection, Hugo becomes offended in the next scene when Tony orders him to bring the brandy while he's already in the process of doing so.

I was just doing that, sir.

Like the poor Mid-Westener voting for corporate interests on the always undelivered promise of future wealth ("everyone could be rich someday," cry dittoheads), there's no moral purpose to Hugo's machinations, only a desire to usurp or feed off Tony's privileged existence.

Burning desire.

Hugo is an exemplary protagonist for Auden's little poem with which I began. It's often quoted in reference to Israel and the Palestinians. In fact, I got it from Benny Morris' Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001. As the question goes: how could a historically oppressed people turn around and support an apartheid system? Without diving into that mudpie, The Servant demonstrates how the powerless need to serve the dictates of the empowered, taking the practice of the dominant as its own, in order to achieve power. When Hugo says that he really loves his work, I believe him. He isn't a butler just to pay the bills, but has constructed himself to be the perfect servant as a means to access a lifestyle that would've otherwise been denied him by birth. He lives for those moments when Tony is away, so that he can sleep in his master's bedroom and bathe in his master's bathroom. For these brief pleasures, Hugo spends his days warming the much less refined Tony's feet in a foot tub, decorating his house, and supplying him with a bottomless glass.
 
I want to drink you up.

Tony's increasing addiction to alcohol is symbolic of how reliant he becomes on Hugo. When the repressive Susan demands that Hugo be fired for interfering with their relationship, Tony asks how could he ever find another like him. By this point, Hugo has won the battle against Susan, having become for Tony what semiotician C. S. Peirce called an interpretant. As the subject, Tony relates to all the objects in his life -- including Susan -- through the refractive lens of Hugo. Losey uses the distortion of a convex mirror as an objective correlative for Tony's emotional disintegration. By the end, he's reduced to a cultural place holder for Hugo's own desires.

"Don't you fucking look at me!"

The coup de grâce is in getting his fiance, Vera, hired on as the maid. Tony is led to believe that she's Hugo's sister. Having no firmer grasp on morality than the two men, the déclassé succubus tempts Tony (at the butler's devising) into giving up his last breath of potential resistance (he's too comfortable to ever offer any actual resistance).


When the cord gets pulled, and Tony discovers the truth about his servants, his cultural position no longer provides a place to hide. As an extension of Hugo, the sexual gratification offered by Vera proves to little more than Tony's sublimated dirty desire for his man-servant, homoeroticism by proxy. When he's depicted crying on Vera's bed, the posters above him say it all:


Although no sexual contact is ever made between Hugo and Tony, the latter now needs the former for  satisfying even that most basic human desire. After Hugo wiles his way back into Tony's home, the old master-servant arrangement is nothing but a game they play if it appears at all. No more buttoned up suits and slicked back hair. The house is in shambles just like Tony's mental state. The only things Hugo now supplies are women, food and booze. Otherwise, he openly mocks his erstwhile master. They waste their days throwing balls at each, bickering, and playing hide and seek.The irony here is that after realizing his desire, Hugo's life is emptier than his days as a butler. Not that he's complaining. He began as a specular entity, reflecting the desire of the wealthy and ends up pretty much the same. Any power that he's achieved is as its doorman. Only now he doesn't have to clean so much or keep his mouth shut. And his master no longer ignores him.

The odd couple.

If you compare the repression in Todd Haynes' Far From Heaven or Kimberly Peirce's Boys Don't Cry, what you get is a problem with a fairly easy solution written into it, namely an enlightened liberal attitude. isn't it awful how gays used to have to hide their sexual identity in the 50s, or how transvestites are treated in some podunk Nebraskan town? Well, yes. That's going to be glaringly apparent to anyone willing to see such movies. You come out with what you brought in. That's because these movies stop at presenting identity, without really critiquing what structures it. Their problematic is localized to a time and/or place. "Such repression isn't really like me," the target audience can safely say. The Servant doesn't provide its audience with that escape hatch. The homosexuality might be latent, but it's pervasive -- no sign in the film can be read without it. It's not borne out of the positive or romantic love seen in Peirce's film, but is a function of power, a hamster-in-a-plastic-ball struggle between the dominant and the submissive. So, in that sense, it's not really a gay film. But the depravity of the heterosexual relations is rendered even less ambiguously. The traumatic theme of The Servant is that subjugation of the will doesn't always occur from the outside (the rednecks, the past, the upper class), but it's consitutive of modern society, regardless of particular identifications. Idenitity politics couldn't exist without it. As the saying goes, "shit rolls down hills."

Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: Noah and the Whale

Posted by Amoebite, March 28, 2009 09:27pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth


Coachella Lineup 

Day #12 - Artist #12 - Noah and the Whale:

Noah and the Whale Noah and the Whaleformed in 2006 in Twickenham, London, England, playing a brand of folk influenced indie-pop rock and released their debut album Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down in August 2008. At first I wanted to just write these guys off as just another indie-pop band singing love songs. But the more I listened to it, the more curious I was. I promised I wasn't going to use the cheesy "metaphor" method of describing a band after I used it in The Hold Steady profile, but again, this band's music seemed unique, yet there was something oddly familiar about it. It was as if they were channeling someone or something in order to create their music. After two or three listens, I couldn't hear the band anymore. It wasn't that the music was inaudible, it was that I couldn't hear Noah and the Whale on the surface. I could only hear a particular voice that was coming from within it.

Ladies In Red

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 28, 2009 05:30pm | Post a Comment








March 27, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, March 28, 2009 12:10am | Post a Comment






Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: N.A.S.A.

Posted by Amoebite, March 27, 2009 08:19pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth


 

Day #11 - Artist #11 - N.A.S.A.:

Have you ever sat around with friends and posed the question, "If you could hypothetically pick any musical artists, from any time period or genre of music to create a band or musical collaboration, who would you choose?" Before my friends and I were old enough to drive and we were too broke to actually get out of the house and do something, we would gather in a friend's bedroom on a Saturday night listening to our favorite CDs and posing this timeless question to each other. I remember us being fifteen years old debating this topic vehemently, each of us thinking we were the ultimate authority on music. But the only "dream collaboration" input I can remember from the discussions of that age is being adamant about Dave Grohl on drums and Maynard James Keenan (Tool) on vocals. 

Anyone have any other ideas? How about:
David Byrne (Talking Heads), Chuck D (Public Enemy) and Z-Trip
or
Tom Waits and Kool Keith
or
Rza (Wu-Tang Clan) and John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
or
Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Ol' Dirty Bastard (Wu-Tang Clan)

Ladies and gentlemen, N.A.S.A. has done it! They've made our dreams come true. These hypothetical collaborations are now an actuality. N.A.S.A., which stands for North America South America, the creation between producers Squeek E. Clean (Los Angeles) and DJ Zegon (Brazil), accomplished these collaborations on their five-year-in-the-making debut album The Spirit of Apollo, released February 17, 2009.

Jumpers

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 27, 2009 06:45pm | Post a Comment









Why Is The Ratio Of Female To Male Rappers Still So Uneven? Conscious Daughters + Monica Lynch Weigh in on the Topic: Women in hip-hop Part IV: Women's History Month

Posted by Billyjam, March 27, 2009 05:00am | Post a Comment
queen latifah all hail the queenWhy, after all these years, is the number of female rappers still radically less than that of their male counterparts? Is it really that not as many women want to be rappers? Or rather that they are being shut out and discriminated against, and simply not encouraged to be hip-hop artists? Encouragement ultimately comes down to sales figures, so is that not enough hip-hop fans support women artists? 

"Women can't rap" used to be the common criticism of females heard back in the day. Interestingly, these days the ratio of female rap fans has grown, yet the number of female rap artists has not grown proportionately. 

To answer these questions, which have always puzzled me, I asked a few women who have been in the business for a while: CMG and Special One of the longtime Oakland female duo The Conscious Daughters, and Monica Lynch, the president of Tommy Boy Records during the years 1981 - 1998 where she was instrumental in launching the careers of such artists as Afrika Bambaataa, De La Soul, Digital Underground, House of Pain, Naughty By Nature, and Queen Latifah. She still works closely with Queen Latifah, helping guide the artist, actor, investor, product spokesperson's with her music-related endeavors.

"When you look at rap as a subset of the hip-hop culture at large, you see that a vast vast majority of the DJs were male, a vast majority of the graffiti artists were guys, the vast majority of the breakdance crews were men, and the vast majority of the rappers were male. So it was just an extension of the origins of hip-hop culture being a predominantly male cuture," said the former Tommy Boy president, who firsthand witnessed rap music morph from supposed "fad" into an unstoppable global cultural movement.

Ten Questions For Talib Kweli

Posted by Smiles Davis, March 27, 2009 01:10am | Post a Comment

Talib Kweli can easily be crowned as one of Brooklyn’s finest mc’s. For years the industry veteran has championed positive portrayals of urban society through his eternally omniscient lyrics. After the critical and commercial success on Black Star, Kweli, alongside “Ms. Fat Booty” himself, Mos Def, forced record labels to pay closer attention to underground Hip-Hop. Before the Internet, an underground artist struggled immensely without the help of perpetual touring. Needless to say, the crowned emcee puts on a concert better than blueberry pancakes and mimosas on a breezy Sunday morning. He takes “hip-hop live” to a whole new level. Check out this EXCLUSIVE footage of Talib and long time collaborator Hi-Tek putting it down last week in Austin, TX at SXSW to a live band and a packed house.

 
                                                   (video courtesy of Paul Stewart of Next-Thing)

I caught up with Talib and asked him ten simple questions. We chopped it up about the upcoming Reflection Eternal: Train of Thought II album -- one of the most anticipated albums of '09 -- Blacksmith artist Jean Grae, Strong Arm Steady, his collaboration with R&B singer Res, and the possibility of a Black Star Reunion.

What makes a good emcee?

TK: A good mc understands that the crowd is king. His job is to move them.

How did you discover the mic?

TK: I love poetry, and hip-hop is a way to be a cool poet. I get a rush expressing feeling we all have that only I have words for, ever since I was 10 years old.

In this day and age with “Internet Sensations” how does an emcee with longevity (like yourself)  reinvent himself to keep up with the steadily evolving music machine?

TK: The key to staying relevant is embracing change, embracing the new. When someone comes with a new way to get into this business, I don't hate. I take notes.

If there are two sides to every coin, has the Internet hurt game?

TK: The Internet may have hurt the music business, but it has helped musicians.

Being signed to a major label doesn’t have the same ring it used to. Do you think there is a possibility for rectification?

TK: Being signed to a major is not as fresh as it used to be because the majors have no idea what they are doing and they are all equal. It is about what you bring to the table at this point. Record deals are nothing more than glorified loans at this point.

I read an interview a few years back in Vibe Magazine, where Shanel Odum asked the question, “Do you feel any pressure or limitations with being labeled a conscious hip hop artist or righteous rapper?” Your answer was no. Do you still have the same sentiment?

TK: I am not limited by the way I rap and my subject matter. If anything, it has opened doors for me other mc’s will never see.

How did you link up with one of my personal favorites R&B singer Res?

TK: Res used to be managed by my manager Corey Smyth and now she is one of my best friends. She has been on all my albums, and now we are in a group with Graph Nobel called Idle Warship.

For those that don’t know, who is Jean Grae?

TK: Jean Grae is one of the best MCs you’ve ever heard, period. For more info go to www.yearoftheblacksmith.com.

I’m hyped to hear you’re back in the studio with producer Hi-Tek; when does the album Reflection Eternal: Train of Thought II drop and what can we expect?

TK: The Reflection Eternal album drops this summer, and it is very exciting, better than the first.

Should we stop asking about the possibility of a Black Star reunion?


TK: Black Star will happen when the time is right. For now, I'm focused on the Reflection album. Pay attention to Strong Arm Steady. Their new episode of Blacksmith TV is up at www.yearoftheblacksmith.com.

For more Talib Kweli, check out this performance & interview video from his in-store at Amoeba Hollywood on 8/20/2007:


'Till next time...chew the corners off.

Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: K'naan

Posted by Amoebite, March 26, 2009 08:45pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth

  

Day #10 - Artist #10 - K'naan:

Many famous musicians have come from hard times and rough backgrounds. Jay-Z grew up in the Marcy Housing Projects in Brooklyn, Kurt Kobain lived under a bridge for a time in Aberdeen, Washington, and K'naan grew up in the Wardhiigleey ("Lake of Blood") District in Mogadisho, Somalia. Sound familiar? Anyone seen the movie Blackhawk Down? Yeah, K'naan spent his childhood right in the middle of that violence and chaos.  His farther, being an intellectual, left for New York City to work and sent money back to Somalia to support his family. K'naan and his mother were able to get their exit visa approved on the last day the US embassy was open before the Somali government's collapse in 1991, and they boarded the last commercial flight out of the country. If I had to choose...I think I'd take the bridge in Aberdeen. (For more detail on his experience, click
here). 

Folies Art Nouveau

Posted by Whitmore, March 26, 2009 07:19pm | Post a Comment


Well, let the looting, pilfering and ransacking begin at Metro stations across the ville de Paris.
 
At Christies this week a cast-iron entrance rail to a Paris Metro stop from the early 1900’s sold for $27,500 at auction. The Art Nouveau remnant of the Paris subway system was originally expected to bring in only about $9,000.
 
Standing more than 4 feet high and almost 5 feet wide, more than 140 of these Metro guard rails were built around 1900. Though most have not survived, a few reside here and there and in museums around the world, including New York's Museum of Modern Art. There is actually only one complete surviving Art Nouveau edicule in the Paris Métro located at The Porte Dauphine station. All these entrance signs and railings and stations were created and designed by the architect Hector Guimard (1867 - 1942), who was also renowned for his design of the Pavilion of Electricity at the 1889 World's Fair in Paris and his 1913 design of the Synagogue de la rue Pavée à Paris.

Today Guimard is considered by many as the most prominent representative of the French Art Nouveau, but during his lifetime his fame and critical appreciation was short lived. By the onset of World War One his reputation and commissions had already started to fall by the wayside. By the time of his death in 1942 in New York, he had been forgotten. 
 
Christie's did not release the name of the winning bidder.

DARKMAN Saturday Midnight At The New Beverly

Posted by phil blankenship, March 26, 2009 01:04am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music and Phil Blankenship are proud to present some of our film favorites at Los Angeles’ last full-time revival movie theater. See movies the way they're meant to be seen - on the big screen and with an audience!

Saturday March 28

Liam Neeson in
Sam Raimi's

DARKMAN

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

April
April 4 Lobster Man From Mars
(20th Anniversary Screening! Director Stanley Sheff In Person!)

April 11 Eliminators
(Mandroid. Mercenary. Scientist. Ninja. Each one a specialist. Together they are ELIMINATORS!)

Friday April 17
The Alamo Drafthouse CINEMAPOCALYPSE!
http://cinemapocalypse.blogspot.com/

SURF II - 25th Anniversary!
7:30pm, One of the supreme party romps of the genre’s defining decade, here is a No Rules celluloid powerhouse that doubles as a 300-fisted beachfront avalanche of insanity! Honestly, this greatest-mohawked-surfer-zombie-comedy-ever-made is best summarized by writer/director Badat: “Menlo Schwartzer - the geekiest mad scientist of all - wants to rid the world of surfers by transforming them into garbage-ingesting zombie punks! But no way dude can he stop their most awesome party!” SURF II (no, there was not a SURF 1) packs more early ‘80s drive-in mania into one movie than even a brain in the final stages of rabies can handle. Drooling undead new wave boneheads, valley girls, electronically transgendered geekazoids in underwater fortresses, the guy who played everyone’s favorite corpse in WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S, spazztastic video game combat and an appearance from actor Fred Asparagus as “Fat Boy # 1”! Speaking of the stellar Z-caliber cast, this picture sports a career-best lead performance from Supreme Alpha Nerd Eddie Deezen, as well as surprise roles from Ruth Buzzi, Carol Wayne and BLAZING SADDLES’ Cleavon Little. Combine with the pogo-inducing soundtrack by Oingo Boingo and The Circle Jerks and you have the most entertaining IQ-remover The Video Age ever shat out! Totally retardular!!! (Zack Carlson)

Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: Friendly Fires

Posted by Amoebite, March 25, 2009 11:13pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth



Day #9 - Artist #9 - Friendly Fires:


Friendly Fires, from St Albans, England, first played together at age 14, under the name First Day Back. They parted ways to attend university and after returning in 2006, formed Friendly Fires. Over the next year they released a trio of EPs:  Photobooth, Cross the Line, and The Remix. Their first single "Paris," released at the end of 2007, was named "Single of the Week" by influential English publications The Guardian and NME (New Musical Express), and launched their career with appearances on Channel 4's (England) Transmission Program and (tastemaker English DJ) Zane Lowe's Radio 1.

This led to them supporting Interpol on a tour of the U.K. and numerous performances in the U.S., including opening for Bloc Party here in Los Angeles this past July. Their debut album, Friendly Fires, was released September 1, 2008 and the band just finished promoting the album on the NME Awards Tour 2009 with two of the hottest U.K. bands at the moment, and fellow Coachella 2009 newcomers, White Lies and Glasvegas

Win Tickets to an Exclusive DJ Set By Andy Bell of Erasure!

Posted by Amoebite, March 25, 2009 02:42pm | Post a Comment
Erasure's Andy Bell will be hitting the Amoeba Hollywood stage for a DJ set and signing on Tuesday, April 9th to celebrate the release of Erasure's new box set, which hits shelves on April 7th!

andy bell of erasure

And there's an extra special treat for all of you Andy fans:

By entering at the Amoeba website, you can win two passes to the very exclusive Andy Bell DJ set on Saturday, April 11th in Palm Springs as a part of this year's fabulous and renowned White Party! Along with tickets to Andy's poolside DJ set, you will also receive tickets to that evening's White Party events, which will include a never-before-seen, ultra special set by Lady Gaga! For all the details of our contest and instore, click here! And for White Party details and Saturday's lineup, click here!

andy bell

Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: Band of Horses

Posted by Amoebite, March 24, 2009 06:12pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth

Coachella LineupBand of Horses

Day #8 - Artist #8 - Band of Horses:
Band of Horses
Sub Pop, the Seattle record label that threw kindling on the spark of Grunge music with early signings of Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney in the late 1980s, deserves their own stage at this year's Coachella festival. With appearances from four of their artists, Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, Blitzen Trapper, and No Age, toting some of the "buzzworthy-ist" albums of the past year, Sub Pop is still staying relevant in the indie rock world with 20+ years under their belt.

Among those in the Sub Pop fraternity, Band of Horses has the largest font size on this year's Coachella lineup. The Seattle-based band were first discovered and signed by Sub Pop while opening for future label-mate Iron & Wine during local area shows. Band of Horses released their debut album Everything All The Time in 2006 and grabbed attention with the standout track "The Funeral." They followed that up quickly with Cease to Begin in 2007. Again the band gained critical attention from songs "Is There a Ghost" and "No One's Gonna Love You," finding its way to many yeBand of Horsesar-end "Best of 2007" lists. This is the kind of band you can gain "indie-cred" from by introducing to your guy friends, and get just as many "sensitive-guy points" for putting it on a mixtape to impress that certain girl.

Fleeting and Forgotten Female Folkies

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 24, 2009 05:47pm | Post a Comment
Lately, whilst reading about unfamiliar folkies popping up on my Pandora folk station, I sometimes feel like I'm reading the same thing over and over when it comes to a handful of female artists. I doubt that the reasons were the same, but several new (to me) discoveries had similar careers involving under-recognized talent, followed by disappearance/retirment and then, several decades later, new interest. Among these chanteuses are:


Bridget St. John -- Bridget St. John learned guitar from John Martyn. St. John began touring the folk circuit and recording for the BBC and on John Peel's Dandelion label with members of Jethro Tull and King Crimson. In 1974, she recorded Jumble Queen and was voted the fifth most popular female singer in the Melody Maker readers' poll. In 1976, St. John moved to Greenwich Village and retired from music. She re-emerged in 1999 for a Nick Drake tribute concert and toured Japan in 2006.


Diane Hildebrand -- Hildebrand started out writing for Screen Gems alongside Boyce & Hart, Carole King & Gerry Goffin as well as other Brill Building alumni, including her frequent partner, Jack Keller. Together they wrote several songs for The Monkees as well as the theme to The Flying Nun. Whilst living in Beachwood Canyon, she signed a one record deal with Elektra, for whom she recorded her sole album, Early Morning Blues and Greens.


Isla Cameron --  Cameron was a Scottish actress and singer who grew up in Dorset and Somerset. In the 1950s, she often sang with Joan Littlewood, then the wife of Ewan MacColl. In 1966, she released her sole solo recording, Isla Cameron. After that, her acting career had took off more than her music and she focused on that until she died in an accident in her home in 1980.


Linda Perhacs -- Perhacs made one album, Parallelograms, in 1970, which failed to gain much attention. She then disappeared and her label spent two fruitless years trying to relocate her. After her album was re-released in 2005, her reputation began to grow, with Daft Punk including her music in Electroma and Devendra Banhart enlisting her for background vocals on some of his Tyrannosaurus Rex-indebted compositions.


Ruthann Friedman -- Friedman was born in the Bronx but grew up in the Valley. After first picking up the guitar at eight, her first song earned her a spot on a televised talent thow when she was twelve. Soon she was playing the Troubadour in West Hollywood where she made several acquaintances. Living in David Crosby's guest house she wrote "Windy" which she gave to Van Dyke Parks, who, with the Association, made it a hit. Her only album, Constant Companion, was released in 1969 although she also wrote and performed the soundtrack for (future Baywatch creator) Doug Schwartz's hippie/biker exploitation film, Peace Killers, in 1971.


Shelagh McDonald -- McDonald released two albums featuring folk heavy-hitters like Richard Thompson, Dave Mattacks, Danny Thompson and Keith Christmas before disappearing in 1971. In 2005, public interest was renewed when her two albums were re-released and she was the subject of several new stories. At the end of the year, the mystery was solved when Shelagh came forth and told the Scottish Daily Mail that a bad acid trip had left her paranoid and unable to sing. In the twenty plus years since, she'd lived with her parents and lived on the dole and then in a tent with her bookseller husband. 


Sibylle Baier -- Baier was a German actress/singer who made several home recordings between 1970 and 1973. After appearing in Wim Wenders' 1974 film Alice in den Städten, she decided to pursue neither career and moved to the US to raise her family. In 2004, her son Robby lent a copy of her recordings to J. Mascis, who released them as Colour Green in 2006.


Vashti Bunyan -- After being expelled from the Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing for spending too much time writign songs, Vashti Buynan went to New York where she immersed herself in the music scene. Back in London, she met Andrew Loog Oldham who gave her a Jagger/Richards song. After recording a few singles for Immediate, she hit the road for the Hebrides in a horse-drawn cart. After recording an album with guests including members of Fairport Convention and the Incredible String Band, she dropped out of music and moved to Ireland to raise a family until renewed interest in the 2000s brought her out of retirement.

WOMEN IN HIP-HOP PART III: 1990 & 1991

Posted by Billyjam, March 24, 2009 11:39am | Post a Comment
The years 1990 and 1991 were pivotal for women in hip-hop and are captured in the series of videos below. Despite the uneven ratio between female and male artists, those two years captured a time when many more female emcees were being signed and promoted by major record labels than in previous years, or years since, for that matter.

It was also a time when just about every hip-hop crew or collective had at least one female member whom they gave full support to. Queen Latifah was part of the Flavor Unit. X-Clan's Blackwatch Movement included Isis and Queen Mother Rage, while the extended BDP crew included Ms Melodie and Harmony. Meanwhile, Yo-Yo had the backing support of the post-NWA Ice Cube.

The beginning of the 90's was also a time when sisters in rap looked out for one another and joined forces to throw some memorable all female hip-hop events. There was the 75 minute 1991 Sisters In The Name of Rap concert, with YoYo, Salt-N-Pepa, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Roxanne Shante, Def Dames, Silk Tymes Leather, Nikke? Nicole!, (dancehall artist) Shelly Thunder, Tam Tam & others and hosted by Dee Barnes. This killer show was a Pay-Per-View TV concert taped at the Ritz in NYC in late '91 and released the following year on VHS. (I still have my prized copy.) 

Also in 1991, on Valentine's Day, there was a 5-hour all female rap concert at the Los Angeles Sports Arena that included Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, M.C. Trouble (R.I.P.), Harmony, Nefertiti, Michie Mee, MC Smooth, and Nikki D. While, according to all reviews at the time, this female rap showcase was an off-the-hook event, its attendance figures were far from impressive. Only 3,700 people showed up at the 15,200-seat LA Sports Arena. Perhaps the promoters booked too large a venue for this event, but had it been an all male rap showcase featuring the leading men of rap of the day, it would have undoubtedly sold out.

Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Posted by Amoebite, March 23, 2009 11:21pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth

Coachella LineupYeah Yeah Yeahs

Day #7 - Artist #7 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs:

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
For some reason my internet wants to cut out on me every two minutes tonight, so this is going to have to be brief...which is good because sometimes actions speak louder than words. I didn't really have much to say about these guys, but I caught their new single "Zero" for the first time when I was up late one night working on this blog with MTV on in the background. Everyone says MTV doesn't play videos anymore --  well, they do. You just have to know where to look for them...like 3:00am.

YYY's have been off my radar for awhile, so I had no knowledge of a new release from them. As I was watching the video, I was unsure of what I was hearing. It looked like Karen O from the YYY's (who doesn't these days?), but it didn't quite sound like them. The YYY's have always sounded "black and white" to me. But this song sounded like "Blu-ray on a brand new Plasma screen!" And it's been on non-stop rotation on my iPod since. 

As my roommate and I were dissecting the Coachella lineup and planning our wish list of performances to catch, I had all but physically cut the YYY's off the flyer with a pair of scissors. But I think they just earned an extra man in the audience when they perform toward the top of the bill on Sunday April 19th. And I think that extra man will be me.
 

March 22, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, March 23, 2009 11:07pm | Post a Comment





Puma And Love-Made Present: What Do You Dance?

Posted by Smiles Davis, March 23, 2009 10:51pm | Post a Comment

Puma and Lovemade have collaborated to present a monthly series of events simply titled the “Puma Monthly Music Series.” For the inaugural event, a special celebration will take place at the Ecco Lounge in Hollywood tomorrow night, Tuesday, March 24, 2009. The two foward-thinking companies have joined to celebrating the launch of Whatdoyoudance.com, a social network dedicated to dance, lifestyle, fashion, art, events, and forward thinking from a dancer's perspective, of course. The new online network was created by dancer and choreographer extraordinaire Fatima Robinson. It is an interactive experience with a forum, an event section, blogs and much more for people to express what’s on their mind, or to simply share information with fellow users.

For this kickoff jam, Lovemade has done what they do best and organized a party reflecting the spirit of this newest venture from Fatima. Lovemade ladies have put together a great lineup of DJs including Rashida (America's Best Dance Crew/ Prince),  DJ Smiles Davis (Ameoba Records), Posso The DJ (Designer of Posso the Spat) and DJ Wendy City (Lovemade), all of whom will be providing the evening’s soundtrack, while Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter will be in the house capturing the action.

With that being said, be sure to look sharp, be prepared to boogie your heart out, and come celebrate the launch of “What Do You Dance?” with all of us!

(Wherein we chance upon something Slick.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 23, 2009 06:16pm | Post a Comment

Furvin Kryakutnoy, Russian inventor and possibly the inventor of the hot air balloon,
has nothing to do with this blog entry.

Here I am, again on my own. I can feel your pretty eyes on me, reading this, waiting to see what I have to say for myself. I am in the past – your past. By the time you read this, I will be gone. I will have scribbled my way through another witty and unnecessary blog.

But here in the past, dear reader, things do not seem so certain. I do not know, as yet (for example), what this entry will be about. Oh sure, it’s easy for you to scroll down the page and glean its general themes, but for someone like me who lives back in the time before this blog was written and done, all is mystery. All is uncertain. I do not even know who or what music or movies will first be mentioned.

Shall I leave it to chance? Shall I see what the Oracle that is YouTube has decided is an appropriate recommendation for me? (For those of you who don’t know, after you’ve used YouTube a bit, it begins to analyze what you tend to look for, then it offers suggestions of stuff you may enjoy, based on your history.) Here, then, is what YouTube thinks I will fancy:


…Huh.

…Well…

I’m not sure what to say. I can’t think of anything I’ve tried to find on YouTube that would justify this selection. Do they know something about me that I don’t? Some deeper insight unavailable to my conscious mind that only they, in their ability to collect and refine data, can provide?

Or are they as incapable of analyzing data as your local Scientology front? (I’ve taken that Scientology “personality exam” many times and offered wildly different answers each occasion,only to find that, no matter what you answer, they always conclude the same thing: You need Scientology NOW, else you’re liable to RUIN EVERYTHING.)

Because I neither read nor speak Chinese, I do not know who is singing the above song. Heck, I don’t even know what dialect that is. I do know the song, in its original form, was recorded by Starship and was a #1 hit for them in 1987. It was the theme to the film Mannequin.


I also know that, while I have no documented evidence to support this theory, I am almost certain that listening to this song too much will give you ear cancer. I don’t care if there’s “no such thing as ‘ear cancer’” – this song will CAUSE IT. Like, for the first time, and while you may appreciate the notoriety that comes from being the first documented case of ear cancer, you will NOT like what it will do to the color of your Eustachian tubes. Trust me. No amount of Hannah Montana visiting you in the hospital, compliments of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, is gonna make it worth your while.


Perhaps YouTube thought I’d be into the song because of my deep love for Grace Slick’s earlier work? I’m pretty much always in the mood for some Jefferson Airplane or Jefferson Starship. It’s when they dropped the "Jefferson" off that they left me behind, too.

For those of you who I’ve left behind in the above paragraph, a brief explanation: Grace Slick is a goddess, but is better known as a singer. She was the powerful female voice in the iconic hippie band Jefferson Airplane, whose most famous song is "White Rabbit."


This is one of those songs that people come into Amoeba Music looking for without knowing anything about who or what it came from. Usually they’re ladies in their late teens/early 20’s, who end up trying to sing fractured lines from it in their effort to describe it. It’s sweet, it’s hilarious – it’s one of those things that make my job worthwhile.


But many people have at least a cursory knowledge of the album Surrealistic Pillow, the album from which this song (plus other hits) is from, when for me, the album I find myself going back to the most is their final-- the gloomy, angst-ridden but still rockin' Bark. This is my favorite cut from the album:


The lyrics perfectly capture the complexities of those times, as a generation of rebels were faced with impending adulthood in a society they had so passionately sought to undermine, and Slick's voice is so raw, so cocky and confident, but still utterly sincere. It kills me dead.

Later, Jefferson Airplane became Jefferson Starship. The line-up changed and the music grew increasingly political – the Hippie was sounding more Yippie. The most famous song from this incarnation was this little ditty:


Finally, after years of alcohol, car wrecks and divorce, Grace Slick continued mutating along with the band that became Starship – one of those bands that has come to epitomize the evil power of the era that Reagan ruled. Remember this…?


Owweee. It hurts me on my insides. Even so, my admiration for Grace Slick remains. You can't fault someone for making a bad record in the 1980's any more than you can fault a first grader for failing to draw a realistic landscape.

Slick’s retired from the music business, though she’s coaxed out now and again for reunions, cameos, and chocolate cake eating.


Now, now, wild eyes - Grace Slick in your past (and future).

I remember, when Patti Smith performed for us at Amoeba Music Hollywood, how it was with tremendous reverence that she briefly waxed about the glory that was Grace Slick and how influential she'd been tn Patti's own work. It was such a cuddly moment you could almost forget that either of the two women could knock you on your ass in eight seconds flat.

So maybe YouTube was on to something when they suggested what they did. Of course, I had to do a lot of stream-of-consciousness exercises to arrive where I did, and even then, I’m not sure what this is. I don’t write these entries in an effort to provide a definitive history of a band or artist. Mostly I just like to provide some FYI’s on stuff that I know a lot of people don’t realize. You geeks who spend more time reading the liner notes on LP’s than calling your dear, sweet mother may already know everything I’m talking about here, but there’s plenty of readers who don’t, and this is for them.

“Oh, I didn’t realize that song was by them, too!” That’s the sort of thing I want to hear. Those of you who want something more obscure to titillate you, try this on for size…

Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: Morrissey

Posted by Amoebite, March 22, 2009 09:54pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth

Coachella LineupMorrissey Keychain

Day #6 - Artist #6 - Morrissey:

The man, the myth, the legend, the Morrissey.

Talking about Morrissey is like talking about the Pope. It doesn't matter if I say something good or bad, I'm still going to piss somebody off. Great..now there's a third group of people I'm going to potentially piss off for comparing Morrissey to the Pope. No, I'm not comparing the two men to each other. The only similarity is that when talking about the two, one considers them either a deity or a joke. There's not much middle ground. So I'm going to be Morrissey's Switzerland. I will provide watches, cheese, chocolate and bank accounts...but no opinions.
Morrissey street art
But what I do want to mention is an interesting phenomenon that first introduced me to Morrissey. When I was in high school, my friends and I were jamming out to Metallica, Black Sabbath, Pantera, and Tool albums, so throwing on a Morrissey record was not much of an option. If I was caught with a Morrissey record in my zippered CD wallet (remember those?), I would have been excommunicated (no pun intended) from the group that hung out in the "D-Wing" at Fred C. Beyer High School. Because of that, I didn't discover Morrissey or the Smiths until a little later in life. 

Arthur Verocai @ The Luckman 3/15

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 22, 2009 09:32pm | Post a Comment

Arthur Verocai's
solo album from 1972 is a must have for everyone. It’s on my personal “Five albums that I would like to have with me on a desert island” list. Verocai’s recent performance on March 15, 2009 was his first ever in Los Angeles. To be honest, even for me, a big fan of Verocai’s music, and despite knowing that this might be a once in a lifetime chance to see this man perform, I almost skipped it. I have been disappointed by the past performances put together by Mochilla, a collection of artists and deejays responsible for bringing acts such as Mulatu Ashtake, Azymuth, Tony Allen and other tasty record geek namedrops to Los Angeles over the last few years. The artists are usually paired with Los Angeles based musicians, who are very talented but not always cohesive. The past performances relied on the musicians' ability to improvise rather than their ability to interpret the artist’s compositions. As a fan of the song, I felt that the songs got lost in the solos and improvisation.

However, on this night, everything was perfect. Verocai was backed by an impressive line-up of L.A and Brazilian musicians, including Mamao Conti from Azymuth, Carlos Dafe (a great and underated singer who sang on Verocai 1972 masterpiece) and Airto Moreira, who has played with Miles Davis, Return To Forever and Weather Report. Verocai’s compositions are, to me, part Gil Evans, part Brian Wilson and part Lo Borges. Each composition flowed smoothly, taking on a life beyond the original recordings. The result was an hour and a half of beautifully arranged Brazilian pop that had me wishing Milton Nacimento could get the same treatment the next time he comes to town. Verocai's strength comes not only from his compositions but also from his arrangements. This allowed the audience to witness the brilliance of both his music and the musicians backing him up. This was probably one of my favorite concerts in quite some time. His music was appreciated by fans and newcomers alike.

Check out some of the action. This is part of the Mochilla "Timeless" series that was to end with a performance by composer David Axelrod. That show has since been cancelled. I'm so bummed.

This Week At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, March 22, 2009 06:23pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly!

The March / April calendar is now online:
www.NewBevCinema.com

March 24-31:
Legendary actor & cult movie icon Sid Haig will appear at the theater as we present some of his favorite movies as well as some of his own films.

Read the LA CityBeat article here.



Sunday & Monday March 22 & 23

Das Boot
(1981) The 1997-Released Director's Cut
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0082096/
dir. Wolfgang Petersen, starring Jürgen Prochnow
Sun: 5:00 only; Mon: 8:00 only

Sorry To Tell You This, But Old Age Begins at 27

Posted by Whitmore, March 22, 2009 02:16pm | Post a Comment
Yeah, you may look pretty good, maybe even damn near perfect … downright delicious, but I bet that chunk of gray pork in your head is already showing signs of some serious sluggishness, if not just complete, profound rot.
 
In a recent study of more than 2,000 people between the ages of 18 to 60 published in the latest edition of the journal Neurobiology of Aging, scientists found that on average cognitive abilities were best and sharpest at age 22. The study conducted at the Salthouse Cognitive Aging Lab at the University of Virginia has shown that cognitive abilities may decline much earlier than previously thought. Head of the study, Professor Timothy Salthouse, found indications that there was a marked decline in brain functions like reasoning, speed of thought and spatial visualization by the age of 27. Other tests also show memory performance begins faltering around 37 years of age. However, and this is slightly odd, the study finds that with more long term accumulated knowledge, vocabularies actually increased until about the age of 60. For example, my mom can say “you’re full of shit” in six different languages.

In Salthouse's study, participants were asked to solve puzzles, recall story details and spot patterns in letters and symbols -- similar testing is used to detect dementia. Salthouse states the difference between this study and comparable research is that other tests could not uncover signs of cognitive decline; older testing methods did not account for prior test experience. Common knowledge-type tests tend to give middle-aged participants an advantage.
 
Whew! This study eased many of my worries. In my youth I once showed some promise, but then in my late 20’s something inexplicably flattened my quasi-whiz kid, semi-demi-brilliant, slightly better then OK, B-minus intellect. Now I know I was just an innocent victim of natural brain chemistry decline … outstanding!

'BS' Doesn't Stand for 'Battlestar': Battlestar Galactica Finale

Posted by Charles Reece, March 22, 2009 12:44am | Post a Comment
spoiler alert.

You know how after a catastrophic accident or tragedy some religiously inclined individual looks at it as a miracle that something even worse didn't happen? Say, some burglar botches a job, not realizing the family is still home, and winds up murdering all of them except the young daughter he didn't see hiding in the closet. Afterwards, some bozo will inevitably suggest God's light must be shining down on the little girl, since she was so lucky to have survived. Maybe I'm a glass-half-empty kind of guy, but I'd say what's being conveniently ignored there is that her entire family was slaughtered, indicating there ain't anything moral giving much of a shit about her wellbeing. Or, if you don't like hypotheticals, take the Hulkster's use of Divine Intervention to comfort his son, Nick, during the latter's stay in jail for a drunken crash that rendered his "best friend" and passenger, John Graziano, a tomato:

Well, I don't know what type of person John was or what he did to get himself in this situation. I know he was pretty aggressive and used yell at people and used to do stuff. And for some reason God laid some heavy shit on that kid.  I don't know what he was into .... John was a negative person.

Forsooth, God's Will is deep and mysterious! So say we all! Thus, how might the 30 or so thousand survivors of Caprica find a little bit of meaning in their civiliation's destruction at the hands of the Cylons? Well, by realizing it's all part of God's plan (that is, the one, true God, not "the gods" the humans always swear by). See, with old Yahweh not being much of a utilitarian, it was necessary to kill so many to get a few to Earth, as a way to help our ancestors along in their development.  This is the Divine Scenarist's way of getting humanity to realize its full potential as what Caprica 6 refers to as another iteration of the civilization that gets too big for its britches and will destroy itself with nukes.

TK Label Gallery

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 22, 2009 12:01am | Post a Comment





T.K. and its many subsidiaries were a very tangled web indeed. A huge player in the early disco scene, Henry Stone and co. burned out quick-- by 1980 they had to sell out to Morris Levy. I think my favorite design is the Chimneyville label; I really loved collecting these...





Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: Jenny Lewis

Posted by Amoebite, March 21, 2009 08:37pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth

 Jenny Lewis
Day #5 - Artist #5 - Jenny Lewis:
Jenny Lewis
To indie rock girls everywhere, she is an inspiration. To indie rock boys, she is an infatuation. Jenny Lewis has become the first lady of indie rock throughout the decade by being the go-to female vocalist for collabortations across the indie spectrum...and by being so damn cute!

The bulk of her accolades have come from fronting the band Rilo Kiley, her flagship musical endeavor that began with their 2001 debut album, Take-Offs and Landings. They've continued to record and tour recently with their fourth album and major label debut, Under the Blacklight, which came out in 2007.

Rilo Kiley - "The Moneymaker" from Under the Blacklight (2007):


Jenny's most well known musical collaboration is probaJenny Lewis Postal Service Albumbly the one she's least known for being a part of. She contributed backing vocals for most of the 2003 album Give Up by The Postal Service. According to Wikipedia, this side project by Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello was the most successful selling album for legendary indie label Sup Pop since Nirvana's Bleach in 1989, selling over 900,000 copies. And keep in mind, this was still two years before Death Cab For Cutie blew up in the mainstream with their album Plans (2005).


Arp's Alexis Georgopoulos Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, March 21, 2009 06:15pm | Post a Comment
Alexis Georgopoulos has been a creative force in the San Francisco scene for many years, first making music with the band Tussle and then in his current incarnation, Arp. Arp's release In Light is a textural and warmth-exuding record that has added something new and welcome to the electronica section of Amoeba. Recently Alexis packed it up and moved to New York City where he plans to continue composing his balmy and atmospheric tunes while also working on a multitude of other projects, notably within the gallery scene there. Here, Alexis chats about those projects, his work in Arp, and also details what we can assume are just a few of his myriad influences and inspirations.



Miss Ess: How did you come up with your sound for Arp? What was your vision?


Alexis: After leaving Tussle, I started experimenting with analog synthesizers. Initally, Matthew Higgs (curator of White Columns gallery in Manhattan) asked if I'd do an installation for an exhibit he was putting together at New Langton Center for the Arts. When I learned it was a collaboration with an architect, I realized the music I'd just started making with analog synthesizers might work really well. So the first public Arp project, Cloud, was a modular room on wheels set up with a featherbed (just large enough for two people to lie down on or three to sit), two speakers and a few of my musical pieces on infinite repeat. I took the gallerists' sanity into consideration by picking pieces that I hoped could be heard again and again without driving them crazy.

It became clear then that these pieces would work well as an album. I knew I wanted to create a distinct feeling. I wanted to do something with only analog synthesizers, partly to get away from the habits I'd formed playing drums and guitars. And I wanted to do something that didn't fall prey to digital recording constraints. I didn't want to record to a grid, as it were. I wanted to use electronic instruments, but play them live, so things would be a bit more organic, something I felt had been discarded in favor of vacuum-sealed sterility.

I wanted to do something that had to do with a feeling I associated with the Mediterranean coast – I've spent a lot of time at my uncle's in the south of France – the ocean, the air, the smell of Eucalyptus and Cypress and Pine trees. Something pastoral. Something to do with the feeling of longing for something passing, something inspired by the cinematography Eric Rohmer films like La Collectioneuse and Clare's Knee and Antonioni's Red Desert... Coastal imagery is so often associated with leisure and hedonism. I wanted to imbue that psychological environment with something more reflective. The moments one has alone in such places. When one feels the summer ending and autumn beginning...

Miss Ess: What projects are you involved in now besides Arp? I know there is The Alps, but are there even more?

Alexis: Yeah, we (The Alps) just released our first studio recording, III on Type (UK). It's not really anything like our early CDRs, which were just one-mic recordings we put out in small-run editions for the sake of documentation. I'm quite happy with it. It's unfortunate that because we don't tour, I think a lot of people who might like it probably won't hear it. But, what can you do? Ultimately, you make music because I need/love to, so... We'll be recording our second album in the next few months when I can get back to California.

I'm also half of Expanding Head Band with Quinn Luke. We met when Quinn produced Tussle's Telescope Mind. He and I realized we liked working together – arranging, mixing, dubbing – and that we shared a lot of the same ideals. So when I left Tussle, we decided to start something new that would pick up where that left off. We just did our first remix for DFA earlier this year, a remix of Shocking Pinks' "Cutout" and our first two 12 inches of original material for DFA will come out this year.

There are also a few other projects in the works. The The David is a group with the artist Keegan McHargue, Matt Roberts (The Mantles), Will Bradley (art critic and drummer for Life Without Buildings) and myself. We got together a few times when Will was here from the UK working at CCA and recorded an EP's worth of material with Jason Quever (The Papercuts). We've all been busy with other things but we hope to complete it soon. It's quite different than any of my other recent projects, more like early Rough Trade singles than anything else.

ME: What are you currently working on? What's coming up next for you?

AG: It's been a busy few months. I did a live score to artist Doug Aitken's most recent film Migration at 303 Gallery with White Rainbow and Lichens. And I've just completed a sound installation at a new gallery in the East Village called Audio Visual Arts (AVA). The installation included four pieces corresponding to different times of day. I'm hoping to do a solo show in the coming year that combines music with sculptural installation and film.

Other that that, I'm midway through the second Arp album. I'm recording it with Philip Manley (The Champs, Trans Am) onto 2" tape. I was supposed to finish it in August but just as I was ready to lay down my first take, the tape machine broke, so I don't know if I'll return to SF to finish it or if I'll do it here in New York. In any case, it looks to be quite different from the first. I'll be singing some songs for one thing, and the instrumentation will be more varied. There's a lot more piano, and more guitar. Synthesizers are still playing a role but they're just one of many instruments in the mix.

Just beginning work on the first Expanding Head Band full-length and a second Alps album as well.

ME: Phil Manley used to do sound for Amoeba instores a while back! He's a great guy. Sounds like you've got quite a full plate. Going back, when did you first start playing and creating music?

AG: I first picked up a guitar when I was 12, and soon after played in a few bands in high school, doing a mixture of covers and originals. Not much I care to remember really, ha! But I do remember doing a pretty solid version of Gang of Four's "Damaged Goods" my senior year of high school (1992). Ha!

ME: Beyond electronica, what other genres of music do you enjoy creating?

AG: Hmm... I guess there are certain "genres" that I gravitate towards. But genre is not really what turns me on. I pay attention to whether the sound(s)/compositions/arrangements engage me.

ME: What is your most prized of piece of musical equipment and why?

AG: Right now, I'm really loving my Crumar Orchestrator. It's an Italian analog synthesizer from the 70s that has a small range of sounds but nearly all of them are great. I'm trying to phase out anything digital  – which is not to say I'm against anything digital, but when you play a digital keyboard next to analog, you can't help notice how thin and cold it sounds, which might be something someone else would exploit. But I love the rounded warmth of analog.

ME: Me too, and it sets the tone for your music, as well; listeners can recognize that sweet analog sound right away. What do you find most fulfilling: the creative process itself, recording, or performing?

AG: It's hard to say as they each offer their own difficulties and rewards. They're each essential. Though, if I absolutely had to pick, I'd say the most fulfilling is listening to a recording and feeling you achieved what you sought to.

ME: You have a history of working with and supporting visual artists. What other artists inspire you?

AG: The past few years, I've really been into these sort of utiopian/dystopic architecture groups: Superstudio and Archizoom especially. Öyvind Fahlstrom. Ed Ruscha. Werner Herzog. Yves Saint Laurent (RIP).

ME: What have you been listening to these days?

AG: Pretty much anything by Philip Cohran & The Artistic Heritage Ensemble
Cilibrinas Do Eden - Cilibrinas Do Eden
Slappy Happy - Slapp Happy
Chopin waltzes
Nelson Angelo & Joyce - Angelo & Joyce
Frankie Dymon Jr. - Let It Out
Anthony Moore - Pieces from Cloudland Ballroom
Ali Akbar Khan - Misra Mand
Henry Flynt - You Are My Everlovin'/Celestial Power & Ascent To The Sun
Ebenezer Obey - The Horse The Man and His Son
John Lee Hooker - It Serves You Right To Suffer
Jorge Ben - A Tabua De Esmeralda
Julie Covington - The Beautiful Changes
Soft Machine - Third
Sunroof! - Cloudz
Es - Sateenkaarisuudelma
JJ Cale - "Cherry"

ME: You've been around the SF scene for a long time! What would you say have been its high points? Now that you are in NYC, what is the music scene like there and how do the two compare?

AG: Well, it's hard to say, as I've just arrived in New York. I am excited at the prospect of so many great musicians being here. In terms of San Francisco, there was a high point between 2003-2005. It was an exciting time when a lot of things were being rediscovered and hadn't yet been commodified (by New Yorkers! and the media).

ME: I would agree with you about those years being the most exciting as far as my experience in SF as well. So it's not just me! I know that you had a recent show in France. What are your fans like there and in Europe in general? 

AG: I don't know if I can make any generalizations about audiences elsewhere vs here. I've encountered both grateful and ungrateful crowds here and everywhere.

ME: What sort of music do you remember hearing played around the house when you were a child? Did it have any influence on the type of music you are inspired by or create?

AG: My parents love music, but they listen(ed) almost exclusively to Classical. I only remember three Pop albums in their collection: Desire by Bob Dylan, Ram by McCartney, and some Simon & Garfunkel. There might've been some French and Greek music occasionally as well. Did it inspire me? Not at the time. I liked it. (My mom just told me when I was three I used to hum Handel's Water Music and [Music for the] Royal Fireworks.) But I pretty much just wanted to listen to Duran Duran or Madonna or New Edition or whatever. In retrospect, however, I think there's no doubt it's played a role.

ME: That's why that question is always so interesting to me, because it seems that even if one denies whatever one's parents were listening to, their choices were inescapable and regardless of the child's opinion of it, just developing that opinion created an impact. If you could play with any other bands for a one-night-only show, what would be your dream bill?

AG: Oh, god. Hmmm... let's see, how bout a festival? Does that count? I think a good night would include ... Can, Roxy Music, LaMonte Young, John Cale, Don Cherry, Agitation Free, Serge Gainsbourg with Jane Birkin, Lula Cortez & Ze Ramalho, Caetano Veloso, Cerrone...

ME: What music do like to fall asleep to?

AG: I can't fall asleep listening to music anymore. It keeps my attention too much. But I've probably listened to Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou's Ethiopia Song and Ali Akbar Khan's Misra Mand late at night more than any other albums... Flying Saucer Attack is good for when night turns into morning.

ME: What music do you like to wake up to?

AG: Agitation Free - First Communication
Popol Vuh
Mozart Flute Concertos

ME: Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

AG: Oh God, sure. Penguin Cafe Orchestra. The Grateful Dead. Random new stuff – that Santogold track, the occasional Toto track.

ME: Do you have any musical heroes?

AG: John Cale. Terry Riley. Chopin. Eno. Gainsbourg. Stockhausen. Bowie. Dylan. Ray Davies. Conny Plank. Martha Argerich. Balzac.

ME: Your album's cover is so perfect for your music's sound -- what are some of your favorite album covers that you think really capture their album's sound?

AG: Well, thank you. I think, ultimately, a listener can be guided into a certain state of mind by the artwork. But in the end, I respond to a compelling image/artwork, regardless of how closely it mirrors the music. Or sometimes in spite of it! So... I don't know... I can think of only a few that mirror perfectly: Wolfgang Voigt's entire Gas catalog, Peter Saville's stuff for Joy Division, Nelson Angelo & Joyce, Jean-Paul Goude's art direction for Grace Jones.

I can think of some artwork that I love (regardless of how well it corresponds to the music). Some favorite covers:

John Lennon - Mind Games
Slappy Happy - Slapp Happy
Jean-Claude Vannier - L'Enfant Assassin Des Mouches
John Cale - Paris 1919
Sebastian Tellier
- Sexuality
CSNY - So Far
The Brooklyn reggae label Wackies' catalog

ME: Fantastic picks! What has been your best find at Amoeba?

AG: Oh, god. I've probably shopped at Amoeba more than any other record store! But all my records are in storage and I can't think of any!

ME: That must feel strange for you, to be without your records! Hopefully once you get settled in NYC they will eventually surround you once again. Thanks so much for your time.

R.I.P. NEW ORLEANS PIANO GREAT EDDIE BO

Posted by Billyjam, March 21, 2009 02:19pm | Post a Comment
eddie bo
Legendary New Orleans pianist, singer, songwriter and producer Eddie Bo (born Edwin Joseph Bocage) died of a heart attack on Wednesday. He was 79 years of age. One of the last great New Orleans piano professors, he was described by New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival producer Quint Davis as a "kind of a bridge between Professor Longhair and Allen Toussaint."

Known for an eclectic style that drew from jazz, funk, RnB, and rock 'n roll, Eddie Bo's 1962 hit "Check Mr. Popeye" inspired a dance craze at the time. Other notable hits by the incredibly prolific artist, who over the years released singles on a number of different record labels such as Ace, Ric, Apollo, Chess, and Bo Sound (his own imprint) included "Check Your Bucket" and "Hook and Sling," which was a Billboard Top 20 RnB hit in 1969.

The artist grew up in Algiers and the 9th Ward of New Orleans and graduated from Booker T. Washington eddie boHigh School followed by a stint in the US Army. Upon his return to New Orleans, he studied arranging and composing at the Grunewald School of Music, and soon after began his music career.

In addition to his own catalog and appearing (in recent decades) on albums with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and George Porter Jr., Eddie Bo's music has been covered by many others, most notably Etta James, who had a hit in 1959 doing a cover of his song "Dearest Darling," and Little Richard, who adapted Bo's song "I'm Wise" to make it the song "Slippin' and Slidin." 

Manhunt

Posted by phil blankenship, March 21, 2009 11:49am | Post a Comment
 


Media Home Entertainment M769

Oh Bondage!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 21, 2009 12:22am | Post a Comment





Of the hundreds of ideas I have for blog themes, bondage has been a fairly simple one to fulfill. There are plenty of people who use the imagery, whether sexual or just in a general corporal restraint sense.





It's amazing how prevalent S&M imagery was in the 70's. Over half of the covers are from that decadent decade. Hell, even Bowzer is flirting with it! I know, I know, I know it's a stretch. 
Then again, it was the 70's...




Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: Silversun Pickups

Posted by Amoebite, March 20, 2009 10:16pm | Post a Comment
127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

- By Scott Butterworth
 

Day #4 - Artist #4 - Silversun Pickups:


What is a Silversun Pickup anyways? I know a pickup is the part of an electric guitar that translates the vibration of the strings into an electrical signal, but  naming your band after an accentuated part of your intsrument? Sounds like an idea that was originated by a circle of hippies sitting on a hill. Why not name it "Mother of Pearl Rosette" ($20 to the person that gets that pop culture reference)?

Well, I learned what a silversun pick up is about four days after moving to Los Angeles this past July.  Before living in Los Angeles, I had alway heard about the famed indie/alternative music scene in LA's Silver Lake nieghborhood. So the first week in town, my roommate and I decided to check out the first night of Eagle Rock band Princeton's residency at Silver Lake Lounge's legendary Monday night up-and-comers showcase. Between bands we ran across the street to grab some food/drinks at the convenience store on the corner of Silver Lake and Sunset Boulevards. While crossing the street back to the show, I was informed that I had just completed my first "Silver-Sun Pickup." And my roommate went on to explain that the most recent band to break out of Silver Lake with their 2006 album Carnavas dubbed themselves Silversun Pickups from their late night beer-runs to the same Silversun Liquors that we refueled at that night, on the corner of Silver Lake's Silversun Pickups two major boulevards.

John Leech, rest in peace

Posted by Whitmore, March 20, 2009 10:00pm | Post a Comment
I’ve been sitting here all day trying to write something perfect.
 
I didn’t get much sleep. After I crawled out of bed on Thursday morning, out of nowhere, a heavy fog rolled in; but it made complete sense to me, it was more than a sign -- it was my destination. I was already there. The previous night I got the phone call I didn’t expect to receive for a while. I wasn’t at all prepared for the news: John Leech, the owner and founder of LA’s great arts hangout and bohemian cafe, The Onyx, had died.
 
John had no blood relatives, though he did leave behind a close knit extended family of former customers and employees who loved him as kin. I worked for John for some 14 years, and back then I saw him on a daily basis. Now that he’s gone I realize I needed to spend more time with him. Once the Onyx was closed in 1998, John retired and he started trekking across the US and Canada, often by train. Briefly John chased the idea of opening up another café, maybe here in LA or up in Portland, Oregon, but I think his renewed interest in travel got the best of those plans. While I bounced around the west coast, living for a while up in the Puget Sound, John was spending a lot of time in his cabin on the Russian River. I had excuses, but too many excuses. We’d get together for lunch or dinner every once in a while, but never as often as I wished we had now.
 
Though we were friends for some 26 years, there was so much I never knew about John. He was a man of many secrets. For example, I never knew his birthday. No one did. I once actually figured out how old he was; he laughed because he knew I’d forget it. I did. I swear with a wave of his hand the number vanished. John created a public space and even though he was the face of the Onyx, he was an incredibly private person.
 
John however, was truly an odd bird who stood out in the crowd of weirdly plumed eccentrics. Years ago he took to wearing Hawaiian shirts, but as the time went on he found it necessary to wear two, if not three shirts at the same time. My opinion may be a bit skewed, if not perfectly preposterous -- and why wouldn’t it be -- but only John could look so damned dapper wearing three Hawaiian shirts. No, he wasn’t batty, he just had a lot of Hawaiian shirts the world needed to experience. John was not exactly subtle but he did have an air of mystery about him. One part Bohemian, one part drill-sergeant, one part raconteur and muckraker, one part doting step-dad, he was a genuine man of the world. He hated bullshit, though a good bullshitter would be welcomed at his table. John had no patience for fools, but he knew when foolishness was a breath of fresh air. A few mediocre cups of coffee may have been poured at the Onyx now and then, but there was more pulsating life on that vibrant stretch of Vermont Ave than most any other part of Los Angeles during the 1980’s and 90’s. The cafe and the gallery next door was a genuine sanctuary from the volatile, irritating, confounding world outside. During the LA riots in 1992 John kept the Onyx open 24 hours a day so that the community had somewhere to gather and talk and be still. He believed in an unfettered creative experience, personal choice, personal responsibility, freedom of expression, the independence to live your life as you saw fit. And goddamn did he hate bureaucracy!
 
I would have to say John was not particularly blessed with many organizational skills -- trust me on that! -- somehow, either by luck, pluck or design, he created a home for hundreds of artists, musicians, writers and poets. The Onyx was a place where the odd, oddly beautiful or simply unconventional endeavors -- often excluded from the mainstream venues and galleries -- could find an audience and find a life. John’s support of the arts was an essential element of the café; he never took a percentage of the art sales and never charged at the door for music or theatrical performances. The bar-b-ques John concocted in the parking lot behind the Onyx and the champagne soaked art openings are legendary. We owe him so, so much; I am incredibly indebted to John. My life is so much better because of his efforts. At the Onyx I found life-long friends, direction, and most significantly, I met my wife there almost 18 years ago.
 
There is a votive memorial at the former Onyx location at 1802 N. Vermont Ave in front of what is now Cafe Figaro in Los Feliz. Another memorial is in front of the original Onyx location next to the Vista Theater at the Virgil Ave and Sunset Blvd intersection. Tributes can also be found on several sites on Facebook. There are tentative plans for a memorial service in late April or May.
 
John Leech in his own very peculiar way was a great man. He was a hell of a man, unique and one of a kind. People like John Leech don’t come down the pike every day; it’s a huge loss, I can’t even begin to explain it, I just can’t.
 
With our love, my love, rest in peace John.

Happy نوروز (Nowruz)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 20, 2009 08:26am | Post a Comment
HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Today, for most observers (but tomorrow for others), is Persian New Year, variously and roughly anglicized as Navrus (Tajikistan), Nawroz (Afghanistan), Nevruz Day (Albania), Nooruz (Iran), Nov Ruz Bairam (Kyrgyzstan), Nauryz Meyrami (Kazakhstan) and Novruz Bayram (Azerbaijan). As with the Lunar New Year, which is often referred to in the media as the "Chinese New Year" (unintentionally marginalizing Koreans, Taiwanese and Vietnamese, who also celebrate the Lunar New Year), Nowroz is often referred to as the Iranian or Persian New Year. In President Obama's Nowruz address, he didn't make that mistake, although he did turn it into a fairly contrived address to the Islamic Republic.


Maz Jorbani on Axis of Evil Comedy Tour

IRAN VS PERSIA

Iran, though related to Persia, is not the same thing. The word Iran comes from Aryānām, literally, "Land of the Aryans." Other Aryan people (who also celebrate Nowruz) include Baloch, Kurds, Lurs, Ossettians, Pashtuns and Zazas. Thus, Nowruz is widely celebrated (in addition to the places already named) in Balochistan, Bosnia, the Caucasus, the Crimea, Iraq, Kashmir, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macedonia, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The term "Iranian," in contrast to "Persian," includes all people descended from Iran who are just as fully Iranian (at least on paper, though not necessarily in practice) such as Arabs, Armenians, Georgians, Jews and Kazakhs, who are probably less likely to celebrate Nowruz. Though most of Nowruz's celebrants practice Islam, its origins go back much further and the day is especially important to Zoroastrians, as well as Alawites, Alevis, Bahá'í, Ismailis, and other Central Asian people of various faiths. 

   


TEHRANGELES IN FILM, TV AND REALITY

Los Angeles is home to the largest group of Iranians outside of Iran, who make up large percentages of the populace of Woodland Hills and Encino and especially Tehrangeles (centered on Westwood Blvd between Pico and UCLA) and Beverly Hills. In fact, Beverly Hills High, with a 40% Persian student body, inspired the creators of 90210 to create a (lone) Persian character on the show, Navid Shirazi (played by 28-year-old Germanic/Latino actor Michael Mateus Steger). Before that, Clueless was probably the first film to acknowledge the presence of a large Persian populace on the west side. The film alluded to the "Persian mafia" who, it's explained one "can't hang with... unless you own a BMW or Mercedes Benz and a cellular phone," which at the time of its making in 1995, was much less common. Less insightful, but no less hilarious, was 2005's Crash, which made laughable attempts to address inter-ethnic relationships in an unrecognizable Los Angeles, with uninentionally side-splitting results.



NOWRUZ 2009/1388


I'm sure there's lots of stuff going on around Los Angeles, like this party, or you could go to a Persian restaurant. The best Nowruz film is Jafar Panahi's debut, the Abbas Kiarostami-penned The White Balloon (بادکنک سفيد), which long ago passed through Amoeba's doors on VCD. It's one of the best. Happy new year.

Amoeba Music Weekly Hip-Hop Round Up 03:20:09 Eligh and Jo Wilkinson, T.I., E40, Roots Picnic, SxSW shows, Chess Federation vs Obama?, etc...

Posted by Billyjam, March 20, 2009 08:10am | Post a Comment
AMOEBA MUSIC HOLLYWOOD HIP-HOP TOP FIVE: 03:20:09
eligh and jo wilkinson
1) Eligh and Jo Wilkinson On Sacred Ground: Mother And Son (Legendary Music)

2) Scarab + Very present The Classic EP (Legendary Music)

3) Brother Ali The Truth Is Here (Rhymesayers Entertainment)

4) N.A.S.A. The Spirit Of Apollo (Anti)

5) T.I. Paper Trail (Atlantic)

Special thanks to Marques at the Hollywood Amoeba Music store for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five chart of the store's best selling new hip-hop albums. In the number one, with a bullet, slot is the new Legendary Music release from Eligh and Jo Wilkinson, On Sacred Ground: Mother And Son, whose impressive guest list includes Mark Bell, The Grouch, Pigeon John, Jiro Yamaguchi, Paul Dateh, Robert Miranda, Shanti Foster, and Slug of Atmosphere. Album highlights include "By And By" (feat. The Grouch & Paul Dateh), and "Honor Me" (feat. Pigeon John). Number two on the chart is a related release featuring Scarab (also of Living Legends fame) and Very of Us Pros, the duo known as Afro Classics, with the Classic EP. The EP includes scarab & very present the classic epsongs such as "Boom It," "The Follow Through," and "Live From Los Angeles Pt 1."

Trees For The Equinox

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 20, 2009 12:15am | Post a Comment







Ya Hoidz Me? - Talk About Bounce Music

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 20, 2009 12:01am | Post a Comment

For some reason, the Bounce scene, born nearly 20 years ago, seems to be undergoing a minor critical reassessment as it inspires curiosity in a new generation of fans amongst the young, the Euro, the old and new. I can only guess why. I suspect that part of it is a development of the ongoing, time-delayed, middle class fascination with vulgar, good-time booty, that, as with booty bass, gogo, ghettotech and juke house before, takes a little longer to catch on beyond the music's traditional base. Or perhaps it’s just the curiosity factor due to the prevalence of so many openly gay rappers, who have been the subject of articles in The Village Voice, The Guardian and The New York Times -- although their readers are unlikely to run out and buy the latest
Sissy Rap record. There was even a piece on Bounce for NPR’s stomach-turning attempt at hipness, What's the New What? ...Just the title of that show makes me feel like I've been kicked where it hurts.


On the other hand, sites like
Louisiana Rap, Nola Bounce and Twankle and Glisten have done a good job in documenting the scene and suggest a much deeper, more honest appreciation that makes me happy. I'll be honest, the idea of a politician claiming to like Bounce would make me die a little inside. Yet, I’d love it if all these underappreciated, undercredited artists who made Bounce happen got some well-deserved acknowledgment and attention. With films like Ya Heard Me documenting the scene and Youtubers like 1825 Tulane Ave and Whatheallman tirelessly keeping Bounce in your ear, I guess I can live with the idea that some ironic, comb-over-wearing member of the Dumpster Click is going to be into it too. Anyway, for the time being, if you look up "New Orleans Bounce" on Youtube, you're (currently, at least) unlikely to be confronted with the image an American Apparel/Vice Magazine disaster doing the Eddie Bow.


 
New Orleans’s Pre-Bounce Background
By the early 1980s, rap had spread to every reasonably large American city, each of which responded in part with scenes of their own. Almost universally, these early artists were highly imitative of their New York inspirations. New Orleans’s New York Incorporated (formed in 1984) and Ninja Crew (formed in 1986) were no exceptions. Within a few years, Miami’s Maggotron and MC A.D.E. were creating Electro-indebted Booty Bass and Houston’s Geto Boys and L.A.’s NWA were making Gangsta Rap -- all highly regionalized in their identities. Early New Orleans rappers like Tim Smooth, Warren Mayes and 39 Posse began incorporating various elements of the hip hop of the day, but for the most part, didn't verbally or musically represent the Crescent that overtly.


In the 1980s, port traffic in New Orleans had dried up following the oil industry going bust. Employment opportunities were suddenly limited primarily to the tourist-focused service industry and the city plunged deeply into poverty. With jobs and money scarce, crime on the rise and the war on drugs stepped up, New Orleans grew increasingly cutthroat and violent. By the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, whereas almost all American cities began to see a rise in gang culture, the more desperate New Orleans remained dominated by self-starters, self-servers and hustlers with rivalries and identities tied more often to wards and the city's many, large housing projects than organized gangs. In the process, New Orleans’s hip hop scene began to craft a unique identity quite different than that of most other cities. Tracks like Gregory D & DJ Mannie Fresh’s “Buck Jump Time” and MC Thick’s “Marrero (What The Fuck They Be Yellin)” began to express a New Orleans lyrical specificity largely absent from previous NO rap tracks. In addition, the projects (as well as clubs like Big Man’s, Flirts, 49 and Ghost Town) served as the primary venues for local, aspiring rappers.



But it wasn’t until Bounce that New Orleans crafted a truly unique brand of hip hop, largely based on the samples of two seemingly unlikely records whose journey to New Orleans remains obscure. New York rappers The Showboys released “Drag Rap” in 1986 to resounding disinterest. The first half of the track is very much in the vein of Run DMC, but the latter half kicks off with a synth cowbell-punctuated beat that forms the basis of almost all Bounce. The other track, perhaps even less likely to find its way to New Orleans, was British rapper Derek B’s 1987 single, “Rock the Beat.” An instrumental version of it, labeled “Brown Beats,” was included on legendary DJ Cameron Paul’s mix, Beats & Pieces. These two singles became the backbone of almost all Bounce, although, despite what you often read, they were by no means the only ones. You hear a lot of Rebirth Jazz Band, John Carpenter's Halloween theme and the Jackson 5 in Bounce as well. Just check out
http://bouncebreaksarchive.blogspot.com/ for a fairly comprehensive list.

 
What is Bounce?
Bounce, it is often noted, is based on repetitive, simplistic, call-and-response lyrics (mostly ward and neighborhood shout outs and dance call outs) and built (primarily) on just the two aforementioned singles. One thing that seems conspicuously absent from discussions of Bounce is the Dancehall-influenced flow of the rappers. In the early '90s, that influence was everywhere, from acts like Fu-Schnickens to songs like Ice Cube's "Wicked," which (like many others of the day) featured a guy toasting at some point.


Despite what the national media often suggests, Bounce isn't the widely-heard, late ‘90s New Orleans rap coming from labels like Cash Money and No Limit, although they, along with other New Orleans rappers like Devious, Dog House Posse, Kane & Abel, Mia X, Ruthless Juveniles and others occasionally incorporated Bounce aspects or recorded individual Bounce tracks.


Now a lot of haters and moaners will hate and moan about how Bounce is responsible for killing rap. Supposedly it does this by shifting the emphasis away from the (supposedly progressive) artistry of simple, rhyming couplets delivered with an unvariably 4-4 beat toward Bounce's polyrhythmic, lyrically abstract, fun chants that owe more to the Second Line; Bashment, slave-created music forms (e.g. field hollers and ring shouts); and children’s street culture like playground songs (e.g. "K-I-S-S-I-N-G"), clapping games (e.g." Mary Mack," "Miss Susie," "Stella Elle Olla") and jump-rope rhymes ("Fudge, fudge, call the judge," or "Three, six, nine, The goose drank wine"). This unpretentious rootsiness horrifies stodgy purists, creaky fuddy-duddies and cultural watchdogs but is ripe for enjoyment both from p-poppers and subcultural anthropologists who can hear that Bounce expresses more personality in one silly line than most “serious” rappers do over entire careers of insecure, self-absorbed, macho fantasy.

Trailer for Ya Heard Me

Bitch, Stop Talkin’ that Ish - Bounce’s Golden Age
With such a limited lyrical lexicon, DJs and producers like Polo, Precise, DJ Duck, DJ Money Fresh, Mannie Fresh, Henry the Man, E-Jay, and DJ Irv should get at least as much credit as the MCs for the creation of Bounce. Because, at least as important as calling out every ward, project and (on rare occasions) Southern state is the curiously powerful pull of those beats that just grab you.

TT Tucker & DJ Irv - "Where Dey At?"
 
1991
Bounce really began in late 1991, when TT Tucker and DJ Irv recorded, but never officially released, a song they’d perfected at Ghost Town, the blueprint for the genre, “Where Dey At?” It was so repetitive, so infectious and so gutter, it captured the hearts and minds of thousands and so it began. Sadly, the duo never much capitalized on their pivotal role, with TT Tucker in and out of the clink and DJ Irv tragically shot and killed.


DJ Jimi (featuring Jimi's mom) - "The Bitch's Reply"

1992
Almost immediately, similar Bounce songs followed in the wake of "Where Dey At?" Jimi “DJ Jimi” Payton, a DJ at Big Man’s, joined by Dion “Devious” Norman and Derrick “Mellow Fellow” Ordogne, crafted a followup, "(The Original) Where They At." After it was licensed to Memphis’s Avenue Records, it resulted in a response track from Memphian rapper FM with “Gimme What You Got (For a Pork Chop!). DJ Jimi also gave the first recording exposure to Juvenile, who went on to find lasting fame beyond the genre, but did so much with so little (lyrically) as a Bounce artist. That same year, Mannie Fresh and Gregory D ended their professional relationship, unhappy with RCA’s handling of their career. Fresh then joined the fledgling Cash Money label, whose first release (Kilo-G’s Sleepwalker) was not Bounce, but who soon were known for crafting Bounce songs, as was the fledgling Take Fo’ Records.

D.J. Jimi (featuring Juvenile)
– “Bounce (For the Juvenile)”
D.J. Jimi - “(The Original) Where They At”
Everlasting Hitman - Bounce! Baby, Bounce!

Ju'C - "Lick Da Cat"
 
1993
1993 was the year that Bounce really exploded. Moving beyond its simplistic origins only slightly, groups like UNLV helped popularize the genre by adding elements of Gangsta Rap and soon inspired many similar releases by other acts, especially across town, over at the brand-new Big Boy Records, which escalated into a heated Gangsta Bounce rivalry.

Da’ Sha Ra’ – Bootin’ Up
Daddy Yo – “I’m Not Your Trick Daddy”  
DJ Jubilee – “Jubilee All (Stop Pause)”
Joe BlakkIt Ain’t Where Ya From
Ju’C – “Lick Da Cat”
MC Spud & DJ Def  - “Holla If Ya Hear Me”
Lil Elt – “Get da Gat”
Sporty T – “Jackin for Bounce”
UNLV – “UNLV Style,” “Eddie Bow“

Fila Phil - "Hustlaz"

1994
In 1994, national interest in Bounce was first shown when Scott Aiges wrote an article on how much more popular the genre was in New Orleans than nationally promoted artists. The tone at the labels wasn't so much interest, but concern. They wondered why people were buying tapes out of trunks instead of the "Heatseekers" on the Hot 100? On April 22, in a tragedy for Bounce, his friends, fans and family, local legend Edgar "Pimp Daddy" Givens was murdered in the 9th ward.

B-32I Need a Bag of Dope
Fila Phil – “Hustlaz “
Lil Slim – “Eagle St. Bounce”
Partners-N-CrimePNC
Pimp Daddy – “Got 2 Be Real”
 

Dolemite - "Hustla, Hustla"

1995
In 1995, No Limit moved from Richmond, California to New Orleans where the Bounce scene was, by then, huge... at least, regionally. No Limit released a compilation of both Bounce and non-Bounce artists, Down South Hustlas -- Bouncing and Swingin' and began to successfully build on the New Orleans rap scene, ultimately signing a major deal with Priority, then flush with cash off the success of The California Raisins. Over the next few years, their Pen & Pixel-decorated CDs flooded the national market and media interest in New Orleans exploded as Southern rap began to completely eclipse the east and west coasts.

Cheeky Blakk – “Bitch Get Off Me,“ “Twerk Sumthin’"
Dolemite – "Hustla Hustla"
Ricky B. – “Shake Fa Ya Hood,” “Who Got The Fire”
2 BlakkThe Game
 

Magnolia Shorty - "Monkey on the D$ck"

1996
On February 6th, 1996, another Bounce pioneer, Floyd "Everlasting Hitman" Blount was tragically murdered in Fisher. Around the same time, with UNLV’s hit "Drag 'Em in the River" and No Limit’s Beats By the Pound-crafted, bottom-heavy, electronic-based rap, the media began to inaccurately ascribe the term "Bounce" to these nationally popular New Orleans releases. Over the next few years, the word “Bounce” was to be tossed like so much Mrs. Dash by many a non-southerner trying to add a little spice.

Lady Red – “Smokin’ Dat Weed”
Magnolia Shorty – “Monkey on the D$ck “


Kilo - "The Ward Song"
 
1997
By 1997, all of Cash Money’s original lineup of Bounce and non-Bounce artists were either dead (UNLV’s Albert "Yella Boy" Thomas was murdered on April 5th of that year) or dropped. Solja Rags, the new Juvenile album, further shifted attention away from Bounce with Juvenile' new direction and Mannie Fresh's continuation of his sound first evinced with UNLV a year earlier.

Kilo
– "The Ward Song"
Willie Puckett- "Doggie Hopp"
 
Snap Crackle Pop – The Silver Age of Bounce
By the end of the millennium (following their meteoric rise in popularity, major label deals, and subsequent mass defections of talent), Cash Money and No Limit were both reduced to being primarily family affairs. At the same time, national interest in Southern Hip Hop began to shift to Atlanta, Houston and Memphis -- scenes that owed heavily to New Orleans's sound and successes. 


Josephine Johnny - "Workin' With Sumthin'"

A new generation of Bounce artists began to expand the production pallet of Bounce, ironically, toward the increased use synthesizers and programming popularized by Beats By the Pound and Mannie Fresh, who’d helped popularize (in some ways at the expense of Bounce) New Orleans’s non-Bounce successes. The new crop of Bounce artists, despite moving beyond their Triggerman-and-Brown-Beat-sampling forebears, nonetheless undeniably carried the Bounce torch when, to some, it must've seemed all but done and dusted. In addition to all of these artists remaining active today, there are newer acts in the same vein, like Da Block Burnaz, keeping the classic N.O. Bounce spirit alive, whereas most rappers chase passing fads.

1999
5th Ward Weebie – “Show the World”
 
2000
Josephine Johnny – “Workin’ Wit Somethin “
 
2001
Choppa –“ Choppa Style”
 
Tweaker Twerk - Modern Bounce & Sissy Rap
Undeniably defying the tired suggestion that all Bounce sounds the same, modern Bounce artists can truly be said to be taking it into new directions. A large part of this seems to be due to the rise of Sissy Rap, the openly gay Bounce offshoot pioneered by Katey Red & Dem Hoes. Following her lead, a whole host of Sissy Rappers followed with similarly ear-splitting, racous songs whose lyrics make early Bounce artists look like Charles Dickens. Always more egalitarian than mainstream and so-called progressive hip hop, Bounce (like a lot of booty-targeting music) has always had a comparatively large following among women and gays. The “Sissy” moniker, like “Cheb” in Rai, is nearly but not quite universal. With newer Bounce artists including Big Freeda (aka Big Freedia), rappers on the DL, heteroflexibles and just given the confusing sartorial sense of kids today, it becomes harder to differentiate many Sissy Rappers from straight modern Bounce artists, as their music is generally very similar.

Gotty Boi Chris - "Dip Low"
 
The defining development of modern Bounce and Sissy Rap is the increased aural insanity. Faster tempos, lyrics reduced to chopped and repeated phonemes, punishing dissonance, cacophonous clangor and frequently blown out production have turned what was once a distinct-from-but-recognizably-related-to-hip-hop genre into something that sounds like a hybrid of Gabber and Gnawa. The end result is almost avant-garde, and more deserving of the hype and description that Konono No. 1 generated a few years back with their comparatively familiar, down-to-earth approach. No doubt the increasingly insular nature of Bounce is only part of what keeps it out of the mainstream, despite recent media attention.


Big Choo - "Get Low"

Unfortunately, finding accurate discographical information on Bounce artists seems to grow surprisingly more difficult, the newer the artist. But other exemplars include DJ Black N Mild, Big Choo (“Get Low”), 9th Ward Tea, 10th Ward Buck, Chev Off the Ave (“Hollywood Bounce”), Dre Skull, Elm Boy Peg, Gotty Boi Chris, MC Shakie (“Double Dribble” and “Hands on Da Ground”), Sissy Jay, Sissy Nobby and Vockah Redu.
 
1999
Katey Red & Dem Hoes – “Tiddy Bop”
 
2000
Big Freedia –“A'han, Oh Yeah”
 
2002
SWA – “We’re #1“
 
2004
Faster Boyz – “I Ain’t Had Sex in a Long Time”
 
2005
Hot Boy Ronald – “Walk Like Ronald "

Any corrections or additions will be incorporated. Peace!


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Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: The Hold Steady

Posted by Amoebite, March 19, 2009 05:08pm | Post a Comment
30 Coachella Bands in 30 Days

127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

-By Scott Butterworth
   
 
Day #3 - Artist #3 - The Hold Steady:

I hate to start off with what I'm about to do, because I think the world of rock and roll journalism has no shortage of the cliche, metaphor-based music review, but it jumped out at me. I couldn't help it. You know, the kind of description like:  "(insert new awesome band)'s album sounds like the aftermath of a night out on the town, when the band is using the crosswalk at Abbey Road after leaving the pub, and is run down by a bus driven by Pink Floyd."

The Hold Steady - Stay PositiveWell, I'm going to do it anyways. When I first heard "Stay Positive," the title track off The Holdy Steady's 2008 album, I sensed something unique, yet so familiar, from the Brooklyn-based (by way of Minneapolis) band. The formula instantly popped into my head. Ready for this? I promise it's the only cheesy metaphor I'll be using. If Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were constestants on the improv sketch show Whose Line is it Anyway and were told to sing a song in the style of the Dead Kennedys, ala Wanye Brady, we would get "Stay Positive."

JANIS JOPLIN DIED WAY TOO YOUNG

Posted by Billyjam, March 18, 2009 05:07pm | Post a Comment
  
Janis Joplin & friends partying on the Festival Express train
There is a tragically telling scene near the end of Festival Express, the 2003 rockumentary about the 1970 rock festival tour by train across Canada. In it, Janis Joplin is on stage with Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead between music and before the closing set by Joplin of the final date of the exciting railway tour that also included the Flying Burrito Brothers, The Band, Buddy Guy, and Sha Na Na. As much as it was a concert event, it was equally a traveling party, with one railway car ("the bar car" - as in video clip above) specifically set up for drinking and partying -- a place where Joplin apparently spent a fair amount of time. 

In the film's final scene, Joplin, whose legendary hard partying ways would lead to her death not too long after this very concert, is seen onstage and seems a bit buzzed but still functional. She proceeds to present the two main organizers of the unique railway traveling rock tour, Ken Walker and Thor Eaton, with a heartfelt, two-part thank you gift. She first presents them with a model train "to remember" the tour, and then, smiling widely, presents them with a case of tequila "to continue" the party. In return they gave Joplin a gift of her favorite poison, a bottle of Southern Comfort, which obviously pleased the singer, who passed it off stage for safekeeping and proceeded to jump into an inspired rendition of "Tell Mama."

Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: MSTRKRFT

Posted by Amoebite, March 18, 2009 02:00pm | Post a Comment
30 Coachella Bands Featured in 30 Days

127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

-By Scott Butterworth
MSTRKRFT
Day #2 - Artist #2 - MSTRKRFT

There comes a time in every boy’s life when he spreads his wings and becomes a man. For me it was moving from Northern California (Modesto) to San Diego to attend San Diego State University in the Fall of 2002. Moving away from home for college is a coming of age ritual that many in this country are familiar with. But as soon as you get to San Diego State, you realize there is a more highly celebrated coming of age ritual looming ahead of you: the fifteen minute drive south across the border (often by party bus) to Tijuana, Mexico, to take part in whatever it is that you’re not old enough to do in the U.S. But for me, my first trip to “TJ” wasn’t the usual first weekend of Freshmen year as a reaction to newfound freedom away from the parents. My first venture across the border was toward the end of college (late 2006, I think?) when my friends and I were hungry for some legendary TJ tacos and heard about a few local San Diego bands and DJs doing a show in TJ one weekend, headlined by something or someone called MSTRKRFT. I was a little nervous heading across the border for the first time, but my friends were self proclaimed “regulars,” so they promised “everything will be just fine."

St Patrick's Day Hangover

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 18, 2009 01:12am | Post a Comment






Coachella 2009 30/30 Initiative: Henry Rollins

Posted by Amoebite, March 17, 2009 07:53pm | Post a Comment
30 Coachella Bands Featured in 30 Days

127 Bands, 5 Stages, 3 Days and 1 Mean Sunburn.

"Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - April 17-19th, 2009 or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Find 30 Reasons To Love a Weekend in the Desert."

-By Scott Butterworth

     
Day #1 - Artist #1 - Henry Rollins:

“I know that I know him, but I don’t know how I know him.” This is the response I got a couple weeks ago while I was rattling off a whole list of bands/artists, trying to convince my roommate to skip a weekend of his usual non-stop studying for medical school (I mean, where is that going to get you in life anyway?) and join me for the weekend at the Coachella Festival in Indio this April. He made the above statement when I emphasized how excited I was to see Henry Rollins. In the past, I’ve found myself saying the same thing about a number of artists, before my phase of being a self-proclaimed/admitted complete music nerd (which I make no apologies about currently being at the height of). There were many artists that I knew that I was supposed to know…but I just didn’t know why. Some might even say that there were many artists "that wanted me to want them…that needed me to need them," and in fact, I passed up going to many years of Coachella festivals because I simply didn’t have the age, the life experience, a job at a record store, or an older brother to steal records from, to realize the musical, cultural and historical significance of the many artists that have graced the stages of Coachella since 1999.

THE LEP IN THE HOOD: SO BAD IT'S GOOD

Posted by Billyjam, March 17, 2009 06:15pm | Post a Comment

Since it is Paddy's Day I want to nominate the best/worst Irish themed movie ever made: Leprechaun In The Hood. Directed by Rob Spera, the flim stars recurring Leprechaun lead Warwick Davis as the evil Leprechaun, or "Lep" as he is known, along with a cast that includes Ice T (as the pimp Mack Daddy O'Nassas), Coolio (as himself) and as the wanna be rappers Postmaster P. Stray Bullet, and Butch, Anthony Montgomery,  Rashaan Nall and Red Grant respectively.

The loose storyline of this Doug Hall penned rap-themed action/horror/comedy is that Lep ends up in the hood of Compton, CA where he has been awakened from his deep sleep (big mistake) by Ice T and announces "Death to he who sets a Leprechaun free. Steal his gold, it will corrupt your soul, you see. For many a moon the legend has grown, death toll increases, solution unknown. Beware the evil wanderer in search of his loot, lest you suffer the wrath of his golden flute. Flee while you can, the future's not good-- for no one is safe from a Lep in the Hood!"

Made in 2000, Leprechaun In The Hood is one of those movies that it is so awfully bad that it's actually good, or at least hella entertaining to watch, or half-watch as you do other tasks, or after a few pints of Guinness. It is the fifth installment in the Leprechaun B-movie series, which also includes such far-from-classy episodes as Leprechaun 4 in Space, but this one succeeds because it is so ridiculously funny, unintentionally so at times. 

Best scenes include towards the closing when little Lep does his rap ("Lep in the hood come to no good") surrounded by zombie hotties, and the scene in which Lep gets blunted in the bathroom with Ice T and, in his ridiculously over the top thick stage-Irish accent, utters his best line in the film: "A friend with weed is a friend indeed."

What Do You Dance?

Posted by Smiles Davis, March 17, 2009 11:31am | Post a Comment

Ever heard a record that made you want to get down like this little kid? The first record I ever bought on vinyl was Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. I was 10, it was 1994 and the record was still bumping on the radio fifteen years after its original release. New, old, fresh, or dusty, the music got to me, put me in a mood I was unable to describe at the time. My mother had never seen me so intoxicatingly excited about anything before; she didn’t really know how to react. She worked hard with a no nonsense policy always enforced around the house. She gave me the money I asked for to get the record just to get me out of the house. “Now go on outside and play and stop pestering me,” she barked after slapping the dough in the palm of my hand. Out I went. After buying the record and enough candy to last me ‘till the end of time, I raced my bike across town – a very small town -- as fast as I could to my grandparents’ house, where I retreated to the basement for some serious privacy. My grandfather, who used to own a record store, had a lonely turntable set up at the end of the long, terribly lit basement for special occasions just like this. I got my boogie on for a couple hours, doped up on food coloring and high-fructose corn syrup, poor lighting and all.

It wasn’t long before music got to me the same way the youngest member of the Jackson 5 did. In 1995, just one year after my first magical music moment, I discovered Prince. My cousin let me borrow 1999 on cassette with the promise I return it promptly. 9 months and 101 excuses later, she was forced to steal it back from me. Prince was my forbidden fruit. Never listened to him out loud, always played him in my Walkman for fear my mother would forbid me from listening to it. I’ll admit, the vulgarity and promiscuity that Prince exudes is a bit much for any 11-year-old, but like Michael Jackson, all I ever wanted to do was dance. I had to listen to music that made me want to move, shimmy and shake ‘till the exhaustion kicked in and forced me to call it quits. Lyrics be damned-- I didn’t understand what the heck they were talking about anyway, it was gibberish to me. It was about the beat, the rhythm, and the evoked emotion.

So, what do MJ and the artist currently known as Prince have in common besides pure genius and impeccable taste? Director/choreographer to the stars Fatima Robinson has graced some of their videos with her cutting-edge dance moves. Her “big break” came back in 1992 when John Singleton, director of Poetic Justice featuring Janet Jackson, asked her to choreograph the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Remember The Time.” She was a street dancer hired without technical or formal training. Flash forward a decade and some change later and Fatima finds herself in an episode of Making the Video for Prince’s “Black Sweat” from his album 3121. They played nice and made friends, good friends, according to Ms. Robinson, who was quoted in Papermag claiming if she really wanted to boogie, "I just go over to Prince's house for a jam session, and I'll dance in my own world. Get my groove off!" Word.

Prince and MJ are just the tip of the iceberg-- she’s busted a move for more artists than you could ever imagine. According to Serena Altschul of MTV, “You can turn to MTV at any time of the day and catch a glimpse of Robinson's resume. She started saturating the video market in the early 1990s,” and
hasn’t stopped since, adding artists Like Fergie, Gwen Stefani, Mary J. Blige, Aaliyah, Missy Elliot, Madonna, Dr. Dre, and Santana to her long list of clients. Robinson has also since gone on to choreograph big productions like Save The Last Dance, Ali featuring Will Smith and Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls. What makes Fatima so different from other choreographers is her relentless determination to impose her innovative will, rhythm and authentic style on the most popular dance moves of our time. She catapulted into the entertainment world beyond MTV after winning her second award for Best Choreography in a music video for her work on “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See” by Busta Rhymes. Demand for Fatima abundantly increased back in 1998 and hasn’t stopped since.

Ms. Robinson has won enough awards since the start of her career to fill a small room in her house and has made enough friends along her journey to fill an arena and have a private dance party of her own. She recently launched her site Whatdoyoudance.com, a social network dedicated to dance, lifestyle, fashion, art, events, and forward thinking from a dancer's perspective, of course. Puma, the shoe and apparel company, along side Love-Made, has decided to celebrate Robinson and her long list of accomplishments by making her the first host of their Monthly Music Showcase Series. Next Tuesday, Fatima, along with a circle of her closest dancer friends, singer friends, and friends of friends, will dance and toast the night away. For one hour out of the night I, DJ Smiles Davis, will have the pleasure of spinning some freshest tunes for guests and party go-ers. Alongside me will be Prince’s very own DJ, the beautiful and talented Rashida, plus DJ Wendy City and Posso The DJ. If you'd like to attend and get your boogie on please feel free to view the flyer and RSVP here. This is a private event and there will be no entry unless you've put your name on the list. Hope to see ya'll there! ‘Till next time…chew the corners off.

"AMERICAN" MOVIES: PART I

Posted by Billyjam, March 16, 2009 08:29pm | Post a Comment
american psycho
This Amoeblog rates ten films with "American" in the title (most of which should be readily available on DVD at Amoeba). It seems that just having the word "American" in the title of a film is an instant attention grabber and gives said movie a certain cache or a slight air of importance.

Of course, the movie has to be worthy of this attention and not all "American" films are. Here's a random list of Top Ten "American" Movies -- by no means all inclusive or comprehensive, but ten that I have viewed and have opinions about. I've listed them in order of favoritism. Please feel free to add your favorite or most hated "American" movies in the COMMENTS below. And check back for a future Amoeblog on "American" Music -- songs or albums with "American" in the title.

1) American Psycho (2000)
Whether you consider this film dark comedy at its darkest or a just plain psycho violent movie, this is nonetheless a brilliant piece of work and, in my opinion, the greatest performance of Christian Bale's career. Directed by Mary Harron, it was adapted from Bret Easton Ellis's controversial novel of the same name. The film stars Bale as its materialistic central character, Patrick Bateman, who is supported by a strong cast that includes Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Justin Theroux, Bill Sage, Chloë Sevigny, Reese Witherspoon, Willem Dafoe, and Samantha Mathis.
american movie
Among my favorite scenes in the movie are the two in which Bale as the narcissistic Bateman character (which he plays to perfection -- perhaps tapping into his inner anger/violent issues) critically dissects the music of Phil Collins and Huey Lewis & The News. So graphic were the sex and violence in one scene of this film that for the edited DVD version and R-rated cinematic version of the film in the US a third of minute of footage was deleted.

Women of the Western

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 16, 2009 06:48pm | Post a Comment
 

Ever since the dawn of film theory, film critics have loved the Western; probably because its engagement with formula and its psychological subtext are so obvious, so close to the surface, that theorizing about westerns is a bit like kicking gravel and striking oil. The genre bears a similarity to tales of knights errant, who similarly were bound by codes of honor and used strength and wit to defeat malevolence, &c &c &c... Part of what makes the Western attractive for film theorists is the way it shifts and evolves too -- spiraling off subgenres like Curry Westerns, Northerns, Oesterns, Red Westerns ands Spaghetti Westerns -- and engages other genres like samurai films and noir. But whereas a little bit of research turns up several scholarly works addressing women's place in the Western, I haven't been able to find any that focus on female-centric Westerns, nor been able to uncover a clever or cutesy name for the subgenre. When I started this blog, I thought I'd come up with a tiny handful, but was quickly surprised at how many Westerns feature females in roles of central importance.

   
Real women of the west. washing clothes (left), famous madame Chicago Joe (center), bandit Belle Starr (right)

The Wild West was, to be sure, a male-dominated place. Of course, there were women too who, just like their male counterparts, were probably more likely to run a ranch or work in town than to find work as gunslingers, bandits and bounty hunters... although there were those too. The National Cowgirl Museum Hall of Fame has, since its founding, sought to better document the contributions of women in the west. Although women in Westerns generally seem to symbolize civilization/the east, making cowboys uneasy with their use of risque talk and their attempts to transport urban conventions to an untamed land, in real life, that role would've been impractical and probably abandoned pretty quickly. When there's work to be done, propriety and traditional societal constructions would just get in the way. In fact, in Wyoming, for example, women gained the right to vote in 1869, over 40 years before the ratification of the nineteenth amendment. The photographs of Evelyn Cameron depict no-nonsense women who have little in common with the dippy, ditzy cowgirls of Gil Elvgren's art or Hollywood cowgirls. Of course, I'm not suggesting that Hollywood is in the business of portraying reality, but it's interesting to look at the decisions they make when constructing mythology.

Cowgirl pin-up art

For one, as I mentioned earlier, though set in the west, many of these films aren't primarily thought of as Westerns, but rather Western-spoofs or just musicals set in the west. But taken as part of the Western tradition and accepting that hybridization is par for the course, someone could probably make some interesting points. As with more commonly accepted Westerns, these women occupy many of the same roles: homesteaders, romantic prizes, saloon girls and prostitutes. But, as with their male counterparts, highly fictionalized accounts of lead slingers are popular (e.g. Buckeye Annie Oakley and Missourians Belle Starr and Calamity Jane). And, although prostitutes appear in many of these films, usually they're sanitized to great degree and I couldn't find any films that focus, even in fictionalized accounts, on real life famous madams and prostitutes of the west such as Squirrel Toothed Alice, Dora Dufran, Eleanora "Madam Mustache" Dumont or "Chicago Joe" Hensley... unless you count Calamity Jane and Belle Starr's daughter, who did engage in prostitution, although I don't think that's ever acknowledged in any films about them.

The 1930s

 

I couldn't find any silent Westerns centered on women, unless you count The Perils of Pauline, which famously served primarily to place the heroine in harm's way with Natives, Pirates and other dastards, to invariably be saved in the nick of time by a gentleman. Annie Oakley (1935), as far as I know, has never received any recognition for being the first Western to star a woman. In fact, it doesn't seem to be a widely discussed or seen film, although Barbara Stanwyck makes anything worth a go.

The 1940s


    

In the 1940s, Lady Westerns became a lot more common, with most of their stock roles represented, including hard-working pioneers, [Arizona (1940)], gunslingers [Belle Starr (1941)], Pistol Packin' Mama (1943), Belle Starr's Daughter (1947), Montana Belle (1948), Calamity Jane and Sam Bass (1949)), saloon girls [Belle of the Yukon (1944)] and mail order brides, [The Harvey Girls (1946)].

The 1950s
 
 


    




As the so-called Golen Age of the Western came to a close, several of the most enjoyable female-centered Westerns appeared. Musicals, at the same time, were in the middle of their so-called Golden Age (often having been said to have begun on stage with the Western-Musical hybrid, Oklahoma!), so perhaps the amount of crossover shouldn't be surprising, including Annie Get Your Gun (1950), Calamity Jane (1953), Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954), Red Garters (1954) and Oklahoma! (1955). But several of the most bizarre/enjoyable Westerns were also made in this period, including the underappreciated Rancho Notorious (1952) of Fritz Lang, Nicholas Ray's classic Johnny Guitar (1954), Roger Corman's Gunslinger (1956) and Samuel Fuller's Forty Guns (1957). There was also Reginald Le Borg's fair to middling film, The Dalton Girls (1957), which is almost only interesting because it concerns a gang of cowgirls.

The 1960s

        
       
Westerns, on the whole, declined in popularity in the 1960s. Those that were made, by and large, often used the form to challenge conventions and reflected a more complicated morality, with the evil, bestial Natives' role reconsidered and the efficacy and appropriateness of violence called into question. However, the Lady Western seems to have carried on pretty much the same, with silly and sexy women dominating Heller in Pink Tights (1960), McClintock! (1963), Cat Ballou (1965) and 100 Rifles (1969) -- although the latter looks a little more serious in tone. But the drop-off in numbers matches the wider decline of the genre.
  
The 1970s

     
      

In the 1970s, the cynical, pessimistic, revisionist Western really came into being. The light and fluffy-looking Cheyenne Social Club (1970) and The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976) look distinctly antiquated next to McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) and The Awakening Land (1978) -- the latter an epic tale of frontier life that's technically a Midwestern.

The 1980s

    
The movie poster (left) and the real life Kansan bandits (right)

Cattle Annie & Little Britches (1981) seems to be the only example of the genre made in the '80s. It was a fallow period for Westerns on the whole and Cattle Annie & Little Britches has hardly been seen by anyone. Pulled from theaters after a week and never released on DVD or VHS, it nonetheless has a fervant cult following.

The 1990s





The '90s saw a real resurgence of the genre and when people think of Westerns starring women, other than Johnny Guitar, the Young Guns-esque Bad Girls (1994) and Sam Raimi's cult film The Quick and the Dead (1995) are probably the first ones that come to mind. The Ballad of Little Jo (1993) is a sadly underviewed, well-told, sedate and realistic Western. Frankly, despite possible intentions, Buffalo Girls (1995), the Kelly LeBrock vehicle Hard Bounty (1995) and The Wicked Wicked West (1998) look pretty suspect. On the other hand, The Rowdy Girls (1999), with a cast of playboy bunnies, and Petticoat Planet (1996), directed by the homoerotic eye-candy auteur David DeCoteau, probably harbor no pretensions.

The 2000s

      

Gang of Roses (2003), I assume, is a sci-fi western. How else to explain the silicon cyborg Lil Kim's appearance? The cast look more like Coyote Ugly waitresses than believable cowgirls, with hideously misguided wardrobes. An online description of Bandidas (2006) described it as one of but a handful of female-centered Westerns, and noteworthy for injecting humor into the genre. When one considers the three dozen examples in this blog, with more than half making attempts at humor, the description of Bandidas doesn't seem so much a function of dishonesty or braggadocio; rather, it just reflects the understandably widespread ignorance of the subgenre.

*****

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(In which we consider Peaches considering Joni Mitchell.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 16, 2009 06:40pm | Post a Comment
This has been a busy week, dear readers. Lots of phone interviews, dinner parties, and soundtrack-slinging at Ye Olde Amoeba Music Hollywood.

I was gabbing with Peaches about her new album last Wednesday. It’s called I Feel Cream (release date in the U.S. is May 5) and it’s a blast! Definitely a departure from its predecessors, in that it’s more diverse in sound and moods. Peaches sings a lot more. There are moments where it sounds like the lovechild of modern R&B and older tracks by darlings of the Industrial genre, Front 242.


Anyway, I asked her about musical influences that might surprise people (it’s already well documented that she loves hip-hop and rock ‘n’ roll). This led to her gushing about Joni Mitchell, and this performance in particular, which rocked her world:


That voice! A miracle. I just can’t get enough of it…


She really is one of my favorite things in the world of music, and while not everyone shares my passion for her sound, anyone who appreciates songwriting as a craft must acknowledge that, as a writer of music and lyrics, she remains one of the greatest artists of modern pop music. She’s credited with inventing about 50 different guitar tunings, and the list of musicians who cite her as an influence – Peaches included – reads like a Who’s Who of music.












Her own feelings about the music industry may not be so generous, though they seem to be justified. When asked in a 2002 interview with Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone: So how do you feel when some people say the whole [music] business is going down the crapper?

Joni Mitchell: I hope it all goes down the crapper. It's top-heavy, it's wasteful. It's an insane business. Now, this is all calculated music. It's calculated for sales, it's sonically calculated, it's rudely calculated. I'm ashamed to be a part of the music business. You know, I just think it's a cesspool.


…Gee whiz, Joni – tell us how you really feel.

I joke, but I only admire her for her frankness. I love her work so much that I’ve not wanted to blog about it. I have this issue with certain artists; I respect them so much that the idea of conveying their brilliance intimidates me. (Notice I’ve never blogged about Jim Nabors?) But Peaches’ excitement over Mitchell was so sincere, so surprising, and, for me, so relatable, that I had to take a moment to at least say, for the record, how totally gay I am for Joni Mitchell.

So there.

Price Tag Gallery

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 16, 2009 12:20am | Post a Comment








This Week At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, March 15, 2009 05:22pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly!

The March / April calendar is now online:
www.NewBevCinema.com

Printed calendars are here - Help spread the word - pick one up for yourself and a few for your friends!


Sunday,Monday & Tuesday March 15, 16, 17

Ashes Of Time Redux
(1994/2008)
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0109688/
dir. Wong Kar Wai, starring Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Leslie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Jacky Cheung
Sun: 3:20 & 7:30; Mon/Tue: 7:30

Once Upon A Time In China
(1991)

http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0103285/
dir. Tsui Hark, starring Jet Li, Biao Yuen, Rosamund Kwan, Jacky Cheung
Sun: 5:15 & 9:25; Mon/Tue: 9:25


Happy Birthday Cecil Taylor

Posted by Whitmore, March 15, 2009 01:31pm | Post a Comment

Sometime in my mid-teens I started reading about this mad pianist; how his flying elbows and insane musical gyrations splintered keyboards, whose uncompromising musical destination was one part tsunami, one part Armageddon. I was actually warned about Cecil Taylor by a music teacher of mine, "It isn’t really music … it's ugly … beating the hell out of a keyboard isn’t musical.” My classical guitar teacher also went so far as to bring god and the devil into the conversation; you would have thought I was asking for directions to the crossroads. 
 
I eventually made my way over to Platterpuss Records on Hollywood Blvd near Vermont Ave and with some change stolen from my mom’s piggy bank I bought an old used copy of Taylor’s 1966 album Unit Structures. I ran back home and threw the LP on my ridiculously crappy turntable with the flashing color pin-wheels and as predicted … the music scared the holy shit out of me. Except for one thing-- although I understood little of what was going on, I was mesmerized. Later I heard beyond the chaos and ferocity, and began getting clued in to improvisation, tone clusters, polyrhythms and all the other intricacies layered in Cecil Taylor’s music, like spirituality, a sense of history and oddly enough -- and contrary to my teachers' way of thinking -- beauty. A couple of weeks later I traded in a bunch of pop records at Joe’s Records on Hyperion Blvd and bought a used copy of Conquistador. From that point on I had a significantly different take on music. Happy birthday Cecil Taylor!
 
“Practice, to be studious at the instrument, as well as looking at a bridge, or dancing, or writing a poem, or reading, or attempting to make your home more beautiful. What goes into an improvisation is what goes into one's preparation, then allowing the prepared senses to execute at the highest level devoid of psychological or logical interference. You ask, without logic, where does the form come from? It seems something that may be forgotten is that as we begin our day and proceed through it there is a form in existence that we create out of, that the day and night itself is for. And what we choose to vary in the daily routine provides in itself the fresh building blocks to construct a living form which is easily translated into a specific act of making a musical composition.” - Cecil Taylor


Watchmen (2009): Some Arguments about Design

Posted by Charles Reece, March 14, 2009 11:32pm | Post a Comment

The Impotent God Snake

I love discussing issues of time in comics and film, so Zack Snyder's Watchmen makes for a good opportunity to reflect on its relation to both media. I'll be returning to this sometime in the future. For now, I'm going to stick to a few problems with Alan Moore's conception of Doc Manhattan that the movie doesn't do much to improve on. There is one improvement, though, namely the Mjölner-sized hammer he has hanging between his legs, befitting a puny scientist resurrected as a god. Dave Gibbons merely gave him the statistical average. The Doc can create anything from anything else -- perhaps ex nihilo, if you believe in miracles -- and exists in all points in time simultaneously. One can't get more virile than absolute mastery of matter. However, even though he can still sexually please his woman, he's ontologically impotent-- everything already existing as it was/is/will be, independent of his will. His control of matter is constrained by the deterministic course of the world. Thus, the fact that we never get to see the hammer of the gods raised on camera is a telling sign of his lot in existence (as well as the failure of our last, best chance to see expensive CGI-porn). While Doc's attending the Comedian's funeral, he's shown to exist in Vietnam, where the latter murders a girl who's pregnant with this child. The girl, like the Comedian, is already dead to Doc, so he stands by flaccidly and "lets" the murder occur. When Doc voices concern, he gets a moral lecture from the most nihilistic of the bunch:


The Comedian elaborates on why Doc's relationships all turn to shit, but there's a metaphysical problem here. For example, Doc is shown doing some sort of research when he's first introduced (in both the film and comic), but what exactly is the purpose of doing research when he already remembers what he's going to discover? This is the same old theological paradox that exists for the monotheists who believe in an omniscient god and free will: either everything's determined, because the deity knows what'll happen, or people can freely choose, meaning the deity isn't all-knowing. Some theologians have tried some hoo-hah to get out of this dilemma by suggesting God exists outside of time, but that's a verbal game. Besides, even if this circumlocution worked, it most clearly doesn't here, since Doc is shown to exist temporally. He didn't create everything, but exists within a creation not of his choosing.

Regardless of the ending (the film's or the comic's), Doc's simultaneity makes the possibility of his being fooled by Ozymandias' plan impossible. Tachyon particles might cause some interruption in his temporal perception during the period T1 to T2, but once in T3, Doc's perception is back -- meaning that he should be able to "remember" his thoughts in T3 before T1 begins. A possible out for this narrative dilemma that wasn't used is suggested by the scene above, as well as the one where Doc and Laurie are on Mars, and he tells her the course of the conversation they're about to have. That is, Doc is cosmologically inert, unable to affect the causal chain of events. All he can do is watch and interact as fate has already determined. As he says, he's a puppet who can see his strings. Had the story consistently depicted him as the self-aware puppet, philosophical nerds like me could've suspended disbelief by saying he goes along with Ozy's plan, knowing of it from the outset, because that's just the way things are to be in the Watchmen's deterministic world. I suspect the reason Moore didn't go this route is because he still wanted to hang on to free will within the book. While rendering Doc's agency impossible, Moore used some Star Trek gobbledy gook in order to keep the surprise of philosophical libertarianism in play.

Wait, No Did Mean Yes?

Snyder's film eroticizes the attempted rape scene, making Sally Jupiter's eventual consensual sex with the Comedian more logical, if more morally twisted. Moore and Gibbons' take was as follows:


For the most part, as he does throughout the film, Snyder slavishly follows Gibbons' panels as a storyboard, but he adds a shot of Sally bent over a pool table, looking at the camera as if there's a part of her that's kind of disappointed the Hooded Justice enters to stop the rape. Now, any fan of Go, Go, Second Time Virgin, Blind Beast or, even The Collector isn't going to have his or her envelope pushed too far by Snyder's little transgressive gesture, but it's a bit surprising when it appears in a $130 million dollar superhero adventure movie. On the other hand, Snyder's conservatism (cf. 300) comes through in the way he sets up the scene: the kino eye ogles Sally's half-naked body -- in an off-Hollywood, Bettie Page kind of way -- just before Comedian enters, as if asking the audience, "What would you do?" This doesn't mean the film justifies Comedian's assault, but it does smack of the scenarists trying to add scriptwriting 101's narrative justification to Moore's more psychologically believable characters -- that is, subsituting a fictional whole for the latter's understanding of sexual desire as nonrational.

An Abattoir of The Mentally Challenged

You'd have to go pretty low on the professional critic foodchain to get one as predictable as The New Yorker's Anthony Lane. If he didn't fancy himself high-brow and have his predecessor's gift at turning a phrase, he'd be about as exciting to read as The Rolling Stone's Peter Travers. Without a hint of irony, his views favor what then-critic François Truffaut long ago sliced and diced as the "tradition of quality" (in "A Certain Tendancy of the French Cinema”). Lane is, in other words, the perfect example of a snotty critic. Nothing wrong with snottiness, mind you, only when it's wrapped around middlebrow moralizing. Like with new money's taste in fashion, just because it's expensive doesn't make it worth wearing. Thus, if a film revels in its genre-ness, Lane isn't going to like it.  Such things aren't what people of imagined distinction are supposed to like.


Lane can't be bothered to think too hard about such obvious trash. Regarding Rorschach's line from the second panel above:

That line from the book may be meant as a punky retread of James Ellroy, but it sounds to me like a writer trying much, much too hard; either way, it makes it directly into the movie, as one of Rorschach’s voice-overs. (And still the adaptation won’t be slavish enough for some.) Amid these pompous grabs at horror, neither author nor director has much grasp of what genuine, unhyped suffering might be like, or what pity should attend it; they are too busy fussing over the fate of the human race—a sure sign of metaphysical vulgarity—to be bothered with lesser plights. In the end, with a gaping pit where New York used to be, most of the surviving Watchmen agree that the loss of the Eastern Seaboard was a small price to pay for global peace.

The only thing Lane manages to get right is that "abattoir of retarded children" was written by an author trying too hard. However, the author is the diegetic Rorschach, not the realworld Moore. The line is supposed to be overwrought and funny, not give the audience (well, the target audience) something to quote like it came from Commando. Rorschach's mental life is confabulation, concocted from the jejune conspiracies of Ayn Rand and far right journals:


Rather than acknowledging the drudgery of an always postponed apocalypse, these millenialist types want a good end to history, one that only comes in stories, mostly geared towards children. While no more religious than Rorschach, Rand subsitutes his and the more literally inclined monotheist's fable for reality: "Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong" (from here). There is always an end. To admit otherwise would be a slippery slope to Hell, or some equivalent, such as Continental philosophy. Kitschy, purple prose is nothing if not pretentious, so what else should those pretending to have the final answer to everything write like? (That's why modernized English versions of the Bible don't work: the style doesn't match the content's seriosity.) Rorschach's life is his own version of an old children's radio show about a masked vigilante. Of course, he tries too hard -- that's the point. Fanboy, all too fanboy.

Moore's "commentary" on the character is, I believe, summed up at the end of the book where Rorschach's last hope at getting "the truth" out there is with the nutjob journalists to whom he sent his journal. Unfortunately, the humor is botched in the film due to its leaving the newsstand interactions (depicted above) out. The viewer doesn't get the feel for just how nutty The New Frontiersman is by showing a slovenly fat, possibly liberal guy reaching for the stack where the journal is lying. Like all on the far right, the threat of violence is all Rorschach has to get his point across. With him dead, that's that.

Of course, stuff has to get left out (and the often off-panel fight scenes have to be beefed up to a commercially re-spectacle level), but the major problem with the film is that it doesn't re-interpret what it leaves in. Instead, its fidelity to the included makes the whole movie feel like the comic, but with pages cut out. The big reveal of Rorschach's face, for example, loses a lot in translation without the minor appearances of his conspiracist secret identity month to month.


It's these hacked out lacunae that result in the final third of the film feeling like it was tacked on. As Night Owl II and Rorschach are investigating the cancerous deaths of Manhattan's known associates, they discover Ozy's business has something to do with the victims. Upon flying to his arctic hideaway to ask him about it, he tells them something like, "by the way, I just murdered millions of New Yorkers."

Speaking of The End, It's Nigh Ludicrous as Ever

Along with Alan Moore's name, this is the other most noticeable present absence:


For the smartest guy on the planet, Ozy's not much more than a brutish utilitarian, using the hedonic calculus as if it were one of those bones at the beginning of 2001. Regardless of whether he's fooled the world into thinking his New York holocaust is the act of invading alien squids (comic), or Doc Manhattan's playing the God of Abraham (film), there's some obvious flaws in the plan. While the plan in the comic plays to the xenophobia that exists in all cultures, bringing them all together multilaterally against the Big Other, it fails to take into account that after, say, 10 years of no alien reappearing, societies will go back to fearing each other. This is something like black nationalists and white supremacists postponing their differences until they've together vanguished their common enemy, the Jews. A few years of peace from a war that wasn't definite hardly warrants (from an utilitarian perspective) the killing of millions. And while the film's continuing watchful eye of a present God does away with the need to continually kill more people to keep the danger imminent, it's a bit hard to swallow that Russia's forgotten that God's an American. I'd say the movie ending probably works better in terms of plausibility, but the comic's ending has more of connection (aesthetic, formal, ideological) with the superhero genre.

Ah well, the story is more about power than any particular philosophical position or the logic of the plot -- another point about the comic/film to which I'll hopefully return. But I'm tired, so I'm going to shut up now.

Lovelines

Posted by phil blankenship, March 14, 2009 11:09pm | Post a Comment
 


Key Video 6861

Women's history documentaries

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 14, 2009 10:19am | Post a Comment









              






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Elliott Smith's Strange Parallel

Posted by Miss Ess, March 13, 2009 06:10pm | Post a Comment


Elliott Smith
remains unquestionably one of my favorite songwriters of all time, though I don't listen to him much these days.

Way back in 1998, when I did not live in a major city and was just barely in college, I somehow felt like I was the only person in the world listening to Elliott Smith. This was before Hot Topic, just before emo went mainstream, and before irony had so massively crushed sincerity in an epic battle of wits. In these early-ish days of the internet, I managed to contact someone through a fansite and get my hands on a tape of a film about Elliott, Strange Parallel, made by the idiosyncratic Steve Hanft. I don't think I had ever seen footage of Elliott at the time.

When I put the tape in my VCR and the film unfolded before me, I remember laughing aloud all by myself at the sight of it: I was completely overwhelmed by the fact that there was Elliott, live and onscreen, wearing his Bocephus shirt and digging a hole in the woods, out of which came a guitar. In my isolation, I somehow felt like he and Steve had made this film just for me. It was stunning. At the same time, I also was tickled by the greater idea that someone had made this film, thinking that many other people would watch and enjoy it -- who were these people?! This film pointed the way toward the world beyond just myself, a world of people who maybe thought a least a little like me, especially when it came to music. I would eventually have to move to San Francisco to find them en masse.

Strange Parallel clearly shows Elliott's genius and highlights his sense of humor as well. I think it is one of my favorite things ever. In the 10 years since this film was made, information and odd, detached connections are so much more quickly at our fingertips, and Smith has gained noteriety for so many things, mostly and unfotunately outside his music, but perhaps this footage and the songs within it will be a revelation for you as well.

For one week only, you can watch the film on Pitchfork, right here. I bet it is on Youtube somewhere too.

And if for some reason you still have not checked out Elliott Smith, please come to Amoeba and at least get XO and Either/Or, pronto.

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 03:13:09

Posted by Billyjam, March 13, 2009 05:47pm | Post a Comment
AMOEBA MUSIC SAN FRANCISCO HIP-HOP TOP FIVE: 03:13:09
brother ali
1) Brother Ali The Truth Is Here (Rhymesayers CD & DVD)

2)
Keeley & Zaire Ridin High (WYXMusicLabel)

3)
Camp Lo Stone and Rob Caught on Tape (Soulfever Inc.)

4) Messy Marv Cake & Ice Cream Mixtape Vol. 2 (SIccness)

5) K'NAAN Troubadour (A&M/Octone Records)

Thanks to Luis at Amoeba Music San Francisco for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five of new hip-hop sellers with the Rhymesayers' Brother Ali in the top slot. His latest CD & DVD combo pack The Truth Is Here is a nine track CD plus a full-length DVD. The first official release in two years from the mid west emcee since he dropped his acclaimed The Undisputed Truth is meant to tide fans over until his official full-length album (producamp loced by Ant of Atmosphere fame) drops in the Fall.

The nine tracks on The Truth Is Here include two sought after Brother Ali B-sides plus seven new & previously unreleased songs including the stellar track "Philistine David" and also "The Believer" -- a collaboration with Slug from Atmosphere. Meanwhile, the full length DVD part of the new package is concert footage of the artist's sold-out homecoming performance on June 7th, 2007 during The Undisputed Truth Tour at Minneapolis' First Avenue nightclub, as well as interviews, the music videos for "Take Me Home" and "Uncle Sam Goddamn," plus commentary by the artist himself.

The unsung heroines of Punk/Post-Punk/No Wave/New Wave

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 13, 2009 05:46pm | Post a Comment
Since its beginning, rock music has been a male dominated affair. Women, such as Wanda Jackson, were not just anomalies but curiosities. By the '60s there were plenty of girl groups, female soul singers and a few female-fronted rock bands, but the few actually female-dominated rock bands like Ace of Cups, Fanny, The Girls, Goldie & the Gingerbreads (the first all female rock band to sign to a major label) and even the Shaggs aren't exactly household names. That seemed to change in the '70s, when Suzi Quattro and The Runaways seemed to lessen the shock of seeing girls wielding instruments. Whether he was joking or not, Roger Ebert took credit for the girl rock revolution by creating the Carrie Nations in his screenplay for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Things really began to change with onset of the new wave of the late '70s. Not only were there female-fronted bands like Siouxise & the Banshees and Blondie, but there were also bands integrated in various ways, like Talking Heads and later The Mekons, Gang of Four, &c. Now, although you could still listen to the radio for a year without hearing an all-female rock band, it's not entirely out of the question. These bands aren't all entirely comprised of women, but they definitely broke the mold.


The Au Pairs "Come Again"


The Bloods "Button Up" (audio only)

Alela Diane Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, March 13, 2009 02:28pm | Post a Comment
Nevada City native Alela Diane has already made quite a splash with her just-released album, To Be Still. The record was released on her new label, Rough Trade Records and she was written up in the illustrious Mojo as one to watch in 2009. Alela's music sounds fresh and true and it rings with evocative references to nature, life and love. Her voice commands attention with its bold and warbling tones and her songs intertwine tales of days new and old. To read my review of Alela's album, click here, and for images from her Amoeba instore back in 2007, click here. For our recent chat, read on.


Miss Ess: Was there a lightning bolt moment when you were young and you realized how important music was for you? What albums/artists were important to you during that time?

Alela Diane: I think I always knew I loved song and melody. I remember being small and hearing my dad’s guitar through the wall as I fell asleep. I’d crash out on random couches as my folks finished up band practice. I remember listening to Patsy Cline with my mom, singing along… always singing along. As I got older I branched out into more ‘popular’ music of the time and went through my preteen obsession with Hanson: I was not completely sheltered from pop culture, as it turns out. I began to write songs & play the guitar at 19. And shortly thereafter, when I was working at a breakfast café in Nevada City, I realized I was a lot better at singing than I was at filling water and coffee-- so I stuck to it. 

ME: Your parents' musical abilities clearly had a huge effect on you growing up. What artists that they loved have impacted your own musical consciousness?

Alela: More than listen to records at our house, my parents were the ones actually playing the music. They’d sing old traditionals – song like ‘High On a Mountain” and “Bowling Green” … That and my dad has been in a Grateful Dead cover band for the past 15 years. They rehearsed at our house every week, so I am pretty up on my “Fire on the Mountain” & “Truckin”… But there were some records too: Kate Wolf and Paul Simon and mostly the local hippy station KVMR fm-- with some pledge campaign to fund local radio & save the Yuba River.

ME: When did you discover that you could sing with such range and expressiveness and write so gorgeously?

Alela: I’ve been singing forever-- but it wasn’t until I moved away from home at 19 that I actually started playing the guitar & writing songs. It was a short time after that when I knew I had begun doing what I should be doing.

I feel like Nevada City has had such a profound influence on both your music and, really, all the musicians' work that come from there. I can speak for myself and say I find it to be a fantastical place. Can you talk a bit about Nevada City, what it means to you and what about it you carry with you, though you don't live there currently?

Nevada City is the kind of place that stays in your bones. It’s beautiful and magical, and will always be my home. It’s all wooded in pine trees and community. It seems that the music I make very much comes from there; it’s the reason I sing about trees & water all the time. I recently moved back North to Portland knowing that I can always return to the California hills.

What was the process of being signed to Rough Trade like for you?

They must have stumbled upon me somehow, and so we sorted some things out. I am really happy to be working with the strong group of folks at Rough Trade. I am in good hands, thank god!

Where do your songs come from? What is your writing process like, especially since you wrote much of this album on the road?

I actually wrote most of To Be Still before I was a wanderer. I gathered the songs from my day to day life in Nevada City & up in Portland while I was living a calm life with my man and man cat. I also tend to write about stories passed on by my mom and grandma. Songs usually arrive in fleeting moments-- they can never be planned for. It is something that happens randomly-- all of a sudden I’ll be playing guitar and then the melody arrives and the words do too. On the road there is not much time to be alone, and so it is rare that I stumble around with the writing of a song. I write words when I am out in the world, but my melodies mostly wait on the outskirts, until I can come gather them… In that stillness I’ve been known to speak of.

Since you wrote this album a while back, do you already have a backlog of songs for a new album?

I have been writing here and there-- putting the collection in my pocket until it is time to record again….

How did recording some tracks at your dad's studio affect the way the album turned out? Did it bring your more comfort and openness to be there? Or was it a bit intimidating? What sort of particular challenges did it bring?

Recording with my dad is really wonderful. We have a very natural and comfortable process in the recording studio. Working with him allows me to have a lot of control. We bounce ideas off of each other and experiment until things just sit in the right place. I can work at my own pace there, which is calming and allows me to be creative when it feels right, rather than when we have studio time booked.

You are taking on quite a long tour in support of your new record! How is touring for you?

Touring is always an adventure-- every day on the road is its own realm. So many moments and memories strung together -- completely connected and disconnected at the same time. I love seeing new land and getting little glimpses of how folks live in different places. I am happy to be singing the songs again and again, which is what I love doing, but it is crazy realizing that most of what we do on the road is very far away from the making of music. So much of it is trying to feel at home in strange surroundings, and doing my best to remain grounded while eating bummer food and having all the normal rhythms of life turned upside down.

Are you touring with a band now? Who is it comprised of?

I am on the road with a band of family and friends at the moment. I’ve brought along my dad, Tom Menig, who seriously jams the geeetar and the mandolin. On bass is my darlin’, Tom Bevitori. Benjamin Oak Goodman plays the drums and Alina Hardin contributes beautiful backing vocals.

Having those wonderful people with you probably makes it all feel a lot more like home. Tell me about making your new video for "White As Diamonds!" How does it feel to be on camera? And where are you in it?

We made that video up outside of Portland, Oregon deep in some woods. I worked with a very creative guy named Ryan Jefferey, who came up with a concept that I really liked. It is a bit strange accepting the camera – I think my approach is just to do my best to ignore the thing and hope for the best!


What was it like touring through France with Mariee Sioux? Are you so happy to be together on the road? I love how you guys are so adored there!
What places are your favorite to play when you are over there?

Touring with Mariee is so much fun! We never run out of things to talk about, and it is a constant crack up.  Mariee and I are pretty much sisters, since we’ve been friends for as long as we can remember. It’s lovely to be on the same route as her-- otherwise, it feels like whenever I am in California she is in France and vise versa. I’m pretty into the south of France myself: it is warmer down there.

Will you and Mariee ever write together?

Mariee and I wrote a few songs together back in the day, and I’d say it could definitely happen at some point down the road… but we are really on our own paths right now, and have no such plans in the moment. There are so many projects left to be done, and I love singing with Miss Mariee.

When you sing together the interlocking of your voices sounds so effortless and natural. I love hearing you two sing. You bounce between locations -- how does this inspire your work? Will you be staying in Portland indefinitely now?

Nothing is really permanent these days-- it is a big jumble of here and there-- and all of it affects what I sing of. I tend to move away from Nevada City knowing very well that it will always be my home and I can move back… I love it there. I love it up North, and there are so many places left to discover.

I can tell by your songs' subject matter that you enjoy silences as much as music. What sounds in nature do you love the most?

I’m partial to the bird song and the rush of the river, that and the wind.

What have you been listening to lately?

The tour van as of late has been mostly full of the sound of the open window and Ben talking… A cd got stuck in the player, and some a-hole stole my Ipod in Canada. I need to come upon some new jams...and perhaps invest in a new personal listening device, for the road at least.

What's your favorite Michael Hurley song?

Probably “Light Green Fellow” or “Fat Mama” or “The Werewolf.” He has written some songs, that guy.  Come to think of it, we were listening to him in the van from somebody else’s Ipod.

I love the song on your album, "Age Old Blue," where the two of you sing together. He really adds his own idiosyncratic touch to it. Ok, so what is your favorite Neutral Milk Hotel track?

I am terrible with song titles-- but I will say that senior year in high school Mariee and I would repeatedly cruise in her Volvo to the In the Aeroplane Over the Sea record, again and again. Windows down down down to the river.

Name an album that means a great deal to you that you think more people should listen to.

Liege and Lief by Fairport Convention or Songs for Beginners by Graham Nash…and Mariee’s record [Faces in the Rocks]. 

What has been your best find at Amoeba?

Hmm…. It has been too long since I’ve had a hunt and gather at Amoeba!! I recall picking up a really solid Kate Wolf collection…that was a good find for sure.

Thank you for your time! All the best to you.



Belong's October Language: 2006 treasure of static and buzz

Posted by Mark Beaver, March 13, 2009 02:07pm | Post a Comment

I get a strange thrill out of stumbling upon albums that sound exactly like what their cover suggests -- in this case, the ancient decaying photo of a pioneer-era buiding, probably from Belong's hometown of New Orleans; the spaces where the color saturates and the many spots where all color and image have been wiped away by time and the elements. October Language is the aural equivalent.

Compared to electronic frontiersmen like Fennesz and William Basinski, Belong (composed, for this recording, of conspirators Turk Dietrich and Michael Jones) make sounds that seem to be in the process of disappearing even as they first appear. The opening track, "I Never Lose. Never Really." begins with a tone like hearing an orchestra muted through the walls of a building, as if the swelling adagio would come through crystal clear if someone would just open the right door. Then it all begins to descend beneath an increasing tide of swirling static.

I find the whole album to be, essentially, meditational. There is a profound silence at the center of it, not unlike modern classical compositions by the likes of Arvo Part, Toru Takemitsu or Henryk Gorecki. The focus on electronics and instruments more often associated with Rock makes October Language more immediately reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless than anything within the Classical tradition.

There are very few vocal tones on the album, another factor that pulls it away from the Rock genre, and the pure focus on the build and wane of the sound and atmosphere places it among my favorite listens of the last few years.

Look around for it. For now, you'll find it cheap. If they keep producing albums of this strength, I don't imagine their out of print work will remain so for long. Belong also released two vinyl-only works in 2008, the one-sided, etched 12" Same Places (Slow Version):





























and the 4-track 12" ep Colorloss Record:
































Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater & My Mother Turn 50

Posted by Amoebite, March 13, 2009 01:28pm | Post a Comment
The two most important things in my life have always been, and will always be, the gift of movement and my relationship with my mother. I started dancing 23 years ago at a small studio in Albuquerque, NM. My grandmother worked at the local telephone company and, as fate would have it, the nearest day care center was not actually a day care center, but instead a dance studio. The rest, as they say, is history.
Ailey Dancer
Dance has shaped and moved my life in such a way that it has become my artistic expression, my creative outlet, and my identity. I’ve always known that dance would remain a huge part of my life regardless of what I chose to do with it professionally. My mother has always supported my decision to be deeply involved in the arts, as well as anything else I’ve put my mind to.

Growing up in Albuquerque, there wasn’t much room for diversity in the dance world. Often I was left feeling like the odd one out because of my body type and ethnicity. I was told I was too muscular to become a dancer during my formative years but, because of my mother’s unwavering faith in me, I continued to pursue my dream as a dancer, regardless of what others tried to tell me.

It wasn’t until I was 13 that I became familiar with the New York modern-based dance company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. For the first time, I felt enlightened seeing a group of 30 dancers, with all different body typesAiley Dancers and ethnicities, coming together to share their gift of movement. It was like a breath of fresh air and validated my existence in the dance world. They gave me faith and because of them, I realized that my hopes for becoming a professional dancer were not merely dreams and out-of-reach goals, but were there for the taking.

Future Hunters

Posted by phil blankenship, March 12, 2009 10:45pm | Post a Comment
 




Vestron Video 4510

RAPPERS: THE WEAKEST, THE WORST, THE OLDEST, & THE YOUNGEST

Posted by Billyjam, March 12, 2009 08:10pm | Post a Comment
Below are four entertaining videos that cover extremes in rap: the weakest, the worst, the oldest & the youngest. The first one is a clip from the forgotten gem of an episiode of NBC TV show The Weakest Link from 2002 when it adapted a rap theme to determine who was the weakest rapper. On the show from seven years ago, host Anne Robinson had, it seemed, almost as much fun with her contestants (Young MC, Xzibit, B-Real, Da Brat, DJ Quik, Nate Dogg, Jermaine Dupri & Rev Run) as "Miss Katie" Couric recently did interviewing Lil Wayne.

The World's Worst Rapper? (Up for debate of course since there are probably worse.) The clip below features no-talent emcee Stephen from Sheffield and is from the 2006 preliminaries of UK's The X-Factor with judges Simon Cowell, Sharon Osborne, and Louis Walsh -- all of whom weren't feeling Stephen's flow. 

The World's Oldest Rapper video clip features Herb Jeffries rapping at 95 years old. And the World's Youngest Rapper clip is of Bobby J, who is actually not the youngest rapper. I think he is about 4 and a half or five in this clip, and there are many younger rappers out there. But of the numerous 3  year olds I have seen/heard, none come close in style and flow to lil Bobby J. And anyways, this Amoeblog is more about fun than anything else. So just enjoy!


The Weakest Rapper

Samantha Bumgarner -- fiddling ballad woman of mountains

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 12, 2009 06:49pm | Post a Comment

Aunt Samantha Bumgarner (née Biddix) was a fiddle and banjo player from North Carolina who, in 1924, became the first woman to record hillbilly music. In doing so, she opened the doors for all the great female hillbilly and country musicians who followed. Imagine for a second a world without Brenda Lee, Iris Dement, Jean Shepard, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Norma Jean, Skeeter Davis, Sue Thompson and Tammy Wynette, to name a few. Not a pretty place.

 

Samantha Biddix was born in Dillsboro, North Carolina on Halloween, 1878, the same year Black Bart held up his last stagecoach and, more relevantly, Thomas Edison patented the phonograph. Her parents were Has Biddix, himself a fiddler, and Sara MaLynda Brown Biddix. Though Biddix showed an early interest in music, her father wouldn’t allow her to touch the fiddle, an instrument occasionally referred to by hillbillies as a “devil’s box.” Nonetheless, when he wasn’t around, she played it and displayed a natural talent. The banjo, then viewed as a slightly more acceptable instrument for women, was not forbidden and Biddix’s first, constructed from gourd and cat hide, was presented to her at fifteen. Later, having demonstrated her skills for her father, he bought her a ten cent model and allowed her to perform with him in the area. Ultimately, he consented to her entering a banjo competition in Canton and she won. Gaining confidence, she began entering and winning competitions routinely.


When she married Carse Bumgarner in 1902, he gave her her first fiddle but she remained most acclaimed for her banjo playing. A few years later she acquired the nickname "Aunt Samantha." Although through the lens of modern ignorance, a hillbilly woman gaining fame with the banjo may seem completely out of the ordinary, it was actually fairly common for women to play the instrument, especially amongst hillbillies. In 1916, when Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles began field recording in the upper south, nearly three quarters of the hundreds of tunes they compiled as English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians were performed by women. In addition, many famous male hillbillies learned to play from the women in their lives. Ralph Stanley was taught to play by his mother, Lucy Smith Stanley. Cynthia "Cousin Emmy" May Carver taught "Grandpa" Louis Jones. Clarence "Tom" Ashley learned to play from his aunts, Ary and Daisy. Morgan Sexton was schooled by his sister, Hettie. Earl Scruggs was beaten to the banjo by his older sisters, Eula Mae and Ruby.


By the early 20th century, whilst still not completely respectable, several female musicians gained a measure of popularity playing banjo, including Elizabeth "Babe" Reid, Gertrude Evans, Virginia “Aunt Jennie” Myrtle Wilson, Stella Wagoner Kimble, Pearl Wagoner, Ada Lee Stump Boarman and Julia Reece Green. By the 1920s, a veritable banjo craze swept the nation and the most popular brand was the Whyte Ladie. In some respects, Bumgarner was merely part of a tradition involving hundreds of women before her, but as an especially talented musician who usually bested her mostly male competitors, her fame spread in the recording age in a way her predecessors never could. In 1924, she was contacted by Columbia, hoping to capture her talents on shellac.


In April 1924, accompanied by guitarist Eva Smathers Davis of nearby Sylva, Bumgarner traveled to New York City where, on the 23, she and Davis recorded ten songs both together and solo. According to County Music Magazine, that record was also the first release by female musicians in the hillbilly genre. They were also the first recordings of a five-string banjo. Although today the Cashville country scene has little use for anything but this week’s disposable pap, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum there does feature the 78s of her initial recordings, which were:

Big-eyed Rabbit (Samantha Bumgarner & Eva Davis)
Cindy in the Meadows (Samantha Bumgarner & Eva Davis)
Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss (Samantha Bumgarner)
The Gamblin' Man (Samantha Bumgarner)
Georgia Blues (Samantha Bumgarner)
I Am My Mother's Darlin' Child (Samantha Bumgarner & Eva Davis)
John Hardy (Eva Davis)
Shout Lou (Samantha Bumgarner)
Wild Bill Jones (Eva Davis)
Worried Blues (Samantha Bumgarner)
 

 
Aunt Samantha seemed reluctant to pursue her music professionally, although others encouraged her to. Instead, she contented herself with teaching younger musicians, including Harry Cagle, who later formed Harry Cagle and the Country Cousins. When famed quack "Dr." John Brinkley, the so-called "Goat Gland King" (he used goat glands to treat impotency) asked her to allow him to take her to Del Rio, Texas to play on radio station, XERA, she only consented on the condition that Cagle accompany her.


In 1928, she was invited by local banjo-playing lawyer Bascom Lamar Lunsford to play at his first Asheville Mountain Song and Dance Festival. She did, and continued doing so every year until 1959, even though suffering from rheumatism and arthritic hands in later years. In 1936, at one such performance, Pete Seeger was in the audience and word of mouth about her spread amongst the folk revivalist scene. Soon she was playing Chicago, Kansas City, New York, St. Louis and DC, where she performed for the enjoyment of Franklin Roosevelt. She ultimately recorded again as well, for a company in Liverpool.


Bumgarner and her husband moved to Lovefield at some point. They never had any children and he died in 1941. Just one year after retiring from public performance, Samantha Bumgarner died of arteriosclerotic heart disease at age 82 on Christmas Eve, 1960. She’s buried in Dillsboro's Franklin Cemetery.


Although Bumgarner herself seemed content to record rarely and stay in the hills, by the ‘30s, several Kentuckyian women, including Cynthia "Cousin Emmy" May Carver, Lily May Ledford and Laverne "Molly O’Day" Williamson – perhaps encouraged by the possibilities offered to Bumgarner – all used banjo-playing to take them away from the hardscrabble lives in the tobacco fields, hills and hollers of Bluegrass Country to professional careers as musicians, the first of many women to follow a path made possible through a by all accounts humble Aunt Samantha.
 

On Holiday By Mistake: rekindling the flame for Withnail & I

Posted by Kells, March 11, 2009 05:39pm | Post a Comment


Today Northern California was treated to another brisk yet glorious morning of blue, cloudless skies. This is a most welcome respite from many weeks draped in a drab grey layer of drizzle, rain and heavy downpours resulting in deluged drains all over the city and local newspaper headlines pointing fingers in jest at the Governator's now weakened "worst drought ever" claim. I love rain and I love seeing tourists in San Francisco -- both mean great things for our fair state. But what I love most about rain in San Francisco is watching tourists deal with it because whether they're curtained in plastic panchos, or struggling with Chinatown-cheap umbrellas (rendered useless by sudden gales), or clutching upside down, sopping wet sight-seeing schedules (inexpensive print ink bleeding from the page) with arms weighed down with souvenir bags (pakced full of chocolate, magnets, mugs, keychains, more chocolate and "Alcatraz Swim Team" T-shirts) they still manage to make the most of their cold, wet pre-season, bargain-priced, best-value vacation. Perhaps they'll leave nothing of their hearts in San Francisco when they leave, their inundated ephemera safely stowed. I often wonder when I spy these hapless yet brave winter visitors (and their shivering, fog-weary summer counterparts) if they ever question whether or not they might've been swindled by a capricious Mother Nature. After all, pleasant yet drought-like weather predictions were widely published recently, before the storms hit, and they could have only anticipated the best weather ever. Packed wet and disheveled into drafty, wet cable car cabins, however, their faces seemed to say, "we've gone on holiday by mistake."

If you recognize the above reference then it's time for you to watch Withnail & I (written and directed by Bruce Robinson, 1987) again. If, on the contrary, the quote means nothing to you, then I am jealous of you because that means you get to watch one of the greatest, infinitely quotable "buddy" films of all time for the first time -- and what I would give to relive that initial viewing again. Every time I see that cinematically understated opening sequence, steeped in misery and ominous drear, I feel a wave of comfort and nostalgia rush over me not unlike the pleasant feelings one gets from meeting a kindred spirit at an old haunt where time seems suspended and conversations remain forever open-ended. It settles and preps me for the bountiful barrage of verbal gems that follow, falling from the screen preciously like booty from buried treasure. Recent lovingly oft-quoted films like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad, Anchorman and The 40-Year-Old Virgin are, when compared to Withnail & I, like cup noodles prancing in the shadow of soul food. I think a more comparable modern counterpart to Withanail & I might be found in The Big Lebowski, but there's an undercurrent of poetry that Withnail carries which, sadly, Lebowski hath not. 

Some of that poetry recently went up for sale. According to BBC News, Sleddale Hall, or Crow Cragg as it is called in the film, was put up for sale in late January and was listed as being "in the veiled parlance of a slick estate agent, in need of a bit of modernization." Though the shoddy, semi-derelict cottage perched among the steep rolling hills of England's picturesque Lake District is only accessible via a dirt track miles away from any real roads and requiring special permission to trespass, a steady stream of fans make the pilgrimage to, if for no other reason, scribble some of their favorite quotes on the walls. "Uncle Monty's cottage" sold at a lively auction (described by The Times as "almost as melodramatic as Richard E. Grant's performance as an alcoholic actor convinced he is destined for stardom" in reference to the Withnail character in the film) packed with fans who shouted lines at each other before ultimately being sold for £265,000 to Sebastian Hindley, a politician and pub-owner local to the area where the run-down farmhouse turned cult-film-junky-mistaken-vacation destination lay. "Free for those who can afford it, very expensive to those who can't" is not a Withnail quote that Hindley seems to favor for he claims that he hopes to make the cottage available to all who love the film and quote it ceaselessly (on the walls and especially on the front door of the beloved "Crow Cragg.") 

Some of my favorite quotes from the film provide me with what I like to believe to be a portrait of what the sixties were like for those who can't remember it (meaning those who really lived it, not those who weren't born yet like me.) Take, for example, some of the stellar morsels delivered by Ralph Brown, who portrayed Danny (the drug dealer) in the film, like: "I don't advise a haircut, man. All hairdressers are in the employment of the government. Hair are your aerials. They pick up signals from the cosmos and transmit them directly into the brain. This is the reason bald-headed men are uptight" and "If you're hanging on to a rising balloon, you're presented with a difficult decision — let go before it's too late or hang on and keep getting higher, posing the question: how long can you keep a grip on the rope? They're selling hippie wigs in Woolworth's, man. The greatest decade in the history of mankind is over. And as Presuming Ed here has so consistently pointed out, we have failed to paint it black." The quotability never ends and neither does the fun, although it could kill you. 

Last week a friend of mine (and fellow Amoeba "professor of the arts") informed me of the dangerously appealing existence of a Withnail & I drinking game in which viewers attempt to match drink for drink, ounce for ounce every whiskey, cider and wineglass of fermented beverage downed by the players in the film. This is of course "appealing" because the only thing the characters do more than deliver memorable lines is drink booze (which, in turn, kind of makes viewers wanna drink booze) and "dangerous" because of the sheer amount of alcohol that is consumed constantly (and over a period of a weekend within the film) is not limited to wine, sherry, cider, gin, and whiskey alone, but also includes a swig of lighter fluid. I don't know anyone anymore who could play this game and win, whatever "winning" means. I remember reading in Richard E. Grant's film diaries that he was initially "too fat" to play Withnail (though he's fairly trim) so he restricted his diet to eating melons until he took on that "wasted" look pictured above. It's interesting to note that he didn't smoke or drink at the time when the film was made (and I suspect he still doesn't) --- which just goes to show what a fabulous actor he is. I don't know if he ever "played the Dane" as his character so cock-surely announces an intention to do so in the film, but every time I see his final scene in this film, Withnail playing Hamlet in the rain to caged wolves, I always want more. Just a little more. 

26 women's history fictional films

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 10, 2009 11:06pm | Post a Comment
 
 

   

     

   

   

   

   

   


Bad Girls In The Movies

Posted by phil blankenship, March 10, 2009 11:02pm | Post a Comment
 


Lightning Video LA9074

Rachel Getting Married: Not Quite Happily Ever After

Posted by Miss Ess, March 10, 2009 06:38pm | Post a Comment
Of all the Oscar related films I have seen thus far this season, Rachel Getting Married felt the most real to me.


Jonathan Demme directed this film and the footage has a documentary, fly on the wall feeling to it -- it's shakey, hand held and doesn't shy away from catching awkward moments. It perfectly suits the film's plot and the depths of intensity that the characters plumb throughout. The film centers around a wounded family getting together to celebrate the wedding of Rachel (the gorgeous Rosemarie DeWitt of Mad Men) and Sidney (Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio). Kym (Oscar-nominated Anne Hathaway) is Rachel's attention-needy, just out of rehab sister.

I found this film to be extremely absorbing -- it really delves into the emotions and complications of a family whose deeply cracked ties are dangerously close, in some cases, to becoming fully broken. Kym's self absorption wreaks havoc on each family member in different ways and they all struggle to cope with her actions in the crucible of a fully yuppified wedding weekend. The languid pace of the film adds to its authentic charm -- the viewer is led slowly through a series of moments that have a strong cinema vérité feeling. We are innocent bystanders as a layered history of pain and grief is slowly revealed, bringing this family to and through the emotionally charged wedding weekend.

The scene where Rachel and Sidney exchange vows hits just the right over 35-hipster note. In fact, the whole wedding does -- it's all cross-cultural, with saris and dancers and tenting. As someone who grew up in an area socioeconomically comparable to Stamford, CT, where the film takes place, I couldn't help but giggle inwardly throughout in recognition of this particular brand of sincere but self righteously naive cultural copping.

I also enjoyed the Robyn Hitchcock cameo! I rode in a crowded NYC subway car with Robyn once. Though I didn't speak to him, he looked terrified when our eyes met -- I guess he knew he had been spotted. He was wearing neon purple pants. Truly, how could you expect to not be spotted when you're wearing neon purple pants?

Regardless, Rachel Getting Married was released on DVD this week. I think it's one of the better films I have see

Amoeba Music’s 3rd Annual Art Show Meets Warhol’s Factory

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 10, 2009 04:04pm | Post a Comment

Not only are the Amoeba employees masters of arcane musical knowledge, but a number of them are gifted visual artists and musicians too. After a long day of helping customers locate rare Do-wop 45’s, determining the going rate of an early 80’s Axe album, and stock-checking the Watchmen soundtrack, many Amoebites rush home to paint, film, draw, compose, sculpt, and, of course, go to band practice.

For the last couple of years, Amoeba Music has thrown annual art shows to exhibit and celebrate the creative works of its multi-talented staff members from all three Amoeba locations. For the Third Annual Amoeba Art Show, which took place on Friday, March 6, 2009, Amoeba transcended the “art show” format and went straight for an outright “happening” with the Andy Warhol-inspired Factory Party. Collaborating with the East Bay Express, OFFSpace, and contributing sponsor the de Young Museum, Amoeba turned the 44,000 square foot Hero Arts warehouse space in Emeryville, California into a teeming hotspot of live art, film, musical performances, and theatrical art forms.



On the evening of Friday, March 6th, after weeks of preparation, the doors were thrown wide to over 4,000 attendees, revealing a labyrinthine network of rooms packed with Amoebite art, beautiful revelers, and a staggering number of Andy Warhol and Factory “Superstar” look-alikes. The East Bay Express devoted one massively large room to recreating Warhol’s Factory, complete with silver-foiled walls and reproductions of the now-iconic red couch and mirrored disco ball table (built by East Bay Express Sales & Marketing Director Terry Furry). Screen printing demonstrations were held by Jesse Hazelip and Tim Belonax, and the room featured an homage to Warhol’s Brillo Boxes built by Jason MacDougall and screened by Philip X. Diaz.

Rootbeer Please!

Posted by Smiles Davis, March 10, 2009 11:16am | Post a Comment

Ever listen to the same song on repeat for like 2, 6, 9 hours straight? It happens; music is intoxicating like that sometimes and everyone’s heard a song that spoke directly to him or her at one time or another. Maybe it moved you deeply and in return you treasured it dearly and barked hysterically at anyone who tried to interrupt the connection between your ears and the speakers. At that moment in time for you, the listener, that song is like the ninth wonder of the world. Subsequently, without proper headgear, for an innocent bystander catching all those repeated listenings, it is considered intolerable cruelty. Since I didn’t put anyone through that type of torture and utter misery I’ll rest easy tonight. Although there is this obnoxious ringing ear thing I’m currently suffering from due to listening to the same track today at an inappropriately loud volume for an inappropriately long amount of time.

The track I just couldn't get enough of: “Girlies” by the Cornerstone signed super rapper/producer/hipster duo Rootbeer. Their EP, Pink Limousine, drops today, March 10th. Tuesday, if you need a calendar, 2009 if you need a clue…just here to help. Their sound is light hearted, back to basics hip hop: simple, common man, catchy street talk, irresistible hooks laced with a side of cotton candy, and head bobbing beats to make you scream bananas, have your chocolate cake and eat it too. It’s like the brilliant wit and playfulness that was Kid n' Play or Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff on their debut, Parents Just Don’t Understand, blended with the indisputable freshness that was Young MC and Tone Loc. So, go cop Rootbeer’s EP cause they’re bringing the goodness. Put me in a better mood than my very disappointing water pressure did this morning.  

Chances are you've heard of these two cats that together are Rootbeer: the two talented gentlemen who make up the concoction are long time West coast indie hip-hop artists Pigeon John and Flynn Adam. Their bio, which I stole from my pals over a spectremusic, reads like the who’s who of hip hop; in short, in someone else’s words:

“Both have achieved solo success – Pigeon with his … And the Summer- time Pool Party and Sings the Blues albums, the first of which reached #1 on the CMJ Hip Hop chart – and Flynn Adam as a member of the LA Symphony crew and as a producer working alongside the likes of The Black Eyed Peas, Will.I.Am, Mario C, Prince Paul, Madlib, and more.”

‘Till next time…chew the corners off.


Amoeba Music's Third Annual Art Show

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 10, 2009 11:05am | Post a Comment

WOMEN IN HIP-HOP PT. II: FLY GIRLS! B-BOYS BEWARE

Posted by Billyjam, March 10, 2009 09:30am | Post a Comment

The history books show, as recently as the early nineteenth century women in the United States were considered second-class citizens, subservient to men, and whose existence was limited to the interior life of caring for the home and children. Not only did women not have the right to vote, but after marriage they did not have the right to own property, maintain their wages, or  even sign a contract.

Of course, things have changed radically since then, especially in this country, and in 2009 we like to think everyone is equal regardless of gender, color, race, age, religion, or sexual orientation. But let's be real: we still have a ways to go for true equality. And you have to look no further than at hip-hop for proof that gender inequality exists-- the ratio of female to male artists is totally uneven, in favor of men. Flip through the CD or vinyl hip-hop aisles at Amoeba Music and odds are the ratio of female to male artists will be 1 to 10 at best or 1 to 20 at worst. Why is that? There are many reasons that I will explore in later installments of this Women In Hip-Hop Amoeblog series for Women's History Month. But for now I just want to celebrate some of the great female hip-hop artists, starting off with this Amoeblog focusing on the female emcees featured on the recent Soul Jazz release Fly Girls! B-Boys Beware: Revenge Of The Super Female Rappers!

A highly recommended tribute to the fly girls of hip hop, this CD and limited vinyl pressing, which has been selling well at Amoeba since its late January release date, is a wonderful historic overview of some of the funkiest female tracks from the 70's through the 80's and into the 90's. Of course, with just twenty tracks this snapshot only scratches the surface of the history of women in hip-hop, but considering that, it still does a hell of a job and unless you have been avidly collecting hip-hop over the years you need this for your collection.

24 Fact-Based Films Celebrate Women's History Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 10, 2009 01:06am | Post a Comment
   
    
       
  
   
   
   

Don't Panic!

Posted by Whitmore, March 9, 2009 08:12pm | Post a Comment

Yesterday (and it always seems to fall on a yesterday) on this date in 1978, the mind-bending sci-fi comedy adventure series that no doubt changed life, the universe and everything -- well, as far as I know, however I know, or think I understand to know, I know when I know, no matter how intangible the facts ... but anyway -- Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was originally broadcast in the United Kingdom on the BBC radio. It would be another three years, March of 1981, before the Hitchhikers Guide series finally premiered in the United States on National Public Radio.
 
Adams would follow up this initial version of The Hitchhiker's Guide with more radio productions, five novels, computer games, a six part television miniseries and finally a major motion picture. Not to mention a variety of short stories, comic books, essays and enough odds and ends to fill any aging record store employee’s emotional void. Unfortunately Arthur Dent’s, Ford Prefect’s, Trillion’s, Marvin’s and Zaphod Beeblebrox’ galaxy came to an abrupt and tragic halt when Douglas Adams died of a heart attack at the age of 49 while working out in a gym in the town of Montecito near Santa Barbara on May 11, 2001. 
 
Oddly enough I still hold a grudge against Santa Barbara County and the town of Montecito, and especially jogging treadmills. I know it’s irrational but I’ll debate these opinions with anyone under any circumstances in circumstances beyond anyone’s control anytime. (Then again, irrationality is one of our species' most interesting and unique traits, along with regret and that opposable prehensile thumb). Anyway, I know treadmills are mostly harmless, Santa Barbara is mostly harmless but Adams' early death has always pissed me off to no end. I think the universe, once again, was short-changed and bung holed by some bitter, bitter cosmic throw of the dice. Officially the cause of death was a gradual narrowing of the coronary arteries, which led to a myocardial infarction and a fatal cardiac arrhythmia -- a condition Adams unknowingly suffered. And I am still sad.
 
Here is the first episode of the BBC's radio production of the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.



(In which you might enjoy a fever.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 9, 2009 03:02pm | Post a Comment

The American shad or Atlantic shad, Alosa sapidissima, is a species of anadromous fish in family Clupeidae of order Clupeiformes.
It is the State Fish of Connecticut, enjoys foreign films and candle-lit dinners for two.


Not that long ago, a customer came into Amoeba Music Hollywood and approached me sheepishly. She uttered that accustomed customer opening line:

“I’m looking for a song… I don’t know the name of it, or who did it…”

If Amoeba Music employees had a dime for every time we heard that sentence, our bosses could dispense with payroll and we’d all live comfortably (hint, hint, Gov. Schwarzenegger).

Oftentimes, we Amoebites will know what the human’s looking for. That’s because we’re mostly socially awkward music geeks who’ve traded in awesome housing and reasonable hair-styles for choice, Italian soundtrack LP’s and an ability to name-that-tune of obscure mouth-harp blues artists.

The song the woman was looking for was “Fever,” which has been covered by many artists, though most famously by the great Peggy Lee


“Fever” was written by Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell and published in 1956. At first the songwriters had little success with the song, until they decided to re-write it using words and music. These proved to be the magic ingredients, and soon people took interest. It first became a hit for the (unfortunately named) Little Willie John...


For a while, it was taken under consideration that “Fever” should replace the notoriously difficult to sing “Star Spangled Banner” as the National Anthem of the United States, but as “they” who were considering it only numbered two and spent most their time sleeping under a bridge, drinking from storm-pipes, and screaming “Go back to toyland, Eisenhower!” at airplanes, the idea gained little merit.

What follows here is a sampling of the many versions of “Fever” that exist. You can almost certainly find one that suits you, regardless of your taste. And then, once we’ve all found a cover of the song we each like, we can finally come together as one people and… well… I dunno… listen to the song, I guess.

Can I get an amen?!







































HANK LOCKLIN, OPRY'S OLDEST LIVING MEMBER, PASSES AT AGE 91

Posted by Billyjam, March 9, 2009 02:20pm | Post a Comment

As reported by today's Nashville CIty Paper, Hank Locklin, the Grand Ole Opry's oldest living member, died early yesterday (March 8th) at his Brewton, Alabama home of unknown causes. He was 91 years of age. Ever-prolific and active, Locklin only very recently released his 65th album -- By the Grace of God, a collection of gospel songs.

Born Lawrence Hankins Locklin, he was a member of the revered Grand Ole Opry family since 1960 and had a long recording career with RCA Victor, with whom he scored such notable hits as “Please Help Me I’m Falling” (a Top Ten Billboard hit in 1960), “Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On,” "Happy Journey," “Happy Birthday To Me," "Geisha Girl," and “The Country Hall Of Fame." (audio below)

Locklin, who was one of country music’s first Honky Tonk singers, was listed along with his single "Please Help Me I'm Falling" in Billboard Magazine's 100th Anniversary issue as the second most successful country single of the rock ‘n’ roll era.

Imaginary Jukebox: Part 1

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 9, 2009 08:54am | Post a Comment

My friend Shin Miyata from Japan came to visit over the weekend. He wanted to go to a bar in East L.A. that he had never been to. After discussing a few that were "been there, done that" by Shin, we decided on a steakhouse/bar in Monterey Park called The Venice Room. We arrived just in time to hear someone sing a Karaoke version of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.” It was painful. It was so bad that Shin apologized to me on behalf of the Japanese people for creating Karaoke. The Venice Room looks like it was the place to be at one point. Now it seems like it has gone the way of many neighborhood bars in the area. People want sports, so it's ESPN on the T.V. screen the entire night. The décor of the place has been ruined by way too many beer advertisements. And then, there is Karaoke. On the plus side, at least it’s not some hipster joint. The Venice Room serves its purpose. It’s a neighborhood bar for neighborhood people. Drinks are cheap and I can choose to fall into the fun or go to another place for drinks. That night we chose to go to Ordoñez for some late night food since The Venice Room had stopped serving food.

The Venice Room reminded me of dive bars I used to hang out in when I had just turned twenty-one. Each one was a new experience. Some I liked and some I didn’t. Most of the time, the places I liked were dictated on the jukebox. My favorite places were the ones that still had the jukeboxes with the 45’s in them. With CD jukeboxes, there is always that person who will play an entire Doors album. Then you get stuck listening to them sing along with the whole thing and soon you wish the joint had Karaoke. With 45’s, you had the choice of side A or B of a single. It discourages the jukebox hogs. You can’t play the entire “Dark Side Of The Moon” album because it can’t fit on a 45. I got exposed to some great music by not having many choices. The limited choices forced you to listen to artists that normally you wouldn’t listen to. Even if you only played the artists that you liked, you would be forced to listen to the b-side of a single at some point.

If I ever opened a bar, I would bring back the 45 jukebox. No deejays, no iPods, no CD jukeboxes or Karaoke. A quarter a song and I would load it up with the best 45’s I can find. Until then, I’ll post my wish list on my blog from time to time.

Lalo Guerrero Y Sus Cinco Lobos- "Marihuana Boogie"



Delroy Wilson- "I'll Change My Style"



Sunny And The Sunliters- "Put Me In Jail"

Ancients

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 9, 2009 12:25am | Post a Comment







The Jigoku Aesthetic: Hell as Excessive Specular Mediation

Posted by Charles Reece, March 8, 2009 08:42pm | Post a Comment
JIGOKU



Hallucinate



Dessegregate



Mediate



Alleviate



Try not to hate



Love your mate
Don't suffocate on your own hate




Designate your love as fate



A one world state



As human freight



A heavy weight
Or just too late




Like pretty Kate has sex ornate
Now devastate




Appreciate
Depreciate

Fabricate




Emulate



The truth dilate



Special date



The animal we ate



Guilt debate



The edge serrate



A better rate
The youth irate




Deliberate



Fascinate
Deviate
Reinstate




Liberate
To moderate
Recreate




Or detonate
Annihiliate
Atomic fate




Mediate
Clear the state
Activate



Now radiate




A perfect state



Food on plate



Gravitate
The Earth's own weight




Designate your love as fate



At ninety-eight we all rotate



Liberate



Liberate



Overflowing with brackish ponds of bubbling pus, brain-­rattling disjunctions of sound and image, and at times almost dauntingly incomprehensible plot twists and eye-assaulting bouts of brutish montage, Jigoku is more than merely a boundary-pummeling classic of the horror genre—it’s as lurid a study of sin without salvation as the silver screen has ever seen. -- Chuck Stephens

Ruth Crawford Seeger - Modernist-cum-Folkie

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 8, 2009 07:43pm | Post a Comment
Female composers getting the short shrift is certainly nothing new, and is by no means limited to classical music. But as an admittedly casual fan of atonality, dissonance, modernism and serialism, I was surprised in February of this year to, for the first time, stumble across Middlewestern composer Ruth Crawford Seeger's unique, innovative musical voice. She immediately became a featured artist on The Lunatic Asylum and I became interested in her story.

Ruth Porter Crawford was born on July 3, 1901 in East Liverpool, Ohio, supposedly the "World Capital of Pottery." Her father was an itinerant minister. Her mother began her musical education with piano lessons when she was 11. Upon graduation from high school, she entered Foster's School of Musical Art in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1921, when it relocated to Miami, Crawford enrolled at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, where she studied with Madame Valborg Collett, Polish-born Henriot Levy and Louise Robyn. By 24, with the completion of her earliest work, she already displayed a unique modernist voice.


In Chicago, she met Djane Lavoie Herz, who in turn introduced her to the music of sometime-serialist Russian composer Alexander Scriabin. Through Lavoie Herz, she met and fell in with transpersonal astrologer/composer Dane Rudhyar, theorist/composer Henry Cowell and pianist Richard Bühlig. Cowell was an early supporter of her work and arranged for performances of her compositions in New York, where her folkish take on avant-garde drew comparisons to the work of Charles Ives and Aaron Copland.

In 1927 she was employed by famed poet Carl Sandburg, teaching piano to his children. Having played a part in introducing her to American folk songs, she returned the favor by contributing to his publication The American Songbag. Two years later she set several of his compositions to music. That same year, 1929, she began studying composition with Adolf Weidig and Charles Seeger.

A partial early discography:

Kaleidoscopic Changes on an Original Theme Ending with a Fugue
(1924)
5 Preludes (1924–5)
Adventures of Tom Thumb (1925)
Music for Small Orchestra (1926)
Sonata for Violin and Piano (1926)
Suite, 5 Wind Instrument (1927) (rev. 1929)
4 Preludes (1927–8)
Nine Preludes for Piano (1928)
5 Songs to Poems by Carl Sandburg: Home Thoughts, White Moon, Joy, Loam, Sunsets (1929)
Suite No. 2, for Strings (1929)
A Piano Study in Mixed Accents (1930)
4 Diaphonic Suites (1930)
3 Chants: no.1, To an Unkind God, no.2 To an Angel, no.3, Female chorus (1930)
String Quartet (1931)


In March 1930 she became the first woman to receive the Guggenheim Fellowship and went to Berlin, where she composed String Quartet, sung in an imaginary language and based on the Bhagavad Gita. In November of 1931, Crawford married her composition teacher, Seeger. After receiving another Guggenheim award, they moved to Paris. In 1933, at the ISCM Festival in Amsterdam, her Three Songs for voice, oboe, percussion and strings was the only American piece performed.

In the 1930s, Ruth and Charles Seeger became Communists and their interest shifted from Adorno-inspired theory to populism. Her subsequent compositions reflected a philosophical shift, and the beginning of a musical one:

Rat Riddles (1932)
Two Ricercare: Sacco, Vanzetti - Chinaman, Laundryman (1932) (text by H.T. Tsiang)
Rissolty Rossolty (1939)


By 1934 Crawford Seeger, for the most part, stopped composing and started developing new methods of primary music education. She focused on raising her family (for the most part) rather than composing original works. She and her family moved to DC in 1936 when her husband received an appointment in the music division of the Resettlement Administration, charged with collecting songs for the Library of Congress. At this point she began arranging and interpreting folk music, which went hand in hand with both her husband's postion as well as her own developing trancendentalism. Crawford Seeger and her husband transcribed songs for the John and Alan Lomax book, Our Singing Country.


In 1948, she published American Folk Songs for Children. Eventually, several of her children became incredibly important in the folk music scene, Mike, Peggy and (stepson) Pete Seeger.


In 1951, composer Esther Williamson Ballou urged Crawford Seeger to join the DC chapter of the NAACC (National Association for American Composers and Conductors). After announcing a competition, Crawford Seeger put her other work on hold to work on the Suite for Wind Quintet (1952). It won and Crawford Seeger wrote to her friends Carl and Charlotte Ruggles, "I believe I'm going to work again -- more. If I live to be 99 as my grandfather did, I will have 48 more years." Unfortunately, she died of intestinal cancer in Chevy Chase, Maryland not long after, on November 18, 1953, just 52 years old.

  Ruth Crawfod Seeger Chamber Works CD

Crawford Seeger, according to her peer Henry Cowell, broke the stereotypical notion of female composers with her serious, adventurous and unsentimental compositions. On the other hand, she continued in the tradition of talented female composers like Clara Schumann and Alma Mahler, who sacraficed their own considerable musical talents for their families whilst their husbands soaked in the glory. Although highly regarded by her peers, some of her works, such as the first and third chants in Three Chants, weren't recorded until 1996. Yet there's no reason Crawford Seeger shouldn't be held in the same esteem as similar but more widely known composers like Schoenberg or Webern.

World of Ruth Crawford Seeger CD  Ruth Crawfod Seeger: Portrait CD

This Week At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, March 8, 2009 12:20pm | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly!

The March / April calendar is now online:
www.NewBevCinema.com

Printed calendars will be in early this week! Now  we need your help to make sure they get seen - pick one up for yourself and a few for your friends!

Screenwriter Josh Olson, writer of the Oscar nominated script for David Cronenberg's 2005 film A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, will be guest curator and will appear in person together with other special guests. The week kicks off with a screening of his A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE paired with Sam Peckinpah's STRAW DOGS, and then continues with a series of films selected by Mr. Olson.

From Josh Olson:

A couple years ago, I drove past the New Beverly, and came to a screeching halt in the rain when I saw they were showing a double feature of Straw Dogs and A History of Violence. I was flattered, honored, tickled, and half a dozen other things that felt pretty damn good, and I mentioned this event many times in many forums.

So, flash forward to this year, and I am now programming said theater for a week - the second week of March, to be precise.

There's no theme to the week, save "These are movies I love," and it's a weird, hodgepodge of stuff.

I'll be there to introduce them all, and, in some cases, to talk to some of the writers responsible for them.

MARCH 8th: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Posted by Billyjam, March 8, 2009 05:00am | Post a Comment

Today, March 8th, is the day recognized every year as International Woman's Day (IWD). It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women. IWD began as a political event, with the annual event blended in the culture of many countries (primarily Russia, as well as other nations of the former Soviet bloc).

While In some cultures IWD has lost some of its political flavor and become simply an occasion for men to express their love or respect towards women (a la Valentines Day meets Mother's Day), in many more countries it has maintained its political/sociological edge, where issues pertaining specifically to women are discussed. This year is no exception, as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned that the specific health-care needs of women are often ignored or insufficiently taken into account in war situations.

The ICRC points out, "In the world’s least developed countries, many of which are at war, women are 300 times more likely to die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications than in developed countries, according to UNICEF. While armed conflicts and other violence affect entire communities, women are particularly at risk of rape and other forms of sexual violence. Because of poor security conditions or because they have no means of transportation, it is often impossible for women to reach a health-care facility so as to give birth safely."

And in recognition of IWD, leaders from seven international organizations converged in New York this week for a 'Girl Power and Potential' reception with the event featuring a panel of speakers outlining the strategies and goals of the United Nations Interagency Task Force on Adolescent Girls. For more information click here.

All American Girls

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, March 7, 2009 01:00am | Post a Comment





































Thanks to Chris Matthews for this brilliant find. The rather religious Sister Sledge might not have envisioned this group of gals when they named their album All American Girls but, after finding these photos stuffed inside of said LP, I must say there is something totally beautiful & appropriate about the pairing.

My Current Ten

Posted by Smiles Davis, March 6, 2009 09:47pm | Post a Comment




Diplo: Decent Work For Decent Pay (hip-hop)









   Madlib: Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6: A Tribute to... (hip-hop)









Señor Coconut: Coconut FM Legendary Latin Tunes (electronica)










88-keys: The Death of Adam (hip-hop)











Rodriguez: Cold Fact (rock)










Nightmares On Wax: Thought So... (electronica)










Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (jazz)










Nikka Costa: Pebble to A Pearl (rock)










James Pants: Welcome (electronica)










Slumdog Millionaire
Motion Picture Soundtrack  (sndtrx)








Delia Derbyshire - electronic music pioneer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 6, 2009 07:33pm | Post a Comment

The Guardian once described Delia Derbyshire as “The unsung heroine of British electronic music,” seemingly implying that there are other heroines of British electronic music that are more widely… sung. I suppose there is Daphne Oram but the English never use less than three adjectives when one will suffice, so let’s just say that Delia Derbyshire is an unsung heroine of music. That she happens to have worked primarily in electronic music is secondary and that she was British shouldn't be held against her. She was a wizard and pioneer who, instead of guarding her magical abililties, eagerly shared her techniques and discoveries, but was stifled by the BBC’s draconian demands that their artists work and die in anonymity.


Delia was born in Coventry on May 5th, 1937. As a girl, she learned piano and violin and attended Barr's Hill School. She later attended college at Girton in Cambridge. After initially pursuing studies in math, she switched courses to music before graduation. After graduation, she began to look for work in the music field, quickly butting up against the deeply entrenched sexism of the field. In fact, in 1959, upon applying for a job at Decca, she was flatly told that their policy was to not hire women to work in the studios. The United Nations proved more diplomatic than the folks at Decca, and she worked there for a short while. Then she returned to England and found employment at the London-based music publisher, Boosey & Hawkes. She didn’t stay long.
In 1960, she was hired as a trainee studio manager at the BBC, working with the Radiophonic Workshop, then just a few years old. It was an organization charged with producing experimental incidental music and sound effects for the BBC Third Programme’s radio plays in cases where the normal orchestral score was deemed inappropriate. Her predecessors had included Harry Desmond Briscoe and Daphne Oram, two noted pioneers of electronic music and musique concrète.
Derbyshire came on board following Oram’s departure, as part of a group of young artists that also included Brian Hodgson and John Baker. Many of her initial pieces were collaborations with artist/playwright Barry Bermange. One such piece was 1964’s The Dreams, a sound collage of people describing their dreams with Derbyshire's electronic sounds.


Gradually, the Radiophonic Workshop began producing more music and sound effects for television than radio. One year earlier, in 1963, Derbyshire performed her mostly widely-heard work when given the score for Ron Grainer’s theme to a new science-fiction series, Doctor Who. Incorporating filters, tape loops and valve oscillators, she fashioned one of the most memorable pieces of electronic music ever, and one that's especially dear to Whovians. Grainer was so impressed he sought to give Derbyshire co-author credit but the BBC prevented it. Although officially uncredited, the popularity of the theme resulted in her employers giving her many other assignments and she ultimately produced over 200 pieces including noteworthy scores for Great Zoos of the World and Cyprian Queen. The BBC was, however, by no means entirely supportive of her work, rejecting many of her compositions, claiming they were too bizarre, “too lascivious for 11 year olds” and “too sophisticated for the BBC2 audience.”


As a result of the BBC’s restrictions, Derbyshire began to work outside their confines in 1965. Her initial collaborations included working with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Roberto Gerhard (on Anger of Achilles) and Ianni Christou. In 1966, her music was combined with light shows at a festival at Bagnor’s Watermill Theater, perhaps the earliest electronic show even in England. She also recorded a demo, “Moogies Bloogies” with the under-appreciated Anthony Newley, although it was never released. Derbyshire, Hodgson and Peter Zinovieff formed Unit Delta Plus, later exhibiting their music at Zinovieff's Putney townhouse. One such exhibition, The Million Volt Light and Sound Rave, (at The Roadhouse in Chalk Farm) included the only public performance of The Beatles' "Carnival of Light.” Derbyshire also provided music for Yoko Ono's "Wrapping Event," in which Ono tied herself to the lion statues (which she’d wrapped in white cloth) on Trafalgar Square.


Unit Delta Plus proved short-lived and broke up after a performance at the Royal College of Art in 1967. Derbyshire next worked with Guy Woolfenden, contributing to the score for Peter Hall's production of Macbeth and, in 1968, his film, Work is a Four Letter Word. Derbyshire again worked with Hodgson in setting up the Kaleidophon studio in Camden Town with fellow electronic musician, David Vorhaus. Along with Vorhaus and Hodgson she formed White Noise and released, through Island, An Electric Storm. When Hodgson and Derbyshire left, White Noise became a solo venture for Vorhaus. Meanwhile, Derbyshire and Hodgson (using the pseudonyms “Li De la Russe,” and “Nikki St. George,” respectively) provided music for The Tomorrow People and Timeslip over at the BBC’s rivals, ITV. If you're like me, you loved The Tomorrow People and it's great theme. On the other hand, if you're like my stepbrother, David, you claimed the sight of a melting, alien Adolf Hitler was the stuff of nightmares and were a big wuss.


In 1973, Hodgson left the BBC and created Electophon with John Lewis. They were later joined by Derbyshire and recorded several albums, as well as the soundtrack to The Legend of Hell House. In 1974, she composed the music for Anthony Roland's award-winning film of Pamela Boone's photography, Circle of Light and the Dutch short, Een van die Dagen. Derbyshire’s complete discography has yet to be fully compiled, but her credits also include the music for the Brighton Festival, the City of London Festival, the RSC Stratford, Greenwich Theatre, Hampstead Theatre and an ICI-sponsored fashion show.


By the early ‘70s, frustrated with music and battling alcoholism and depression, Derbyshire retired from composition and instead found work in art galleries, bookstores, museums and as a radio operator. After many years, she re-entered the music world in 2001, working with Spaceman 3’s Sonic Boom on MESMA (Multisensory Electronic Sounds Music & Art), an organization aimed at advancing electronic music. At the time she said, "Working with people like Sonic Boom on pure electronic music has re-invigorated me. He is from a later generation but has always had an affinity with the music of the ‘60s. One of our first points of contact -- the visionary work of Peter Zinovieff, has touched us both, and has been an inspiration. Now without the constraints of doing 'applied music', my mind can fly free and pick-up where I left off."


Unfortunately for fans, no long after enthusiastically returning to music, Delia Derbyshire died on July 3rd, 2001, in Northampton. Her private collection was bequeathed to Mark Ayres who, in collaboration with Manchester University, is working on fully digitizing her entire catalog of work. As of now, it appears here and there, on Doctor Who, Vol. 1: The Early Years, Doctor Who, Vol. 2: New Beginnings and BBC Radiophonic Music. In 2002, a play about her, Blue Veils and Golden Sands, aired on Radio 4. Two years later, at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre, another play about her, Standing Wave -- Delia Derbyshire in the '60s, proved that this unsung heroine still has her fans, and may someday soon find adequate recognition for her pioneering work.

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 03:06:09

Posted by Billyjam, March 6, 2009 06:00am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 03:06:09

1) K'NAAN Troubadour (A&M/Octone Records)

2) Zion I The TakeOver (Gold Dust Media)

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

4) RZA Afro Samurai Resurrection (TVT)

5) Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique (reissue) (Capitol)

Thanks to Inti at the Berkeley Amoeba Music for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five chart which finds reigning Somalia hip-hop music star K'NAAN in the top slot with his new album Troubadour. He was also number one at the Hollywood Amoeba last week. Meanwhile, Oakland duo ZIon I, who were number one at Amoeba SF two weeks ago, are in the number two slot with their highly recommended new album The TakeOver, which is full of potential hit singles. Currently Zion I, made up of producer AmpLive and emcee Zumbia, are on a West Coast tour. For details click here.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Beastie Boys' second album, 1989's Paul's Boutique, was recently reissued and has been selling well at all Amoeba stores since its late January reissue date. At the Berkeley store it is this week's number five top seller.

A lot has changed in the 20 years since the album's initial release from the New York group. Initially considered a paul's boutiquecommercial failure by their record label, who expected Licensed To Ill-scale sales and pop radio acceptance, the album catapulted the Beasties from being remembered as mere novelty rap act to serious hip-hoppers in the music history books. Included in countless magazines and critics' "Best Of" album lists, the 20th anniversary reissue of Paul's Boutique package features 24-bit remaster audio and a commentary track. If you don't already own this album, get it.

Billie Maxwell - The Cow Girl Singer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 5, 2009 09:00pm | Post a Comment

The 1920s and ‘30s were full of cowgirl singers like the Girls of the Golden West (Millie and Dolly Good), Patsy Montana and Texas Ruby, most of whom were just as inauthentic as their better known male counterparts like Gene Autry and the Sons of the Pioneers. However, one western performer was the real deal: Billie Maxwell.

                     
One of the two known photos of Billie Maxwell (left), Springerville, Arizona in the 1920s (right).

Billie Maxwell was born in 1906 and raised near Springerville, Arizona, same place where Ike Clanton, one of the Missourian players in the Gunfight at the OK Corral, was shot dead by a detective not 20 years earlier. Her father, E. Curtis Maxwell, was locally renowned as a fiddler who'd amassed a massive repertoire of songs learnt from his father, William Beatty Maxwell, an Illinoisan who’d moved first to Nevada and then Arizona in the 1800s. Curtis Maxwell formed a string band called the White Mountain Orchestra who toured (on horseback) the ranches in the area, playing dances. Not only did Maxwell know many traditional songs, but he composed his own work too, including “Escudilla Waltz” and “Frolic of the Mice.” In her teenage years, Billie joined her father’s band, where she played guitar alongside her brother, Marion, who played mandolin. Eventually she occasionally struck out on her own, performing solo shows in the backcountry.


In 1929, at the age of 23, she married a local schoolteacher, Alvin Chester Warner, and settled down to raise a family. A few months later, in June, her uncle Frank Maxwell (a lawman over in Silver City) noticed a classified in the local paper advertising an upcoming field recording session for Victor over in El Paso. At an audition, the White Mountain Orchestra were deemed worthy and two weeks later Chester Warner drove his wife, Marion, Curtis and Frank to a recording session where they met Ralph Peer.

Jack Thorp (left), John Lomax (center) and Ralph Peer (right)

Back in the 1910s, N. Howard “Jack” Thorp and John Lomax were (separately) traveling the west, compiling books of western songs. By the 1920s, when radio began to proliferate, western audiences were by and large more interested in hearing locally popular music rather than the urbane ditties of Tin Pan Alley. Ralph Peer was a famed talent scout from Missouri who was a pioneer in field recording and, often working as a talent scout, traveled the country recording blues, gospel, hillbilly, jazz and western performers outside studio settings.


Peer listened to the White Mountain Orchestra cut four numbers, “Escudilla Waltz,” “Gooson Quadrille,” “Leather Britches” and “Maxwell’s Old Rye Waltz.” After they finished, Peer singled out Maxwell and asked if she could sing. She sang “Billy Venero” and, suitably impressed, he asked her to record solo. She obliged with “Arizona Girl I Left Behind,” “Billy Venero, pt I,” “Billy Venero, pt II,” “Cowboy's Wife,” “Haunted Hunter” and “Where Your Sweetheart Waits For You.” Although she may not have realized it, in doing so, she was the first woman to record western music.


After the session, Billie continued playing with her dad’s band and they all moved over to New Mexico, where they primarily played in a joint called The Smokehouse. After the birth of her first of ultimately two children, Billie Maxwell retired from music. She died February 18, 1954. Although she never received much recognition nor money for her role as western’s first female to record, her six songs are now part of history. Currently, her tiny but important musical output isn't collected on any one recording. Rather, her songs appear on Let 'Er Buck! - 25 Authentic Cowboy Songs, Hillbilly Honeymoon, When I Was A Cowboy Vol. 1 & 2 and "Where Your Sweetheart Waits For You" is still only available on the original Victor 78. Hopefully, someday she'll be recognized as the pioneer she was.

 


out this week 2/24 & 3/3...depeche mode....gui boratto...sebastian tellier...

Posted by Brad Schelden, March 5, 2009 07:35pm | Post a Comment
I was always a way bigger fan of Depeche Mode than U2. I still remember the day I decided to become a Depeche Mode fan instead of U2. It was sort of like the day I decided to become a Blur fan instead of an Oasis fan. I know many people like both bands. I have many friends who like both U2 and Depeche Mode. But for me, I felt like it had to be one or the other. My brother was the U2 fan in the family, so that was probably the main reason I decided to turn my back on U2. To this day I have never really understood everybody's fascination with U2. I think U2 did end up becoming the more popular of the 2 bands. They both still have huge followings. Both are on a short list of rock bands from the 80's that can still sell out huge arena tours and sell tons of albums. U2's first album Boy came out in 1980. No Line On the Horizon is out this week and is the band's 12th album. Depeche Mode's first album Speak and Spell came out in 1981. Their new album, Sounds of the Universe, is also their 12th album. U2 beat them by about a year with their first album and are now beating them by about a month with their 12th album. Anton Corbijn obviously could not make up his mind like I did-- I think he likes both bands equally. He seems to have done almost every video and photo shoot for both bands. I probably will not even get around to hearing the new U2 album, but I am curious how the fans are receiving it. They are one of those bands who put out an album and the longtime fans justautomatically buy it. I am the same way with Depeche Mode. I am seriously counting down the days until the new album comes out -- April 21st. Only 47 days to go! But the new single is ready for you to listen to at least. I actually heard it on KROQ for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I probably heard "People are People" for the first time on KROQ as well, many years ago. I may not be a U2 fan, but I do love the U2 fans almost as much as I love the longtime Depeche Mode fans. I sort of stand with them in solidarity. It is not always easy to stand by a band for 28 years, but they make it worth it. Depeche Mode is one of those bands that I can't imagine my life without. One of those bands that we all have been made fun of for liking but also a band that has given us a whole new set of friends and a sort of musical solidarity with each other.

COVERING CREEP: RATING RADIOHEAD COVERS

Posted by Billyjam, March 5, 2009 11:11am | Post a Comment
radiohead
Since Radiohead first released the Thom Yorke-penned song "Creep" seventeen years ago, numerous artists -- including many well known, high-profile acts -- have covered the Radiohead hit that became so popular that the band themselves distanced themselves from it for a spell.

Originally released in 1992 as their debut single, "Creep" was not initially a hit. But it did become one when it was rereleased the following year, when it also appeared on their debut album Pablo Honey. Out of uneasiness with becoming a sort of one-hit-wonder band associated with this sole major worldwide hit, plus the fact that Radiohead had shifted in style as the nineties progressed, Yorke and the band ceased playing it in concert altogether by 1998. After three years, they changed their mind and re-added it to their show playlists, although only sporadically.

Truth is that it is a great song and one that one that countless others have covered: many of which are included below in either video or audio format. Included in the versions are covers by Beck, Chrissie Hynde/Pretenders, Moby, KoRN, the Dutch band Shiver, Sad Kermit, and Weezer at a Hootenanny in Portland last summer. Weezer also played the song at a Hootenanny in the Bay Area and again at a concert in Tokyo last year. Also below is the original version by Radiohead. Not below but viewable on YouTube is Tears For Fears 1996 live in Brasil cover of the song. 

My personal fave remains the original, with Chrissie Hynde coming in a close second. I place off-key Moby (an ariist who I normally like) in the last place, even behind the frog named Sad Kermit. If you have time, check out the versions below and post your opinion / rating of best to worst version in the COMMENTS below.
                                                          -------------------------------
Amoeblog Update: thanks to the Amoeblog commenters SFatNIght who informed me of the Prince cover of "Creep" at Coachella last year which is not great audio quality recording but well worth checking out, and also to Amoeblog commenter Robert Gable who turned me onto the wonderful Edmund Welles bass clarinet quartet version of the song which I have added below. Thanks!

March 3, 2009

Posted by phil blankenship, March 4, 2009 05:09pm | Post a Comment








Nash of Wooden Shjips Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, March 4, 2009 04:02pm | Post a Comment
Wooden Shjips are my favorite local band. See this past piece to read more about why I particularly adore them, and you should too. You can check out some of their music and tour dates on their Myspace page, watch a video from their '07 Amoeba instore here and see more pictures here. Read on for my interview with Nash, Wooden Shjips' keyboard pro.


Miss Ess: What have you been listening to lately?

Nash: In the past week I have been listening to a lot of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and a few things I just got for my birthday, La Düsseldorf and Cold Son.

ME: What music was playing in your house when you were growing up, before you had a choice about it?

Nash: I think my mom listened to a lot of soft rock radio in the 70's because I seem to know all those songs when I hear them now, and my dad was always into classical and opera, but I only really remember him playing Christmas music. I always had a record player in my room and certainly played whatever kid records I had, like Sesame Street, Muppet Show and Disney records. And with two older brothers, I was hearing plenty of Beatles and Rolling Stones, not to mention a little disco, before age 10.

ME: Was there a precise moment you remember when you were young and you got into music? Where were you and what were you listening to?

Nash: I remember being really into “Blue Jay Way” by The Beatles and playing it over and over again on my parents' stereo when I was 8 or 9.

ME: Was there someone in your life at a young age that encouraged your musical interest or abilities?

Nash: Music was important in our house, and my brothers and I were encouraged to play instruments in elementary school band. I played trumpet not very well until I started high school. At that point, my interest in music was only going to concerts, but my parents were still supportive of letting me do that. Although I started playing guitar when I was in grad school, I didn’t play keyboards until a few years ago. My brother moved, leaving me with his Ace Tone organ, and I was messing around with it from time to time when Ripley asked if I wanted to play organ in Wooden Shjips.

What records from your youth were the most inspirational for you?

I remember listening to Hunky Dory, Beggar’s Banquet, and Blood On The Tracks a lot as a teenager, but when I was really young it was all about Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem.

You are from back east. What drew you to California?

I came to California to go to college at UC Santa Cruz. I grew up in Vermont and I wanted to experience life on the other side on the continent in a place where it didn’t snow 6 months a year.

Do you ever find it strange that so many people jump to label your music as having a 'California sound' when you are not from Cali originally?

Well, the 'California Sound' label is easy for people to place on the music simply because we live in SF.  Since a guy from Texas originated the ‘Bakersfield Sound’, I don’t think it is about where you grow up, but where you play. Still, it is amazing how much being a band from San Francisco resonates with people around the world. Some believe we are tapping into some artistic force left over from the 60’s and have asked me to explain if such a thing exists. I can only point to the natural beauty and light that must have inspired previous generations. But if we were a band from the Midwest, our influences and vision would still combine to produce something similar and maybe we would be a band that evokes the 'California Sound' out of the Great Plains.

How did you decide on and craft the sound for Wooden Shjips? Particularly the reverb on the vocals?

The idea was to play very primitive, improvisational psych rock and the reverb on the vocals fits well with that vibe, making the vocals another texture within the music rather than the focus.

I booked a show for you at Cafe du Nord when you had never played out before. What made you decide the time was right to play live at that point?

The four of us (Omar on drums, Dusty on bass, Ripley on guitar and vocals and me on organ) had been playing together for about 5 months and we had worked out several songs that we were planning on recording for our first album on Holy Mountain and the single for Sub Pop. It just happened that you asked when we had the time free and the material ready. It was the perfect time for us to play our first show; thanks so much for setting it up!

Somehow I must have psychically known that you were ready! What was it like to play with Roky Erikson at Noisepop a few years back? Did you get to meet him and if so, what was he like?

It was such an honor to open for Roky at Noisepop. All of us were excited to be playing a show that we would have wanted to go to anyway. We had the opportunity to meet him after he played, but it was our third show and we didn’t even feel comfortable hanging out backstage -- so while none of us actually got to say it to him that night, he put on an amazing show!

How was your tour of Europe? What were the audiences like there, and how were you received?

Playing in Europe is great. We have been to England three times and the Continent twice and we were well received at all the shows. The audiences there are very supportive, very enthusiastic and very friendly. A lot of them come talk to us after we play and ask for us to sign cds or records. One of our favorite shows was in Valladolid, Spain. We played in a youth center on a Sunday night, the only band on the bill. At 8, they opened the doors to the room and people of all ages (toddlers included) poured in and rocked out with us for an hour. Everyone was so excited to have us there, giving us presents, taking pictures with us, and getting autographs. We had so much fun that by the time we were at a tapas bar later that night, it hardly seemed like we played.

How did you decide to add trumpet to some of your music? I love it! It's unexpected and fantastic.

Dusty plays trumpet too and when working on songs, we would talk about times when it might be good addition. As we recorded "SOL ’07," we knew that trumpet would be perfect. People are always talking about the ‘trumpet song’ after we play it live.

Where did you record your upcoming album and who did the production work?

We recorded this album in our practice space, just like the first album. Dusty and Ripley are responsible for the recording and mixing. Some songs we record live and others start with the drums and bass tracks and we build from there. We use an old Tascam 80-8 8-track that Dusty keeps going. It is great to do it all ourselves because we can take our time and record when we are inspired and not stress about studio costs or scheduling.

Yeah, that sounds like a good way to do it and keep some of the spontaneity of the moment. Was there any particular idea or concept behind the new album?

The songs are about motion, moving through time and space.

I see you are playing Psych Fest 2 in Austin just before SXSW -- and Golden Dawn are playing as well! Really exciting. Anyway, can you tell me more about this event and how it is put together? Who else are you looking forward to seeing perform? For once I am wishing I was going to Texas!

We weren't planning on going to Texas this year, but The Black Angels are putting on this fest, Psych Fest 2, the weekend before SXSW and we couldn't turn them down, especially when they told us all the great bands that were coming: A Place to Bury Strangers, The Warlocks, The Strange Boys, Sky Sunlight Saxon, Dead Meadow, The Golden Dawn and many others. Three nights of amazing psych rock better than any line-up during SXSW.

Totally. Sounds radical. What aspect of the creative process do you enjoy most: writing the music, playing it or recording it?

I enjoy playing the most. Writing and recording are fun, but there is a lot of time spent on defining the little things, like tempo and tone, that make it much more of a process of perfecting a vision. When we play, all those little things are worked out and everything is just out there to explore the vision. I improvise a lot and at that point it can’t be done over and there is no sense in worrying if the little things are perfect, as they just might be perfect in that moment.

What has been the musical high point of your life thus far?

There have been so many high points in the past few years. Every show, every new recording is another high point. The best is when people come up after shows to share with us how much they enjoy the music.

What is your most prized piece of musical gear and why?

I don’t have that much gear. The only thing I’ve really invested in is my Farfisa Fast 4 combo organ. It is a lot of fun to play and I use it a lot on the new album.

What is your favorite local band?

Such a hard question to answer! We’ve played with some great local bands like Sic Alps, Hank IV, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, Ascended Master, Sleepy Sun, Om, Howlin Rain, and some others I am sure I am forgetting, but I am always excited to see those bands play and look forward to hearing their next releases.

Name a record you love that you think more people should hear.

Magic Flowers Droned by Psychedelic Horseshit.

Do you have any musical heroes?

Neil Young.

He's the ultimate! What song best describes your life right now?

“Yea! Heavy And A Bottle Of Bread” by Bob Dylan and The Band.

What has been your best find at Amoeba?

I’ve had some great finds from browsing the used lps and 7”s too, but what I like best about Amoeba is that when I am inspired to seek out something, it’s always there. Last time I did that, I went in to find some Carl Ruggles and came away with a nice copy of Sun Treader for under 5 bucks.

Thanks so much for your time!

MISSION DISTRICT CELEBRATED IN BEN STOKES' ANIMATED AZEEM VID

Posted by Billyjam, March 4, 2009 01:21pm | Post a Comment

The brilliant, Ben Stokes-directed video above for Azeem's Air Cartoons' album track "Latin Revenge" (on Oaklyn Records with music production by DJ Zeph) takes place in the Mission District of San air cartoons azeemFrancisco. Inspired in part by Terry Gilliam's work and also by Azeem's music, the animated piece also puts a spin on the role of how police are perceived in society. In the video Azeem gains popularity as he peruses the streets of the Mission (eventually becoming a King Kong-like menace) as meanwhile a host of local neighborhood characters take notice. The police in the video are described by the maker as "enablers and cheerleaders."

I called up Azeem the other day to ask him what he thought about the new video. "It made me a fan and it's my video," he laughed, adding that, "All I can say about that video is that I can really almost take no credit for it. I just made the song. Like you and anyone else, I am fan of the video and I am amazed at the level of artistry that it incorporates." The video's animation was done by Ben Stokes (the video's producer/director) with additional animation by Patrick Siemer, who drew from the thousands of still photographs they shot, then cut up, mixed and matched, and then painstakenly animated using After effects.

Ben Stokes, also a part of Tino Corps, D.H.S.,, &  Meat Beat Manifesto, has been professionally making music videos for about 20 years. The Mission District, San Francisco-based Stokes started out doing videos back in 1990 in his native Chicago where he began directing & producing a lot of the pioneering hometown WaxTrax industrial music artists' videos such as Ministry and the Revolting Cocks.

ALIENS Saturday Midnight At The New Beverly!

Posted by phil blankenship, March 4, 2009 12:54pm | 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!

March 7

Sigourney Weaver vs.
ALIENS

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


March

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



March 28 Sam Raimi's Darkman
(Now, Crime Has a New Enemy, And Justice Has a New Face!)

Alice Guy-Blache - first female of film direction

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 3, 2009 08:33pm | Post a Comment
 

Early Years

Alice Guy was born on July 1, 1873. Her French parents were working in Chile, where they owned a chain of bookstores. When Alice's mother got pregnant, the couple returned to Paris where Alice was born. Soon after, her parents returned to South America and left her to be raised by her grandmother in Switzerland. After eventually moving to Chile to rejoin her parents, the family returned to France and enrolled Alice in school. Once again, her parents returned to Chile. Shortly afterward, her father and brother died.


Career
In 1894, Alice was hired by Léon Gaumont as his secretary and still photographer. Whilst working for him, she began experimenting with filmmaking. A couple years later, Gaumont started his own company, Gaumont Film Company and Alice was head of production from 1896 to 1906. In the late 1890s (c. 1898), she directed her first film, La Fee aux Choux (The Cabbage Fairy). In doing so, Alice Guy became the first female film director. In addition to directing at least 324 films, she contributed as a producer, writer or in some other aspect on many more. Though she made slapstick, fantasy, sci-fi, western and action films as well as many other genres, many of her filmes were intended for female audiences and bore a deliberate and outspoken feminist sensibility.



Pioneering experiments
Not only was Guy prodigious, she was an experimenter and pioneer, employing and developing numerous special effects, developing narrative conventions and experimenting with synchronized sound (using Gaumont's Chronophone system) to produce sound films in 1905 and '06. She was also one of the first directors to direct fiction. Though she was not originally from America, the Who's Who in the Motion Picture World of 1915 credits her with being the first American to make a film with more than one reel.

                               

In 1907, she married Herbert Blaché-Bolton, the English production director for Gaumont's British and German productions. The two moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1909 to oversee Gaumont's productions there. In 1910, the Blachés left Gaumont and formed their own company, The Solax Company (partnering with George A. Magie) which became the largest film studio in America in the pre-Hollwyood era, operating out of Flushing, New York on Lemoine Avenue.

  

In the press of the day, though celebrated as "the world's first and only woman director," she was treated as something of a curiosity. This was, after all, an era in which women still didn't have the right to vote. A 1912 issue of Moving Picture World noted "Madame Blache is never ruffled, never agitated, never annoyed by the obtrusive effects of minor characters to thrust themselves into prominence. With a few simple directions, uttered without apparent emotion, she handles the interweaving movements like a military leader might the maneuvers of an army."


With her husband working as cinematographer and Alice Guy-Blaché directing many one-reelers, within two years they were successful enough to invest over $100,000 dollars in an advanced production facility in Fort Lee, New Jersey, then one of America's hotbeds of film production. In 1913, their company became Blache Features, Inc. There's an historical marker at the former Solax site now, at the location of Fort Lee High.



Selected Discography
La Fée aux Choux (The Cabbage Fairy) (~ 1898) (one of the first scripted fictional films)
La Esméralda (1905)
Madam Has Her Cravings (1906) (an early film with close-ups about a woman obsessed with phalluses)
La Fee Printemps (1906) (one of the first color films, painstakingly hand-tinted)
The Life of Christ (1906) (a big budget film with over 300 extras)
A Child's Sacrifice (1910) (the first Solax film, starring Magda "The Solax Kid" Foy)
A Fool and His Money (1912)
Algie the Miner (1912)
Algie Making an American Citizen (1912)
In the Year 2000 (1912) (about a future in which a woman rules the world)
A House Divided (1913)
The Pit and the Pendulum (1913)
Shadows of the Moulin Rouge (1913)
Matrimony's Speed Limit (1913)
The Woman of Mystery (1914)
My Madonna (1915)
House of Cards (1917)
The Great Adventure (1918)
Vampire (1920) (the year of her last directorial efforts)



Later Years
In 1922, the Blachés divorced and Solax closed its doors. Alice Guy-Blaché moved back to France with her two children, Reginald and Simone. She never returned to filmmaking, instead focusing on lecturing, writing novelizations and working to receive proper recognition for her work. In 1951, the Cinematheque Francais honored her as the world's first female filmmaker. In 1953, she was honored by the French govermenment with a Legion of Honor. In 1964 she moved back to the US to live with Simone. Alice Guy-Blaché died on March 24, 1968 at a nursing home in Mahwah, New Jersey.


As is so often the case, Alice Guy-Blaché died in relative obscurity, despite her irrefutable importance in the development of film. In 1975, Nicole-Lise Bernheim directed a short biography, Qui est Alice Guy?. 20 years later, in 1995, The National Board of Canada produced a documentary, The Lost Garden -- The Life and Cinema of Alice Guy-Blaché. In 1997, The Women in Cinema Film Festival was dedicated to her. More recently, in 2002, Alison McMahan published a biography, Alice Guy-Blaché -- Lost Visionary of the Cinema.

Follow me at ericbrightwell.com

Who's on first, Whats on second

Posted by Whitmore, March 3, 2009 07:43pm | Post a Comment

On this date, March 3rd, fifty years ago, comedian Lou Costello, best known as the plump bumbling half of the comedy team of Abbott and Costello, died of a heart attack. Reportedly his last words were "That was the best ice-cream soda I ever tasted," as he was finishing a strawberry cream soda.

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made over 40 films together in a 20 year career. Their signature comedy sketch Who's on First? was voted by Time in 1999 as the single greatest comedy routine of the 20th century. Who's on First? first appeared on radio in March 1938, after Abbott and Costello joined the cast of the The Kate Smith Hour. Two years later, with minor alterations, Abbott and Costello reprised the sketch in their Hollywood film debut, One Night in the Tropics starring Allan Jones, Nancy Allen and Bob Cummings.  
 
It was so successful, so famous that the bit appeared in several of their films. Audiences never seemed to tire of its ridiculous rapid-fire word play. In 1944 Abbott and Costello had the comedy sketch copyrighted.
 
The piece starts with Bud Abbott talking about the crazy nicknames of baseball ballplayers and Costello wants to know more about the local team and needless to say, who is playing each position.
 
Oh yeah, who's on first ... naturally.
 
The concept is as simple as that.
 
Unfortunately each of the ballplayers nicknames can also be interpreted as a non-responsive answer to Costello's endless questioning. Nearly 70 years later this bit is still absolutely brilliant. And absolutely absurd. Here's two versions.


Euro Chick Rebellion: Part II

Posted by Smiles Davis, March 3, 2009 02:38pm | Post a Comment

Music aficionados are just as hyped as I am about the return of Ms. Dynamite. She unofficially released her first single since her 2005 album release, Judgment Days. "Bad Gyal" was dropped on BBC radio where adoring fans recorded and reloaded the whole minute and some change teaser up on the Internet for everyone to ravage. The track was produced by garage don "Sticky Booo!" Stickey. It sounds as if M.I.A and some serious dancehall riddim married and had a lyrical baby, a true bundle of joy.

Salaam “The Chameleon” Remi
--pronounced "ray me"-- produced Ms. Dynamite's phenomenal debut album, A Little Deeper, which reached number 10 on the UK charts back in ‘03. How does one sum up Remi in anything less than a novel? He's worked with veterans like Santana and Nas as well as newbies Jazmine Sullivan and Chrisette Michelle. Mr. Remi was the mastermind behind that track for the Fugees no one could seem to get off the tip of their tongue: "Fu-Gee-La." Amy Winehouse's platinum selling debut album, Frank, had his name written all over it, not only as a producer, but as a song-writer as well. His pops was a music man himself. Van Gibbs found a nice cozy spot arranging, producing, leading bands, and playing guitar for artists like Harry Belafonte and Gloria Gaynor. As my Uncle Jerry would say in his fast talking, dirty Southern accent, "That's sum good blood right thar."

Ms. Dynamite has yet to release word on when the new album is set to drop or exactly who else is working on the production side, but rumor has it there is a larger two-step grime influence than her previous works. The hard core grime scene in the UK is somewhat similar to the Miami Bass scene here in the states. It disappeared from the radar for some time, but back in the 80's and the 90's it was often referred to as "booty music" or "dirty rap," with Luke and 2 Live Crew as the poster boys. We've recently seen the emergence of Miami Bass in mainstream success thanks to artists like Diplo, who fuses it together with his southern roots, trip hop and reggae dub. Grime or no grime, I'm excited about Ms. Dynamite's return to the spotlight. Apparently, Lily Allen is too. The rebellious youngster with a tutu said it brought her tears of utter happiness to hear about the impending return Ms. Dynamite. Lady Sovereign, my next subject, is equally excited. She can attest to knowing a little something about that grime scene I mentioned, especially because she reps as the only white female rapper to emerge into the spotlight from the tight knit circle.
 
Lady Sovereign was signed to Def Jam back in 2005 by Jay-Z after he made her drop acapella freestyle for him. She was the first white female MC ever signed to the label. Her debut album, Public Warning, dropped in October of '06 and introduced her to international recognition. The video for the song "Love Me or Hate Me" reached #1 on the US (and original) version of MTV's Total Request Live, making her the first British artist to ever do so. The 5 ft 1, pint-size Londoner with a fiercely independent creative spirit says she's never been your average rapper. If I had to describe her sound, I'd say Lady Sovereign is like Missy Elliot on pop rocks and hot tamales: rebelliously witty, sporty spiced, and relentlessly unattached to the social standards of femininity and sexuality. Her new album, Jigsaw, drops in the US on April 7th and April 13th in the UK on her very own label Miget Records. Her hit new single "So Human" samples what I believe is The Cure's 1985 smash "Close to Me" from The Head on The Door album. The first single from Jigsaw, "I Got You Dancing" dropped late last year with a fun packed video which happily marries a Crayola box out of School House Rock with urban street life. Just had to post. Till next time... chew the corners off.


Learn about upcoming album releases from similar artists like Annie and Peaches in Euro Chick Rebellion.

NEW MUSIC LABEL, FEAT. DAEDELUS, BASED ON FRIENDS OF FRIENDS

Posted by Billyjam, March 3, 2009 08:30am | Post a Comment
daedelusFor many, many years now Tuesdays have been the music industry's standard day of the week to release new records and CDs. And today, Tuesday March 3rd, is when brand new Los Angeles music label FoF Music is dropping its inaugural release, Friends of Friends Vol. 1 featuring Daedelus and fellow LA electronic act, duo Jogger. But similarities with the traditional music industry business model end there for this modern, post-Internet age, self-described "T-shirt label," whose catalog will be all digital file only releases.
 
"The Internet in many ways has been “the great equalizer” for both artists and music fans, giving us all new opportunities to release, buy and receive music," writes creator of this new indie label Leeor Brown on FoF's website. The concept for FoF Music, which stands for Friends of Friends Music, he writes, is to invite an artist "to join the FoF family by signing on to do a split EP; they in turn invite another musician or group to complete the split release and commission a designer to create the EP’s artwork on a limited edition T-Shirt which will include a download card (100% seed paper card-- Included will be the release, exclusive remixes and special content: ie videos, mixes etc)."

Today's premiere release, Friends of Friends Vol. 1, is a digital only six song shared "EP" with three songs each from number one "friend" Daedelus (born Alfred Darlington) and his friend Jogger. Alfred also invited friends Amir Yaghmai (who he attended high school with) and Jonathan Larroquette, both of whom are active live band members of his side project The Long Lost with his wife Laura, to also contribute to the new project. Additionally he invited the husband and wife art duo Kozyndan to do the cover art/t-shirt design for the release.

(In which we celebrate the birth of B.S.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 2, 2009 04:31pm | Post a Comment

"Say smažák!"
Composer Bedřich Smetana

As all of you are undoubtedly already aware, today would have been the 185 birthday of Czech composer, Bedřich Smetana (pronounced Bedřich Smetana), had he not succumbed to a tenacious and ultimately fatal case of death.

I always love to hear how you, my faithful readers, celebrate Smetana’s Birthday, whether it be the traditional donning of feather headdresses and consumption of chocolate 'n' gunpowder cakes, or playing the challenging 8-mile Egg Toss, or simply drawing x’s all over your skin in blue ink while cowering in a corner, gnashing your teeth and rubbing sores with the delicious, homemade watermelon hard candies.
In my family, we’ve replaced the expensive and messy tradition of drowning kittens in butterscotch with the more humane practice of snowing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This is not only kinder to animals, but ensures water-levels for the State of California remain drought-proof.


AMOEBLOG RECIPE HOT-TIP

Making snow is not as hard as it sounds. Here’s what you will need:

Water (lots of it!)
Land (we recommend Earth – it’s convenient, versatile, and completely disposable)
Good old fashioned T.L.C.!

Directions: First, be sure to bundle up. Making snow means making things cold! If you don’t have enough winter-wear to keep Jack Frost from nipping your nose, try drinking a bottle of vodka, or doing jumping jacks, or rubbing your skin with some soothing kerosene and lighting it on fire. Mmm… cozy! (Remember, it’s illegal for people under age 21 to drink vodka, so stick to the latter options for your youngsters!)

Next, supercool cloud droplets, about 10 micrometers in diameter, until they freeze, making sure a few molecules in the liquid droplet get together to form an arrangement – close to that in an ice lattice – to freeze around your nuclei. Once the droplets have frozen, grow them in a supersaturated environment (air saturated with respect to liquid water is supersaturated with respect to ice when the temperature is below the freezing point) and grow by diffusion of water molecules in the air onto the ice crystal surface where they are deposited. Because your droplets will be so much more numerous than the ice crystals (because of the relative numbers of ice vs. droplet nuclei), the crystals will grow to hundreds of micrometers or millimeters in size at the expense of the water droplets (the Wegner-Bergeron-Findeison process).

Then, simply drop them from the heavens, sit back, and enjoy!


The life of Bedřich Smetana, while simple and sweet, is complex and sad. Smetana’s family was so poor that they couldn’t afford to keep him in his mother’s womb, as they rented out the space to tenants for extra income. (In a twist of fate that would become later relevant, Hungarian composer Franz Liszt once spent a notoriously unknown weekend frolicking in Mrs. Smetana’s uterus with Caroline de Saint-Cricq, daughter of Charles X. It is from their shenanigans that the playground chant of “Hey-hum, hey-hum! Smells like endometrium!” is drawn.)

Eventually, after enjoying some breakfast and aging about 50 years, Smetana composed his most famous work, Má vlast (which, translated, means My Fatherland). Included here is the aforementioned piece. This recording, conducted by legendary conductor and all-around roustabout Arturo Toscanini, while brilliant, is quite old, and suffers from tape hiss, due to the now defunct method of using cobras in the recording process.


Smetana’s championing of Czech folk music and his integration of it into the classical oeuvre was, at the time, revolutionary. It would come to inspire Antonín Dvořák, and many other, less juicy composers as well.

Another popular work by Smetana is the opera Prodaná nevěsta, known in proper speaking countries as The Bartered Bride. Written almost entirely while the composer was awake, it remains the only opera in music history with this title (though attempts were later made by creamy composer Leoš Janáček, whose now-forgotten works, “The Battered Bride” and “The Bartered Lady Who Got Quite Wed” came close – though it was the disastrously named “The Bride With Ulcerative Colitis” which garnered the most notoriety in its day.)

Below, you’ll find an excerpt from The Bartered Bride. In it, the characters Mařenka and Jeník meet in secret and sing of their love for shredded wheat...


Trouble ensues when the local pimp, Kecal, reveals his intention to buy the entire supply of breakfast cereals in the town. Even as he manages to do so, Jeník bravely gathers all the milk in the land with the help of his giant ladle.

Having foiled Kecal’s plot, the townsfolk hail Jeník as a hero, and erect a bowl in his honor. Mařenka and Jeník eat their morning meal with happiness, until diabetes and malnutrition from their overindulgence in wheat flour and refined sugar force them into a hospital, where they slip into mutual comas, all the while basking in the glow of their deep and triumphant love.

Smetana, a devoted fan of Beethoven, decided to also go deaf. When later asked if he ever regretted this decision, Smetana answered, “What?”

No matter what you’re doing today to mark this auspicious occasion, I hope you do it with health and happiness. It’s what Bedřich would want, after all. As they say in the Czech Republic, “Ukončete výstup a nástup, dveře se zavírají!”

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Posted by Whitmore, March 2, 2009 01:25pm | Post a Comment

Gadzooks
Dr Seuss
Do you know what this morn brings?
For one thing on this day you were born,
So let’s sing
Ting a ling a song we’ll bring
So toot a flute
Go blow a horn
Let’s celebrate this great date in 1904.
Today sir
Is Monday for sure
Take a look
In my calendar book.
On page three you can see
The month to be is March I believe
And the day,
It says number two,
But not the number two like pooh,
Number two
Like a smooth loop into a curly cue.
The day between one and three,
A second before the third,
Two before four and three before five …
Just a try to solve
What’s enough and where's the stuff
And answer all the whys.
 
Anyway, let me say to you today good sir
Happy birthday in the grandest way
And to make sure of that
Here’s a party hat
A special one, elaborately done
That’s more than just wacky fun,
Designed and refined by critters you made
Who came alive on the page,
Books for kids age one to one hundred twenty three
With names that begin and end from A to Z
And stories even the man on the moon likes to read.
We’ll croon to you a zany tune,
We’ll sing to you a from a crazy balloon
Painted blue and red with yellow thread,
With a sunny bow that glows
Where ever it goes.
We’ll teach a baboon to cook a cake,
We’ll find a dancing prancing loon
To shimmy and shake.
 
Oh but Dr. Seuss let me sigh
It’s so sad and all too bad  
You’re not alive, still today
We will cheer loud and clear
Happy birthday, you're a hundred and five.
So take a look at all your books
and the words that shook us snooks
I still sneak a peak at least once a week,
Catching up with old friends of mine,
From time to time I take a seat
Kick up my feet,
Retreat into your boxes and foxes
And what a fish does
And how to talk to a Cat in the Hat
And a Zither Zather Zuzz.
I used to read to my son for fun,
And now he likes to read alone
On his own
Till the book is done,
It’s a funny twirling whirling
World you shared with us.
Thus and such from me and him
And a zillion,
Kajillion others too
Again and again from us to you
Thank you, Dr. Seuss
Thank you thank you
So very very much.

Oasis

Posted by Whitmore, March 2, 2009 01:20pm | Post a Comment
The Brit-pop band Oasis’ first ever concert tour of China, planned for this spring, has been cancelled;  Chinese authorities have deemed the band as being "unsuitable." The shows scheduled for Beijing and Shanghai were due to take place on April 3rd and 5th; tickets sales were stopped on February 28, according to China Daily Newspaper.
 
Though no clear explanation has been given other than Oasis being “unsuitable,” it’s thought this cancellation might have something to do with China's Culture Ministry's recent discovery that Noel Gallagher played a Free Tibet benefit in the US in 1997 … that is a no-no in Mainland China.
 
Also uncertain is whether or not the show scheduled for Hong Kong on April 7th will take place.
 
The rest of the South East Asian tour will go ahead as planned, as Oasis is currently on a world tour promoting their latest CD, 2008’s Dig Out Your Soul -- their seventh studio album. Just this past week Oasis was voted the best British band at the annual NME Awards. They also won for Best Blog for Noel Gallagher's Tales from the Middle of Nowhere which is published on MySpace.
 
Oasis was formed in Manchester in 1991. Their first number one UK single was “Some Might Say” from their second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, peaking back in April 1995. Since then they have chalked up seven more number one hits and sold over 50 million records world wide. They have also collected fifteen NME Awards, five BRIT Awards, nine Q Awards and four MTV Europe Music Awards, plus odds and ends of other awards like the 2002 Top of the Pops and the 2007 Vodafone Live Music Awards.
 
A number of musical acts from the West have performed in China in recent years, including the Rolling Stones and Elton John, but some performers have run into problems on their way to China. Jay-Z was denied permission in 2006 due to his use of profane language. Britney Spears was permitted to play in 2004 but with the strict understanding that her costumes were not to be too revealing. And last year, Icelandic star Bjork made waves when she shouted "Free Tibet!" during her concert in Shanghai.

Happy Texas Independence Day!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 2, 2009 11:21am | Post a Comment

After Mexico gained its independence from Spain, the newly independent country organized itself into several states. In the northern Coahuila y Tejas, there were many Native peoples like the Alabama, Apache, Aranama, Atakapa, Caddo, Comanche, Coahuiltecan, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coushatta, Hasinai, Jumano, Karankawa, Kickapoo, Kiowa and Wichita that the nearly bankrupt Mexican government had little resources to subjugate. So they invited immigrants from the US, called Texians, to help keep down the aborigines.

Soon the immigrants outnumbered the Mexicans and Natives put together. These Texian immigrants made little to no effort to assimilate into their adopted country -- they they self-segregated, carried guns everywhere, didn't learn "the language" (Spanish) and wrote signs in English. Even though slavery was illegal in Mexico, the Texians (who numbered about 30,000) simply ignored Mexican law and brought 5,000 slaves. Before long, Mexican president Bustamante sought to restrict futher American immigration to Mexico, recognizing they were up to no good. Before long, the Texians took up arms and ultimately gained independence from Mexico.

Joel McCrea, not Texian, but played one on the radio

By 1850, Texians started referring to themselves most commonly as Texans. The Texas Almanac of 1857 waxed purple about the mere dropping of the letter "i," continuing the Texan tradition of making something out of nothing, moaning [in Chris Elliot's fancy lad voice] "Texian...has more euphony, and is better adapted to the conscience of poets who shall hereafter celebrate our deeds in sonorous strains than the harsh, abrupt, ungainly, appellation Texan -- impossible to rhyme with anything but the merest doggerel."


Ever since joining The USA, Texians have crafted a unique identity that seems to possibly stem from deep-seated phallic obsession coupled with a Texas-size inferiority complex. "Everything is bigger in Texas!" they brag incessantly. It is true that the size of their belt buckles and guts and insecurities are gargantuan, but in other areas, not so much. Their cry of "Don't Mess with Texas" further reflects an endemic insecurity and defensiveness of greater degree than is found anywhere else in the country. But denial of reality and a steadfast clinging to ignorant blind faith in themselves seems to be a crucial aspect of being Texian as well. Just look at the Oklahoma panhandle, for instance. Obviously it's named for its similarity to the shape of said object, but the Texas panhandle bears about as much resemblance to the the object in question as a pyramid does to a snowflake. No matter, try telling that to a Texian, where reality is always considered "fighting words."


Another essential aspect of the Texian identity is the pronounced cultural cringe. Instead of embracing its unique character, most Texians will threaten to "kick the ass" of anyone who brings up cowboys or their posh, plantation southern accents. This, considering Tales of the Texas Rangers, is just about the greatest thing ever! No, Texians will passionately deny being country and instead point to things they wrongfully assume to be uniquely Texan, in the process revealing an ignorance about the rest of the country more often associated with the east and west coasts. Most Texian's notions about the rest of the country seem to be based on their awareness of Oklahoma and exposure to television. Where Texas is first in many areas (obesity, capital punishment, smog, hate crimes &c), they brag about their kick ass county fairs, quality high school football, rapidly changing weather ("Don't like it? Just wait five minutes"-- *Yuck yuck*) and the fact that they used to be their own country. (Ever heard of Hawaii, California, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina or Vermont? No? Never mind.) They brag about their diversity in comically old-fashioned ways that sound like they're actually complaining, e.g., "We've got tons of Hispanics and Orientals." To make matters worse, they aren't the biggest state either in terms of size or population. On the other hand, they did invent Dr. Pepper there and Dallas's involvement in the history of recreational ecstasy consumption is criminally overlooked.


They are proud of their food, so-called Tex-Mex. Usually Tex-Mex consists of taking a Mexican dish and making it taste like something from a cafeteria. Usually it can be as simple as replacing cotija with cojack and slapping on a new name. Even though this hardly seems worth fighting for, the states of Arizona, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Texas still routinely argue over who first dropped a burrito in deep fryer.


This blind faith in denial is also evinced on something Texas can claim to be number one in. They have the highest number of religious folks who pack megachurches to pay tithes in what amount to cult infomercials. If there was a lesson to be learned from David Koresh, it's that he should've done his preaching in a behemoth class structure, not some flammable plywood Tuff Shed.


I don't mean to suggest that nothing good ever came out of Texas. Far from it. It's just that another big part of being Texian is ignoring everything that's good about Texas. Texas has produced Blind Willie Johnson, Ronnie Dawson, Geto Boys, Ornette Coleman, 13th Floor Elevators, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, UGK, Buck Owens, Mike Jones, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Big Moe, Hank Thompson, Ray Price, Pantera, Selena Quintanilla, Bob WillsDJ Screw, ZZ Top, Ernest Tubb, Slim Thug, Lefty Frizzell, George Jones, Chamillionaire, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Townes van Zandt, Tex Ritter, Jim Reeves, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Lightnin' Hopkins, among too many others to name. But, aside from the rappers, most Texians give little love to their homegrown artists and their radio stations are the worst in the country, completely ignoring their own rich musical past and replacing it with Christian pap.

In keeping with Texians' affinity for not appreciating what's good about the state, instead of pointing to their rolling plains, piney woods, big cities and wide open country, they attempt to unify the large region by covering it in religious-themed billboards.


Texas has provided us with so many of our presidents (and taken the life of one) that one can only wonder where our country would be today if they remained their own nation. In typical Texian fashion, the mural suggests that Johnson and the Bushes were the latest presidents born in the Lone Star. Never mind the fact that HW was born in Massachusetts and Dubya in Connecticut.

The stars at night are big and bright!!!




Nick Gilder's 1978 #1 Hit Hot Child In The City

Posted by Billyjam, March 2, 2009 10:30am | Post a Comment

31 years ago was the career peak of British-born Canadian rocker Nick Gilder, who in October of 1978 scored a number one hit in both the US and in his native Canada with the single "Hot Child In The CIty."

"Hot Child..," a perfect pop-rock song that has stood the test of time, is from Gilder's second solo album CIty Nights (Chrysalis) and was produced by Mike Chapman and co-written with James McCulloch.

Above is the video of Glider's version and below are covers of the timeless track, including one by Dirty Martini and another by an uncredited band who do a really good cover of it.

Reportedly Gilder wrote the song after seeing young girls on Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards in LA. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine he said, "I've seen a lot of young girls, 15 and 16, walking down Hollywood Boulevard with their pimps. Their home environment drove them to distraction so they ran away, only to be trapped by something even worse. It hurts to see that so I tried writing from the perspective of a lecher -- in the guise of an innocent pop song."

Initially Nick Gilder was a member of Sweeney Todd, the Canadian glam rock band that formed in 1975 and also (very briefly) featured a young Bryan Adams as well as James McCulloch, who also left to join Gilder's solo backing band. Sweeney Todd's one big hit was the summer 1975 single "Roxy Roller," which went to number one on the Canadian music charts and was later covered by Detroit female rocker Suzi Quatro in 1977.

Paisadelic

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 2, 2009 09:17am | Post a Comment

I tend to go on and on about Mas Exitos and Chico Sonido, so I won't bore you too much. Chico Sonido has turned into one of my favorite deejays. I've been to clubs where he is spinning with deejays with big names and he is blowing them out of the water. His vinyl collection runs deep.

What makes Chico Sonido unique is his mixture of obscure covers en español with the funkier side of Spanish language pop music from the 60-80's. Top that off with some Cumbia and Spanish Dancehall and damn, you got a party! So now you can take that party to your home, car or gym. Better yet, take it to your tiá's house and have her take you through memory lane! "cuando estaba joven..."

Chico Sonido will have his debut album out very soon. I'm sure it will be a funky Mexican freak-out for sure. Meanwhile, you can get his mix CD, Paisadelic, by clicking here.

Che The Movie

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 2, 2009 08:30am | Post a Comment

I had many thoughts after I watched the four hour, seventeen minute Che biopic. I enjoyed the movie very much, but because I felt I’m somewhat biased, I wanted to know what people thought about it. Would people's opinions be based on what they thought of the movie or what they thought of Che (or, for that matter, Steven Soderbergh and Benicio Del Toro)?

Did people who proclaimed it great do so because it’s a great story or a great film? Did the people who hate it have their own ulterior motives? I also wondered if I would like it myself if I saw it again.

Che, like Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, was probably a very hard movie to make. Movies about political icons seem to bring out the worst in people. People are overly passionate on both sides of the fence and on top of that, there's a multitude of critics who are quick to knock down any iconic figure of the far left. Serial killers get better treatment by the press. A journalist from PBS interviewed me during the intermission of the movie when I went to see the film. Most of his questions were asked in a condescending tone: “What do you know about Che other than the image we see on the t-shirt?” and "Is Che relevant today?" Duh…I don’t know, is oppression relevant today?

The reviews of the movies weren’t too glowing. Most of them were of the garden variety. I loved the reviewers who stated that the film was both "too long" and “didn’t give enough of Che was really about.” Really, did we want to sit through a ten-hour movie next time?

The other complaint was that it was mostly in Spanish. Along with the length of the film(s), this really turned off many of the Academy, who didn’t even give the film a blink during the Oscars. Made me wonder how well Slumdog Millionaire, which is a great fim, would have done if the actors spoke in Marathi, Urdu or Hindi. Michael Russnow from Huffington Post summed that mentality best:

Benicio Del Toro is magnetic and haunting as Che, but he has the difficult task of communicating to us through subtitles, as most of the film is told in Spanish. It lends an authentic ring to the story, but distracts our attention somewhat in the manner of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. If a film is truly a foreign film it's one thing, but this is a huge motion picture starring an American actor and directed by an American, and there's no reason why this story couldn't have been told in English.

Other reviews really put their political slant to the mix. I wondered if Mick LaSalle from the SF Chronicle came from a Cuban exiled family:

If Soderbergh made as idol worshiping an epic about George Washington or Abraham Lincoln -- actual heroes with tangible, positive legacies -- people would gag at the naive treatment. Perhaps with Che, the hope is that audiences might be confused or browbeaten into reverence, into just assuming they're missing something.

He went on to say:

This is a pro-Castro, anti-CIA film made by a mainstream American director, and it will be shown in art houses throughout the country. Try making an anti-Fidel, pro-American film in Cuba, and see how that works out for you.

Foreign investment companies funded Che’s 58 million dollar budget once U.S. movie studios bailed when it was known that the movie would be mostly in Spanish. Perhaps knowing that worldwide sales would be better than in fickle North America, it seems to have been a wise investment. Perhaps seeing the movie’s potential elsewhere, Andrew O'Hehir from Salon.com wrote this:

[Che] is something that people will be eager to see and eager to talk about all over the world, something that feels strangely urgent, something messy and unfinished and amazing.

One of the best things about movies is talking about them afterwards. There are so many disposable movies that leave my brain just as soon as they enter it. I have had great conversations about Che with different people. Some I agree with and some I don’t, but it has made enough of an impact that I’ve actually had conversations with people that went beyond, “Did you see it?” and “Did It suck?”.

In any biopic, you are never going to get the full story. People are too complex for that. I imagine as a filmmaker at one point you have to stop listening to everyone’s opinion about a person and just make film the way you see fit. If anything, I think Soderbergh took a tremendous risk by including the less celebrated Bolivian chapter in Che's life. He could have easily made the first triumphant part longer and made a “pop” version of Cuba’s revolution, but didn’t. The long, drawn out scenes of nothing happening in the Bolivian forest are painful to watch, knowing the inevitable will eventually happen. It’s much like the movie The Thin Red Line -- lots of long shots and few battle scenes focusing on the psychology of war over actual fighting. The second part of the movie amost parallels the first part, mainly to show that what worked in Cuba did not work in Boliva.

There are some scenes that are a bit over the top (the scene where Che is on a horse in Bolivia suffering from an asthma attack looks straight out of a western…way over the top!), but overall I thought they did a great job with the acting and the cinematography is pretty amazing. I also think there is a poetry to the movie that is lost in subtitles, not just in dialogue but in accents. The different accents between people from the city and country, from different providences and, in Che's case, another country altogether.

Is it good movie? Yes. Is it a great movie? Perhaps. I’ll let you know when I see it again.

RITUAL DE LO HABITUAL

Posted by Charles Reece, March 1, 2009 08:31pm | Post a Comment
If I can just get off of this LA freeway
Without getting killed or caught
I'd be down that road in a cloud of smoke
For some land that I ain't bought
-- Guy Clark, "L.A. Freeway"


There are few directors I rank up there with Hitchcock, but Jacques Tati is one of them. I finally got around to watching Criterion's release of Trafic, his final installment in the Monsieur Hulot series. If Playtime is his Vertigo, then that would make Trafic his North By Northwest, only it didn't put Tati back on top of the commerical foodchain. After the box-office failure of Playtime, Tati had to take a step backwards, at least production-wise. Maybe that's why the critics never gave his followup the same attention as all the other Hulot flicks, the artistry of each increasing at exponential rate over the last. And maybe the diminished role of the Hulot character in Trafic is the reason it didn't do much better than Playtime among the masses (that's the reason Jonathan Romney gives). I suspect it was due to the same brazen social critique condemning his former film to academic circles, resulting in the charge of pretension from newspaper reviewers and the like. Most people like to keep their seriousness and humor separate.


In the opening credit sequence, Tati looks straight down the maw of an automobile assembly line, creating an effect similar to the infinite regress of two mirrors facing each other. The men are as much like replicas as the parts they're pushing through the machine. After having spent a couple years doing register duty in retail, a musician buddy of mine commented the other night that if America spent as much time habituating its citizens to the piano keys as it does to menial tasks in the service of commerce, the creative possibilites would be limitless. As it stands, those guys in that shot don't stand much of a chance of doing anything else with the procedural knowledge they've acquired. Dan Lalande expresses a similar thought in his evaluation of the film in the latest Cineaction:

Trafic, Tati's underrated ideological road movie, quietly adds that man, now metallically sealed off from the capacity for genuine experience, barely feels the loss any more. [...] Yes, the still recognizable Hulot [...] remains the perpetual outsider, facilitating the classic comic formula of the bumbling innocent set loose against a stuffy, functionary backdrop, but his newfound servility serves as a telling comment on the diminished role of the artist in an increasingly deracinated society, devalued by the silently unstoppable energies of industrialization, commerce and crass commercialism (as does a choice running gag on the awarding of free busts of famous artists by a gas station).

Scene is accompanied by a radio announcement: "Commercials inform us."

Yet, there's beauty in ritualized movement itself, even though it registers a bit of comical sadness. Movement is always the saving grace in Tati's existentialism. He was not some simple-minded Marxist. The confining nature of Fordist assembly-line habitus didn't stifle his aesthetic appreciation of mechanized motion. In the extras accompanying the Criterion edition, Tati suggests that mime is the "purest form of expression" and that "a good comic learns to use his legs." Thus, it makes sense that he would follow his critique of the effects of modernist architecture on human movement with a similar critique of modernity's primary means of transportation, the car. Rather than being a luddite, as has oft-been claimed, Tati's Hulot is here a designer for Altra Automobiles, preparing his experimental camper model for an auto show in Amsterdam. The brunt of the Sisyphean comedy is carried by the surmounting obstacles preventing the Altra team from delivering the model on time.




As a former mime, Tati was adroit at physically articulating the movements of the culture around him, which he continually demonstrates in the aforementioned interviews. When he duplicates the bodily motions of traffic cops in Paris and London, the English audience laughs, recognizing the difference. As Tati explains, his comedy of movement comes about by its placement in a real setting, in situ. He cites as an example (through mimetic performance) an official delivering Legion of Honor medals to the wrong side of General de Gaulle during a televised event in front of many politicians, generals, soldiers and a viewing audience. Rather than having The General flip back to the other side, the official did one of those bureaucratic Monty Pythonesque steps to correct his mistake. As Tati explains, Laurel and Hardy would've had to add something else to make the official's movement funny for the movies, but the pomp and circumstance were enough for reality.

The interviews suggest two levels to Tati's use of movement. The first, more critical one, is as a cultural sign, the way society and its artifacts constrain, regulate and define our movements. The other, a pure pleasure in watching bodies in motion, isn't reducible to cultural encoding, and allows for something more personal (akin to what Barthes called the punctum in photography, if you're so inclined). I suggest that all of Tati's physical comedy begins with the latter, a joy at just watching humans move. It's this joy in the materiality of movement that keeps Trafic's social critique from being the mere pessimism expressed in Lalande's summation above. If there's something more to, say, basketball than merely scoring, then why isn't there more to men working a conveyor belt than the end product, such as a car? In other words, to quote the best poet Texas ever produced, "where you've been is good and gone; all you keep is the gettin' there."

As the perpetual hero of the gettin' there, Hulot never frets much about his ostensible goals. Even when working, he's more like a self-aware version of Kafka's numerous bureaucrats, resigned to the fact that whatever metaphorical boulder gets pushed up the hill will come down. That's probably why he was so popular with the general public: he finds fulfillment in quotidian existence, unlike the anxiety-ridden Kafkaesque heroes. Hulot, Tati's stand-in, is a native ethnographer -- a cultural insider who thinks like an outsider, a nonplussed observer as much as a participant. Whatever he might get paid for, distraction is his true vocation. Commerce isn't exactly his forte.

While one road block after another keeps him and his colleagues from meeting their deadline, Hulot strolls along.

Out of gas: it's the moments between plan and destination where humanity dwells.

If there's a protagonist in Trafic most deserving of the initial K, it's the means-to-an-end character, Maria. Suitably enough, she's an American hired by Altra as PR to ensure all the cars and trucks run on time. She embodies the Franglais double-meaning of the title:

The usual French term for traffic -- meaning the movement of motor vehicles -- is la circulation. The word trafic can be a synonym for it, but its primary meaning is traffic in the sense of commerce, the exchange of goods. -- Romney, ibid.

Maria begins the flick as an angst-ridden missle (cf. fourth photo) with one goal in mind: shepherding the truck carrying the test camper to the show, leaving little time for rituals or conversation that don't serve that end. She doesn't even have time for European traffic laws. It's hardly interpretative excess to draw a parallel between Maria's bumptious disregard for another's laws in the service of capital to that of American foreign policy, where the hedonic equation is weighted by narcissism (unilateralism when referring to the state). That is, satisfying her desire is taken as the good of the all. "Doing what needs to be done" seems more efficient when one doesn't have to bother with the constraints being imposed by the other's culture. Of course, to ignore such constraints isn't the same as there being no constraints. Thus, much like the unintended consequences from propping up a right-wing dictactor in the service of realpolitik, Maria's self-assertive expediency ultimately keeps the Altra team from reaching its destination on time. Blowing through a road-block gets the truck impounded. And, in the film's major set-piece, her ignoring a traffic cop's directions results in an arabesque of destruction that should bring a tear to the eye of most ardent monster truck enthusiast:


Since Hulot never really changes, the most interesting character arc is Maria's. With the seemingly endless barriers before her team, she comes to realize the auto show as quixotic, and begins to move more at Hulot's speed. As a fairly anxious guy, I'm not sure I'll ever get where she and Hulot end up, but there's a certain kind of freedom in learning to mime the ebb and flow of one's surrounding. Namely, the world ceases to be points on a map.

"Ah, fuck it! Let's have a picnic."

Altra's manager continues to fight the good fight, eating under artificial trees, waiting for his product to fulfill the
manufactured landscape.


Always going with the flow, Hulot returns for a chance at romance.

"The 'o' is upside down": the role of management in an administered society.

Technology in service of the goal-directed life.

Happy Pig Day -- celebrate with pig-related dvds, vhs

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 1, 2009 02:17pm | Post a Comment
















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This Week At The New Beverly

Posted by phil blankenship, March 1, 2009 10:45am | Post a Comment
This Week At The New Beverly!

The March / April calendar is now online:
www.NewBevCinema.com

Printed calendars will arrive later this week.


Sunday, Monday & Tuesday 1, 2 & 3

Superhero Cinema

Batman
(1989) 20th Anniversary!
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0096895/
dir. Tim Burton, starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Billy Dee Williams
Sun: 4:30 only; Mon/Tue: 7:30, Watch The Trailer!

Superman
(1978)

http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0078346/
dir. Richard Donner, starring Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty, Marlon Brando
Sun: 7:00 only; Mon/Tue: 9:55, Watch The Trailer!