By Nazeeh Alghazawneh
At least once a month an elderly woman approaches me and tells me that I remind her of her son, either in the way that I look or because of my demeanor or simply because of my age. They’re very sweet and a little bit sad but most of all, full of nostalgia, which is always more sweet than sad until you think about it too much. They love to tell me about them. These mothers love to tell me about the love they have for their sons - an unconditional, boundless love that’s familiar and intimate at the same time but mostly uncomfortable. However, I nod my head and I listen because a heart is speaking to me and that’s the best thing about mothers: they always speak with their hearts.
It’s 1979 and Japanese New Wave director Shohei Imamura releases his first feature-length fiction film, Vengeance is Mine (available on DVD and Blu-ray), after a decade of making documentaries. For 140 minutes we’re introduced to Iwao Enokizu (played by Ken Ogata), a textbook sociopath with a penchant for murdering innocent people for reasons he couldn’t explain. Based on the real life serial killer Akira Nishiguchi, the film depicts the 78-day killing spree with faithful objectivity; Enokizu’s exploits aren’t glorified or celebrated, but they are fully realized. Imamura’s camera hangs low and aloof behind our protagonist, following him with that lecherous sense of dread and paranoia that a hunted murderer on the run probably feels. Ogata’s performance finesses a presence on the screen that is volatile, dripping with an anxiety that ultimately makes you feel uneasy, but dedicated to him nonetheless. The worst part is just how charming he is. It’s a concoction of Kit’s (Martin Sheen) aimless nonchalance from Terrence Malick’s Badlands and Bronson’s (Tom Hardy) gleeful desire for violence from Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. Enokizu lacks any regard for anyone in his life, including himself, which appears to fuel his desire to kill; he seems to be angry that he’s even alive.
By Nazeeh Alghazawneh
By Brent James
You've been to the shows. You've seen the artists. You've always wanted to be on the Amoeba stage. NOW is your chance!
Running now until December 31st is our indoor sidewalk sale we're calling the Bizarre Holiday Bazaar! We've dug through the darkest, deepest recesses of the building and put all the choice merch out for sale. Best part? It's actually located ON the world famous Amoeba San Francisco stage!
It's a great place for photo ops, on Friday nights you'll be on stage WITH a guest DJ, and you'll find last-minute stocking stuffers such as a Tom Petty hiking bag or a Santana picnic blanket. Not your thing? How about your choice from over 100 different carded Star Wars action figures? Or maybe a KISS action figure?
In any case, there's something for everyone at Amoeba Music. With a different selection every day, you'll never see the same thing twice!
Happy Holidays from Amoeba Music!
Noir City wants you to get dark for the holidays. On Wednesday, December 14th, our friends at the Film Noir Foundation present Noir City Xmas, their 7th annual holiday double feature, at the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco. Tossing aside Christmas treacle for a headlong dive into a double bill of danger and darkness, this year's noir-stained noel flicks are Quentin Lawrence's Hammer Film Cash on Demand (1961) and Harold Ramis's neo-noir The Ice Harvest (2005).
In addition to the screenings, host Eddie Muller will reveal the theme and complete film schedule for the eagerly anticipated NOIR CITY 15 festival, coming to the Castro Theatre January 20-29, 2017. NOIR CITY 15 Passports (the all-access festival passes) will be available for sale that night as well on the Castro mezzanine.
They will also have collection bins for both the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program and the SF-Marin Food Bank at the event. The San Francisco Firefighters are looking for toys for kids (infants through 12 years old). Toys must be un-gift-wrapped. The SF-Marin Food Bank needs the following: peanut butter, low-sugar cereal, whole-grain rice, pasta, oats, low-sodium soups and stews, tuna and other canned meats, and canned fruits and vegetables. Please no glass, opened items, perishables, or items past their "use before" date.
OAKNYE is back for another New Year's party to remember! On Saturday, December 31st, OAKNYE welcomes Boots Riley & The Coup and the Kahil El'Zabar's New Ethnic Heritage Ensemble to the Starline Social Club in Oakland. In addition to these thrilling live performances in the Starline ballroom, the La Pelanga DJ collective will be playing in the lounge. But that's not all! Did we mention the three course dinner program, including oysters and filet mignon?! Get your tickets now before they're all gone!
The influence Boots Riley & The Coup have had on political hip-hop and the politics of Oakland in general can not be underestimated. This revolutionary group's presence is as electrifying as their music. The Montreal Gazette says, "Boots Riley is a consummately charismatic front man, establishing his as one of the best live rap acts going, after Philadelphia untouchables The Roots."
Kahil El'Zabar is a jazz multi-instrumentalist and composer who regularly records for Delmark Records. During the 1970s, he formed the musical groups Ritual Trio and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble. The New Ethnic Heritage Ensemble is comprised of Kahil El'Zabar on percussion, Corey Wilkes on trumpet, Alex Harding on baritone saxophone, and Fareed Haque on guitar. The history and depth between these master players represents the highest level of performance stemming from the 20th into the 21st century.The New Ethnic Heritage Ensemble plays music endowed with an authentic pedigree that pushes the boundaries of creative music into the soulful heart of fresh expression! After over 43 years of eventful music making, the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble is still reinventing itself while forging innovative pathways upon the African American musical pantheon.
-- By doubleay
Vallejo’s E-40 is a man of many titles. 40 Fonzarelli, 40 Water, and "the tycoon known as Charlie Hustle" are only a few of his dozen or so monikers, but the truest of his titles undoubtedly has to be "The Ambassador of the Bay."
The prolific MC is a forefather of West Coast hip-hop, and his extensive discography and boundless accolades have essentially deemed him the epitome of Bay Area rap. 40 brought Bay Area’s unique sound and style to the rest of the world and if any artist wanted to get a piece of the Bay Area scene, they’d have to go through 40 Belafonte to get it. While many other hip-hop legends have comfortably taken their seat among the ranks of rap’s hall of fame, E-40 has never slowed down nor declined in relevance. Many rap veterans may feel threatened by break-through up-and-comers, but in 40’s case it is quite the opposite. In fact, one of the most admirable things about E-40 is the interest he takes in young artists. While continually progressing his own career, 40 has always put on and supported rising talent new to the industry. E-40’s incomparable stature and experience, met with his kindhearted tendency to promote up-and-comers, truly warrants the title "Ambassador of the Bay."
After 27 solo albums, E-40 is back with a new double LP that totally embodies The Ambassador’s ability to cater to his people, both young and old. The D-Boy Diary: Book 1 & Book 2 are each 22 tracks in total, featuring a star-studded track list of stand out OG’s to young bucks. The project has over 40 features, including everything from legends both native and foreign to the Bay Area to fresh up-and-comers with little to no fame or coverage. Few albums have ever had a unique and substantial list of collaborators successfully cater to a wide audience such as this. In an effort to bring some clarity to the depth of this all-ages showcase of a project, I took it upon myself to highlight the most notable features on the double LP.