Amoeblog

A BRIEF HISTORY OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Posted by Billyjam, February 10, 2010 11:34am | Post a Comment

Dr Carter G Woodson
Since a lot is being blogged about Black History Month both here at the Amoeblog and in the blogosphere in general this month, I thought it might be worthwhile to take a moment to briefly examine the history of Black History Month itself, as well as present a general timeline of black history. One thing that amazes me is the short time span that Black History Month has been around, especially considering that African Americans have been a part of the American fabric dating back to the colonial times. Black History Month only officially started a short 34 years ago, even if the practice of observing black history dates back to the 1920's, which is still not that long ago in a historical context.

Originally known as Negro History Week, it was created in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a scholar with a Ph. D from Harvard who was the son of parents who were both formerly slaves. Woodson was so incensed that there was little or no proper written documented history of blacks in this country that he fought hard to initiate change. Up until that point on the rare occasion in which blacks were included in the American history books it was in a negative light -- they were typically portrayed as inferior human beings to the white ruling class.

A decade before initiating Negro History Week, Woodson laid the foundation by establishing the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History which began with careful documenting and writing the history of blacks in this country. The formation of that association led to the creation of the Journal of Negro History which, in turn, led to the launching of Negro History Week 84 years ago for which the second week in February was designated. Black History Week officially began in 1972, and four years later (in 1976) it became Black History Month. Below are a few random select key dates (by no means fully comprehensive) in American black history -- many officially documented by Woodson.

Continue reading...

New Latin Releases For February 2010

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 9, 2010 12:56am | Post a Comment

Nacional Records
seems to be the only choice these days for any Latin Alternative music these days. While releases by artists such as Mexican Institute Of Sound, The Nortec Collective and the Zizek crew show the electronic future of the genre, Banda De Turistas reaches back to 60’s era Kinks for inspiration. Magical Radiophonic Heart contains fifteen songs of garage/psyche/pop bliss that would please the kids discovering a past that they never knew. Those kids that look retro yet weren’t born when The Dukes Of Stratosphere first came out, let alone The Kinks! Banda De Turistas is available on CD only.

Speaking of retro, Vampi Soul just released a couple of reissues. Spiteri, a band of Venezuelan brothers (Charles & Jorge) who moved to England, hung out with the likes of Traffic, The Animals and Osibisa and, in 1973, released a gem of a debut album. Spiteri, or as it was known in Venezuela, Disco De La Culebra (The Snake Record…because the band logo was a cobra), which was their only proper album. They were supposed to be Venezuela’s answer to Santana. But like the band’s original press release stated, “Santana is a rock band influenced by Latin music…Spiteri are Latin musicians influenced by rock.” Within the heavy 70’s rock and onslaught of percussion, one can hear Spiteri’s Venezuelan roots. As Jorge Spiteri put it, the band played “With The Beatles and Traffic in our minds and Joe Cuba in our hearts.” Sadly, due to immigration problems, most of the band started to leave England and the brothers were left with a line-up that consisted of them with English musicians. The band soon broke up but not before recording a killer funk version of The Spencer Davis Group’s “I’m A Man” that sounds like something Mandrill would have done. This release is available on CD and limited edition vinyl.

The other reissue Vampi Soul released this week is from El Gran Fellove, a totally underrated Cuban singer that made most of his career in Mexico. Born and raised in Cuba, he was a contemporary of the likes of Cachao, Perez Prado, Celia Cruz and Chano Pozo. He was known for his scatting, a style that he later dubbed the “Chua Chua.” El Gran Fellove could have been much bigger if it wasn’t for his loyalties. He was asked to play in both Machito and Tito Puente’s groups while performing in New York in the late fifties, but turned them down because he didn’t want to cause friction with the singers that those groups already had. On top of that, he had a career in Mexico. There, he starred in a few movies and released recordings on the RCA label. Vampi Soul's collection, Mango Mangue, focuses on the work he did in the 60’s on RCA, including the song “El Jamaiquino,” a Ska/Mambo fusion that has been the desires of deejays for many years. This release is available on CD and LP.

Nuart Noir

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, February 8, 2010 10:40am | Post a Comment

I haven't been to Sawtelle's major movie house since their first screening of The Apple back in the early 2000's, but this week I may just make the trek. Their UK noir festival continues through Thur. & they've got  some serious gems lined up.  Although most films that get peddled as UK noir are in fact nothing more than dull crime pictures, the Nuart has lined up a fantastic little festival. Programming includes Peeping Tom, It Always Rains On Sunday, Brighton Rock, The Fallen Idol & The Third Man.



The Nuart

11272 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
90025
(310) 281-8223


Mon Feb. 8th
It Always Rains On Sunday 7:30
Peeping Tom 5:30 & 9:35

Tues Feb 9th
The Fallen Idol 7:30
Brighton Rock 5:40 & 9:35

Wed Feb 10th
The Fallen Idol 7:30
The Third Man 5:30 & 9:35

Thursday Feb 11th
Brighton Rock 7:30
It Always Rains On Sunday 5:40 & 9:35


 

Who's Lying in the Shadow of the Statue? Lost Season 6, "LA X"

Posted by Charles Reece, February 7, 2010 10:00pm | Post a Comment
lost last supper

One of the big questions from last season on the show Lost was "what lies in the shadow of the statue?" To which Richard Alpert replied, "Ille qui nos omnis servabit" ("He who will save/protect us all"). Latin's the secret language of the Others, and being able to answer that question demonstrates a knowing fidelity to Jacob, the island's god-like seeming protector/ruler/primary servant. Those with the answer have been (it seems) in personal contact with Jacob, rather than merely receiving his orders through some tertiary representative. Complicating the exegesis here was the appearance last season of another figure in the statue's shadow, Jacob's nemesis (as yet unnamed, but many have suggested Esau for good reason -- which is only reinforced in Season 6's premiere when he, in the form of Locke, states his rasion d'etre is to go home, or, one might say, reclaim his birthright -- "home" would appear to be the Temple, where he once resided as the smoke monster, but is now kept out using that protective ash). At the beginning of Season 5's finale, while watching the arrival of the Blackrock (an old pirate ship), there was a God versus Satan sort of dialog between Jacob and his nemesis, expressing their respective positions towards man (qua island visitors):

Nemesis: They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same.
Jacob: It only ends once. Anything that happens before that ... is just progress.

A straightforward reading would be the tried and true and utterly boring good versus evil, but Lost never does anything straightforwardly, so I ain't buying it. First, notice the pun on 'lies' in the question: both Jacob and the Nemesis are shown existing by the statue, but, like that old riddle of the doors (cf. Labyrinth), we viewers don't know which one might be lying, leading to damnation, or telling the truth, leading to salvation (or if they're both liars). The Nemesis has certainly been a deceiver, but it might prove in the service of truth (e.g., the classic case of hiding Jews from Nazis). The clearest case of his deception is in taking the form of Ben Linus' dead daughter, Alex, in order to get Ben (who's a master of deception in his own right) to follow the Nemesis' other avatar, Locke, in his plan to kill Jacob (and thereby giving the reason why Ben wasn't supposed to return to the island after leaving it at the end of Season 3). Which brings up the second problem: who's plan necessitated the death of Locke and the return of the Oceanic 6 to the island?

lost nemesis locke kurtz

The apparition of Jack's father, Christian, informed Locke that he'd have to die (as a "sacrifice") in order to bring the 6 back (there was a time loop involving Richard Alpert, but basically it was Christian). Now, it's questionable whom this apparition is serving, but it seems clear enough in Season 5's finale that Jacob was the one taking an interest in having the 6 come together on the island in the first place (he's shown visiting each of them at a point in their lives). Furthermore, he gives Hurley a guitar case whose content -- a big ankh with a message inside -- plays a crucial role in Season 6's premiere, namely in getting his Temple followers to repair Sayid (who's shown dying and then resurrected at the end of the episode). Thus, the loophole that the Nemesis needed to kill Jacob came about through the latter's own machinations, namely the former begins to use Locke's form only after he's died due to Jacob's devising. Being fully aware of the rules of the game he's playing, it is to counter the Nemesis' likely (preordained?) move (i.e., the taking of Locke's form) that Jacob requires the real Locke's body to be returned to the island (as material counterevidence to this guy who looks and sounds like Locke). My point is that both of these island entities practice deception to get their "game pieces" into place (Jacob, for example, withholds foreknowledge of Sayid's death to get Jack and his team to the temple), and we viewers have no reason for suspecting one is more benevolent than the other. So what about Sayid?

lost sayid resurrected

It would seem that the resurrected Sayid is being set up as a new body for Jacob to go against "UnLocke," pointing to some simplistic Manichaean battle on the horizon. And, sure, we see Sayid in a variety of crucified Christ poses leading to his being baptized in the Temple's fountain. But the Last Supper promo poster (shown at the top of this post) suggests a third ambiguity. UnLocke is in the position of Jesus, Sayid as Judas. And, as I discussed previously, Lost has so undermined the use of faith as a crutch (cf. the Nemesis' take on Locke's dying thought: "'I don't understand.' -- Isn't that just the saddest thing you ever heard?") that even if the narrative comes down to two opposing forces, the decision to side with one over the other will in and of itself be unlikely rewarded with some Divine assurance, gratitude or redemption. Note the common element of determinism in both of the theistic players' interpretation of their game: Jacob's version is that of teleological progress to one point, a straight line being drawn through possible worlds. The Nemesis' view is that of the eternal return, the same players and events going round and round. (The alternate universe that's now been set up could support either view.) Locke's faith reduced him to a point on the line, or cog in the wheel. As UnLocke suggests of his source material, there's something admirable about Locke's fidelity to this newfound order and his rejection of the "pitiful life he left behind," but, then again, Jack's assertion of his own agency, his existential resistance to the deterministic order by attempting to nuke it out of existence, has left him alive.

February 7, 2010

Posted by phil blankenship, February 7, 2010 07:31pm | Post a Comment
District 13 Ultimatum movie ticket stub
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