Amoeblog

Happy 200th Birthday Frédéric François Chopin

Posted by Whitmore, March 1, 2010 10:54pm | Post a Comment








Always Bet on Black? Looking at who dies first in some 80s action films.

Posted by Charles Reece, February 28, 2010 11:54pm | Post a Comment
deep blue sea sam jackson eaten shark

The folks over at TV Tropes have a handy system of weights ("scream scores") assigned to character types, called the Sorting Algorithm of Mortality (SAM), that when added up predict who's most likely to die first in a film or TV show. Under the category of race, the SAM gives a weight of 5 out of 5 for black or twofer (the latter being two token minorities represented in one character). At least since Renny Harlin's ironic homage to 80s sci-fi/action films, Deep Blue Sea (1999), the trope that the "black dude dies first" has been taken as a truism among pop culture aficionados. If you'll recall, it was Sam Jackson's Russell Franklin who, during one the actor's trademarked badass speeches, was the first major character to get eaten by a shark. The joke actually compounds two factors that aren't that easy to separate: star power and race. One wouldn't expect Will Smith to be the first to go, so Jackson, being the biggest star in the picture, shouldn't have been either, but his blackness (as the film satirically put it) won out. LL Cool J's Preacher makes explicit reference to the trope throughout the film, and is surprisingly (against the race-based common-sense expectation) saved at the end. But he's the second biggest star in the film (with the possible exception of Thomas Jane, whose character survives too). So are all the joking references to the fate of black men in action films really hitting their target, or are they merely beating a "dead unicorn"? I figure the topic makes for a fitting end to Black History Month here at Amoeblog.

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February 28, 2010

Posted by phil blankenship, February 28, 2010 11:02pm | Post a Comment
The Crazies movie ticket stub




BIRTH! Relights the California Synthpunk Torch

Posted by Aaron Detroit, February 28, 2010 03:30pm | Post a Comment
Birth! Synthpunk
California’s music underground has had a certain strain of Gothy Synthpunk running through its veins for over a decade now. In the late Nineties and early Aughts, bands like San Francisco’s Phantom Limbs and Subtonix and LA’s New Collapse delivered heavy doses of frenetic, trashy and dark Synth-based punk heavily influenced by 70’s seminal LA groups like The Screamers and Nervous Gender with liberal dashes of O.G. LA Deathrockers Christian Death, the UK Batcave scene, and a noticeable pull from 90’s West Coast Post-Hardcore and Punk. Picking up this torch left dwindling for some years is the LA-based one-man band, BIRTH! AKA Douglas Halbert (also of Industrial noise-purveyors Elephant Skull). BIRTH!’s full-length debut, I Will, is an exemplary addition to the pantheon of California Deathrock and Synthpunk – raw yet compelling anthems soaked in funeral organ and cutting old-school Hardcore vocals.

I Will’s opener, “Value,” is a classic Deathrock stomper in the vein of Christian Death’s “Face” or Subtonix’s “Black Nails In My Coffin” with an extra dose of bile. On “Arms Crossed,” Halbert simultaneously skewers the apathy of a prospective lover and the affected apathy of punk-show spectators over a filthy Sci-Fi dirge. However, despite the throat-destroying, incendiary vocals, there is a sensitivity and creeping light at the heart of this seemingly vicious animal of a record. “My Home To Keep” is what one might call a “Deathrock power ballad,” -- if one can imagine such a thing. Over a downright pretty synth melody, Halbert characterizes childhood traumas following a mother’s death, but even with such intense subject matter and the general crestfallen atmosphere, Halbert’s lyrics still have a defiantly positive outlook. On “Value” he ends his rant with the line “I'll look inside myself and find a life I can value!” and one can truly believe his insistent tone on “Free of This” when he bellows, “I am free of this!” I Will, indeed, seems to be Halbert’s will --his sigil--for a better life.

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SOUNDTRACK SERIES #3

Posted by Job O Brother, February 28, 2010 12:35pm | Post a Comment
Directions: Imagine Mr. Brother living another day, as always, with music playing. Whether it’s one of his trusty iPods, or his home stereo, or working the soundtracks section of Amoeba Music Hollywood, Mr. Brother is eating, sonically, with the mouths of his ears.

To simulate this experience, as you read the below story of a day lived, you will be given certain music clips to play. These are inserted to provide you with the same tunes Job was hearing as he was doing what you’ll be reading.

For example, while he was writing the above directions, he was listening to this:

The other day, while I was counting my number collection, I was interrupted by a knock on my front door. As is customary in my country, I went to see who it was. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be none other than myself.

“Oh!” I said with a start, “How did you get out there?”

“You mean,” I said with a sly grin, “How did you get out here.”

“That’s exactly what I said,” I retorted.

“But not what you meant,” I corrected.

I slammed the door in my face and went back to my numbers. I don’t have to take that kind of snarkiness, you know – not even from myself.


Hours later I was eating some broccoli that the Lord My God made, when a second knock came – this time at the back door. Worried that I was up to my own tricks and hoping to avoid another awkward confrontation with myself, I peaked out the kitchen window to see who it was.

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