Amoeblog

(In which we consider Paul Robeson.)

Posted by Job O Brother, February 7, 2010 03:22pm | Post a Comment
houdinilaurie anderson houdini
Harry Houdini vs. Laurie Anderson

My actual heroes in this world are few and disparate. From Harry Houdini to Laurie Anderson, from John Lennon to Mrs. Mary Eales, they reflect people who may inspire and impact me with their art, their political activism, their bold-faced chutzpah, or any combination thereof.

But perhaps no one embodies all these traits to such heightened super-awesomeness for me than the great Paul Robeson.

paul robeson smiling
Rad.

Robeson was born in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1898. His father was an escaped slave-turned-church minister; his mother was from a Quaker family, and died tragically when Paul was six, which isn’t funny at all, so don’t laugh.

Paul received a full academic scholarship to attend Rutgers University, which I hear is a pretty good school, though I’ve never been there myself because I’m allergic to schools. Seriously. If I even step foot on a campus I start itching, sweating, and my head comes completely off and falls to the ground and rolls away.

Black Cinema Part II - Race Movies - The Hollywood Studio Era

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 7, 2010 12:13pm | Post a Comment

This is the first installment in a three part history of early Black Cinema.
To read Part I, covering the independent Race Movie years of the 1910s and '20s, click here
To read Part III, covering the TV Age of the 1950s and '60s, click here


In the silent film era, most roles for minority characters were filled by white actors in make-up. As a result, Asians and blacks began making their own, alternative cinemas. But whereas Asian-American silent film quickly faltered, black silent film flourished and a great number of race movies were cranked out to eager and under-served black filmgoers. 

By the 1930s, though yellowface and redface continued to be common practice, blackface began to disappear from the mainstream as Hollywood began efforts to woo the audience it had previously been content to insult. This meant there were many new opportunities for black actors, albeit mainly as musicians, porters, chauffeurs, waiters, hat check girls, maids, bootblacks, convicts, bartenders, bone-through-the-nose Africans or buffoons. Because of the improving but still less-than-satisfying opportunities afforded by Hollywood, many black actors supplemented their Hollywood bit parts with simultaneous careers in race movies.

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HIP-HOP AND SUPER BOWL XLIV THEMED RAP SONGS

Posted by Billyjam, February 7, 2010 12:12pm | Post a Comment
Unlike the most recent World Series, which showcased hip-hop music when Jay-Z (along with Alicia Keys) performed, today's big Super Bowl XLIV halftime show will feature rock n roll with The Who performing live. Reportedly their set should include the songs "Baba O'Riley," "Pinball Wizard," "Tommy, 'Can You Hear Me?'," "Who Are You," and "Won't Get Fooled Again." But rock music at a Super Bowl halftime show is nothing new; it almost always tends to be rock or pop music, along with university marching bands. Recent years have included Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, and U2. But Prince, James Brown, and, of Nascourse, Janet Jackson have also performed over the years. Some hip-hop or rap flavored halftime performers that have represented include Queen Latifah in 1998, Nelly in 2001, and again in 2004, along with P.Diddy and Kid Rock when they were on the small stage; that same halftime was when Justin Timberlake was on the main stage with Janet Jackson during her much talked about and controversial "wardrobe malfunction."

Come think of it, the perfect song for a halftime performance would be Nas doing his great 1992 debut single "Halftime"...  but that's probably not gonna happen. However, you might hear his music, or other true hip-hop artists in a Super Bowl ad. One thing that is guaranteed is that there is always hip-hop popping up in the much hyped & mega costly TV commercials that premiere during the Super Bowl. Last year during a Bud Light Lemon ad the music of indie Oakland hip-hop crew The Baby Boy Da PrinceHigh Decibels ("That Dude") was exposed to millions of new ears. And odds are there will be hip-hop in the slew of brand new commercials being unveiled during today's big game in Miami. There is also a lot of pre game hip-hop surrounding the Super Bowl. In fact, for yesterday's scheduled Miami Big Game Extravaganza, Lil Wayne along with Sean Kingston and Trey Songz were all supposed to be performing as a warm up, but the show, all set to take place at Jungle Island, was canceled at the last minute due to some contractual dispute.

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AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP 02:06:10

Posted by Billyjam, February 6, 2010 06:30pm | Post a Comment
Amoeba Music San Francisco Weekly Hip-Hop Top Five Chart: 02:06:10

lil wayne

1) Lil Wayne Rebirth (Cash Money/Universal)

2) The Madlib Medicine Show 1, Before The Verdict featuring Guilty Simpson (Stones Throw)

3) Oh No Dr. No's Ethiopium (Stones Throw)

4) Thavius Beck Dialogue (Mush)

5) Eligh Gandalf's Beat Machine Level 3 (Legendary Music)

The terms "highly anticipated" and "long overdue" each accurately apply to Lil Wayne's Rebirth on Cash Money / Universal, this week's number one hip-hop album at Amoeba Music San Francisco. However, it seems the term "disappointing" could also apply based on the overall negative review the album has received since its release earlier this week. The artist's seventh studio album and the follow up to his 2008 multi-platinum full-length, Tha Carter III, Rebirth is (as written about here) a repeatedly delayed release that should have come out almost a year ago. Due to one thing or another (many speculate that Lil Wayne's label insisted it needed more work & hence postponed its arrival in stores) the release date for the popular rapper's rock/hip-hop hybrid album (with Carter on the cover posing with electric guitar on lap) had been postponed about a half a dozen times in all. But now that Rebirth is finally available, what is the consensus on the music? Overall not good.

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Mountain Man Chats - A New Band Made Up, In Fact, of Three Lovely Ladies...

Posted by Miss Ess, February 6, 2010 03:03pm | Post a Comment
Mountain Man is my favorite new band -- the most enjoyable new music I've heard in quite some time. It's made up of three women, Molly and Amelia, who live in Vermont, and Alex, who lives in Virginia. They formed just last spring, and when they sing together their connection is magical. Their sound is a pleasing mix of the very old and the very new. They each write and contribute songs about nature and life as they live it, delicate yarns that are at the same time hardy and strong, and it's so refreshing to hear these three distinct voices coming together and darting apart in completely unique combinations. I find their songs haunting. You can hear some of them here.

They are embarking on their very first ever West Coast Tour right now, so please check out the tour dates here and read on for an interview with these fabulous gals! They will have a new 10" available at Amoeba sometime very soon.

mountain man

Miss Ess: How did you all come together and realize your voices could combine well? What did it feel like then? What does it feel like now?

Molly: Wow. It felt refreshing, my whole body was vibrating. Singing with Alex and Amelia is so gratifying because the voice is so vulnerable and pure, to mix my voice with other voices and share it with the world is the ultimate form of living in the world (for me, right now). mountain man

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