It’s finally chilly in Hollywood. I mean, I still have my French windows open wide, but it’s about as cold as it ever gets, with breezes blowing from my hometown in the north, Nevada City, where loved ones are covered in white blankets of snow. (That’s a metaphor – probably very few of them have bed-sheets constructed of crystalline water ice.)
My friends in Nevada City, Jaime, Alison and Dan made a snowman. I don’t get that pleasure here. I suppose I could make a clumps-of-dying-grass-cigarette-butts-and-dog-feces man, but who has that kind of time? I have a blog to write!
Here's a picture of the snowman my friends made.
The best part will be watching him slowly melt over the next couple weeks.
My choices in music are always influenced by weather. When it’s hot city in the summertime, I’ll gravitate towards artists such as Stephen Malkmus, Thin Lizzy, or Sly & The Family Stone. If it’s a rainy day, you can bet some Siouxsie & The Banshees will be trilling from my stereo. I look out the window and see the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse trampling the Hills with all the fury of Heaven and Hell as they take the stage for a final battle in which every human soul will come to greet its eternal home in either the awesome glory of the Almighty God or the foul depths of Hell as lorded over by the king of wickedness, Satan, and more often than not I’ll play a little Burt Bacharach. Because it’s always a good time for a little Burt.
"A master recording comes along every once in a while," confides Amoeba auctioneer/standup comedian Brently Heilbron, tongue firmly in cheek, at one of the Hollywood store's ongoing Saturday afternoon fun fueled auction-for-charity events. Brently is holding up above his head the long out-of-print Canary Training Record, a limited pressing 7" EP released some years back "by Howard's Mountain Bird Seed Company," he informs the clearly amused crowd gathered at the store for this auction that is unlike any other auction.
The novelty item is just the latest from a stack of items on the Amoeba auction block being sold to make money for several worthy charities. Items sold range from the quirky, to rare record label promotional items, to collectable artist-signed CDs/records, to sought-after concert tix for the Hollywood Bowl, etc. The one-hour Saturday afternoon Amoeba auctions, which have developed somewhat of a following since they began back in September 2005, started out initially as a direct response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and a way to help the victims in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in its aftermath. Since then the auctions have continued but the causes have broadened to benefit numerous other needy local and global relief efforts. Perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that Amoeba not only hosts these events and donates most of the items on the auction block, but additionally matches every winning bidder's donation, up to $1,000.
Black Orpheus carnival dance, today's Dance of the Day, is from the legendary 1959 Marcel Camus film Black Orpheus which is based on the play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice. This film, which is set in the modern context of Rio de Janeiro during the Carnaval, is one of the greatest films of all time. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Look for the DVD or CD soundtrack (reissued some years back with bonus material) at Amoeba Music.
Amoeba Music Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five: 12:15:08
1) Kanye West 808s & Heartbreak (Roc-A-Fella Records)
2) Q-Tip The Renaissance (Motown/Universal)
3) E40 The Ball Street Journal (Sic Wid It/Warner)
4) Akon Freedom (Konvict/Universal/Motown)
5) Ludacris Theater of the Mind (Disturbing tha Peace/Def Jam)
The top five selling hip-hop albums in this week's chart from the Berkeley Amoeba Music store include artists that are similarly popular at the San Francisco and Hollywood Amoeba stores, as well as on other charts. For example, the number one, Kanye West's Auto-Tune heavy 808's & Heartbreak, also debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 Pop albums chart on its first week of release. Q-Tip's critically acclaimed triumphant return with The Renaissance is also selling well across the country. The new album, which with the exception of one song produced by the late great J-Dilla was all self produced by Q-Tip, has been selling consistently since it was released last month. Meanwhile Akon's new album Freedom, which originally was going to be titled Acquitted, debuted at number 7 on the Billboard charts. It is number 4 at Amoeba Berkeley, where the other two entries are Ludacris and E40. Check out the brand new Earl "E40" Stevens video below for The Ball Street Journal autobiographical track "Earl."