Amoeblog

Guy Talk

Posted by Mike Battaglia, June 19, 2007 07:24pm | Post a Comment



Here's something you don't see every day: Newsweek columnist Steven Levy pairs up the unlikely combination of hipster mash-up laptop god Gregg Gillis aka Girl Talk and Democrat Congressman Mike Doyle, who counts Pittsburgh, Gillis' home, among the areas he represents, to discuss the Copyfight and what sort of compromise, if any, can be made between the current generation of media-saturated sample-heavy artists and the clampdown attitude held by corporate copyright holders. Doyle seems like one of the good ones, especially when he puts his money where his mouth is - back at the House Telecom Subcommittee. Read the article right here.

Notes From Amoeba Hollywood Latin Pop & Rock Section #2

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 19, 2007 04:23pm | Post a Comment
Out now-

Up bustle and out head to Monterey, MX
and
mix it up with the control machete crew. Reggae + cumbia style electronica.

Highly recommended!

Available in the electronica section.

(In which Job fondly recalls Ancient Rome.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 19, 2007 10:44am | Post a Comment
I don’t own a television. I can’t.

I just can’t face another TV commercial. It doesn’t matter how good a show is, if it must stop all of a sudden in order for some hopped-up, bling-bling supermodel to salaciously coax me into purchasing the latest acacia-infused douche/pudding pop, I will barf.

Maybe my resistance is low because I spent most of my childhood glued to the boob-tube. I could tell anyone what I was “going to do that day” in half-hour increments.

“Four o’clock? Well, ‘Dangermouse’ will just be finishing up, then segueing into ‘You Can’t Do That On Television,’ after which I will switch channels to Mtv to watch ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’…” ad infinitum.

(Monty Python on Mtv? Man, those were good times. ‘Just Say Julie’ and ‘Post Modern Mtv’… I weep for our losses.)


Strictly UPTOWN Julie Brown, Queen of Mtv

At some point, I switched watching copious amounts of TV for lots and lots of mind-altering drugs. So yeah, things were getting healthier. By the time I sobered up and realized that my life wasn’t going to figure itself out, I had a quick nervous breakdown and spiritual crisis, considered suicide, came back from the brink of annihilation, got a job and a girlfriend and discovered I could no longer cope with Nike ads.

Really, this could be anyone’s story.

This is my very personal and long-winded way of saying that I only watch TV shows on DVD. On my computer. In control. No swooshes.

Currently, I am enjoying HBO’s epic saga, “Rome”. I can’t say that I’m bowled over, but it’s amusing enough to watch when I scurry home from Amoeba Music for my lunch break. I’ve only watched the first four episodes, too, so there’s still a chance I’ll get addicted. It took about that long before I realized that “Deadwood” was (curse-word) brilliant.

Still, I am reminded of one of my favorite TV shows of all time. More of a mini-series, actually. “I, Claudius”, which ran on the BBC in 1976. Henceforth, it was often seen in the U.S. on public television. It garnered a slew of awards.


Is that a snake in your opening credits or are you just happy to see me?

I watched it as a fluke. I was at my sister’s house in Sacramento and had a lot of free time. Amidst all the children’s DVD’s was “I, Claudius”. Faced with watching Ariel become a human with the help of Sebastian and Flounder, or the bloody and horrific fall of the Roman Empire, the choice was a no-brainer. After all, only one of these would give me nightmares about calypso-singing sea-crabs.


"I'm going to add your severed head to my collection of whoozits and whatsits!"

What followed was two days of me glued to the computer screen, watching with mouth agape, the entire series. It was like being a kid again.

The show is masterful. The acting is superlative, and the villains are so entertaining and genuinely scary, you almost hate to see them fail, and since this is about Ancient Rome, they often don’t.


More evil and cunning than Fox News - Siân Phillips as Livia

It doesn’t have the same big budget that HBO currently enjoys. Most of it is shot on sound stages; it looks more like a play than a TV show. (Cheek to camera-right and stab him in the throat, keeping your profile in the upper-left light, please.) It’s also a British show, so you might feel a little lost at first, because they don’t take a lot of time to educate you on what’s going on; you either know already or you find the groove.


Get Into the Groove - John Hurt as Caligula

Let me tell you, it is worth the effort. I cannot praise the show enough. Luckily, it is available on DVD in its entirety. You may be delighted to see just how many British celebrities are in it. The cast reads like a who’s-who of England in the 70’s. The cast-party must have been rad. (Or, in the British dialect, “really rather rad”.)


23 years Before Christ and 2,000 years Before Ikea

If you like “Rome”, I insist you check it out. Unless the only reason you watch said show is for occasional glimpses of James Purefoy’s penis, in which case, “Dangermouse” is the more obvious recommendation.

Notes From The Amoeba Hollywood Latin Pop & Rock Section - Three New Releases You Must Have

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 19, 2007 01:36am | Post a Comment
     
Out June 26th -

Hip-hop en Español via Spain.

A Spaniard's lisp
never sounded so cool!






Out July 26th -

Electronic cumbia, rock and mambo via Mexico.

¡Que chido!







Out now  -

Greatest hits + three bonus tracks from Cuba's best hip-hop group.

A must have if you missed the boat on their previous releases!

Luis Rodriguez Part One: The Discovery Of Luis Rodriguez (and Nik Turner)

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 18, 2007 11:31pm | Post a Comment

I remember the first time I heard about Luis Rodriguez; it was 1993 and I was reading Lowrider Magazine. In between the pages of vintage bombs, girls and ads for rims, there was a feature on Luis and his book, Always Running. In the article he spoke about his past as a gang member and how writing had changed his life. He also mentioned that his teenage son, who was starting to get into trouble himself, was the reason for writing the book. It made me want to read Always Running, so I went around to a few bookstores in my neighborhood but no one carried it. Soon I lost the drive to find the elusive book and forgot all about it. I guess it wasn’t my time to read it.

Fast forward to 1995. I wanted to get the hell out of Los Angeles. I felt isolated. I had no sense of community or belonging so I got a job selling t-shirts for the band Nik Turner’s Space Ritual. Nik was a founding member of Hawkwind, the influential space-rock group. The band had several other ex-Hawkwind members but due to legal reasons they could not use the name Hawkwind. There were fifteen of us touring in an old school bus with no air conditioning. It was the middle of summer during a horrendous heat wave. At every stop the thick heat and humidity followed. After a while I didn’t know what it felt like to be dry. I've never sweated so much in my life! Most of the shows on the tour were complete caves. The shows were booked in thousand capacity venues with only thirty people in attendance. The former members of Hawkwind, who once played in front of festival size audiences, never once complained about the ill-attended shows or the extreme heat. Every night the over fifty-year old space rockers gave it their all. It was inspiring to say the least, to see these older men bring it every night.

During the long drives I read. I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Black Elk Speaks and Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul On Ice. I had fun on the tour and started to open up to the band and crew. The band played great every night. But after the shows, on those long drives to the next city, that isolating feeling would return and I would sink back inside my head. The audience for Nik Turner’s Space Ritual was predominately male with very few persons of color attending the shows. It was like a rock and roll Star Trek convention, a close-knit community of people who loved everything outer space and rock and roll. At first, I admit, I thought they were a bunch of freaks. Yet the Hawkwind fans treated me with respect because I was with their favorite band. Race, religion and gender didn’t matter to them. Space rock did. They had their own community and network that set up shows for Nik Turner and other likeminded groups. They used space rock chat rooms to let other space rock aficionados know about upcoming shows years before Myspace came along. I admired their dedication and their sense of community. Experiencing that and reading books like The Autobiography of Malcolm X inspired me to find something I could call my own. The Black and Native American experience in America was the same as my experience in this country. Yet I wished someone could write a book about the experiences of Chicanos living in America.

The tour was a safety zone. I was apprehensive about returning home to the same old crap that I'd left a few weeks back. After the last show in San Francisco, I bought a plane ticket back to L.A. The bookstore in the San Francisco airport had Always Running on display. I bought the book and immediately read a good chunk of it on the plane ride home. I was engulfed in it. It spoke to me like no other book. Luis’s stories were like mine: The feelings of alienation, stories of people trying to take away your dignity, the feeling of always wanting to run away, and in the end, finding your place. Even though I was never in a gang I felt those same feelings of isolation that Luis wrote about. This was the book that I had craved for years. He wrote everything I felt.

When I arrived in LA, I was sitting outside the Burbank Airport, once again engulfed in my book. I was so engulfed that I didn’t notice the airport security guards that hovered over me. “Where are you coming from?” the airport security guard asked. I told security that I was previously in San Francisco. They asked to check my bags. I replied, “Do I have a choice?” They said no. So they searched. They didn’t ask to check anyone else’s bag that came off of the plane, only mine. I wasn’t carrying anything illegal so I wasn’t scared that they would find something. But rather than to take me somewhere private to search through my belongings, they did it out in public, where everyone could see. Everyone was staring at me, assuming I was guilty. My clothes, underwear and all, were spread out on the loading zone where the people waited to be picked up.

They didn’t find anything. They helped me shove my clothes back into my bag and took off. No apologies, nothing. I sat down and waited for my ride, somewhat fuming but all too used to the racial profiling. A black baggage handler sat next to me, a witness to the whole event, shaking his head as he said, “Black and brown, that’s the only people they ever check.” We nodded at each other with that same understanding. I pulled out my book and started to read again. My ride came and I finished reading all the way home.
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