Amoeblog

Jury Duty - Excuses Are Like _______, And Everyone Has Them

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 23, 2007 01:10pm | Post a Comment
It’s been three years since I had to report to jury duty. The last time I had to go I sat in a jury waiting room reading Walter Mosley books until they dismissed us at the end of the day. I love Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins series because it all takes place in Los Angeles, mainly South L.A., not too far from where I grew up. Much like reading other Los Angeles writers such as Raymond Chandler, John Fante and Charles Bukowski, I try to imagine what Los Angeles looked like years before I was born. Some of the areas that they wrote about that were once suburbs are now ghettos. Other areas, mainly downtown L.A., once inhabited by immigrants, cutthroats and hustlers of all kind, have now been replaced by unimaginative people with money displacing anyone with flavor.

I took the Gold Line from my place in Cypress Park and transferred to the Red Line that dropped me off right at Civic Center, where the courthouse is located. Once in the courthouse, the woman in charge giving the instructions for the day lost it after 10 minutes of repeating herself several times. People just don’t listen. She told people to fill out the green portion of the summons and soon several people were filling out the purple section. She told people not to ask questions until after the end of the instructions and soon several more people were coming up to her to ask her the same questions she just gave the answers to. People who work in this field must cut their life expectancy by ten years with all the yelling they have to do.

Immediately, we were called into a courtroom for jury selection. No Walter Mosley for me today. The judge explained that this particular civil case was expected to last from 30-60 days. A collective groan came out of all us potential jurors. The first thing we had to go through during the section process is going through the hardship cases. Out of a room of ninety people, seventy-five of us had excuses why we could not be on a jury for that long of a duration. The judge was reasonable. He dismissed people that were going to school, caregivers for the elderly or parents with a single earner income. Others tried to stretch the truth by adapting other people’s hardships to their own in hopes that will get them out of jury duty. At this point you've got to wonder about the intelligence of some people. You are going before a judge, a person that has to differentiate truth from fiction EVERY DAY! Do you really think he's never met a liar before? This just made the judge upset. He dismissed the liars and made them come back the next day, thus continuing jury duty for at least one more day. Those idiots left grinning, thinking they pulled one over the judge, not knowing that 90 % of us will complete our jury service in a matter of hours.

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patrick wolf live at cafe du nord...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 23, 2007 10:23am | Post a Comment
So last night we went down to the beautiful Cafe Du Nord to see the brilliant Patrick Wolf. Curt had never been there! So I was excited for him to see it. The bastard has only been to San Francisco once about five years ago. I missed that show and have been waiting ever since to see him live. I have loved all 3 of his albums and have been waiting patiently to hear how they sounded live. I was a little worried that he would disappoint.  It was hard to imagine him pulling off the brilliance of the albums in a live setting. But he literally blew me and everyone there away. I was expecting some over the top outfit and of course he met my expectations in this regard at least. I thought maybe some suspenders and a jaunty cap with a feather. He came out with a blue wig, shiny gold suspenders and little school boy shorts. He reminded me of a young Liza Minnelli mixed with McCauley Culkin's version of Michael Alig. Maybe with a little Marc Almond and high school musical thrown in there. He even made a costume change half way through the show. He was joined by three young men on stage. Stand up bass, drums, and of course electronics. His violin player had gone back to England because of the "weather." The songs sounded great live and he was quite the little show man. He interacted with the crowd and told some great little stories.
 
He played a lot of my favorites from the first two albums. The live version of "To the Lighthouse" brought some little tears to my eyes. The highlight of the night was right before he came on stage. Five bears walked right in front of us to find their spot for the show. While a couple of them were obviously dragged to the show. The fact that they were there made me happy. It was overall a very stylish indie crowd. But its nice to know he has crossed the boundaries into bear territory. And I swear I saw George Lucas and Catherine Zeta Jones in front of me as well. The best thing about the show was how positive he was. He could have easily been a little mopey depressed emo goth on stage complaining about how horrible and tragic his life was. But he instead remained positive and optimistic. He shared not only his music with the audience but also a little bit of love. I left the show with a big smile on my face.

A nice pleasant surprise was the opening band for Patrick. A perfect match and complete opposite at the same time. No Bra is really hard to explain unless you were there seeing it as it happened. No Bra is basically one very unique lady and some pre recorded synths and drum machines. She reminded me of really early synth bands like The Normal and Cabaret Voltaire. She really had the crowd wondering if they should think she was the worst thing ever or brilliant. I quickly decided I was going with brilliant. Her dead pan delivery mixed with the minimal electronics somehow worked. And of course, she was wearing no bra.  She was also wearing no shirt. The song "Munchausen" stole the show. It is basically just a conversation between two hipsters showing off who they know and what they know. It reminded me of the recent Saturday Night Live skit where the woman tries to out do everyone by claiming to have done something even better that what they have done. It just might turn out to be the most unlikely song of the year. At least for me.

the albums coming out today 5/22

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 21, 2007 07:29pm | Post a Comment
Out today is the new album by Erasure. Yes, they are still putting out albums. It seems like they are putting out a new album every year or so now. Almost as often as their best period in the late 80s and early 90s. Vince Clark, one half of Erasure, is for sure one of my heroes. After helping to form Depeche Mode and create one of the first brilliant synth albums "Speak and Spell,"  he went on to create two brilliant Yaz albums. Then  came Erasure with such brilliant albums as "Wonderland, "The Innocents," "Wild," and "Chorus." Erasure has actually surprised me a couple times over the past couple years by creating some still brilliant songs. They basically invented synth pop back in the 80s. I can't really imagine where I would be without them. They have wrote some of the catchiest songs of the period that still remain great songs.

 This new album is about their 13th full length album. Maybe their 15th if you count "Crackers International" and the brilliant ABBA cover album "ABBAesque." They have continued to make accessible dance albums over the years. However, with 13 or 15 albums there are bound to be some ups and downs. "I Say I Say I Say" really marked the end of the great Erasure albums, for me at least. Some might say it ended with 1991's excellent album "Chorus." In 2005 they ended up making a great comeback album, "Nightbird." I have to admit that I am still impressed with Erasure and their new album "Light at the End of the World." It may not have as many great songs as their albums of the past. But Andy Bell and Vince Clark still have the magic to make a catchy pop album. It is easy to find yourself singing along to most of the songs on the album. It might just be my memories of albums past that has kept me an Erasure fan after all these years. But they still have me under their spell. They created a lasting genre that has affected millions and influenced many.


Also out today is the first full length from Voxtrot. This band got me hooked the first time I heard their EP, "Raised by Wolves." I swore the band was some new twee band form London or maybe Scotland. I was a little surprised to find out they were actually just from Austin, Texas. They were obviously influenced by bands like the Smiths and Belle & Sebastian. They  created beautiful little catchy indie songs. Songs that you could sing along with the first time you heard them. Its nice that they actually are putting out an album of 11 brand new songs. None of these songs were on any of the EPs that have already been out.

 This album easily stands up to any of the other more popular album of the genre such as the Shins or Belle & Sebastian. It is one of those albums that quickly becomes your favorite new album. It makes me a little proud that some kids from my own country can create an album that I thought could only come from across the Atlantic. It just has the feeling of a British indie album. It has those catchy brilliant and intelligent lyrics that the British are known for. I have to admit my excitement about this band has calmed down a bit since I first heard them. Maybe I just listened to those EPs too much. But I am giving the album a couple more listens cause I know it will soon become one of my favorites of the year.


also out today...





"Black Rain" by Ozzy Osbourne



 







"Mirrored" by Battles












"Boxer" by The National












"So Real" by Jeff Buckley

Sissy Spacek @ No Fun Fest 2007

Posted by phil blankenship, May 21, 2007 04:52pm | Post a Comment
my roommate's band performed this weekend at the No Fun Fest in NYC.

here was their set:

TEACHING

Posted by Billyjam, May 21, 2007 10:39am | Post a Comment
Juan (AKA Wonway Posibul), who joined Amoeba Berkeley two and a half years ago, lives and breathes hip-hop. At the East Bay music store his title is hip-hop buyer. Outside, he is emcee Wonway Posibul with Berkeley hip-hop crew the Secluded Journalists. Additionally, the always busy artist has, over time, collaborated with many other artists on projects including the acclaimed A Tribe Called Quest tribute he recorded with Oakland Faders DJ and fellow Amoeba Berkeley employee DJ Platurn. He is also an in-demand DJ and currently spins at East Bay spots, including Kitty's and Easy Lounge. But it is the unique class that this qualified educator teaches once a week at Cell Space in San Francisco that he finds most rewarding. "Def Ed" is the exact title of the progressive course he teaches on the art of emceeing. As well as schooling his young students on how to effectively write rhymes, Juan also carefully mentors them on how to present their rhymes properly -- how to flow.

AMOEBLOG: How does teaching kids to emcee benefit you as an artist and as a person?
JUAN: I was raised by a community that consisted of family, friends, artists, activists, and teachers. I wouldn't have progressed as an emcee without them. So it's only natural I give back to the community that raised me -- especially with Hip Hop nowadays and the consolidation of images and ideas that's being presented to the youth. I feel like teaching is one little way of fighting the bullshit, and trying to establish a balance. This is my first year teaching, so just making these lesson plans, and breaking down what I feel is important to be an emcee, and for the first time critically looking at what I'm doing, I'm learning a lot and becoming a stronger writer and emcee because of it. The kids also bring an energy along with some new styles that I think are very exciting and inspirational.

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