Amoeblog

Free Elvis Costello Show! Tomorrow @ Village Music in Mill Valley

Posted by Miss Ess, May 2, 2007 06:17pm | Post a Comment
Just wanted to let all y'all know that the one and only Elvis Costello is playing a FREE show tomorrow at Village Music in Mill Valley.  He's actually going to be playing songs from his favorite records he has found at Village over the years.  It should be a really special event and the perfect excuse to ditch work, right?

 

and then there's MAUDE...

Posted by Brad Schelden, May 2, 2007 01:51pm | Post a Comment
Finally, the Bea Arthur fans can rejoice. Maude season one is now on DVD! After the release of all seven seasons of the Golden Girls, Bea Arthur's previous show "Maude" has finally been released. Maude originally aired from 1972-1978. Bea Arthur's character "Maude Findlay" was originally seen on "All in the Family" as Edith Bunker's cousin. Maude became a very successful spinoff for its creator Norman Lear. The show is set in Tuckahoe, New York. The show is about the liberal minded Maude and her fourth husband, Bill Macy, and grown up daughter, Adrienne Barbeau. The show also starred Esther Role as the housekeeper who would spin off onto her own show, "Good Times." Conrad Bain, the rich dad from Diff'rent Strokes, played the neighbor. And Bea's future costar of "The Golden Girls," Rue McClanahan, was also on the show!  The fantastic Adrienne Barbeau would go on to star in John Carpenter's "The Fog" and "Escape From New York," and Wes Craven's "Swamp Thing." Adrienne actually got her start in musicals and was the original "Rizzo" in Grease. She actually has recorded an album as well!

I was actually first introduced to Bea Arthur on the Golden Girls. It was only years later that I learned she had a previous hit show. I had only seen a couple of the episodes before I bought this DVD. The DVD includes all the original 22 episodes from the first season. All with the brilliant theme song by Donny Hathaway "And Then There's Maude." Unfortunately there is no bonus material on this DVD. It is a shame. No commentaries, no bloopers, no documentaries or behind the scenes footage. There is not even music playing in the menu screen. I could for sure watch some episodes in spanish or french, but not on this DVD. But it is still worth it.

The show was revolutionary and Bea Arthur is hilarious. The show tackled some crazy issues for the times. Not only was it critically acclaimed and won emmys and golden globes but the viewing audience also loved it. It was often in the top ten spot. Bea Arthur has a powerful presence on screen. She has an amazing ability for delivering those great lines with sarcastic wit. This season includes the great two part episode when Maude must consider getting an abortion. It also include the episode where Maude's daughter, Carol, dates a man that Maude once dated! Seriously, this is a great show. It is for sure worth revisiting even with a very bare DVD set.


A London Sumting

Posted by Mike Battaglia, May 2, 2007 12:49am | Post a Comment



London's stalwart pirate radio underground has been an essential tool for the growth of electronic dance music since the mid-80's, specifically Acid House, Breakbeat Hardcore, Jungle/Drum'n'Bass, Ragga and now Grime/Dubstep. It provides, free of charge to the listening public, a wealth of brand new music, often produced right in their own neighborhoods, that mainstream radio either can't or won't play (although that's changed greatly in recent years), as well as offering a community rallying point culturally. There are a few perspectives of pirate radio, one from The Powers That Be concerning "theft" of the airwaves and another that's more about the music. Here's a local news item from the early 90's with the "official" message:



Another London news clip, this one from 1994, the early days of Jungle, with squareness in full effect:




There's a sense of mystery surrounding pirate radio that lies in its clandestine nature - both musically as well as physically. Jungle and Ragga both got very little attention from the mainstream during their inception periods but flourished through the pirates via dedicated DJ's and promoters, some of whom turned their popularity into lasting careers in radio, with a few stations actually going legit. Throughout the "Second Summer of Love", as the heady Acid House-drenched summer of 1988 is often called, pirate radio was the beacon in the night, guiding clubland refugees to the nonstop party. This UK documentary from '94 shows a bit more of a balanced viewpoint, particularly showing the establishment's skewered views in stark light. Check the intro for a track that tweaks a sample from the news clip above!

Part One:


Part Two:



Here's another documentary from 1996 that heavily features Kool FM, one of Jungle's most popular pirates, still on the air to this day! Lots of killer shots with leading figures from the scene like DJ Brockie and DJ Ron:

Part One:



Part Two:



Part Three:



There's well over an hour's worth of video up there, so kick back and take it in at your leisure. If you're still interested in the pirates, you can check out this regularly updated list of all the pirates in London, and then use this scanner to actually listen to them!

New Music Tech:

Posted by Mike Battaglia, May 1, 2007 09:16pm | Post a Comment



Reactable is a new music-making interface coming out of Barcelona that I've been wanting to feature in this blog before I knew I'd be writing it - it was part of my pitch, actually. Now that It's been Boing-Boing-ed I feel I should probably get this post out about it considering it's quite of-the-minute, about which I'll get to later.

Reactable:



While it's been around for a couple of years now, folks are only starting to catch on. Thanks to this past weekend, I'm guessing A LOT more people will be exposed in the near future. This video above is the first exposure I had to the technology, and I was pretty mesmerized. WTF was going on here? One initial observation is that it's like a modular synth that you literally build as you use it, which turned out to be partially correct. The Reactable was developed by Sergi Jordà, Martin Kaltenbrunner, Günter Geiger, and Marcos Alonso of the Music Technology Group at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. These demo videos are fairly self-explanatory, especially after multiple viewings, so I don't think that not having a base knowledge of synthesis or electonic music-making is necessarily a hindrance to appreciating or enjoying Reactable.



It's also a sequencer, any number of effects and a sampler, all integrated seamlessly into a work environment extremely conducive to spontaneity. There's bound to be widespread application directly because of that, hopefully changing the performance landscape as a result (because laptop shows are boring). Here is Reactable in action live:



I'm extremely anxious to see this onstage, it's a step in the right direction for electronic music performance. Apparently Bjork feels the same way - her current tour setup includes a Reactable, unveiled at her performance this past weekend at the Coachella festival:





There's a bunch more videos on YouTube regarding the Reactable, go check them out. I wonder what one costs...

It's a Definite Slice: Heartworn Highways

Posted by Miss Ess, May 1, 2007 07:17pm | Post a Comment
This weekend I re-watched a favorite of mine, Heartworn Highways. It's a documentary about the Austin Music Scene in the 1970s. It came out on DVD only a couple of years ago and the DVD comes with over an hour of extras, all of which are well worthwhile. 

My favorite parts of the movie all involve Mr. Townes Van Zandt.  Van Zandt was a folk singer from Texas who wrote some of (as far as I am concerned) the finest songs around. He was also a total character, a total alcoholic/addict and a total genius. I am sure I will devote some other blog to the life and times of TVZ, but for now, you should check out his song, "Waitin' Around to Die" as performed in Heartworn Highways:


It's pretty heartbreaking for me, with Townes' blacksmith neighbor Uncle Seymour Washington crumpling and crying just listening to Townes' song. The film is mainly made up of moments that feel close at least to something authentic and real, and this performance is really the pinnacle moment of the film for me.

Townes is also shown in the film hanging out near his trailer with the essentials: his gun, his dogs, his whiskey and his girl Cindy. Good times.

Some of the other musicians in the film include Guy Clark, Steve Young, Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, and, hilariously, David Allan Coe, who rocks a prison in his complete Rhinestone Cowboy garb. (Speaking of moments that are real and true and all that...) There he is, playing in the penitentiary in front of all these inmates dressed in nothing but their prison jumpsuits, and he's decked in rhinestone bedazzled EVERTHING, complete with huge earrings and a gigantor belt that says his name in sparkling diamonds. He spends a good amount of time trying to relate to the inmates, telling them about his brief prison stay when he was 18 and trying to rally their ire toward the guards by telling them how the guards all drive Cadillacs. It's pretty over the top, to say the least. He's like Marky Mark, I mean, serious actor Mark Wahlberg, trying to convince the homies he's hard cause he stayed in the pen for a couple of days.....geez. Oh and speaking of being hard, David Allan Coe has that hipster star tattoo right on his neck.  he predated all y'all!

Anyway other great moments include an epically long jam session between Steve Young, Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Susanna Clark and others that winds on and on but (at least for me) never loses speed. The musicians are all sitting around a table decked with the entrails of debaucherous evening: cigarettes strewn everywhere, bottles emptied and half full, beer cans and several kerosene lanterns, and they are singing their drunken hearts out, trading leads and singing older songs they all know. It all culminates in a wasted but enjoyable version of "Silent Night," since it is apparently Christmas time.

The movie to me in a way is really about the death of the cowboy, or the image of the cowboy way of life, in America. Sure it is still possible to live parts of that lifestyle, but the frontier no longer exists in the manner it once did. Lawlessness is no longer an option. The farmer/rancher is being run off of his land. Things just ain't like they used to be. These folks are among the last to live like outlaws, maybe even if it was just through their music. And this film is a true slice o
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