Games for Gala Gatherings: Tabletop Gift Guide 2017

Posted by Amoebite, December 18, 2017 07:52pm | Post a Comment

Tabletop Games Gift Guide 2017

By Chris Curtis

With the holidays upon us once again (yipes!), thoughts turn to gift-giving and social gatherings. How about giving a present that pulls people away from screen-staring for an hour or so? One that provokes human interaction, giggles, and cognitive function? Tabletop games (which are better than ever) provide all this and more, and when stacked against other forms of (more passive) entertainment like a night at the movies, are a real value, especially when replayability is considered.

So let’s take a look at four worthy titles all (except one) released in 2017, and none priced at more than twenty dollars. If you want to go the extra mile with your gift, check out the rules or a tutorial video online, and straightaway you’ll be ready to explain the game and join in yourself!

Sundae Split (Renegade Game Studios, designed by Nate Bivins)

Ingeniously efficient, Sundae Split utilizes a simple game mechanism and manages to create a great deal Sundae Splitof suspense, tough decisions, and lots of laughter and fun. The ultimate goal of this fast-moving card game is to have the best scoring combination of ice cream flavors and toppings, while avoiding the negative points from vegetable cards (I love broccoli but not with whipped cream and sprinkles!). If you’ve ever shared a piece of pie with a friend by slicing it into two portions and letting the friend pick one of them, then you’ll get the gist of this easy-to-learn title.

The mechanism the game is based upon is called “I split, you choose” (someone needs to come up with a catchier term!) and in Sundae Split it can be a challenge for both the splitter and the chooser! On your turn you will arrange the cards into as many piles as there are players and, starting with the person on your left, each player will take a pile until you are left with the last one remaining. Clouding the decision-making process for the choosers, several cards can be placed face down. So the splitter might hide the vegetables by turning them face down, or perhaps hide some good cards by turning them face down and having the vegetables face up to dissuade others from selecting a particular ingredient group. It’s impressive how much decision-making can be derived from such a simple concept, as it’s surprisingly tough to make your crappy piles desirable and your coveted piles unattractive.

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The Top 10 Criterion Blu-rays of 2017

Posted by Amoebite, December 18, 2017 01:57pm | Post a Comment

Top 10 Criterion Blu-rays of 2018

Has Criterion gone punk?? Based on the top selling Blu-rays at Amoeba this year it looks as if the primo purveyors of classic, foreign, and arthouse films found much of their success in alternative and cult-y titles by such provocateurs as Alex Cox, Terry Zwigoff, and John Waters. Perhaps it's a slight exaggeration, but based on the thin presence of films for Francophiles and classic film buffs, it seems that the prestigious label has gotten more angsty and alternative. Regardless, Criterion, as always, released a stellar collection of films in 2017. Here are the 10 best-selling Criterion Blu-rays at Amoeba.

Read all of our Best of 2017 lists.

Sid & Nancy Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music

10. Sid & Nancy 
Directed by Alex Cox, 1986
Released Aug 22, 2017

The long overdue Blu-ray release of Sid & Nancy has been one of the most anticipated Criterion releases in recent memory, and it couldn't have come at a more poignant time in lead actor Gary Oldman's career. Now regarded as a Hollywood mainstay, and garnering Oscar buzz for his recent portrayal of Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hours, Oldman broke through to audiences in Cox's kinetic cult flick about the infamous, short lived, heroin-fueled relationship between Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen (played by an equally fascinating Chloe Webb), before her gruesome, unsolved death by stabbing. Packed with extra documentaries, archival interviews of the real Vicious and Spungen, commentaries by the cast and crew, and more, this is the ultimate edition of the beloved punk-classic. 4K digital restoration.
Rebecca Criterion Blu-ray Amoeba Music 9. Rebecca 
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 1940
Released Sept 5, 2017

Considered a favorite by many die-hard Alfred Hitchcock fans, Rebecca was the director's first production in Hollywood, after making a name for himself across the Atlantic. Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier star is this psychological melodrama, in which the bliss of their new marriage becomes overshadowed by the memory, and possibly spirit, of Olivier's dead first wife. Filled with visual style, atmospheric special effects, and superb performances, Rebecca signaled the arrival of a new master in Tinseltown, and took home the Academy Award for best picture. The new Blu-ray is filled to the brim with special features, including various archival interviews with cast and crew members, three radio adaptations (including one by Orson Wells), screen tests, and a new conversation by legendary film critic Molly Haskell with Patricia White. 4K digital restoration.

Hip-Hop News 12:17:17: Rolling Loud SoCal Day 2, Skratchpad Youth Skratch DJ Battle, Art Basel Miami, Black Thought's "Freestyle" +

Posted by Billyjam, December 17, 2017 01:46pm | Post a Comment

Yesterday (12/16) the long running Bay Area DJ skratch club Skratchpad presented their 3rd Annual Youth Skratch Battle. Held in the afternoon at the Last Stop Bar in Daly City, between the young competing DJs' turntable routines, entertainment included a showcase set by the talented longtime Bay Area battle DJ Ichythekiller who is the current Bay Area DMC regional champion. As such he traveled to NYC back in August to rep the Bay in the 2017 DMC US Finals national turntablist battle that was won by NY’s DJ Perly. Meantime back in the Bay Area yesterday at the Skratchpad battle, the 2016 2nd Annual Youth Scratch Battle champion DJ Don Don, who is still under 22 (pictured right yesterday) once again took the title for a second consecutive year at the PeaveyDJ sponsored event.

Ever since Black Thought of The Roots fame delivered his jaw-dropping extended "freestyle" this past Wednesday (12/13) on Hot 97 radio in NYC, that quickly trended as it became a widely praised viral video (scroll down to see the clip),  the positive tone of social media posts soonafter switched from complimentary to doubtful. Many began to question its validity, maintaining that it was not an actual "freestyle" (IE: off the dome & 100% made up on the spot). These doubters insisted that it was not spontaneous but rather a pre-written and prepared rap. Unhappy with this reaction to his art, the Philly rapper born Tarik Trotter  publicly voiced his case  on national TV Friday night when he sat down with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show (home of The Roots) to swear that it was indeed a genuine real-time "freestyle" in the traditional hip-hop meaning (a spontaneous creation).

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Krip-Hop Nation’s Leroy F Moore Jr & Nicola McClung Present “Black Disabled Art History 101” @ University Press Books in Berkeley

Posted by Billyjam, December 15, 2017 05:56pm | Post a Comment

“I remember it was 1979. I was twelve years of age and my favorite place to be was in the basement of my family home. It was there that  my father kept his vast prized record collection and it was where I discovered so many Black blind blues musicians like Blind Willie Johnson, and blind Black soul singers on crutches such as Walter Jackson and Robert Winters. I also discovered the man who  would become my idol, Ray Charles.  I didn’t know it then but I was surrounded by my future: Black disability art history,” writes the prolific Leroy F Moore Jr in    latest publication: Black Disabled Art History 101 that that the Krip-Hop Nation founder wrote with Nicola McClung. The passage, one of several book excerpts that the Berkeley based author/activist/artist shared with the Amoeblog, acts as an intro to December 16th's presentation of Black Disabled Art History 101 at University Press Books in Berkeley that Moore will be co-hosting with McClung.

Nicola McClung is a professor in disability studies at USF as well as co-founder of Xochitl Justice Press who published the book. Moore noted how McClung along with fellow USF professor in disability studies Emily A. Nusbaum had initially approached him about the project. Originally written as a children’s book, Black Disabled Art History 101 transcends that one demographic with an appeal to readers from young children to adults.

From the new book exceprt, Moore’s continues his childhood recollections. “Since that day at age 10 in 1979 Black disabled musicians expanded to Black disabled painters like Horace Pippin (1888-1946) to 1970’s NYC graffiti artist King Kase2 who lost his right arm when he was painting in the subway tunnel but went on to become one of  well known  Hip-Hop graffiti artists of that early hip-hop era having painted graffiti over fifty MTA subway trains by 1976. Over the years my own personal library of Black disabled art history has been steadily growing.  Part of my library is the children’s book, Black Disabled Art History 101.”  The scope of Moore's book encompasses Black painters, dancers, musicians, and actors and actress with all types of disabilities dating back to the early 1900’s. As well as text the book features pictures of the artists as well as illustrations by Asian Robles. There are original poem-stories of Black disabled artists including a one by Moore who born with cerebral palsy. Born in 1967, the New York City moved west to the Bay Area many years ago, and a decade ago founded Krip-Hop Nation; the ever expanding international network of disabled Hip-Hop artists and musicians from other genres.

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12:15:17: Top 10 New Hip-Hop Albums + Top 5 Hip-Hop Vinyl [G-Eazy, Qbert, N.E.R.D., Jeezy, Eminem, Pharcyde, Scarface, Slim Thug +]

Posted by Billyjam, December 15, 2017 01:40pm | Post a Comment
We may be into the middle of the final month of the year when you might imagine that things would be slowing down on the new releases front but, as you can see from the Top 10 New Hip-Hop Albums and Top 5 New Hip-Hop Vinyl below, today (12/15/17) a slew of new hip-hop albums got unleashed and made their way onto the shelves of Amoeba. These include anticipated releases from such artists as  N.E.R.D , Eminem, and Berkeley CA rap star G-Eazy who will be doing an in-store meet-and-greet signing session at his hometown Amoeba on Telegraph at 3pm today. Details

Top 10 New Hip-Hop Albums: 12:15:17

1: G-Eazy The Beautiful & Damned  (RCA)

Number one artist at Amoeba G-Eazy will be at his hometown record store Amoeba Berkeley today (3pm in-store) to sign copies of his brand new album has delivered his latest effort, The Beautiful & Damned, on RCA Records. It is the fifth studio album from the 28-year-old Berkeley native whose last album release was 2015’s When It’s Dark Out (also on LP/vinyl). A 20-track, double CD set The Beautiful & Damned
includes such tracks as "Charles Brown (feat. E-40 & Jay Ant)," "Summer In December "No Limit (feat. Cardi B & A$AP Rocky)" which was a Billboard 200 scoring hit, advance single released back in September. G-Eazy's Amoeba Berkeley in-store signing is at 3pm today, with space limited.

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