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The Vinyl Frontier #3 - Surf Music!

Posted by Joe Goldmark, December 8, 2011 02:45pm | Post a Comment

To check out extensive LP label and price guides, head to the Vinyl Beat website!

When Jimi Hendrix joked that “you’ll never hear surf music again,” in his song “Third Stone from the Sun,” he was only four years removed from the heyday of the surf music craze. However in 1967, with psychedelic music flourishing in the midst of the hippie movement, surf music seemed incredibly square and white, like ancient history.

Surf music started out as reverb-drenched instrumental garage music by the likes of Dick Dale and The Bel-Aires and was centered in Southern California. In 1961, The Beach Boys recorded the song “Surfin’,” and a genre was born. By 1964, car themes were also included.

Living in California, there’s still an abundance of surf related vinyl to be found in your favorite record haunts. At Amoeba, there’s also many vinyl reissues of classic albums, such as the Sundazed Dick Dale series. And we recently enjoyed having Brian Wilson sign his Smile reissue at the S.F. and Hollywood stores.

Here’s some live clips of the original hits:
 

Pipeline - The Chantays


Surf City - Jan & Dean


Get Free Passes to GAINSBOURG: A HEROIC LIFE Screening in SF!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, October 10, 2011 01:15pm | Post a Comment
Gainsbourg A Heroic Life poster
Come into Amoeba SF to get passes to a sneak preview screening of Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life.

Preview passes are available at the Amoeba San Francisco info counter and in the DVD room...but only while they last! Limited to one preview pass per person (each pass admits two)!

Screening Info:
Thursday, October 20, 7:00PM
Lumiere Theater
1572 California Street at Polk 
San Francisco, CA 94109 

About previews:
Please arrive early to the screening and bring the pass. The theater is overbooked to ensure a full house and seating is first-come, first-served (the pass does not guarantee seating).



**C├ęsar Awards 2011 - Best Actor, Best First Film**
**Tribeca Film Festival 2010 - Best Actor**

Renowned comic book artist Joann Sfar’s Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life is a completely original take on one of France’s greatest mavericks, the illustrious and infamous singer-songwriter, Serge Gainsbourg (Eric Elmosnino). Born Lucien Ginsburg to Russian-Jewish parents, Gainsbourg evolves from a precocious child in Nazi-occupied Paris, to small-time jazz musician and finally international pop superstar. Along the way, he romances many of the era’s most beautiful women, including Juliette Greco (Anna Mouglalis), Brigitte Bardot (Laetitia Casta), and Jane Birkin (Lucy Gordon). With a witty surrealistic style and a soundtrack showcasing many of the musician’s greatest hits, the film is a sensual delight and a quintessential time capsule of the eras he enjoyed.

Continue reading...

Artist Billy Sprague's Space-Themed Album Cover Installation

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, October 3, 2011 03:13pm | Post a Comment
Billy Sprague As Is Gallery Oakland Space Music Album Covers LP Vinyl

Amoeba Berkeley
's own Billy Sprague is launching an immersive space and music-themed installation at Oakland's As Is Gallery from October 5th through November 1st. Sprague has covered the gallery from floor to ceiling with over 150 space-themed album covers from the '60s and '70s, which he has collected over the past ten years. Call that an occupational hazard of being an Amoebite! This is a must-see for any vinyl fiend or space age enthusiast.

The opening reception is Friday, October 7th (part of Oakland's First Fridays) from 7:00pm to 10:30 and features Scott Caligure performing live synthesizer music in the gallery’s bay window! Plus fog machine and mood lighting will be in full force to add to the moonscape!

As Is Gallery is located at 4707 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland, Ca. 

Black Cinema Part III - the TV age and beyond

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 15, 2010 12:42pm | Post a Comment
This is the first installment in a three part history of early Black Cinema.
To read Part I, covering the independent Race Movie years of the 1910s and '20s, click here
To read Part II, covering the Hollywood Studio years of the 1930s and '40s, click here



In American silent films, minority roles were almost invariably filled by white actors in exaggerated and offensive make-up. Latinos in silent films usually played greasers and bandits; Asian-Americans usually played waiters, tongs and laundrymen; and blacks usually played bellboys, stable hands, maids or simply "buffoons." Not surprisingly, both Asian-Americans and blacks responded by launching their own alternative silent cinemas. But whereas Asian-American Silent Cinema quickly faltered, silent, black "race movies" flourished. In the 1930s and '40s, Hollywood began to phase out the practice of blackface (while continuing the practice of redface and yellowface) and successfully wooed race movies' sizable and thus profitable audience. By the 1950s, with its enormous budgets and star power, Hollywood had effectively co-opted and destroyed the independent Black Cinema known as race movies. The result was that there were far fewer examples of Black Cinema in the decade. In the years that followed, as TV chipped away at film’s dominance, a few black actors began appearing on the small screen in shows like Beulah (1950-1953) and The Amos 'n Andy Show (1951-1953) which, whilst hardly socially progressive, at least offered more acting opportunities for black actors.

 

Continue reading...

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Laurel Canyon

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 16, 2009 03:30pm | Post a Comment

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Hollywood, showing the approximate location of Laurel Canyon

This blog entry is about Laurel Canyon. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods, click here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, click here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.


The woodsy area in the Hollywood Hills now known as Laurel Canyon was originally inhabited by the Tongva. A spring-fed stream attracted Mexican shepherds in the 18th century. After the region became part of the US, Anglos arrived. About 100 years ago, the area was divided up, cabins were erected and the area was marketed to vacationing tourists. The first movie made in Hollywood was shot in Yucca Corridor in 1910. Though the film industry remained centered in Edendale for a few years, it gradually shifted to Hollywood and Laurel Canyon became the home of some of the burgeoning industry's photo-players.


Famed cowboy star Tom Mix bought the Laurel Tavern and converted it into his residence. Mary Astor had a love nest on Appian Way. Gay Mexican "Latin Lover" Ramón Novarro lived there until his murder in 1968.


Though better known as an escapologist, Hungarian magician Harry Houdini sometimes acted in the silent era and was another resident to Laurel Canyon. Other stars of the silent screen who made Laurel Canyon their home include Louise Brooks, Clara Bow, Theda Bara, Bessie Love, Wallace Reid and Norman Kerry.


After most of the movie stars left, the rustic neighborhood was still a draw from some bohemian types. It was there, in 1948, that actors Robert Mitchum and Lila Leeds were busted for possession of jazz cigarettes. Mitchum moved away in the '60s. The next influx of inhabitants were more often part of the music industry.


"she lives on Love Street"





 
Located as it is, just up the hill from the famed hippie and folk-rock nexus The Troubadour, the nearby bucolic setting attracted members of that scene. In the 1960s, many musicians moved to the neighborhood including Love’s Arthur Lee, The ByrdsRoger McGuinn and David Crosby, The DoorsJim Morrison and Robby Krieger, the Mamas & PapasDenny Doherty and Cass Elliot, The TurtlesMark Volman, The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork, Troy Donahue, Fabian, The Beach BoysBrian Wilson, Buffalo Springfield’s Neil Young and The Mothers of Invention’s Frank Zappa.

Laurel Canyon Country Store - "the place where the Creatures meet."

In 1968, Laurel Canyon's navelgazing period truly began -- That year, Crosby, Stills and Nash formed one of the first supergroups, named after themselves, of course. The amount of musicians who referenced the neighborhood in their works is pretty humorous. The great, underrated Jackie DeShannon was first, with Laurel Canyon.  Two months later, John Mayall released Blues from Laurel Canyon. The following year, Joni Mitchell began recording Ladies of the Canyon. David Geffen moved to the neighborhood hoping to exploit the increasingly mellow singer-writer and soft rock scene embodied by new residents like Jackson Browne, Carole King, James Taylor, Judee Sill, Linda Ronstadt and members of The Eagles and America. In 1970, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young sang the highly irritating "Our House" about Nash and Mitchell's home. The transition from acid rock psychonauts to self-worshiping cocaine cowboys was completed in 1973, when The Roxy opened down the hill in West Hollywood.

By the ‘80s, most of the singer-writer scene had dried up and blown away but the coke hadn’t. In 1981, four members of The Wonderland Gang (Laurel Canyon’s premier coke distributors), were murdered, leading to the arrest of porn star John C. Holmes. The sleaze quotient rose further when shock jocks Adam Carrola and Tom Leykis moved there (not together).
 

In the '90s, the neighborhood became the home of mainstream darlings including Jennifer Aniston, Neve Campbell and Trent Reznor. A new generation of cocaine cowboys began to wax about the good old days of Laurel Canyon. In 2001, British band The Charlatans released their album Wonderland. Accepted into the scene, by the time of his solo debut a couple of years later, singer Tim Burgess seemed to embody the Laurel Canyon revival. In 2002, in true Laurel Canyon fashion, a movie about Laurel Canyon was released, titled Laurel Canyon.


 
World's largest dog park 

Today, Laurel Canyon still exudes considerable charm. The whimsical houses are in a variety of styles, although their current residents are unfailingly scowly types with dogs in their purses and yoga pants on at all times. Their chilly expressions are somewhat fitting in a neighborhood that, despite being surrounded by urban Los Angeles, conveys an undeniably autumnal vibe.





*****


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