Amoeblog

Calfornia Fool's Gold -- Exploring Yucca Corridor, Los Angele's Crack Alley

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 25, 2009 01:25pm | Post a Comment
In this installment of the Los Angeles neigborhood blog, we visit Yucca Corridor. To vote for a different Los Angeles neighborhood, go here. To vote for a Los Angeles County community, go here.

  
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Yucca Corridor & Hollywood

The Yucca Corridor is a small, crowded neighborhood in central Hollywood, just northwest of downtown. Its borders are Franklin Ave on the north, Hollywood Blvd on the south, Highland on the west, and Vine on the east. Below is the southeast corner of what's now Yucca Corridor as it was in 1907. Nowadays it is 42% Latino (mostly Mexican and Guatelmalteca), 41% white (mostly Armenian), 7% Asian and 5% black.



The Yucca Corridor
Yucca Corridor is a fairly dilapidated section of Hollywood, despite 100s of millions of dollars having been dumped into it since the death of Hollywood in the 1950s. Today, although much improved from its nadir, it’s still one of the most run-down areas of Los Angeles. Now, after decades of heralding its complete rejuvenation, the hype finally seems to be approaching reality -- though tellingly, the predominant smell in the air is of sun-dried urine.

McCartney - Maybe I'm Amazed

Posted by Miss Ess, June 19, 2009 02:35pm | Post a Comment

The photos from the album McCartney are seared indelibly into my consciousness. They capture so many golden moments in pastoral, domestic family life. As a child, the album was often propped up in front of our record player and I would get lost in each image, staring into them one by one while simultaneously absorbing the music crackling through the stereo. I wanted to live in those pictures and actually still somehow feel, although clearly my family was different from the McCartneys, like they capture the mood and feeling of the best, most nostalgia-raising days of my childhood.


Must be why listening to the album these days takes me right back there, to my earliest years, only now I can listen to the album with my own thoughts and images of love, family and the pastoral. This new, more complex listening experience that comes with McCartney now that I am older has deeply enriched an already fantastic album for me.

McCartney was Paul's first post-Beatles album and he came at it sounding as confident as ever, making singularly fab songs such as "Every Night," "Maybe I'm Amazed," and "Junk" sound so simple, so easy. Though there are some patchy bits where the record veers into instrumentals, I see those portions as time to process some of the other songs, moments to wrap up my mind in my own memories while still listening.

On McCartney, Paul sounds so effortlessly on top of his game. He played pretty much all the instruments himself, wrote all the songs himself... It's 1970 and he's in love and satisfied with his life. Perhaps, though it is 2009, because I feel similarly and have my own little family and life to daydream about, this album is getting to me more than ever these days.

It was Paul's birthday yesterday, incidentally. Seems like a good time to put some McCartney on the player -- the album is so worth going back to if you haven't heard it for a while, and it's definitely worth finding if you've never had the chance to hear it before.

Here's "Maybe I'm Amazed":



Asian-American Cinema Part VI - The 1970s

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 25, 2009 04:16pm | Post a Comment
The sixth of a nine part series on Asian-Americans in front of and behind the camera

ASIAN-AMERICAN CINEMA

After short-lived attempts in the silent era to establish an Asian-American Cinema, for most of the in the first and second halves of the studio era, Hollywood single-handedly created and controlled almost all celluloid images of Asian-Americans. With the beginnings of Asian-American theater in the 1960s and its growth in the 1970s coinciding with the decline of the Hollywood studio system, all that began to change with the rebirth of Asia-American Cinema, albeit slowly at first. Only in the 1990s and 2000s has a large and diverse Asian-American cinema, Asian-American theater and Asian-American comedy scene truly flourished -- offering a viable alternative to Hollywood's continued stereotypes and ongoing homogeneity.



THE CHANGING FACE OF ASIAN-AMERICA IN THE '70S

In the 1970s, more than 130,000 refugees arrived from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, drastically changing the make-up of the Asian-American population. Broadly speaking, this wave of immigrants had more in common socio-economically speaking with most blacks, Latinos and Natives; therein challenging the mid '60s-born concept of Asians as "the model minority."

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Mick Fleetwood's Autobiography: Fleetwood - My Life and Adventures with Fleetwood Mac

Posted by Miss Ess, May 6, 2009 04:48pm | Post a Comment
Ever since I wrote this post a few months ago, it's been a full on Mac attack in my life -- I have been listening non-stop to Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, everywhere I go, over and over. I picked up Mick Fleetwood's 1991 autobiography as well, Fleetwood - My Life and Adventures with Fleetwood Mac, hoping for some salicious tidbits about the band that is known not only for its instantly addicting, mega-popular music, but also for the many interband rumours...


The book is pretty great. Mick describes his childhood and early life with candor, including his stints in boarding school and his feeling that he was not smart, upheld by his poor academic performances and difficulty memorizing facts...thus, he turned to music, and with perfect timing. Although he certainly slaved away upon moving to London, paying his dues in one dank club after another, he makes the process of gaining early fame and fortune seem somewhat simple -- after all, this was Swinging London! He was in the right place at the exact right time to make a career for himself.

Mick portrays himself as the glue that held the various incarnations of the band together over the years, and it appears to be true -- he and a rather mute John McVie are the only two members that have stuck with the band since its creation in the mid 60s. Mick felt he had no back up career; holding the band together was what he pledged his whole heart to, even at the expense of his first marriage, relationships and children.

Mick tenderly describes being in love with Stevie Nicks fairly early on in their friendship, but when it comes to the actual relationship that occured between them, we don't get many details-- I guess some things must be left private. Mick mentions that he realized he must have a talk with her former flame/bandmate Lindsey Buckingham about his new relationship with Stevie, but never details when, where or how that conversation took place. And it must have at some point, because Stevie and Mick were a couple on and off for a few years. He hints that he's never gotten over her, although he did go on to marry one of her best friends, Sara! (Nowadays he is married to someone else though.)

On a fairly random aside, did you know that Christine McVie's mother was a healer? I always wondered how it was that Stevie Nicks and Christine got along so easily, considering Christine seemed like a stiff upper lip kind of Brit, but now I see that they were probably connected in a great many ways, including their spiritual leanings, and of course there is also the fact that they were talented, driven women in an overwhelmingly male-dominated field.

Mick's book was contested by Lindsey Buckingham and it's easy to see why, as Lindsey's quitting the band in 1987 is carefully, detailingly documented. Buckingham quit at the moment when Fleetwood Mac was coming back together to tour to help Mick, who had recently declared bankruptcy. Lindsey comes off as a chauvanistic egomaniac. Who's to say what's right and what's wrong? We only have Mick's side of the story, and I have to say, overall the entire book was definitely an interesting read.

One of my favorite over-the-top, decadent moments came late in the book, when Fleetwood Mac is recording and living at an old chateau in France. It's a foggy morning and Mick and a friend are returning via car to the chateau when they pass a stable and Mick is overcome with the sudden desire to ride on horseback the rest of the way home, to make a grand entrance. He somehow secures a grey horse and rides off through the mist, galloping to the chateau, right up the front stairs and into the entryway! Suddenly, a caped and hooded Stevie Nicks comes flying down the staircase, leaps on the horse and takes off back out into the countryside. Now that is why I read this autobio!&n

Mummy Dearest

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 15, 2009 06:06pm | Post a Comment


Mummy films
are unique among classic monster movies in that they're neither primarily based upon myths or literature. Only Isaac Henderson's 1902 play, The Mummy and the Hummingbird and Bram Stoker's 1903 novel, Jewel of the Seven Stars, have inspired cinematic adaptations (the latter spawning four to date) with its subject of an archaeologist attempting to revive a mummy. There were a few examples of the mummy in literature, as with Edgar Allan Poe's "Some Words with a Mummy," Théophile Gautier's The Romance of a Mummy, Ambrose Pratt's The Living Mummy, Louisa May Alcott's "Lost in a Pyramid or, The Mummy’s Curse" and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Lot No. 249" and "The Ring of Thoth" all deal with mummies, albeit not always in a horror setting, and have never even loosely been adapted into film.

The rise of mummy films seem to be directly related to a then-widespread interest in archaeology and, more specifically, an enduring western vogue for Orientalism and fascination with the Near East.  Several major discoveries in the field of Egyptology occurred in the 20th century and helped renew and increase interest in one the the planet's oldest, most complex and enduring civilizations. Yet fascination with Egyptian mummies, with their tantalizing ties to the ancient past, never really translated into a healthy monster subgenre, only sporadically rising to the level of more continually popular monsters like vampires and ghosts.



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