Amoeblog

Spacesynth (after a brief bit about Space Disco)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 14, 2008 04:00pm | Post a Comment

 

When you like a lot of the sci-fi movies from the mid-to-late 1970s, you frequently are treated to Rubellian utopias populated by horned-up hedonists, robots who are polished like (coke) mirrors and multi-racial aliens all getting together at the space disco/cantina/casino. As with almost all science fiction, it's more a reflection of the time of it's conception than any like future. This stuff was heavily indebted to the sexual revolution that preceeded it and was wholly clueless about the AIDS epidemic lying around the corner. In the tense, cold-war-fearing 80s, just a few years later, sci-fi frequently fell into two camps. On the one hand you have bands of marauders roaming the post-apocalyptic wastelands in churched-up dune buggies out to terrorize the few remaining civilized humans, who are attempting in a harsh world to preserve culture and science and maybe the knowledge of how to grow food. On the other you have gritty near-futures where market economics and technology have exploded into fearsome things, exploited by crusties who can access the internet through datajacks in their skulls. And they live in cities called Neo Tokyo and the like. But, for now, back to the 70s...

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Laserdisc Blowout Ending Soon

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 25, 2008 05:07pm | Post a Comment


Right now there's a raging Laserdisc blowout occurring on the mezzanine here at Amoeba Hollywood. The big, shiny discs with the high mass are blowing out at low, low prices.


Most kids today, when they see a laserdisc, assume that they're silver vinyl soundtracks but some of us remember the extinct format, especially if we're Japanese.


Laserdisc technology was developed in the late 1950s and demonstrated for the public in 1978. Laserdiscs were first sold in Atlanta, possibly because of its reputation as "The City Too Busy To Hate." The first title available was, ironically, Jaws, a low budget monster film about a shark with nothing to do but hate.


Over the next 12 years, dozens of titles were released on the format. Common complaints against Laserdiscs were the limited catalog and high prices ($89.99 for Honey I Blew Up the Kid). Also, you couldn't tape your stories on 'em and you had to flip them over just when the kid is growing into a giant! The most common rejoinder I've heard for the latter gripe is, "That's when I get up and get a beer!" There's a lot of "You too, I thought I was the only one" moments in the laserdisc section, which is one of the great things about the medium. Also, you can freeze frame and get a clear picture, maybe glimpsing some naughty bits on a cartoon character snuck in by a frustrated Disney animator.

Crime & The City Solution and Simon Bonney -- Criminally Underrated

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 21, 2008 10:51pm | Post a Comment
CRIME & THE CITY SOLUTION

Crime & the City Solution 31 December, 1977
Crime & the City Solution 31 December, 1977 (image source: Phil Turnbull)

It seems that almost from their inception the band Crime & The City Solution they were cursed to never be spoken of without a mention of famous Australian Nick Cave. It's really no one's fault. They were part of a incestuous web of musicians with frequent Nick Cave collaborator Mick Harvey at the center, a man who though a talented multi-instrumentalist, can only play one one band at a time, resulting in other pursuits being put on hold whilst he focused on his main gig.

Crime & The City Solution formed in Sydney, Australia in 1977. Their original line-up included vocalist Simon Bonney (the band's only permanent member, fresh from a brief stint with The Particles), Don McLennan on drums, Harry Zanteni on guitar, Phil Kitchener on bass and Dave MacKinnon on soprano and tenor saxophones. Simon Bonney, whilst born in Sydney, had spent some time on his family's remote farm in Tasmania where his they grew wheat, barley and opium poppies.

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Happy Australia Day

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 26, 2008 09:23am | Post a Comment
  
The Flag of Australia                                             The Australian Aboriginal Flag        The Flag of Torres Strait Islanders


Australia was discovered about 45,000 years ago when they either walked or made short sea-crossings from Papua to the north in what is now the Torres Strait. In Australia they grew into diverse cultures with around 250 languages spoken by nations such as the Koori, Murri, Noongar, Yamatji, Wangkai, Nunga, Anagu, Yapa, Yolngu and Palawah, who together may've numbered around 3 quarters of a million.  43,830 years later (give or take a few thousand) it was claimed, like a quarter of the planet, by the tiny, faraway island of Great Britain.


   
Initially, it served as a penal colony set up at Port Jackson on January 26, 1788, which is why it's Australia Day today. 50% of the indigenous population died from smallpox within the following years. Massacres and land seizures reduced the indigenous population another 30%. Often the convicts sent to Australia were charged with minor offenses. In the 1850s, the Gold Rush began and with it, an Americanization of the language. For example, "bonanza" (borrowed from Spanish) became "bonzer." By 1827, Australian English was already diverging significantly from British English. Author Peter Cunningham noted a distinct vocabulary and a non-rhotic accent that owed heavily to Cockney. It is typically divided into three accents which owe less to region than UK English or US English.

      Broad: Exemplified by larrikins Paul “g’day mate” Hogan, Steve “crikey” Irwin.
      General: The typical Australian of Cate Blanchett, Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman.
      Cultivated: The British-sounding manner of Geoffrey Rush or Judy Davis.

None of the examples above probably say "shrimp on the barbie" since "shrimp" are called "prawns" in Australia.
     
Most of the wildlife and plant life is endemic. It's the flattest country on Earth, mostly desert and covered with the least fertile soil. It seems like wherever you go in the world, you run into loads of Australians. Luckily, they all have multizone DVD players.

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Newhart - the rumor mill

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 29, 2007 10:22am | Post a Comment


My spies have told me that season 1 of Newhart is going to be released in the winter of 2008. Of all the shows based around Bob Newhart (the others being The Bob Newhart Show (1961-1972),
The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978),



Bob
(1992-1993)


and the bizarrely-named George & Leo (1997)...

...Newhart (1982-1980) remains my favorite. Dick Loudon (Newhart) is a writer from New York City who buys an inn in a rural Vermont town populated by colorful locals who exist to exasperate Dick. I like Bob Newhart in all of his roles, which are essentially the same -- a mild-mannered, stammering straight man. A bit like Droopy Dog (minus Droopy's explosions of anger and muscle). As David Hyde Pierce observed, "The only difference between Bob Newhart on stage and Bob Newhart offstage – is that there is no stage."

Trivia -- the last two times that I flew, actress Julia Duffy and celebrated beauty Ngoc Nguyen were on the plane! Imagine my joy!

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