Amoeblog

The simpletons guide to the history of ...

Posted by Whitmore, October 18, 2007 10:04pm | Post a Comment

hysteron proteron: part three

Posted by Whitmore, August 11, 2007 12:30pm | Post a Comment

Charles Saatchi, with his brother, founded the international advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, but Charles' greater fame is as an art collector who has dominated the contemporary art market in Britain since the early 1980s. In fact, the the 1999 retrospective, “Young British Artists: The Saatchi Decade,” uses his name to define an entire contemporary art scene. Yeah, it would be cool to convince him to “invest” in our arty little 7 inch record boxes and help out us poor old ‘45 Room’ employees with our kid’s college funds, but word on the boulevard is he’s a recluse. In my book that’s just a fancy word for record geek. And that Mr. Saatchi is a compliment. I'll be waiting on your call!

Anyway, here is some more 45 Room artiness: Enjoy.



(In which Job fondly recalls Ancient Rome.)

Posted by Job O Brother, June 19, 2007 10:44am | Post a Comment
I don’t own a television. I can’t.

I just can’t face another TV commercial. It doesn’t matter how good a show is, if it must stop all of a sudden in order for some hopped-up, bling-bling supermodel to salaciously coax me into purchasing the latest acacia-infused douche/pudding pop, I will barf.

Maybe my resistance is low because I spent most of my childhood glued to the boob-tube. I could tell anyone what I was “going to do that day” in half-hour increments.

“Four o’clock? Well, ‘Dangermouse’ will just be finishing up, then segueing into ‘You Can’t Do That On Television,’ after which I will switch channels to Mtv to watch ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’…” ad infinitum.

(Monty Python on Mtv? Man, those were good times. ‘Just Say Julie’ and ‘Post Modern Mtv’… I weep for our losses.)


Strictly UPTOWN Julie Brown, Queen of Mtv

At some point, I switched watching copious amounts of TV for lots and lots of mind-altering drugs. So yeah, things were getting healthier. By the time I sobered up and realized that my life wasn’t going to figure itself out, I had a quick nervous breakdown and spiritual crisis, considered suicide, came back from the brink of annihilation, got a job and a girlfriend and discovered I could no longer cope with Nike ads.

Really, this could be anyone’s story.

This is my very personal and long-winded way of saying that I only watch TV shows on DVD. On my computer. In control. No swooshes.

Currently, I am enjoying HBO’s epic saga, “Rome”. I can’t say that I’m bowled over, but it’s amusing enough to watch when I scurry home from Amoeba Music for my lunch break. I’ve only watched the first four episodes, too, so there’s still a chance I’ll get addicted. It took about that long before I realized that “Deadwood” was (curse-word) brilliant.

Still, I am reminded of one of my favorite TV shows of all time. More of a mini-series, actually. “I, Claudius”, which ran on the BBC in 1976. Henceforth, it was often seen in the U.S. on public television. It garnered a slew of awards.


Is that a snake in your opening credits or are you just happy to see me?

I watched it as a fluke. I was at my sister’s house in Sacramento and had a lot of free time. Amidst all the children’s DVD’s was “I, Claudius”. Faced with watching Ariel become a human with the help of Sebastian and Flounder, or the bloody and horrific fall of the Roman Empire, the choice was a no-brainer. After all, only one of these would give me nightmares about calypso-singing sea-crabs.


"I'm going to add your severed head to my collection of whoozits and whatsits!"

What followed was two days of me glued to the computer screen, watching with mouth agape, the entire series. It was like being a kid again.

The show is masterful. The acting is superlative, and the villains are so entertaining and genuinely scary, you almost hate to see them fail, and since this is about Ancient Rome, they often don’t.


More evil and cunning than Fox News - Siân Phillips as Livia

It doesn’t have the same big budget that HBO currently enjoys. Most of it is shot on sound stages; it looks more like a play than a TV show. (Cheek to camera-right and stab him in the throat, keeping your profile in the upper-left light, please.) It’s also a British show, so you might feel a little lost at first, because they don’t take a lot of time to educate you on what’s going on; you either know already or you find the groove.


Get Into the Groove - John Hurt as Caligula

Let me tell you, it is worth the effort. I cannot praise the show enough. Luckily, it is available on DVD in its entirety. You may be delighted to see just how many British celebrities are in it. The cast reads like a who’s-who of England in the 70’s. The cast-party must have been rad. (Or, in the British dialect, “really rather rad”.)


23 years Before Christ and 2,000 years Before Ikea

If you like “Rome”, I insist you check it out. Unless the only reason you watch said show is for occasional glimpses of James Purefoy’s penis, in which case, “Dangermouse” is the more obvious recommendation.

(In which Job becomes a star!)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 21, 2007 08:35am | Post a Comment
So, a couple days ago, I clocked in at work and noticed a flyer attached to the time-clock, informing my fellow Amoebites and I that, early Monday morning, there was going to be a film crew outside the store, shooting crowd scenes for the new film featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks.


(Insert tire screeching sounds here… or, in Great Britain, tyre screeching sounds.)

Whereas I’m sure this notice was met with emotions ranging from ambivalence to eye-rolling annoyance by many, as you know from reading my previous blogs (which you have subsequently committed to memory in preparation for the quiz at the end of this term – you do realize it counts as a third of your grade, right?) I (insert the “f word” here, adding the suffix “ing” as a gerund) love the Chipmunks (insert exclamation point here, so as to emphasize the radness of it all)

I immediately e-mailed the lovely and efficient Kara, the puppet-master of such events and told her that I was the biggest Chipmunk fan and that I simply had to attend, even if it was only to hide in the corner and watch. She responded and said she’s ask the filmmakers if I could hang.

I waited with the patience of Job, which in my case always applies even if I’m not very patient at all. It’s one of the perks of having said name. Like people who’s names are, like, Yourhairlookgreatoday – they will always be told nice things about their coiffure, even if it looks bad. Or bald. Even if they have dead rats and popped eyeballs crusting in their curls and the mucus of twenty diseased boars dripping from beneath their berets, they still get told their hair looks great.

I suppose, if someone who had a name like Justkiddingyouaresouglyandewgrosstheresdeadrodentsandboogersatopthyscalp was actually embebbed in Yourhairlooksgreatoday’s bouffant, then the compliment could be discounted, but really, how realistic is it that someone’s going to cuddle in the cowlicks of animal-rennet rinsed roots?

Um.

Okay… I don’t know where that tangent came from, but I’m going to pretend it didn’t happen and move on. Hopefully you will, too.

Fast-forward to six o’clock Monday morning. I had been up the bulk of the night working on climate-change disaster-film concepts to pitch (just the kind of homework one incurs living in Hollywood), when my phone rings. It’s Kara. The film people finally responded about my request, and it was a “go”.

I had 20 minutes to go from grizzled and sleepy old man to fresh and capable young whip, and arrive at Amoeba Music Hollywood at 6.30 am. Which I did.

Kara was already on the scene, all smiles and caution as she watched teamsters turn the face of our beloved store into a façade for a huge and glamorous event that would never actually happen. “UPCOMING INSTORE: ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS” the marquee read, and colorful signs were framed by every portion of wall. Hired extras were assembling in place, made to look as though they had been camped out all night, waiting to be first inside to see the show.

It was surreal, to say the least. I ended up meeting one of the fellows in charge of the whole thing (I don’t know what his official title was, but people seemed to listen to him when he bossed them around) and he told Kara and I about some of the people who were going to be starring in the film. I never asked, nor got clearance to reveal who these actors were, (how was he to know he was in the presence of an Amoeblogger, the cutting-edge of news media) so I’m not certain if I’m even allowed to say what I learned. Instead, allow me to entertain you with random pictures of some people who I’M NOT SAYING ARE GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN THIS MOVIE.


Anyway, boss-man and I bonded over our mutual pasts in Holland (it all started with a shared awareness and love of koffie verkeerd). Before I knew it, I was cast as an “Amoeba employee” in charge of manning the doors of our store and making sure no one got in before it was time.

This became increasingly disorienting as opening time neared, and real customers and employees began arriving, mixing with paid actors pretending to be waiting to get it. Because I was stationed at the front door, I ended up doing what I had been instructed to pretend to be doing.

Our time-clock is always littered with announcements; everything from plaintive requests for sofas to crash on, advertisements for music shows and art openings, or calls for volunteers to help distribute homes to the foodless – things like that. You can’t expect an employee to soak in all that information, so it was no surprise that many of my as-yet-uncaffeinated co-workers greeted the spectacle with confusion, astonishment and yes, a little fear.

It really did look like we were about to host a packed, high-profile in-store featuring a band consisting of fictional, animated singers. In a world of rockers rendered cynical and unshockable after the suicide of Kurt Cobain and emergence of 90’s retro (huh?) it was a rare moment of genuine shock. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it became the most gratifying aspect of my morning – seeing their befuddled faces as they neared the building.

It was a few hours of rushed and energetic standing around and doing nothing; a description that reads like an oxymoron but absolutely applies in the world of the movie extra, a job I soon realized I could never commit myself to. I’m too anxious to stand around “acting” like I’m standing around. And my existentialist self got kind of grossed out by the irony of it all.

It came time for the store to open and Kara and Jim (one of the people who claim to be my “boss” at Amoeba, though I’ve never seen any papers to prove it) made certain that the film industry was vanished in time to be replaced by real people, really waiting to get into the real in-store.

I was asked to sign a waiver and informed that I would get paid for the work I did (Really? Paid to stand around and do nothing? So this is what it’s like to be a security guard!*) I stumbled home and crawled back in bed, glad to be a part of Chipmunk history and relieved that I had something new to blog about.


That's me in the Amoeba T-shirt. Eat your heart out, Monty Clift.

*I kid. Our security guards are the hardest working people I know, and I’m not just saying so because they could blend me up in a protein shake and drink me.

(In which Job flirts with science-fiction with, as yet, unknown results.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 9, 2007 12:08am | Post a Comment
I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to.

No, not renting out a room in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion (you would not believe what they’re asking for a studio, which doesn’t even include holograms of ghosts eating cake!)

I’ve begun watching “Doctor Who”, starting with the original series, which ran from 1963 to1966 and stared William Hartnell as a particularly unsexy lead.

Some of you know I am a sucker for British television, though the love is not unconditional. I would no sooner sit through an episode of “Are You Being Served?” than a lecture on safe-sex from a 19th century French poet.

Still, many of my favorites (“League of Gentlemen”, “Absolutely Fabulous”, “Black Adder” to name a few) hail from the Isles, and I do expect a certain sophistication from its programming. It’s not that I need obscure historical references in order to evoke a giggle, I just appreciate that, as opposed to many US shows, not every actor looks like they live at Hefner’s mansion, and not every joke is accentuated by obvious pauses, eye-rolling, and orchestrated laughter from a studio audience.

So far the show is good fun. Because of its spookiness and languid pace, I can only convince myself to watch it at bedtime, which is a minus.

It’s not uniformly entertaining. The scenes which focus on the core characters (the Doctor, his granddaughter Susan, and her school teachers, Barbara and Ian) are enjoyable and emotionally complex enough to be intriguing, though the actress playing the granddaughter seems to sometimes forget she’s on a TV show and not a West End production of Electra.

Inevitably there must be scenes which focus on the antagonists. In the first storyline, these happen to be a bunch of primitive cavemen, who may not know how to make fire, but manage to speak modern English better than most US high school students. These scenes tend to run long, so far.

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