Amoeblog

New Zion I Song "Tech $" Tackles Tech Fueled Gentrification of Oakland and the Bay Area

Posted by Billyjam, June 28, 2016 11:57pm | Post a Comment

In September Zion I will release the album the Labyrinth featuring the new preview track "Tech $"  (Anthony Cole directed music video below). "Tech $" is about the impact of gentrification in Oakland as a result of the Bay Area tech boom.  Zumbi has lived in the Bay Area since the nineties and has seen a lot of changes. In the ZIon I hit of a decade ago, "The Bay," he rapped of all the diverse things that made the Bay great on the anthem like track. The new song is not as uplifting.  On the post AmpLive, Mikos da Gawd produced track he recalls how, "In the nineties it was the dot com" but now it is full scale gentrification, an unavoidable scenario that's been noticed (and noted) by other Oakland hip-hoppers.

Prozack Turner
of Foreign Legion fame, who lives in East Oakland and runs the Oakland bar/club The Legionnaire Saloon on Telegraph Ave. near Grand Ave., addresses the topic of gentrification in the song "HIgh Enough." The brand new track, that features mic guest Brother Ali, is from a forthcoming solo album by the Oakland artist. Meanwhile another Oakland artist, Elujay, has themed his entire forthcoming album on the topic with the title Jentrify.

Continue reading...

Ed Lee Or Not To Be For Second Term? SF MCs Equipto & Dregs One Weigh In On San Francisco's Crucial 2015 Mayoral Election

Posted by Billyjam, November 2, 2015 09:00am | Post a Comment

Love him, hate him, or simply feel indifferent towards him, no one can deny that during the past (almost) five years of Ed Lee as Mayor of San Francisco the City by the Bay has been dramatically reshaped. Hence why tomorrow's November 3rd election for mayor of San Francisco, in which he is running for a second term, is considered so crucial.

Back on January 11, 2011, Ed Lee was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve out the remainder of former mayor Gavin Newsom's term. At the time no one thought much of it, believing Lee would carry on business as usual without making any significant changes. Wrong! In the half decade since taking office, Lee has made numerous changes and in so doing been roundly accused by his detractors (and there are many) of been beholden to big corporate money, all the while turning his back on San Francisco's longtime low-income residents.

In tomorrow's election Lee faces five different challengers who are united in their anti-Lee stance and push to a return for what's been labeled "a grassroots democracy" for San Francisco. In all the six candidates on the ballot for mayor of San Francisco are Kent Graham, Francisco Herrera, Ed Lee, Reed Martin, Stuart Schuffman and Amy Farah Weiss

Continue reading...

This Cartoon Can Be Yor Life...

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 10, 2008 02:37am | Post a Comment

Sunday’s episode of Fox’s television show King Of The Hill, entitled "Ladies And Gentrification," was nothing short of brilliant. In the episode, Peggy Hill is having problems selling a house to a hipster because none of the homes she has shown him are “real” enough for him. That is until Peggy agrees to meet Hank at his friend Enrique’s home in a Mexican neighborhood. Peggy brings her client along, as she is in the middle of showing the hipster homes to buy. Once the hipster sees the neighborhood, he wants to live there and Peggy closes a deal.

Soon Peggy is selling homes to other hipsters in Enrique’s Mexican neighborhood. The fruit stands and Goodwill are replaced by art galleries and trendy stores. Even Enrique’s favorite place to get fish tacos changes their menu, replacing the fried fish tacos with Salmon tacos. Soon Enrique has to move because he is being priced out of his own neighborhood.

There is a great scene in which Hank and Enrique are having fish tacos when a group of hipsters enter. They give Hank attitude because he’s neither a hipster nor a Mexican, calling him Gringo. The too cool hipsters say hello to Enrique,  to which he says to Hank, “They always act like they know me but I don’t know who they are!”

The episode touches upon many issues of gentrification that I thought were brilliant. One is that most hipsters want what they cannot have. While most poor people are trying to get out of a barrio, the hipsters want to get in, simply because they think it’s cool. Their adventures or ‘realness” are things that most people try to escape. Another thing is how they showed how hipsters love the realness of an ethic neighborhood but do very to little preserve the culture, often eliminating ethic businesses to bring in their own hipster culture. Then there was the hipsters that feel that they are “down” with the people simply because they live in the neighborhood, without actually getting to know their neighbors that were there before them. For the most part, many hipsters fraternized only among other hipsters from the same neighborhood.

Lastly, what I thought was cool about the episode was that it was never a race issue. Hank is white and Enrique is Mexican and they get along because they are good people. Hank is not the enemy. Many Latino hipsters have sold out many a neighborhood for their own profit. I have nothing in common with them other than ethnicity. Give me a fish taco and a beer with Hank Hill any day.

WHAT IF TRAVIS BICKLE CAME BACK TODAY?

Posted by Billyjam, March 9, 2008 05:34am | Post a Comment

You know that part in Taxi Driver when Robert De Niro's Travis Bickle character utters those lines about wishing that "Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets."  That eerily memorable bit from Martin Scorsese's landmark 1976 movie captured a totally different time in the history of New York City - a time when the city was bankrupt and grimy.  It was a time when the Bronx, which looked like bombed out Berlin (circa WWII), was visited by Ronald Reagan like a state leader visiting a war torn faraway land - except it was one of the five boroughs of America's main city.

It was a distant time that could be a hundred years ago, not just a few decades, considering just how very much New York City has transformed since then.  Today the midtown Times Square area of New York City (along & surrounding 42nd Street on Manhattan's West Side) is a radically different place than the one it was back in the mid-seventies; the area that was so effectively captured in Taxi Driver as Travis Bickle's cab crawled along in slo-mo, taking in every nuance of the rundown, scuzzy and scary area that was rampant with X-rated movie theaters, hookers, junkies, pimps, and street-wise con men lurking on every corner, ready to rip off gullible marks.

Today that same stretch of 42nd Street and Times Square is another world altogether, with the cheap eateries and strip clubs and X rated movie theaters replaced by back to back chain outlets like Starbucks, McDonalds, and of course the Disney stores -- hence the so-called Disneyfication of New York City that has slowly come about since the nineties -- a current trend in the US that is by no means limited to NYC.

Continue reading...

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Alhambra, the Gateway to the San Gabriel Valley

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 5, 2007 05:00pm | Post a Comment

I had to go to
Alhambra to see a man about a horse at the bidding of the original San Gabriel Valley Girl, the always radiant Ngoc Nguyen. To vote for another Los Angeles neighborhood, vote here. To vote for a Los Angeles County Community, vote here. To vote for more Orange County communites, click here


Pendersleigh & SonsOfficial Map of the San Gabriel Valley


ALHAMBRA'S LOCATION

Alhambra is on the western edge of the San Gabriel Valley between posh
San Marino, trendy South Pasadena, old San Gabriel, blue collar Rosemead, and the most Chinese city in the US, Monterey Park.


Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Alhambra

The center of Alhambra is the intersection of Garfield and Main, which has functioned as the hub of town at least since 1895.


                          Garfield and Main, 1890                            Garfield and Main, 2007 improved with an Applebees


My favorite historical site, however, isn't really too historical. There's a great shopping center, New Valley Shopping Center, built in 1964. Its main anchor is replaced the 168 Market -- a subsidiary of Ranch 99 Market. It's one of those many, amazing LA simulacra that make what would normally be a boring stripp mall feel like a visit to Disneyland. This shopping center is, much more successfully than the Cerritos Auto Mile, going for a New Orleans French Quarter vibe with a gazebo, faux wrought-iron street lamps and balconies, and a cupola with a liberty bell. And in this beautiful setting, things get pretty third world, just in the Big Easy. 


New Valley Shopping Center


ALHAMBRA DEMOGRAPHICS

By the 1950s, Garfield and Main was the hippest place in the San Gabriel Valley and was predominantly populated mostly by Italian-Americans. The following decade saw an influx of Latinos from surrounding areas and Anglos moving to other suburbs. In the late 1960s Alhambra was a hotbed of anti-Vietnam War protests and Brown Beret activity. By the mid 1970s tensions rose between the predominantly Anglo "surfers" and cholos. Many
Taiwanese began to move to the neighborhood, followed by Chinese from the mainland, Vietnamese, Cambodians and other Asians
. Today the population is roughly 47% Asian (mostly Chinese and Vietnamese), 36% Latino (Mostly Mexicans of any race), and 14% white.


ALHAMBRA EATS

The San Gabriel Valley is widely recognized for having the best collection of restaurants in Los Angeles County. Being the gateway to the SGV, entering Alhambra on bike I was always hit with a blast of delicious fragrances emanating from kitchens and restaurants. Even though they make up a very small percentage of Los Angeles's Asian-American population, Los Angeles being the great city of the
Pacific Rim it should be no surprise that the highest population of Indonesians is in Los Angeles County. The highest concentration within Los Angeles County is in Alhambra. I mention this first because Indonesian cuisine is one of the world's greatest and Alhambra boasts a few places to get it. Borneo Kalimantan CuisineIndo Kitchen, and Wong Java House. One can also get Indonesian and/or Indonesian-inspired dishes at Garden Café, Savoy Kitchen, and maybe Noodle World. That being said, there's no place in Alhambra that I've eaten more than Yazmin Malaysian Restaurant -- representing the cuisine of Indonesia's neighbor to the north -- Malaysia, of course. I'm also a fan of Banh Mi Che Cali, the Alhambra Lee’s Sandwiches (don’t hate!), Thai Purple, and at least the fried zucchini at Rick’s

In addition to the aforementioned cuisines and restaurants, Alhambra boasts a number of American, Cajun, Chinese, Dim Sum, Hawaiian, Hu, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Taiwanese, Thai, Vietnamese restaurants including the following: