Amoeblog

The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, 7/18-8/4

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, July 8, 2019 03:53pm | Post a Comment

The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

Amoeba is proud to co-present four films at the 39th annual San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (SFJFF), July 18 - August 4 at locations all around the Bay Area. This year, the festival will present more than 65 films and 135 individual screenings, performances, and events in San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Rafael, Oakland, and Albany. To see the full schedule and purchase single tickets or passes, please visit the SFJFF ticketing page HERE!

Amoeba Music will be co-presenting the following films:

Shut Up and Play the Piano
Saturday July 27. 11am. Castro Theatre
Friday August 2. 8:45pm. Piedmont Theatre

Performance provocateur, professional Jewish MC, and classical savant are a few of the phrases used to Chilly Gonzalesdescribe the cult musical phenomenon that is Chilly Gonzales. This Grammy-winning Canadian pianist, composer, and performer has moved effortlessly from smoky jazz and hip-hop clubs to packed orchestra halls for the past two decades. The Montreal-born son of Ashkenazi Hungarian Jews, Gonzales (born Jason Charles Beck), was signed at the age of 23 to Warner Bros. with his alternative rock band Son. After the label dumped him, Gonzales traveled to Berlin where he recorded four rap albums, collaborated with vanguard punk high priestess Peaches, and even ran for president of the city's underground scene despite speaking no German whatsoever. Weary of his own blabbermouth avant garde persona, Gonzales took off for Paris where he made the contemplative masterpiece of Satie-esque keyboard melodies, Solo Piano. Since then Gonzales has continually expanded his repertoire by writing and producing material for Canadian rap superstar Drake and Daft Punk's electronic mega-seller Random Access Memories. First time director Philipp Jedicke's freewheeling doc portrait weaves a mosaic of thoroughly entertaining moments from the artist's career culminating in a chaotic concert, with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra taking on Gonzales in all his sweaty, swaggering, crowd-surfing glory.

Continue reading...

'Z' for Zionist? The Horror in World War Z (2013)

Posted by Charles Reece, July 22, 2013 09:30am | Post a Comment

To me, about the only interesting aspect of the latest zombie film, World War Z, is how it dealt with a certain notion that it shares with all post-apocalyptic narratives, namely that the politics we (many liberals and leftists, at least) find iniquitous in the real world might find a moral purchase in the dystopian fantasy. (The film itself is arranged like a video game, where Brad Pitt goes from scenario to scenario, completing each mission, only to be told by the Side Character Who Knows that the possible solution lies at the end of another mission set in another context with its own set of possible actions.) That actions can produce different moral outcomes depending on context shouldn't be all that surprising, though, since most everyone is surely familiar with the adage about how even the most heinous of political systems might at least keep the trains running on time. That is, if you simplify the public good enough, like the purpose a junkie finds in addiction, one can find an advantage to any system. In the context of a zombie apocalypse, the desideratum is, of course, surviving one more day from the undead plague.

So, one thing a totalitarian regime like North Korea is ably suited for is to marshall all of its forces into closing off its borders and making sure none of its citizens is able to spread the disease should he or she become infected. Ideally, the advantage to martial law is to circumvent time-consuming debate during an emergency. This automatically gives an advantage to a totalitarian regime over a democracy, since only the latter has to bother calling for martial law, the former having already been operating under a military state preceding the emergency. Likewise, because North Korea recognizes no inalienable rights to selfhood, current Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un can put his state apparatus to efficient use by removing all the teeth from his entire citizenry. Not that infection was all that probable, since the country was living in a bubble at the time of the outbreak.

Individual rights, open borders and democracy are, it might be concluded, not the best way to stave off the zombie horde. That's a trade off I'd have no problem making. Better to have a respect for individual rights and be ill prepared for zombies than live under a dictator until the zombies arrive. I bring this up because most of the film's critics ignore whether World War Z is promoting the North Korean regime, which, by the end of the film (as far as the audience knows), is the only truly successful defense against zombie infection. Critics are more concerned with the other near success story, Israel:

For a solid 10-minute stretch, World War Z is the greatest piece of cinematic propaganda for Israel since Otto Preminger’s Exodus. While the rest of the world has fallen to cinders, Israel survives. After Pitt’s plane narrowly escapes doom during a bloody action set piece, he touches down at Atarot Airport. The Israeli flag, shown in glorifying closeup, ripples proudly in a sun-dappled halo. -- Jordan Hoffmann

Not only is Israel’s fanatical Wall Building proven to be justified, against the hordes of undead invaders, and not only are Jewish victimizations paraded to justify the aggrandizement of Israeli military prowess, but it’s Israel’s supposed humanism, and multicultural inclusiveness, which in the end weakens the fragile post-apocalyptic state and allows the zombies to overrun everything. -- Jesse Benjamin supporting Hoffman's spin

It went from being an action film into Zionism pornography an hour into the film. The film even justifies the Apartheid Wall and the institution of checkpoints which treat people like cattle as saving the world from zombies! -- a representative negative interpretation from those critical of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, quoted by Al Jazeera

World War Z is the most pro-Israel movie ever made. Or at the very least the most pro-Israel zombie movie ever made. -- Jeffrey Goldberg, a staunch defender of Israeli policies, ibid.

Continue reading...

Photographic Memory, Part 1

Posted by Job O Brother, September 7, 2009 01:17pm | Post a Comment

"Please conjure sheets of paper to come floating out of the laundry basket below"
The author, circa 1996

I have recently come into possession of my adolescent photo collection. There was, for a period of about five years, a time when I owned a fetching Ricoh camera which had been given to me by a rad woman whom I lived with on a mountaintop commune on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. She used to regale me with stories from her years as a hot-shot publicist, and explained to me which lines from David Bowie’s “Drive-in Saturday” had been written about her by the Thin White Duke.


Were these claims true? Who knows. But it did distract me from the profound and crippling nervous breakdown I was experiencing at the time, fuelled in part by excessive use of ecstasy as a means of spiritual enlightenment and by living with my then step-father who made such helpful suggestions as, “Maybe you have alien implants in your brain.”

“Oh, yes. Well thank you for that.”

I thought it might be fun to dip into the box and see what musical and/or cinematic associations they bring. Kind of reconsider my colorful past in terms of stuff you could purchase at Amoeba Music. For I am a salesman, ladies and gentlemen.

Let’s begin now…


Here’s a picture of me caked in drying mud on the banks of the Dead Sea. Taking the picture is my Mom, who is also slathered in earth. Supposedly there was some physical benefits in doing this, but honestly I didn’t need a reason beyond getting to rub mud all over my near-naked body. Who needs the added incentive of a health boost? What you don’t see in this picture is the gaggle of Japanese tourists shrieking with laughter as the women in the group got smeared with mud by their husbands. And what you don’t hear is that the spa where this all took place is playing Marianne Faithfull’s album Broken English over the loudspeakers. Because when you’re soaking in mineral baths and having the toxins flushed from your body, what else do you want to hear but this…


Yes, the spirit of the Essenes is alive and well on the banks of the Dead Sea.


Here’s a picture of Emilie Autumn. Emilie was famous in our hometown for a variety of reasons, one of which being that she would do things like, say, dye her skin green and wear Christmas tinsel hair extensions. This isn’t body paint, folks. This is skin dyed green, and over the course of weeks it would gradually fade away, as though Emilie were transforming from Frankenstein monster to human girl.

I spent a sizable chunk of my youth locked in Emilie’s room, smoking pot, drinking Thunderbird, eating pot, and making art with her. Music was always playing, and the most popular tunes were (in no particular order):














After being best friends for three years, Emilie and I began having sex, which made the next three years of our relationship a more stormy affair. Her creativity extended into ways of breaking my heart and I finally stopped talking to her. She was one of the great loves of my life and a part of me will always be in love with her. Green skinned or not.

Aw... More to come!

Nakba Day: yawm al-nakba يوم النكبة

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 15, 2008 09:27am | Post a Comment
This Nakba Day (which means "Day of the Catastrophe") marks the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian people's expulsion and dispossession of their homelands. According to the UN, an estimated 711,000 Palestinians fled their homes and 160,000 stayed behind to become internal refugees in the newly formed state of Israel.



Palestinians fleeing their homes in 1948

Situated at one of those great crossroads of civilizations, the Palestinian populace reflects the diverse cultural imprint in their ancient ancestors. Genetic evidence shows the Palestinians are descended from Amorites, Anatolians, Arabs, Arameans, Canaanites, Edomites, European crusaders, Hebrews, Jebusites, Lydian Greeks, Philistines and Romans. They practice various faiths like Christianity, Druze, and Islam.

Western media, however, tends to have a hard time accepting that not all Palestianians are Muslim. For example, when Ahmad Sa'adat, the leader of the PFLP (Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine) was arrested, the news I was watching described his organization as "Islamic Fundamentalists" even though it is secular, Marxist-Leninist and was created by George Habbash, a Palestinian Christian. No correction followed.



A Ghassanid Palestinian family in 1905

In 1919, the First Palestinian Congress issued a statement opposing Zionist immigration but, when speaking of the 10,000 Jews already in Palestine, they stated "they are as we are, and their loyalties are our own."



Desmond Tutu at a protest of the Israeli Occupation

Even though the Palestinian majority was displaced 60 years ago, the issue remains unresolved. Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela have referred to Israel as an apartheid state.




Although Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that "Everyone has the right to leave any country including his own, and to return to his country," 4.25 million Palestinians live in refugee camps. In what is ostensibly a first world democracy, Palestinians within Israel suffer from extremely high rates of unemployment and malnourishment. The United Nations has to feed over 1 and a half million Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip where malnourishment rates are comparable to those in Congo and Zimbabwe.

Despite extreme hardship and many obstacles, there is a small, growing, internationally-lauded Palestinian Cinema. All of the following films (and many excellent documentaries) are available at Amoeba.

 

Michel Kleifi
is a pioneer of Palestinian cinema, creating Fertile Memory (1981), Wedding In Galilee (1987) and Tale of the Three Jewels (1995). I've seen Wedding in Galilee. It involves a Palestinian wedding and surprised me with its sensuality. It's quite good.




Elia Suleiman
- Divine Intervention (2002) and Chronicle of a Disappearance (1996).

Divine Intervention was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2002. However, when it was submitted for the Academy Awards, the Academy stated that, "The academy does not accept films from countries that are not recognized by the United Nations." In the past the Academy accepted submissions from Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Wales and Taiwan- none of which are recognized by the UN as independent. The Academy's published rules for consideration make no mention of UN recognition. Some protested this double standard.




Hany Abu-Assad
's Paradise Now (2005) and Rana's Wedding (2002).

Reversing their previous position, the Academy nominated Paradise Now for Best Foreign Language Film and it won a Golden Globe in that category. But don't let the Oscar stain scare you, it's actually an amazingly moving and sad film which doesn't sermonize in the black and white manner that the Academy tends to reward.





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Fontage

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, December 6, 2007 03:25pm | Post a Comment
Incorporating the dramatic fonts used in the design of the album cover being promoted, the designers of these fine stickers created a nice compliment sure to garner extra sales.



Used to promote Robert Plant's
top 20 hit
, this sticker furthers the classicmodern rock feel of the
album cover. Cool 80's pink lifted from the artful embellishments
found to the left of the photo...









up next, R&B top 20 hit from George Clinton...


Sticker gets a little lost
as cover is already quite busy






Up next, a foreign selection...



Nice gold foil sticker promoting the lovely Geula Gil's version of the "Jerusalem of Gold", which is a huge song in Israel...











OK, Heartlight was truly a smash hit, but I am working on a collection of promo stickers that grossly overstate a song or artist's importance...

Oh, you can almost see the matching sticker reaching out to make contact with the cover, only to be prohibited by the shrink wrap....we'll maybe you can't but I can...you can however reach out a click on any of these images to see them enlarged, which is sort of like getting a healing touch from ET.
or Neil...





A Bargain Bin favorite, with the matching ransom note fontage....



Good comp kiddies, pick it up next time you see it in the CLR section...that's insider lingo FYI...









Aaah....

A deviation...

Faux stickerage from Germany...



btw, "We Are Detective" was a big hit overseas, so in this case, there is no hyperbole in the use of this imitation promo sticker...






Finally, a perfect compliment to Hyaena's layout.  Dear Prudence was a huge success in the UK, but Dazzle and Belladonna are just great songs....