Amoeblog

Remember The Oscars?

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, March 26, 2020 04:05pm | Post a Comment

By Jon Longhi

It seems like the Oscars were a million years ago, but they were actually just last month. This column was supposed to run a while back but it’s been in limbo for the past few weeks as civilization has been collapsing. I wasn’t a fan of Joker, but the other two Oscar nominees/winners in this column are totally worth checking out during your virus lockdown. Parasite, especially, is not to be missed. It’s the best movie I’ve seen in the past couple years.

JokerJoker, Warner Brothers:
This steaming pile of Oscar excrement is the most torturous couple of hours I’ve spent in the past few months. Sure, Joaquin Phoenix grunts, weeps, spasmodically chuckles, and even interpretive dances his way through a role and that’s acting with a capital A; but most of the time I just feel like I’m watching a terminally constipated man squeeze out the world’s most reluctant turd. It’s acting with a capital A in a movie that’s a bummer with a capital B. The slow moving script is beyond ham-fisted; it’s like they grafted a herd of wild boars to their forearms. There are multiple layers of irony in the film, but the most annoying one is that a movie called Joker doesn’t have a funny moment in it. The whole thing is utterly grey and joyless. It’s like Cormac McCarthy's The Road, only more depressing. The pacing is glacial. At one point my wife said, “God, this movie is so slow,” and we were only ten minutes past the opening credits! There’s no super villains, fights, or explosions to break up the pace, just one excruciatingly sad scene after another. Unlike Marvel, DC seems to have given up on actually entertaining us. Not even Robert De Niro could save this. I mean, it’s well written and acted. The script had some literary sophistication to it. I appreciated the political and socio-economic metaphors and liked the references to the horrors we’re experiencing in the age of Trump, but at the same time you can see the major plot points coming from a mile away. When he lost his job, I turned to my wife and said, “I bet before the end of the night he’s going to have turned to a life of crime and 'Send In The Clowns' will be playing somewhere in the background." And sure enough… Joaquin Phoenix gives it his all until he pretty much breaks out in a sweat in every scene. I’m not saying he’s trying too hard, but by the last time in the movie he does a little interpretive dance I was ready to open a beer, not because I wanted to drink it but just so that I could throw the bottle at the screen.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring San Gabriel, A City with a Mission

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 10, 2011 09:00am | Post a Comment

INTRODUCTION TO SAN GABRIEL


For this blog entry, I ventured to the city of San Gabriel. Accompanying me were veteran three traveling companions. Cheryl Anne, a designer, hadn't appeared since her Season 4, episode 10 debut, "Gardena - The South Bay's city of opportunity." Artist Chris Urias made his debut appearance and regular audiences are well acquainted with Club Underground's DJ Modernbrit, aka Tim Shimbles, who has appeared in numerous episodes, debuting back in Season 2, episode 4, "Morningside Circle" in which we first discovered South LA's Westside.

To vote for other Los Angeles County communities to be covered on the blog, vote here. To vote forLos Angeles neighborhoods, vote here. To vote vote for Orange County neighborhoods and communities, vote here.

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Sabbath Assembly This Sunday @ The Cinefamily

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 21, 2009 01:40pm | Post a Comment


With so much Manson talk this month, post-hippie cult hucksters have been on my mind. I've been revisiting some of my Family, Source and Alamo books & LPs and really steeping in just what a mindfuck of time it was in California back in the 70's. Ellroy's first book, Killer On The Road, does a nice job of getting across the general malaise of the era, although it's a graphic & somewhat tedious read. 

One of the more notorious cults of the time was the Process Church. Formed by "Suppressive Persons" and former Scientologists Robert DeGrimston & Mary Anne Maclean, the Church came from an all-is-one philosophy not too far removed from some of Charlie's shtick. Mixing Satanic & Christian imagery, their rituals made them easy targets, and surely helped investigators link them to the Family and Son of Sam, albeit inacurately. Feral House has a new book out that attempts to piece together the real story of the Process and is presenting a recreation of one of their rituals live at the Silent Movie Theatre.

Sabbat Assembly
Sunday August 23rd
Cinefamily @ the Silent Movie Theatre
611 N. Fairfax Ave LA
6PM  $15


(In which Job celebrates Stiv Bator's birthday.)

Posted by Job O Brother, October 22, 2007 03:06pm | Post a Comment

They say it’s my birthday. Happy birthday to me.

You’re like me, right? I mean, you HATE the song “Happy Birthday to You” as much as me. That saccharine dirge that well-wishers croak as they lug out some lit-on-fire, tacky cake smeared with artificially-colored vegetable shortening? It’s the sonic equivalent to that inedible frosting; coating your orifice with a greasy slime, leaving you wondering why you ever tell people when you were born. And then you remember why. Because they pay for dinner.

But that song! Most foul! And you know that it’s copyrighted, right? Someone actually owns that sucker. Warner/Chappell Music, specifically. The company bought the company who owned it (The Summy Company) in 1990 for $15 million dollars.

If I had $15 million dollars, I’d buy the world a piñata, and inside I’d stuff it with hope and love, and when it was busted open it would heal the planet.

Anyway, royalties have to be paid to Warner Music if you want to use that song. It’s why you rarely hear it, in its entirety, in films and TV.


"Happy checks sent to me...!"

I wish everyone had to pay to sing the song. Yeah, you heard me right. I wish every joker who decided to sing that song to me on October 22 had to pay the $10,000 price-tag. And yes, they would still have to pay for my dinner.


Lots of fun, famous peeps share this birthday with me:
Annette Funicello, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme & William IX, Duke of Aquitaine!

Now, because it’s my birthday, I can do whatever I want, no questions asked. I can throw every single 6th grader into a volcano, sew the elderly together into one, great, old-person lei, and chop down every Ikea store in the world to make materials for trees – I could do any of these things and more, since it’s my birthday, and that's the law. Yet, I choose to spend it here, with you, my Amoeblog family.

Oh sure, Brad and Angelina have invited me to go baby shopping at their favorite orphanage in Cambodia; Al and Tipper are hoping I’ll join them as they “rough it” – camping in their new, “green,” luxury yurt, replete with self-sustaining Jacuzzi and “friendly” raccoon traps, and Condi Rice has used all the memory on my cell-phone with her “best wishes” text messages, but even so, I remain loyal to you, and only you, dear reader.

Provided you don’t sing that effing song at me. And if you do, I’ll tell.

Whiskers on roses & raindrops on kittens: I. Overture

Posted by Job O Brother, August 5, 2007 11:29pm | Post a Comment

It was on this day in 1962 that Marilyn Monroe took her own life. Or, if conspiracy theories are to be believed, it marks the day that the Kennedy Family hired Reticulians to invade the actress’ home, kill her, make it look like a suicide, and then use snippets of her DNA to… I dunno… revive Adolf Hitler’s dehydrating brain. (I’m not as well-read when it comes to American history as I should be.)

It’s also the day that the Manson Family first killed, fulfilling the only thing possible that Charles Manson could do that would actually be worse than his music.


Ladies of the Canyon: "Gypsy", Ruth Anne & "Squeaky"

It’s also the anniversary of the day that Paul Tibbets flew his airplane, named after his mom, Enola Gay, over to Hiroshima, where he performed an act that would later be re-enacted by every Thai food delivery service that gets inside my apartment building.


"Look Ma, no mercy!" Paul Tibbets in the cockpit

I could go on. In short, it’s a particularly dark day in history. So I’m sitting with my beloved in his favorite café, Stir Crazy (at La Brea & Melrose), asking myself to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative; I’m calling upon myself to remember things – music, movies, flavors of Method cleaning products – that remind me that it is a beautiful world after all, and that Norma Jean didn't have the right idea, forty-five years ago.

The café’s stereo is playing Steely Dan, which I really like, but I can’t blog about how great Steely Dan is because my dear, sweet, wonderful boss, Karen, will fire my ass*.

And anyhow, at this point, it’s switched to Johnny Cash.

Okay… So, what makes me happy?

Lots of things make me happy, but what I want to pinpoint are those things that make me happy entirely – not distractions from modern anxiety and classical angst, rather, persons or art that overrides any temporal concern or self-consciousness and overwhelms my id with hella phat radness.

Let’s make a list. (By “let’s” I of course mean me, not you and I, as is implied by my choice of verbs, which wasn’t meant to be taken literally, but used to create a sense that you and I are of one purpose, which, because one of the fundamental needs of humans is intimacy, would ideally cause you to feel safe in the presence of my blog… you sweet thing, you.)

What follows then, is an incomplete list of proper nouns that rock my world:

1.) The Boswell Sisters.


You... shook me all night long - The Boswell Sisters

I once thought the Andrews Sisters were the bee’s knees, until I discovered the Boswell Sisters, the cat’s meow. The Andrews Sisters modeled themselves after the Boswells, and while I still enjoy a tune as warbled by LaVerne, Maxene and Patty, they do not come close to slaying me like their predecessors, Martha, Vet and Connee.

Their close harmonies are lulling yet spooky; intriguing like a walk in the woods at night, knowing that ghosts don’t really exist, but feeling as though they do. The sisters were raised in New Orleans, and you can hear the influence of early, Black American music in their vocal styling. Listening to such tunes as “Trav’lin” and “An Evening in Caroline”, it’s easy to imagine an alternate reality where Vivian Girls were used as slaves, singing work songs sounding like dirges sprinkled with fairy dust.

Connee, the middle sister, was mastermind of the group and arranged their distinctive tunes, often alternating traditionally major keys with minor ones, and vice versa.


Connee Boswell

Due to childhood health issues (which vary depending on sources) she performed and recorded either sitting, or in a wheelchair. This fact was never secret, but wasn’t an image that was promoted (kind of like that gap in Madonna’s teeth – we know it’s there but it’s not really a part of our collective focus).

Because of her “condition”, Connee wasn’t allowed to perform for the troops overseas. It was thought her being wheel-chair bound would demoralize the soldiers. (Funny, I would think it would be far more demoralizing to hand the soldiers weapons and tell them to kill people, but that’s why I’m not a commanding officer, I guess.)

After the sisters retired the act, Connee went on to enjoy a successful solo career, and while I own and enjoy the results of it, it is the work with her sisters that is the “Object of My Affection” (the title of the group’s biggest hit).

Ella Fitzgerald cited Connee as a major influence. I wish sesame bagels weren’t so fattening. Especially when slathered with an inch-thick layer of cream cheese. And Connee performed with Eddie Cantor! He’s another act that makes me happy. And she performed with Bing Crosby, whom I loathe – not only because his idea of teaching his kids not to sneak a cookie from the jar was to knock the bee-jesus out of them, but because that drunken jerk produced the daughter who would one day grow up to shoot JR Ewing.


"My Dad beat me which led me to shoot fictional Texans and wear obscene amounts of lip gloss."
Mary Crosby as Kristin Shepard on "Dallas"

Please accept my apologies for the above paragraph.

Of all the music that the Boswell Sisters recorded, no other record kills me so quick as their rendition of the Duke Ellington standard “Mood Indigo”. Upon hearing it, I literally go weak in the knees. The pace, the subtle swelling of the voices, and the labored but impetuous crooning of a lone clarinet conspire to make me woozy with delight. I recommend its use for trying to take advantage of me.

*This is a ridiculous exaggeration, written for humor, and should not be taken as a reflection of my employer’s personality, temperament, or work ethic, all of which are impeccable. But see, saying that isn’t very funny, is it?