Amoeblog

Remembering March 11, 2011: For What It Is Worth

Posted by Kells, March 8, 2012 12:34pm | Post a Comment

Everyday I think about what it would mean to suffer the panic of a disastrous earthquake. Sometimes the thought is latent, residing somewhere in my metal recesses. But at other times, like a few mornings ago when a magnitude 4 earthquake centered a few miles away literally shook me out of bed at 5:33am, it glows at the front and center in my mind like a warning fire. Can anyone ever really be ready for a seismic shift of any size? How does one prepare for the aftermath? Is there a price you wouldn't pay for hindsight?

 

It has been almost a year since the Tōhoku earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis and during that time there has been a great deal of giving, in terms of fundraising and charity, so that those in Northern Japan affected by the calamity may bolster their hope and know whatever relief may reach them while muster the strength to move forward and rebuild their communities. This Sunday, March 11 marks the one year anniversary of the natural disaster and I urge everyone to seek out and participate in local memorial events that honor those whose lives were claimed while maintaining awareness and providing support for organizations that continue in their effort to provide relief to survivors still striving to carve out an existence in the wake of such a catastrophe. For example, I will be heading to San Francisco's Japan Town for the community remembrance fundraising events featuring live performances and street sale (the Rise Japan booth will have all kinds of artwork on sale, including totes by Kelly Tunstall) then afterwards to Sushi Zone where owner, chef and Amoeba Music regular customer Kimiyaki Aoyama will have the restaurant open from 1-5pm -- mind you, they are never open before 5pm or on Sundays -- selling sake, beer and sushi with all profits to benefit the Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation. However, you can make a contribution and score some new vinyl at the same time.


If for no other reason than to acquire some beautiful music, Kazu Makino of the band Blonde Redhead has recently released a charity compilation on her newly founded Asa Wa Kuru label (meaning "Morning Will Come" in Japanese) with proceeds to benefit the Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund and Architecture For Humanity (a list of these and other groups, individuals and institutions active in the disaster hit areas in Northern Japan can be found here). The vinyl-only compilation, titled We Are The Works In Progress, features some of the most hauntingly 4AD-esque broken-yet-crystalline pop-synth clarion calls to be heard of all the relief offerings put together by musicians with a mind to support Japan's post-tsunami healing process. The collection, spread over two LPs, features Blonde Redhead of course, plus an impressive array of singular artists like Four Tet, Ryuichi Sakamoto teamed up with David Sylvian, Broadcast, Deerhunter, John Maus, Interpol, Terry Riley, Pantha du Prince and many more - it is available for purchase through Amoeba Music here. Simply put, it is a gorgeous effort created to further a worthy cause - one that shouldn't provoke a pause to contemplate the value of music, but rather the value of hope.

And if you have any question of value on that score I suggest viewing the following hour-long BBC documentary which chronicles the events of March 11, 2011 and weeks and months following as it was seen through the eyes of children. The accounts captured here are nothing if not the essence of hope in its purest form. Please do whatever you can to help Japan's healing, for what it is worth. がんばれ日本。

This Sunday Join in the Aftermath - An SF JPunk Showcase for Japan Relief!

Posted by Kells, April 23, 2011 01:20am | Post a Comment

Another great opportunity to donate much needed funds to the people of catastrophe-stricken northeastern Japan presents itself at Thee Parkside this Sunday in the form of Aftermath - A Citizen to Citizen Tsunami Rescue and Relief Benefit featuring various Bay Area Japanese punk and avant garde performers. Wonka once said, "a little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men," and I cannot think of anyone who embodies that sentiment better than my friend Bob Nozawa (pictured below in ommpa-loompa orange) of Aftermath headlining act Ass Baboons of Venus. I caught up with him recently and asked briefly about the upcoming show, his band and their recent fund raising events for Japan.

This isn't the first benefit for Japan the Ass Baboons has played, no? Any idea on how much you've raised for the relief efforts collaboratively?

Bob Nozawa: It's the second show. The first was beyond anything we expected! Tthe final tally (including donations at the door, art and beer sales) ended up totaling around $25,000! There were so many people involved in getting that event together that it would be impossible to list them all, but I would never do that anyway because I hate lists.

What organization(s) will this benefit be donating to?


BN: This one is for Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California's Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.

Will there be any art or merch available for purchase to contribute to the funds raised at the show?

There will be some stuff, not exactly sure yet, as the guy who is organizing, Joselito Sering, is still collecting donations; he is doing an amazing job.

What are you most excited about regarding this Sunday's line up? Is there a performer in particular you are looking forward to?

Tiger Honey Pot's drummer has to play with one arm because of surgery --- they are a blast! The Basements are gonna get me sweaty; the Thunders I have never seen, but the stuff I've heard from them sounds rockin'.

I'm super excited to be finally seeing the Ass Baboons in the flesh, for the first time --- what can a long time appreciator of ABV recordings like me expect from your live show?

Don't expect anything! Our band members have all been deported! But when we started out it was just [famed Japanese comedienne] Naoko and me, so in a sense, we're getting back to where we started, except now we're old and could die at any given moment...really!

Will you be performing in the orange (orange you glad i asked?), or?

I will tie you up...

Yowza! Lastly, and this is for Japan, is there a message in the madness? What do you wish to express to those affected by the catastrophe via your performance?

It has been inspiring to see people helping each other out, anything that anyone could do is simply a gesture of support. It's less about the money than about letting people know that there are people that care and in times of great sorrow, it's always therapeutic to go bat shit crazy!
 
Thanks Bob, I couldn't agree more! Check out the Ass Baboons' "Naked Lady Wrestler vs. Mango Man" video below and event info following --- hope to see you there!
 

Do come play with madness and contribute to the support and solidarity of local artists and musicians in the on-going humanitarian aid for our fellow men, women, children, and animals in Japan coping with the aftermath of the country's most catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in recorded history.
 
Aftermath - A Citizen to Citizen Tsunami Rescue and Relief Benefit:
$7-$10 sliding scale cover / 8pm-2am / 21+OVER
«LIVE BANDS»
ASS BABOONS OF VENUS
THE THUNDERS SF
TIGER HONEY POT
THE BASEMENTS

«DJ»
NAKO
SABATINI
LIL JOE

Help Northeastern Japan: Let Your Donation Take You to the Movies!

Posted by Kells, March 17, 2011 08:00pm | Post a Comment
In the wake of a devastating week for Japan, especially the northeastern Touhoku region where seaside towns and villages were washed away by a tsunami last Friday while the world watched in disbelief, many are exploring what they can do to help survivors and evacuees of this extraordinary catastrophe. Well, here is something fabulous happening this Saturday in San Francisco: New People, a specialty gallery/shopping/media complex located in Japantown, will be holding three special screenings of Hula Girls, a wonderfully heart-warming comedy featuring some of my favorite things: dancing, Polynesian pop, head-strong young heroines (coal-miner's daughters!), perseverance in the face of stodgy adversity and, of course, Japan. Based on true events that took place in 1960's Fukushima Prefecture, the same paralyzed zone experiencing a nuclear crisis having been hard hit by the recent natural disasters, this film is being shown as a fundraiser at $10 a ticket with 100% of the proceeds to be donated to NORTHERN JAPAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF FUNDS by Japantown's JCCCNC. Check out the trailer below: