Amoeblog

Avant-Garde Cinema “Godfather” Jonas Mekas, Who Influenced Andy Warhol, Velvet Underground + More, Has Died At Age 96

Posted by Billyjam, January 23, 2019 08:34pm | Post a Comment
Jonas MekasThe Velvet Underground's First Appearance, 1964 NYC”  

Influential, counter-culture era, avant garde filmmaker, poet and critic Jonas Mekas died today at age 96. Founder of The Anthology Film Archives in 1970, that announced his passing via Instagram earlier today, Mekas is widely considered the “Godfather” of American avant-garde cinema. His groundbreaking unorthodox film style played a major influence on such artists as The Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, and John & Yoko

Major fan of the radical filmmaker John Lennon summoned Mekas to travel from NYC up to Montreal in May 1969 to film the then controversial John & Yoko Bed-In (see film clip below). In that same year Mekas made his acclaimed film piece Walden that perfectly showcases the artist’s unique non-linear, cut and paste, mixed media, choppy visual style that's further distinguished by his monotone voice over narration and experimental music soundtrack. View Walden excerpt clip below.
 
After founding the pioneering film magazine Film Culture in 1954, the Lithuanian-born Mekas would go on to become the first ever film critic at the (1955 founded) Village Voice in 1958. By the 1960’s Mekas was a highly revered key figure on the underground New York City art scene that melded cinema, poetry and music. His role in shaping contemporary pop culture is undeniable. Mekas curated the beginnings of the Velvet Underground, from when they first formed in NYC by Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Angus MacLise. Mekas opened up his spacious (then affordable) NYC
 artist live/work loft space for the band to practice in. Consequently he was the first to ever film the VU in performance. See that 1964 film piece above.
 
Mekas would later famously introduce the Velvet Underground to Andy Warhol for what would become a long-running, close knit artist collaboration between the two. The Velvet Underground became the house band at Warhol’s Factory as well as at the pop-artist's multi-media  Exploding Plastic Inevitable events in New York City in the mid-sixties.  

The Velvet Underground & Nico
’s (also available in 45th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) iconic 1967 debut album cover art designed by Warhol (pictured right) was accompanied with liner notes by Jonas Mekas. In addition to a 2012 MOCA interview with Mekas, below are video clips from the filmmaker's Walden and his 2000 piece  As I was moving ahead occasionally I saw brief glimpses of beauty along with the 1969 filmed John + Yoko Bed-In.

Jonas Mekas “John & Yoko Bed In: Montreal, May 1969”

Vintage, Original Rolling Stones 'Licks' Memorabilia & More on Sale at Amoeba + Chat With Designer Craig Braun

Posted by Rick Frystak, December 8, 2016 11:06am | Post a Comment
Rolling Stones Licks belt buckle
Exquisite, Original, Vintage 1971 Licks Silver/Enamel Belt and Buckle
Available in sizes X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
 
The record business is home to many people who are a kind of hero to me, often behind the scenes in unspoken nine-to-fives. I have my heroes of album cover design: Tadanori Yokoo, Reid Miles, Jim Flora, Dirk Rudolph, and Barbara Worjisch to name a few.

Add to this list a Mr. Craig Braun, a quintessential ''Man Behind the Curtain," a luminary of mostly-unsung parts of the music establishment of the 1960s and '70s. And even more paramount than Craig's resume and bone-deep knowledge of the record business is that he's a refreshingly witty, wonderful human being with umpteen stories to tell.

The Doors Were "Stupid" and The Beatles Were "Garbage" - According To Lou Reed

Posted by Billyjam, February 17, 2015 02:29pm | Post a Comment
     

Lou Reed "never liked the Beatles.” In fact he strongly disliked them. “I thought they were garbage," said the Velvet Underground singer/writer with a BA in English who shared how he always had, "wanted to write the great American novel but I also loved rock and roll." All of these quotes (and more) come from a rarely heard March 1987 interview Reed, who died of liver disease in October 2013, conducted with journalist Joe Smith that was found in The Joe Smith Collection at the Library of Congress. Conducted almost exactly 28 years ago the interview was recently acquired by PBS who animated it and published it to YouTube earlier today as the latest installment in their ongoing Blank on Blank series - published under the title Lou Reed on Guns & Ammo | Blank on Blank. In the audio interview, in which Reed comes off as mostly grumpy and pretentious, he says that in addition to hating the Fab Four that he also hated some of his adoring fans - especially those who made the mistake of tracking him down to his "out of the wilds of nowhere" New Jersey home address at the time and trekking out to it in the hope of meeting their music hero. "I got out with my shotgun. This is hunting country out there. You better run" - he warns.  Elsewhere in the audio interview, that as well being animated was also subtitled, Reed expresses his disgust of The Doors ("stupid") while maintaining that the goal of Velvet Underground was steadfastly to, "elevate the rock and roll song and take it where it hadn’t been taken before" - adding that no other group came close to the VU's level in his opinion ("The other stuff couldn’t come up to our ankles"). The animated interview is above while the full original audio interview is free via iTunes from the Joe Smith Library of Congress page - here where it was initially made free to the public last April, and where other interviews by Joe Smith include one with Paul McCartney and another with George Harrison who, it should be noted, do not talk shit on Lou Reed or the VU.

Digging in the Crates of OMCA's Vinyl: Sound & Culture of Records Pt 4: Sylvie Simmons, David Katznelson, & Rachael Aguirre

Posted by Billyjam, July 26, 2014 10:00am | Post a Comment


If you haven't already made your way to the ever-popular, Amoeba Music sponsored, excellent exhibit Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records at the Oakland Museum of California's (OMCA) which opened three months ago on April 19th (Record Store Day) at the downtown Oakland museum in its Great Hall exhibition area don't fret as you still have some time - well not much, but some - since it is open through tomorrow Sunday July 27th. To mark the end of this wonderful hands on exhibit, that paid homage the joys of analog and vinyl with lots of local Bay Area folks (including many Amoebites) offering their input on the subject, today Saturday July 26th will be the final weekly Talk & Play program of the three month long exhibit in which experts in specific areas of music/records informally chat to a museum audience while dropping the needle on the records that they are referencing in their talk/lecture.

Today - from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm in the Great Hall - the Talk & Play session will be David Katznelson (record producer, and president of Birdman Recording Group) and friends who will be presenting a Talk & Play they call Every Record Has a Story. David's co-hosts will be Steven Baker (former president of Warner Brothers Records), Britt Govea (Folk Yeah Productions founder), and Josh Rosenthal (founder of Tompkins Square Records)  - all of whom will share  their favorite music/records and tell stories and secrets related to collecting said records. David Katznelson is among the many record collecting musicologists who have curated crates (that museum goers can personally play on provided turntables) at the Vinyl exhibit. For this final fourth installment in the Digging in the Crates of OMCA's "Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records" Amoeblog series I have included David's crate: The influence and genius of the Velvet Underground, along with those of two other contributors: Sylvie Simmons whose crate is Grrl Power - women in rock from pop to punk, 1960-1980, (she also curated Sylvie Simmons the Americana crate), and the museum's own Rachael Aguirre (Administrative Assistant & OMCA Lab - Curatorial and Experience Development) whose crate is titled Sound track for Dungeons and Dragons: Onyx Discs of Epic Sound: A Dungeons and Dragons Soundtrack. Meanwhile the photos in this blog are either provided by OMCA or James Mak of Joysco Photos who kindly shot this photos on behalf of the Amoeblog (thank-you James!).

Continue reading...

Pizza Underground (with Macaulay Culkin) Delivers to the Neck of the Woods in SF, 3/5

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 16, 2014 07:38pm | Post a Comment

All the things that matter most in this world: the music of Velvet Underground, pizza...well, that about covers pizza undergroundit.

By now, it's well-known that Home Alone's Macaulay Culkin has grown up into an adventurous and mature actor, artist, New York man-about-town, and has joined a pizza-themed Velvet Underground tribute band called the Pizza Underground. Yes, they re-write all your favorite VU songs to contain a healthy dose of the 'za: "I'm Waiting for the Delivery Man," "All the Pizza Parties," "Take a Bite of the Wild Slice," just to name a few.

Pizza Underground has been active in the NY anti-folk scene since 2012 with members Matt Colbourn, Phoebe Kreutz, Deenah Vollmer, and Austin Kilham. Culkin joined up sometime last year and recorded the band's live demo at his house. Culkin is credited with percussion, kazoo, and vocals.

But do they deliver? Find our for yourself on Wednesday, March 5th at San Francisco's Neck of the Woods. Amoeba SF favorites Windham Flat and Brooklyn's Toby Goodshank open!
 



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