Friday, December 25, 2009

The Beat's 12 Days of X-Mas: Day 1 - Run DMC - "Christmas In Hollis"

Merry Christmas y'all!
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"The Beat's" 12 Days of X-Mas: Day 3 Bing Crosby/ David Bowie "Little Drummer Boy"

David Bowie used to scare the hell out of me as a child. This helped soften him up a bit when I first saw it.
One of the oddest holiday pairings of all-time. What would today's equivalent be?
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Monday, December 21, 2009

"The Beat's" 12 Days of X-Mas: Day 4 - John Denver & The Muppets "12 Days of Christmas

By law, I had to put this one up. I'm down (with The Muppets) by law.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

LA MC Dumbfounded knocks out opponent in battle

File this under "You got knocked the f--- out!" category. LA battle cat Dumbfounded gets shoved during a battle and promptly returns the favor with a swift kick to the dome.
Not sure if this was real or staged, but who cares. That was a well-executed round house kick. This takes "I'm styling on ya" to a whole new level.
As a disclaimer, stop the violence, increase the peace. One.
Rest of post here

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12 Days of Christmas: Day 5 (Throwback Sunday Edition) - Snoop & Co. "Santa Claus Goes to the Ghetto"

Death Row - "Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto"

This song is so wrong yet so right. Classic Death Row, with Snoop, Daz, Kurupt, Tray Dee and Bad Azz providing the rhymes and Nate Dogg on the hook.
However, I love this song for the sample. Isaac Haye's "Do Your Thing" is one of those old school soul essentials. Gangsta soul, if you would.
In a nod to my fellow/fellow blogger and all around good girl Rebecca Haithcoat, I'm making this a Throwback Suneday edition, with "Do Your Thing" after the jump. (You can read Rebecca's super cool blog here.)
Ho, Ho, Ho, snitches!

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

"The Beat's" 12 days of X-Mas - Day 6: Stevie Wonder "It's Christmas Time"

It's Stevie Wonder. It's Christmas. It's a great song.
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"The Beat's" 12 days of X-Mas - Day 7: Band Aid "Do They Know It's Christmas"

Missed a day, so we're getting caught up with a two for one today.
Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" has always been a favorite of mine. Great song, and with a lot of great 80's talent. Long live the 80's!

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

"The Beat's" 12 days of X-Mas - Day 8: Jim Jones "White Christmas"

It kind of boggles my mind that Jim Jones and Dipset have done not one, but a few Christmas albums. And this song isn't half bad.
Bonus: Juelz interpretation of "Jingle Bells" after the jump. Dipset!

Juelz Santana & Starr "Jingle Bellz"

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"The Beat's" 12 days of X-Mas - Day 9: Johnny Cash, Momma Cash and Friends "Silent Night/Little Drummer Boy"

That's really Johnny's momma, Carrie Cash, on piano. Very cool.
J.C. Cash and Carl Perkins are in there as well. Can you name the rest?
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Download: Lil Wayne/Eminem "Drop The World"

This is making the rounds on the blogosphere pretty quick right now. Wayne kinda sorta goes in on this. Em, well, he's Em.
This is supposed to be on Wayne's rock album "Rebirth," but who knows really. This is a rough, rough, demo track, but definitely worth a listen. Link after the jump.

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"The Beat's" 12 days of X-Mas - Day 11: Jackson 5 "Sant Claus is Coming to Town"

You can't go wrong with the Jackson 5. 11 days until Christmas y'all (and I haven't done any shopping:0 ).

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

"The Beat's" 12 days of X-Mas: Outkast "Player's Ball"

We're starting a new tradition here @ The Beat: The 12 Days of X-Mas. Part Christmas Countdown, part best of Christmas jams, all leading up to the redeemer's big day.

Hard to believe, but 'Kast's first single, "Player's Ball" was originally a Christmas song, released on the holiday album "A LaFace Family Christmas." The song has plenty of holiday references, but it's also a hustler's lament: it's Chrstmas time, snowing, and the d-boys are still serving the fiends. A cold world, indeed.

Happy Holidays y'all!
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Live: Ice Cube @ The Catalyst

Caught Ice Cube last night @ The Catalyst. One thing about a Cube show: you are forced to throw the W up at least once, if not several times throughout the night (my middle finger and fore finger were in a perpetual knot for most of the show).

Above is a brief clip from the show. Hard to make out a lot of it, but it's the best I could do given the rocking going on around me. Enjoy!
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Cold Flamez tonight at The New Planet Gemini

So-Cal jerkin' boys Cold Flamez perform their radio hit "Miss Me, Kiss Me" and other songs tonight at The New Planet Gemini. Flyer below after the jump.

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CSUMB TAT students Rodrigo Ojeda- Beck and Robert Machoian accepted to Sundance Film Festival

CSU-Monterey Bay will have some representation at the biggest independent film festival in the United States — The Sunset Film Festival.
That's where CSUMB alumni Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck and Robert Machoian will have their short film "Charlie and the Rabbit" screened in the dramatic shorts category at Sundance, which takes place Jan. 21-31 in Park City, Utah.

The short film program compromises 70 films from the Unites States and international film makers, selected from more than 6000 submissions.

Machoian is a 2007 graduate and Ojeda-Beck a 2009 graduate of CSUMB's Teledramatic Arts ant Technology (TAT) department. "Charlie and the Rabbit" is about a 4-year-old named Charlie who loves Bugs bunny and decides to hunt a rabbit of his own. (More after the jump).

"(The story of) Charlie has to do with choice," said Machoian, who was born and raised in King City. "We have to make choices constantly."

TAT department chair Enid Baxter Blader said the alumni success is proof that her department is among the best in the nation.

"This is more evidence that CSUMB has one of the leading film and video programs in the country, said Blader, who helped initiate the pairing when both were TAT students under her tutelage.

On Blader's suggestion, Machoian began working with Ojeda-Beck on a school project. Soon after, the pair began cranking out short movies at a furious clip, creating 13 total a four-month stretch.

One of those films was "Ella and the Astronaut," the first in a short-series that the pair dubbed "Youth Without Youth." That film was selected to several film festivals in 2008.
"Charlie and the Rabbit" is the second film in that series. Machoian said they recently completed the third and final film in the series.

"Charlie and the Rabbit" will premier at Sundance, then make the rounds through several other film festivals over the next two years. A stipulation of acceptance into the Sundance Film Festival is they cannot distribute it independently during that time period.

"The film has a two year life span on the film festival circuit," said Machoian. "The Sundance Film Festival and other film festivals are the only way to view the film."

Blader said she was proud of her students accomplishment and pleased with their overall production.

"Their work uses a careful approach to image and pacing," she said. "It's able to reach wide audiences and resonate with people all over the place."

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Alex Lee/Le Vice featured on "America's Next Top Model"; New Le Vice album to drop Feb. 16

Good friend/staff favorite of "The Beat" Alex Lee and Le Vice got some prime time coverage recently. The song "Do It Big" was featured in the recent "America's Next Top Model" season finale. You can view the clip above ("Do It Big" drops at the 4:13 mark, with a nice cue to boot).
Lee text me that she has new music up on and streaming, and you can directed to it at The new album is set to drop Feb. 16.
I'll update this post with some streaming tracks of the new stuff for those of you too lazy to click the link.

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12/12 "Real Recognize Real" B-Boy competition relocated to Marina Community Center

Just got word that the "Real Recognize Real" B-Boy competition scheduled for 5-9 p.m. Saturday has been moved to the City of Marina Recreation & Cultural Services Dept: Marina Teen Center, 211 Hillcrest Avenue, Marina. Billed as a positive hip-hop event, the show features hip-hop b-boy competitions, live performances from Realization, Joint Venture, Grown Folks, Solis Cin and Poetic S and more. For information, click here
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Download: Ghambit "Put It In The Air 2" Mixtape

The boy-boy Ghambit of Ineffable Music Group has released his latest mixtape, "Put It In The Air 2" just in time for the holidays. And it's free. You can download it at

Season's greetings y'all.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Jamielee Darley comes a close second in Victoria's Secret Model Search

The path to Victoria's Secret runway supermodel stardom was cut short for Jamielee Darley, as she came in second during the Victoria's Secret runway model search, part of the 2009 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.
Darley was featured prominently during Tuesday night's broadcast despite her second place finish to winner Kylie Bisutti. During one photo shoot, a photographer marvelled at her well endowed figure.
"She had a good sense of how to manage that," commented the photographer.
"I'm living my dream" said Darley.
Darley even got to practice her walk on the runway, during the broadcast. During the live show, which was taped Nov. 19 in San Diego, Darley got a chance to walk on the runway. Her appearance was included in the national broadcast.
After the jump is a press release statement from Jamielee Darley following up the fashion show broadcast.

Press Release for Jamielee Darley, Victoria's Secret finalist

As many of you know Jamielee, made it to the top two finalists in the Victoria's Secret Model Search.
This competition started out with over 10,000 young women from all over america, and only a few of them were lucky enough to make it to the top 10. Jamielee, then made the cut from 10 to 5, and then to the final two finalists.
If you tuned in to the Victoria's Secret Runway show tonight on CBS, you are aware that Jamielee did not win the competition. However, she would like to thank all of those who supported, voted, and watched all the publicity leading up to the finale. Without all of america's votes, she wouldn't have stayed in the competition for all of this time.
Jamielee has been in the ride of her life, with the whirlwind of the last three weeks, and being a part of the Victoria's Secret competition. She has witnessed and taken part in one of most sought after fashion shows in the world.
What an honor it has been to take part in this ride, and learn from some of the best in the business. She wishes to thank america for all their support, what an honor it has been to be apart of this amazing opportunity.

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Interview transcript: Zane Lamprey of “Three Sheets”

Zane Lamprey is a comedian and host of the television show “Three Sheets” on the Fine Living Network. Without sounding short, Lamprey gets paid to travel around the world and drink. A lot.
His show consists of him traveling to places like Belize, Newcastle, Las Vegas and Jamaica, soaking in the local drinking culture and capturing it all on film. He has a lot of fun doing it, with a breezy personality that isn't above self-deprecation.
His live show “Drinking Made Easy: Alcohol Appreciation” premiers Thursday night at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz. Show starts at 8 p.m. Lamprey spoke with “The Beat” for a feature story in advance of the show. Here is the inter view transcript with more after the jump.

On doing “Three Sheets” and the evolution of his new live show:
We shot the (“Three Sheets”) pilot in late 2005. I've done over 50 episodes of it, traveled around to more than 45 countries. And I also just finished a book. I wrote a book called “Three Sheets” for Random House Publishing which comes out in spring.
During all this, I became sort of an accidental expert on alcohol. I'm a comedian first, a drinker second and then an alcohol expert third or even farther down the list.
I really wanted to go out on the road and do stand up. I figured the best way to do that was to tie that into “Three Sheets” and the alcohol knowledge. But with the drinking and it being a stand up tour, we're sort of like Al Gores' presentation of “An Inconvenient Truth” if he was drunk. Because the show is also drinking games, but people are gonna learn things.
I'm funny and and entertainer, and then the education is cursory to that. It's going to be a fun show above and beyond anything.

On the shows “Alcohol Appreciation” angle:
In doing “Three Sheets” and all this stuff, I've learned about alcohol. I've learned so much about alcohol that now I appreciate it for what it is, for what it's made from, and some of the histories and facts about it. Where as before, maybe I just appreciated alcohol because it made me drunk. Now, I have all this information and it's made me appreciate alcohol.
The sub title for the show is ”Alcohol Appreciation” and it's basically like I'm covering beer wine and liquor and I'm breaking them all down and talking about distillation and fermentation and where they're from and what role the barrels play. But it's all tongue in cheek, it's all comedic. It's not like anyone's going to sit there for a minute without a smile on their face. This thing is a show and people are encouraged to drink along.

On the drinking game rules for the show:
There are rules for the show. That is, if you want to play along, you drink along with the show. Whenever I drink, you have to take a drink. Whenever I talk about my buddy Steve McKenna, you take a drink. Anyone who knows the “Good Burp rule” that I learned in Belgium, that comes into play.
It's gonna be a fun show and people will walk away having learned something and maybe if people take it to heart, they will actually start to further their appreciation of alcohol. I'm not giving people enough information that they all of a sudden
know what they need to know about things, but if they're intrigued about what rum is made from, or some of the history of tequila or stuff like that, then they might then leave the show and go off and begin an affinity with tequila or with vodka or with certain kinds of beers.
If I'm out there talking, my presentation is an hour long, there's a q&a at the end. I'm talking about beer for 20 minutes, wine for 20 minutes and liquor for 20 minutes. There's only so much information I can get out there.
Basically, I figured out what information there was that I wanted to convey. So when I begin my writing, I said here's what I want to cover. Because fermentation or distillation can be daunting to people. It's like, well wait. The word, I dont' even want to know what it is, it's just too much, but no, not really.
Fermentation is one of the most simple physical and chemical processes on the planet and distillation is just as simple. It's boiling alcohol. And once I break it down with some animation, I talk about stuff like how barley and hops and yeast become beer. Those are the pieces of information that I want to get out, and then the jokes tie the whole show together. And with the animation,it's some funny stuff.

On how often he gets to go on the road and co stand up:
I don't. I've been so busy with everything for the last five years. I do my parties, like — my friends give me a hard time for this — but I do “Zane Patrick's Day,” “Zanetoberfest” and “Zaneto De Mayo.” We have these parties in cities around the country. I get up on stage and do my stuff up there. But this is the first time I'm going on stage with written material and an objective, with rehearsed material I want to get out there. I really haven't (had a chance).
This will be my first stand-up tour, period. You guys are my first stand-up show.

On his favorite drinks:
The best tequila shot I ever took, it wasn't a shot. It was a sipping tequila and it was from the private reserve at Jose Cuervo down in Mexico. It was from this barrel in their basement. I want to say it was about 30 years old.
It's amazing when an alcohol gets to be sitting in a barrel that long. It really mellows out. When you have a 30 year old rum, tequila, scotch, they all start to taste really similar, because they're really taking on the flavor of the barrel. So that was a really nice, mellow easy sipping tequila, not like the stuff we do at spring break.
The best ale I've had? It's really like, that's a question (I get a lot), but you're asking it in a good, more specific way. When I'm in a country and drinking their beer, take Ireland. The best example is if I'm in the pub, it's 41 degrees outside, I'm sitting inside by a fire, there is nothing I want in my hand more than a pint of Guinness.
Usually, you'll get , for example, if you go to Jamaica and it will be more of a lager, you'll want something more light and refreshing on a cool day. So you'll have like a Red Stripe. Or, I was in Mexico two weeks ago and as far as beer, all I drank was Corona.
It's just what I feel like I should be drinking out there, and (in Mexico) I was not interested in a Guinness, even though Guinness sells a lot of beer in a lot of warm places. But to me, I always felt that was a cold weather beer. But then I had a beer in Maui, it was a coconut porter by the Maui Brewery Co. and it was a unique flavor. I really liked it and I usually have a few of those in my fridge.

On getting requests for public appearances:
What I got more than anything, even though people send me private messages on MySpace, but the page on Facebook doesn't really work out like that. Sometimes on Twitter, I get so many messages I really can't look at them. What I really was getting a lot of, once very few weeks, my agent will send over a wedding invitation.
They say, “Hey we're having a wedding. We'd love for you to come to our wedding, you won't pay for a drink the entire time you're here.”
So, first of all, it's hard enough to make it to my friend's wedding, but you're asking me to get on a plane, pay for a hotel, but then you're telling me that when I get there the $50 of drinks is going to be free? And I'm not going to know anybody when I get there? That's my own private hell right there.

On his show personality:
I am just a regular guy and I think that's really the point. When I do my show, the last thing I want to be is cool. I'm a dork and if I ever tried to be cool, on my show, people would destroy me. I'm a guy who's lucky to have the job that he has. I make fun of myself whenever possible and I just like to have fun. I'm definitely a fun guy to have a beer with, just because I'm a comedian who likes to drink. But what comedian doesn't like to drink?

Being on “The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien”:
I was appreciative to be there. Doing stand up would have been interesting, but it was probably less stressful sitting at the chair with him. It was still a very surreal experience.
Conan, he is the man. I was also on Carson Daley's show, and I'm extremely impressed with him and what he has turned his show into.
Conan came back to my dressing room before hand and rapped with me, and he came back to the dressing room afterward, and it was great. Such an amazing experience. It was definitely an extreme privilege to be there.

On keeping it together when he's spent 10 hours straight drinking on the show:
It's the illusion of television. I might be someplace ... for instance, Newcastle. I had just come form Iceland, and we got in around 3 in the afternoon, got settled. I went to the gym, had dinner.
I woke up the next morning, the crew went out and scouted locations, and I had to be at a bar by like 4 p.m.. Then I went to another bar at about 7 p.m. or 8 p.m., and then I was done.
Then the next day I went to a brewery and another bar, and the day after that, all we did was play soccer. The day after that we went to a few more places. And the guy I was traveling around with in Newcastle, I was with him about 4 days. So what seemed like one crazy day was closer to four.
It's cool, it will be difficult to tell the story being presented over 4 days, so it's more fun to have it take place over one (during a regular episode). That way, it's more of “Don't mind the man behind the curtain.”

On his own drink recipes:
I created one when I was in Vegas called the “Zanetini.” It was cognac and Brut champagne, and it sounds very hoity toity and and sophisticated, but it was a horrible drink. You want cognac, get cognac. You want champgagne, get champagne. But two good things together don't necessarily make a good thing. So don't do it.

I've learned so many drink recipes of cocktails during the show, but if I go out, I'm going to have... let's see. Last night I had to go to my buddy's party. I had a scotch, a Corona and a red wine. So there you go.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Star perform "History" live on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon"

Two of my favorite MC's, BK's finest, Black Star perform "History" on the "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon." Happy Holidays everyone:)
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adam Lambert's delicate balancing act

Adam Lambert reverted back to his older, safer self today, which is to say that Lambert's PR team made it safe for old ladies and children to like his music and image.

That, in the long run, is going to be better for business for him and his camp.

Performing on CBS's Morning Show, Lambert reportedly made sure that parents knew his show would be appropriate for kids, while shying away slightly from his performance decisions during Sunday night's American Music Awards, when he capped off a sinuous dance performance with an aggressive man-on-man open mouth kiss.

With no signs of the groping, tonguing, David Bowie-esque version of Lambert that lurks in the post-prime time hours, Lambert answered questions about his performance, saying “‘‘I admit I did get carried away, but I don’t see anything wrong with it. I do see how people got offended and that was not my intention. My intention was to interpret the lyrics of my song and have a good time with it.’’

Lambert appeared to be in a bit of damage control mode. He was booked on the CBS show after being dropped from “Good Morning America” on ABC, the same network that aired the AMA's.

Lambert wants to make a statement about his lifestyle choice, enough to risk some measure of public support with his provocative performance. But regardless of how much artistic control he claims to have over his career, he's not silly enough to throw it all over a cliff.

Wednesday's performance was a clear indication of the delicate balancing act he is attempting. Stay true to his gay lifestyle, but stay safe enough to win over the grannies and kiddies who text in their votes for him on American Idol.

It's a difficult role to take on, and Lambert should be applauded for his attempt to open up his lifestyle for the world to see. But if he keeps running back to his image safety net, then he runs the risk of not being taken seriously.

And where's the statement in that?

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Part II: Interview with Kinan Valdez of El Teatro Campesino

Part II of my interview with Kinan Valdez. Here, he gives some interesting details on the Teatro's upcoming projects, and closes with some pretty cool developments with his father's signature play, “Zoot Suit.” La Pastorela opens Thursday at Mission San Juan Bautista in San Juan Bautista. You can get more information at

On the Teatro moving forward:
One of the major projects, and it is connected to these traditions, is that we've been funded by the James Irvine Foundation to develop an adaptation of the Popol Vuh. We're going to be adapting the sacred book of the K'iche' Maya into a type of outdoor sacral theater pageant that we're going to be staging during the summertime.
The idea has always been to create a type of work that mirrors what happens during the holiday season, but for the summertime. The idea of creating these huge community pageants is something that has been at least in conversation for a long time. So we're finally, thanks to the James Irvine Foundation, taking those first steps.
So next summer we'll be gearing up a workshop production of this event, and then the following year, in 2011, we'll be doing a world premier, and it will be staged up on a 50 acre parcel of land we have outside of San Juan Bautista.
We're talking two or three years effort in the making, but that's the type of effort it's going to take. That's the big project, to find a couple of pieces to anchor the San Juan performances. (More after the jump)

On the story of the Popol Vuh:
The Popol Vuh is a creation story. It's akin to the Mayan Bible. The main throughline is the story of two magic twins who are Mayan ballplayers, and the generations before them have gone up against the dark lords of the underwoarld and have died.
So these magic twins are born and are summoned into the underworld and they defeat the lord of darkness before rising and becoming the sun and the moon.
It's a creation myth and a story. I grew up listening to these stories. My father would tell us bed time tales, not of the Western canon, but from ancient America. The Teatro attempted to work on a piece in similar scope in the '70s that veered off in a different traditon. This time we're going to take the actual source.
Many people have attempted to play with this particular story. There's a famous cartoon film that the Teatro participated in the making of back in the '80s. I know Cherrie Moraga has done a puppet show version. It's one of those pieces that does exist.
Our intention is to return to sacral indigenous theater and create it on a huge canvas. I should mention when it comes to the whole project of creating tradition, it could be considered one of the classic Chicano theater forms, which is a Mito. Those experiments began in the '70s, and haven't been returned to too much. I tried to incorporate a Mito in Sam Burguesa and The Pixie Chicks. That was the first attempt. It's a new piece, but it's a traditional form.

On past attempts at producing Mitos:
We've done experiments with the Mito form. Part of what we also established in the past year was an ongoing collaboration with migrant education (students) to develop enrichment programs with migrant students.
The other thing that's tied into this is we're trying to gear up this thing called The Salinas Valley teaching tour, a small tour of all the cities of the Salinas Valley, the ones that often get neglected. Everyone focuses on Monterey, and proably sections of Salinas. But they don't focus on east Salinas, Chualar, Soledad, Greenfield, all the way down to King City.
Working with migrant ed was an eye opener for us. We said to ourselves, ‘There is this entire region that we need to be reaching out to. Particularly when the model of the teatro is that when people don't go to the theater, then the theater must go to the people.
The program we're trying to build is a two-day session. One day we would come in and do a free performance in the parks for the communities of those cities, and on the next day, we would offer free theater workshops, and it would be a two-day engagement.
We're hoping to get that kicked off in some fashion. If we don't get that funding for the whole thing, then we'll actually organize at least a pilot program in two cities. That is an imporant project, particulalry if we're going to be Teatro Campesino, then we have to go into these regions that are rural and where they're always neglected.

On what the upcoming 45th anniversary means:
Most of us here have our eyes on the 50th (anniversary). As I mentioned, it's about maintaining this tradition. For me, it's helping to facilitate the building of a structure here that will carry the Teatro well into the next 20-25 years. I think the work of the Teatro is important, but also, I think, I mentioned the tradition of Chicano theater, It's geared towards social change. That itself needs to be protected.
We could find ourselves subsumed in a more traditional western theater model, where Chicano theater will be nothing but content. The agrument here is that Chicano theater isn't just Chicano characters, but is actually a form and apporach to creating theater.
I know for some people that may not be so exciting because there are all these new things to be created, and I recognize that and that's absolutely important and viable and it needs to be done. In fact we have our Teatro Lab, which will be maintained over the next few years for new work. But the larger part will be maintaing this tradition.

On the Teatro Lab, which is the Teatro's wing for developing new works:
We're in the middle of developing “La Esquinita USA,” which is a one man show being developed by Ruben C. Gonzalez. That will have its world premier under the auspices of the Teatro Lab next year in spring.
Next year, we are also developing under the auspices of La Pena (Cultural Arts Center in Berkeley), my brother Lakin's show, “Victor in Shadow,” which will have its world premier at La Pena before coming here in 2011. That's a new piece about the life and death of Victor Jara, a famous Chilean musician, poet and writer who was captured in Pinochet's military coup in 1973.
The Teatro Lab is still something that we're all gearing towards. We're going to do at least one Teatro Lab performance and reading every year.

On the current work of his father, Teatro Campesino founder Luis Valdez:
With my father, he is going to be directing “Zoot Suit” in Mexico City. It's the first time a Chicano playwright has ever been welcomed by Mexico.
He's going to be working with La Compania Nacional, so he's already engaged in pre-production of that process. The national company of Mexico is going to be producing Zoot Suit in Spanish in the spring of next year. So that's an achievement and an honor, the first time that a Chicano artist is being recieved in that way.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Part I: Interview with Kinan Valdez of El Teatro Campesino

Full Disclosure: I've known Kinan Valdez for more than 12 years. In 2001, I played the title role in El Teatro Campesino's traveling production of “Guerilla Radio.” I have an insider's knowledge of his directing skills and process. And I have always been impressed.

So having our paths intersect the past couple of years has been a nice change of pace from my previous interaction with him, when he was leading sweaty theater workshops in the sometimes dank recess of the ETC playhouse in San Juan Bautista. As a director, he was demanding but respectful of his production team, and I always had fun working with him.

And now I get to write about him as an artist, which is fun. My feature on the Teatro's winter production “La Pastorela” runs Sunday, but this is the raw text of my interview. He talks about this year's show and gives some insight into the future of Chicano Teatro and where he hopes to lead the company (part two will delve even more into the Teatro's future plans).

Here is Part I of my interview:

On the Teatro's anniversary:
It's our 44th anniversary. Officially, in November, we're officially celebrating the 44th anniversary, so to a certain degree, we consider 2010 a 45th anniversary season.

On the idea of Chicano Teatro as a traditional art:
I read somewhere the definition of traditional art. They said a traditional art is something that is not based on individual achievement, but a collective wisdom that's amassed and and passed on from generation to generation. It dawned on me not so long ago that the way we practice Chicano theater at El Teatro Campesino is starting to head into this realm of traditional art. That as a project is important.
To be able to mark all the achievements in the art forms that were developed by these Chicano generations, and marking them as a traditional form is a project that seems worth wile into the future, especially as part of the organizational method of the Teatro. On top of creating new forms and new journeys, that seems to be a real important project, so that legacy of cultural and political advancement is protected.
There are other groups that practice (Chicano Teatro) and that have defined it as a traditional art. I think it's a relatively new project. I have a tendency to think that the methods are an the forms.
So you have actos, corridos and mitos, which would be what people would refer to as classic Chicano theater forms. I would start to redefine them as traditional. And it's okay to protect those and codify those as a traditional form.
Where the experimental or any artistic movement come in and taking those forms and experimenting with them. That's one of the projects here. All the shows we've done, even “Sam Burguesa and The Pixie Chicks”took some of those traditional forms and threw them together to see what happens. (More after the jump)

On whether he views himself and the company as gatekeepers for Chicano teatro:
We talked about my generation, because I like to think in terms of generations. There's the generation before, and then there's my age group, which has been around for 15 years.
(And now I'm) trying to mentor this next group. It always felt like our responsibility was to be the bridge, to make sure the survival of this particualr type of teatro went from the 20th century into the 21st century. That is a responsibility that our generation, my generation, assumed some 15 years ago. It's part of the work that we need to do.
We all have different ideas as individual artists and I have my own aesthetic as an individiaul artist, but when we come under the banner of El Teatro Campesino, there's a very specific project at work.

On passing the torch to26-year-old director Adrian Torres:
It's a long range torch passing. It's part of strengthening the roots of the company. Paqt of what happened is that the last transition (when he took the reigns from his father Luis Valdez) was marked by probably too abrupt shift. My generation didn't have the mentorship, because the older veteranos held it so long that they needed to take a break. So when we came in, we didn't have the same type of mentorship. There was one one in ther 30's or 40's that we were working with. They were all in their 50's, and we were in our 20's. So we had to constantly do this cultural translation with these groups. This was a project where I wanted to be a young mentor, one that I didn't have.
Adrian is part of this other, larger generation. They started appearing on the scene three years ago. So our efforts have been geared towards rebuilding this ensemble, training this particualr group in the Teatro Cmepesino style, which, you know, is also all of the philosophical underpinnings of the company, in terms of being based in Mayan philosophy. It is something that we have to start with every group that comes in, every new generation.
The shift began in late 2005, and picked up steam in 2006 and 2007. In that time, what happened is we reverted back to the old teatro model of having an ensemble, a performing ensemble and a core company/community of actors. That community, or core company, has multiple generations in it.
It has me and other people in their 30s, and all the new generation in their 20's, and it has a few high schoolers we have been training.
And then, people like Noe Montoya, who I like to say is back in active service with the Teatro. He's in his 50's. For us, he's played Juan Diego since 2002 in our Christmas shows. But he actually was from Hollister and was a teenager when he joined the Teatro back in the 70s. Then went to go pursue other interests, then slowly became a member of the Teatro once again. Just organically.

On his role in this year's production of “La Pastorela”:
I'm one of the producers. I am there to make sure the tradition is maintained. That's about the extent of my involvement. I'm a consultant, but it's Adrian's vision, so it's important that he be given the opportunity to push those artistic boundaries however he needs to. It doesn't serve anybody if you have another director. I go and check in and watch the run throughs.

On whether it was tough to relinquish the title of director:
No, not for me perosnally, because I believe in the tradition. I wasn't alwasy the director. I grew up with it as a kid, as a performer, so my first 20-something years was as a participant in the process. Even before, when I didn't direct, I ended up jumping in wherever necessary.
I'm really grateful that it's in strong and capable hands, so it's actually a gift to not have to worry abou tthe shows. Most people say as a director, you want to hold on to that. But it's never been about power. It's about empowering. That's one of the beautiful things that's happening.
(Torres will direct the Christmas shows) as long as he wants. That's the thing. When you assume the directorship, you're also assuming responsibility for the tradition. And the Teatro will be behind it. It still happens to be our most beloved tradition, and it's the thing that's anchored all generations of the teatro.

On the history of the T eatro's Christmas plays:
“La Virgen del Tepeyac” had its' first performance in 1971. La Pastorela began in1975 as a puppet show. Then in 1976, it became a street theater performance. Then in the late 1970s, it moved into the Mission San Juan Bautista and hasn't left. Definitely since 1981, it's an unbroken streak.

On what the Teatro's Christmas productions mean to him:
I know we talk about what Christmas means and what holiday means, but for me, that community engagement will always be associated with the holidays. The act of giving and touching other people. There would be no Christmas or holiday spirit for me without these shows. That's whey even the years I wasn't doing it, I was drawn back to it. Even in college, I felt the need to jump into the show. The spirit and unity we create with the community in the process of making this show is what the spirit of Christmas is supposed to be about. So the fact that there are other generations already growing up in this show is really special.
I've seen people who have grown up and are growing up, and the kids come back year after year. Those are the tradition keepers that are running around now with painted faces.

On this year's production:
The production has got a cast of a little over 50 people. It's slightly more traditional than previous versions. The original casting dymanmic has been implemented.
Luzbel is once again played by a man. In this case he's played by Eduardo Robledo. He's celebrating his 40th anniversary as a teatro veteran. He joined in 1969, and has returned in 2009 to honor his 40 year to doing teatro in general.
Christy Sandoval is playing Satanas, one of our new next generation performers. It's the first time in a long time a woman is playing Satanas. That was part of the original tradition.
Jillian Mitchell is also part of our core company. She's playing San Migue. Rounding out the cast is El Hermitano, who for the first time in history is being played by a woman, Romina Memoli Amador. She's a visiting artist from Honduras. A woman has never played Hermitano. The part is still male, as they always don a mask. That's an exciting change there.

On why he chose director Adrian Torres:
As a director in his own right, the fact that Adrian is a visual artist and has a strong visual sense (is a big help). When you're dealing with a show that requires an ability to create images that tell the story as well is important. That visual sense is absolutely key.
The other factor (in his selection) was his sense of humor. As a comedic actor, he's very funny in terms of creating a physical comedy, hat sense of humor (helps) in being able to mine certain moments. It will be a treat for the audiences.
The last thing is the fact he too is reared in this tradition. He understands it organically. He's not a visitig director who says ‘This is (going to be) a western theater approach to making this show happen.
He actually started first back in 1999 as a teenager, and in 2001 he was performing as a devil. He was a devil, and he ended up playing Satanas many years and now has moved on to the director's chair. It's that organic transition that is essential to maintain these traditions.
People will be happy to see his work as an actor (turned director). He has a small following. He's one of our standout performers as an actor. And now they will get a chance to see those comedic sensibilities of his as a director.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Carmel's Jamielee Darley is top two finalist for Victoria's Secret Runway Model Competition

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She's one step away from walking the runway alongside the world's most beautiful supermodels, and Carmel's Jamielee Darley can taste it.
"I can't believe that I'm this much closer," said Darley, 23, after being announced as one of the two final contestants in the Victoria's Secret runway model competition. Kylie Bisutti of Simi Valley was also named as a finalist.
"My dream is right there . I'm going to keep on pushing until I get it," said Darley.
Darley was one of 10 finalists chosen nationwide to compete for a spot as a Victoria's Secret runway model, known as an Angel, during the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, scheduled Dec. 1 on CBS. Heidi Klum will host this year's show and Black Eyed Peas are scheduled to perform.
Current and past Angel's include supermodels Klum, Tyra Banks, Rebecca Romijn and Gisele Bündchen.
Darley answered an open call in Los Angeles and was selected as a finalist. She and the other finalists were shipped out to an apartment in New York City, where they competed in several "tasks" that included photos shoots other modeling gigs.
Darley made it to the final five through online voting, then on Tuesday she and the five finalists were brought out to Times Square, where the the top two were announced.
Darley's image was projected on a Times Square wide screen alongside the other finalist. Her jaw dropped as she saw she had made it.
"I am with her in New York and one proud papa," wrote Rober Darley, Jamielee Darley's father, in an e-mail thanking supporters.
The final online voting will be held beginning at noon Nov. 23 and ending at 5 p.m. Nov. 24. Fans can vote at or
Rest of post here

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

RIP: Ken Ober of MTV's "Remote Control"

I was enamored with "Remote Control" during my tween years. I always loved playing along at home. I can't quite put my finger on what that was, but I know a big part of it was Ken Ober. Just something about him was really cool. He seemed like a nice, approachable guy. Plus, he helped introduce the world to Dennis Leary and Adam Sandler, so that's something, right? RIP Ken.

AP swipe after the jump.

’Remote Control’ gameshow host Ken Ober dies at 52|

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ken Ober, who hosted the 1980s MTV game show ‘‘Remote Control’’ and helped produce the shows ‘‘Mind of Mencia’’ and ‘‘The New Adventures of Old Christine,’’ has died. He was 52.
His agent, Lee Kernis, says Ober was found dead Sunday in his Santa Monica home. Kernis says Ober complained of headaches and flu-like symptoms on Saturday night but the cause of his death wasn’t clear.
Ober hosted five seasons of ‘‘Remote Control’’ beginning in 1987. Contestants in lounge chairs were asked pop-culture questions from categories such as ‘‘Dead or Canadian?’’ The show featured early appearances by comedians Adam Sandler, Denis Leary and Colin Quinn.
Ober, who was born Ken Oberding in Massachusetts, is survived by his parents and a brother.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Carmel's Jamielee Darley makes the second round in Victoria's Secret Angel's Camp

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I posted a story yesterday, but I wanted to follow up with local gal Jamielee Darley's progress in the Victoria's Secret Angel's Boot Camp competition, where the winner gets to be a Victoria's Secret Runway Angel.

Above is the latest video, posted at You can vote for her there, as well as at

Voting lasts through 5 p.m. PST, Tuesday, Nov. 17. Stay tuned for more updates. And don't forget to vote!

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

MC Lars Gives Current TV a Lesson in "Nerdcore 101"

Another friend of "The Beat," MC Lars, has a new spot up on Current TV. Shot right here in Carmel Valley!
The video gives a quick breakdown of the Nerdcore canon (with MC Chris, a nerdcore flip-flopper, listed at No. 2).
Funny part: Lar's hypeman/friend DJ shows up in a random shot, then quick cut to Lars in a hot tug (!). Never thought I'd see Lars shirtless (and never wanted to see that, for that matter). All good.

Rest of post here

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Free Download: New Album from Santa Cruz artist Nima Fadavi "Behind The Beat 1"

A good friend of "The Beat," our boy Nima Fadavi (Ineffable Music Group) has a new album out titled "Behind The Beat 1" featuring Nima's bangin' production and a nice selection of artists, including The Grouch, Pep Love, Sunspot Jonez of Living Legends, and local favorites Ghambit and Sincere.

The best part of the deal is you can download if for FREE at his site, Show some love to the local boy (by way of SC, now residing in The Bay) done good.

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Raw Dios- a headRush Produciton (I'm In This!)

My Bay Area familia is presenting their latest show, “Raw Dios,” at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley. My crew, Baktun 12, produced and performed a big chunk of the audio dialog that accompany's the live performance. If you're in the Bay (and sadly, I won't be there for this opening event) please go and check this out and let me know how I sound:)

Peace to my headRush famm-bamm.
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Cambio interview Part II

Part two of my interview with Cambio of Para La Gente.

On his musical evolution:
Before, honestly, I wasn't comfortable in the first years of PLG. The process of creating music was different.
I was uncomfortable with a certain style. I said I want to create (a different) type of sound. I had lot of conversations with (band mates) Zach and Omar, and we'd be in each others car and listening to something that's different from what we're playing on stage. I finally said let's create something we're comfortable with. Now, the crew is genuinely into the music.
PLG formed in 2003. There's been a huge difference since then.
There's a video for one of the old songs “Brown and You.” And there was this YouTube comment that said “Where's Cambio?” And I'm all over the video! That said a lot about how different the band has become.
We're at where we're at because we made changes. The “People Living Growing” album was us saying ‘This is where we're at, so get comfortable.” We've probably lost about half of our fan base because of the changes, but from that half that stayed with us, we've gained a new fan base and doubled the number of fans that we originally had.

Working on “Or Does It Explode.”
It's been more than a year of sitting on “Hard Times.” (They recorded it last November, and the process began in September). Most of the album was done in April.
The target audience is Latin America. I think it will do well too.
I havent' seen a lot of Spanish and English hip-hop come together. I'm really trying to features more Spanish language artists.
I can go to Mexico and not spit one song in Spanish and they feel me. That's the most nerve-wracking part. Going down there with my fucked up Spanish. It's hard. I still get really nervous. I still get the same kind of anxiety.

On how fatherhood has changed him.
I'm just a lot more honest. I'm too grown to fuck around and bullshit and do things I'm not comfortable with. It forces you to be responsible.
Fatherhood is really missing right now. We're trying to reclaim fatherhood with no examples. I want to let people know I'm a father, and it's okay to be a dad and make that shit cool.
He's gotten the support of his family, which has helped. “First and foremost, thanks to my partner. Without that support, I would not be able to go record, go to practice. I want (my son) to grow up and be like ‘I'm going to pursue my art because I saw my dad pursue his art.’

On the show set:
PLG plays five tracks from the album. Our audience is growing, and we realize that we're going to give them that substance because we're genuinely having a good time at the show.
Most people that listen to dead prez listen to Too $hort or Bun B. I listen to Q-Tip's album and Mos Def's album and I'll be like they're talking so much shit. Why can't I talk shit on a track?”
I don't know why it took time for me to get confidence in myself. Just be yourself and in that process you realize (what you can do).

Rap is very necesssary. I wish everyone would recognize it and support it.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Carmel's own Jamielee Durley aims to be the next Victoria's Secret Runway Angel

Carmel High School grad Jamielee Durley is one of 10 contestants in the Victoria's Secret "Angel's Boot Camp." She is living in a New York apartment, being taped around the clock and competing with other models to be the next Victoria's Secret Runway Angel.

You can vote for her at or, and see videos of her and the other contestants. Above is her profile video. So vote for the local gir!

Rest of post here

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Cambio/PLG Week @ “The Beat”

This week is officially “MC Cambio/Para La Gente” week @ The Beat, in honor of our comrade Cambio, who dropped his latest album "Or Will It Explode.”

He will hold a CD release party Friday night at Giovane's in Salinas (more info @

I'm prepping a proper story for Thursday's GO! section, but here is Part 1 of my conversation with Cambio, held last week @ The Cherry Bean. Here, Cambio breaks down how he landed some of the artists who collaborated with him on the album ( of dead prez, Joell Ortiz) and more:

On how he got the collaborations going with and Joell Ortiz:
I had done the connection through Bocafloja. Boca is cool with
I hit up (stic's) manager at first. He said "I'm down. I like the concept. I like the beat.“He did it really nice and humble.
Same thing with Joell. For that one I had to show them what I had done already. They wanted to see videos and hear the music. Then they said "We'll fuck with you." They're really picky about attaching their names to projects.
The collabs are significant for someone from this area. I think when I initially tell people about the collabs, they say “Where are you from again? You're not from New York, L.A., San Fran or Oakland?” (It's good because) that way other people can recognize that there's good hip-hop comping from this area.

On repping for his hometown east Bakersfield:

“It's like saying your from east Salinas. It's a whole other thing.”

On who is releasing the album and where it is being released:

The release is straight up independent, through Quilombo Arte. It will be distributed mainly to Latin America. It's more aimed at Latin America.
The Quilombo Artists collective is comprised mostly of spoken word artists and MC's. It's mostly spoken word and hip-hop.
Bocafloja added myself and Para La Gentes. We're part of the California portion of that.
The last two summers we've toured Mexico. We played Puerto Rico in August 2008. That's all through Quilombo.

On the process of recording the album:

I took a really long time with the album.Bocafloja's the one who randomly heard that last album (“The Bridge Called My Back”). Hopefully that worked as a stepping stone.
The last PLG album was loosely associated with Quilombo Arte. The nex one is “official, official.”
We're just trying to make it a big collective. When we went to Mexico (in June and July), it was really live. People recieved us really well.
The album is out in December on iTunes and CD Baby. People can purchase it right now on www.

(More after the jump)

On his videos:

The director is Javier Goin. We were touring with Bocafloja in 2008 and he did the video for “Astro Travellin.' ” He did “Who I Am.” He wanted to do it in the city, but I said “I want to do it in a place where you don't typically see a hip-hop backdrop, where it's a club or skyscrapers on a street. Out here, there's fields and tractors. We wanted to do it from our community (perspective). I'm just trying to show people, I try to come really hard lyrically with this song. That type of lyricism is, for this area, it's a different type of aesthetic for me.

On exposing his students at Watsonville EA Hall Middle School his music:

I give them albums, and I think they support the music. I'm trying to show them we're community people too, and my vehicle happens to be hip-hop. I think they appreciate someone can take that genre and make it intelligent, make it okay to rhyme smart and have fun.

On the evolution of his art:

Before, honestly, I wasn't comfortable in the first years of PLG. The process of creating music was different.
I was uncomfortable with a certain style. I said I want to create this type of sound. A lot of conversations with Zach and Omar, we'd be in each others car and listening to something that's different from what we're bumping. I finally said let's create something we're comfortable with. Now, the crew is genuinely into the music.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Luis Rodriguez speaks @ CSUMB, El Sausal Middle School this week.

Author Luis Rodríguez will speak twice this week in Monterey County, leading a discussion at CSUMB's University Ballroom from 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, then visiting El Sausal Middle School in Salinas on Thursday. Below is the official press release from CSUMB:

Luis Rodríguez

“Art is the heart's explosion on the world. There is probably no more powerful force for change in this uncertain and crisis-ridden world than young people and their art. It is the consciousness of the world breaking away from the strangle grip of an archaic social order.”

Nov. 4, 2009, 7:00-8:30pm

CSUMB University Center Ballroom


November 5, 2009, 7:00-8:30pm

El Sausal Middle School Gymnasium

Through education and the power of words, Luis Rodríguez saw his own way out of poverty and despair in the barrio of East LA and successfully broke free from the years of violence and desperation he spent as an active gang member. Achieving success as an award-winning Chicano poet, he was sure the streets would haunt him no more — until his young son joined a gang himself. Rodriguez fought for his child by telling his own story in the bestseller Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A., a vivid memoir that explores the motivation of gang life and cautions against the death and destruction that inevitably claim its participants. Always Running earned a Carl Sandburg Literary Award and was designated a New York Times Notable Book; it has also been named by the American Library Association as one of the nation’s 100 most censored books. (more after the jump).

Luis Rodríguez is an accomplished poet and is the author of several collections of poetry, including My Nature is Hunger: New and Selected Poems 1989-2004. He also writes books for children (America Is Her Name and It Doesn't Have To Be This Way: A Barrio Story). As well he authored Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times and a novel, Music of the Mill.

Rodríguez is also known for helping start a number of prominent organizations — such as Chicago’s Guild Complex, one of the largest literary arts organizations in the Midwest; Rock a Mole (rhymes with guacamole) Productions, which produces music and art festivals, CDs and film; and Youth Struggling for Survival, a Chicago-based non-profit community group working with gang and non-gang youth. In addition, he is one of the founders of the small poetry publishing house Tia Chucha Press, as well as Tia Chucha's Café & Centro Cultural—a bookstore, coffee shop, art gallery, performance space, and workshop center in Los Angeles.

This event is sponsored by the Service Learning Institute, CSU Monterey Bay, with generous support from the Surdna Foundation. To request accommodations for a disability, please contact Student Disability Resources (Bldg. 47) at 831.582.3672 or Deborah Burke at 831.582.361 before Oct. 28,

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Cambio feat. "Hard Times"

Here it is, new Cambio (of PLG) featuring (dead prez, RBGz). Very dope track from Cambio's upcoming album "Or Does It Explode?" More to come from Cambio this week. Be on the lookout.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eminem, Black Thought & Mos Def Cipher @ BET Awards

The Mount Rushmore of Hip-HOp right here.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Interview: Warren G (transcript)

I got a call from a strange area code Thursday morning, and picked it up to hear a familiar voice on the other end:

Caller: Hey, it's Warren.

Me: Warren G?

Caller: Yeah, what up.

Apparently, he was looking for a reporter to talk to for a scheduled interview. I informed him that I was not the right reporter, as we had talked two days prior and taken care of our interview then. He laughed, apologized and mentioned the need to figure out who was supposed to talk to right quick. It was pretty funny.

Warren plays tomorrow night at Planet Gemini in Monterey. Show starts at 9 p.m.

Here's the transcript from our interview:

On Nate Dogg suffering a stroke and his condition:

I see Nate all the time. He's progressing, man. We're praying for a quick recovery. He actually had two strokes. He's progressing, man and he's recovering. We're just praying for a fast recovery. That's it, we're praying on a fast recovery ...He's in therapy and stuff like that. He's just trying to get himself well. Tre Songz did a great, great job paying homage to him (during the VH1 Hip Hop Honors show), letting the world know that Nate Dogg was incredible. That was a good thing. I really appreciate him doing that because we needed that.

On his weight post-“Celebrity Fit Club”:

I weigh about 218 lbs. When I left the show, I was 191, I think, 193 or something like that. (The show) helped me a lot. It helped me learn how to eat (right). Because of the show, I look at how I eat a little different. Some of the things I do, I've been working out, that's why I'm up to 218. But it's all good man (laughs). I ain't fat.

On his decision to be on the show even though he wasn't obese:

The show is an exercise show. It's not just for fat people and just about getting themselves in shape. Some people was big in some of the earlier versions of it. That's how it was (previously). The version I was in, it wasn't like everyone was big and overweight and obese. It was just a workout show.
At first, I wasn't gong to do it, but after they explained it to me, and tole me what it was all about, I was like ‘OK, I can do this.’ I had some of the most fun I ever had in my life doing that show. It was a great show, and it was the biggest season they ever had (ratings wise). That was what was so crazy about it.

On his most vivid memories of the show:

When we went to Denver and we was skiing, that was a great experience. Being out there in the snow and just doing, I forgot what they called the skiing with like you shoes. That was a hell of a work out and the experience of that was incredible.

On the myths/rumors of his ghost production on “The Chronic” and “Doggystyle”:

I mean, we did help with doing “The Chronic.” I helped with doing “The Chronic.” I'm not trying to take credit for that record. It was a family thing with all of us. We all put in our issue with the records, you know. I wasn't really trying to take credit for the whole record. Dr. Dre is an incredible producer. We did it and it was all a family thing. That's my brother and I'm riding with him. We did it together.
(more after the jump)

On the success of “Regulate”:

It really tripped me out. It ended up being No. 2 on the Billboard (hot singles chart), you know. That's when I was like “This song really blew up.” I mean, I was just happy that it happened. I was just happy.

It felt real good and I'm just happy to still be in heavy rotation on radio stations and people still love my music and what I do.

On the experience of producing his latest album, “The G Files.”:

It wasn't different (Than recording his previous albums). It's the same, just going in and getting in there and pounding out good records. That's what I did. It ain't no pressure or nothing. I just go in there and do it and go in there and work and have a good time with it and have fun, because when you have fun, good feelings come out. That's what I try to do, just go in there, have fun and just relax and do the record and be creative. When you do that, that's when you come out with a good record.

On being a multi-platinum artist and finding a challenge at this point in his career:

It's not a challenge. I'm independent now. Actually, it is a challenge. It's the challenge to see if I can do it independently, if I can still have the same success being (on an independent record label). This is probably my first round, real round test in the independent market. I'm going to try it again and see where it takes me. If it turns out to be a good thing, I'll stay indy. If not, then I'm going back to a major (record label).

On his label situation:

I have a one-off with a company called TTL Records. They're out of Modesto, actually. I'm just doing that and it's distributed through Koch (Records). After my obligation is done with them, I'm a free agent. I don't know if I want to go back to a major or stay independent.

On whether or not his step-brother Dr. Dre's album “Detox” is ever coming out:

It's definitely coming out. I heard some records up off of it. It's incredible. He got some great songs on there. It's going to be a great record. They just got to keep looking out for that, because it's going to be nice.

On any brotherly competition between him and Dre:

He calls me, you know, sometimes, when he's trying to reach through. It's all good man. We just, we folks man. We put it down, you know.

On coming out to Monterey:

I came out there I think it was with Snoop. It was live man. Live, live, live.

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Sublime reunion under heat from family of Brad Nowell

A newly reformed version of Sublime is scheduled to take the stage Saturday evening, as part of the 2009 Cypress Hill Smokeout show in San Bernardino.
But it looks like the band, with original members Eric Wilson and Floyd "Bud" Gaugh joined by vocalist Rome Ramirez, is re-uniting without the consent of the late Bradley Nowell's estate, which includes his widow, son and father. The official statement is below, with more after the jump.

Update: It appears that Gaugh has issued a statement of his own on his Web site, which you can view here. Now back to the original post:

“It was recently announced that Sublime bassist Eric Wilson and Sublime drummer Floyd ‘Bud’ Gaugh are ‘reuniting’ and teaming with singer and guitarist Rome Ramirez in a band they intend to call ‘Sublime.’ Prior to his untimely passing, both Bud and Eric acknowledged that Brad Nowell was the sole owner of the name Sublime. It was Brad's expressed intention that no one use the name Sublime in any group that did not include him, and Brad even registered the trademark ‘Sublime’ under his own name.

As Brad's heirs, and with the support of his entire family, we only want to respect his wishes and therefore have not consented to Bud and Eric calling their new project ‘Sublime.’ We have always supported Bud and Eric's musical endeavors and their desire to continue to play Sublime's music. We wholeheartedly supported Bud, Eric and the many talented members of the Sublime posse that formed the Long Beach Dub All-Stars, soon after Brad's death, to honor him through their original recordings, live performances and Sublime music until they disbanded in 2001. But, out of respect for Brad's wishes, we have always refused to endorse any group performing as ‘Sublime,’ and now with great reluctance feel compelled to take the appropriate legal action to protect Brad's legacy.

Our hope is that Brad's ex-bandmates will respect his wishes and find a new name to perform under, so as to enhance the ‘Sublime’ legacy without the confusion and disappointment that many fans have expressed upon seeing the announcement.

Peace and Love to all,
Troy, Jakob & Jim ‘Papa’ Nowell.”

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Friday, October 16, 2009

RICKECHE of Euthnasia wins Week 6 @ Jammin 97.9 Open Mic

Just learned that a friend of “The Beat,” RICKECHE (aka Ricky Amaya), won Week 6 of Jammin' 97.9's Open Mic, Season 4. (Shout out to my cousin Mousey for giving me the heads up:).

RICKECHE (pronounced Ricochet) will duke it out with other weekly winners for the final
round, scheduled Oct. 29 at the Hippodrome, 321 Alvarado St., in Monterey.

A rundown of the weekly winners so far:
Johnny Rocks(week 1), P.I. (week 2), Whosta The Mac (week 3), Chill Scrill (week 4), Ph.D (Week 5).

Congrats to all the winners. You can get more details and sign up for the Oct. 22 open mic at Jammin 97.9's Open Mic Homepage.

RICKECHE will perform Oct. 25 at Zen Lounge in Mountain View. More info @ The Euthnasia MySpace Page.

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Interview: Brother Ali (transcript)

Brother Ali performs tonight at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz. Below is a transcript of his interview with “The Beat” :

On working with Atmosphere producer Ant on all of the Brother Ali projects:

I've had Ant for the albums and the EP's. I did a mixtape and had some other people contribute to those. I've done some guest appearances with other people. But all the Brother Ali projects are produced entirely by Ant.

I think that our friendship is so powerful and important to both of us that when we get together to make music, we start out. .. We both tour. He tours with Atmosphere, I do my tour, so when we see each other, we catch up. We talk about this is what's going on in my life, what I'm going through, what I'm celebrating, what I'm suffering through. Those conversations bleed right over into the music. I don't know if I'd be able to make music as powerfully as I do without Ant. (More after the jump)

On the “Fresh Air” tour that he is currently on:

It's really incredible so far. The energy of the shows has been amazing. A lot of the shows have been sold out. I got a really amazing team with me. We put together this whole night. I choose my people who I bring out with me. I really try to give people an experience, so I choose the people that are going to be on my team.

I got Toki Wright, he's a part of Rhyme Sayers. He used to help me on stage, with my background bovals. Now he's setepped on his own. I've got Evidence, who did a lot of legendary work with Dialated Peoples, he's with us. And BK-One is releasing his solo album.
It's a lot of new, creative energy. It's called the Fresh Air tour because we all got new material and we're starting with something fresh. It's really amazing.

On the tour's name:

That's the name of a song on my new album. It's such a celebratory thing, because there's so much fresh air. It's like a new beginning. It's a new beginning for me, making this new album. Everyone on this tour has brand new work they're presenting. It's just exciting new energy.

On former Roc-A-Fella Records MC Freeway joining RhymeSayers artist roster:

Rhyme Sayers, we're old school hip-hop people. We've always embraced hip-hop in it's totality. We love the artistry of it. We love the raw truth in it. To have Freeway is somebody I've been a fan of since he first came in the game. Me and him started putting records out at the same time, in 2003

He's in a unique situation where major labels once had a place for street music, but now if you don't have a single for 14 year old girls, you don't have a place in mainstream.

It felt like the best thing for him to do would be go the indie route. He still has a loyal fan base, but he was trying to go the indie route. That's what we specialize in. We've been perfecting that over the years. Music is music, hip-hop is hip-hop, and he's an incredible MC. I'm proud to be associated with him in any way. We're becoming friends. It's a great thing.

On visiting Santa Cruz:

I just love it out there. I've always loved Santa Cruz, since the first time playing there. I played there with Atmosphere back in 2002. I've always loved it.

Santa Cruz is a place where I've been able to play with bigger headliners and been able to steal the show and it makes me feel a special way about the people there.

My wife and I went on vacation in the Bay. We took a day to go down to Santa Cruz, that's how great I feel about it. I don't go out there to do shows and work. I've spent time on vacation out there.

His message to fans coming to the show:

Just come out, hang out with us. Come early. There's no openers on this tour. Everyone performing on this show is part of the show, so you're missing an important part of what we're presenting to you if you come late. Come early, everybody brought CD's and shirts to sell to the fans. Come prepared to be a part of it. Don't come to just watch. Come to be part of it. Get dressed up, bring a lady firend with you. Come to dance and come prepared to have an experience.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NYT: “New” Michael Jackson song originally recorded in Carmel

The New York Times reported in today's Arts Beat section that Michael Jackson's posthumous single, “This Is It,” was originally recorded with Paul Anka right here in Monterey County.

According to the story written by Ben Sisario, Anka sought proper credit after the song's initial release failed to recognize him as the co-author. The story says:

For Mr. Anka, the song has a long and painful history. He said that he and Jackson wrote and recorded it in 1983 in Mr. Anka’s studio in Carmel, Calif., and that it had been intended as a duet for Mr. Anka’s album “Walk a Fine Line.”

But shortly after it was recorded Jackson took the tapes, Mr. Anka said. He threatened to sue to get them back, he said, and now has the original multitrack tapes in his possession, along with documentation that the copyright for the song was held by both men. “It’s exactly the same song,” Mr. Anka said. “They just changed the title.”

You can view the full story here.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Video: "Synth Love" PLG w/ Alex Lee

I'm so proud of my people!

Rest of post here

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Cancelled: Sean Kingston/FloRida Wednesday concert in Salinas

Local promoters announced the cancellation of the Sean Kingston/FloRida concert scheduled for Wednesday at Fox Theater in Salinas.
Fox Theater owner Anthony Lane confirmed the cancellation Monday, saying Kingston cancelled all but one of the remaining dates on his tour.
Lane said anyone who bought tickets will receive a full refund either online at, by calling the ticket box office at 758-8459, or in person at the ticket box office, located at 241 South Main St., Salinas. Rest of post here

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"Precious" director Lee Daniels & Paula Patton @ CFAF; Daniels: “I'm a resiliant MF!”

Director Lee Daniels and actress Paula Patton spoke Friday night at the screening of Daniel's film “Precious,” part of the inaugural Carmel Film and Art Festival. The screening was held at Golden State Theatre in Monterey.

Daniels, whose previous credits include “Monster's Ball” and “The Woodsman,” led most of the discussion, with Patton providing some thoughts and the pair sharing a couple of emotional moments on stage together.

Really, it was Daniels show. He proved himself a determined, fiercely heartfelt artist with a clear vision and work ethic. “Precious” is a brutal, entertaining, original portrait of a world no one has been brave enough to bring to the screen until now.

A partial transcript of the discussion is posted below (with more after the jump):

On casting Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey:

Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey are both friends of mine. (Daniels said Kravitz is godfather to one of his children). Me and Lenny are planning on working on something pretty soon. I felt this wasn an opportunity for him to see how I was on set.

On casting Mariah Carey:

Mariah Carey is also a great friend. I offered the role to Helen Mirren, but she got a real job that payed. A few hours after that, Mariah Carey called. I said to myself "If I pull this off, it would be a lot more interesting and unpredictable.

With Mariah, she trusts me. If you trust someone and I trusted her, I said this iswhat I need (to play the character wearing no make-up). She really came in with a gusto.

On casting On casting Gabourney “Gabby” Sidibe in the title role...

She was found in Harlem. We had auditioned, I stopped counting after 400, but we auditioned for the role and she came and auditioned, and she was Harlem.

Paula Patton: Gabby is a prodigy. I called her the young Jodie Foster on the set.

She's really more like the the girl in the fantasy scenes than Precious. We would be in the make-up trailer between takes and she would talk in a more high-pitched voice, her regular voice is more high-pitched, and talk like “Have you seen ‘The Hills?’

I think actors can work their whole life and not come up with this (quality of) performance.

On attacking taboo subjects like rape, abuse and incest in his films:

The films I do are not for my family. I'm from the ghetto. They don't watch hard films. My mom said to me once “Why don't you do films like Tyler Perry?”

I learned it is a universal story, by simply telling the truth. Everyone is precious.

And, I have Tyler Perry on the film as a producer so I know my mother will see it (laughs)”

On resilience in his female characters:

My earliest memory was my mother and me... my father (who was physically abusive) put us both in a trash can. I remember both of us sitting in the trash can, and I was thinking “I don't care about me. I only care about what happens to my mother.”
I can't stand to see a woman touch or abused in any way. So I heal every time I do a movie.

On casting Mo'Nique:

Mo had worked with me on “Shadowboxer.” I like working with friends.

Paula Patton on working with Lee Daniels:

It was the most artistic, creative experience I've had on a film. It was the most creative work I've ever done. Lee Daniels is a genius and I'm very blessed (the pair then shared a long, emotional hug).

Lee Daniels: I didn't mean to take it there... especially in front of all these white people (laughs).

On the film's distribution:

It will start small, in a couple of cities, and by the second or third week it will be everywhere.

On screening at the Cannes film festival:

It's not just a movie to me... When we did Cannes and walked down the red carpet, and I saw Gabby walking the red carpet, it was one of the highlights of my life. It was art imitating the movie. She represents all of us. Everybody is precious.

Daniels on whether he wavered on telling the story:

I never, ever wavered. I did ‘Monsters Ball’ and noone said it could be done. They laughed me out of Hollywood. It won an Academy Award.
I'm used to being laughed at. My dad did it. Hollywood has done it. I am a resiliant motherfucker!

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