Marc Cabrera has nothing better to do than watch a lot of movies and television, and listen to a lot of music. Luckily, he has a job that pays him to blog about local and national arts, entertainment and pop culture. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Gabriel McDowell is a former Peninsula resident and now, among other titles, plays drums with the South Bay's 808 Band. He's a cool dude and I've had a lot of nice e-mail exchanges/interaction over the past couple of years. He sent this my way yesterday. It's a little late to be posting up, but if you're itching for a funk fix, a cruise up to the 'Jo will cure your ills. Above is a video of the band performing with one of my favorite Bay Area MC's, Deuce Eclipse.
808 Music presents “Sound System” Live beats, DJs, MCs, Good times!
Performing live! Dublin with The 808 Band, Deuce Eclipse, Abel Abilities, DJ Ichy The Killer
Thursday, February 26, 2009 at The VooDoo Lounge, 14 South Second Street San Jose, CA 95113, 408.286.8636, 9 pm 21 +
So, big blunder on my part. I forgot to mention "The Beat's" longtime friend MC Lars has a new album out, and it's pretty exciting and dope at the same time. "This Gigantic Robot Kills" is the latest, greatest release from the inimitable MC Lars , chock full of web bangers and special guest shots from "Weird Al" Yankovic (!), ytcracker, Wheatus and others.
He's also got a slew of club dates on the horizon. Here's his tour sked.Check him out if you can.
Club Panama (with MC Router, YTCracker and Beefy)
Who: MC Lars Where: Bloomington, Minnesota When: Saturday, Mar 7 2009, 3:00 PM
Amoeba Records (LIVE IN STORE PERFORMANCE AND SIGNING)
Who: MC Lars Where: San Francisco, California When: Thursday, Mar 12 2009, 6:00 PM
SXSW - Prague (with MC Frontalot & Jesse Dangerously)
Who: MC Lars Where: Austin, Texas When: Friday, Mar 20 2009, 1:00 AM
The Cockpit (with the Aquabats)
Who: MC Lars Where: Leeds, East When: Tuesday, Apr 14 2009, 8:00 PM
The Cathouse (with the Aquabats)
Who: MC Lars Where: Glasgow, Scotland When: Wednesday, Apr 15 2009, 8:00 PM
O2 Academy Islington (with the Aquabats)
Who: MC Lars Where: London, London and South East When: Thursday, Apr 16 2009, 8:00 PM
Cantor Art Center (performance of the Mark Applebaum "Metaphysics of Notation" piece)
Who: MC Lars Where: Stanford, California When: Friday, Jun 12 2009, 3:00 PM
I ran across a news brief talking about musicians Sheryl Crow, will.i.am, Herbie Hancock and other testifying before congress their belief that radio stations should pay royalty fees for playing their music. The musicians site other mediums — satellite radio, television and internet — that pay royalties for playing their music. The musicians feel radio should do the same. Seems to me musicians may be aiming a shotgun barrel at their own big toe with this one. If congress were to enforce such a plan, my guess would be that: A) radio stations would not pay for the music and, thus, stop playing artists music or B) stations would strike deals with record labels to get the cheapest content and thus, shut out those that don't play ball. It's a difficult balance, because on one hand, musicians should be compensated for their work. It's tough to make a living off your art. On the other hand, radio stations, despite the inherent evil of some conglomerates, would be hard pressed to pay artists for their music and their own employees. People would lose jobs. Stations would fold. Guarantee it. It's a tough decision to make, and I'm glad I don't have to make it.
He spent part of his childhood in Salinas and now Dustin Lance Black is an Academy Award winning writer. Black won in the Best Original Screenplay category for his work on the film "Milk" which also earned Sean Penn a best actor trophy for portraying the slain civil rights activist Harvey Milk. In his speech, judged by some Hollywood writers as the most eloquent of the night, Black gave a nod to his family, Milk, and the spirit of the gay rights movement.
"I want to thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am . . . ," he said. "But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he'd want me to say to all the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures who have value. And that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you."
"The Beat" is now on Twitter.com, which means technically I could be posting up remotely from, say, an Eddie Money concert or while I'm watching "I Love Money" on VH1. These are exciting times to be alive.
The South Monterey County Center for Arts and Technology (SoMoCAT) is off and running. It's an effort to bridge the digital divide in South County, where residents don't have a whole lot of access to digital media technologies. Pretty cool stuff.
Here's a quick note from Megan Heath, who is helming the effort:
Please check out the progress of our SoMoCoCAT Pilot Program, the Dare to Dream "I Video!" digital storytelling workshop for South County teens. We posted a video on the SoMoCoCAT website that we made during the first day of class on February 14th: https://sites.google.com/a/somococat.org/www/SoMoCoCAT-Home. Please note it's very rough but it was just a class exercise that was designed to introduce the workshop participants to the basics of video.
Our second meeting was Saturday, the 21st and we gave workshop participants Flip Videos mini camcorders to take home with them for the week to shoot their video. The theme of the video is, "What would you like the world to know about living in Soledad?" I can't wait to see what they come up with when we meet this Saturday! when we will start editing what they shot.
Stay tuned for the video we made during the second day of class last Saturday. Read more!
Sort of overlooked locally, but PG High School grad Gina Prince-Blythewood took home two NAACP Image Awards last week for her work on the film "The Secret Life of Bees." Prince-Blythewood was presented with the awards for Outstanding Motion Picture and Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Theatrical or Television). Her film was also nominated in a number of acting categories as well, although took none of the awards in those categories. Prince-Blythewood's mom called in this morning to remind us of her baby's big wins. Props out to Mama Maria Prince for raising such a talented woman.
Pep Love of Hieroglyphics showed up in Monterey on Friday night. Crazy, I know, but it did happen. I have photos and video to prove it.
Performing live @ Wave St. Studios, Pep did about 10 songs, stuff off his album "Ascension" as well as his work on the Hiero albums "Third Eye Vision" and "Full Circle."
The highlight was "Pacific Heights" his ode to the West Coast landscape, which seemed a perfect fit performed in Monterey. Talking about the scenery of the Pacific Ocean made a lot of sense on the Peninsula.
I got video coming, but you'll all have to settle for this dumb-looking photo of me in the meantime (Pep looks cool, but I wind up looking like Sloth from The Goonies).
The boyz @ "WeYowzers" posted this earlier in the week, but I'm just getting around to posting it myself after Asher's publicist sent it out today. Apparently, it's going into roto @ MTV and has made a considerable jump on the iTunes charts. Get ready folks, because we could have a considerable hype monster on the horizon. Asher is actually kinda nice on the mic, judging from the "Greenhouse Effect" mixtape. This song is a bit pandering to his target demo, but if it works, it works.
The Abstract Poetic, Q-Tip, has a new mixtape out with J. Period. "J. Period and Q-Tip The (Abstract) Best Volume One" is 40-plus tracks of classic joints, remixes, tributes from today's rising artists (Blu, Kid Cudi) and old-school vets (De La Soul, Big Daddy Kane).
Here's the press release from MJF regarding Terence Blanchard and the festival's recent win at the Grammy's.
Terence Blanchard’s Win For “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo” From Live At The 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival Is Historic First For Label
February 10, 2009, Monterey, CA; The Monterey Jazz Festival is proud to announce that Terence Blanchard, the Festival’s 2007 Artist-In-Residence, has won his fourth Grammy, winning “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo” for his performance on the classic Dizzy Gillespie composition “Be-Bop” from the recording Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival by the “MJF 50th Anniversary All-Stars.” Nominated alongside his MJF All-Stars band mate, saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master, James Moody, Mr. Blanchard won the prestigious award on February 8th in Los Angeles, garnering the first Grammy for Monterey Jazz Festival Records.
"I'm very honored,” said Mr. Blanchard at the awards ceremony, as reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I'm mostly honored because I was in the same category with James Moody. Winning this award means a lot to me because we were on tour for 10 weeks and I got 10 weeks of music lessons from a genius of our times. So I'm going to accept this on behalf of James Moody."
The Grammy is the first major award for the two year-old Monterey Jazz Festival Records, an imprint of Concord Records. The label’s previous historic releases, including never-before-released live sets from Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Shirley Horn, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk and more, have garnered high praise and stellar reviews from DownBeat, JazzTimes, the online magazine Slate, New York Sun, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and San Francisco Chronicle, to name a few. Monterey Jazz Festival Records has released thirteen records since August of 2007.
Live at the 2007 Monterey Jazz Festival is the first non-archival release from MJFR, and was recorded in the Night Club on the Grounds of the Festival on September 23, 2007. Collectively known as the “Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars,” this stellar group of three generations of jazz masters included James Moody on saxophone; Terence Blanchard on trumpet; Benny Green on piano; Nnenna Freelon on vocals; Derrick Hodge on bass; and Kendrick Scott on drums. The band made two appearances at MJF/50 in 2007 and appeared in a nationwide, 52-date tour across twenty-two states in the first quarter of 2008, performing for over 43,000 fans.
"Monterey Jazz Festival Records is proud of Terence's award and proud to present the best performances of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, captured live at the Monterey Jazz Festival,” said Jason Olaine, General Manager of Monterey Jazz Festival Records. “This all-star recording from 2007 marks only the first release in a series of new, MJF-exclusive, all-star collaborations that we hope bring joy to more than just the Monterey concertgoer.” The next Monterey Jazz Festival Records release will be a first-ever collaboration between bassist Dave Holland, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, saxophonist Chris Potter, and drummer Eric Harland, who also recorded live at the Festival in 2007.
The 52nd Monterey Jazz Festival will take place September 18 - 20, 2009 and will feature a roster of jazz legends and talented newcomers alike. For MJF/52, the Festival has named as Artists-In-Residence the New Orleans-born trumpeter and multiple Grammy Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize recipient, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The full roster for the 52nd Monterey Jazz Festival will be announced on March 30, 2009; tickets will go on sale the same day. Updates can be found on the web at www.montereyjazzfestival.org.
Mistah FAB, his DJ and his manager, Seaside native Stretch (aka Seaside Stretch) were involved in a car accident last week in L.A. All three survived, but Stretch broke his back and FAB was hospitalized with some injuries as well.
Here's a video of FAB freestyling live from the hospital gurney. I'mma hopefully track down Stretch and get some comment, so stay tuned. In the meantime, get well soon to the three accident victims and always wear your seat belt!
(Shout out to the folks @ Nation of Thizzlam, where I ganked this post as well as for providing the Incredibad link yesterdaze).
One of the most frustrating aspects of being a journalist: being denied an interview request. Us journalist writers are an extremely sensitive bunch, but it hurts extra when the subject in question does it for no apparent reason. Such was the case today when Joan Baez's publicist rejected my interview request today. There was no explanation, just a simple "Ms. Baez won't be able to do any interviews." Polite thank yous were exchanged, but afterward, I was kind of heated. "I bet if I told her I was organizing some sort of tree sitting, she would have popped up on a third line right then and there" I thought to myself. I was persuaded to play the race card too: "I'm a Chicano journalist, and knowing Ms. Baez's Mexican-American roots, as well as her role in the early Chicano/UFW movement, I think she might want to reconsider her decision." But no, just a simple decline to talk. That sucks. To quote my editor "Maybe you should have said you were Richard Farina."
Johnny Knoxville and co. have a new show, "Nitro Circus," that premiered Sunday night on MTV. Starring All-World X-Games Moto X champ Travis Pastrana and his merry band of back road pranksters, this is some of the funniest, craziest stuff I've seen on television. I'm a retired adrenaline junkie, but the stuff they do is just insane and makes me laugh in high-pitched, "I can't believe this stuff" tones. My favorite scene from the premier: Pastrana pops open a can of Red Bull and looks into the camera saying "I hope this stuff works" before jumping out of an airplane with no parachute! The line alone is classic.
I keep my Xicano pride credentials on full display at all times, but I can't front, I've always been down with the white boys. And I know I sometimes get in trouble when I talk like this, but it's just true. I got a few reminders of why crazy white boys have always held a soft spot in my heart this past weekend. Yay Area representatives Incredibad (the hip-hop group created by the Lonely Island comedy troupe, aka Andy Samburg's crew) unveiled their latest digital short, "I'm on a Boat" on SNL this past Saturday. Only funny crazy white boys (from here on out referred to as FCWB's) would think to A) rap about the intrinsic dopeness of yachting, and B) invite T-Pain along to sing auto tuned on the hook. For added gangsta, I'm including a link to a leaked song on their upcoming album, "Santana DVX." Leave it up to the FCWB's to rap about Carlos Santana's sparkling champagne (I'm Mexican, and I didn't even know this stuff was out there. Shame on me) and invite E-40 to rap about it!
Watched most of the Grammy's last night, although I admit I flipped between that and "Nitro Circus" (review of that shortly as well). Here are some random thoughts, in random order of appearance last night:
- Kinda hard to watch some of it last night knowing Chris Brown and Rhianna were going through some sort of drama. That's just sad news all around.
- I was a disappointing 1 for 4 in my Grammy picks, but I'm happy Adele took home best new artist. I should have known that Krauss and Plant would win the geezer vote.
- Plant looked like the dirty tio hugging and kissing Miley Cyrus (twice!) and Taylor Swift on stage.
- That whole "Rap Pack" thing, with TI, Jay, Kanye and Wayne throwing down in black and white looked off. The tuxes were retro enough, we didn't need the tint filter on screen for half the performance.
-Glad M.I.A.'s water didn't break during the show. My girl insisted she would only look about four months pregnant on stage, because none of those starlets want to gain sixty-plus pounds during their pregnancy. M.I.A. looked pretty big, and that lady bug outfit didn't really do her no favors, but you gotta give her an A+ for effort, she was throwing down with the guys like nothing.
- I apologize for that previous assessment of M.I.A.'s outfit. Geez, I'm sounding like an E! blogger or something.
- Neil Diamond was up there winning! Holding it down for all the aged rock stars who look like your high school biology teacher.
- It was nice to see Adele up there singing as well, but she kinda got murdered on her own song by that Sugarland girl. She handled it well enough, thankfully.
- My girl was kinda arguing with me at the moment, so I didn't really get to listen to Jay and Chris Martin duet on "Lost." Jay looked stiff the whole night, sporting the b.b. mini-fro and looking like your wise but mean uncle. I'm still excited for "Blueprint 3" though.
- Most of the performances were pretty underwhelming. Save for Radiohead, who just blow me away every time I see them perform live (although I've yet to see them in person. That will have to change eventually).
In case you didn't catch it, here's their performance.
James Yancey, aka J-Dilla, was one of hip-hop's rarest talents. A producer/MC, his work influenced a generation of artists who respected his innovative beat-making techniques, mimicked his original style, and borrowed freely from his influential career.
He passed away three years ago, and today would have been his 35th birthday.
Below is recording of his first live performance with Madlib, collectively known as JayLib. Their album "Champion Sound" is one of my all-time favorites (along with Dilla's 2002 CD "Welcome to Detroit"). Respect the architect, RIP Dilla.
Longtime friends of "The Beat" Delirio (I'm talking way back to the Alisal High Trojan days) are putting together a pretty cool music fest in March. "Amped Up Music Festival" is bring some heavy hitting Rock En Espanol to the area. Salinas is quickly becoming a pretty viable market for Spanish Rock, so this music fest could be a really good, fun thing. I'll keep you posted on developments and we'll get some more stuff with Delirio and the other bands in the coming months.
So, it's Grammy weekend, and normally I don't care. But this year, it looks like they're pulling out all the stops. The "Swagger Like Us" crew (SLU Crew for short) of Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Kanye West and T.I. will perform with M.I.A., who is pregnant and could induce labor on stage, which I gotta believe would be a Grammy first.
You got Dave Grohl and Sir Paul McCartney scheduled to do some Beatles tunes, which should be nice. I'm sure they'll find some way to commemorate the 50th anniversary of "The Day The Music Died" which just passed this week. And, who can forget, The Jonas Brothers are scheduled to perform. Woo-Hoo.
I'm also kinda hype for Wolverine hosting the event. Maybe he'll bust out his claws and kill some Marauders on stage or something. Probably not — Oh wait, Wolverine's hosting the Oscars. Who the hell is hosting the Grammys again? I forgot. I wish they would let Gary Shandling host again. That guy is funny.
What else? I predict Coldplay will take home a lot of trophies, and Wayne will win all the rap categories but won't sniff any of the major contests (no shot at album or record of the year). Other than that, a surprisingly dope lineup and a Lee "Scratch" Perry performance rumor to boot.
Below, the top 10 reasons to look forward to the Grammys, couresy of your boy Weezy F. Baby.
One of these days, hopefully soon, I'll get something going with Forrest Day here on The Beat. In the meantime, here's a quick video of him performing at Monterey Live last year. These guys do rock all kinds of crazy live, so they are worth checking out. For the lowdown, visit www.montereylive.org.
Yeah, this here marks my 300th Post, which I might have celebrated some time ago but now, seems like not that big a deal.
First off, I've been doing this blog for more than three years, which averages out to less than 100 blogs a year, not bad, but not great.
Second, my boy John Devine has accumulated 300 blog posts in less than a year. Granted, he has a wider net with sports, local and national, plus he crams like 12 hours of work into his daily 8-hour shift, while I have a little more time to craft my stuff as a features writer, but the 300 mark is not that big a deal compared to JD's blog grind.
Mainly, I'm just happy to still be here with a job and doing what I love to do, so 300 posts is a sort of meaningful milestone, but I plan on passing 400 and 500 by the end of the year, so I'll hold off on celebrating.
On a brighter note, this month marks one whole year that "The Beat" has been published in print, which I will have to acknowledge somehow someway in the paper. Hip-hop-hooray for that one!
Oh, and before I go, here's the latest video from Cam'ron. Pretty funny, and I know folks can relate in this economic climate.
Reader critique comes with the territory in journalism. When you lay it all on the line for 35k-plus on the daily grind, someone's bound to have an opinion. My recent column on the Oscar jury's snub of Clint Eastwood's "Gran Turino" garnered the most response of any column I've written to date, most in agreement with my stance. Cool. But not all were in favor of my view that Eastwood deserved an acting nod for his role. Below is an exchange between myself and a reader whose initial tone is heated, but chilled out soon after.
Initial response: MC, sir: When it comes to film art, concerns around a "possible final acting role" (one can only hope) should not be a factor, lest it cloud objectivity. Your Torino comments reenforce my decision to NOT see the movie. I do not need any more older crankier curmudgeonly Clintness. Enough with his squinty glares and grunted tough talk already. Torino's predictable story line: "Bigoted old fart does simpatico make-over and has feel good epiphany." As for his "constant analysis on changing America", what's the big deal? A chimpanzee could devine the difference. Poignant cultural details are unremarkable in movieworld. Kudos to the Academy! They are not artistic slouches. In Torino, unmindful of nostalgia, they recognized stereotypical dreck for what it is. — A discerning movie-goer for 70 years.
My Response: Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment on my story. I respect your opinion.
Best, Marc Cabrera
His final response: I want to express my appreciation for your return message. It smacks of Obama's credo of reaching out instead of smacking down. I admit to being confrontational on this issue. Sometimes I get carried away by my own rhetoric. My intensity is seasoned partly with personal knowledge of Clint having a one night stand with -----, a dear friend of mine. She was to him a commodity for consumption. Well, what the hey, I indulged myself back in the day; I think it in her case, it was tinged with the big star's wham- bam- thank- ya- m'am syndrome. Overtones of position and power as a tool. And I suppose there is factored in that Clint is allied with the PebbleB preoccupation with money/property development. In my calculus I include the photo of him modelling a sweater for Tehama; which in my collegiate days was a virtual uniform for adornment for the pins of the fraternity set, steeped in status and snobbery. I like that Eastwood is a devotee of jazz, a local touchstone. And who can wrangle with the stats?--- like Torino topping the money charts? Oh -- one more thing in his favor. My daughter married a man 20 years her senior, which engendered ripples of famiial anxiety. I helped smooth it over by quoting Clint regarding his own marriage; "Well, if she dies, she dies!" Cool. Cheers.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason why I love my jobby-job.
Geez, Louis, this song still bangs! I was like 9 when this came out, but I remember it like yesterday. The video is hot, taken from "Krush Groove" aka "The Story of Def Jam." Love the Prince ad-libs, too. Pre-dating Jeezy's ad-libs by 20 years also. This throwback thing probably won't be a regular thing for me, by the way. I just came across this and thought I'd share. Paz.
Never heard of Woot.com, so I can't vouch for their sales practices, but this looks like a good deal. In case y'all didn't know, the must have item amongst crate diggers is a portable turntable, to take with you and listen to when you're out getting your dig on. This looks to provide both portable play and usb download capability, which, I guess, means, you could potentially walk into a used record store, drop a used album on your portable player, plug it into your laptop, and download the groove right then and there. I wonder if used record stores might have to develop new policies on record listening procedures (or maybe just ban laptops in-store). Who knows, but this thing looks way cool.
On the short list of my top comedians of all-time, Steve Martin, playing a banjo on Saturday Night Live. He's got a new CD, "the Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo" available at Amazon.com (it's download only until April).
So Super Bowl XLII capped a magnificent back-to-back run for the NFL and its fans, with the second straight last-minute touchdown finish in a row and America's team — yeah, I said it, Dallas doesn't have six rings, and I'm a '9ers fan:( — The Pittsburgh Steelers took home the top prize. This year's Super Bowl drew more than 94 million viewers, second all-time to last year's game, which drew more than 97 million. Yet both still fall well short of the M*A*S*H finale, which drew 105 million viewers — in 1983! What gives? I mean, I'm a big fan of Hawkeye, Radar, Klinger and Hot Lips Houlahan as anyone, and I was 6 at the time, so I'm definitely old enough to remember the last M*A*S*H, but bigger than the past two Super Bowls? 25+ years later? And hat was going on in 1983 that the entire television watching universe had nothing better to do than watch the last episode of M*A*S*H? I suppose the answer is an obvious nothing.