Showing posts with label oakland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oakland. Show all posts

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The best $5 I've spent lately - a tour of the Paramount Theater in Oakland

I know, I gush about the Paramount Theater in Oakland. It's definitely my favorite theater. Not just because it's gorgeous, but ask because I've been to the biggest variety of shows there, from $5 classic movies (like the Wizard of Oz this coming December 30th for $3 - plus fees), India.Arie, The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Chorus, The Oakland Symphony, etc.)

I love this theater and every time I'm there I marvel at Art Deco style. Last weekend my parents and I took two hour tour FOR 5 BUCKS and were able to see details of the theater I've never noticed.

There were no people blocking the furniture, we could see both the men and the women's bathrooms and, the knowledgeable guide pointed out things I had just never noticed before.




Detail in the main Lobby

The main lobby, symbolizing a waterfall, river and Redwood trees.

Detail on the glass doors leading out to the street

One of the amazing couches that was saved from another local Art Deco theater

Detail in the women's sitting room

Detail of the Lobby

And of course the stunning ceiling. That sheet metal is thick enough to walk on.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Florence + The Machine at the Oakland Fox Theater, a review

Florence and The Machine at the O2 Empire, Shepherd's Bush, London, 28th September 2009
Photo by preamble

WOW! This woman is INCREDIBLE. Because it's not super professional to say that on examiner.com, I just wanted to get that out of the way here :)

Anyone who takes their cues from Bjork is okay in my book.

READ MY REVIEW HERE


Florence and the Machine - Dog Days Are Over VMA
Uploaded by samiam2546. - Explore more music videos.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bay Area music mix and the Hear it Local launch party

Please feel free to upload this mix cover into your itunes

As promised, here is the Bay Area Mix that I made for the Hear it Local launch party this evening. It was a fun gathering and it was great to see so many familiar faces, meet knew ones and finally meet other folks that I had been in touch with. I think there's a lot of love for Hear it Local!

It was really exciting for me to hear this music blasted overhead. I know, I'm a dork.

Please check out these amazing local artists and support them! (I have permission to post most of these tracks. If you would like me to remove your music, please let me know and I will do so immediately)

Always More to Hear's Bay Area Music Mix
(Click here to download)

1) B and not B - Traffic Jam of Stars
2) Bang Data - El Pacino
3) Owen Roberts - Around My Thoughts
4) Brass Menažeri - Opa Cupa Fly
5) The Dodos - Red and Purple
6) Built for the Sea - Hypnotist
7) My First Earthquake - Meat Pies
8) Kirk Hamilton - No Crow, Scarecrow
9) OONA - Tore My Heart
10) Sambada - Sangue Africano
11) Blisses B - Juxtaposed
12) Kacey Johansing - Many Seasons
13) Grass Widow - To Where
14) Guitar Mac & His Blues Explosion - T-Bone Shuffle
15) Janam - Vitori, T'u Befte Nena
16) Pomplamoose - Centrifuge
17) The California Honeydrops - Broke Down
18) Ziva - Can't Do Pretend
19) Up Against the Glass - The Botticellis
20) Steve Taylor - Nothing Left
21) Meklit Hadero - Leaving Soon
22) The Dina Maccabee Band - California
23) Oakland Faders - Soul Techniques

Monday, August 9, 2010

Launch Party for local music website Hear it Local: Come celebrate local music!

You're probably very aware of this Hear it Local thing I've been blathering on about. (If it's news to you, I just posted a article about it and the launch party on examiner.com)

But here are the vitals if you are able to come:

Wednesday August 18th at the 111 Minna Gallery featuring performances by Porto Franco Records artist The Nice Guy Trio, Quinn Deveaux and Kelly McFarling.

Chasing the Moon will screen its latest videocast of Tartufi. There will be music photography exhibits by Niall David and Audra Marie Dewitt and snacks by BrokeAss Gourmet. Truly a community effort and I'm VERY excited about it.

Always More to Hear is an official partner of the launch party and I've been asked to put together a playlist of local music for in between live sets and I've been having the best time rummaging through my sampler CDs and mp3 library looking for suitable music. Some you've heard before, some is brand-spanking-new (likes this fabulous Oakland band Bang Data) I'm going to post the playlist here for downloading! Stay tuned!

More info and RSVP on facebook here

I'm super excited to be part of making the Bay Area less overwhelming for live music lovers and I'm honored to be part of such a vital community of smart, creative and passionate people who can make something like this happen.

This is Chasing the Moon's Quinn Deveaux podcast: both will be in attendance on the 18th.

Quinn Deveaux @ Chasing The Moon 9.04.09 from Scott McDowell on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dance off your pants with the California Honeydrops at their biggest Bay Area show and CD release

When was the last time you heard a groove so good you wanted to boogie all night? Last week I checked out the new Chasing the Moon podcast and have been shakin' it ever since. The California Honeydrops will be dropping their third album Spreadin' Honey at the New Parish in Oakland next Friday. It promises to be quite a party with non-stop dancing, bbq and, my sources tell me, honey dripping from the walls.

"Our mission, says band leader Lech Wierzynski (who sings, plays trumpet and guitar), "is to get the whole crowd participating and singing along, and we want them partying. It's about feeling good - everybody together."

Honeydrops fans are not just a necessary piece of the puzzle in terms of music making, but in the success of the band from a business side. The band has just returned from a tour of Holland (read about it here) where their Dutch friends helped them book shows through word of mouth. Later this month the Honeydrops will tour Spain, the Pacific Northwest and Eastern Europe. The band is not signed, and therefore relies on fundraising to pay for albums. The new album Spreadin' Honey was funded by a benefit at the Cheeseboard Collective in Berkeley.

READ MORE HERE

California Honeydrops @ Chasing The Moon 06.26.10 from Scott McDowell on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

JAI HO! 'Slumdog Millionaire' composer and Oscar winner A.R. Rahman performs at the Oracle Area in Oakland

A.R. Rahman shows off his two Oscars

UPDATE: This show has been canceled due an accident that occurred with set collapsing in Detroit. This show will be rescheduled. Fortunately no one was hurt in the accident.

A.R. Rahman is one of India's most popular and epic film composers. The Oscar winning movie Slumdog Millionaire turned American pop culture, at least mainstream pop culture, onto Rahman in a major way. This Saturday, Rahman graces the stage of the Oakland Coliseum with the Jai Ho: the Journey Home World Tour.

The show promises to be quite a show of Bollywood enthusiasm featuring changing sets, large images on LED screens and a spectacular cast of musicians and dancers from across the globe including Hariharan, Javed Ali, Benny Dayal, Blaaze, Shweta Pandit and Neeti Muhan. "Through the concerts," says the AP, "Rahman is attempting something many performers from outside the English-speaking world have tried and failed to do: transcend a regional, ethnic niche and become an international mainstream superstar."

I first fell in love with Rahman's music when I saw my first Bollywood Film, the Oscar nominated 2001 film, Lagaan. The music and the story remain my favorite (see "Mitwa" below). When the movie Slumdog Millionaire started to gain popularity...

READ MORE

My fav, "Mitwa" from Lagaan:

In the clip below, Bhuvan (the fabulous Aamir Kahn) and his friend Gauri, must convince their friends and fellow villagers in 19th century colonial India that while the task of beating the English colonialists, the earth and the sky belong to them and are worth fighting for.
Listen, O my friend,
What is this fear you have?

The earth is ours
And so is the sky.



And how can I not post this?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lia Rose of Built for the Sea looking for your help to fund her solo album

It's a brilliant concept: pay for Lia Rose's album now and get it hot off the press when it's done! That's the idea behind many of Kickstarter.com's projects. Many of us donate to non-profits, why not help unsigned musicians pay for a new project? The music industry is changing so rapidly, it's impossible to see where it's going. Record labels used to be the only way to make a record, but now you can do it from your bedroom. Unfortunately, it still takes money to make a record.

Fund the project here!

Lia Rose is the ethereal voice in front of the dream anthem pop band Built for the Sea. Their sound is big and warm. Rose's voice is sweet and hypnotic. I started listening to Built for the Sea recently and it was hard to take the CD out of my car stereo. Now Rose is hitting the studio on her own to create something all her own, perhaps something a little more delicate. It'll be exciting to see what comes out of this new project.

There are many different levels of funding, each with their own sized "reward" from a signed CD to a handmade art piece by Rose herself. As of Thursday afternoon, Rose is 78% of the way to her goal with 93 backers. She has 14 days to go. Can she raise the money to get cracking? Will you help?

Click here to hear a couple demo's off the upcoming album

Lia Rose on myspace

Friday, February 19, 2010

My picks for the SFJAZZ 2010 Season

The SFJAZZ fest is one of the most reliably exciting festivals I've come across in this country. The variety of talent that comes to the Bay Area from across the Bay and across the globe is astounding. When I first picked up the brochure for the 2010 Spring Season, my jaw dropped: Joshua Redman, Bobby McFerrin, Keith Jarrett, Dianne Reeves, Ladysmith Black Mambazo... the list just goes on and on.

There are festivals like the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival where the word "jazz" seems like it's either a guide for picking music or a remnant of another era. SFJAZZ is both. I would say that music in the jazz idiom is in the majority of SFJAZZ performances, but the idea of "jazz" has been stretched to include R&B, Afropop, Fado, Samba and singer-songwriters.

As a lover of international music, innovative musical fusions and straight up good musicality, I wanted to shine my humble spotlight on some of the 2010 SJFAZZ Spring Season's acts that might be a little more obscure and/or interesting.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE: my picks include Malian Tinariwen and Salif Keita, South African Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Singer/Songwriter Raul Midon, Saxophonists Joshua Redman and Pharoah Sanders and Kurt Elling and the Basie Band.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Listen to the set list: Billy Joel & Elton John serenade me for my 30th

Billy Joel and Elton John have been touring together since 1985

In this world of aging rock stars, it's nice to know that two of my favorites still have what it takes to put on a solid arena show. After postphoning their November show due to illness, it was rescheduled for my 30th birthday. Not a bad birthday if you ask me.

I have been a fan of both Elton John and Billy Joel for years. I sang their music in elementary school and high school choir. I can still recite all of the lyrics to "We Didn't Start the Fire" and I still get goose bumps when "Your Song" comes on the radio.

Billy Joel and Elton John's "Face to Face" tour is the longest-running and most-successful co-headlining bill in music history. Their fan base overlaps and the energy of their music is quite similar. With 40 studio albums and over 80 top 40 hits between the two of them, there is no real possible way this show could have been bad. At 61 Billy Joel still has his swagger (borderline creepy) and at 63 Elton John sounds as good as ever. And both have fingers that have no trace of slowing down over those lovely ivories.

For someone who has appreciated each artist's music separately it was interesting to compare the two back to back. Elton John hardly spoke to the audience, not even to introduce his band, while Billy Joel stopped to apologize to the folks with about being an aging rocker:

"I look at pictures of myself on stage and I say, 'Na, that doesn't look right.' I keep wanting to say, 'isn’t there a retirement age for this job? Then I watch the Super Bowl and I see the Who and I say, "I guess there isn't.'

"Anyway, this song is from 1934..."

Later he grabbed an electric guitar for "We Didn't Start the Fire" (I never knew he played!) and then pranced around the stage for "I'ts Still Rock And Roll To Me." The women in the front row LOVED it.

My favorite aspect of the Face 2 Face tour is how the stage is rigged. Having two separate bands, the stage has to accommodate many people. The entire stage is rigged with trap doors and revolving platforms. We were sitting behind the stage, stage right over Elton’s left shoulder, and we had a perfect vantage point watching the various five drummers ascend and disappear into the stage depending on the song.

Musically, I'd have to say that the high point of the night was hearing the guys trade short piano solos in "Bennie and the Jets" towards the end of the show with Elton John's New Orleans steeped style versus Billy Joel's more jazzy flavor coming at the audience in two measure phrases. That was incredible.

Here is a playlist of the set list: what did I tell you, just one hit after another.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


MY FAVORITE OBSCURE BILLY JOEL SONG THAT HE'LL NEVER PLAY LIVE



MY FAVORITE ELTON JOHN SONG THAT HE'LL NEVER PLAY LIVE

Friday, February 5, 2010

My milkshake

Seen at True Burger in Oakland, CA


They have good burgers too.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Presenting The Cathedral of Christ the Light: a new stunning venue for choral and organ music



Today my parents and I stopped into The Cathedral of Christ the Light located about half-a-mile from my house. This cathedral was under construction when I moved to Oakland over two years ago and it opened a little over a year ago. I went inside soon after it opened and thought it would be a good place for music, but was disappointed by the lack of music on the calendar. Well, today, I found the schedule and I'm so excited about a venue like this being so close to my house!

For those of you that know me, you know that I'm a nice Jewish girl that LOVES music about Jesus. No apologies here! For those of you that are new to this blog, get used to it (I wrote my Master's report on the commercialization of gospel music).

Check out my examiner.com article and see what amazing concerts the Bay Area has in store: Bach, Rachmaninoff (The Vespers! Hear a selection down below) and choirs like Chanticleer and the Oakland Symphony Chorus as well as groups that I didn't know about like the Pacific Boys Choir and the California State University East Bay Singers.

READ MY EXAMINER.COM ARTICLE HERE

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oakland Zombies participate in "Thrill the World" to break the world record

This little guy was milking the cameras with his MJ moves!

On Saturday at 5:30 pm, 169 Zombies gathered at Studio One Art Center in Oakland, California to dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller." They were joined at the exact same time by 300 other locations around the world in an attempt to break last year's record set in Guinness Book of World Records 4,179 dancers from 10 nations. This year, it is already reported that there were 6,000 fans in Los Angeles alone and that 37 countries participated.

See the slideshow of the Oakland event

Zombies, young and old, had a blast learning the dance and participating in the event in Oakland yesterday. From 3-5pm there was dance instruction out on the Studio One plaza. At 5:30 sharp, the "Thriller" dance commenced in front of many on-lookers. It ended with the crowd chanting "Michael! Michael! Michael!" and doing it all over again just for fun. Zombies then invaded the Kona Club on Piedmont, many of them ordered the drink "the Zombie." (I did, it was tasty!)

READ MORE OF THE ARTICLE HERE




Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An exciting musical week coming up including everything from showtunes to Afro-Latino dance music

Martín Perna and Adrian Quesada of Ocote Soul Sounds play in giant straws

I was just updating the show calender down there on the right and I realized that starting tomorrow night, I have a show every day through the weekend and into next week. So I figured I would share these exciting shows with all of you. I will hopefully be at all of them, but we'll see how ye old feet (and eardrums) do.

Wednesday, May 13 Stevie Wonder- James Brown Birthday with Realistic Orchestra. Funky Funky Fun. What else can I say? Bring your dancing shoes. The Independent $15

Thursday, May 14 Theresa Andersson - Singer-songwriter from New Orleans. Performing at the Swedish American Hall, $14 Read my recent story about Andersson and her amazing one woman show here.

Friday, May 15 "Showboat in Concert" The Oakland East Bay Symphony and the Oakland Symphony Chorus. Season Finale Concert! $25-$70 The Paramount Theater.

Saturday, May 16 Mutaytor Burning Man regular circus troupe from Los Angeles brings a multi-media experience blending high energy music with amazing performance art. $20 Mezzanine.

Sunday, May 17 Ocote Soul Sounds, Afro-Latin electronic funky dance music from Austin, Texas. Basically, the afrobeat giant Antibalas and Latin dance band Grupo Fantasma had a funky baby. Again, bring dancing shoes. $8-$10 La Peña Cultural Center

Monday May 18 Doves - dense, brooding gorgeousness from Manchester. Read my review of their last album Kingdom of Rust here. $27.50 the Fillmore

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Girls Rock Camp, Poison Apple Pie and Female Empowerment

                     Splash! photo courtesy of bagrc on flickr


It's about time I blogged about one of my favorite things that I am proud to be part of in this lifetime: Girls Rock Camp, the promotion of women in music and in the arts and entertainment industry in general.

Girls Rock Camp started in Portland, Oregon in 2001 with the mission of building self-esteem of young women through music creation and performance. The concept has since exploded nationally and internationally with dozens of new camps popping up in new cities every summer (I believe there will be around 50 worldwide in the summer of 2009). As each camp develops, organizers and supporters get more ambitious; there are Lady Rock Camps (for us older girls), documentaries, after school programs, tours, showcases and even more exciting, bands that met through camp but gig on their own.

Just watch: music is going to be very different as these girls grow up. Has anyone else noticed how more and more women are popping up in indie bands? And not just as the singer or keyboardists!

Here's the trailer for the Girls Rock! documentary:



When I lived in Austin I helped out the Girls Rock Camp director in her endeavor in initiating the first camp in Austin. I helped the younger girls, all around 10 years old, write two songs: one about the ghost Bloody Mary, and another one about ice cream tummy aches. When I saw them perform, I bawled my eyes out in shear joy. I was so moved and inspired by them.

Girls Rock Camp Austin is now going into it's third year growing to include several sessions a summer, a South by Southwest annual showcase, and Lady Rock Camp. The Mayor has declared December 11, 2008 the Official Girls Rock Camp Day. The girls are taking over Austin!

Now that I live in the Bay Area, I'm lucky to also be riding in the wave of the first-ever Bay Area Girls Rock Camp. This past summer, I volunteered as a band coach for the band Splash! I helped the three twelve-year-olds and one 8-year-old write a song about: what else, writing a song!

At camp we made fanzines (out of my old Spin Magazines, go recycling!), silk screened Splash!'s bands logo onto t-shirts, learned about self-defense and self-image and more. It was awesome. We had the end-of-camp showcase, where every band performed the song they wrote during camp, at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco.

I was so inspired by these girls and the community that rallied around them.

In the band Splash!, I met a 12 year old drummer named Torrey who also played guitar (and rather well I might add). She wanted to learn more. She's now my private student and she's awesome. Even though I'm certainly not the most accomplished musician (I'm going to be learning my guitar scales with her!) there's so much I can teach her. We've been singing, tuning guitars, replacing strings, learning more chords, fingerpicking patterns, music theory, some piano and yes, learning to read music.

Torrey had been wanting to learn "Blackbird" for a couple months and I kept telling her, "yeah, we'll do that, but you have to learn basic fingerpicking patterns first." I went away to Australia for two weeks and when I got back, whaddaya know, she's learned Blackbird! Just like that! Gawd it took me months to learn it! Amazing. This girl is a human sponge!

Anyway, Torrey and two of her friends (one of them also a former member of Splash!) are now in a group called Poison Apple Pie. So far, they've performed at a wedding and a Girls Rock Camp fundraiser.

Here's Poisen Apple Pie performing REM's "The One I Love" at Art Murmur on first Fridays in Downtown Oakland. Torrey is the drummer (you can't really see her, but you can definitely hear her). She's awesome, I'm so proud of her. It'll be a sad day when I have nothing left to teach her. But until then, we'll be playing.



If you would like to donate to Girls Rock Camp, click here to get to their website and navigate over to the "get involved" tab on the left. The rock stars of the future will appreciate it!

There will be a fundraiser at the El Rio in San Francisco on December 14th, as part of the 50 Shows in 50 States benefit that the Portland Girls Rock Camp has organized to raise money for the Girls Rock Camp Alliance.

If you want to find out more about a Girls Rock Camp near you, go here.

And also, if you're interested in girl empowerment in general, check out Saturday Night Live Amy Poehler's new project Smart Girls At the Party: an online website celebrating girls who are changing the world by being themselves.

WHO ROCKS?

GIRLS ROCK!!