We get mad books sent to us for review here at the Bohemian, but when an instructional manual called How To Rap showed up on our proverbial doorstep, we knew we couldn't just add it to the pile of bad poems, personal memoirs and hippie fiction accumulating in the corner of our offices.
Instead, we assigned it out to fearless intern Caroline Osborn, who was given a deadline of one week to read the book, assimilate the knowledge of the street, internalize the gift of rhyme—and learn, as it were, how to rap.
Her take on the lessons learned is the music column in this week's paper, and it's a must-read. At the end of Osborn's studies, we booked her in the recording studio so she could lay down for all posterity the fruits of her research. Behold, ladies and fellas, click 'play' for MC Oz:
[display_podcast](Ed note: Special props go to Devon Rumrill, who produced the beat, engineered the session and mixed it all down. In true hip-hop fashion, he accepted a bottle of top-shelf liquor as payment. Thanks, Dev!)
Forgive me for being terribly unhip, but Aerosmith is essential rock n' roll. The Boston quintet's first five albums from the '70s and sporadic latter-day gems ("Cryin'", the entire Pump album) hold up against the best of AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. Their dirty-blues-hard-rock style was in fine form on Saturday in Oakland, the kickoff of their Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock U.S. tour. Even with Joe Perry's motorcycle accident just days before, quite simply, they destroyed. Newer and older sons sounded amazing, especially the raucous set-closers "Baby Please Don't Go" (a Big Joe Williams cover) and 1977's "Draw the Line".
Despite his age and recent substance abuse struggles (which even prompted plans for his replacement), Steven Tyler was a dynamo. He was all twirls, scarves and still-formidable shrieks, with complete command over the audience for two hours straight. During a swaggering "Walk This Way", Tyler took a red rose from a fan, chomped it off, then spit the pedals up in a shower of red. It was magnificent and a reminder that he may be the last rock god who wears leopard-skin tights and is NOT a joke.
Locals Sammy Hagar and the Waboritas opened the show with a tight, energetic & charming hour-long set that feature numbers from his solo years, Montrose, Van Halen (Van Hagar) and his new supergroup Chickenfoot (special guest Joe Satriani joined the band for "Sexy Little Thing"). The stars of this portion were the red rocker's very successful Cabo Wabo brand of bars and tequila and the hot young waitresses serving him drinks between songs. This was an enjoyable reminder of the enduring success of party/carnival-themed rock shows. With uptempo feel-good songs and Hawaiian shirt sensibility, Hagar could be the next Jimmy Buffet. Mas tequila!---David Sason
Aerosmith setlist:Rats in the Cellar
Monkey on My Back
Love in an Elevator
Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)
Eat the Rich
Livin' on the Edge
What It Takes
Janie's Got a Gun
Lord of the Thighs
Stop Messin' Around
I Don't Want to Miss a Thing
Baby, Please Don't Go
Draw the Line
Walk This Way
Toys in the Attic*
Sammy Hagar setlist
There's Only One Way to Rock
I Can't Drive 55
Why Can't This Be Love
Space Station #5
Bad Motor Scooter
Best Of Both Worlds
I've Done Everything for You
3 Lock Box
Whole Lotta Zep
I’ve always wanted to be Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap. Ever since I’ve moved to the wine country, I’ve searched for that quintessential moment, the one where she’s driving to her dad’s estate in Napa for the first time. Pulling up to the Castello di Amorosa for the Festival del Sole brought back so many memories of that scene: a valley of grapes rolling before the father-daughter pair as a playful wind dances through Dennis Quaid’s Range Rover, a nanny with laugh lines coming to greet them when they park in the driveway.
Okay, so there wasn’t a well-tanned nanny in an easy-breezy denim tunic waiting for me and my fellow Bohemian writer Caroline Osborn as we pulled up to Dario Sattui’s neo-Medieval castle, but the winding, vineyard-lined road that led to Sattui’s architectural wonder brought me back to those fantasy-laden days when I thought I could be the next big child actress.
The castle sprawled over a large hill, reveling in the fading rays of the afternoon sun. After traversing the surrounding moat via drawbridge, my mind took another sojourn back in time to children’s books I had read of 15th-century Medieval lore, where dark, twisting turret staircases and wrought-iron doors were the order of the day. I may be over-dramatic, but believe me, this castle exudes intrigue. Which makes it a fantastic host venue for Festival del Sole, a 10-day musical pastiche of well-established artists from around the world.
The location certainly wasn’t lost on Nikki Yanofsky, the 16-year-old jazz sensation from Canada. Last night, performing in the castle’s courtyard, the singing phenom virtually bounced onto the stage in a jean jacket and simple white dress, which was—strangely enough—not unlike the garb of Lohan’s Hallie. She said she’d never been in a castle before, and that she “felt like a princess”—a comment that produced coos from the mostly gray-haired audience.
But as cutesy as Yanofsky may sound, or appear, her voice certainly marked her place on the castle’s stage. She scatted, snapped, and moved her shoulders, bringing her accompaniment and the star-struck audience along with her. The songs she sang spoke of the toils of metropolitan public transportation, unrequited love, and even “The Heart of the Matter,” in a way that sometimes unsettlingly contrasted with her age. Not like she doesn’t have time, anyway. The vivacious vocalist signed CDs after the show like she’d been doing it for ages. And she probably will.—Anna Schuessler
Those old eyes don’t deceive you, downtown Santa Rosans: after several years of stalled silence, the clock on the façade of Mark Allen Jewelers is up and running again.
Mark Allen himself, who estimates that a clock face has adorned the building since the '20s or '30s, was as dismayed as anyone that the hands had been stuck at 4:54 for the past few years. After spending "$500 here, $500 there" to make temporary fixes over the last 20 years, he's completely replaced the old motor—which still had a five-digit telephone number printed on it—with a state-of-the-art clock motor connected to GPS to always tell the exact correct time.
Installed by a company from Missouri who's also done similar projects at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park and the Pentagon in Washington D.C., "it should hopefully last," says Allen, literally knocking on wood, "another 10 or 15 years."
Though the new clock doesn't have a second hand ("It was almost $3,000 just for a second hand," Allen laments), it's got a heck of a lot of admirers in downtown Santa Rosa. What with the U.S. Bank building clock being fixed and now this, all three clocks in Courthouse Square are running! So stop by and say thanks to Mark if you get a chance—especially since he paid for it out of his own pocket without any help from the landlord.
(In other clock news, there's a new post clock in Railroad Square that was installed two weeks ago but has yet to work. Waiting for an electrical hookup? Meanwhile, a similar clock that used to be in front of the Old Clock Shop on Santa Rosa Avenue continues to tick away in front of the Union Hotel in Occidental. Did you notice that Traverso's brought that old green clock to their new location? Yes, I like clocks.)
While the set was heavy on Wings tracks and his recent work (including tracks from electronic project The Firemen), the Beatles songs were of course the highlights. Notable this time around was the debut of the White Album gem “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, “I’m Looking Through You” from Rubber Soul, the classic rocker “Daytripper”, and a rollicking take on Let It Be’s “I Got a Feeling”. McCartney didn’t fight the consensus, with tributes to deceased band mates George Harrison (a sufficient “Something”) and John Lennon (a truly exhilarating “Day in the Life/Give Peace a Chance”).
Despite his tightly mapped-out show, McCartney did inject a bit of improvisation into the mix, first by way of his rainbow piano malfunction (“I like this one better anyway”) and a charming run-through of “San Francisco Bay Blues”.
Along with the psychedelic & Warholian imagery and personal Candlestick ’66 remembrances from the mostly 50+ crowd, the amazing songs made for a genuine 40th anniversary of the Woodstock era. Conversely, the state-of-the-art, endorsement-drenched ballpark and ticket prices to match (ranging from $49 to $250 a piece) illustrated where much of that 1960s idealism went. Last Saturday’s show was certainly light years from the primitive Beatles’ early stadium gigs, especially the pyrotechnics during “Live and Let Die”, a reminder that in a venue, big gimmicks are a necessary to a certain extent.
The explosions were also a much-needed late-show jolt before the set-closing “Hey Jude” and non-stop Beatles cuts that followed. The back-to-back “Yesterday” and “Helter Skelter” were the finest reminders of McCartney’s songwriting range and his importance in music history. When it comes to vital veteran performers, McCartney’s no Stevie Wonder but he’s absolutely worth seeing live…if you can afford it.--David Sason
Venus And Mars/Rock Show
All My Loving
Got to Get You Into My Life
Let Me Roll It /Foxy Lady
The Long and Winding Road
Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five
Let 'Em In
I'm Looking Through YouTwo Of Us
San Francisco Bay Blues
Sing the Changes
Band on the Run
Back In The USSR
I've Got a Feeling
A Day In The Life / Give Peace a Chance
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Helter SkelterSgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) /The End
Fourth of July. Pedaling down the creekside. "On your left." Couples out for a stroll. People drinking at 10am. Stony Point undercrossing. Another ride out on the Joe Rodota Trail. Beautiful day. Fulton Road, swing a U-turn to cross over to Hall and WAIT A SECOND WHAT IN THE WORLD?!!?! Can it be?! YES!
Ladies and gentlemen, the creek trail between Fulton and Willowside is now paved.
[Three cheers to Sonoma County Regional Parks.]
Fairfax approves first licensed medial pot delivery system in US
June 21, 2010
(Fairfax, Calif.) The Fairfax Planning Commission recently approved a plan for the first licensed and regulated medical cannabis delivery system in the nation.
Lynette Shaw, the plan’s organizer and operator of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, looks at the approval as an historic move by the town of Fairfax, Calif. where she has operated the alliance for the past 13 years. The change allows delivery to individuals who are too ill or who can’t travel to the licensed facility to receive safe medical cannabis delivery, Shaw states. “I am proud of Fairfax,” Shaw says of the decision. “I feel honored by all the support we have.”
The Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana has been licensed to distribute medical marijuana since 1997. Shaw held the only permit to do so in California for some 10 years until other municipalities started to regulate the non-profit sales of medical cannabis. There have been very few problems during the 13 years the Marin Alliance has been open, and not a single violation from the lengthy list of conditions.
Several other modifications to the original permit were also loosened up with out-dated rules removed making it easier for patients to comply with the law.
The controversy over unlicensed dispensaries and unregulated medical pot delivery services has exploded statewide and the issue has been featured in much media commentary.
MARIN ALLIANCE FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA.
6 School St Plaza #215.
Fairfax, Ca 94930
Many a suburban kid (myself included) learned about social injustice via Public Enemy back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The Long Island quintet galvanized hip-hop’s golden age with revolutionary rhymes, militant theatricality, the Bomb Squad’s groundbreaking dense production, and of course charismatically clownish hype man Flavor Flav.
While no longer packing arenas like their hey day, the group is more active than ever in multiple musical projects, political causes, and a touring schedule to rival Bob Dylan’s. Always innovators, the group is the first major artist to seek investors via Sellaband, which raises recording funds for musicians in exchange for shares in the finished album. On the 20th anniversary of their landmark album Fear of a Black Planet, we chatted with PE#1 Chuck D about timeless albums, the changing music industry, and of course politics in the age of Obama.*
DS: On Fear of a Black Planet, you explored many themes like black images in Hollywood. 20 years onward, how do you feel about the progress regarding these issues?
Chuck D: We set out to make records that stood the test of time, being inspired by What’s Going On and the great Beatles albums, you know, Abbey Road. We grew up in that period. It first started out in the rock world, then the soul world had great albums. Stevie Wonder, Isaac Hayes, and albums had themes and the themes, well, people would put their whole lives into the themes of albums. When we started recording the ‘80s, rap music had from a singles medium…and was thrust immediately into being this album medium only because the major record companies at that time only mainly operated from a profitable album standpoint.
We understood the magnitude of what an album was, so we set out to make something not only that epitomized the standard of an album, but would stand the test of time by being diverse with sounds and textures, and also being able to hone in on the aspect of peaks and valleys, so we set out to do that. And here we are, later on. The album was a statement because it actually took a college professor’s theory and turned it into a rap record, which was kind of over-the-top, but reflected where we were at, at that time and especially at that stage and our age, because we weren’t kids. I was a postgraduate college student. It wasn’t like I was 22 or 21. I was 30 years old.
DS: I was thinking about the title of the album, and I couldn’t help but think it’s more relevant than ever, what with the “birthers” and the reaction to the Obama administration.
Chuck D: Yeah, because all you have to do is take the “E T” off of it (laughing). It’s funny because E.T. was the extraterrestrial. You take off the “E T”, you have “Fear of a Black Plan” (laughing).
DS: That’s true. A lot of them are the same exact Bush plans, but for some reason…How would you rate Obama’s performance so far?
Chuck D: I think, number one, I tell people when I get tired I think about him and I get this energy, because I know he can really say that he’s tired. He reminds me of a kung-fu fighter who’s getting kicked at from 90 different angles, fending off kicks, and where does he get a chance to actually forward some of those promises? But obviously he knew what he was getting into better than most people. So he’s trying to figure out how to pace himself. I tell you this, he’s got the biggest broom in the history of mankind (laughing), cleaning up all that past shit.
DS: I definitely want to talk about the next album and the Sellaband model.
Chuck D: I not going to talk about Sellaband for more than two minutes, because it’s a 2011 record and the model was definitely influential as early as 2006 when I met Johan [Vosmeijer, co-founder] at an international music conference. It was a great model that worked in Europe. I would say, let’s see if we can work this in North America the same way, and finally I put my group up as an example that I was really putting my mouth wear my mouse was, as a believer. Really, it’s like, we can make albums in our own digital studios just like anybody can, but the thing that would make it different is somebody can invest in something that will be a uniquely different Public Enemy record, with each song brought to the table by a collaborator.
We had to present something different. We’re not going to raise some money and go back in our home studios and give you what we do for free anyway. It’s not like that. We’re trying to show that the system can work. Somebody can go, what does this mean, you guys are requesting $75,000. Well that’s just the cost of somebody investing in the 33% that’s available on the revenue end as being an investor. If somebody comes along with $15,000 after the fact, they can’t invest, so it has a cap on it. Somebody could come along with $3 million, but it’s not…it’s the process and the system that we’re trying to prove works.
DS: Well, it’s really inspiration what you guys are doing, and we’re definitely keeping track of that. You guys, especially you Chuck, are pioneers in digital music the past 15 years or so. Even longer, I think, because I remember the last track on [1994 album] Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age, where you’re talking to Harry Allen…
Chuck D: Yeah, I heard that track the other day for the first time in about 10 years (laughs).
DS: Yeah, it’s such a trip, huh?Chuck D: Yeah, it’s a trip.
DS: What do you think about the death of the music industry and all the things that are happening in our time? There are benefits, like the direct link between artists and fans, but also there’s a loss of revenue. Can I get your opinion on the state of the music industry, in general?
Chuck D: I think the state of the music industry…it’s always going to be somewhere. It’s always going to be morphing into someplace. I think the biggest issue is that some of the people who have been on one side – have they jumped to the other side or are they still raking in people to expend their dollars as being the pied pipers of the other side of the industry? (laughs) So, the music business is healthy; the record is not, because it’s still kind of holding on to old models.
But people like recordings. They might not collect albums like they used to. They might not even want an album. Today’s demographic may not think an album really has the same appeal, like sitting back in 1977 and having a pair of headphones and lounging back on your seat and envisioning what they possibly could not see unless at a concert or on an appearance on a variety show. But now, there’s so much sight to the sound that our definition of what we think is the main configuration is totally distorted by everybody’s point of view. So I think it’s an interesting time. I don’t think there’s any domination in this space of music except for maybe cell phones and maybe, in the near future even more so, Apple.
DS: I see a lot of veteran acts hesitant to the times. Why do you think you have embraced all these changes?
Chuck D: I had no other choice. I was done with the major system, so I was thinking there’s got to be a way I can deliver art to the masses without having the people at my company stop my own music or my own art. I would shoot videos and at the same time here my company comes telling me I got to change a logo in my video, which is going to me $10,000 in order for MTV to possibly consider it.
DS: Which video was this?
Chuck D: It was any of them. You had to make adjustments. So many rap videos had to make adjustments in the mid’90s, it got stupid. It’s like I got to fade out this logo, because they don’t want me wearing this Cincinnati Reds logo because they think I’m promoting the Reds and they’re not getting a piece, and you guys, at my record companies just in cahoots with them, saying well, fuck it, if you don’t change they’re not going to play your video, so it’s going to cost you $10,000 more and we’re not going to put this video out until you make this change because we’ll be wasting our time and wasting our money sending it to a company that’s not going to play [the video]. So I got tired of all those dynamics. I was like, fuck that, I got to go straight to people. That was the thing that set fire under my ass.
DS: I can’t help but think of your classic “By the Time I Get to Arizona”. I’m sure a lot of people have been asking you about it recently. When you documented the struggle to get recognition for the Martin Luther King holiday in that state, did you see any parallels with what’s going on there today with Arizona SB 1070?
Chuck D: I wrote this song that’s going to be on my solo project coming out this month called “Tear Down That Wall”. I had talked about just the one-sided bias of that U.S.-Mexico border madness, not only in Arizona, but also in Texas, New Mexico and Southern California, that that whole policy was being funded into the billions and one of the sloppiest, misunderstand reasons in all the country. A lot of people didn’t know what went on. So when Arizona enacted this racist, racial profiling, Gestapo law, this song was already done. This had already been the sentiment along that borderline.
DS: Are you guys participating in any type of boycott?
Chuck D: Not that I know of. I’m participating in the boycott virtually. We don’t have anything scheduled in that area of Arizona. Maybe in October when we allow ourselves to do a West Coast run, we’ll see where we are. The seven legs are already set in stone for this Fear of a Black Planet tour.
DS: Are you going do the album in its entirety, like you did for It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back a few years back?
Chuck D: We were trying to, but I think there will be places where we’ll do it and places where we’ll not do it. Sp we’re doing like 70 or 60% and meshing it with Nations and some new cuts. It depends on where we’re at, because a lot of times there’s time restraints.
DS: Yeah, it’s a long album.
Chuck D: Yeah, it’s a long album. Fear of a Black Planet comes into play in the area of medley and other stuff, so we rip through the first 40 minutes of it, then we drift off and come back to it, so… Nations is an up-tempo record, so it works from beginning to end, the way it comes at you. Fear has peaks and valleys, for a great album’s listening sake, but live you have to position it…or act really well within it.
DS: Many fans, including me, are wondering you’re ever going to tour again with only the turntable accompaniment. I know you guys have had the live band setup for years now.
Chuck D: Maybe if I do it by myself, like a solo rendition with DJ Lord or DJ Johnny Juice. We have components that are able to do that. After a while I get bored of it. Back when we were doing it in the Terminator X days, the biggest that we have was skipping (laughing). We had so much movement on the stage that the record would jump, so it was like the most frustrating thing ever, man. I was like, we have to figure out a way to have prerecorded music with the turntables, and that was kind of what we latched onto. Prerecorded music, turntables and the band to give differences variances of sound. But if you do it the pure way, you just can’t have a lot of movement. Most rappers don’t have a lot of movement.
DS: So do you enjoy opportunities for improvisation?
Chuck D: Yeah, of course. Flavor’s good at it. I’m good at it. I enjoy it.
DS: It was exciting to have you appear at the Green Festival recently.
Chuck D: Oh yeah, I had a good time there.
DS: How long have you been working on environmental issues?
Chuck D: About three years. A group of mine I brought out there three years ago, Crew Grrl Order, who just completed a video for an album called Go Green which is apropos for what is happening in the Gulf. It’s on SlamJamz [Chuck D’s record label] and their video will debit in another week or two.
DS: What are you and other environmental activists suggesting that people like me do in response to this terrible spill and its ongoing ramifications? People kind of feel helpless right now. What would you suggest?
Chuck D: I would just say keep spreading the word about what people can do to take care of their own environment. Maybe that’s the best balance. Look around you and try to do the best that you can. That’s my best advice.
Well, that was quick! Due to a constant flood of listener complaints to the station over his untimely layoff, local radio veteran Steve Jaxon will return to host The Drive on KSRO starting next week.Laid off three weeks ago by the East Cost owners of Maverick Media, KSRO's parent company, Jaxon said today that he and station management have agreed to a win-win model to keep Jaxon's timely variety of daily interviews on the air. "I'm bringing my own sponsors, the same way we do our Swingin' With Sinatra show with KJZY," he told me today. "It's not costing KSRO anything."
The show's format will stay exactly the same, in the same time slot, from 3-6pm. Right-hand man Mike DeWald will stay on as producer. The Drive's focus might occasionally expand to the greater Bay Area and state, but Jaxon says there's no way he'll ignore "all the major Sonoma County stuff."
Mostly he's excited to be back behind the microphone, humbled by the community support he's received. "The main story here," Jaxon says, "is that Sonoma County speaks, and management listens."
We previously expressed our own disappointment with the situation here, and offered a ridiculous Muffin Street commercial from 1989 to cheer everyone up. We're glad it worked, and wish Steve the best.
To true Lit Nerd Geeks, Wednesday, June 16, is no ordinary day. Rather, it's Bloomsday, named for that warm 1904 Thursday during which Leopold Bloom wandered the city of Dublin, Ireland, and—not incidentally—explicated the entire history of Western literature while wooing wife-to-be Molly Barnacle and just generally standing in for the ancient hero Odysseus.
If you've read James Joyce's 1922 masterpiece Ulysses, you yourself embarked on a mythic journey. Most find it impossible to understand the novel without some help; I couldn't have finished a page without a nearby professor. But having emerged triumphant at the book's close, one feels a lifetime affinity to this modernist classic. Not only is this 18-part story Leopold's/Odysseus' achievement, it is one's own.
And so, when our weekly publication date this year fell on Bloomsday, we fell upon the opportunity. From the Letters to the folios (where the dates are on the bottom of each page) to a pull quote, a caption, several calendar and dining capsules, sky box text, the movie page and more than one classified ad, our June 16, 2010 issue is studded with text taken straight from Ulysses. Eighteen pieces of text, in fact. Naturally, we need to host a contest.To wit: Those three readers who can name the most (we'd be in Lit Nerd Geek Heaven if someone gets all 18 but aren't counting on it) citations sneaked into this issue will win a Toad in the Hole Pub gift card. (Yes, we know that the Toad is an English pub and that Dubliners were steeped in The Troubles with England for centuries, but it's what we've got.) Contact us either through Facebook or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, June 30, to win.
While compiling our small fun for this week's issue, we stumbled upon a more sustained bit of fun, Ulysses Seen, a complete graphic novel depiction of Joyce's masterpiece that is amazingly meta, allowing for critical citations and reader discussion forums as well as links to such YouTube pleasures as the sound of an actual Latin mass (which words begin the first chapter), so that readers get an even deeper understanding of the tome. If only this had been around when we were in grad school! This week, Apple approved Ulysses Seen as a new app for the iPad, which might make acing this contest that much easier.
Thanks to copyeditor Gary Brandt, a Joyce fanatic if ever there was one (he even has the last word of Finnegan's Wake tattooed on his ankle) who chose the excerpts and directed the placement. His love for Ulysses more than forgives his strange yen for prog rock.