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From backstage at the latest Bay Area concerts to the latest news on pop culture, I'll be going out to bring you there.

About Me
I'm the pop music critic for the San Jose Mercury News. I cover pop, hip hop, punk, rock, dance, and ethnic - well, basically everything you can dance to.

My Articles

My picks:
CD: Green Day
Trailer: 2046
Videogame: Burnout 3

Mercury Reviews:
Art show: Heritage Bank of Commerce
Bar: Stratta
Book: ``Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990-2003''
Comedy: Dame Edna
DVD: Star Wars
Restaurant: Hahn's Hibachi
Theater: Clouds Hill
TV show: Without a Trace

Sick site
Breakdancing Transformers

My Playlist

1. Snow Patrol: brooding ballads

2. Toby Lightman : opened for Prince

3. Martin Luther: SF singer for The Roots

Entertainment Resources
  • Billboard Charts
  • Encyclopedia
  • Moviefone
  • Music Dictionary
  • MTV
  • Pollstar
  • Urban Dictionary
  • VH1

  • Blogroll
  • Adisa Banjoko : San Jose's Bishop of Hip hop
  • Angry Asian Man: Asian American media watchdog
  • Black Electorate : Inside Cultural, Economic and Political industries
  • BLT's Parry
  • Boondocks: by Aaron McGruder
  • Dan Gillmor : Silicon Valley Dictionary
  • Dat Phan : Last Comic Standing season 1 winner
  • Davey D: Hip Hop Daily News
  • Fortt: black american gen x journalist musician multicultural christian technophile
  • Joe Grimm : Ask the Recruiter
  • In Passing : Random Street Conversations
  • Penny Arcade: Video Game comic
  • Friday, October 01, 2004

    Politics and music

    If you're still fired up after last night's presidential debate or forgot it was on, get informed on politics through hip-hop:

    1st Annual Hip Hop Conference
    WHERE: San Jose State University Student Union
    WHEN: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2
    TIX: Free!
    WHY: Designed to address the issues of young hip hoppers from the ages of 18-35, this conference includes keynote speaker Dr. Tricia Rose, professor and chair of the American Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

    There will also be panel discussions and workshops on:

  • women in hip hop
  • voter education
  • police and community relations
  • immigrants' rights
  • the state of hip hop in San Jose
  • youth in activism.

  • Plus, a community resource fair and an art exhibit of local talent, film screenings, vendors and music throughout the day.

    Thursday, September 30, 2004


    I've been listening to Jimmy Eat World's new album lately, "Futures," in stores Oct. 19. It sounds very similar to their last one, with the exception of track 7 "Drugs or Me" which reminded me of the sound of blink-182's song "I Miss You." It's more harmonic and moody.

    Program Director/Station Manager Johnny X of Channel 104.9 said the reason sophomore albums may sound the same is because the second one is to solidify not only the band's sound, but their audience as well. Then, on their third album, the band can diversify and experiment.

    That's seems to be what Norah Jones did too. If she followed this logic, I wonder if she'll go electronica next! jk.
    Wednesday, September 29, 2004

    Monkey martial arts

    Ch-check it out..

    My Norah Jones story prints today. Read how she enjoys doing interviews, because it enables her to talk over:

    "all this stuff, and all... I've done in the past couple years. I don't go around talking about that stuff with my friends. I try to not to think about it, actually. It's just too much to think about."

    Tonight ch-check out this amazing Tijuana ska band (no, I'm not kidding).

    Los Kung Fu Monkeys
    Bottom of the Hill
    WHEN: 7:30 p.m. (doors at 7) Tonight 9/29
    TIX: $10; all ages;
    ticketweb; (866)-468-3399
    WHY: Their name is curious enough and their sound makes you want to bounce frantically.

    24-year-old vocalist Bernardo Leos answered my questions in an email from Tijuana:
    We needed a name for our first show, and I have always been in to martial arts (me being a Ni Dan {2nd Degree} black belt in karate), looking in to a martial arts magazine, and we put the name on our first flyer "Monkey Kung Fu" and people just started calling us "Los Kung Fu Monkeys" and it stayed.

    Punk, ska, Hard Core, with other mixes of new wave, metal, goth, and a little bit of everyone's influences...We grew up listening to all the bands from the U.S., just being a border city with San Diego, going to shows over there, having shows over here with great punk bands like
    Vandals, Guttermouth, VGS, Union 13, Ten Foot Pole, Sick Of It All, Bad Religion, Total Chaos, Buck O Nine, just to mention a few when we where growing up had a lot of influence on our sound.

    We are very sexy (joke), we are 8 people, we are all very different, it's hard to explain for them but personally I'm a person just trying to express frustrations, experiences and other situations on our music, and our live performance that is very intense every member pours his heart out every time we hit a stage, we are very passionate of what we do, and we try to interact with the audience, and make a part of Los KFM too.

    Tuesday, September 28, 2004

    la-la land

    This weekend, I headed to la-la land. At the Magic Kingdom I ran into none other than Dat Phan. He was going into Tomorrowland. It's always awkward running into someone I interviewed over the phone, but didn't meet in person. It's like seeing a professor at the mall - everything is out of context.

    That night, I checked out
    Downtown Disney - Jordan Knight was playing at the House of Blues for $24 or so, so we ended up checking out a street musician instead, Drew Tretick, a regular at Disney and Vegas. He's recorded with Chris Isaak, Tony Bennett, and Stevie Wonder. I've never seen so many people walk up and buy CDs before.

    Like Dat Phan, he was also out of place. His violin wailed out notes that could make one cry - all set to neon lights and a stuffed animal laden backdrop.

    Photo of Marian Liu by Stephanie Grace Lim, Mercury News
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