Here’s a video that was coincidentally uploaded to YouTube by singer-songwriter David Choi, whose stuff I like very much, on June 23, just two days before Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop” suddenly and shockingly died. (It’s the third-listed link on You Tube when you search for “Michael Jackson.”)
“Ben” is an unusual choice for a Michael Jackson cover — a moody, plodding story-song that makes sense as a story only if you know it as the title song from a 1972 horror B-movie about a boy (not the young MJ) who befriends a pet rat named “Ben” who leads a pack of vicious killer rats. It was the sequel to the equally cheesy (no pun intended, honest) 1971 movie, “Willard.”
I’ve written about Dengue Fever before, but didn’t get a chance to see the show when they played Denver on a tour. So I’m glad this documentary has been released.
The film follows the band on a 2006 visit to Cambodia, where singer Chhom Nimol was born. She moved to the U.S. where she was discovered singing in a karaoke bar in Long Beach, south of LA, by the Holtzman brother, Zac and Ethan. The Holtzmans had fallen in love with old recordings of Cambodian pop and rock music during a trip to Southeast Asia and had decided to perform that music in America.
Since they — and the rest of the band — are white, they went in search of someone who could sing in the Cambodian language, Khmer, and came across Nimol, who’s an enchanting singer with a strong voice and an undeniable beauty that practically glows whenever the camera focuses on her.
Together, over four albums, two EPs and now this documentary film, the group has recorded a body of work that’s consistently interesting, compelling and challenging, with its dreamy mix of psychedelia, folk-rock, surf music and Cambodian melodies.
The end result, for me, is a perfect expression of that tired cliche, “East meets West,” or better yet, a reflection of one aspect of Asian America.
One of the great advantages of working for MediaNews Group Interactive is that our office, on the 9th floor of the same building that houses both the Denver Post, which we own, and the Rocky Mountain News, is that we have a terrific view. Located at the corner of Broadway St. And Colfax Ave., our building overlooks Civic Center Park, which is surrounded by us, the City and County Building, the Denver Art Museum and Denver Public Library complex, and the gold-topped Colorado State Capitol. Off in the distance to the west beyond the City and County Building rise the mellow foothillas and then the already-snow-dusted Rocky Mountains. With the sun shining and the air crisp with early fall — a rarity here, since fall is often skipped in the rush from summer to winter — it’s easy to remember why we love living in Colorado so much.
Today, the view off our 9th floor balcony of Civic Center Park showed some event going on. The summertime Farmers Markets had already stopped, and beside, they were held on Wednesdays and this was Thursday. You could hear the amplified sounds of music wafting up off street level, though, and a weird-looking tower was spitting out soap bubbles. There was a large, colorful peace sign drawn on the grass of the park, so I figured it must be an anti-war demonstration of some sort.
During lunch, I wandered downstairs and crossed the street to check it out. It turned out to be a peace-and-art event, and a celebration of the late musician-activist-Beatle John Lennon’s birthday. Lennon was born in Liverpool, England on Oct. 9, 1940. Continue reading →
KCUV-FM in Denver is celebrating the official kickoff of summer by recreating the sound of Denver’s FM radio from 1967, complete with news items, radio commercials from back then, and typical playlsists, all presented by the airstaff of progressive radio from the time, including guys like Bill Clarke (who’s on Channel 7 now but came to Denver in the ’60s as an early Top 40 and progrock radio jock), and Thom Trunnell (wow, that’s a name I hadn’t heard in 25 years, from KFML days).
It’s very strange hearing Clarke, who’s on now through 10 am, talking as if the news is happening now, and griping about the cold rainy weather for July 21, 1967 (it’s hot in reality today, and reporting about the Monterey Pop festival as if it just ended the previous week.
It’s going on all day. Kinda weird, but interesting. I’ll tune in all day just to hear strangeness they pull out of the hat.
I dunno about you, but I find it fascinating that Prince played the Super Bowl halftime show tonight. Itâ€™s good to see him again, and damn, he looks good and heâ€™s hot, ripping up the guitar like a diminutive, modern-day Hendrix.
Itâ€™s sort of weird to see him playing music so centered around his â€œPurple Rainâ€ period, but cool to see the marching band playing along, though I canâ€™t really hear them at all.
Just in the past few years during the Super Bowl halftime show we’ve seen Janet Jackson (with her “costume malfunction”) along with Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy, Kid Rock and Nelly; the Rolling Stones ad last year, Paul McCartney.