Thursday, July 20, 2017

Auto: BMW Mexico, Caribbean hits the fast lane in Sales

In terms of sales, BMW Group Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean shows positive results throughout the region, increasing by 27.3% compared to the same period last year, with 19,551 BMW and MINI vehicles sold, while 5,272 BMW Motorrad units were delivered.

As to sales, in Latin America, where BMW Group operates businesses through Importers, BMW Group achieved highly positive results in the first half of the year, leading the automotive premium market. BMW brand sold 5,861 units (+35.9%), MINI reached 673 units (+4.1%), while BMW Motorrad delivered 1,747 motorcycles to customers (+26.8 %).

Music: Linkin Park frontman found dead; apparent suicide

Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington is dead at the age of 41, TMZ reported on Thursday. “Law enforcement sources tell us the singer hanged himself at a private residence in Palos Verdes Estates in L.A. County. His body was discovered Thursday just before 9 AM,” the gossip site reported. A coroner later confirmed that Bennington had died, but did not confirm how. He was married with six children from two wives; and his band was set to perform next week in New York City at the “Blinkin Park” show—a concert featuring Linkin Park, Blink-182, Wu-Tang Clan, and Machine Gun Kelly.

Movies: WB Going All out for "Dunkirk"

The astritics seem to be in agreement: Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” is one of, if not the, best films of the year and a surefire Oscar contender, giving the World War II epic a “Fresh” rating of 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Now Warner Bros. will look to turn that critical acclaim into box office success.
Currently, “Dunkirk” is pegged by independent trackers for an opening weekend in the range of $30-40 million, with WB’s projections on the upper end of that range. The film will be released in 3,700 locations, which includes a variety of special formats including IMAX, 35mm, and 70mm film.

But there’s the chance that independent projections may be underestimating “Dunkirk’s” potential. Unlike many blockbusters, WWII movies tend to attract an older male audience that is not always represented in social media and could help push the opening for “Dunkirk” into the $40-50 million range. Even if it doesn’t, older audiences can help give”Dunkirk’s” box office haul legs, as older audiences tend to see films in later weeks.
“It can be hard for trackers to gauge this component of moviegoers, which isn’t as on the grid as much as their younger counterparts,” comScore’s Paul Dergarabedian says. “So ‘Dunkirk’ could surprise a lot of people.”

Music: Bieber (et al) outdoes himself, on "Despacito"

“Despacito” Makes History as Most Streamed Song of All-Time

by ivetteromero
Variety reports that the hit called “Despacito” (by Puerto Rican singers Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, featuring Justin Bieber) which has spent 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, has made history as the most-streamed song of all time. It has 4.6 billion plays across leading streaming platforms since its release. The record had previously been set by Bieber for the 2015 hit “Sorry,” which has logged 4.38 billion plays. Variety writes:
The undeniable “Despacito,” by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee and featuring Justin Bieber, has become the most streamed track ever, Universal Music Latin Entertainment has announced on July 19, with combined global streams of more than 4.6 billion plays across leading streaming platforms in the six months since its release.
The record had previously been set by Bieber for the 2015 hit “Sorry,” which, along with remixes, has logged 4.38 billion plays.
“Streaming has opened up the possibility of a song with a different beat, from a different culture and in a different language to become a juggernaut of success around the world,” said Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group. “Luis Fonsi already had the undisputed, biggest song of the year – and now he’s setting even bigger records. My congratulations to Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber, as well as everyone at Universal Music Latin Entertainment, Republic Records and Def Jam, on this tremendous accomplishment.”
Added Jesús Lopez, chairman & CEO of Universal Music Latin America & Iberian Peninsula: “Streaming has democratized music consumption, it has made Latin music increasingly relevant on the charts and it has amplified our songs and videos to a world stage. ‘Despacito’ has broken every record thanks to Luis Fonsi’s talent and creativity, which have positioned him as a pillar of Latin music for the past 20 years. I also congratulate Erika Ender, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber for their valuable contributions, as well as the different teams involved in the success of this song.

Music: From "Scratch" to "Tubby" Adventures in Dub

On a balmy late May evening under the stars at Chris Blackwell’s stunning cliffside hotel The Caves in Negril, Jamaica, legendary producer Lee “Scratch” Perry strolls up to the DJ booth and takes the microphone.
For the next 45 minutes Scratch, now 81, his hair and beard dyed cherry-red, freestyles lyrics as DJ (or selector, in Jamaican parlance). Kingston Dub Club owner Gabre Selassie tweaks his mixing console’s controls, manipulating the riddim track, transforming the bass line into a recurring thunderous boom.
The event, part of the inaugural Tmrw.Tday Festival, was called The Dub Cave, nodding to the musical art form Perry helped define. Dub refers to rearranging elements within an existing recording through the isolation of individual instrumental tracks with the addition of various effects to create a new work.
Scratch’s experimentation at the mixing board, particularly at his fabled Black Ark studio in the '70s, established him as one of the most creative forces in dub. Alongside other visionaries who conducted experiments in their respective studios and on the sound systems that played the music, they created dub, which rose to prominence in Jamaica and internationally during the 1970s.
“Dubbing is a traditional Jamaican sound system vibe; if you go to a dancehall sound system [session] they take out the bass and drop it in as an artist is performing, but they are not dubbing as we would do it. We turn on the bass, turn up the knobs, keeping the craft a little more intricate,” comments Gabre Selassie, whose thoughtfully curated playlist of traditional Rastafarian Nyabinghi chants, classic Jamaican tracks, contemporary roots reggae and powerful dub mixes is heard each Sunday evening at the Kingston Dub Club, located in the hills overlooking the capital city.
“There are different approaches to dubbing,” continues Gabre, who operates the Rockers Sound Station [sound system] started by his mentor, the late producer/musician Augustus Pablo, another pivotal figure in dub’s development. “For example King Jammy [born Lloyd James] tours the world doing live mixes of his own productions; because he produced the song, he has each instrument recorded separately so he can get more detailed in his mixes; I take the actual recorded material as played on a CD, 7-inch or album track and do what mixes I can, so I do dub mixes as if on a sound system, he does mixes as if in the studio.”
When digital reggae came to the fore in the mid-1980s, dub’s popularity diminished in Jamaica; currently, dub is enjoying a renaissance on the island and beyond its shores, whether it’s live dubbing performances in clubs and at music festivals or the rediscovery of classic dub albums by the genre’s forefathers including Scratch, Pablo, Hopeton “Scientist” Brown, Neil “Mad Professor” Fraser, and the man widely credited as dub’s originator, the late Osbourne “King Tubby” Ruddock.
“Dub is a part of Jamaican music’s foundation but needs to be pushed further by the music industry here; next year we plan to involve more of dub’s global players,” comments Kevin Bourke, a co-founder of the Tmrw.Tday Festival, held May 17-23 in Negril. “Dub in its truest form breaks down music then redelivers it in a raw, impactful way, which Gabre did at the Dub Cave and [producer] Teflon Zinc Fence [responsible for reggae star Chronixx’s early hits “Behind Curtain” and “Warrior”] did as our resident dub selector,” says Bourke. “It was amazing to have Scratch, one of dub’s godfathers, perform at the Dub Cave, passing the proverbial torch to the current generation who are carrying on the mission.”
The original practitioners established dub not just as a distinctive reggae offshoot but as a prototype for modern electronic music and its associated practices, including the song remix and the elevation of the producer and/or engineer as the artist.
“Dub’s development revolutionized the entire music business, as we see today, and the creativity and spontaneity in my dad’s recordings are pillars of Jamaican music; some go back almost 50 years, which put him at the forefront of dub,” comments Addis Pablo, son of Augustus Pablo, who introduced the melodica to reggae in the early '70s and produced numerous groundbreaking instrumental/dub albums including East of the River Nile and King Tubby’s Meets Rockers Uptown, ranked among the finest dub albums ever made.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Music Books: 500 books on Bob Marley +1, Roger Steffens' new Oral History

 In “So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley” (Norton), the reggae historian and collector Roger Steffens estimates that at least five hundred books have been written about Marley. There are books interpreting his lyrics and collecting his favorite Bible passages, parsing his relationship to the Rastafarian religion and his status as a “postcolonial idol,” reconstructing his childhood in Jamaica and investigating the theory that his death was the result of a C.I.A. assassination effort. His mother and his wife have written memoirs about living with him, as have touring musicians who were only briefly proximate to his genius. He has inspired countless works of fiction and poetry, and his later years provided the basic outline for parts of Marlon James’s prize-winning 2014 novel, “A Brief History of Seven Killings.” Steffens’s “So Much Things to Say” isn’t even the first book about Marley to borrow its title from the 1977 song; Don Taylor, one of his former managers, published a book with the same title, in 1995.
Steffens was introduced to reggae in 1973, after buying a Bob Marley album. In 1976, he made the first of many trips to Kingston, Jamaica, in search of records and lore, and two years later he co-founded “Reggae Beat,” a long-running radio show on Santa Monica’s KCRW. Being an early adopter paid off. Six weeks after the show’s première, Island Records offered him a chance to go on the road with Marley for the “Survival” tour. In 1981, Steffens co-founded a reggae-and-world-music magazine, The Beat, which was published for nearly thirty years; in 1984, he was invited to convene the first Grammy committee for reggae music. Steffens has made a career out of being a completist, amassing one of the most impressive collections of reggae ephemera on the planet, overseeing a comprehensive collection of Marley’s early work (the eleven-disk “The Complete Bob Marley & the Wailers 1967-1972”), and co-writing the exhaustive 2005 “Bob Marley and the Wailers: The Definitive Discography.”

oral history has become the preferred format for revisiting the recent past. It’s designed to provide open-ended, immersive filibusters, balancing projection with hazy memory, marquee voices with obscure bystanders, a charismatic superstar with the accountant who kept the operation afloat. At a time when quick takes abound, the labor-intensive nature of the form, as well as the seeming lack of a writerly voice or perspective, gives the impression of relating everyone’s side. It’s the perfect approach in the age of the data dump, a way of making room for readers to sift through materials, discover their own resonances, and, in the case of “So Much Things to Say,” decide which shady, finger-pointing label boss or business manager to trust.

Steffens generally resists hagiography. Kelso, one of Marley’s lifelong confidantes, suggested that he was occasionally “rough” toward Rita, and that she nearly divorced him. Joe Higgs, the Wailers’ early mentor, contends that Marley’s mother—one of his biggest advocates after his death—was largely absent during his formative years as an artist, and wanted him to become a welder. Steffens also reprints Archbishop Abuna Yesehaq’s oft-repeated but never verified claim to have baptized Marley at the end of his life, which would have been a betrayal of his Rastafarian faith.
Steffens closes his book with a chapter of friends and collaborators sharing their favorite Marley tunes. It’s a way of creating a “spiritual foundation,” in the words of the Wailers’ guitarist Junior Marvin, that will last for eternity. At the same time, it enables us to imagine Marley’s career as an arc extending through the eighties, the nineties, and beyond. We believe that he wouldn’t have had to change with the times—that he would have resisted whatever was to come, or seen an alternative to it. This is the most intoxicating part of the Marley myth: the dream that someone had the answers; if only he had survived long enough to save us all.

- The New Yorker

Arts: Boogie on the Blvd Returns

Bronx Calling First Look and Sale4
Friday, July 21, 5:00pm to 7:00pm
First Look and Sale
Bronx Calling: The Fourth AIM Biennial
Discover fresh work by New York’s most promising emerging artists at the exclusive viewing and benefit sale of Bronx Calling: The Fourth AIM Biennial. With over 70 works showcasing everything from painting to film, photography, and installation, there is something for everyone to acquire! Members receive a 10% discount on works in the First Look and Sale.Read more >
5:15pm Exhibition tour with artists
RSVP to Allison Grandy at 718-681-6000 x 174 or
Proceeds from the First Look and Sale support the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program and the future AIM and Bronx Museum international studio residency programs at 80 White Street in Tribeca.
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Saturday, July 22, 3:00pm to 6:00pm
Family Affair Material World
Explore the art of Manuel Mendive during an afternoon of family art-making activities in the outdoors. Recommended for children ages 4 to 12 with parent/guardian.
Location: Target Bronx Community Garden
1025 Anderson Ave., Bronx, NY
Saturday, July 22, 6:00 to 8:00pm
Family Night: Musica de las Islas - Legacy Women
Join us for some music in the sun with Legacy Women. Read more >
Location: Target Bronx Community Garden
1025 Anderson Ave., Bronx, NY
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Sunday, July 23, 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Boogie on the Boulevard
Get ready to Boogie! On Sundays July 23August 20September 10 the center lanes of the Grand Concourse from 162nd Street to 170th Street will be closed to cars and open to a world of fun with free music, art and fitness programs hosted by organizations from the Bronx and beyond. Read more >
Free admission
Mendive 117
Thursday, July 27, 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Summer Season Open House
The Board of Trustees of The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Chairperson Joseph Mizzi, and Executive Director Holly Block cordially invite you to attend the opening of our Summer Season Open House for the exhibition Bronx Calling: The Fourth AIM BiennialRead more >
The Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program, now in its 37th year, provides professional development opportunities to emerging artists residing in the New York metropolitan area.