Friday, November 12, 2010

Oakland Mayor-Elect Jean Quan Brings King of King Restaurant In Spotlight

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Atlanta, GA - When this blogger got the email announcing Oakland Mayor-Elect Jean Quan's Banquet, the first name that jumped off the page was "King of King." King of King is an excellent Chinese Restaurant at 1139 East 12th Street not far from Lake Merritt, yet more in Central East Oakland than the San Antonio District.

The last time I visited this place where the Mongolian Beef is to die for was when Alameda County Treasurer Don White ran for Mayor, only to give way to Ron Dellums, who would become Oakland's Mayor. The management of King of King was gracious and prompt. It's no wonder the eatery has been the choice of Oakland insiders for at least the last 15 years.

No, it's not the "most best" Chinese food in the Bay Area, OK. But what it has is a hard-to-beat combination of service, price, and local familiarity. King of King is a slice of Oakland everyone must experience at least twice. It's great that Jean's holding her event there.

Jean Quan T-Shirts

There's talk that Jean Quan's "Block-By-Block" T-Shirt is starting to become a hot-seller, so if you're interested in getting one, visit Jean's site here:

Moving Forward

In case you're not getting the message by this blog post, it's time to move on.  The Oakland Mayor's Race is over and we have a city to fix.

Academy News (AMPAS): Academy Donates 450,000 to US Film Festivals in 2011

The AMPAS Festival Grants Committee Chair Buffy Shutt, announced earlier in the week that the Academy would be awarding 450,000 dollars to film festivals in the upcoming year.  The academy had this to say about their Film Festival Grants program.
"While the grants are awarded for a variety of festival programs, organizers are encouraged to submit proposals intended to make festival events more accessible to the general public, provide greater access to minority and less visible filmmakers, and help strengthen the connection between filmmakers and the general public".
Over the past 11 years the AMPAS Festival Grants Committee has given out over 4 million in funding through 252 grants to Film Festivals all across the country.  In addition "The Academy Foundation," the cultural and educational department of the Academy, hands out more than 1 million dollars a year to cultural events and film festivals in the US and abroad as well.

One of the biggest problems for any artist is getting their work out to the public.  Many artists go unnoticed despite their talent and grants, like those given out by the AMPAS, are a great way to uncover hidden treasures that might otherwise go unnoticed.  Also, by subsidizing the festivals the organizers can charge less money for admission which in turn provides all the exhibitors a wider audience to showcase their work to.
The funds issued by the AMPAS are being allocated as follows.  
Chicago International Film Festival – World Cinema Spotlight program

San Francisco International Film Festival – World Cinema Spotlight program
Seattle International Film Festival – Asian Trade Winds spotlight program

Mill Valley Film Festival – Youth Focus and Children’s FilmFest programs
Nashville Film Festival – Outreach to multiethnic and underserved audiences
New Orleans Film Festival – Outreach and emerging filmmakers programs

Chicago Latino Film Festival – Children’s film screenings and filmmaker talks
Cleveland International Film Festival – Women of the World program
Traverse City Film Festival – Visiting filmmaker program
Portland International Film Festival – Hispanic Film Showcase and Cine-Lit program

Ashland Independent Film Festival – Education and accessibility programs
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival – Retrospective Artist Spotlight
Native American Film & Video Festival – Native Networks conference
New York International Children’s Film Festival – Girls’ POV program
San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival – Filmmaker Spotlight, Filmmaker Retrospectives and Out of the Vaults programs

Roger Ebert’s Film Festival – Q & A sessions and panel discussions

Woodstock Film Festival – Exposure program
Aspen Shortsfest – Youth education program
KidFilm – Free tickets and outreach program
San Luis Obispo International Film Festival – Women-focused discussions, screenings and

Anchorage International Film Festival – Filmmaker travel

Binational Independent Film Festival – Filmmaker travel and free screenings/seminars
Black Maria Film & Video Festival – Filmmaker travel

Port Townsend Film Festival – Community involvement program
San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival – Focus on Sri Lanka program
United Nations Association Film Festival – UNAFF and Kids program

Arizona International Film Festival – Filmmaker travel

Damn! These Heels – Filmmaker travel
JFilm: The Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum – Audience development efforts
Saugatuck Children’s Film Festival – Outreach to underserved children
More information on the Academies generous "grants program" can be found here

John Bobst

Unemployment News: 99ers Arrested during NYC Protest

99ers were among those arrested at a NYC protest, held today in order to focus attention on the need for a Tier 5 UI benefits extension. The jobless held their small protest on Varick Street, in front of the unemployment office in Manhattan.

As the recession grinds on, Congress has extended unemployment benefits four times. If it doesn't again, then 200-thousand New Yorkers alone will have no benefits at all. (Already over 5 million Americans have used up all available UI benefits and most of those are now destitute)

Up to 2 million more people could lose the benefits if the Democratic-controlled Congress doesn't act next week. Several million more could be cut off by February.

Jobless people are eligible for up to 99 weeks of benefits in most states. The first 26 weeks are paid by states. About 3.7 million draw them now and the ranks of the long term unemployed grows every week in this country.

Democrats in Congress are pushing for extending benefits during the lame duck session that begins Monday. There is the theory that congressional action will help the economy.

"Economists say one way to grow this economy is by extending unemployment benefits because these workers then plow that money immediately back into the economy," Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a democrat, said.

At today's rally four protesters went so far as to block traffic briefly on Varick Street. They were arrested. Despite that and the general gloom of no job and no benefits, there was some optimism there from people like Connie Kaplan. Her benefits ran out in March.

"Like I said to your question about what happens when the money runs out. I don't look at that. Today the world is hearing our voices," she said.

The unfortunate fact is that the Congress MUST act to pass S3706 (Tier 5) and they are obviously NOT listening.

BeastWeek: Why The Daily Beast Merger With Newsweek Will Fail

BeastWeek, the merger between The Daily Beast and Newsweek that was announced early Friday morning by Tina Brown (in photo with IAC Chairman Barry Diller), who will run the new entity, will fail.

(BTW, it would be nice if Roy Greenslade at The Guardian UK would give me, Zennie Abraham, credit for coming up with the name BeastWeek as applied to the merger, rather than just using it without attribution.  That's not right. Come on, Son!)

This blogger will give it two years, three if the minders are lucky. The primary reason is BeastWeek reflects everything that it wrong with East Coast Old Media, and nothing that reflects the 21st Century tech-oriented approach of New Media.

Reading Howard Kurtz' Daily Beast article called "Inside the New Beast," was both alarming and expected. In reflecting the now-much-told origins of the merger between The Daily Beast and Newsweek, Kurtz focused entirely on the personalities involved, and mentioned nothing - zero, zip, nada - about the media technology and approach that will be used.

This, then, is the problem when a group of people with journalist backgrounds representing the best of Old Media are charged with saving a media brand. Their first focus on them, and that's it. Nothing about the approach. Nothing about reach targets, traffic objectives, or web site experience and usability, and nothing about integrating social media and mobile. In short, nothing about innovations and everything about personalities.  

In short, the habit of East Coast Old Media.

According to Kurtz, Sidney Harman (photo at left), who bought Newsweek for $1 says it will take up to three years to "turn around" Newsweek:
I believe it will take the better part of two or three years to have this own company operating on its own fuel. If that happens I will consider it a significant achievement, and a hell of a good thing for journalism, the magazine, the company’s employees and the United States of America.

If the parties were serious about "turning around" Newsweek, The Daily Beast would have been jettisoned as a name with the Newsweek brand replacing it. Then the print Newsweek would be redesigned to look more like a printed webpage, complete with ads at the top of the page. Video would be the medium emphasized, along with live stream online broadcasts using USTREAM and with YouTube for video shows.

Thus, the print publication becomes a way of presenting rich content that's appeared online. Interviews, photos, and events of the week that rapidly play out online become the content for the magazine.

That's the kind of thinking this blogger's looking for. That's what I'm not seeing expressed in the conversation about BeastWeek.


And that's just a taste of the approach I have in mind. But with  Brown, Harman, and Barry Diller, the trio behind the merger, and the focus of the celebrity-oriented talk about it, BeastWeek's DOA.

Sorry, it is.

It's not about them, it's about the product and the tech, and the approach. It's also why most of the hottest media platforms are not ran by journalists:, TechCrunch, and, to name some of the examples.

BeastWeek. Give it two or three years tops.


A Tale of Two Threats: Bay Bridge Bomber Lives, Unarmed Blackman Dies

Yesterday something strange and quite frightening took place in the San Francisco Bay Area. A distraught 51-year-old man named Craig Carlos-Valentino hoped in his SUV during the height of rush hour and drove from Antioch to the middle of the Bay Bridge which is one of most traveled spans in the country. Accompanying him was his 16 year daughter.

Carlos-Valentino stopped his car mid-span and called local news station KCBSwhere he announced that his car was wired with explosives and he had a gun. he then followed up his call to the police where he announced the same thing. Needless to say local authorities went nuts. They stopped traffic, alerted the bomb squad, the free way entrances were closed. People upon hearing this man had a bomb started turning around on the freeway and headed back toward Oakland. Local programming was interrupted and everyone was on edge. We had a man on the Bay Bridge who was ready to blow things up.

Everyone was on edge because they remembered an angry man White supremacist named Byron Williams who back in July was stopped by police on the 580 freeway leading to the Bay Bridge. He was stopped by police for some sort of traffic violation and came out with guns blazing. Williams had on full body armor and had an arsenal fit for a small army. When all was said and done, Williams shot 3 officers and left the freeway strewn with bullets. Williams was on his way to San Francisco to kill liberal workers at the Tides Foundation.

Craig Carlos-Valentino

With respect to Carlos-Valentino and his bomb threat, everyone was on alert. There was a stand-off on the bridge during which this man tossed his gun, allowed his daughter to run off to the arms of police who were near by. He threatened to commit suicide and was talked off the ledge of the bridge, the whole time folks had no idea about his car. Did it or did it not have explosives?

Eventually Carlos-Valentino was taken into custody. We later learned this man was upset because his wife was cheating on him and was gearing up to leave him.

This man causes massive traffic jams and got all sorts of law enforcement involved to make sure he wasn’t a domestic terrorist. Later the police explained his ordeal and Mr Carlos-Valentino will live to see another day.

The key words here ‘He got to live’. Police used caution. They explained away a man who potentially put thousands of people’s lives in danger as someone who was not real threat, but someone who was disturbed. In other words he was humanized. We came away feeling sorry for this man. We don’t know if Carlos-Valentino was abusive, cheated or did anything wrong. He was just a trouble man who issued a bomb threat.

One has to wonder why such caution is not ever afforded to any number of people who have done far far less in terms of endangering the lives of others or themselves, yet wind up being killed by police.

We can look at Amadou Diallo reaching for his wallet.. Shot 41 times. The man had no criminal record and was un-armed.

We can look at the case of Sean Bell who shot 50 times drove away from a club where he held a bachelor party. Bell was unarmed, had committed no crime, but well-trained police thought he and his passengers hadreached for a gun.

We can look at the shooting death of 7 year old Ayana Stanley Jones in Detroit. Police busted into the wrong house looking for a suspect, beat her suprised grandmother and shot Jones.

Last month Denroy Henry a star football player at Pace University was shot after being ordered to move his car from in front of club where a fight occurred. Henry who was not involved in the altercation, bumped a police officer with his car. End result was the cop unloading his gun into the car and killing an unarmed Henry.

This list can go on and on. One has to ask the hard questions, why can’t law enforcement show the same restraint they do so many others who arguably do far worse. Hell even Byron Williams is still alive and he shot down 3 cops. Why are these unarmed men and women always being killed by police?

Derrick Jones

This past Monday police were called to the Kwik Kuts barbershop in East Oakland owned by popular 37-year-old father Derrick Jones. Police say Jones was involved in a fight with a woman at the shop, not his wife and when they approached he ran away. Jones who was unarmed was shot 8 times by two officers, one of whom shot him twice while he lay on the ground.

Police said they thought the unarmed Jones was reaching for his waistband. Eye witnesses vehemently dispute the tail. Jones had his hands in the air and was shot by cops who many feel had a vendetta out for him.

According to neighborhood folks, Oakland cops never forgot or forgave the way Jones and his family stood up to police for their brutality and misconduct when he was 16 years old and was accused of stealing his own bike. Disbelieving cops assaulted him and his 19-year-old sister . The family fought back and got two of the officers involved fired.

Over the years Jones was frequently stopped and harassed by police and so were many of his neighbors. As one shop owner who wished to remain anonymous explained, ‘Any excuse to smash on folks near the barbershop was used’. Monday’s altercation was no different. This time the shooting death of yet another unarmed Black man in Oakland came on the heels of killer cop Johannes Mehserle receiving a super light 2 year sentenced for the murder of unarmed Oscar Grant.

We are posting up audio from the rally for Justice for Derrick Jones which took place in front of his barbershop yesterday. Folks need to check out what’s being said to get a full understanding of who he was, what his family did here in Oakland and how this relates to the injustice experienced by Oscar Grant’s family.

Here in pt1 Derrick Jones’ friend speaks about what happened after he got shot by Oakland police and the how witnesses are being intimidated by the police. Also Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby speaks and talks about what took place in the courtroom during sentencing. He reminds people what its gonna take to bring about justice and how the shooting of unarmed Derrick Jones and unarmed Oscar Grant are connected.

Minister Keith & Uncle Bobby

We finish off with some enlightening remarks from Yvette ofBAMN who runs down what this case is about and why it appears to be some sort of vigilante killing. Jones was targeted by OPD

In pt 2 Minister Keith of the Nation of Islam gives a passionate speech about the legacy of ‘unarmed Black men’ being shot. He also gives details as to how these shootings are supposed to be investigated. He calls out the DA Nancy Omally

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Academy News (AMPAS): "Funny Girl" Monday Nights With Oscar Returns

In more Academy news, the “Monday Nights With Oscar” series returns to the Academy Theatre at Lighthouse International in New York city after being put on hold for most of the year due to renovations.  The AMPAS series will resume on November 15th with a showing of “Funny Girl,” starring Barbara Streisand.

“Funny Girl,” was released in 1968 and is based on a Broadway musical that debuted earlier that decade in 1964.  Along with Barbara Streisand the film also stars, Kay Brice, Walter Pidgeon, Lee Alan, and Omar Sharif.  William Wyler directed the film by screenplay writer Isobel Lennart.  Barbara Streisands performance as Fanny Brice in the movie earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress that year.  Kay Brice’s contributing performance in the movie also earned an Academy Award nomination and the film received 8 Academy Award nominations in total.

Admission to the screening of “Funny Girl” for the “Monday Nights With Oscar” series is 5 dollars a ticket to the general public and 3 dollars with a student ID or membership to the Academy.  Tickets may be purchased online, by mail, or at the box office.  The Lighthouse International theatre is located at 111 East 59th Street in New York City.  The show will begin at 6:30 and there is no reserved seating available.  To obtain more information on the event please visit and click on the events calendar, or you can call (212) 821-9251

Academy News (AMPAS): "Contemporary Documentaries" Series

In Academy news this week, the AMPAS announced that it will be hosting the final installment of their “Contemporary Documentaries” Series on November 17th at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood. The 29th Annual “Contemporary Documentaries” series has been running influential documentaries, both full feature and short length, every Wednesday in the weeks leading up to the Academy Awards ceremony. Documentaries selected for the series were those that were nominated, or considered for the 2009 Academy Awards. The final installment is comprised of the documentaries, “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant,” and “Capitalism: A Love Story.” “The Last Truck: The Closing of a GM Plant” follows the aftermath caused by the shutting down of a General Motors assembly plant in Moraine, Ohio, through the eyes of the former employees. The documentary follows the disenfranchised workers for 6 months as they try to cope with the difficulties created by their loss of income. This Academy Award Nominated documentary was directed and produced by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert. “Capitalism: A Love Story” was produced by Michael and Anne Moore and presents the viewer with the scope of influence that “corporate dominance” has over, not just Americans, but people worldwide. The final installment of the AMPAS “Contemporary Documentaries” series will begin at 7:00pm at the Linwood Dunn Theatre on 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Admission is free and free parking is also available one block north of Fountain Avenue at the entrance to the theatre on the Homewood Avenue side. To receive more information concerning this event you can go to or call (310) 247-3600. 

John Bobst

Atlanta Falcons and QB Matt Ryan Defeat Baltimore Ravens With 4th Quarter Drive

While it wasn't Atlanta Falcons 2008 NFL 1st Round Draft pick QB Matt Ryan's  best statistical game (in BCSsportsweekly photo), that was the 39 to 32 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Falcons 26 to 21 win over the AFC Baltimore Ravens at The Georgia Dome in Atlanta was the game many can point to where Ryan came of age.

Down by 6 points with just over 1 minute in the game, Ryan directed an 80 yard drive, capped with a 35 yard pass to Falcons Wide Receiver Rodney White for the go-ahead score.

The Falcons came in with an excellent game plan that featured quick passes out of shotgun formations, and play action. They threw a whopping 50 times, completing 32, for 316 yards and three touchdowns, against no interceptions. Ryan finished with a quarterback rating of 101.8, and sent a message.

For teams that believed they could load up their defense to stop the Falcons ground game, and place the ball in the hands of Ryan, the message was simple: he will beat you. Ryan showed an ice-cool calm, and seemed to welcome the 4th quarter situation he was placed in.

The Falcons of 2010 are a fun team to watch, and it's not too much of a stretch to say we may see them play either the Oakland Raiders or the same Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl.

But they've got a big test to come against the red-hot Green Bay Packers November 28th at The Georgia Dome.

Gene Shalit And "Critic's Corner" Gone After 40 Years On NBC Today

Gene Shalit, the New Yorker with the horn-rimmed glasses, handlebar mustache, and all around look of a bespectacled afro-haired puffer fish, has closed the door on the production of bombs to throw at movies from his segment "Critic's Corner" on NBC's Today Show.

The "Critic's Corner" lasted for 40 years on The Today Show. According to The Huffington Post, Today Show Executive Producer Jim Bell said that such a span of time on one show is "a feat unlikely to ever be matched."

Given the volume and flow of media today, he's right.

Gene Shalit was given a great sendoff on Thursday's Today Show, as he walks into a comfortable retirement fitting for an 84-year-old giant of the entertainment industry.

Chevron Ecuador Case: Steven Donziger In Big Trouble With Judge Kaplan

In seeking a motion to quash Chevron's request to dipose him, Steven Donziger, the ringleader and mastermind of the plot to defraud the American Oil Giant of up to $27 Billion by claiming it left the Ecuadorian Amazon envrionmentally damaged, when it did not, placed himself in big trouble.

The resulting 52-page ruling by heavyweight New York U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan casts a dark light on the legal career of Steven Donziger, and rubber-stamps every assertion this blogger made in this video below on August 14th 2008:

Particularly damning is this statement by the judge:

On behalf of the Lago Agrio plaintiffs, Donziger, directly or indirectly, has lobbiedthe Ecuadorian and United States governments, raised money to support the litigation efforts,organized the plaintiffs’ media campaign, and solicited and interacted with celebrity supporters. Donziger’s statements, conduct, and demeanor in Crude and the outtakes, as well as other evidence,suggest that many of his activities have had little to do with the performance of legal services anda great deal to do with political activity, intimidation of the Ecuadorian courts, attempts to procurecriminal prosecutions for the purpose of extracting a settlement, and presenting a message to theworld media. This becomes even clearer when one considers still other statements and incidentsdepicted in Crude and the outtakes.

It's for those activities that legal observers have said Donziger is in possible criminal trouble. All of this he's done can result in the loss of his ability to practice law.

Stay tuned.