As a Fulbright scholar, journalist Akemi Johnson-whose work has been featured on NPR, The Nation, Travel + Leisure, and Anthony Bourdain's Explore Parts Unknown-traveled to Okinawa, one of the biggest outposts of the American military. At the southern end of the Japanese archipelago, Okinawa is host to more U.S. military bases than anywhere else in the country, which itself hosts more U.S. service members than anywhere else in the world. Once an independent kingdom colonized by Japan, Okinawa came under U.S. military rule for over two decades after WW2.
In her poignant debut, Akemi Johnson in NIGHT IN THE AMERICAN VILLAGE: Women in the Shadow of the U.S. Military Bases in Okinawa illuminates the island's complex melting pot of native Okinawan, Japanese, and American cultures where the ripple effects of empire (both Japanese and American) have had sometimes fatal consequences. During Johnson's time immersed there, Okinawa reeled from the rape and murder of twenty-year-old Rina Shimabukuro by an American ex-marine. The crime added to the growing schism between Tokyo and Okinawa, fueled anti-base protests, and helped reveal a long history of military sexual violence.
Johnson masterfully blends the history of the "keystone of the Pacific" with first-person interviews with present-day women on the island, U.S. military service members, and anti-base activists. As she investigates the subtle layers of sexualization, feminization, and racism baked into Okinawa's borderlands culture, she finds the women of Okinawa have had a complex relationship with the military, both Japanese and American. During World War II, some women were persuaded to take their own lives by the Japanese military as U.S. forces approached; many were among the 120,000 locals kept in U.S.-run refugee camps for years while their homes were destroyed to make way for U.S. military bases; and in postwar years, an alarming number have become the targets of U.S. military sexual violence. Yet, most women have been far from victims, Johnson finds. Many local women actively benefit from and encourage the U.S. military presence, and when under threat they organize and protest against the American bases, fearlessly indicting both the United States and Japan in the process.
NIGHT IN THE AMERICAN VILLAGE is not just a rare window into a stronghold of the American military abroad. Akemi Johnson brings her own perspective as a young woman exploring her mixed-race identity-Johnson's father is white American and her mother is Japanese American-to offer a truly unique debut and investigation of politics, race, and memory that transcends neat narratives.
Free event; wheelchair accessible
Jun 29, 3pm to 4pm, Eastwind Books of Berkeley 2066 University Ave., Berkeley
Dont Look Back
Richard Leacock, D. A. Pennebaker
United States, 1967
Bob Dylan, Donovan, Albert Grossman, Joan Baez,
"If Bob Dylan isn't exactly an `event' of the sixties, surely he is a felt presence for the decade. Marrying the social impulse of Woody Guthrie to the rhythms of rock-and-roll is only part of his achievement. To look once more at him now, through the direct-cinema prism of Dont Look Back, is to see him navigate the difficult terrain between art and commerce, between Woodstock nation and Ticketron, and navigate it he does, with brilliance and not a little arrogance" (Peter Gessner). "Overturning the conventions of the rock 'n' roll film, Dont Look Back established documentary as the primary form of the countercultural US musical film" (David E. James).
Jun 29, 6pm to 7:30pm, The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2155 Center St, Berkeley
Jun 29, 6:30pm to 9:30pm, Cafe Leila, 1724 San Pablo, Berkeley
Bill Kirchen, co-founder and lead guitarist of the original Americana band Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, brings 4 original members together from far and wide for one cosmic run through their old stomping grounds.
Guitarist, singer and songwriter Bill Kirchen's Grammy nominated career spans 13 albums of his own. The latest, Transatlanticana, cracked the Americana Top 10 chart. Named a "Titan of the Telecaster" by Guitar Player Magazine, his guitar licks drove the band's original version of "Hot Rod Lincoln" into the Top Ten in 1972. Today, Kirchen's extended version of that hit, a romp through guitar history, was described as "epic" in Rolling Stone magazine. He has recorded and/or played guitar with a who's who of roots music, including Elvis Costello, Hazel Dickens, Bo Diddley, Sammy Hagar, Emmylou Harris, Linda Rondstadt, Dan Hicks, Nick Lowe, Maria Muldaur, Doug Sahm, Gene Vincent and Link Wray.
Master steel guitarist Bobby Black has played and recorded with an astonishing number of the stars of country music over the last 7 decades, from his pal George Jones' very first recordings in 1953, to Ray Price, Lefty Frizzell, Webb Pierce, Barbara Mandrell, Asleep At The Wheel, Doug Sahm, and many more. Bobby has contemplated retirement several times, but the calls keep coming for gigs and Black keeps saying yes. He was inducted into the Western Swing Hall of Fame in 1997, and the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 2004.
John Tichy, Ph.D., Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, is a Founding Father of the Lost Planet Airmen. With a long list of publications and research for the National
Science Foundation and NASA, he also continues to gig steadily, presumably with the research objective of rocking your ass off. Tichy is listed in the Who's Who in Rock & Roll (1996) and the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (1998) for his work as singer, songwriter and guitarist.
Buffalo Bruce Barlow
Bass player with Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, Buffalo Bruce plays blues, rock 'n' roll, country & Western, Western Swing, and a whole lot of boogie woogie. He's played with Chicago bluesmen Magic Sam, Luther Allison, Sam Lay, Elvin Bishop, James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, Matt Guitar Murphy, Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker plus Byrds frontman Roger McGuinn and hit singer-songwriter Hoyt Axton.
Our 2-time Grammy winner joined Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen in 1968 when Kirchen spotted him jamming at a coffee house with future Prairie Home Companion original Bill Hinkley. Two decades later Andy began his 22 year run on that show's weekly national broadcasts with Garrison Keillor. Post CC & his LPA, Andy continued his unique quadruple-threat career, playing, writing and arranging for top names in Pop, Jazz, Classical and Country fields. Here are a few: Bob Dylan, Sir Paul McCartney, Wynton Marsalis, Jon Hendricks, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Ray Charles, B. B. King, Tony Bennett, Carole King, James Taylor, Michael Jackson, Merle Haggard, Placido Domingo, Itzhak Perlman etc. Andy sez: "But right now I'm right here back with my old buddies. The Best."
Jun 29, 8pm to 10pm, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St, Berkeley
A new collaboration is taking place between Mark Hummel & Deep Basement Shakers, as the two entities have locked forces to commit themselves to rockin' away the pre-war blues & boogie-woogie styles in this piano, acoustic harmonica/vocal & washboard trio.
Grammy-nominated, two-time Blues Award winner, harmonica master, blues singer, bandleader, author, and entrepreneur Mark Hummel has been active since the early 1970s, when he moved to Berkeley from LA. Hummel has over thirty CDs to his credit and also is the creator of the Blues Harmonica Blowouts, which he started in 1991.
Hummel's mastery of the blues genre, mixed with a knowledge of where the music comes from, is rare in this idiom. Mark has recorded/toured with Snooky Pryor, Lowell Fulsom, Eddie Taylor, Brownie McGhee, Barbara Dane, Jimmy Rogers, Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Boy Arnold, Huey Lewis, Lazy Lester, Anson Funderburgh (his co-partner in his latest project, Golden State/Lone Star), Charles Brown, Willie Big Eyes Smith & many more. Hummel has been steadily touring around the world since 1984.
Specializing in primal, joint-rockin' barrelhouse blues n' boogie, the Deep Basement Shakers are an East Bay trio with a stripped down but powerful sound, featuring Aaron Hammerman on piano and guitar, and local percussion legend Dave Eagle on washboard, spoons, suitcase, train whistles, animal calls, etc. Known for their floor-stomping appearances around the Bay and beyond, the Shakers bring to life good-time, steady-rollin' grooves from the deep musical traditions of days of old!
Tickets are $20 and are available in advance at the link below, or you may purchase your tickets at the door the night of the show. Children under 12 are free. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash only at the door (ATMs are nearby).
The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information or have any questions, please call us: #510-654-3808. Thank you for your support!
Jun 29, 8pm to 10pm, The Back Room Music, 1984 Bonita Ave, Berkeley