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BACKSTAGE WITH MARIAN
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Story outtakes, celebrity confessions and the latest pop culture news in the Bay Area

About Me
I'm a pop music writer 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: Common:"Be"
Music Video Eminem: featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
Trailer: The Year of the Yao
TV: Harvey Birdman
Videogame: Fable

MERCURY REVIEWS
Art: The New Art of India
Bar: Boswell's
Book: Jill Scott
Club: Forum
DVD: Kinsey
Movie: Cinderella Man
Music: Sleater-Kinney
Restaurant: The Melting Pot
Theater:The Mambo Kings

SICK SITE
Earth and Sun Kiss

MY PLAYLIST

1. R. Kelly: "Trapped In The Closet"

2. Weezer: "Hold Me"

3. Bright Eyes: "First Day Of My Life"

4. Ringside: "Miss You" and "Criminal"

ENTERTAINMENT RESOURCES
  • Billboard Charts
  • Encyclopedia
  • iticket.com
  • Moviefone
  • Music Dictionary
  • MTV
  • Pollstar
  • tickets.com
  • Urban Dictionary
  • ticketmaster.com
  • VH1

  • BLOGROLL
  • Adisa Banjoko : San Jose's Bishop of Hip hop
  • Angry Asian Man: Asian American media watchdog
  • Berkeley Blogs
  • Black Electorate : Inside Cultural, Economic and Political industries
  • BLT's Parry
  • Crayone: the trials and tribulations of a graffiti artist
  • Dan Gillmor : Grassroots Journalism
  • Dat Phan : Last Comic Standing season 1 winner
  • East Bay Livin' : Ellen Lee's EB hunt
  • Davey D: Hip Hop Daily News
  • Fortt: black american gen x journalist musician multicultural christian technophile
  • Jeff Chang: fellow Asian hip hop writer
  • Joe Grimm : Ask the Recruiter
  • In Passing : Random Street Conversations
  • Pacific Standard: Bay Area hip-hop
  • Pop And Politics
  • Pop Licks : O-Dub, a cultural critic
  • Scape: San Jose graffiti artist
  • SiliconBeat: News about tech money and innovation
  • Monday, February 07, 2005

    "The Chinese Rap Master" in San Jose and Kodo in Berkeley

    I had a percussion filled weekend, so luckily my ears aren't still ringing.

    Saturday afternoon in San Jose, I went to see the "Chinese Rap Master" - with that kind of moniker, I had to check him out. This "master," otherwise known as Wen Bin Lin, was not the traditional kind of emcee. Basically, his version of beat boxing was to clap bamboo together and his rhymes were stories from dynasty times in Chinese.

    He calls himself a "rapper" to re-introduce Chinese history in a format relevant to kids. So all last week he visited some South Bay schools to showcase his art, in order to make his "old school" cool again.

    Then, Sunday, I watched the world renowned taiko group Kodo in Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley. I love how taiko rumbles from the stage to your stomach.

    My favorite parts were:

  • when they did the wave with drum beating


  • when a kid behind us "broke wind" just as the group was at a dramatic crescendo


  • when they rolled out a gigantic drum (they could of fit three of me inside there) on a float and two artists pounded it


  • the encore, when everyone had a different drum and one was so big, the artist didn't bother with two drumsticks, he just had one

  • Finally, it was nice to see females in their group drumming - I heard it's been a recent phenomenon.

    Tonight, ch-check it out:

    WHAT: Something Corporate with Straylight Run
    WHERE: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco
    WHEN: 7 p.m. tonight, 2/7
    TIX: $18.50; (408) 998-8497, (415) 421-8497 or ticketmaster.com
    WHY: Fun pop-punk

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    Photo of Marian Liu by Stephanie Grace Lim, Mercury News
    You can e-mail me at mliu@mercurynews.com.