In a recent episode, Jason Schwartzman (a talented music maker in his own right) gathers up a pile of vinyl records and plops himself down on the floor in the cassette section to go through his discoveries. His mission that day was to find music to play for his soon to be born baby.
Practically giddy with excitement about the notion of sharing this music with his family, Schwatzman talks about how he chooses records in manner that’s half serious and half Christopher Guest. His bag reveals a diverse range of music, everything from Brian Eno’s Apollo soundtrack to Harry Nilsson’s playful songs. He adds albums by Rolling Stones and The Who for balance, along with some Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. (This kid’s in utero and post-birth music education will prepare him to go to Berklee.)
In other episodes, electronic music producer Thomas Fehlmann gravitates towards psychedelic sounds. Hip Hop MC Donwill filled his bag with 80’s pop hits, Herbie Hancock, and the Talking Heads DVD Stop Making Sense. Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing buys Alan Lomax in Haiti, a box set of films and recordings from 1936 and also some psychedelic Cumbias from Peru. Christopher Dennis, known as Hollywood Superman, picks up a copy of Cheech & Chong Still Smokin’.
In maybe the most adorable installment, nine year old Bentley professes his love for the music of Nirvana. He picks out a copy of The way of the Vaselines: A Complete History because he heard they influenced the Nirvana songs he has been practicing on his guitar at home. Sporting black nails polish, Bentley admits to his dream of one day dating Cobain’s daughter Frances Bean, which is both cute and creepy.
Most of the episodes feel either like an artsy documentary or a casual chat with a friend. It’s also great marketing for Amoeba.
If you walk into any one of the store’s three locations (Hollywood, San Francisco, and Berkeley) and fill your bag with an impressively distinctive stash of music and movies, you too might one day be the next “What’s In My Bag?” star…