In the spring of 1989 America had not yet rid itself of its George Michael fascination. Barely three months after Faith‘s last single “Kissing a Fool” peaked at #5 the biggest act of 1988 announced himself, faintly, discreetly. Those are Michael’s backup vocals on “Heaven Help Me,” the only hit for the former Brainstorm memberContinue reading “I can’t seem to take these changes: Deon Estus — RIP”
I can only credit the rude—no, impudent—health of relatives born between 1900 and 1940 for the sixteen-year gap between the death of my great-great aunt (you read this right) and my grandmother. Nothing chipped away at this woman’s glib, alarming positivity, I noted last week. She existed as a force of resolution. Problems like shavingsContinue reading “On duties and needs: a funeral”
Grandmothers from what I’ve read and seen radiate authority. Rarer is the projection of assurance.
To honor Charlie Watts in death, please don’t refer to him as The Greatest Rock Drummer.
I listened to Vanilla Ice’s third single tonight, at the risk of gangrene. “I Love You” courted bathos. That’s the only mode he knew. In the same year Marcel Theo Hall showed contemporaries how to take a worn scenario — a crush insisting on a platonic relationship — into a terribly sung, beautifully wrapped scenario.Continue reading “Biz Markie — RIP”
In the era of Biz Markie, Monie Love, and De La Soul’s “Buddy” remix, Digital Underground distinguished themselves as the most serious of jokesters: they were committed jesters.
Productions whose epic ambitions are so strained they blow out their tires. Small town dreams mythologized into orange colors across the sky. Yep — I could have referred to Bruce Springsteen.
Someone with a knowledge of Minnesota politics can disabuse me of pieties, I trust. I…really have nothing bad to say about Walter Mondale. He was often right when fighting Jimmy Carter, who selected him as a running mate, empowered him like no other vice president in our history (and set the standard for every successorContinue reading “Walter Mondale — RIP”
Rereading Miami this morning, I underlined Joan Didion passage about the Office of Public Diplomacy, a knee-slapper of an org name given little of its business was public, let alone diplomatic. Although “under the aegis” of the State Department, Didion writes, the NSC and White House pulled the strings. Explaining how men in power tellContinue reading “The death of George Shultz”
He wasn’t a great actor, actually. Infatuated with false notions of posh that include even mid-Atlantic accents deployed by Democrats, we Americans tend to think every Canadian or British who lived ever could play Cleon or Lear, or, worse, tend to consider the playing of Cleon or Lear signifies greatness. What the British, or, well,Continue reading “Christopher Plummer — RIP”
A particular 1970s humor depended on the late Cloris Leachman’s adaptability. Flitting from film to TV with an élan many contemporaries lacked, the actress had a rare talent for using comic chops to build the long, meticulously designed arc of a dramatic performance.
The death of David Bowie in January 2016 tolled the bell on lives lived, personae affected, boys swung, stations stationed. It augured a twelve-month period when Maurice White, Phife Dawg, Merle Haggard, George Michael, and closest rival Prince let their legacies breathe on when they no longer could. Worse, our experiment as a republic sufferedContinue reading “Remembering David Bowie in 2021”