Jean-Jacques Beineix — RIP

Crowdsourcing works for bloggers too. Readers, can you point me to articles or books about French youth in the late ’70s and early ’80s? How prevalent were UK punk notions with youth culture, and, more importantly, did punk as UK bands understood it happen in big cities? These questions matter when assessing Diva (1981), theContinue reading “Jean-Jacques Beineix — RIP”

Ronnie Spector — RIP

Blessed with a voice whose appetite — for love, religion, more love — never saw its vigor dimmed, the greatest of the early ’60s singers acquired the wisdom of an adult while keeping the ebullience of an adolescent. The Ronettes’ catalog remains astonishing: with the help of producer/scourge Phil Spector, Ronnie and her mates gaveContinue reading “Ronnie Spector — RIP”

Sidney Poitier — RIP

To those of us who matured during the years when he released Little Nikita and Sneakers, “Sidney Poitier” was a name, a property. He registered as a benign presence, faintly worried, as if he had lived long enough to understand the fragility of the enterprise. As a result, the Sidney Poitier who made Joseph L.Continue reading “Sidney Poitier — RIP”

Peter Bogdanovich — RIP

In a three-year period Peter Bogdanovich became America’s most successful director, our premier revivalist and expert nostalgist, making it impossible to care about him again. The Last Picture Show, What’s Up, Doc, and Paper Moon earned cumulatively $130 million in Nixon-era money; Ben Johnson and Tatum O’Neal won Oscars for Best Supporting Actor and ActressContinue reading “Peter Bogdanovich — RIP”

I can’t seem to take these changes: Deon Estus — RIP

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”

On duties and needs: a funeral

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”

Biz Markie — RIP

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”