I came late to Don Van Vliet. Listening to Doc at the Radar Station in summer ‘ 99 at the peak of my infatuation with post-punk and its antecedents, I was prepared for its wrenching guitar sound and quicksand textures, but not the sheer oddness of the Captain’s vocals. “Telephone” and “Sue Egypt” still soundContinue reading “Captain Beefheart – RIP”
I’d like to think the virtues of Loving convinced George Lucas to give Irwin Kershner a chance at directing the sequel to the highest grossing film in history to date. Tonally uneven, Loving (1970) wobbles between the shagginess and sexual honesty of New Hollywood and the stagebound conventions of the old, best epitomized by theContinue reading “Irvin Kershner – RIP”
Not so much a talented actor as a lucky one. Finding writers and directors like Zucker-Abraham-Zucker to exploit the remains of his stolid handsomeness and colorless baritone is one thing; investing non-sequiturs and gibberish as if they were written by Shaw, he seemed liberated. That’s who Lieutenant Frank Drebin of “Police Squad!” was: a manContinue reading “Leslie Nielsen – RIP”
Tony Curtis talked like he looked: oily, with remnants of Bernard Schwartz of the Bronx never far off. I don’t want to know what went on in the Hollywood Babylon days; a man married six times certainly has more anecdotes than one has lives to listen to them. Although I haven’t seen even half ofContinue reading “Tony Curtis – RIP”
The most flattering statement I can write about Patricia Neal is that in life and onscreen she acted like someone who could have married Roald Dahl. I can’t imagine the intensity of her physical pain (which makes her small, charming role in Cookie’s Fortune heroic as well as interesting). Her best performances are unusually unaffectedContinue reading “Patricia Neal – RIP”
Browsing in the music section of a since defunct superstore called BookStop (the logo was an actual stop sign) in the fall of 1992, I found a canary yellow paperback by one Robert Christgau, a collection of reviews the author published in the eighties. I flipped to the entries on two of my beacons, PeterContinue reading “Consumer Guide – R.I.P.”
Official. The Gospel According to Jesus Christ was the only one of his many novels whose execution matched its grand conception, but Blindness and The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis are near masterpieces of allegory; the savagery in those novels had a distinctly pre-Enlightenment bite, worthy of Swift and Voltaire.
Not much to add to the tributes and obits I’ve read in the last couple of days. My own experiences are a little different from Matos’. In high school I knew him for his gonzo turns as Marlon Brando’s addled hagiographer in Apocalypse Now and the coach in Hoosiers, two performances which look different onContinue reading “Dennis Hopper R.I.P.”
I never saw Georgy Girl, but as the more workaday Redgrave she graced purgatorial stuff from my childhood like “Murder, She Wrote.” She made a minor comeback in the late nineties with roles in Shine and Gods & Monsters (the kind of overacting that Oscar loves). My favorite performance was a cameo in Kinsey (2005)Continue reading “Lynn Redgrave: RIP”
For a lot of us in South Florida the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Adam Walsh in the summer of 1981 was our first exposure to what we call now “the news cycle”: the drip-drip-drip of coverage that begins with the known facts of the abduction, followed by steady updates culminating in a grisly climax.Continue reading “Yick.”
Ann Powers’ lovely Alex Chilton obituary.
Like a lot of eighties kids, my first acquaintance with Alex Chilton happened when I fast forwarded around The Bangles’ cover of “September Gurls” on Different Light. A decent cover — sung by (I think) bassist Michael Steele, with the right amount of rue. Most importantly, the album’s multiplatinum sales garnered Chilton maybe the decentContinue reading “Alex Chilton: RIP.”