This woman don’t stay in love forever: K.T. Oslin — RIP

Even during an era when Rosanne Cash scored several #1s, K.T. Oslin stood out for her crisp stories about women reluctant to call themselves feminists but want explanations for feeling unpretty, being ignored by husbands, and the isolation of an empty house. With a sympathetic label the Oslin of 2020 might’ve recorded so-called Americana, notContinue reading “This woman don’t stay in love forever: K.T. Oslin — RIP”

The quest for the Grail: Sean Connery – RIP

Rivaling the late Max Von Sydow as the oldest youngest man in Hollywood, Thomas Sean Connery of Edinburgh looked as if he’d lived several lives onscreen. Cary Grant thirty years earlier figured out the essential component of screen stardom: withhold; keep your secrets. Connery’s reticence made him an ideal James Bond for the JFK generation:Continue reading “The quest for the Grail: Sean Connery – RIP”

Br. Eugene Trzecieski — RIP

“You all look like semi-educated cows chewing intellectual cuds,” the dome-headed sexagenarian remarked, not unkindly. We hovered over an Entenmann’s Danish ring that looked fresher ten days earlier when opened and not exposed to the faculty lounge’s also unfresh cigarette reek. Male students at a Catholic high school didn’t understand dishwashing or hygiene. We didn’tContinue reading “Br. Eugene Trzecieski — RIP”

Bill Weber — RIP

He would’ve scoffed at the next verb: we “met” on ILX in the summer or fall of 2005, sparring over Michael Haneke films but most explicitly about Brokeback Mountain. Smitten for extracurricular reasons, I put aside the movie’s flaws. With Bill, he could scoff at you for many things: sentimentality; the folly of praising anyoneContinue reading “Bill Weber — RIP”

Ruth Bader Ginsberg — RIP, Part II

Thanks to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, millions of women gained access to safe abortions and were no longer considered “secondary breadwinners,” gay men and women could marry, extended the statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit, and all-male admission practices in military colleges were unconstitutional. I could go on.

John Lewis, RIP

Freedom Rider. Leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Along with Bayard Rustin one of the organizers of the 1962 March on Washington. The victim of a skull fracture at Bloody Selma three years later. Pioneer in the practice of “redemptive suffering.” Thirty-four years representing parts of Atlanta in the House.

Ennio Morricone — RIP

I can think of few composers whose scores projected what the film was supposed to “say” better than their screenplays and directors did than the late Ennio Morricone. I can cite many examples of his acumen; let me settle on The Mission, an otherwise regrettable, forgotten Cannes winner starring Jeremy Irons in his stuffed canaryContinue reading “Ennio Morricone — RIP”

Larry Kramer — RIP

In the copy of Faggots I bought in 1999 I bracketed the following passage: And every faggot couple I know is deep into friendship and deep into fucking with everyone else but each other and any minute any bump appears in their commitment to infinitesimally obstruct their view, out they zip like petulant kids toContinue reading “Larry Kramer — RIP”

Florian Schneider — RIP

It took a concert to learn impeccable posture and choreographed non-movement were all that separated Kraftwerk from the post-hippie seventies guitar bands to whom the German synth act were often contrasted. At the former Jackie Gleason Theater on November 2004, Kraftwerk jammed, man, extending tracks beyond their album lengths with parsimoniously dispersed curlicues of melodyContinue reading “Florian Schneider — RIP”

John Prine — RIP

“When I woke up this mornin’/Things were lookin’ bad,” he sang on the first song on his eponymous debut album in 1972 over basic chords. Many songwriters would’ve stopped right there. In the next line, however, comes the kicker: a bowl of oatmeal tries to stare him down — and wins! To be a successfulContinue reading “John Prine — RIP”

Celebrating Bill Withers

No popular singer-songwriter wrote so many good songs about friendship as Bill Withers. “Might be that we have, different views sometimes/But that’s alright, you’re still a friend of mine,” he sang on “Friend of Mine.” Less than a decade later Duran Duran toyed with the sentiment; in 1985 Jackson Browne and Clarence Clemons put tooContinue reading “Celebrating Bill Withers”