Culture. Entertainment. Obits. And a little bit of everything else... "the only way to be quiet is to be quick, so I scare you clumsily, or surprise you with a stab." -Frank O'Hara
Robin Williams, Funny Boy 1951-2014

Robin Williams, Funny Boy 1951-2014

  We had a few things in common.  Both of us were sons of the midwest (he hailed from Chicago; I was born in Cincinnati). Both of us were born on July 21. About the last–I once worked as an extra on one of his films.  It was Cadillac Man, and...
Horace Silver, Jazz Supernova 1928-2014

Horace Silver, Jazz Supernova 1928-2014

Thanks to Horace Silver, the magical moment occurred shortly after I first moved to New York, one of many that effectively, resoundingly, shot down (or made me re-consider) all my country Midwestern notions about…everything. I’d say I was hooked from the moment I heard that sneaky vamp. “Come on Home”...
Scene of the Crime

Scene of the Crime

It looks like a hole in the world. Among many other thoughts, that’s what struck me when I finally got a chance to see the 9/11 Memorial Plaza few weeks back. Symbols exist for a reason, and the architects of our country’s newest grief repository have hit on just the...
Separated at Birth

Separated at Birth

Melky Cabrera… …and Donna McKechnie (all roads lead to musical theater, dontcha know…)  
Gordon Willis, Cinematographer, 1931-2014

Gordon Willis, Cinematographer, 1931-2014

If he’d only shot The Godfather, Annie Hall and Manhattan, Gordon Willis’s reputation would be secure as one of the visual artists responsible for Hollywood’s last golden age of artisanal filmmaking.  But his other films were equally masterful–this was the man who also did Pennies from Heaven, Woody Allen’s wonderful...
The Jackie Robinson Moment

The Jackie Robinson Moment

First Jason Collins and now Michael Sam: the pro-sports glass ceiling has been broken, ushering in waves of support and (no surprise) standard-issue good ol’ American homophobia. Check out the media weigh-ins on CNN and the New Yorker, and don’t forget: when you express your happiness by kissing a loved...
Vampire Elegies, 50s Negroes and White Folks With Guitars

Vampire Elegies, 50s Negroes and White Folks With Guitars

On screen, onstage, in concert: here’s some stuff I got to see last week. Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, director). What could be more modern? Two lovers live on opposite sides of the continent; when Adam (Tom Hiddleston), a legendary rock star recluse holed up in Detroit, becomes suicidal,...
In the theater, giving sorrow words

In the theater, giving sorrow words

We go to the theater to renew our ties to the world.  Sometimes we’re reminded of things, lives, people we used to know, or feelings we’ve tucked away long ago. When it’s working, a play can unearth those buried treasures, though the effect isn’t always pleasant. At a recent performance...
James Rebhorn, Ubiquitous Character Actor, 1948-2014

James Rebhorn, Ubiquitous Character Actor, 1948-2014

Rarely the lead; usually a guest; embodies either the saint, or the devil; appears everywhere at once: such is the definition of a working character actor, which James Rebhorn was throughout a laudable career that unfolded mostly on television, though he had his moments on the big screen too (The...
Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014

Calling him the Master wouldn’t begin to cover it.  He was everything you’d want in a character actor.  He could be funny and tragic, often at once (Capote); he could be imperious or blustery (The Master), yet he was capable of conveying great tenderness and vulnerability (as the lovelorn techie...
Comes another year

Comes another year

There’s a certain slant of light, Winter afternoons— That oppresses, like the heft Of cathedral tunes Emily Dickinson Winter is the cruelest season, though for me it’s not so much about the cold (though we’ve had our chilly moments, this time of year our apartment often feels like summer).  What...
Joan Fontaine 1917-2013

Joan Fontaine 1917-2013

One of the first Hitchcock blondes.  When she won her Oscar for his Suspicion in 1942, she was the youngest best actress winner ever (at the age of 24).  Check out the Times obit here.  RIP.  
Peter O'Toole 1932-2013

Peter O’Toole 1932-2013

Two favorites: O’Toole with Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million.  What an ultra, and the end of an era–check out UK’s Guardian obit here.  RIP.  
The Good Die Young

The Good Die Young

They died too young.  That’s one of the ways certain deaths acquire the sheen of tragedy.  It’s never that way with long-timers who’ve earned every nail in their coffins: Lou Reed, for one, lived so many professional and personal lives, well, it’s not as if he died unfulfilled.  Most of...
Today is World AIDS Days

Today is World AIDS Days

Because it’s not over yet. Right?
Fool for Fall

Fool for Fall

That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73 Don’t’ be fooled by those guys still wearing flip-flops, or the young (and not so) women who continue to stroll...
National Coming Out Day (Be Yourself)...

National Coming Out Day (Be Yourself)…

I could think of no greater tribute than posting some works of Barbara Kruger, many of which read like metaphors for the state of closetness.  A toast…to self.
Intrigue, Plots To Bring Disaster

Intrigue, Plots To Bring Disaster

The light at the end of a tunnel riddled with residency applications, re-writes and paper grading–The Good Wife returns tonight, and if you’ve yet to tune in to one of TV’s finest hours, you’re missing out. Aside from the dearly departed The Hour, this is only viewing date I’m ever...
Gone Girls

Gone Girls

Some are born to leave their mark.  Lately we’ve lost so many who have that late summer feels a touch more autumnal; now we have to get used to life without Eydie Gorme, Elmore Leonard, Dennis Farina, Emile Griffith, Walter DeMaria, Virginia E. Johnson, Esther Williams, James Gandolfini, and Michael...
Karen Black, 1939-2013

Karen Black, 1939-2013

An original. She was an actress whose best roles came in film’s last golden age (the 70s), a cross-eyed wildling embued with sex appeal and a fierce intelligence, no surprise for someone who entered college at the age of 15.  Retrospective: Five Easy Pieces (winning an Oscar nomination as well...
Dickinson riffs on summer

Dickinson riffs on summer

No, not Angie.  Emily, the original Goth Girl, sums up summer beautifully in this poem, courtesy of DailyLit: A something in a summer’s Day As slow her flambeaux burn away Which solemnizes me. A something in a summer’s noon— A depth—an Azure—a perfume— Transcending ecstasy. And still within a summer’s night...
Cory Monteith, Star of "Glee" 1982-2013

Cory Monteith, Star of “Glee” 1982-2013

Gloomy Sunday: shame to get this news upon waking.  What a charming young actor–check out this obit in the Chicago Tribune.  R.I.P. sweet prince…
Blood Count

Blood Count

To draw comparisons between the current Broadway production of Macbeth and the New York Historical Society’s just opened exhibition AIDS in New York: The First Five Years seems a reach.  Yet after seeing both in the same week, my thoughts drift to issues of mortality, not to mention body counts. ...
Death Watch

Death Watch

               
Jean Stapleton, Comic Miracle, 1923-2013

Jean Stapleton, Comic Miracle, 1923-2013

What a sweetheart.  Made me laugh out loud in everything from All in the Family (as Edith Bunker) to Klute (in a cameo as anxious secretary).  What versatility-be it musicals (she was in the original cast of Funny Girl and Bells are Ringing) or drama, hers was a career that...
RIP: Smash

RIP: Smash

Ask any rabid television fan: the road to hell is paved with the carcasses of shows that are too out there, too cerebral, too genre, too tiny-demographic-by-way-of-special-interest-esoteric.  You could go back as far as Adam’s Rib (a short-lived comedy series starring Blythe Danner and Ken Howard) or Honey West (Anne...
Death Letters

Death Letters

 No time for visits or pleasantries with friends. Not meaning to be rude, I am all in my head and heart, completely consumed, driven to record as much as I can before you fade from me. I know this behavior is futile. You are gone and my efforts will not...
Disappearing Acts

Disappearing Acts

Before:  Thirty years ago I thought, This is too good to be true the first time I laid eyes on the view from my living room window.  The overcast day could not disguise the miles and miles of sky that unfurled.  That, combined with the space of 5 rooms sold me. My...
More Oscar Bait!

More Oscar Bait!

  Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell, director).  Two zanies meet cute, overcome a boatload of wacky complications to find love.  The setup sounds like a plot spun from the delicious mind of a Preston Sturges or Howard Hawks.  Russell, returning to the brand of comedy he minted in such...
Random Thoughts on Mortality

Random Thoughts on Mortality

1)   Woke up from a dream involving my ex.  I and some friends and strangers found him sprawled on a divan in what seemed an abandoned office building.  Like a pieta he was sprawled, and looked the way he had at the end of his life—thin, riddled with Karposi’s sarcoma,...
Oscar Bait!

Oscar Bait!

In Hollywood no one can hear you scream: that thought went through my head as I watched Rebecca Miller on the red carpet parade preceding last Sunday’s Golden Globes.  Miller is Mrs. Daniel Day-Lewis; she’s also a fine film director, so it was a touch dispiriting to see her introduced...
Richard's Blanco's One Day

Richard’s Blanco’s One Day

Nothing like an inauguration and a pop of poetry to inspire one’s day.  Happy MLK Day to all. “One Today” One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores, peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth across the Great Plains, then...
Eating Art for Lunch

Eating Art for Lunch

Best Saturday ever: first, Ann Hamilton’s installation at the Park Avenue Armory, then the George Bellows retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Ann’s from Lima, OH; Bellows hails from Columbus.  As a Cincinnatian, nice to know that our state’s renown extends beyond it being a swing state, and a...
Did she jump or was she pushed?

Did she jump or was she pushed?

It’s every commuter’s nightmare.  Though actually there are several: the train stops just outside the station and sits for what seems like hours.  Someone pulls the emergency cord.  You discover that you’re trapped in a car from 125th to Columbus Circle with a religious zealot spewing a bottomless pit of...
Bam, Bam...

Bam, Bam…

BAM!  
Manhattan on the Rocks

Manhattan on the Rocks

Looks like we survived the week.  What an advantage we have living on top of a hill; still, it’s tree-heavy here.  A stroll through our neighborhood revealed the carnage of both broken limbs and major uprootings.  Meanwhile New York rises from the ashes.  The trick for them: drain the tunnels,...
Autumn Highs and Lows

Autumn Highs and Lows

The week that was ended as it began, with one of those happened-upon moments that are as indigenous to Manhattan as is Mitt Romney to an off-shore banking account: strolling up Broadway near Lincoln Center I was on a cell phone call when I heard the familiar strains of Scott...
Finding a suit, and myself

Finding a suit, and myself

Like all great romances it started slowly.  First it was underwear; later I graduated to socks and ties, little wardrobe resuscitators for a single guy on a budget.  I found myself returning, a little shy, but intrigued, wondering if this was the way out of my J. Crew-Gap-Thrift Shop-Army-Navy fashion...
Hal David, Lyricist 1921-2012

Hal David, Lyricist 1921-2012

  What’s it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live? What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie? Are we meant to take more than we give or are we meant to be kind? And if only fools are kind, Alfie, then I guess...
Summer's Lease

Summer’s Lease

The giveaway happened this morning.  It came in the form of a sneeze—several, actually, all so forceful that my coffee flew out of my cup into my face.  No burns, only embarrassed, accompanied by NY1’s confirmation of my suspicions: ragweed had launched its ugly spores into the air.  Zyrtec, take...
Accent on Youth

Accent on Youth

As summer creeps to a close, I thank the stars for the Shins: look beneath the mind-bending time signatures of this pop group and you’ll find a neo-folk style that straddles eras as well as genres.  Its easy evocation of coltish youth suits Trey McIntyre’s choreography for the Shins-titled Oh,...
How Deep is Your Love: Robin Gibb 1948-2012

How Deep is Your Love: Robin Gibb 1948-2012

First Donna Summer, now this.  Curious, though, about the album he released this spring, his first toe-dip into classical music called Titanic Requiem.  RIP, thanks for enhancing the soundtrack of my youth…
Last Dance: Donna Summer, Pop Vocalist, 1948-2012

Last Dance: Donna Summer, Pop Vocalist, 1948-2012

Ah…love to love ya, baby…  RIP, and thanks.  
Carlos Fuentes, "The Old Gringo" novelist, essayist, 1928-2012

Carlos Fuentes, “The Old Gringo” novelist, essayist, 1928-2012

“The contract between the author and the reader is a game. And the game . . . is one of the greatest invetions of Western civilization: the game of telling stories, inventing characters, and creating the imaginary paradise of the individual, from whence no one can be expelled because, in...
Birthday Suits

Birthday Suits

    Sometimes a demurral speaks volumes, as I discovered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this weekend.  Me and my spouse dropped in to catch Naked Before the Camera, a pocket-sized exhibition of photographic nudes culled from the Met’s own holdings.  The show is smart and informative, combining names...
But how will it play in the South?

But how will it play in the South?

Finally he’s off the fence.  Obama endorses same-sex marriage–thousands cheer…history is made…and the hand-wringing (over his re-election prospects, and whether this constitutes a genuine sea change for gay rights in America) begins…    
Maurice Sendak 1928-2012

Maurice Sendak 1928-2012

Check out the  lovely Times obit here
Why my heart doesn't go dancing

Why my heart doesn’t go dancing

Is April the kindest, or the cruelest month?  The party line affirms the first: it’s the time of rebirth when saucer magnolias pop their tragic blooms, crocuses and tulips sprout, warm weather hints and Easter descends, toting tales of resurrection. I’m not feeling it, which makes me wonder if I...
Dig Two Graves

Dig Two Graves

The sound of the wind was strong.  It was that, and what felt like sudden warmth that made Christina sit up, then shield her eyes from the sharp light.  She’d fallen asleep in the field.  How long had it been—an hour?  Minutes?  She yawned.  The inhalation rephrased the moment, reminded...
Dory Previn, Lyricist, 1925-2012

Dory Previn, Lyricist, 1925-2012

  All ten year-old tragedians need a soundtrack.  Mine was the Theme from Valley of the Dolls, that heartbreaking ballad from the film that starred Barbara Parkins, Sharon Tate and Patty Duke.  I had no idea that the song was meant to underscore the film heroine’s descent into pill addiction...
Where do broken hearts go: Whitney Houston 1963-2012

Where do broken hearts go: Whitney Houston 1963-2012

I heard the news last night before bed, and forgot about it.   Then I woke up too early and, as I sat in front of the TV, the news scroll reminded me.  Still it’s vague, I’m in denial until I walk down to my building’s lobby to pick up our...
Firsts: Don Cornelius 1936-2012, Camilla Williams 1919-2012, Ben Gazzara 1930-2012

Firsts: Don Cornelius 1936-2012, Camilla Williams 1919-2012, Ben Gazzara 1930-2012

You turned on the TV on Saturday afternoon and there he was, the envy of every black boy on the block.  It was his high style and aspirational exhortations that drew us each week, mirrored more youthfully by the Soul Train dancers, whose moves we copied for use on our...
The Friends of Frank

The Friends of Frank

On recent sleepless nights I’ve been haunted by an image of a person I’ve come to know well.  The man has the face of a pugilist; tall and long-limbed, he stands with his hands behind his head wearing nothing but a pair of boots and a taunting, defiant stare. This...
James Farentino 1938-2012; Nicol Williamson 1936-2012; Eiko Ishioka 1938-2012

James Farentino 1938-2012; Nicol Williamson 1936-2012; Eiko Ishioka 1938-2012

  Farentino was lethal: a handsome actor whose performances ranged from Happy in Lee J. Cobb’s Death of a Salesman (later onstage as Biff to George C. Scott’s Willie) to Juan Peron in the Faye Dunaway telefilm “Evita Peron.”  My favorite: his hotheaded lawyer in TV’s The Bold Ones. The Scotsman...
Etta James, Singer 1938-2012

Etta James, Singer 1938-2012

Pleasures By Parsons

Pleasures By Parsons

With Manhattan now plunged into tundra-nipping temps, no one could be blamed for falling into the contagious warmth that emanates from the Joyce Theater in Chelsea.  Now through the 22nd, Parsons Dance is weaving its spell of virtuosic imagination that since 1985 has only deepened in its ingenuity and delights....
Too much to see dept...

Too much to see dept…

From Gayletter: Above: Charles Demuth (American, 1883–1935). Dancing Sailors, 1917 Slideshow: Keith Haring (American, 1958–1990). Unfinished Painting, 1989.
Shortcuts: Coriolanus

Shortcuts: Coriolanus

  Fiennes, with Vanessa Redgrave Was it accidental, or did Ralph Fiennes anticipate the cries of the rabble?  At the beginning of Coriolanus, Fiennes’ adaptation of Shakespeare’s parabolic tale of a war hero who, prodded by minions and his politic/duty-bound matriarch (Vanessa Redgrave, better than ever, if that’s possible) loses...
Alan Sues, Comic Actor 1926-2011

Alan Sues, Comic Actor 1926-2011

There was Liberace, Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly and on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In, Alan Sues.  What a quartet of flamboyant personalities who blazed on prime time when I was coming of age.   In the 70s their very names were punchlines, code for every euphemism of that other f-word even...
Ken Russell, Film Director 1927-2011

Ken Russell, Film Director 1927-2011

The Music Lovers.  Women in Love.  The Devils.  The Boyfriend.  Tommy.  Altered States.  Could anyone combine the prurient and the literary, the highbrow and low rent more effectively than Ken Russell?  His best films actually look better now than when they were made; the worst (Lizstomania, Gothic, The Lair of...
Season's Dreams

Season’s Dreams

A reason for the seasons was what I got when, in grade school, I was taught the myth of Demeter and Persephone; the idea that a spell could be cast to wither grass and leaves made a stronger impression than the myth’s true focus: a mother’s longing for a daughter...
Serra, Serra...

Serra, Serra…

Ah, those pesky associations: as I walked the curves and alleys of Richard Serra’s Junction/Cycle now showing at the Gagosian Gallery, the déjà vu practically bit my butt.  Those swerving surfaces reminded me of other Serras, sure, but they also resemble the vistas captured in the film 127 Hours, the...
Capering Calders

Capering Calders

In a perfect world, I’d have lots of money, a non-stop supply of peanut M/M’s and a house with an Alexander Calder sculpture in every room.  Long shots all, but the third is close enough to touch, at least until the 23rd of December: Calder 1941 focuses on a pivotal...
Of Reliquaries and Retrospects

Of Reliquaries and Retrospects

The mournful qualities of fall—all those dying leaves whose color mimics that of dried blood—complement the inaugural season at New York LiveArts, the still-young merger between Dance Theater Workshop and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Dance Company.  With evergreen works by Jones and John Kelly being remounted, how intriguing that so far...
Deep in a Dream of Flesh and Retribution

Deep in a Dream of Flesh and Retribution

Most of us wouldn’t have the cojones to live full-time in a Pedro Almodovar world, but a visit to his new film The Skin I Live In provides enough of a rush to make the trip worthwhile.  Antonio Banderas (long missed as the perfect male muse for Almodovar) stars as...
Suffering indignities in order to simply be

Suffering indignities in order to simply be

Here’s an interesting bit from Chapter 11 of The Gay and Lesbian Almanac: …in 1962, the president of the District of Columbia’s Mattachine Society, Dr. Franklin Kameny, appeared on local television for 90 seconds to talk about his organization.  Such appearance was so rare and daring that the interview was...
Opening Doors, on Fifth Avenue and in Harlem

Opening Doors, on Fifth Avenue and in Harlem

It’s the comeback of the year.  Pardon my exaggeration, but the National Academy Museum has always held a fond place in my heart since I first visited in the mid 1990s.  A block or so north of the Guggenheim, it’s one of those unsung jewels that, because of its size,...
Mourning Songs for a Theater, in a City Still Reeling

Mourning Songs for a Theater, in a City Still Reeling

This week in Manhattan, Ground Zero isn’t the only repository of grief and longing.  At the Marriott Marquis Theater in midtown, you’ll find a different kind of mourning going on.  Before the curtain rises on the current revival of Follies, Stephen Sondheim’s 1971 elegiac musical, the audience is treated to...
Cliff Robertson 1923-2011

Cliff Robertson 1923-2011

No, he wasn’t a big star.  He was, however, a dependable leading man with a solid career in TV and films, nabbing an Oscar for his title portrayal in 1968′s Charly.  The momentum from that win was hampered when he publicly took David Begelman to task, exposing the former head...
At war with woe

At war with woe

Last night from the fire escape of our apartment my partner and I gazed downtown to take in the Manhattan skyline.  There were our skyscrapers—the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, Citicorp, Time Warner and the still rising One World Trade Center—dotting the horizon, their spires lit up like an...
Alexander Steinweiss, Inventor of the Album Cover  1917-2011

Alexander Steinweiss, Inventor of the Album Cover 1917-2011

When Alexander Steinweiss pitched the idea of using original art on covers used to house vinyl records back in 1937, it revolutionized Columbia Records.  Sales soared, and other companies followed suit.  Album covers are all but dead now, miniaturized into jewel cases for CDs (whose death knell peals with the...
Regular People Picking Pictures

Regular People Picking Pictures

The leaving is the hardest part. Call me complacent, or merely a homebody—whether departing for Rome, Beijing or even upstate New York, a mourning state comes over me whenever I must leave Manhattan. Maybe it’s always hard because I can’t forget that this was where my life truly began, which...
The Good Wife No More

The Good Wife No More

Life imitating art or history repeating–take your pick.
Twilight world from a distance, and up close

Twilight world from a distance, and up close

Alvin Baltrop took the long view.  I relish his head-spinning panoramas of places that no longer exist; Baltrop’s camera captured the looming gilders inside abandoned hangars and the wide expanses of wooden piers along the Hudson in the West Village, ones that hadn’t seen a ship’s arrival in many a...
Lady Sang the Blues...Phoebe Snow 1950-2011

Lady Sang the Blues…Phoebe Snow 1950-2011

Were any of us prepared for the phenomenon that was Phoebe Snow?  In 1974 I was a senior in high school; along came Phoebe with her magnificent debut, a bouquet of tunes (Poetry Man, Harpo’s Blues, Either or Both, I Don’t Want the Night to End, Take Your Children Home,...
Hopper and His Friends

Hopper and His Friends

A friend of Hopper: Guy Pene du Bois’s Opera Box, 1926 I tend to think of New York’s Whitney Museum as the house of Hopper.  Right now they’re hosting another retrospective of this fine painter’s work with a twist.  Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time is on display now...
Spiderman: Turn on the Lights

Spiderman: Turn on the Lights

The theater is schizophrenic, I mused after a recent matinee of Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark.  Only a month before I’d seen Daniel Sullivan’s exemplary revival of The Merchant of Venice—it goes without saying that the shows were as different as night and day, but sometimes such dichotic experience makes...
Fall for Traffic

Fall for Traffic

Rousing myself from my sofa scraped and bruised a day after I was car-doored on Park Avenue on the way to a yoga class.Traffic on Fifth Avenue was closed Saturday, which necessitated a detour onto one of the worst avenues for a biker.Maybe it was my preoccupation with the potholes,...
Black and White Memoria

Black and White Memoria

Ultimately photography is about who you are.  It’s the seeking of truth in relationship to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit Leonard Freed Over the weekend I made an attempt to meet up with my spouse for a gallery hop in Chelsea after yoga, but alas, the ones we...
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Jerry Leiber 1933-2011, Nick Ashford 1942-2011

Jerry Leiber 1933-2011, Nick Ashford 1942-2011

Both were members of song writing teams that shifted the landscape of American popular music.  The titles say it all: try to imagine a world without the Leiber-Stoller penned Jailhouse Rock, Hound Dog, Stand by Me, Yakety Yak, Kansas City, Is that All There Is?  Everyone from Peggy Lee to Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen (check...
Jane White, Actress 1922-2011

Jane White, Actress 1922-2011

“Who is that?” I recalled thinking as a child when I first saw Jane White in a television version of Once Upon a Mattress.  As the imperious Queen Aggravain, her performance was a lesson in comedy and drop-dead stylishness; she was something special, and I looked forward to seeing her again. But sightings were rare—hers...
Betting on the Redhead

Betting on the Redhead

Something to Look Forward to Dept: Lucille Ball’s birthday is today; had she lived, that madcap comedienne would’ve been 100.  But another redhead’s stealing her thunder this week.  The season of Lauren Ambrose is upon us; I was elated to see she’s appearing as a rabid press agent on the new season of my favorite...
Dan Peek, Member of America, 1950-2011

Dan Peek, Member of America, 1950-2011

You could almost call him the voice of America.  Dan Peek‘s dry, wary baritone is the one you heard fronting such songs as A Horse with No Name, Tin Man, Ventura Highway and Lonely People.  Some would say that America was at the forefront of the California sound that pervaded FM Radio back in the seventies;...
Tom Aldredge, 1928-2011

Tom Aldredge, 1928-2011

Unless you are a fan of television’s Damages (guilty), most people are unfamiliar with the work of the great Tom Aldredge.  On that show he played Glenn Close’s protector, the circumspect Uncle Pete in a subtle character portrayal that was typical of a man whose career made more of a mark on the Broadway stage,...
Amy Winehouse, Singer, Newest Member of the 27 Club, 1983-2011

Amy Winehouse, Singer, Newest Member of the 27 Club, 1983-2011

Too sad for words.  A real talent, gone too soon.  RIP, miss…
Lucian Freud, Searing Portraitist, 1922-2011

Lucian Freud, Searing Portraitist, 1922-2011

Born on the 21st of July

Born on the 21st of July

Cat Stevens  
Funny Boy

Funny Boy

Cancer bulletin: nothing relives the doldrums of my birth month like a good laugh.  Good luck finding anything resembling that at the movies; sure, it’s air-conditioned but “rom com” beware.  The term alone guarantees the absence of wit, or for that matter, anything resembling human behavior. Which means us humor-mongers must reach back to the...
Cy Twombly 1928-2011

Cy Twombly 1928-2011

A modern master.  Read Jerry Saltz’s consideration of this great artist here.  RIP
Anna Massey 1937-2011

Anna Massey 1937-2011

One of the best British actresses ever, she could go from light comedy to period drama without breaking a sweat.  Retrospect: catch her in anything, but especially Hitchcock’s Frenzy, Another Country and the Powell/Pressburger masterwork (her second film) Peeping Tom.  RIP.
Another Page

Another Page

Live from New York: this morning as a family of starlings chirped me into cognizance, I thought, the past is present again.  Funny—it remembered the first day of my Woodstock residency almost a month ago, less evocative of home than a clue to the sheer volume and diversity of bird stock in that neck of...
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