Thursday, January 14, 2016

Alan Rickman

We are not off to a great start this year. First David Bowie, and now Alan Rickman.

You know when you hear that someone famous has passed and then for the first time realize how much you truly liked them? I've always liked Alan Rickman, but his death has put this into sharper perspective: why did I like him so? Rickman was an every-man, not classically handsome, but attractive; he was British and his delivery measured, which gave him a slightly sophisticated air; and he worked on stage and screen, which gave him pedigree. He may have been made famous to audiences playing Hans Gruber in Die Hard, but it is his softer performances that get me, specifically Truly Madly Deeply. What always stood out to me was his ability to make every character, even the villains, sympathetic or, at the very least, understandable. In my book, that is the mark of a good actor.

Selected filmography:

Die Hard

Truly Madly Deeply

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Sense and Sensibility

Galaxy Quest

Harry Potter movies

Love Actually

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Alice in Wonderland

Lee Daniel's The Butler

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust

David Bowie--more than any other pop artist--exemplified the necessity of change and metamorphosis. In his six decade career he has inhabited staggeringly diverse personae: extraterrestrial glam rocker; blue-eyed soul singer; cabaret-style Thin White Duke. This overwhelming impetus to redefine himself is perhaps the sole constant of Bowie's oeuvre. Attempting to define his influence is nearly impossible, as it extends well outside the musical domain, into fashion, film, and the art world. Like the Beatles--his early contemporaries--glimpses of Bowie's influence can be found in virtually every aspect of modern music and pop culture. His songs have been covered by a veritable who's who of iconic musical acts; Nirvana, Tina Turner, Beck, White Stripes, Tegan and Sara, etc. It would be impossible to write a comprehensive encomium of David Bowie; an artist whose myriad lives have somehow survived his time on earth. I would encourage all our readers to delve into David Bowie's legacy, via any of the links below, and celebrate his mutable genius.

Selected Discography

Space Oddity

The Man Who Sold the World

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Spiders from Mars

Aladdin Sane


Five Years: 1969-1973

Station to Station



Selected Filmography

The Man Who Fell to Earth


Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me

Best of Bowie