Les Blank, whose sly, sensuous and lyrical documentaries about regional music and a host of other idiosyncratic subjects, including Mardi Gras, gaptoothed women, garlic and the filmmaker Werner Herzog, were widely admired by critics and other filmmakers if not widely known by moviegoers, died on Sunday at his home in Berkeley, Calif. He was 77.
If a movie is really working, you forget for two hours your Social Security number and where your car is parked. You are having a vicarious experience. You are identifying, in one way or another, with the people on the screen.
RIP Roger Ebert (June 18, 1942 - April 4, 2013)
“Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.”
Gore Vidal, 1925-2012
He crossed the Atlantic because it was there, and the Pacific because it was also there.
He made both crossings in a rowboat because it, too, was there, and because the lure of sea, spray and sinew, and the history-making chance to traverse two oceans without steam or sail, proved irresistible.
In 1969, after six months alone on the Atlantic battling storms, sharks and encroaching madness, John Fairfax, who died this month at 74, became the first lone oarsman in recorded history to traverse any ocean. (NYT)
He also once settled a dispute with a pistol when he was nine, spent time in the Amazon, and at one time or another was both a professional gambler and a pirate’s apprentice. He could have been Dos Equis’ spokesman, but he was likely doing something far more interesting at the time.
Don Cornelius, creator of the long-running TV dance show “Soul Train,” shot himself to death Wednesday morning at his Los Angeles home, police said. He was 75.
Rest in peace, good sir. And as always in parting, we wish you peace, love and soul.
Kim Jong-il has passed away.
A few of the man’s titles, as created by the Worker’s Party of Korea:
- Great General
- Great Leader
- Respected Leader
- Wise Leader
- Brilliant Leader
- Peerless Leader
- Dear Leader
- Dear Leader, who is a perfect incarnation of the appearance that a leader should have
- Father of the People
- Beloved Father
- Sun of the Communist Future
- Sun of Socialism
- Guiding Sun Ray
- Supreme Leader of the Nation
- Ever-Victorious, Iron-Willed Commander
- Leader of the 21st Century
Without a doubt, this is our favorite freewheeling photograph of the late, great Christopher Hitchens, whose passing we can barely comprehend. So we turn to the words of Graydon Carter, who writes of this image in his touching memoriam:
“I once sent him out on a mission to break the most niggling laws still on the books in New York City. One such decree forbade riding a bicycle with your feet off the pedals. The photograph that ran with the column, of Christopher sailing a small bike through Central Park with his legs in the air, looked like something out of the Moscow Circus.”
Photograph by Christian Witkin.
Long Form has put together a great selection of Hitchens’ magazine pieces over at Slate. Well worth your time this weekend.
For better or worse, this man was an icon.
Rest in peace, Mr. Rooney. I don’t care for most things, either.
“…his entourage consisted of a personal jet, two Antonov transport aircraft, a container ship loaded with buses, goat carcases and prayer mats, a mobile hospital, jamming equipment that disrupted local networks, $6 million in petty cash, and 400 security guards with associated rocket launchers, armoured cars and other hardware.”
Sounds about right.