Iconic Film Critic and author Roger Ebert passed away today, April 4th, 2013, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 70 years old. The Chicago Tribune, has a loving obit at This Link. RIP Roger, I miss you already.
Julian Cope, Musician, author, musicologist and recognized authority on Neolithic culture was born on this day, October 21st, in 1957. I first became a huge fan of Julian as the lead vocalist for Liverpool-based post-punk band, The Teardrop Explodes and had the opportunity to see him perform as a solo artist many times back in the ’80s. His first autobiography — because there are a couple — Head On is also one of the most amazing rock biographies I’ve ever read. Learn more about what Julian is up to these days at This Link! Happy Birthday, Julian!
Ray Bradbury in 1966 (Image Source)
Genre defining Science Fiction/Horror writer, Ray Bradbury, has passed away on Tuesday, June 5th, 2012 at the age of 91. I read so many of Bradbury’s novels and short stories as a kid I can’t even name them all. But one of his short stories, “All Summer in a Day” was just so simply devastating in its impact, I doubt I could ever forget it. Now I want to re-read everything again. His work is amazing. There’s a very sweet remembrance/obit on Bradbury over at Indiewire.com that’s my favorite of those I’ve read so far today, if you want to check it out. RIP Ray, you changed modern literature so much and influenced generations.
Jim Carroll, the former drug addict turned prolific poet and writer of The Basketball Diaries, died of a heart attack on Friday at his residence in Manhattan. He was 60.
“After a job was finished, we’d stand on the street drinking beer or foul-tasting Gatorade. The tip would be discussed, as would the disadvantages of living in this particular neighborhood. It was generally agreed that a coffin-size studio on Avenue D was preferable to living in one of the boroughs. Moving from one Brooklyn or Staten Island neighborhood to another was fine, but unless you had children to think about, even the homeless saw it as a step down to leave Manhattan. Customers quitting the island for Astoria or Cobble Hill would claim to welcome the change of pace, saying it would be nice to finally have a garden or live a little closer to the airport. They’d put a good face on it, but one could always detect an underlying sense of defeat. The apartments might be bigger and cheaper in other places, but one could never count on their old circle of friends making the long trip to attend a birthday party. Even Washington Heights was considered a stretch. People referred to it as Upstate New York, though it was right there in Manhattan.
Our bottles drained, Patrick would carry us back to what everyone but Lyle agreed was the center of the universe.”
– from the story, “The Great Leap Forward” in Me Talk Pretty One Day, which is completely hilarious
Beloved children’s book author Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, was born on this day, March 2nd, in 1904! I loved Dr. Seuss’ books as a kid, my favorite being McElligot’s Pool, which I owned. Of the several animated features made from Seuss’ books, one of the best and most enduring is The Lorax, a thinly veiled cautionary tale of environmental exploitation, which is even more timely today than it was when it was written in 1971.
RIP David Foster Wallace
Via Very Short List :
Three years ago, David Foster Wallace delivered the commencement address at Kenyon College. “Adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in the head,” he told the graduating seniors. “They shoot the terrible master.” Those cutting words cut deeper in the wake of Wallace’s own, inner collapse: The 46-year-old fiction writer and essayist took his own life on Friday, September 12th, 2008.
Author Kurt Vonnegut has passed away at the age of 84. He was my favorite author of all time and my single greatest writing influence. His book Slapstick literally changed my life. He is the reason I started writing. I am so sad right now.
Here is a passage from another favorite Vonnegut novel, Slaughterhouse Five, which was based in part on his own experiences as a WWII Prisoner of War.
“A guard would go to the head of the stairs every so often to see what it was like outside, then he would come down and whisper to the other guards. There was a fire-storm out there. Dresden was one big flame. The one flame ate everything organic, everything that would burn.
It wasn’t safe to come out of the shelter until noon the next day. When the Americans and their guards did come out, the sky was black with smoke. The sun was an angry little pinhead. Dresden was like the moon now, nothing but minerals. The stones were hot. Everybody else in the neighborhood was dead.
So it goes.”