Showing posts with label birthday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label birthday. Show all posts

Friday, September 25, 2015

Christopher Reeve's 63rd Birthday

Today would have marked the 63rd birthday of actor and activist Christopher Reeve.

A child of the 1970's and 1980's, of course I am most familiar with Reeve from his portrayal of Superman, and I've seen the Reeve-starring Superman movies dozens of times.  I've seen a few of his other movies, such as Somewhere in Time, Village of the Damned, Noises Off..., The Remains of the Day and a few other appearances.

You forget, because of the broadness of the Superman films, but Reeve was a heck of an actor.  Just to do what he did with his dual roles of Superman and Clark Kent, in film, is worth checking out.  It's near Shakespearean.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Happy 65th, Bill Murray

Today marks Bill Murray's 65th Birthday.  And while we never say it out loud, I'd posit that Bill Murray is one of the greatest actors of his generation.

People like Bill Murray, there's no question.  And his willingness to participate in surprising ways in films (see: the otherwise waste of a movie Zombieland) has become a bit of a calling card for him as he's made the very real realization that he is free to do as he likes, and movie-dom's acceptance that he's at his best when he's given a long leash.

Like a lot of my generation who were too young to stay up late enough for SNL, my first exposure to Murray was not the racy Caddyshack, which I didn't see until middle school, but the cultural megalith of Ghostbusters, which my mom took me to see opening day.*

I dig those early roles and his SNL stint.  Stripes.

Murray wasn't really pigeonholed from the start.  He did The Razor's Edge (no, I've never seen it), and never quite got locked into any particular character with which he became identified even as the roles became distinctly his own.  There's not a lot of similarities between Peter Venkman (Ghostbusters), Bob Harris (Lost in Translation), Bunny Breckinridge (Ed Wood), Frank Cross (Scrooged) or Raleigh St. Clair (The Royal Tenenbaums).

Probably my favorite role is from Rushmore as Herman Blume, the life-weary corporate mogul who is coming to terms with the failure of all parts of his life that aren't related to his business and finds a bit of a friend and inspiration and competition in Max Fischer.

If there is a thread between the parts, particularly his later roles, maybe it's the exhaustion the characters wear on their sleeve.  He gets what it means to be at the end of your rope, that it's not anger that sets in but, often, a sense of resignation.  Watching the characters climb back out against that point (or, in the case of Raleigh St. Clair, head towards that resignation) is what makes the performances interesting.  And, frankly, relatable.  Right up to and including Steve Zissou.

Here's to Bill on his 65th.  May the Garfield money have bought him many rounds of golf and a couple of good bottles of something.

*you're the best, Ma!  Dad, you still get point for getting me to many action movies, not the least of which is Empire Strikes Back opening weekend.  I haven't forgotten!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jack Kirby! Design Aesthetic

One last shout out for The Kirby4Heroes/ Hero Initative event today in honor of Jack Kirby's legacy.

Nobody did it like The King.  Nobody before and nobody since.

More Happy Birthday to Jack Kirby - Marvelous Marvel

A friendly reminder that in honor of Jack Kirby's birthday, you can donate today to the Heroes Initiative, an organization that helps freelance comics folk with financial support in times of need.

Click here to donate and see what else is going on today thanks to the Kirby4Heroes Campaign.

So, Jack Kirby more or less made up about 90% of the Marvel Universe that anyone cares about.  He didn't do Spider-Man and had limited contributions to Iron Man, but he drew up a whole lot else.

Way back before World War 2 and his own enlistment, Kirby went ahead and made-up a superhero to throw a punch at Hitler as a proxy for the slug Jack would have gladly thrown himself.

Happy Birthday, Jack Kirby! Some Favorites from his time at DC

Today marks Jack "King" Kirby's 98th birthday.

Jack's granddaughter runs to Kirby4Heroes Campaign, which is an annual event focused on raising money for The Hero Initiative.  The Hero Initiative raises money for freelancer comic artists and creators who may need some financial assistance.

Let's honor Jack Kirby by donating today!

And what better way to celebrate the man and artist than with a glimpse of his amazing work.  We're doing more than one post on Kirby, so look for two more today.  But we're starting with DC as I first went from "that's Jack Kirby" to appreciating Jack Kirby, specifically via his Fourth World work and that era of DC output.

Let's start with one of my favorite DC characters, and an original Kirby creation...

Friday, August 21, 2015

Happy B-Day to The Admiral

This was the look I got - more or less - from ages 10 -25
Happy B-Day to my Old Man, The Admiral.  He's no doubt somewhere out with friends today with my mum, doing whatever it is he does before noon.  I'll be going out to see him tomorrow.

You don't do much better when it comes to dads.  He was a busy guy when we were kids, making a career to put food on plates and all that, but he was always engaged and around.  Heck, the man endured permanent hearing loss after acting as a bouncer at my high school's "Battle of the Bands" and getting stationed next to the speaker stack.  He was there for soccer and basketball games, concerts during my foray into tuba-playing, and showed up to see all my bad acting in high school.  And he was some sort of officer of the parents' drama club auxillary.

More than that, he was always around for a chat.  I don't know how many other dads were good at that, but The Admiral was always ready to listen and to call bullshit on me when the time was right.  See the above stare.

The man put me through college, supported me and Jamie as we got married, and helped me buy my first cars, used and new.  And, he taught me to drive.  So there's that.  And, he was the one who decided it was totally cool if we watched Rated-R action movies as long as my mom didn't know.

All in all, a good guy.

I'll see you tomorrow, Dad.  We'll have some brisket.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Happy Birthday, Lois Lane

August 17th is the comic book birthday of Lois Lane.  For whatever reason, that's her fictional birthday, with the year sliding around to keep her somewhere between 28 and 38ish.  I tend to think of Lois as maybe a couple of years older than Superman.

Lois Lane is an ass-kicker, and has been since her first appearance in Action Comics #1.

don't just assume you can claim a spot on Lois' dance card

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Happy Birthday, Neil Armstrong - Reboot the Suit

Today marks the birthday of Neil Armstong, the first human to step foot on The Moon.

Next time you're feeling cocky, just remember, Neil Armstrong walked on that shiny thing up there that's affecting the tides and spawning werewolves.

I know Armstrong passed years ago, but why not get him a present?  He got you one.  He went to THE MOON.

There's a Kickstarter going on that's already reached it's financial goal.  The Smithsonian is raining funds to restore the spacesuit Neil Armstrong wore wandering around on THE MOON.

Now they're in stretch goals, and the big one is to raise funds to restore the Mercury suit for Alan Shepard, the first American in space.

Restored, we'll all be able to see these suits down at the Air and Space Museum in DC.  Already a pretty fantastic place, but who wouldn't want to see even better space displays?  And see the very suits of America's real life heroes?

Sure, you aren't helping some dweeb from BFE fund their dream project of a Yu-Gi-Oh fan film, but you are, you know, supporting things that actually matter and aren't a waste of time and resources.  I mean, just...   ugh.

If you're wondering why the Smithsonian needs to go to Kickstarter...  well, (a) it's a publicly funded institution, and we haven't been great about funding public institutions the past decade or so, and (b) what money they do have could also be allocated to work on less high-profile items as well as the suit, so you're making the Smithsonian budget go farther (further?).

Here's that link again.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Happy Birthday to Arnie

Today actor, politician, barbarian, adultery enthusiast and former-Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger turns 68.

Let's hope he runs over a cake with his tank.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Happy Birthday to Ms. Lynda Carter (she's a wonder!)

Today is the 64th Birthday of Lynda Carter, perhaps most famous for her role as Wonder Woman in the 1970's TV series.

We're big fans of Ms. Carter here at League HQ, and we hope she's twirling herself into a fantastic birthday.

In addition to still appearing on TV and in movies, of late, Lynda Carter has been lending her voice to a series of video games called The Elder Scrolls and has been singing in various venues across the country.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Happy Birthday to Barbara Stanwyck (b. 1907)

It's funny how the mass audience only remembers a few actors from says gone by. I am sure most people know the name Barbara Stanwyck, but as time marches on, I'm not sure how many folks know her by site or have seen her films. I haven't seen that many, and I tend to give a movie a chance if I know she's in the credits.

She's an amazingly versatile actress from an era when that wasn't always appreciated so much as playing yourself in different costumes and time periods (see: Judy Garland).  But here's just a few highlights.

Clash by Night

Monday, July 13, 2015

Happy Birthday, Harrison Ford!

Happy Birthday, Harrison Ford!  You are the best actor who is in all the best movies.  So, well done, man.

Today you're 73, but let's review just a few of the times you've been awesome.

You totally showed up in a bit part in Apocalypse Now.  I was not expecting that at all.

You were kind of way cooler than Richie Cunningham in American Graffiti.

You were fake-Amish in Witness.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Debbie Harry

Happy 70th Birthday to Debbie Harry, the ever-cutting-edge lead singer for Blondie, solo artist, actor, model, fashion icon, artist, former Playboy Club Bunny, CBGB overlord, pop goddess of the punk and new wave scenes, etc... et al...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Happy Birthday, Dashiell Hammett

May 27th marks the 121st birthday of author Dashiell Hammett, a writer who's impact on the modern culture is nigh-incalculable.

I'm actually currently re-reading Red Harvest for the first time in fifteen years and will make my way back through The Maltese Falcon, The Dain Curse and a few more.  And you really can't beat the short fiction of the Continental Op short stories.

And, of course, he was responsible for The Thin Man novel and assisted with the production of the movie.

Hammett had been a Pinkerton Detective, a career not so readily available in this era, but it set the stage for both the material of his fiction as well as the approach his detectives took.  he served in both World Wars, drank too much, was a terrible husband and absentee father and a left-winger from jump.  And he had a 30 year romance with Lillian Hellman.  Like you do.

I'll be honest, I love this guy's work.  His characters feel real and lived in, perhaps world warn and weary, but believably so, and his plots are just haphazard enough as the detectives sort through the mess they've stumbled into to feel believable when one is surrounded by liars with agendas.  And he's got a snappy prose style.

Here's to Mr. Hammett on his birthday.  Here's to one of the father's of American modern fiction in all its forms.

Happy Birthday, Siouxsie Sioux

Happy birthday to my high school rock'n'roll crush and one of my favorite performers from back in the day, Siouxsie Sioux.

At 57, she's still out there being Siouxsie.



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happy Birthday to The Duke

Today marks the 108th birthday of Marion Robert Morrison, better known as American icon John Wayne.

Wayne was a product of his times, and maybe not much of a philosopher, and most certainly held views that fell out of favor since his passing (but seem to get people elected in 2015, so what do I know?).  Still, he's in a whole bunch of movies that I'm partial to, most of which also don't reflect my personal beliefs, but they do have their charm. goddamit.

Pictured above is Hondo, a movie I have seen no less than three times, and I could not begin to tell you what the hell it is about other than a man and his dog in the west.  And that it was originally released in 3D for some reason.

If you want to see Wayne in a great movie but don't like Westerns (which, really, you should, but whatever) I recommend The Quiet Man.  If you are a right-thinking American and enjoy a good oater, may I suggest:

The Searchers
Stage Coach
The Sons of Katie Elder
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
and McClintock!, if you'd like a little comedy in your Western

And probably a dozen more I didn't mention here.  Here's to The Duke.  You were a complicated fellow.