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

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.



Spellbound



Peek-a-Boo



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.



Sunday, April 12, 2015

Today I am 40. We ponder my mortality via Superman.

It's my B-day.  A milestone b-day at that.  I'm planning to take the day easy, read some comics, watch some movies, play with some dogs.  Nothing too extravagant.

But it's also a time to ponder and reflect, and nothing helps you reflect more than Superman.


Oh, 70's humor.  You were on the nose to the pointy of cruelty.

But nothing helps one ponder old age like a good Superman comic book cover.



Let's face facts...  I work on a college campus.  I am more than aware this is how the undergrads see me as I wander the halls.  The notion that these whipper-snappers see me as anything other than someone who might know their parents is delusional.  I never feel the need to try to pretend like I know what the kids are up to these days, because that's like your parents trying to impress you by going to see Billy Joel.



I, of course, see myself as older and wiser, telling these young punks how it should be done - and how it should be done is by doing it exactly how we did it in my day.

On the Event of my 40th

This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)
Talking Heads



Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
I feel numb - born with a weak heart
I guess I must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It's ok I know nothing's wrong... nothing

Hi yo I got plenty of time
Hi yo you got light in your eyes
And you're standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money
Always for love
Cover up and say goodnight... say good night

Home - is where I want to be
But I guess I'm already there
I come home - she lifted up her wings
I guess that this must be the place
I can't tell one from another
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time
Before we were born
If someone asks, this where I'll be... where I'll be

Hi yo
We drift in and out
Hi yo
Sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I'm just an animal looking for a home and,
Share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I'm dead
Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head
Ah ooh


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Billie Holiday hits the Century Mark

It's tough to top Billie Holiday.  She's undoubtedly one of the most important vocal performers of the 20th Century, and certainly one of the most recognizable voices since recorded and broadcast music sprung into existence.

Today marks the birthday of Ms. Eleanora Fagan, born April 7th, 1915 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Holiday's biography also reads like the blueprint for a terribly depressing biopic, but it's also a remarkable American story.



This weekend I tried to watch Annie Lennox, who I have admired since I was a kid, perform her new concert, Nostalgia, on PBS, recorded in front of an upper-crust audience at LA's Orpheum Theater.  And, while I understand that many performers sooner or later hit a point where they explore The Great American Songbook - Lennox performed a few of Holiday's standards, and I found the thing puzzling enough I turned it off.  But, taking apart what was happening and for what audience could take a few hundred pages and a deconstruction of cultural appropriation that would leave nobody happy.

Strange Fruit and God Bless the Child aren't owned by Billie Holiday, but they're certainly part of her catalog, and I don't blame Lennox for wanting to emulate Lady Day, but...  context.   Billie Holiday's voice, song choice and expression were formed by what amounts to an extremely troubled youth (broken home - to put it mildly - and as a kid, she ran errands in a brothel) and young womanhood (prostitute by age 15).  Holiday was part of the colorful jazz scene of Harlem from the early 1930's and onward (she was performing by age 17), and was playing with Count Basie and Artie Shaw within a few years.  Even after some very public problems, she did manage to play shows at Carnegie Hall that were very well received.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Happy Birthday to Jamie (it's her 40th)

March 25th of this year marks Jamie's 40th birthday.

She's a pretty super girl

It's certainly a mark all of us are aware of from the time we're kids.  But when Jamie was 17, she was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (or, FSGS, for you amateurs out there).  I won't belabor you with the details, you can read up on it here.  In short, when you get diagnosed with anything at that age, a 40th birthday becomes something to celebrate.

If you can cast your memory back to a simpler time, when Bill Clinton was still in his first term, when Ace of Base ruled the airwaves and you had to be assigned the personality of one of the cast of Friends for some reason (I was the Marcel of our gang) - a much thinner The League was wooing an Aniston-coiffed Jamie.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Yesterday was Joan Crawford's B-Day


March 23rd marks the birthday of Joan Crawford.  She would have been 110 yesterday.

Complicated person, that Joan Crawford.  I tend to really like her in movies, and I think I've shared here and elsewhere how much I like Mildred Pierce, in particular (but who doesn't)?  Johnny Guitar is also worth a view if you want to see something out there on the edge of genre and expectation.

Happy b-day to a daughter of The Alamo City and one of the greats.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy 82nd, Michael Caine!

Alfredo reminds me it's the 82nd birthday of Michael Caine.  And if you don't love Michael Caine, well, I don't want to know you.

Here, on his birthday, I recommend remembering not Michael Caine, who is doing well, thank you, but remembering that is a great joy to do a Michael Caine impression by watching a reel of Michael Caine impressions.


Happy Birthday, Sir Michael Caine!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Matty Turns 40

League Pal Matt - who you rarely see mentioned here, basically because he thinks genre stuff is dumb and will not play ball - has turned 40.

Here's Matt with Nicole last year on his birthday.  We may have had a few cocktails at the time this pic was snapped.

Ladypal Nicole with Matty, the birthday boy
Matt and Nicole are in Berkeley with the California squad.  We trust they will ensure Matt has a festive b-day.

Here he is by a rock somewhere near the ocean.  I don't know what the hell he's doing there.  Maybe trying to pick a spot for the cover of his album of sea shanties.

you can tell he's really enjoying himself

Happy 40th, man.  You don't look a day over 52.




Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Happy Birthday, Christopher Lee

Yesterday, May 27th was the birthday of actor and presence Christopher Lee.

the actual most interesting man alive

At the end of the day, Christopher Lee should be known for his voice.  Booming like you imagine a Roman Senator ought to, commanding like sort of guy who bosses around dark forces of the netherworld, eloquent like the trained actor and brilliant fellow I like to believe Lee is.

I first read Lee's name in monster movie books when I was a lad.  He was a main player for Hammer Films back in the day when Hammer was in full throttle putting out new movies of Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, cultists, all kinds of good stuff (I prefer his Dracula in Curse of Dracula to his "Creature" in the Frankenstein films, but it's all good) and his picture and name came up over and over.

As a cult favorite actor, Lee has also appeared in everything from The Man with the Golden Gun to Captain America '77, a TV movie.  I've been thinking a lot lately about the difference between "fans" and folks who appreciate or follow film from the art appreciation angle, and there's always room for both.  And while you see indie darling directors and some actors, "fans" get excited by the gravitas of particular (and often peculiar) talents.  And when they come into their own as professionals, the fans cast the actors they love.

And so, at 91, Lee has two more Hobbit movies coming as Saruman, he's forever immortalized as Count Dooku - maybe one of the best parts of the Star Wars prequels, and he keeps popping up in various Tim Burton projects in cameos and small parts. And, he blew the doors off in Scorsese's Hugo.

And, he just released his second heavy metal album, this time partnering with Judas Priest.

He also does the occasional audiobook, and I highly recommend giving one a whirl.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Birthday, David Byrne

Happy Birthday to David Byrne.  Writer, musician and artist.


Today, David Byrne is 61.

Byrne is best known for his tenure with The Talking Heads, the art-punk band that was part of the late-70's, early-80's scene out of CBGB's.  He has written a few books, from The Bicycle Diaries to Strange Ritual.  His lyrics are rarely about the usual topics of newfound love, love gone wrong or partying all night.  Even in his most recent collaboration with St. Vincent, he's still singing about his relationship with television and mass media.



Friday, April 12, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Jamie Guest Post in honor of my b-day

Well, indeed.  Jamie has sent me this to post for my birthday, which is tomorrow.  

I wasn't sure anyone had noticed these posts over the years, but I've done them pretty routinely.  I guess you can download the songs and make yourself a "decade in the life of" playlist.

From Jamie:


While combing through League archives in search of posts for the 10th Anniversary Spectacular, I kept coming across the special birthday entries where Ryan would post the lyrics to a song each year on his birthday.  I found it fascinating to go back and discover which songs he had chosen, so I decided to collect them all and share them with you in honor of the League's birthday.  Happy Birthday, Ryan!


A League of Melbotis/ The Signal Watch Retrospective: Special Birthday Edition: The League's Birthday Playlist



Year: 2004
Age: 29
Song: Streets of Laredo




End of a Revolution: Today is the Day Before My Birthday

That's my way of saying, "I'm taking a few days off.  It's my birthday".

I will be 38.  I will be approaching middle-age soon.  Before I know it, Jamie and I will be celebrating our 40th birthdays, which is weird...



At 38, given my lack of a post-secondary education and perpensity for distraction, I'm doing okay professionally.  Especially when you consider I'm in an institution of higher education, a place were degrees and spending decades focusing on one thing are sort of the norm.  Nobody has fired me yet, but there's always tomorrow.