"Joey, have you ever seen a grown man naked?"
Any Airplane! fans mourns the death of Peter Graves, who will be remembered for playing the deep-voiced Captain Clarence Oveur, although he made him true mark on television at the leader of the shadowy operatives in the Mission: Impossible TV series. Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly has a short overview of Graves's career, including a reminder that he was in the excellently Gothic Night of the Hunter, but the above video, which combines his parts in Airplane!, is enough.
Try not to giggle, I dare you.
Corey Haim, the fresh-faced '80s child star, passed away from an apparent accidental overdose. Haim characterized the '80s in a lot of ways: juvenile, empty and mindless fun. Laid back and goofy, he was the embodiment of boys-will-be-boys controlled chaos. But that doesn't make a career. Unlike frequent onscreen BFF Corey Feldman, his persona didn't have the same ironic endurance. Say what you will about the seemingly inevitable early deaths/personal tragedies of the faded child stars, I will stop, drop anything and watch The Lost Boys or License to Drive (check out a young Heather Graham in the trailer above) anytime they are on TV.
By now you've heard J.D. Salinger is dead.
All those obits that were written decades ago have started popping up online. Seriously, what updates did they have to make? How he died. Natural causes. And then that thing from last year where he sued the dude who tried to publish a sequel to The Catcher in the Rye.
It sucks that he's dead, because even though he stopped publishing four decades ago, it was nice knowing he was out there, the legendary writer who didn't want to be bothered. And it sucks because, on some level I was hoping this was a comeback story, as in: The legendary writer returns at extreme old age to make one last literary statement.
Of course, there's still some kind of hope for that. I doubt Salinger was just kicking back for the last 45 years in New Hampshire. I'm sure he stopped to smell the roses, and Google himself once in a while, but surely he was also writing, right?
It's a shame he's gone from the world, a world with whom he couldn't quite get along, a world whose adoration, it seems, drove him into isolation. But the silver lining is that, hopefully, some great literature may now come out of hiding.
Yesterday, Pat Rapa told you about the sad passing of a Philadelphia legend: soul singer Teddy Pendergrass. His memorial service will be held Fri., Jan. 22 from noon to 8 p.m. at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church at 2800 W. Cheltenham Ave. The funeral will also be held at Enon Tabernacle on Sat., Jan. 23 at 9 a.m.
As a paper, we had the honor of interviewing Teddy several times. Most notable were interviews with former CP music editor/current Asylum editor Neil Gladstone and everyone's fave Icepack-er A.D. Amorosi.
In 1997, Gladstone spoke with Pendergrass after his triumphant return to the stage in the gospel musical Your Arms Too Short To Box With God.
Why did you decide to do Your Arms Too Short to Box with God?
It was about time I did something to work on my craft and test myself. And test the audience to see if they still desired to see me. To see if I'm still desirable.
Were you concerned that they wouldn't be?
Sure, things are not like they were. Put yourself in my shoes. You would have to question everything. Sometimes people change and tastes change audiences like one artist one day and another artist another day. My job as an artist is to go out there and see if I still have the tools to do my job.
In one of the pieces I read, Stephanie Mills [who co-starred in Your Arms Too Short To Box With God] said your voice is stronger than ever. Do you agree?
I have times when I think it's better and other times when I think it's not. I guess the more work I do and the more I sing, the stronger it gets, especially in live performance.
It's the first play you've ever been in. Did you do any acting training?
Nope, I don't think it took acting skills for me to do the part because it was dealing with a subject that is very close to me Jesus Christ.
I heard you wanted to do the play before finishing your autobiography so the book would have a happy ending?
I wanted the ending to be celebratory and I wanted the ending to have me on stage.
Out of the entire interview, I love this line:
In the press release you mention that writing the lyrics to "Give It To Me" pushed you to the limit of how sexually blunt you could be. Why?
I'm shyer than most people would probably think I am.
A.D. talked to Pendergrass five years later on the eve of his first Philly show in 19 years.
You've been doing shows off and on. What makes now the best time to finally bring it all home?
I don't think there's a "why now." All things in time, you know? It's like a man or woman making a cake: If you take it out of the oven, or if it's a different kind of cake, it's different timing. Now is a good time. Why wait 19 years? Wasn't ready. Why take the offer to play Trump Taj Mahal? It was the right time. Now I'm very comfortable bringing it home.
What does the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance do?
It's a way for me to give people with spinal cord injuries opportunities: employment and educational. We want people with these injuries to have positive productive lives, comforts and pleasures so that they're not just in nursing homes. It's one thing to be disabled. It's another thing to not have a life. I've been very lucky to be able to maintain a lifestyle. I'm not saying I don't have obstacles or pain but overall I have a wonderful life. A lot of people don't have those lives because they don't have the opportunity.
Do you hear the sound of your passion, your influence, in any of today's artists?
I'm going to plead the fifth. It's like a painting. Picasso did things his way, Matisse another. That people don't do what I do doesn't make them less valid. At the same token, no one can fill my niche.
Teddy Pendergrass was a Blue Note, a Cadillac, a Gamble & Huff collaborator, an inspired soul singer and a fighter to the end. Confined to a wheelchair after a car accident on Lincoln Drive, Pendergrass still made his way in the music biz. He just passed away at age 59, after surgery to treat colon cancer. This video is from Ashford and Simpson's set at Live Aid, Teddy's first appearance after the accident.
|Photo | Patrick Rapa|
Sad news from Memphis: Musician Jay Reatard was found dead in his home from unknown causes this morning at the age of 29. The Commercial Appeal reports that police are opening an investigation into his death.
Reatard was a fave around the CP offices. I wrote about his stellar Matador Singles '08 for our best albums of 2008 feature:
Jay Reatard's deal with Matador to release six limited-run 7-inches throughout 2008 probably seems like a vanity project. It is. But, freed from the confines of a normal album, he still managed to come up with something cohesive. Reatard's got the punk spirit in spades, complete with a snotty teenage Buzzcock's edge and garage fuzz. But he's also growing as a musician, refining his roughness by giving his songs a healthy pop backbone and trying out new instrumentation (acoustic guitar? Holy shit!). Don't worry, kids, he isn't going soft: In album closer "I'm Watching You," Reatard sings, with a stuck-in-your-head catchiness, "You never meant that much to me, I always thought you were a cunt."
Julia West also had a review of his Nov. 28 show at Johnny Brenda's.
Definitely check out the singles collection if you haven't. This is a loss of a great talent, who still seemed to have his best yet to come.
Front Porch Productions, which had been promoting Jack Rose's tour before the Philly guitar wiz passed away suddenly this weekend, has announced details for a memorial service.
It is with a heavy heart and the deepest sadness that we mourn the passing of Jack Rose, a dear friend and wonderful musician.
Services to honor Jack will take place in Philadelphia this Saturday, December 12th.' Details below.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Visitation: 1:00 PM Service: 2:00 PM
Visitation and services taking place at:
Bringhurst Funeral Home
225 Belmont Avenue, Bala Cynwyd
There will be a Memorial Gathering in Philadelphia on the evening of Saturday December 12, 2009, following the services. Details regarding the Memorial Gathering will be announced here when confirmed.
More info here.
See Also: A Jack Rose tribute on WPRB on Friday.
|photo from Flickr: teakwood|
I guess it's true because I've seen it a few places, that Jack Rose has passed away. Formerly of the band Pelt, and more recently a solo artist, Rose was a spectacular guitar player whose fingers moved like dancing spiders across the strings. Seriously, you need to hear his 2005 acoustic ragtime masterpiece, Kensington Blues. Rose was only 38.
More Jack Rose memorials:
Edardo Gonzalez was still feeling raw and drained when we spoke several days after respected folk musician and community activist Joaquin Rivera died in triage while waiting for medical care and was then robbed by three homeless men. Last night Gonzales spoke as best he could about his long time friend and music partner, compadre and inspiration.
"I keep thinking, this is just like Joaquin," said Edgardo Gonzalez,"if he had to die, he was going to do something with it." While Joaquin was best known as a musician, Gonzalez was referring to his activism. Rivera, a counselor at Olney High School, was a longtime advocate of bilingual education and active in the return of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques from the U.S. Navy. "The political marches he took part in, people don't know about that," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez swore he was cried out, but still choked with emotion. The very day that Rivera passed away he had been at the Gonzalez home. "I thought he seemed fine while he was here, having fun, but my wife said he was acting a little different," says Gonzalez. Playing music together was a long time habit for these men; Gonzalez played bass in Rivera's Los Pleneros del Batey, his band that played traditional Puerto Rican folk music.
But now, Gonzalez reflects on the way Rivera died. A man with insurance ' neglected despite asking for medical attention ' has brought international attention to the U.S. health care debate, according to the reactions Gonzalez has received. The world is watching. If he had to go, Joaquin Rivera would be pleased to have it be one last eloquent plea for justice.
At 6 p.m. tonight ' far north of the barrio ' there will be a viewing at the Givnish Home (10975 Academy Rd.), chosen for its large capacity. "People are flying in from Puerto Rico, Florida, Boston, all over," says Gonzalez. As the viewing starts off Joaquin's band will remember him in the heart of the barrio, starting this afternoon with a jam at Centro Musical (464 W Lehigh Ave.), where all the musicians hang. Gradually the music will move over to Taller Puertorrique'o (2721 North 5th St), where Gonzalez chairs the board and Executive Director Dr. Carmen Febo-San Miguel issued the statement, "We have lost a friend, a committed and tireless fighter for Puerto Rican rights and culture and a generous soul." A long-planned art opening on Taller's second floor gallery by well-known Puerto Rican painter To'o Martorell, will now be dedicated to the memory of Rivera.
Tomorrow morning there is another viewing at the church at St. Ambrose (600 West Venango), starting at 9 a.m. After that will be the funeral mass. "It will be a simple service with lots of singing, people standing up to speak about Joaquin," according to Gonzalez. Following the service he says, "Every Latino group in the city will be taking part," playing for Rivera as mourners walk down Venango to the Greemount Cemetery at Front and Luzerne streets. It will be a traffic stopping spectacle.
Gonzalez tells us there will be many more tributes and fond remembrances of Rivera who was so devoted to celebrating and sharing the heritage of his homeland. He also promises that all the holiday gigs that wouldn't be the same without some traditional songs will feature Los Pleneros, playing to honor Rivera. Check back here for updates.
If you want to find Gonzalez during any of these funeral events, he'll be easy to spot. "I kept thinking, 'What'll I wear? Guayabera?'" Gonzalez said, referring to the typical performing garb for pleneros. But Gonzalez settled on something that mixes the honor of formality with a nod to Rivera's tastes and sense of humor. Look for the man in a traditional black suit with the Ron Ca'a rum t-shirt peeping through, a final toast with Rivera's favorite tipple.
Tongiht, Viewing, 6 p.m., John F. Givnish Funeral Home, 10975 Academy Rd.
Sat., Dec. 5, Viewing, 9 a.m., Funeral Mass, 10 a.m., St. Ambrose, 600 W. Venango St.
Robert Degen is wigglin' it all about in the big wedding/bar mitzvah/birthday party/roller skating rink in the sky.
Degen, a Scranton native who died on his 104th birthday, claimed to be one of the authors of the Hokey Pokey. The song's true authorship is up for debate ' it's often attributed to Larry LaPrise, who Degen sued and later co-owned the Hokey Pokey with, even though the two never met in person. Degen retired from music after WWII to sell furniture but in the '20 he was a member of the Scranton Sirens that also including big banders Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. According to Bruce Weber's NYTimes obit, Degen's version is rhythmically similar but has different lyrics:
Put your right hand in,
Put your right hand out
Put your right hand in and you wiggle all about.
Everything is okey dokey when you do the Hokey Pokey.
That is what the dance is all about.
Weber uses Degen's death as an opportunity to explore the Hokey Pokey and comes up with interesting tidbits such as:
Some Roman Catholic churchmen, meanwhile, have said that the words 'hokey pokey' derive from 'hocus pocus' ' the Oxford English Dictionary concurs ' and that the song was written by 18th-century Puritans to mock the language of the Latin Mass. Last year the Catholic Church in Scotland, concerned that some soccer fans were using the song as a taunt, raised the possibility that singing it should be prosecuted as a hate crime.
Whoa, chill Catholic Church of Scotland. Maybe they'd lighten up if they saw my favorite rumination on the Hokey Pokey, rock 'n' roll-style:
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