John Renbourn, the highly influential English guitar player, and one of the co-founders of Pentangle, has died. There's a nice appreciation from The Guardian here. Farewell, Mr. Renbourn.
Roy Doty, awesome illustrator, particularly known for drawing the popular, 50-year-running Wordless Workshop instructional comic strip for Popular Science, Family Handyman and syndication, the puzzle page for Make, and also the covers and illustrations for popular Judy Blume books Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge and Otherwise Known As Shelia The Great, among many other things, has died at 92. This episode of the Danny Dee Show (YouTube 27m) shows off his drawing and narration skills. Here's some illustrations from his website. Here's a sample panel of Wordless Workshop. [more inside]
Terry Pratchett, best known for the Discworld series consisting of about 40 books, died today after a long, well publicized battle with Alzheimer's in which he's also been outspoken on right to die issues.
Sam Simon, writer, producer, philanthropist and co-creator of The Simpsons has passed away of colorectal cancer at the age of 59. Previously.
Anthony Mason, iconic Knicks player, dead at 48. Daily Beast: Soul of the 90's. Where are they now in Sports? video interview.
Poet, author, director, actor, cultural icon... Leonard Nimoy has passed away at age 83 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Rest well, Spock, you will be missed.
Today we bid a sad farewell to the last of the old-school Mississippi Hill Country bluesmen: Mr. Robert Belfour was a purveyor or that gritty, driving, riff-based, often one-chord Hill Country style pioneered by people like Mississippi Fred McDowell, and in more recent years popularized by artists like RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Jessie Mae Hemphill. Let's take a listen, then, as we pay our respects to the "Wolfman", to some of his rocking, soulful blues. Here's Black Mattie, I Got My Eyes On You, Hill Stomp, Go Ahead On, My Baby's Gone, Done Got Old and You Got Me Crying. And here's an hour-long recording from February 2013, via NPR: Robert Belfour: Live In Concert.
Long time Parks and Recreation writer and recurring character, inventor of the Humblebrag, curator of the goofiest segment on Comedy Bang Bang, and very sexy drummer for the joke band Don't Stop Or We'll Die, Mr. Harris Wittels passed away today suddenly. He will be missed. (Many links extraordinarily NSFW) [more inside]
Robert Kinoshita, the production designer and art director who created Forbidden Planet's Robby the Robot and Lost In Space's B-9 Environmental Control Robot [previously], has passed away at the age of 100.
Prolific television producer Glen A. Larson has died. Mainstream audiences might remember him as the creator of Alias Smith and Jones, his first hit series; and of such shows as Quincy M.E., Magnum, P.I., and The Fall Guy. But to science-fiction fans, he will always be remembered as the man behind TV's first million-dollar-per-episode series, Battlestar Galactica, and as a Consulting Producer on Syfy's highly regarded remake of the series. He also brought us Knight Rider; The Six Million Dollar Man, which may soon be getting a reimagining of its own; and Buck Rogers in the 25ᵗʰ Century, along with a handful of less successful, but still fondly remembered, sci-fi TV adventures. [more inside]
Alexander Grothendieck, who brought much of contemporary mathematics into being with the force of his uncompromising vision, is dead at 86, some twenty-five years after leaving academic mathematics and retreating into a spiritual seclusion in the countryside. "As if summoned from the void," a two-part account of Grothendieck's life, from the Notices of the American Math Society: part I, part II. [more inside]
The poetry and brief life of a Foxconn worker: Xu Lizhi (1990-2014) is an article about a 24-year old Chinese assembly line worker and poet who committed suicide last month. He worked for the electronics manufacturer which makes products for a range of companies, including Sony, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Nintendo. The post includes Chinese originals and English translations of Xu Lizhi's poems. His death and poetry have garnered much attention, such as these blogposts from The Wall Street Journal and The London Review of Books.
The great Geoffrey Holder died on Sunday at the age of 84 Mr. Holder was born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on August 1st, 1930 and danced with his brother Boscoe’s dance troupe as a child. He arrived in New York in 1952 at the invitation of the legendary choreographer, Agnes de Mille and, to pay his fare, he sold 20 of his paintings. [more inside]
Red Klotz, who led basketball’s biggest losers, the Washington Generals, dies at 93. In his time with the Generals, Mr. Klotz lost at least 14,000 games, or 15,000, or, according to some estimates, more than 20,000. “That sounds about right,” Mr. Klotz would shrug whenever someone tried to calculate the number. “I don’t count the losses,” he told the Washington City Paper in 2007. “It’s easier to keep track of the wins.” Mr. Klotz won six games, his biographer concluded. Or maybe it was four. Possibly just two. But definitely, beyond the shadow of any doubt, his team won one game for sure.
Charlie Haden, one of the most influential jazz musicians of our time, is going home Here is Charlie, singing the old ballad Wayfaring Stranger - a fitting song for this occasion. Previously (somewhat repetitive, for background [more inside]
Bob Abrahamian was a Chicago DJ, record collector, and chronicler of Chicago's soul history whose death in June at age 35 shocked soul music lovers around the world. The Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Guarino says: "He left behind tens of thousands of 45-rpm records, but to those who knew him, it was the generous spirit in evangelizing the music that made the greatest impact." His work lives on on the site for his radio show, Sitting in the Park, which features exclusive music from and extensive interviews with 60s and 70s Chicago soul musicians. [more inside]
BBC: Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano, regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, has died. The 88-year-old suffered a heart attack on Saturday and had been in an induced coma in Madrid's Gregorio Maranon hospital. Real Madrid confirmed the news, saying Di Stefano, their honorary president, died at 17:15 CET (16:15 BST). The forward won five straight European Cups, scoring in each final between 1956 and 1960. Tim Vickery Article on Di Stefano.
Bobby Womack--one of the last surviving soul greats from the Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding generation--has died. Nicknamed "The Preacher" for his authoritative, church-trained voice and the way he introduced songs with long discourses on life, Womack never had the success of contemporaries like Marvin Gaye, Al Green or Otis Redding. For a good part of his career, he was better known as a songwriter and session musician. [more inside]
Casey Kasem, the resonant voice of Top 40 radio and a vocal fixture on cartoon programs for the past 40 years, has died, according to his daughter. He was 82. [more inside]
Alain Resnais, the French filmmaker who helped introduce literary modernism to the movies and became an international art-house star with nonlinear narrative films like “Hiroshima Mon Amour” and “Last Year at Marienbad,” died on [March 1] in Paris. He was 91. NYTimes Obit [more inside]
Knowlton Nash, former long-time host of CBC's flagship news program The National, died yesterday, aged 86. [more inside]
Swiss media report that HR Giger, famous for his dark and iconic Alien design, has died. He leaves behind a large body of work, much of it displayed in his own museum.
Author, environmentalist, and activist Farley Mowat, OC, died Tuesday at his home in Port Hope, Ontario, six days short of his 93rd birthday. [more inside]
Legendary old school tabletop RPG artist David Trampier (mentioned previously a few times on the blue) created some of the most striking iconic art which helped define the look of 1st edition Advanced D&D. He grew disillusioned with the business in the late eighties and cut off all contact with his former employers (ceasing cashing royalty checks), disappearing with such finality that Dragon Magazine assumed he was dead. By chance, some fifteen years later he appeared in a local news story in Carbondale, Illinois where he was working as a taxi driver. He politely but firmly rejected all invitations to step back into his previous career. This week he passed away at the age of 59. [more inside]
James Rebhorn, an actor often playing a man in a suit, Dies at 65 after a 12-year struggle with skin cancer.
Mr. Rebhorn had memorable supporting roles in major films and worked consistently in television and theater. He appeared in more than 50 films, including “Meet the Parents,” “Independence Day,” “My Cousin Vinny” and “Cold Mountain.”He penned his own obituary which can be read here.
Gary Burger, lead singer and guitarist for seminal proto-punk band The Monks, passed away early Friday morning after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 71. [more inside]
Acknowledged to be one of the few British politicians who became more left-wing after having actually served in government, former veteran left-wing campaigner Tony Benn has died at home aged 88. Tony was a British Labour Party politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for 50 years, and a Cabinet Minister under Harold Wilson and James Callaghan. His legacy can be seen in postage, in the powerful five questions, the speeches he gave, and his diaries.
Sherwin Nuland, surgeon and award-winning author who challenged idea of dignified death, has died at age 83. The son of first generation immigrants, Nuland survived a troubled childhood and succeeded in medical school only to face near-paralyzing depression, for which he was successfully treated with electroconvulsive therapy (first-person TED talk). His award-winning book, "How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter", included realistic descriptions of the process of death and helped to frame the national debate on assisted suicide. [more inside]
Harold Ramis, SCTV alumni, Ghostbuster, and director of films such as Caddyshack and Groundhog Day (previously discussed on the blue here and here, among other moments), passed away this morning at 69.
Shirley Jane Temple Black, actress and US Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, has passed away, aged 85.
Can you believe he even existed? Did we conjure him up in a strangely unexplainable collective? On January 19th, the animation world lost one of its most idiosyncratic and principled voices, Michael Sporn. Sporn not only gathered accolades for his work, including an Oscar nomination for his short Dr. Desoto (excerpt) and four Emmy awards, he also won the respect of the animation community and the affection and high regard of those who worked with him, and for his wonderful Splog, which has been linked previously, 1 2 High quality clips of his work can be viewed at his website (see link in the comments.) [more inside]
Police say Hoffman, 46, was found dead with a needle in his arm. Hoffman's struggles with substance abuse have been well documented, and he had told 60 Minutes in 2006 that he was grateful to have gotten sober before getting famous.
Phil Everly, one half of the iconic and deeply influential vocal duo the Everly Brothers, has died at age 74. Marked by their sweet, tight harmonies and chopping acoustic guitars, tunes like All I Have To Do Is Dream, Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie, Cathy's Clown and When Will I Be Loved made an indelible mark on the musical consciousness of America.
Nelson Mandela has died peacefully at home at age 95. The Globe and Mail has a good roundup of information and resources about his life. The PBS Newshour already has a show online about his life and moments after the news broke even The Onion chimed in. Rest in peace, Madiba.
The much-renowned and very influential singer, songwriter and bandleader Tabu Ley Rochereau, the legendary pioneer of soukous, has died. His music was characterized by his sweet, mellow voice, smoothly beautiful and quintessentially African vocal harmonies, and chiming, smooth-as-silk interwoven guitar melodies. Not to mention a steady, infectious beat that kept people moving on dance floors all across Africa for the past five decades. Here is but a small sampling, spanning from his very fruitful, prolific musical career: Mokolo Nakokufa, Muzina, Kaful Mayay, Bania Irene, Mongali... and since the man is said to have written as many as 3000 songs, there's plenty more out there to discover. RIP Tabu Ley Rochereau.
Last month, we lost one of the great philosophers of the 20th century. Arthur C. Danto was perhaps the most eminent voice in contemporary aesthetics. Always on the cutting edge, Danto shined a light on aesthetics in the post-art world. [more inside]
Tadeusz Mazowiecki has died. The first prime minister after the fall of communist regime in Poland was later an UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Bosnia and resigned this post in protest over the failure of international community to prevent the Srebrenica massacre. [more inside]
Marcia Wallace, the Emmy-winning voice of Edna Krabappel on “The Simpsons” and earlier Carol Kester, the receptionist on the 1970s sitcom “The Bob Newhart Show,” has died at 70 NYT LAT [more inside]
Philip Chevron - "singer, writer, composer, punk rocker, poet, Radiator, Pogue" - passed away from esophageal cancer on October 8th, far too young at only 56. He was most widely known as the Pogues’ rhythm guitarist, who penned "Thousands Are Sailing", a haunting ballad about Irish immigration to the USA that quickly became a live favourite (in later shows usually sung by Phil himself). [more inside]
5 Minutes With Kumar, episodes 2 - 3 - 4
The Rituals of Kumar
“THE YOUNG AGE IS A STUPID AGE”
NO HUSTLE, NO BUSTLE
An interview with Kumar Pallana (1918-2013).
The Rituals of Kumar
“THE YOUNG AGE IS A STUPID AGE”
NO HUSTLE, NO BUSTLE
An interview with Kumar Pallana (1918-2013).
Scott Carpenter has died at 88. As the commander of Aurora 7 in 1962, Carpenter was the second Mercury astronaut to orbit the Earth. He is best known for having wished his friend John Glenn "Godspeed" as the latter launched into orbit. [more inside]
'Legendary Vietnam Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap dies.' 'Vo Nguyen Giap, the brilliant and ruthless self-taught general who drove the French out of Vietnam to free it from colonial rule and later forced the Americans to abandon their grueling effort to save the country from communism, has died. At age 102, he was the last of Vietnam's old-guard revolutionaries.' 'To military scholars around the world, he was one of the 20th century’s leading practitioners of modern revolutionary guerrilla warfare.' [more inside]
Eiji Toyoda, architect of the “lean manufacturing” method helped turned the automaker Toyota, into a global powerhouse and changed the face of modern manufacturing. 'In almost six decades with the company he helped transform a tiny spinoff of a textile loom maker into the world’s biggest automaker. Early on, he helped put Toyota at the forefront of a wave of automobile production in Japan, pushing it to bolster its lineup, first by adding compact vehicles and sports cars in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s he initiated the development of luxury models to compete with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW, culminating with the Lexus brand in 1989.' [more inside]
Blue II, the beloved mascot for Butler University, died of Cushing's Syndrome on Saturday. After his show-stopping appearance on the court during March Madness 2008, Blue maintained a high profile on various social platforms. His webcam was one of the most popular sites visited at Butler. He is survived by his owners, the Kaltenmarks, and by his protege, Trip. Blue II's last words.
Tommy "The Duke" Morrison, grand nephew of John Wayne, former WBO heavyweight champion, co-star of Rocky V, and, later, supporter of the HIV Denial movement, has passed away at 44. [more inside]