Category Archives: In Memoriam

Obituaries and memorials

hard work being a black man in America

DeAndre McCullough has passed away.

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Magic cat

Fade to black for visionary filmmaker Chris Marker, who made the genuinely one-of-a-kind La Jetée (1962). He was 91.

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Freezing with Mr. Foster

R.I.P. Peter Bergman.

Update: Via If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger…, Richard Metzger offers a remembrance and clips of two TV commercials the Firesigns made for a VW dealership in 1969.

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Warning! Warning!

Dick Tufeld, voice of the Robot in TV’s Lost in Space (the only character who sounded remotely grounded in reality), has passed away.

(News via Leta.)

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Helen Frankenthaler, one of the few women that thrived in the boys’ club of New York school abstractionism, died earlier this week. The Times has a brief slideshow of some of her most important work.

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Isabel Wilkerson revisits this year’s obituaries from 750 newspapers across the country. It was a year of “the first African-American to…” O the strides made in humble mundanity.

Sometime in the future, the phrase will be invoked for the biggest first of all, the first African-American elected to the Oval Office, a designation that surely the first milk-delivery man and the first postal clerk and the first business agent for Heavy Construction Laborers’ Union Local 663 in Kansas City, Mo., had, upon consideration, more than a little something to do with.

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Time for a reread

Russell Hoban, ventriloquist extraordinaire/author of Riddley Walker, has passed.

(Link via Bookslut.)

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the radio/is off

At Via Negativa, Dave Bonta offers “This poem has nothing to do with 9/11.”

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Some links: 55

  • I was looking for packing material at my cousin’s place and came across a Saturday edition obit for Jerry Ragovoy; otherwise I would have missed it altogether. Ragovoy co-wrote “Piece of My Heart,” which was recorded in a wrenching live performance by Janis Joplin and later, more regrettably, by a country pop singer.
  • Linda Himelstein reports on research that looks at how dyslexics master syllable-based writing systems (and their languages) as opposed to character-based system.
  • Alan Feuer filed a fine report on the natural areas of Jamaica Bay, still the only National Wildlife Refuge that you can get to via subway. Mylan Cannon adds a great photograph of conservationist Don Riepe, an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) on a ground-level nest, and a passenger jet in the background.

    Jamaica Bay’s conservationists — fishermen and firefighters, limousine drivers and owners of small boats — are not your typical tree-hugging types, not “Upper West Side, Park Slope, brownstone Brooklyn people,” as Mr. Riepe put it. They are people like Mr. Lewandowski from the canoe club, a transit official…

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I don’t usually do video embeds, but I was inspired in part by Via Negativa’s Memorial Day mix. Herewith, Ed McCurdy’s “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream,” performed by Arlo Guthrie and Shenandoah.

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Hard to keep up

When I hear on the radio the voice of an artist that I haven’t heard in a long time, it’s rarely happy news. And so it is with the passing of Phoebe Snow, who died last week after a long illness, as Tom Cole and Neda Ulaby report. “No Regrets,” from the Second Childhood album (1976) is a shimmering three minutes of new swing that will always be with me.

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Safe home

How did I miss this? Last week, Lanford Wilson, playwright of terrific ensemble pieces like The Hot l Baltimore and Book of Days, passed away.

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No Abzug

Via Parallax Views comes news of the passing of Geraldine Ferraro, vice presidential candidate who “ran rings around George H.W. Bush in their vice-presidential debate.”

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Zelig backing up first base

Douglas Martin closes the book on Greg Goossen, C and 1B for the Mets and Seattle Pilots. A bright prospect who never starred, nonetheless Goossen’s name is attached to many incidents of baseball history in the 1960s, and he provided fodder for Jim Bouton’s Ball Four.

Bouton told of the time the two were on opposing International League teams and Goossen was catching. The batter bunted to the pitcher, and Goossen yelled, “First base! First base!” Instead the pitcher threw to second and everybody was safe.

As a disgusted Goossen stalked back to the plate, Bouton shouted from the dugout, “Goose, he had to consider the source.”

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Totally serial

Composer of the avant garde Milton Babbitt has died at the age of 94. I dabbled in Babbitt in my salad days but I never quite became a fan. Audio clips of many of his pieces and a video interview from 2001 (in which he favorably compares art music composition to microbrewing) are at NewMusicBox.

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