A place for anything and everything that comes to mind.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Here We Go Again

Two legends.  Within one week.  Both 69.  Both died from cancer.

This week has sucked.

Alan Rickman was outstanding.  He was beyond words.  He was a powerful yet understated actor.  He was one of those that I always thought must have had an amazing sense of humor and be kind beyond measure.  I mean he had to be to make up for all of those awesome baddies he played.

Media outlets have been remembering him for playing all the villains--which he did very well.  The first time I ever saw him was in 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (which, thanks to Christian Slater I saw THREE times in the theatre).  I was completely enamored of his portrayal of the Sheriff of Nottingham.  He was so disgustingly wicked!  I went for Christian Slater, but I was mesmerized by Alan Rickman.

He kept showing up in my movie world, and each time I was so happy he was present.  I didn't see Die Hard until I was much older: nailed the villain again.  I've always been obsessed with his carefully maintained beard in that, too.  So 80s.  So villainous.

Oh, he's Snape?  Well.  That's perfect.  A "villain" with a conflicted heart of gold.  Even before the end of the Harry Potter series was published, I knew there was more to Snape, and when he was cast, I knew it was perfection.

If this didn't make you feel all the feelings, you are not human.

What about comedy?  Galaxy Quest?  CHECK.  Dogma?  CHECK.  (Man, I just wanted him to be able to taste that tequila!)

Sweeney Todd?  I get to see Alan Rickman AND Johnny Depp...SINGING???  OKAY!!!!  I'm okay with that!  Completely okay.

How about some voiceover work in another Tim Burton film, Alice in Wonderland, or giving the best performance in the big-screen adaptation of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?  A lot of people love Morgan Freeman's voice, but I always loved Rickman's more.  It was velvety yet rugged.  Sophisticated.  Learned. Oooohhh, I loved it.

But my FAVORITE Alan Rickman was Love Actually.  The couple he and Emma Thompson portray, though definitely not the happiest of the lot, was the most real.  Confused, middle-aged, wanting something more, yet still needing his family, understated...the two of them presented a real-life situation that happens way too often.  I admire and respect their performances the most in that film, and though it's hard to watch each time, when Emma Thompson's voice cracks when she tells him, "'ve also made a fool out of me, and you've made the life I lead foolish, too," and then the look of realization on his face...It's perfect and real and kind of lovely that they could capture that on film to let others know they aren't alone when a comfortable marriage falls apart.

So, we say goodbye to another,'s the deal.  I have a pop culture mindset.  I'm not really sure how it happened, but I grew up completely engrossed in music, TV shows, and movies.  I was that teenager who had crushes on all the 80s hunks--like Michael J. Fox, John Stamos, Kirk Cameron, River Phoenix, Ricky Schroder, Brian Bloom (anyone remember that one?), Michael Schoeffling--and my heroines were bright-eyed ingenues--Molly Ringwald, Alyssa Milano, Justine Bateman, Drew Barrymore (rebel that she was at the time).  I talk in movie quotes and song lyrics.  Rarely does a day go by that I don't quote from one or both.  The highlight of my year is always twofold: watching the Golden Globes and then comparing them to the Oscars.  I am movie.  I am music.  I love the people involved in them.  And many think I am silly and weak-minded to have feelings for actors, actresses, and musicians when they pass.  Well, it's just who I am, because they help make up WHO I am.  If you don't like that, I guess you don't like me.

Let's put this week to rest with a Bowie/Rickman celebration.  Listen to all the Bowie.  Watch all the Rickman.  It'll make you smile!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Surprise! It's Bowie!

Last night the world lost a great one, an EPIC one, an icon.  David Bowie passed away after an 18 month battle with cancer two days after his 69th birthday, and two days after his 28th album, Blackstar, was released.  I hadn't even had time to listen to Blackstar yet when I woke up to find this news.  Before I hit the shower my face was already wet with tears.  I don't want to dwell on his passing, but just for a moment I want to celebrate his chameleon-esque form and talents.

You see, for me David Bowie is intricately interwoven into some of my favorite movies and TV shows, more than songs.  He is part of my pop culture fabric.  He is in so many bits and pieces of the quilt of my youth and being--some music, some TV, some fashion, some music videos--that he actually embodied the ever moving and evolving state of being that he longed to portray to everyone.  For me, Bowie always was changing, and it was a matter of fact for me.

For me, he was a Christmas song first.  The one that's still my favorite.  Then he started to come alive to me through MTV, with Mick Jagger and China dolls.

He accosted my ears with pure power and energy, and with things I'd never heard before, with Under Pressure, Space Oddity, Suffragette City, Changes, Fame...the list keeps going and going and going. 

The best moments, though, were when I was just sitting, innocently watching something, and all of a sudden, Bowie was there.  I squealed with delight when he popped up where I least expected him.  Like I squealed.  Out loud.  For real.  Twin Peaks & Bowie?  Oh my God.  Really??  This is happening?

A walk off...with BOWIE AS THE JUDGE???  Of course he'll be of service: HE'S DAVID BOWIE.

 The Prestige...Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, and, oh my gosh...Bowie!  With a mustache!  It's him!

His music BECAME homage--tribute--revered.  Part of Baz Luhrman's Moulin Rouge.  When Ewan McGregor sang Heroes, it was just...just...everything.  Heath Ledger dancing to Golden Years in Knight's Tale...still makes me shiver.  What about Bowies in Space via Flight of the Conchords?  Or Bowie in Ricky Gervais' Extras??  Every single one I didn't expect.  He was everywhere.  Fluidly moving between all art forms.  And what about his art?  Music/performance/fashion/his very own self.  He touched everything; experimented with anything.  Hell, he even made Bowie Bonds, so people could participate in his art and wealth.  Perhaps best of all for me, he made us a list of books to read.  For this librarian, that's the ultimate form of love. 

But after all of this, let us never, EVER forget Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine. I saw that one my freshman year in college, fall of 1998.  I was all by myself.  I had to call my grandfather for a ride from my dorm room to the theater.  No one I knew wanted to see it.  I was having a really rough time adjusting to life in college, without all of my best friends around me; I was borderline depressed.  My granddad said he'd come in with me to see it, so I wouldn't be alone, and I told him I didn't think it would be his thing.  It was about loneliness, being an outcast, trying to find where you fit in the world...everything I was going through.  It wasn't officially Bowie, but it was.  It was everything.

I believe, truly believe, there will never be another like him.  At least in my lifetime I know there won't be.  Maybe my children will be lucky enough to have someone as epic, but, well...I doubt it.  

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Coloring is a Thing!

I love to wander around bookstores.  It's my favorite past time.  I really love to do this around the holidays: all the new, shiny books are out, people are hustling and bustling and talking about possible books to buy, and the shelves are always PACKED with loads of tomes for the customers to peruse and purchase. 

Here's my other favorite past time (that I don't get to do much of anymore): coloring.  I love to color.  I always have.  I used to take a coloring book with me wherever I went.  I'd take one with me when I went to visit my cousin in Missouri (this was as an adult, mind you).  I vividly remember one time, not long after her father's death, when we sat around her kitchen table coloring, talking, and pretending that we were kids again.  I took coloring books with me to Scotland when we'd visit, and I'd even take them to staff meetings.  Even though it might have looked like I wasn't paying attention, because I was coloring, it helped keep me focused.  I am "that person" who needs to be doing something at all times: when I would color, I could still hear what everyone was saying and process the info. 

I've heard whispers of these "adult" coloring books: relaxation coloring, mandala coloring, whatever coloring.  But, the real impact this is having on our culture didn't hit home until I was browsing through Barnes & Noble last week.  "Adult" coloring books EVERYWHERE.  I mean everywhere.  On each table display, there was an adult coloring book that went with it.  There was a magazine endcap with adult coloring magazines.  Now, today on my Facebook feed, I see there's a Doctor Who Coloring Book

I don't know.  It's just weird to me...that coloring is all of a sudden a fad.  It should never be a fad.  It should always be there, waiting for you.  All of a sudden, since it has "adult" in front of it, it's okay for me to do it?  Whatever.  It's been okay for me for years and years...for over 30 years when I come to think of it, but I'm so glad it's socially acceptable again??  I'll probably break down and buy one eventually, but I need someone to help fund the expensive super fine point markers you HAVE TO BUY to go with it.  Ain't no Crayola gonna work on those.   So, for now, I'll just stick to coloring my Superman and My Little Pony coloring books.