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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.  


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