Friday, February 5, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Show Must Go On

Alan Rickman was a fine actor, playing everything from villains to a Shakespearean actor reduced to playing an alien on a space opera and relegated to attending science fiction conventions, but he always looked like he was having fun.  He gained a lot of fans by playing Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series, but his role in Galaxy Quest perhaps reflected all of his facets.

Brian Bedford — 1935-2016

A great actor has made his exit.  From the Globe and Mail:

Acclaimed British actor Brian Bedford, a Tony Award-winning mainstay of Broadway and Ontario’s Stratford Festival, has died.

The festival in Stratford, Ont., told The Canadian Press that Bedford died on Wednesday in Santa Barbara, Calif., after a 2 1/2-year battle with cancer. He was 80.

“The doctors were just astounded by his will to live,” said Ann Swerdfager, the festival’s publicity director.

Antoni Cimolino, the festival’s artistic director, said in a statement that “Brian Bedford was the prime reason I went into the theatre.”

Bedford had been ailing in recent years.

In early 2014, illness forced him to pull out of his role as the pope in a touring production of the Vatican mystery thriller “The Last Confession” that visited Toronto. It was a part he said he’d been “really looking forward” to, noting John Paul I was “a very, very sweet, modest, lovely person and I haven’t played that kind of part for a long, long time.”

In June 2013, he withdrew from his role as Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice” at the Stratford Festival due to “a medical condition.” He also missed shows during the festival’s 2011 season.

Bedford was a fixture in the southwestern Ontario community of Stratford, where he worked at the festival for 29 seasons, acting and directing.

In 2009, he brought down the house directing and starring (in full drag) as Lady Bracknell in the festival’s production of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which moved to Broadway and earned him a 2011 Tony Award nomination for best actor. The production itself won a Tony for best costume design and was nominated for another for best revival of a play.

I saw the performance of “Earnest” at Stratford (my notes here) and thought it was one of the best plays I’d seen in all my years there.

He was a great actor, a fine director, and by all accounts, a very nice person.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Short Takes

Relief aid reaches starving towns in Syria.

The Supreme Court sounds like it might deal a big setback to public employee unions.

Millions of ISIS cash destroyed by U.S. air strikes.

The Koch brothers’ dad helped build an oil refinery for the Third Reich, according to a new book.

William Del Monte, the last-known survivor of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, dies at 109.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Little Night Music

The internet, the radio, and everything in between has been filled today with tributes to David Bowie.  His music and voice are everywhere; even the classical station out of Interlochen, Michigan, played a portion of his 1978 recording of “Peter and the Wolf.”  So I thought that instead of playing something everyone has heard, I’d find a piece that may be a little less known — and a bit out of season — but it’s beautiful.  Not only that, it is a duet with one of the great voices of popular music of another generation: Bing Crosby in his last Christmas special from 1977.  It was made (obviously) before Der Bingle died in October of that year, but the network put it on anyway.  They made a great team.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Friday, November 6, 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015

Short Takes

Russia says the plane that crashed on the Sinai broke up in flight.

Witnesses describe gun rampage in Colorado Springs.

G.O.P. campaigns meet to whine about debate procedures.

43 Chipotle restaurants closed due to E. coli breakout.

The Royals won the World Series against the Mets.

R.I.P. Fred Thompson, 73, former senator, presidential candidate, and actor (Law & Order).

Friday, October 9, 2015

Short Takes

Russian missiles bound for Syria landed in Iran.  Oops.

The CEO of VW of America got grilled by Congress.

Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize for Literature; a first for non-fiction.

Researchers believe they found the gay gene.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter suspended for 90 days.

R.I.P. Paul Prudhomme, 75, celebrity chef who popularized Cajun cooking.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Short Takes

VW admits to diesel emissions fraud.

E.U. ministers approve migrant plan.

Democrats defeat GOP abortion bill in the Senate.

The sage grouse doesn’t get protected status.

U.S. stops screening passengers from Liberia.

Tropical Update: TS Ida is still stuck in neutral.

R.I.P. Yogi Berra, 90, ballplayer and force of wit.

The Tigers beat the White Sox 2-1 in extra innings.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Short Takes

Officials in Budapest block refugees from getting on trains to Germany.

President Obama will push for helping Arctic communities stave off rising oceans.

The Army opens Ranger school to all comers.

Baltimore judge refuses to drop charges against cops charged in Freddie Gray’s death.

R.I.P. Dean Jones, 84, star of many Disney films.

Tropical Update: Fred stays put.

The Tigers got walloped 12-1 by the Royals.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Short Takes

Thai cops release a sketch of Bangkok bombing suspect.

U.S. and Russia trade barbs over Ukraine.

Court rules that cops convicted in post-Katrina shooting deserve new trial.

R.I.P. Louis Stokes, first black Congressman from Ohio.

Tropical Update: TS Danny heads west toward the north end of the Leeward Islands.

The Tigers beat the Cubs 15-8.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Short Takes

A state of emergency is declared in Ferguson after another shooting.

Colorado mine wastewater spill estimated to be 3 million gallons.

Hillary Clinton puts forth a plan to end the student loan crisis.

China read e-mails of top U.S. officials.

Archaeologists may have found the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

R.I.P. Frank Gifford, 84, NFL star and broadcaster.

The Tigers lost 4-0 to K.C.

Monday, July 20, 2015