ltmurnau: (CX)

Nash the Slash, a.k.a. Jeff Plewman, dead at 66
Bandaged musician a mainstay in Toronto music clubs during '70s and '80s
CBC News Posted: May 12, 2014 3:59 PM ET| Last Updated: May 12, 2014 5:07 PM ET

Jeff Plewman, the musician behind the experimental rock persona Nash the Slash and the band FM, has died at age 66.

Nash the Slash was a mainstay in Toronto live music clubs throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He was known internationally after a world tour with Gary Numan and Iggy Pop and had opened up for the Who. Before performing as Nash the Slash, Plewman played in the prog-rock band FM in the 1970s.

Two of his longtime friends and colleagues confirmed Plewman's passing to CBC, though details are sparse.

Nash the Slash appeared on stage in a black tuxedo, top hat, dark sunglasses and wrapped in bandages. It would become his signature look. His bandaged appearance from 1979 onward prompted many questions about his mysterious identity.

He started the independent record label Cut-Throat Records, which he used to release his own music. Among his albums was Decomposing, which he claimed could be listened to at any speed, and Bedside Companion, which he said was the first record out of Toronto to use a drum machine.

His biggest hit was "Dead Man's Curve", a cover of a Jan and Dean song.

More recently, he played at Toronto's Pride Festival and toured up until 2012. In 1997 Cut-Throat released a CD compilation of Nash the Slash’s first two recordings entitled Blind Windows. In 1999 he released Thrash. In April 2001, Nash released his score to the silent film classic Nosferatu.

Plewman retired in 2012, bemoaning file-sharing online and encouraging artists to be more independent. "It's time to roll up the bandages," he wrote.

He will be remembered for his experimental ethos as well as his unusual stage presence.

"I refused to be slick and artificial," Plewman wrote of his own career.

There has not been word on how the musician died.


I loved this guy's music and his weird persona.
I was a fan from the time that I started to get into music, over 30 years ago.
I would play one Nash cut every time I would DJ Circuit Breaker (which, by the way, is still going on after almost 3 1/2 years - sorry I have not been posting setlists here, it's all at and last night I played "Citizen" from his album And You Thought You Were Normal.

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I learned yesterday that a friend had died, at age 85. He was one of my oldest friends, in that I first knew him 26 years ago, when he was a spry 59. He lived in Bellingham and our connection was mail art.

I had just gotten started in that strange timewaster, an Internet of art and crazy letters that had been functioning for years before the "real" Internet got underway. I corresponded with dozens of people all over the world, but mostly the USA and Europe. The mailman never knew what he would drop off at the house on any given day - I think he got a kick out of the day he delivered an Australia Post baseball cap, with an address label and stamps stuck right on the bill and then put in the letter box.

I stuck with it for five or six years, until I moved to Japan. Life there was too much like living inside one of my own postcard collages, so I retreated from a lot of my visual art and started to write. And once I got back, I had wife, kid and job so there was little time to carry on with visual art - when Aki was old enough I tried to get him interested in Artist Trading Cards, small works of art that dodge the big postage bill because you trade them in more economical bundles, but that didn't last. Nowadays I write the occasional letter and still do metal casting - I have different printing machines and all my old hand-carved rubber stamps but just no time.

I had become a very bad correspondent with Rudi, as with all my old mail-art pals, but I was still surprised when a very long letter I had him sent a month or two ago went unanswered. Normally he was a much better writer than I, even if it was just a short scribble and a cutout newspaper bit - his health had been failing for years. But instead I got a card from his widow, telling me she got the letter when she went into town to close down the PO box that I had sent so many things to over the years.

He was a good man, friendly and funny, sympathetic and ever-inventive. And he died with me owing him a letter.
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Paul Fussell died recently - I particularly enjoyed his books "BAD" and the collection of essays "Thank God for the Atomic Bomb", as well as his memoirs of his military service.

Brian Fawcett, a writer I want to like but who I am not sure would like me, put it well in his obit at

RIP Paul Fussell 1924-2012
June 4, 2012 by Brian Fawcett

The celebrity obit page in the Globe and Mail for June 4, 2012 has two entries. At the bottom, a four inch obit for Paul Fussell, who died May 23 at age 88. Fussell was a man who wrote two and maybe three great books during his life. One, The Great War and Modern Memory, is easily one of the five most important books written about the First World War, an analysis of the war’s effect on literature and on the writers who experienced it. Both its intellectual elan and its ability to draw in the realities—and the details—of combat are unique and forceful, and Fussell’s prose is a joy. His memoir of combat during the Second World War, Doing Battle, revealed him as a stunningly insightful chronicler of war at ground level, and short of Ernst Junger’s The Storm of Steel, might be the best book ever written on the subject. I’d argue that it was the best American book to come out of World War II, and not just because Fussell personally saw more raw combat than virtually any other American writer (as a 20 year lieutenant he was wounded while fighting in Alsace, and was awarded both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart). His third masterpiece was his late (2003) memoir, The Boys’ Crusade: The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944-1945, which is an elegy for the young men he fought with in France and Germany, a book at once tender-hearted and articulately angry about the waste of young lives he was witness to.

Fussell wasn’t just a war writer. He was a middle class Californian who wrote a biography of Samuel Johnson, several manuals on prosody, a number of hilariously witty volumes on the class system in America, and a dozen other books that display the astounding range of his interests. He was also, in the best sense, a “character”: irascible, chatty, indiscrete (both intellectually and personally) and a man who learned to wear his heart on his sleeve. Best of all he was a man whose intellectual wildness grew as he got older: he was lovable, socially terrifying, and permanently angry that the world wasn’t better than it was. I wish I’d known him personally, because he was one of those rare intellectuals who was interesting on any subject that gained his attention.

He’d have been angry to see the Globe’s obituary page, because the rest of it chronicled the life of a British-born Hollywood dickhead by the name of Richard Dawson, who died at 78 a few days after Fussell. Dawson’s main claim to fame was the daytime Emmy he was awarded in 1978 as a game show host. He hosted a pedestrian game show called Family Feud for nine years between 1976 and 1985, where he specialized in kissing his female contestants—about 20,000 of them in all, some of whom he groped on camera, and one of whom he married. His other accomplishments were a role in Hogan’s Heroes, and a decade of marriage to British breast celebrity, Diana Dors. He got 4/5ths of the Globe’s obituary page because he was on television, where he did nothing to make the world better or easier to understand. If television descends to the level some of us think it could, and begins to televise human executions and dismemberments, some executive will likely mourn the fact that Richard Dawson won’t be around to host it.

That’s a cruel epitaph, but it’s the sort of thing Paul Fussell would have thought, and found some better way to say.

574 w. June 4, 2012
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Harvey Pekar is dead. About the time he died, I was sitting up in bed reading The Beats: A Graphic History, written by Harvey Pekar, illustrated by many, published in April of this year and bought by me just that day.

The night James Brown died, I was watching an old VHS tape of Dr. Detroit, a Dan Aykroyd comedy which featured James Brown prominently. (

I have to be more careful about what I look at and when. Maybe I should restrict my reading to works by people who are already dead - though I did pick up Harlan Ellison's The Glass Teat last week, and want to get to it soon - can I resist temptation?

Oh, and I broke another tooth - most of a molar this time. Dammit dammit dammit. [edit: saw a dentist quickly and got the crown put on that should have been put on last time it broke. Sore right now but better than having a tooth open to the elements.]

Comics writer Harvey Pekar dies at 70

Last Updated: Monday, July 12, 2010 | 12:07 PM ET CBC News

Noted comic book writer Harvey Pekar, best known for his autobiographical American Splendor series, has been found dead by police at his home in Cleveland.

Pekar, who was 70, had been suffering from prostate cancer and other ailments, according to police spokesman Capt. Michael Cannon.

The authorities were called to Pekar's home by his wife, Joyce Brabner, at about 1 a.m. local time Monday morning, Cannon said.

A spokesman for the coroner's office said an autopsy will be performed, but gave no further details about Pekar's death.

The Cleveland-born Pekar's passion for jazz led to a friendship with comics icon Robert Crumb.

In 1976, Pekar began publishing his autobiographical stories, with Crumb and others illustrating the tales of his life as a curmudgeonly Veteran's Administration hospital file clerk and freelance jazz and book critic living in Cleveland.

The series inspired the critically lauded 2003 film adaptation American Splendor, starring Paul Giamatti as Pekar.
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First noteworthy obit of 2010.
I enjoyed Gumby and Pokey, in small doses.
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I posted a news story yesterday to the effect that punk drummer Chuck Biscuits had died.
It appears this was a hoax, and Biscuits is alive and well (but apparently doesn't get out much anymore).
I have deleted said post.
Thanks to Anonymous who pointed me to the story clarifying the matter.
Let us all reflect on the drawbacks of "instant news", for the time it takes to peck out another 140 character message about the salad you had for supper last night.
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Over the weekend, J. G. Ballard succumbed to illness caused by prostate cancer. He was 78. He had been ill for several years, as he revealed at the end of his very last book, Miracles of Life.

JGB was a brilliant writer, a highly original thinker, my favourite author and an interesting man in his own right. No one saw the world just as he did, and he became, without most of the rest of that world knowing it, its unacknowledged prophet and psychic chronicler.

I read my first Ballard at age 13 - I saw a Penguin edition of The Terminal Beach, a collection of short stories, on a shelf in a dusty used bookstore in Sidney. I read them without completely understanding them at first, but there was this quality to the writing and the ideas that kept me coming back.

Since then, I have read everything that he wrote, with the exception of uncollected pieces that he did for newspapers and magazines. It's sad to think that there will be no more books or thoughts from him, ever.

THE site for things Ballardian: has a very moving personal tribute by Simon Sellars, and a collection of remembrances etc. by other authors. Here it is, I could not say it any better:

Goodbye, Jim…

As publisher of this site, my goal has always been to take J.G. Ballard as a philosopher, rather than simply a ‘novelist’. Sometimes this has truly angered fans and champions of his work, more often it has brought me into brilliant and inspiring contact with writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers and theorists who all see the world through that same Ballardian lens — and with Jim Ballard himself, who, along with his partner Claire Walsh, always remained supportive of the site.

Ballard articulates clearly to me the implications of living in an age of total consumerism, of blanket surveillance, of enslavement designed as mass entertainment. But he also speaks to me of resistance through irony, immersion, ambivalence, imagination — of remixing, recycling, remaking, remodelling.

Ballard embraces dystopian scenarios, including the archetypal non-space often characterised as a deadening feature of late capitalism. But this is not simply a call for nihilism. Ballard’s characters are not disengaged from their world. Rather, they embody a sense of resistance that derives from full immersion, a therapeutic confrontation with the powers of darkness, whereby merging with dystopian alienation negates its power.

This is predicated on concurrency: Ballard’s writing turns objectivity into subjectivity, opens up gaps where there is room for new subjects. His scenarios are what I term ‘affirmative dystopias’, neither straight utopia nor straight dystopia, but an occupant of the interstitial space between them, perpetual oscillation between the poles – the ‘yes or no of the borderzone’, to use a phrase from his work.

Here, dystopia becomes the real utopia, and utopian ideals, typically represented as a stifling of the imagination, the true dystopia. He reinhabits the frame to present a clearinghouse in which corporate and national governance is overthrown and regoverned as a ’state of mind’.

To read and to understand Ballard, then, is to be gloriously, finally liberated.

To James Graham Ballard: thank you.

Links, etc. - there are hundreds of Ballard sites out there but here are a couple I stuck in, for want of anything better or having to look harder:

CBC's rather superficial obit, apparently cribbed from Wikipedia_:
[EDIT: a much better written appreciation of Ballard replaced this shortly afterwards:]

Guardian article on JGB and pop music:

And another reminiscence from V. Vale, co-founder of Re/Search of San Francisco which published a lot of Ballard miscellany (

I particularly hate it when “rebels” die — there are already so few of them/us. Sometimes it seems like virtually everyone you meet these days in the world is a slave to the profit motive/capitalist imperative: “What’s the meaning of life?” “To make money!” J.G. Ballard, and another of my relatively recently deceased role models, W.S. Burroughs, both refused to prostitute their writing, and they both refused to shmooze and “network” merely to further their “careers.” Both had a hatred of bourgeois hypocrisy and phony politeness, while at the same time being deeply polite and courteous, almost to a fault …

But for now, let us think of ways to publicly mourn one of the greatest thinkers and poets of the past century. By some irony, “The Complete Short Stories of J.G. Ballard” is reportedly soon to be published in the United States, complete with two additional stories not included in the U.K. edition. Short stories, more than novels, may appropriately suit the trend of the increasingly shorter attention span of the human populace, who demand more flash ads, tiny videos and music quotations as they read their two-minute, two-page articles on the Internet. I suggest that for the next month (or year), readers shut out everything else and read ONLY J.G. Ballard novels, short stories, essays, interviews and reviews. Your mind, language, and outlook are guaranteed to be permanently altered…

“Death always presents the face of surprised recognition,” wrote William S. Burroughs. He also advised all of us to “Stay out of hospitals,” and “Avoid Doctors.” Well, even though I had been concerned about J.G. Ballard’s health after hearing two years ago that he had been diagnosed with “advanced” prostate cancer, I still felt a kind of unthinking complacency mixed with my concern: “Almost every humane male has prostate cancer when he dies; it acts very slowly and can take decades to kill a man.” To be honest, having seen him recently in October 2008, I really didn’t think he would die THIS SOON. And when I found out he had died — I had arrived home from a 9-hour bus trip today to hear the news on our answering machine — well, my first thought was, “There’s no thinker left alive that I can totally trust. They’re all dead.”

For the past two or more years Ballard had been undergoing state-of-the-art, high-tech treatment from a young doctor who reportedly was trying every new medical breakthrough remedy or procedure which promised “hope” for Ballard’s condition. Recently, however, Ballard had been rushed to a hospital, and after sustained care there had returned to the home to his longtime (40-plus years) companion, Claire Walsh. The latest word was that he had recently required around-the-clock care by visiting professional nurses, which sounded somewhat alarming. Still, I maintained calm. Now I wish I had tried to telephone him and talk one last time, even if just for a minute. I think I expected Ballard to live at least as long as Burroughs, who reached the age of 83, even after having been “a junkie” for years of his life. By a strange logic, I felt that since Ballard hadn’t been a junkie, he should live even longer than 83. Well, I was wrong. And now the world will miss his unique, witty, and sometimes acerbic commentaries on itself. We miss him and are grateful for his dark sense of humor and generous output.

– V. Vale, RE/Search founder back in 1977, San Francisco

I have that UK edition of his complete short stories and will start working through it. And I'm going to have a prostate exam. Let's all bend over for Uncle Jim! (well, the men, anyway)

One thing relatively few remembrances/comments I have read so far mention is his sense of humour and grim wit. I liked that in him; he was actually very funny, in his way.
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Lux Interior is dead at 62.

Or maybe it was 50something, no one seems to know for sure.

2009 is shaping up to be another bad year for obits already.

I feel like the icons of "my" culture (gee, how would I characterize that - a lot of lowbrow muck and goofy obsessive minutiae, derived from dead media generally) are all dropping off into the grave - Forrest J. Ackerman, Patrick McGoohan, now Lux...

Well, no one lives forever but what happens to a culture that is ever more actively and recursively strip-mining its own past talents - most cultures do do that, but when nothing very remarkable seems to arise based on what came before, what happens then?

"Rock 'n' roll has absolutely nothing to do with music. You can't call The Cramps music. It's noise, rockin' noise."
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Patrick McGoohan has died at age 80.

I of course remember him best in The Prisoner, one of the the most imaginative things that have ever been broadcast on TV (not eagerly awaiting the much-rumoured remake that will probably feature Keanu Reeves: "whoa... dude... I am not a number, um, I am a free man...").

I also remember him from Scanners, and Ice Station Zebra, and Kings and Desperate Men, a remarkable borefest remarkable only because it featured Margaret Trudeau's one and only screen appearance - her autobiography waxes long and tedious about the "chemistry" she says they shared.

But first of all was Dr. Christopher Syn/The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, made in 1962 for Disney! I thought this was great when I was a kid.


{EDIT: Oh, and Ricardo Montalban died too. He was OK; I liked him in Battleground, one of the better movies made about the Battle of the Bulge.]
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Obits of the week:

Forrest J. Ackerman, on December 5, of heart failure, at 92. I would not count myself as a actual science fiction fan, but I've read a lot of it, and his lifelong efforts to promote the genre were probably on balance all to the good (though here I invoke Sturgeon's Law, which I frequently do).

Bettie Page, on December 11, who after treatment for pneumonia slipped into a coma from which she did not recover. She was 85. Under all the smiles and winks and teasy silly costumes (and yes, sometimes the ropes and ball gags), she was a very beautiful woman who looked human, not at all like modern centrefolds (who all kind of resemble a shaved boy with long blonde hair and huge mammary implants).
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Yma Sumac has Passed On:

I first heard of Yma Sumac through the Re/Search book Incredibly Strange Music, and then heard some of her actual music on The Ernie Kovacs Record Album. I'm not a great fan of "lounge" music, but I have a small collection of "exotica" albums, and she's there.

Halloween was pretty quiet; a few more kids came to the door than last year. Heard hardly any fireworks, the police must be really cracking down on sellers as in previous years the firecrackers started two weeks before Halloween and went on for another week after. Saturday was Catalyst at the Bayanihan community centre; I was kind of tired but it was nice to hear some good music and see people I haven't seen in a long time. I talked to Casper who came in costume as Milan Fras from Laibach - we talked about the Laibach show I missed in Seattle in September (next time they come, in about three years, I should be able to see them - just too much going on right now). People kept asking me if I were in costume - I was, sort of, in my Chinese waiter's jacket, skull collar tabs and black trousers and boots - nothing fancy but I said I was the 12th assistant janitor on the Death Star, because no matter what job you have there you have a natty uniform.
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Okay, I have been coughing up Radioactive Lung Butter* for almost a week now and am officially Getting Tired Of It. I spent the whole weekend either sleeping or doing next to nothing, and the damn'd Affliction sits in me yet.

Damn New York anyway, pit of expensive filth and microbes -

New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones

New York's alright,
New York's alright,
New York's alright,
if you like saxophones!

New York's alright if you wanna be pushed in front of the subway!
New York's alright if you like tuberculosis!
New York's alright if you like art and jazz!
New York's alright if you're a homosexual!

New york's alright,
New York's alright,
New York's alright,
if you like saxophones!

New York's alright if you like drunks in your doorway!
New York's alright if you wanna freeze to death!
New York's alright if you wanna get mugged or murdered!
New York's alright if you like saxophones!

New York's alright,
New York's alright,
New York's alright,
if you like saxophones!

[Thanks to FEAR]

Also, officially Bummed Out that George Carlin died. Heart failure; he'd had problems for a while. He died quickly, and just last week he was doing shows in Vegas. I think this is the way he would have liked to go out. So now he's up in Heaven with God having either a really good belly laugh, or a very awkward silence...though I don't see George Carlin ever being at a loss for words.

All the good names and minds are dying out, though we still have Lewis Black as long as he doesn't pop something really vital.

* [I mean it; this stuff is Red 233, Green 248, Blue 124, Hue 45, Sat 213 and Lum 186. RGB 223-223-272 in the mornings. Really, like ICK.]
[Edit: RADIOACTIVE LUNG BUTTER. Not quite the shade, more luminous, but you get the idea.]
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Yes, as has been noted all over the Internet today, Gary Gygax has died.
Sure I remember him for D&D, I played a lot of it in my high school years, but I also remember him for his miniatures rules and board games. At one time or another I owned and/or played:

Cavaliers and Roundheads (English Civil War miniatures rules)
Chainmail (the "magic" appendix to this set of minis rules grew into D&D)
Dragon Chess (mostly unplayable 3-level mega-chess, in issue #100 of The Dragon)
Dungeon (board game for kids; still have this one)
Tractics (WWII - modern armor miniatures rules - this one drove me spare with its clunky mechanics, but boy was it detailed)

Dunkirk: Battle of France (seen this one, lusted to have it)

And before there was The Dragon magazine, there were The Strategic Review and Little Wars magazines, which he edited and contributed to massively.

But as usual, The Onion has the last word:
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William F. Buckley,
Mister Private Property,
planned to give a little talk,
a political speech,
in a small town in Illinois.

His advance men discovered
that the center of town had
and that all the
commercial action
was out at the mall.

When Buckley arrived
at the mall,
he set up his microphone
near a little fountain
and began to hand out leaflets
and autographed copies
of his latest

Just as a small crowd of shoppers gathered,
the owners of the mall ran out and said:
Excuse us.
This is private property,
we're afraid
you'll have to leave....

- Laurie Anderson United States (part one)
ltmurnau: (Grandpa Munster)

'Munsters' star Yvonne De Carlo dies
By BOB THOMAS, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES - Yvonne De Carlo, the beautiful star who played Moses' wife in "The Ten Commandments" but achieved her greatest popularity on TV's "The Munsters," has died. She was 84.

De Carlo died of natural causes Monday at the Motion Picture & Television facility in suburban Los Angeles, longtime friend and television producer Kevin Burns said Wednesday.

Read more... )

So, the last living Munster is Butch Patrick (who also seems to have made the most money milking his childhood role).
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Co-creator of Yogi Bear, Flintstones dies at 95
Last Updated: Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | 11:01 AM ET
CBC Arts

Joe Barbera, half of the Hanna-Barbera animation team that produced such beloved cartoon characters as Tom and Jerry, Yogi Bear and the Flintstones, died Monday, a Warner Bros. spokesman said.

Barbera, 95, died of natural causes at his home with his wife Sheila at his side, Warner Bros. spokesman Gary Miereanu said.

With his longtime partner Bill Hanna, Barbera first found success creating the highly successful Tom and Jerry cartoons. The antics of the battling cat and mouse went on to win seven Academy Awards, more than any other series with the same characters.

The partners, who had first teamed up while working at MGM in the 1930s, then went on to a whole new realm of success in the 1950s with a witty series of animated TV comedies, including The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo and Huckleberry Hound and Friends.

Their strengths melded perfectly, critic Leonard Maltin wrote in his book Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. Barbera brought the comic gags and skilled drawing, while Hanna brought warmth and a keen sense of timing.

"This writing-directing team may hold a record for producing consistently superior cartoons using the same characters year after year —without a break or change in routine," Maltin wrote.

"From the Stone Age to the Space Age and from primetime to Saturday mornings, syndication and cable, the characters he created with his late partner, William Hanna, are not only animated superstars, but also a very beloved part of American pop culture. While he will be missed by his family and friends, Joe will live on through his work," Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Barry Meyer said Monday.

Hanna, who died in 2001, once said he was never a good artist but his partner could "capture mood and expression in a quick sketch better than anyone I've ever known."

The two first teamed cat and mouse in the short Puss Gets the Boot. It earned an Academy Award nomination, and MGM let the pair keep experimenting until the full-fledged Tom and Jerry characters eventually were born.

Jerry was borrowed for the mostly live-action musical Anchors Aweigh, dancing with Gene Kelly in a scene that become a screen classic.

After MGM folded its animation department in the mid-1950s, Hanna and Barbera were forced to go into business for themselves. With television's sharply lower budgets, their new cartoons put more stress on verbal wit rather than the detailed — and expensive — action featured in theatrical cartoons.

Cartoon Network should have a Harvey Birdman marathon in memoriam tonight.
And I'm pretty sure Yogi and Boo-Boo were queer... sharing a cave and all that.

"Hey Hey, Boo-Boo! Assume the position!"
"Ohhhh, Yogi...."
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Dudley Do-Right writer dies

Last Updated: Monday, December 18, 2006 | 11:56 AM ET
CBC Arts

Chris Hayward, a television writer who brought his off-beat sense of humour to the Rocky and Bullwinkle TV show and comedies such as Get Smart and Barney Miller, has died.

Read more... )

This guy had some of the cleverest scripts, and certainly the concept guy behind The Munsters deserves to be remembered.

All of the good humour seems to be draining out of this world. I think it was Mort Sahl who started the practice of reading newspaper headlines to present truth as comedy, this is all we are left with now....


Oct. 13th, 2006 09:29 am
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From CBC News today:

Battle of Algiers director dead at 86
Last Updated: Friday, October 13, 2006 | 10:45 AM ET
CBC Arts

Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo, who is best known for his 1966 film The Battle of Algiers, has died at age 86.

Pontecorvo died at the Polyclinic Gemelli hospital in Rome on Thursday night, a hospital spokesman said. No cause of death was given, but he had recently suffered a heart attack.

Although he directed fewer than 20 films, Pontecorvo was regarded as one of Italy's greatest directors.

The Battle of Algiers was a documentary-style black-and-white film that showed brutality on both sides in Algeria's war of independence from France.

It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for three Oscars.

The film still resonates today in the fighting against the insurgency in Iraq.

In 2003, the Pentagon screened the film to officers and civilian experts, promoting it with a leaflet that said: "How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas."

He was born Gilberto Pontecorvo on Nov. 19, 1919, in Pisa to a wealthy Jewish family.

In 1938, he moved to France to escape Italy's fascist racial laws. He became an anti-fascist activist in France, then returned to Milan and headed a Resistance brigade during the Second World War.

He studied chemistry and worked as a journalist before taking up directing, starting with documentaries.

Pontecorvo maintained strong political passions that were reflected in his movies.

His 1959 film Kapo told the story of a Jewish girl attempting to escape a concentration camp. Qeimada, made in 1969, starred Marlon Brando in a tale against colonialism.

His 1980 movie, Ogro, was set in Spain in the years of dictator Francisco Franco.

When he wasn't directing, Pontecorvo worked behind the scenes, including serving as director of the Venice Film Festival from 1992-94.


I really like this film! Definitely one of my inspirations to get my game on Algeria done and Out There.
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Grandpa Munster Al Lewis dead at 82

Read more... )

[EDIT: It's not generally known, but Al Lewis was also a long-time radical and labour organizer. Read this transcript of an interview he did in 1997 with the "underground" paper The Shadow - very informative!]
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Comrade [ profile] gummobrux take note:

full story )

I sigh with envy at this. "He loved explosions", what an epitaph....


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