Harry Houdini vs. Laurie Anderson
My actual heroes in this world are few and disparate. From Harry Houdini to Laurie Anderson, from John Lennon to Mrs. Mary Eales, they reflect people who may inspire and impact me with their art, their political activism, their bold-faced chutzpah, or any combination thereof.
But perhaps no one embodies all these traits to such heightened super-awesomeness for me than the great Paul Robeson.
Robeson was born in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1898. His father was an escaped slave-turned-church minister; his mother was from a Quaker family, and died tragically when Paul was six, which isn’t funny at all, so don’t laugh.
Paul received a full academic scholarship to attend Rutgers University, which I hear is a pretty good school, though I’ve never been there myself because I’m allergic to schools. Seriously. If I even step foot on a campus I start itching, sweating, and my head comes completely off and falls to the ground and rolls away.
RIngo remembers John Lennon's "Imagine"(from The Peter Serafinowicz Show)
The hilarious The Peter Serafinowicz Show is coming out next month on DVD. The UK TV show was created by Peter Serafinowicz, and the comic has nailed the Beatles on the popular series. Above is the clip "Ringo remembers Imagine" and below is the great Beatles spoof clip from the TV show, titled "RIngo Remembers 1969." Besides expertly channeling Ringo Starr, Serafinowicz can also equally do spot-on interpretations of any one of the other Fab Four members.
Director Robert Zemeckis, who is making the 3D Disney remake of the Beatles classic musical cartoon Yellow Submarine, wisely cast the British comic as Paul McCartney. The currently in production animated remake also features Epic Movie's Adam Campbell as Ringo. Dean Lennox Kelly (who many may know from the UK TV bizarre comedy series Shameless) will be playing John Lennon, while George Harrison is being voiced by Cary Elwes of Princess Bride and Christmas Carol fame.
For more background information on the Yellow Submarine remake by Zemickis, which will not be completed and released until 2012, read the UK Independent's report here. Meantime, be sure to pick up The Peter Serafinowicz Show at Amoeba Music when it is released on DVD early next month, and check out both the Beatles skit from the show below and the other non-Beatles clip that is equally funny; it's a mock commercial for The Butterfield Karaoke Bar that offers only twenty songs that include Abba, Sinead O'Connor, Queen, and "the chairman of the board himself" (no, not Sinatra) -- "the late great Notorious B.I.G."
Twenty nine years ago tonight I was at home, safe in my tiny triplex, watching Monday Night Football, lounging on a very ugly, distastefully yellow and brown recliner, recently found near the dumpster at the local Jack in the Box where my girlfriend worked. We lived together, right around the corner on lucky 13th Street in Newhall, California. I worked at a nearby liquor store in Saugus, which explained our extremely diverse bar in our dining room. Anyway, I was drinking cinnamon schnapps, intent on just wasting away another Monday night watching football. The Dolphins and Patriots game had gone into overtime when Howard Cosell announced to the nation that John Lennon had been shot in New York City. (A guy named Smith, I believe, won the game on a field goal for the Miami Dolphins.) Seconds later the phone started ringing off the hook, there was a lot of confusion and tears and lame hopeless jokes.
Anyway, here are some John Lennon quotes:
“Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it.”
“I'm not afraid of death because I don't believe in it. It's just getting out of one car, and into another.}
"If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or my music, then in that respect you can call me that... I believe in what I do, and I'll say it."
“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong.”
“As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot.”
"Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that
ruins it for me."
“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.”
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.”
"Possession isn't nine-tenths of the law. It's nine-tenths of the problem."
“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”
“Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.”
“Part of me suspects that I'm a loser, and the other part of me thinks I'm God Almighty.”
On this date, December 8th, exactly 29 years ago, John Lennon was tragically shot and killed outside his New York City home, The Dakota building on 72nd Street and Central Park West. He was gunned down at approx 10:50pm in cold blood by Mark David Chapman, a "fan" who Lennon had signed an autograph for earlier in the day. The former Beatle, along with his wife Yoko Ono, had just returned from a remixing session at the Record Plant recording studio.
While this event stunned Lennon/Beatles fans the world over, for those who lived in New York City it was momentous. While certainly nowhere near as devastating a tragedy as the 9/11 attacks on New York City, Lennon's horrifying murder on a Manhattan's streets was similar in that the event brought the city and its citizens together in shock and mourning. A densely populated metropolitan area, New York City can often be a cold, unfriendly place where strangers may bump shoulders with fellow city dwellers but rarely stop to talk to total strangers.
But on that night in 1980, as news of Lennon being slain trickled out, total strangers in shock gathered in the streets and cried together over the unbelievable news. It hit New Yorkers especially hard because Lennon had adopted New York City as his own. He had relocated there nine years earlier and had always proclaimed his love for the Big Apple. He even titled one of his albums after NYC, the highly politicized 1972 Yoko collaboration and double-album Some Time In New York City. And one of the most common images that comes to peoples' minds of John Lennon is one with him proudly wearing that New York City t-shirt (above). So his death in New York City hit hard. And on the night of the shooting concerned fans converged at both Roosevelt Hospital where Lennon was taken (and died within a half hour of the shooting) and outside the Dakota building, where a huge crowd had gathered, with candles lit and singing Lennon songs. And once word that Lennon had died got back to the swelling crowd outside the Dakota, the crying and mourning intensified. In fact, it continued through the night and into the days after.
"God" - Plastic Ono Band
"Jealous Guy" - Imagine
"One Day at a Time" - Mindgames
"Johnny B. Goode" - on the Mike Douglas Show
"Yer Blues" - from The Rolling Stones Rock n Roll Circus
"Many Rivers to Cross" - with Harry Nilsson
"Watching the Wheels" - Double Fantasy