January 14, 2016 marked the passing of Alan Rickman. Rickman was best known in recent years as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter Movies. One of his earliest roles to command attention was that of the villain Hans Gruber in the first Die Hard. You might also remember him as Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest, the classically trained actor resigned to be forever remembered for playing an alien in a television series. Like his Galaxy Quest character Alan Rickman was a classically trained actor who was equally at home on stage as he was on screen, though he preferred the stage and often passed up choice movie roles to appear on stage.
The link below will provide a list of films and other materials featuring Alan Rickman.
On January 10th of this year we lost one of the most the most innovative musical performers of the late 1960’s on: David Bowie. David Bowie managed to re-invent his stage persona and musical style to fit the times and keep himself relevant. Bowie was not just a talented musician and singer. He was also a talented actor and he starred in a number memorable and now classic films. In his first major role his acting ability and unique looks brought the alien character of Thomas Jerome Newton to a life in The Man Who Fell to Earth. And few who have seen the film Labyrinth can forget him as the King of the Goblins in his M.C. Escher inspired castle.
Below I have provided a link which will bring up a list of Monroe County Public library’s holdings wish feature the music, writing or acting talent of David Bowie. Mr. Bowie, you will be missed.
While I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I learned in my history classes about the horrors of what happened in Germany during WWII. However in these classes the German people were painted with broad sweeping strokes of black as supporters of the Nazi movement and Hitler. I never learned of people such as Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who managed to save the lives of so many of the Jewish people. Nor had I heard of groups, such as “The Swing Kids,” “The Edelweiss Pirates,” “The Solf Circle,” and “The Kreisau Circle.” All of these were groups of German Nationals who were either vocal opponents of the Nazi doctrine or actively fought against them as part of the underground resistance in Germany. In fact there were a lot more “subversive groups” in Germany than I was aware existed. Another group I had never heard of was one founded by Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie known as “The White Rose.” Read more about Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
First lines – “Take a look at a castle. Any castle. Now break down the key elements that make it a castle. They haven't changed in a thousand years. 1: Location. A site on high ground that commands the territory as far as the eye can see. 2: Protection. Big walls, walls strong enough to withstand a frontal attack. 3: A garrison. Men who are trained and willing to kill. 4: A flag. You tell your men you are soldiers and that's your flag. You tell them nobody takes our flag. And you raise that flag so it flies high where everyone can see it. Now you've got yourself a castle. The only difference between this castle and all the rest is that they were built to keep people out. This castle is built to keep people in.”
We are approaching the holidays, and for many of us it is a time when the family gathers together in celebration. Yet in some families secrets, past hurts, jealousies and who knows what else can turn a time of celebration into a time dedicated to tip-toeing around each other while trying to maintain the spirit of the season. The Lion in Winter based on a play by James Goldman, tells of just such a gathering. Set during a family Christmas gathering in 1183 this dark comedy is about the Royal Family of England made up of King Henry II, his wife, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, their children, Richard, John and Geoffrey, the King’s mistress Alais, and the newly crowned King Philip, who was visiting from France. As you can imagine there is politics, innuendo and backstabbing throughout the visit. Read more about Lion in Winter
There’s a business in Logansport, Indiana known as Fiberglass Freaks. They produce my dream car. They don’t make a lot of them as each car is custom built by hand. The car is known as “The Batmobile.” Over the years in the movies and television there have been several Batmobiles, but the 1966 Batmobile is perhaps the best known and one of the most loved. It is this car this small company builds. The popularity of this car is not just because of its distinctive lines and style, but because of the popularity of a camp, comedy version of one of the most well-known crime fighters in comic book history, Batman.
The 1960’s Batman TV series was originally conceived as a drama; at some point the decision was made to turn it in to a camp comedy. I don’t know why the decision was made but the result was almost literally pure gold. Read more about BATMAN (1966 - TV Series)