"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: Obituaries

A Child of the Century

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R.I.P. Jack Rollins: showbiz legend.

[Photo Via: Bob Weide]

What Becomes a Legend Most?

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R.I.P. Ornette Coleman.

“I was out at [anthropologist] Margaret Mead’s school and was teaching some little kids how to play instantly. I asked the question, ‘How many kids would like to play music and have fun?’ And all the little kids raised up their hands. And I asked, ‘Well, how do you do that?’ And one little girl said, ‘You just apply your feelings to sound.’ And I said, ‘Come and show me.’ When she went to the piano to do it, she tried to show me, but she had forgotten about what she said. So I tried to show her why all of a sudden all her attention span had to go to another level, and after that she went ahead and did it. But she was right: If you apply your feelings to sound, regardless of what instrument you have, you’ll probably make good music.”–Ornette Coleman.

For more, dig thisthis, this and then Go here for a listen. 

[Photo Credit: Roberto Polillo via Jazz in Photo]

What Becomes a Legend Most?

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Rest in Peace, Mr. King.

[Photo Credit: Danny Clinch]

On Writing Well

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Farewell, Mr. Zinsser. 

A Child Of The Century

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The great Saturnino Orestes Arrieta, aka Minnie Minoso, is dead.

One of my favorite players in history, he was bona fide even if the Hall snubbed him.

Thank you, Papi.

Our Favorite Vulcan

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Rest in Peace, Holmes.

New York Minute

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I was in my Bronx apartment on the morning of September 11, 2001. I watched on TV like the rest of the country. Eventually, I don’t recall if it was later that day or the following day, or the day after that, I got on the subway and went as far south as I could go–14th Street. I felt the need to get closer. I couldn’t go further downtown so I turned around and walked up 8th Avenue. As I passed the bus terminal at 40th Street I saw Joe Franklin talking on a pay phone. He was alone, a pregnant briefcase resting between his feet. I had been in a daze and the sight of Franklin snapped me out of it for a moment. It was comforting to see him.

“Hey, Joe Franklin” I said to nobody in particular and kept walking. joefre Franklin, a New York fixture for many of us, died the other day. He was 88.  

Salute.

[Photo Credit: Andrew Savulich; Illustration by Drew Friedman]

“Could Go All the Way”

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“It is a community activity. You need all nine people helping one another. I love bunt plays. I love the idea of the bunt. I love the idea of the sacrifice. Even the word is good. Giving yourself up for the good of the whole. That’s Jeremiah. That’s thousands of years of wisdom. You find your own good in the good of the whole. You find your own individual fulfillment in the success of the community — the Bible tried to do that and didn’t teach you. Baseball did.”–Mario Cuomo

Not long ago I looked through some old stuff and found a Mondale/Ferrero bumper sticker. I was in 8th grade when they ran and lost. I kept the sticker. Four years later I campaigned for Dukakis who also got his ass kicked. These were the years when it seemed like there’d never be a Democrat in the White House again, a time when our Governor Mario Cuomo seemed like our best hope, an improbable hope. The second coming of Adlai Stevenson. I remember a friend of mine was obsessed with Cuomo; had posters of the man on his bedroom wall.

I thought about all of that last night when I heard that Cuomo died at the age of 82.

Here’s Ken Auletta in the New Yorker

[Photo Credit: Richard Kalvar]

I Be Blowin’

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Rest in Peace, Bobby. 

[Photo Via: Rolling Stone]

What Becomes a Legend Most?

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R.I.P. Mike Nichols. 

[Photo Via: Bobbie O’Steen]

New York Minute

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From Douglas Martin in the Times:

On Saturday mornings, Tom’s restaurant in Brooklyn is so popular that people line up outside just to be served old-fashioned diner cuisine like chocolate egg creams and all manner of pancakes. It’s been that way for years, and until the owner, Gus Vlahavas, died this month at 76, the patrons’ patience was rewarded with the free coffee, cookies, sausage bits and orange slices he handed out while they waited.

Mr. Vlahavas started working at Tom’s, which opened as an ice-cream parlor under a different name in 1936, when he was 9 years old. He stayed for more than 60 years, lovingly molding it into a homey Brooklyn family institution before retiring in 2009.

He died of respiratory complications on Nov. 4 at Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan, his daughter, Beth Vlahavas, said.

Changelessness was the stock in trade at Tom’s, right down to the décor, including a half-dozen American flags and bright plastic flowers on the tables. It has had only one address since it was opened by Mr. Vlahavas’s paternal grandfather: 782 Washington Avenue.

[Photo Via: City.se]

What Becomes a Legend Most?

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Ben Bradlee died yesterday. He was 93.

[Photo Credit: Mike Lien/The New York Times]

What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most?

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Joan.

On Her Own

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Betty.

Read this.

I remember my mother reading Bacall’s autobiography when I was a kid. It won a National Book Award and is one of the finest Hollywood memoirs, not only for her life with Bogart but for her life after him.

The picture on the back cover was something I looked at a lot. Man, she was so glamorous and I imaged that my mother and father were that romantic when they met. My mom was a beautiful young woman but her romance–and marriage–to my father did not last. Still, she pushed on, and was not defeated. I’ve always thought that Bacall’s book helped her out during the painful early days of her divorce.

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Warshed Out

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Tonight’s game is rained out.

In the meantime, what if Robin Williams played Casey Stengel?

And more:

[Photo Via: This Isn’t Happiness]

The Rock

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R.I.P. James Garner.

Million Dollar Movie

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In the Times, John Le Carre remembers Phillip Seymour Hoffman:

There’s probably nobody more redundant in the film world than a writer of origin hanging around the set of his movie, as I’ve learned to my cost. Alec Guinness actually did me the favor of having me shown off the set of the BBC’s TV adaptation of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” All I was wanting to do was radiate my admiration, but Alec said my glare was too intense.

Come to think of it, Philip did the same favor for a woman friend of ours one afternoon on the shoot of “A Most Wanted Man” in Hamburg that winter of 2012. She was standing in a group 30-odd yards away from him, just watching and getting cold like everybody else. But something about her bothered him, and he had her removed. It was a little eerie, a little psychic, but he was bang on target because the woman in the case is a novelist, too, and she can do intensity with the best of us. Philip didn’t know that. He just sniffed it.

In retrospect, nothing of that kind surprised me about Philip, because his intuition was luminous from the instant you met him. So was his intelligence. A lot of actors act intelligent, but Philip was the real thing: a shining, artistic polymath with an intelligence that came at you like a pair of headlights and enveloped you from the moment he grabbed your hand, put a huge arm round your neck and shoved a cheek against yours; or if the mood took him, hugged you to him like a big, pudgy schoolboy, then stood and beamed at you while he took stock of the effect.

Philip took vivid stock of everything, all the time. It was painful and exhausting work, and probably in the end his undoing. The world was too bright for him to handle. He had to screw up his eyes or be dazzled to death. Like Chatterton, he went seven times round the moon to your one, and every time he set off, you were never sure he’d come back, which is what I believe somebody said about the German poet Hölderlin: Whenever he left the room, you were afraid you’d seen the last of him. And if that sounds like wisdom after the event, it isn’t. Philip was burning himself out before your eyes. Nobody could live at his pace and stay the course, and in bursts of startling intimacy he needed you to know it.

 

Million Dollar Movie

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Rest in Peace, Paul Mazursky. 

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Harry and Tonto, Next Stop, Greenwich Village, Moscow on the Hudson, Down and Out in Beverly Hills. The man made some choice movies.

A Good Run

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R.I.P. Eli Wallach. 

What Becomes a Legend Most?

silver

R.I.P. Horace Silver. 

And of course (Steely, Stevie):

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver