Born Lester William Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wis., Les Paul had just turned 94 in June. He died on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009.
Les Paul’s solid-body electric guitar started as the basement tinkering of a gifted musician. Where it led was rock and roll as we know it—and the foundation of innumerable permutations we haven’t gotten to yet. Even if you just look at the instrument and the ways its architect figured out how to play it—put aside, for a moment, the game-changing recording processes he pioneered like multitracking, overdub or delay—without Les Paul’s innovations in design and technique, the Book of Rock would have scant few pages and not much of an alphabet. The Edison of amplified music is gone. But because of Les Paul, rock and roll will never die.
Which company announced it will be doling out layoffs? Why did a mom say she was shoplifting? What did a 6-year-old girl want for her birthday? Why is a man facing 18 felony counts?
When I was younger I didn’t have such a tough time obeying the law, but lately, in my mature years, it seems I’m hanging out more and more with a pretty hardened bunch of criminals. At least, to hear the city and state tell it, a whole raft of my friends and relatives have stamped themselves as notorious scofflaws ... myself included.
Dateline: Nigeria—A stuttering man who says he can’t find a girlfriend has announced plans to marry his pillow instead. Okeke Ikechuku, a 26-year-old laborer from Lagos, told Nairobi’s Daily Metro that his stammer makes it difficult for him to speak to girls, who laugh at him whenever he talks. Nonetheless, Ikechuku admits that he has needs and wants a companion to sleep with. Ikechuku says he has been sleeping with his pillow since he was 16 and has fallen in love with it. Unlike a woman, he adds, the pillow will cost him little or nothing to maintain. According to the article, he plans to spend the rest of his life with it.
The eighth annual Native Cinema Showcase launches this Thursday in Santa Fe. Produced by the National Museum of the American Indian and Santa Fe’s Center for Contemporary Arts, this year’s film fest includes two venues and tons more programming. New and classic films, panel discussions, filmmaker Q&As and media workshops are all part of the mix. The showcase runs through Sunday, Aug. 23, at the CCA and a new state-of-the-video venue in Cathedral Park. Classic features include Nils Gaup’s rarely seen 1987 historical drama Pathfinder, the first indigenous film nominated for an Academy Award. Brand-new features include Georgina Lightning’s Native American boarding school drama Older Than America, starring Wes Studi. There will also be a special premiere of Chris Eyre’s new docudrama Tecumseh. For a full program of films and events, log on to nativenetworks.si.edu or ccasantafe.org. Festival passes ($50) and individual tickets ($9) are available now through the CCA box office. Screenings at Cathedral Park are free and open to the public.
What would Santa Fe be without art? While that may sound like a dream come true for some, it's not just the kitschy stuff we'd lose. Santa Fe is an international center for Native American art, both traditional and modern. Every year, 100,000 people or so converge on our capital for the Santa Fe Indian Market to see some of the best Native art in the world. Saturday, Aug. 22, and Sunday, Aug. 23, will feature film, sculpture, jewelry, painting and more. The market proper goes from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the plaza on both days, but there's a phenomenal amount of other activities to experience and sights to see. For more, visit swaia.org. And if you don't want to drive, which I suggest you don't, the Rail Runner has announced a special Sunday service for that weekend. That was nice of them.
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Maybe you weren't listened to very attentively as a child. Perhaps you were dressed in clothes you didn't like, hugged only three times a year and fed food you were allergic to. I suppose it's even possible that your parents were psychotic drug dealers who kept you chained to a radiator in their squalid basement. If that's the case, Aries, I would understand if you had an urge to devote the next three decades to bewailing your bitter past and scheming up ways to wreak revenge on the cruel world. But if you have ever been curious about whether there might be better ways to allocate your time and energy, I have good news. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you now have it in your power to overcome your toughest memories and set out on a course to become almost as secure as if those bad things had never happened.