V.23 No.32 |
Robin Williams and the death of our captain
I named this column Comedy Matters because I truly believe it does. It matters to the junkies and alcoholics who frequent open mics to work through their demons on stage. It matters to the headliners and road comics who travel from club to club each night for a living. It matters to writers and Hollywood execs who make millions off the laughter that rumbles in darkened theaters. It matters to cancer patients, widows and kids. Comedy strikes us over the head or starts slowly in our belly and bellows out of us warming our innards with a rush of happiness. So when a comic dies, we hurt. And today, we’re hurting because the world lost a great one.
Robin Williams started his career in San Francisco in the 70s and quickly became one the most absurd joy makers in the comedy world. His big break was when he landed the role of Mork in “Mork and Mindy” in 1978. He transformed into a prolific actor and comedian, appearing in films such as Dead Poets Society, The World According to Garp, Good Will Hunting and so many more; too many to list.
But this isn’t just about his qualifications or list of his films. He affected people in many ways. His fans loved him for his insane and wild energy. Comics loved him for how dedicated he was to comedy and how sweet he was despite his fame. He was a good man, a beloved man, who struggled with depression and an addiction to drugs and alcohol for the past forty years. On August 11, his struggled ended. Investigators believe his death may have been a suicide and to anyone who knew him or his history this would not be a surprise.
At the news of William’s death, Michael Ian Black tweeted, “We lose at least one great comic to suicide or ODs every year. Our jobs are to communicate, but we seem to not know how to ask for help.” Comedians don’t control the market on depression and substance abuse, but it seems to be a common theme amongst them. These issues manifest on stage to applause and laughter but they continue off stage and they grow and fester and strain relationships. And people die and then there’s nothing we can do.
Robin Williams brought a joy to the world that he couldn’t find internally. His family and friends are mourning. His wife and kids are shattered by his loss. And his fans will find it hard to replace this legend. Be in peace captain, we’ll miss you.
Genevieve Mueller is a writer and comedian. She performs all over the country and runs two monthly shows in Albuquerque: Comedians Power Hour and the Bad Penguin Comedy Show at The Box. More information can be found at genevievemuellercomedy.com or on Twitter: @fromthefloorup.
V.22 No.45 | 11/7/2013
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
Mr. Lou Reed. I can't speak for others, but he had a profound effect on how I listen to music, and he showed the immense beauty that exists when poetry and rock meld together seamlessly. It's a practice few can master. And no one did it like Reed. You can read the obituary his wife, Laurie Anderson, wrote here. This one's for you, Lou.
According to the folks over at Pitchfork, Beck has signed with Capitol Records and will be releasing a new album (Morning Phase) in February 2014. This has been sort of a long time coming, as his last full-length release was back in 2008, and it wasn't one of his best. They also stated that a good amount of personnel on this new record worked with Beck on 2002's Sea Change, so this should be interesting.
Okay, I'm obviously playing favorites at this point, but I can't help it. Savages is still very much on my radar with their stellar release Silence Yourself. And now they've come out with a new video for album closer “Marshal Dear,” one of the best tracks on the album. Then again, all of the tracks on the album are fantastic. Okay, okay … I'll stop gushing. Just watch the animated, conceptually war-torn video.
Oh those relentless psych-garage rockers! First Ty Segall and now Thee Oh Sees. The latter band is coming out with a third Singles Collection that's scheduled to drop on Nov. 26. They've also made the track “What You Need” available, so get those boomboxes (assuming you still got one) prepared for this probably-pretty-good compilation.
James Blake has one of those magnetic voices that just needs to be heard. It operates on a wavelength that mixes beautiful tones with a soulful prowess rarely seen in male vocalists. Maybe that's why Blake won the 2013 Barclaycard Mercury Prize for his album Overgrown. For those who don't know, the Mercury Prize is given once a year for the best British or Irish album. Past winners include Primal Scream, PJ Harvey and Antony & The Johnsons.
Dancing at numerous parties in Austin, Texas, it was natural to stumble upon Calle 13, a Puerto Rican outfit who've been steadily releasing albums for years to much acclaim. They've also garnered 19 Latin Grammies. Not bad, eh. Now the group has announced a new single that'll hit the streets on Nov. 13, and a new album that will come out in March, though they've stated that they plan on releasing it independently. So we'll see how that goes. You can hear their awesome track “Atrevete te te” below.
Lady Gaga has unleashed another derivative disco pop-infused club track, titled “Venus,” to the masses. Can we not have a little time to digest the last one, Gaga? Sheesh. Either way … the track is now available for listening via the world wide web. Gaga's ARTPOP is slated for a Nov. 11 release, so keep that pocket change jingling.
Devendra Banhart came out with a substantial release this past year (Mala). It was a release that showed him recycling his worldly sentiments and regurgitating them in a sonically forward-moving motion. Now Banhart has released a music video for the track “Für Hildegard Von Bingen.” You can view that below.
A week ahead of the release of The Marshall Mathers LP2, Eminem has shared his collaborative track with Rihanna, titled “The Monster.” If the song isn't a groundbreaking attempt to boast marketable partnerships, it's at least an okay iteration of Eminem's prowess as a rapper. And at this point, can we hope for anything more? [Editors Note: By the time this was scheduled to go up, Eminem also made his collaboration with Kendrick Lamar available, so you can hear that as well.]
V.20 No.52 |
The Daily Word in New Years resolutions
11 things to expect in the future.
Turns out God is a woman and she just stabbed her son with a screwdriver.
Americans are getting poorer, unless you're a congressman in which case you're probably a MILLIONAIRE.
I hope there's a giant at my funeral.
Photo gallery of deserted London Christmas morning.
I love the sea dwelling cone snail, their venom can get you high and they eat things alive with utmost decorum.
Whale sperm is not the reason the world's oceans are salty.
German insurance firm rewards top employees — with an orgy.
The Sacramento Bee has an "Crime Q&A" section on their website.
Five reasons not to leave the house on new years eve.
V.20 No.3 | 1/20/2011
R.I.P. Monkee Man
Don Kirshner, the man behind prefab pop-rock group The Monkees has died at 76. Read about Kirshner here.
Watch a Monkees video after the jump.
V.20 No.1 | 1/6/2011
Empire My Prince
Carl Baum, trestle-maker
V.19 No.27 | 7/8/2010
Harvey Pekar, Creator of the American Splendor Comics, Has Died.
Harvey Pekar has died at age 70 of unknown causes. Pekar beautifully chronicled his mundane life in American Splendor comics. My favorite was the one where he and his buddies found a dead dolphin and strapped it to the top of their car. An award-winning movie of American Splendor was made in 2003. Pekar was one of David Letterman’s most successful hecklers. Rest in peace, scary little comic book man.
V.19 No.20 | 5/20/2010
Ronnie James Dio Dies
Life’s a carousel, you rode it well
Ronnie James Dio was struck down yesterday by the same thing that took out H. P. Lovecraft: stomach cancer. Dio didn’t invent the horns but you should rock out and give the sign today anyway. Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll!
V.19 No.13 | 4/1/2010
Jaime Escalante Died
The math teacher who inspired Stand and Deliver died today at age 79. Edward James Olmos says Escalante exposed the dangerous myth that inner city students can’t excel. "Because of him, that destructive idea has been shattered forever."
V.19 No.12 |
Ai, Poet Extraordinaire, Dies
The poet Ai, whose work was astoundingly varied and consistently forceful, passed away last week from pneumonia. She was 62.
Ai was born Florence Johnson but changed her name to the Japanese word for love. She was half-Japanese and raised by her mother, who was black, Choctaw and Irish. Ai's poems, in turn, are voiced by a range of speakers and reflect a host of human experience (from bored wives to coma patients to Trotsky).
Read her New York Times obit here.
Here's a short poem I like. Check out the one about Trotsky, called "Killing Floor" here.
for Robert Lowell
We smile at each other
V.19 No.2 | 1/14/2010
Jay Reatard Died
V.18 No.33 | 8/13/2009
John Hughes, 59, Dies
The screenwriter, director and auteur of the ’80s teen-romp genre—National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Weird Science and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, for starters (which launched the showbiz careers of a slew of actors like Matthew Broderick)— has died. Spend some time with his IMDB credits. Rest in peace, Mr. Hughes.
Christmas at the Yucca Vista at Aux Dog Theatre
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