Monday, November 17, 2008

Two deaths and a Red Rabbit

Michael Crichton died on Nov. 4th and I did not mention it (bad Bookkook, bad!). Crichton was one of the world’s most popular, tallest and richest authors and if he did not invent the science thriller, he certainly was the master of it. I recommend Jurassic Park, The Lost World, most of Sphere, all of Prey and The Andromeda Strain. I also very highly recommend the medical thriller Coma, one of the several films he directed. About 10 years ago I met Crichton at a book signing I did at one of the local colleges. At 6’9” (2.06 meters) he quite literally stood out in the crowd, easily head, shoulders, armpit and chest above anyone else in the room. He was very guarded during the informal Q&A and after he complained how difficult writing a novel was, someone asked him why does he do it (this was after the huge success of Jurassic Park) he gave a 10 minute answer that came down to: “so my grandkids don’t have to work.”

Peruvian chanteuse Yma Sumac died Nov. 1st but I only just heard about it. Born Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chávarri del Castillo in Peru in 1922, Sumac had a five octave range singing voice and became a cult sensation in the 1950s with her “Incan” flavored lounge music. Her albums are a lot of campy fun so fire up the lava lamp, put on your best leopard print suit and have a few hi balls and zen out the groovy song songstress, Yma Sumac.

Someone who is not dead (last I heard) is my friend Pahl Hluchan. Pahl is a painter, filmmaker, sculptor – a general Renaissance man – who has made some interesting films about a bratty Red Rabbit and eggs. Barney by way of Freud. I'll have to find some of his paintings to post.

Years ago, Pahl took a tune I made up and added some lyrics and made a stop motion animated short using it. After putting the brain of a chicken into a toaster oven, some mutants broke out singing my tune like a post apocalyptic Busby Berkeley number. Fun little film which gave me a music credit in a film and had talking cheese.