Archive for July, 2007

Death Catches Up to Bergman and Antonioni


We were saddened by the news that two high priests of European cinema, Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni, died within 24 hours of each other. As we work on a proper tribute in print, we’d like to share here the thoughts of others: Paul Schrader and Roger Ebert on Bergman; an archival piece from The New Yorker; Bergman obits from the LA Times and Stockholm News; David Thomson on Antonioni; Antonioni obits from the Guardian, Corriere and NY Times

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Weekly World News Headed for (Cyber)space

Last week, the Weekly World News — a tabloid known for breaking news about space alien probes, Elvis and Sasquatch sightings and an always-impending apocalypse — closed its doors, and will now only publish online. Rafe Klinger, a one-time WWN staffer who created the paper’s column, “My America by Ed Anger,” laments the death of his fictional character who whose xenophobic ramblings of a conservative white male always tickled people’s funny bones (or pissed them off). “The funny thing is,” Klinger told the NY Times, “you have people like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and [Sean] Hannity, and to me, they’re not too far from Ed.”

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Hillary Clinton: A Boomer of Letters

A cover story in Sunday’s NY Times revealed the innermost thoughts of Hillary Clinton, then a college student, as she poured her heart out in letters to a Princeton pen pal. Excerpts reveal such youthful ruminations as: “Since Xmas vacation, I’ve gone through three and a half metamorphoses and am beginning to feel as though there is a smorgasbord of personalities spread before me.” A reminder to future presidential pen pals: Eat the document.
(Also related: “Letters From the Past” at Slate.)

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Remembering Laszlo Kovacs

With the passing last weekend of cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs (Easy Rider, Paper Moon, Five Easy Pieces), the industry lost one of the great cameramen of the New Hollywood era. Cinematographer Allen Daviau (Empire of the Sun, E.T.), who is contributing a piece to the next issue of Stop Smiling, offered the following words of praise by phone from Los Angeles.

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To All My Friends

As our friend Chairman Mao told us a few issues back (this Mao, not that one), music writing in the online world can be a daunting thing to appreciate: With so much out there, it can be tough to find gems. Which is why, when we saw this piece at Slate by Stop Smiling contributor Hua Hsu, it reminded us that music writing can be intelligent and critical, while offering a heartfelt explanation of why music means as much as it does to so many of us.

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The Life of Ulrich Muhe

Ulrich Muhe, the film and stage actor who won acclaim as a tormented Stasi officer in cold-war East Germany in the Oscar-winning film, The Lives of Others, has died at 54.
(NYT obit)

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So It Goes

The July 10 edition of the NY Observer punctured a unique granfalloon: the debate surrounding which of several publications can boast the final interview with the late Kurt Vonnegut. The debate was perhaps to be expected. As Vonnegut told Stop Smiling in his cover-story interview in the summer of 2006: “We need extended families. … People will join any group nearby to have a gang.”

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The Magic Kingdom, On the Patch

Forty years after Walt Disney’s death from lung cancer, the Walt Disney Co. announced Wednesday that they will become the first major Hollywood studio to ban depictions of smoking in movies.

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Taschen Expands

Taschen opens a second store in LA’s historic Farmer’s Market.

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Bogdanovich’s Best Picture Show

This week’s New York Observer features Peter Bogdanovich’s mash note to Howard Hawks. In the Auteur Issue, Bogdanovich told Stop Smiling: “His personality was like his films. He was the perfect example of an American director who expressed his personality through multiple genres, like any creative artist does, though it was hidden behind the fabric of this factory system.”

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