Quick Hits: July 23

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman would have been fifty-four years old today. I’m working on a longer post in his honor, but it’s not quite ready to publish. In the meantime, I’ll just leave this here:

And this:

  • Tidal, Fiona Apple’s brilliant debut album, was released on this day in 1996. Fiona Apple McAfee-Maggart was classically trained on the piano and began writing her own songs at just eight years old; she wrote and recorded much of the material on Tidal at the age of seventeen. An old soul, yet almost frighteningly vulnerable, Apple wrote confessional lyrics about the scars we bear – and the ones we inflict. Tidal was slow to catch on, but in the fall of 1997, the third single off the album, “Criminal”, became Apple’s first and only Billboard Hot 100 hit, peaking at #21. “Criminal” won Apple the Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance (she was also nominated for Best New Artist, but lost to – yikes – Paula Cole). The lyrics of Tidal still sear twenty-five years later. It is a remarkable debut, and one of my favorite albums of the 90s.
  • After taking a couple months off, hubby and I resumed our Fargo watch last night with season three opener “The Law of Vacant Places”. I’m already blown away by Ewan McGregor’s dual performance as brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy, and I’m intrigued by the storyline. I think it will be another fun ride.
  • Woodstock ’99 took place twenty-two years ago this weekend, and it was an absolute shitshow. Unlike the fairly peaceful event thirty years earlier, Woodstock ’99 was marred by violence, sexual assault, looting and arson. The festival was also an environmental disaster. Portable toilets backed up. Oppressive heat (100 °F/38 °C) left concertgoers in need of hydration, and their only option for water was vendor plastic bottles at $4 a pop. The bottles that were strewn around the grounds were used as fuel for bonfires set during Sunday evening’s Red Hot Chili Peppers performance. Multiple rape accusations, including at least two eyewitness accounts of gang rape, were investigated by police. ATM’s were tipped over and looted; vendor booths were torn apart and used as kindling for the fires. One person, David DeRosia, died as a result of hypothermia secondary to heat stroke; his mother sued the festival’s promoters for negligence, for failing to provide adequate fresh water and medical care for the 400,000 attendees. San Francisco Editor journalist Jane Ganahi referred to Woodstock ’99 as “the day the music died”. A compelling-looking documentary about the event airs tonight on HBO.
  • Consummate character actor Ronny Cox was born on this day in 1938.
  • Happy birthday to Edie McClurg! McClurg is a beloved character actor best known for her work in John Hughes films, but she has appeared in dramas like A River Runs Through It and done extensive voiceover work for animation and video games. Most people probably think of her from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, where she hilariously played Rooney’s secretary Grace, but my favorite character of hers is “Car Rental Agent” in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
  • Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore is sixty today, and I feel really old. I’m off to listen to “Somebody” and pretend I’m fifteen again.

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