Theater legend Stephen Sondheim passed away last week at the age of 91. The Broadway community gathered in New York City’s Duffy Square on Sunday (fittingly) for a tearful, goosebump-inducing performance of “Sunday” from Sunday in the Park with George. I couldn’t think of a better tribute.
At ten minutes and thirteen seconds, Taylor Swift’s new version of “All Too Well” is now the longest Billboard #1 in history, breaking Don McLean’s almost-fifty-year-old record (the album version of “American Pie” clocked in at eight minutes and forty-two seconds). McLean handled the news with grace, tweeting “Let’s face it, nobody ever wants to lose that #1 spot, but if I had to lose it to somebody, I sure am glad it was another great singer/songwriter such as Taylor. Congratulations @taylorswift13!”
The Criterion Collection edition of Miller’s Crossing will be released on February 8, and I am so in love with this artwork.
Happy birthday, Jeff Bridges! Bridges is Hollywood royalty and something of a renaissance man; in addition to being an award-winning actor, he is a musician, writer, photographer, philanthropist and all-around cool dude. Bridges recently underwent treatment for lymphoma, and announced this past September that he was in remission. In celebration, here is The Dude himself in a scene from my fave Bridges flick, The Big Lebowski.
Frank Zappa died on December 4, 1993 from prostate cancer at the age of 52. Zappa was a prolific avante-garde musician and composer, releasing sixty-two albums in his lifetime. At a 1971 show at the Casino de Montreaux, a fire destroyed much of his band Mother of Invention’s equipment; the incident was immortalized in “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple (who were in Montreaux to record their upcoming album Machine Head). Zappa is probably best known for the 1982 top-40 single “Valley Girl”, which featured his fourteen-year-old daughter Moon Unit.
On this day in 1980, Led Zeppelin officially disbanded, a little more than two months after the tragic accidental death of beloved drummer John “Bonzo” Bonham. From the band’s press release: “We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend and the deep respect we have for his family, together with the sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were.”
Beatles for Sale was released on this day in 1964. Its best known track, “Eight Days a Week”, wasn’t even on the US version of the album; it was issued as a single and became the band’s seventh US #1. My favorite track? “I’ll Follow the Sun”, which was written by Paul McCartney when he was sixteen and features gorgeous harmonies by John Lennon. At one minute and forty-eight seconds, “I’ll Follow the Sun” is short and sweet, like all the best McCartney songs.
Shawn Corey Carter – better known as Jay-Z, or Mr. Beyoncé if you prefer – was born on this day in 1969. A rapper, songwriter, producer, record exec, businessman and philanthropist, Jay-Z has sold more than 125 million records and won twenty-three Grammys (more than any other rapper), and he holds the record for most number-one albums – fourteen! – by a solo artist. Recently, Jay-Z became the first solo living rapper to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – and he did it on his first try.
The National Board of Review handed out their year-end awards this week; the winners are the best indicator yet of how this year’s Oscars could go. The big winners were Best Picture Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson also won Best Director), Best Actor Will Smith and Best Actress Rachel Zegler. We won’t know the year’s Oscar nominees until February 8, but there will be lots of awards activity in the meantime. Stay tuned to Peanut Butter & Julie for not-at-all-complete awards coverage.
I finally got around to watching Palm Springs on Hulu, and it’s as delightful as I’d heard. The film stars Andy Samberg and the divine Cristin Milioti as Nyles and Sarah, who are [SPOILER ALERT] trapped in a timeloop on the day of Sarah’s sister’s wedding. The less you know about this raunchy twist on standard rom-com AND timeloop tropes, the better; just sit back and enjoy the ride.
And finally, Spotify released their year-end “Wrapped” stats this week. Judge all you want, but I make no apologies for this: