A Q&A with Caroll Spinney, 81, who has performed two of Sesame Street‘s most enduring characters for the show’s entire 45-year history.
“I think when I was a kid, I always thought that the comics seemed to have a handle on things because they had a joke about everything or they had a point of view about everything, or they were able to manage a certain amount of chaos and pain and family situations. They just seemed to be able to handle life.”
Jeopardy! champion Arthur Chu “leveraged his 15 minutes of game-show fame into, of all things, a national platform for his opinions about nerds: What America gets wrong about nerds; what nerds – especially male nerds – get wrong about themselves; and why it matters. … Chu wants to make nerd culture better – and to stop more of his fellow nerds from getting drawn into the worst of it.”
“Artists have long been a useful tool for developers; since the 80s the conventional way of ‘waking up’ destitute urban areas has been to rent out cheap studio space to art students and watch the creativity and the café culture follow, before the loft apartments are sold on to the bonus-rich with authentic artisanal grit priced in. Gates wanted to change that cynical paradigm.”
The author of the Inspector Wexford books, and also of intense psychological thrillers under the name Barbara Vine, died Saturday at age 85 several months after a serious stroke. Crime writer Val McDermid: “The broad church that is current British crime writing owes much to a writer who over a 50-year career consistently demonstrated that the genre can continually reinvent itself, moving in new directions, assuming new concerns and exploring new ways of telling stories.”
“The world was saddened to learn of neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks’s terminal illness through a recent op-ed. With Sacks’s new autobiography out this month, Lawrence Weschler shares early stories and diary entries about Sacks, his close friend, before Sacks achieved worldwide fame.”
“Perhaps best known as one of the founding members of the widely acclaimed Empire Brass Quintet, Smedvig enjoyed a busy career as a soloist with major orchestras, including those in Boston, Chicago and Cincinnati. In 1973, the 19-year-old Smedvig was hired as assistant principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony by music director Seiji Ozawa. Smedvig, then the youngest member of the orchestra, moved up to principal trumpet in 1979.”
“[She] was never as well known as her younger sister, Audrey, who played Alice Kramden on the now-classic Jackie Gleason sitcom The Honeymooners. But she was a versatile and accomplished actress in her own right and a familiar presence on television for years, in dramatic productions, prime-time series and game shows.”
“Baron Haussmann was lucky enough to be hanging around Paris at the exact moment Napoleon III thought it could do with a refit. Christopher Wren had the good fortune to be alive at the time of Britain’s worst bakery fire. And Betty Willis happened to be working for a sign manufacturer in Las Vegas when the twin forces of modish Googie architecture and the leisure era came together to cut it a singularly brash neon destiny.”
Janet Turner “became a much admired role model for women in the design business at a time when few made it into the boardroom. … She was also a powerful proponent of lighting design as a profession in Britain. Until the late 80s, lighting schemes had generally been the province of architects and lighting manufacturers. The emergence of a new breed of specialist designers and consultancies was something she keenly supported.”
“He could have a fanboy’s enthusiasm for his favorite genres – he was big on Bollywood before Bollywood was cool – but he never checked his brains at the popcorn stand. He was of a generation of critics who disputed cinema the way Lutherans and Papists once faced off over theology. But he was nothing if not a sporting polemicist.”
“An Austrian-born Holocaust refugee who became a highly regarded chronicler of his abandoned homeland, capturing in works of history and fiction the Viennese society at the fin de siècle and on the eve of two world wars,” Morton was best known for A Nervous Splendor: Vienna, 1888-1889 and Thunder at Twilight: Vienna, 1913-1914, as well as a history of the world’s most famous banking family The Rothschilds.