Thirty Years Ago
The straw had been piling on the proverbial camel’s back for some time before Duncan Shepherd’s critique of Woody Allen’s Manhattan. Now I fear the dromedary has suffered irreparable spinal damage. My problem with Shepherd is that he goes overboard in extolling minor films (The Champ, Dawn of The Dead) but is incapable of finding merit in movies on important subjects (The Deer Hunter, Manhattan).
— LETTERS: “GEEKS BEARING GIFTS?” Hank Johnson, July 5, 1979
Twenty-Five Years Ago
According to people who knew both Bates and [Monsignor] Spain, the two soon became lovers. Though Bates claimed to have a job selling advertising for the St. James church newsletter, Spain assumed full support of his friend. Bates had been a social user of cocaine for years, and Spain soon joined him in using the drug.
How did the monsignor justify his active homosexuality, given his position as a priest sworn to celibacy? Spain has said that, doctrinally, celibacy was only applicable to women in the church.
— “THE SUDDEN DEPARTURE OF WILLIAM SPAIN,” Neal Matthews, July 5, 1984
Twenty Years Ago
If looks could kill, the wild turkey might already be extinct. This unattractive bird once populated nearby mountain areas; now there are only a dozen or so left roaming near Descanso. But state fish and game officials are considering the release of wild turkeys in the Cleveland National Forest.
“I think it’s the biggest waste of taxpayers’ dollars available,” says Philip Unit, a bird specialist with the Natural History Museum in San Diego. “Why spend money trying to introduce wildlife that never lived here in the first place?”
— CITY LIGHTS: “FISH AND GAME TYPES TALK TURKEY,” Brae Canlen, July 6, 1989
Fifteen Years Ago
Once a week I load my car with heaps of vinyl, drive to a 20-minute-distant record store and unload. So far I’ve parted with 700 jazz LPs, and the store guy’s comments always make for good two-way barbershop conversation.
How can I part with Dixieland Jam by the Eddie Condon All-Stars, he wonders in earnest. Vic Dickenson plays trombone on only half the cuts, I tell him, not mentioning that I can’t stand Eddie (one of his faves). Haven’t I listened, he asks, really listened, to Tom Harrell’s Stories? Okay, I say, he’s a diagnosed schizophrenic (and the cover shows him as a disembodied face in shadow), but his playing is so conventional.
— “SLAYER PLANET,” Richard Meltzer, June 30, 1994
Ten Years Ago
Eddie Vedder, a one-time Encinitas local, had wanted to stage a show at his hometown theater, La Paloma. He tried to do it with his band Pearl Jam in 1994 and again in 1995. But leaks about the shows and the fears of crowd control led to their cancellation.
It was different this time. Vedder’s management contacted La Paloma owner Allen Largent on the Monday before the show. Largent was able to keep the show under wraps until he put the words “EDDIE VEDDER, 2 SHOWS, TONIGHT” on the marquee at 1:30 p.m. last Saturday.
— BLURT, Ken Leighton, July 1, 1999
Five Years Ago
Hey, ladies! Let’s hear it for men! Give a shout out now to the body masculine! (Here’s to five o’clock shadows, Adam’s apples, square jaws, and rough skin. To lats, six-packs, thighs, hams, calves, tri’s, bi’s, and pecs.
Now, you ask me, the male physicality wasn’t built for aesthetics. Those angles and edges, the purely functional proportions: men’s bods are too utilitarian, at least for my taste. (I prefer a woman’s gentler curves, that smallness, the supple delicacy; that’s just me.) But I guess we can all thank God and natural selection that most women see something to like in male height and hairiness, in big hands, broad shoulders, squareness, and heaviness.
— “MEN’S SUMMER SWIMSUIT ISSUE,” Geoff Bouvier, July 1, 2004