Sunday, February 13, 2011

"There Are Worse Things I Could Do" by Stockard Channing

I couldn't find a copy of Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee that wasn't either in French or subtitled, so instead I have included this clip of birthday girl Stockard Channing wringing all the pathos (or is it bathos - I never could tell them apart) out of Betty Rizzo's bad-girl reputation in this classic number from the landmark 1978 film Grease.
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Happy Birthday Stockard Channing

In addition to being one of my favourite actresses, Stockard Channing has the dubious honour of being Pop Culture Institute's first Happy Birthday post, which I first made four long years ago today; I'm happy to see its return today because a) it means I've been doing this quite steadily now for four years (yay!), b) it's Stockard Channing's birthday again (double yay!), and c) because I only have to rewrite it, not start from scratch (triple, possibly quadruple, even quintuple yay!).

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingTo me, I guess, she'll always be Betty Rizzo, the tough-but-tender girl thug in Grease, who manages to thrill us with Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee and break our hearts with There Are Worse Things I Could Do in the space of one hundred and ten camp-filled Fifties-fied minutes.

During her tenure as First Lady Abigail Bartlet in the alternate universe of Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing she helped to sustain Democrats during the recent Bush Fiasc- er, Administration, making her performance not only powerful thespianism but an act of mercy as well.

Shortly after I first made this post, Mr. Gagne left a comment citing her performance in the 1995 film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar as being his favourite; and of course, she was also a stand-out in the 1993 film Six Degrees of Separation, which was the gist of my reply to him as you can see for yourself in the Comments section below.
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Pop History Moment: The Montreal Stock Exchange Bombing


On this day in 1969 members of the Front de libération du Québec bombed the Montreal Stock Exchange, blowing out the northeast wall of the building and seriously injuring 27 people in the process. The attack on the Stock Exchange was part of a concerted campaign by the FLQ, begun in 1963, to liberate the mainly French-speaking province from Canada.

Of course, since terrorism never increases anything but defiance among the terrorized, the FLQ failed utterly in its aims, even though the violence it perpetrated would escalate over the next few years and culminate in their two most craven acts: the seizure of British trade representative James Cross (whose kidnapping in October 1970 brought about the October Crisis, and who was released, unharmed, in December, after 60 days in captivity) as well as the kidnap and murder of Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte in October 1970.
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"Rock DJ" by Robbie Williams

Birthday wishes go out today to Robbie Williams, whose mere name incites passions both positive and negative - but never neutral - whenever it's spoken...

First coming to fame as one-fifth of 90s boy band Take That, prior to the advent of Justin Timberlake he was far and away the most successful performer to escape from the saccharine clutches of manufactured pop; alas, unlike his boy band brethren, Robbie never managed to break the US, whereas JT is huge on both sides of Jessica Biel's bed the Atlantic.

Rock DJ - containing extensive sampling from Barry White's 1977 track It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next To Me - originally appeared on Williams' fourth album, Sing When You're Winning, which was released in 2000; it became a huge hit in the UK in part because of Vaughan Arnell's award-winning video, which was heavily censored and therefore highly sought after.
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POPnews - February 13th

[Thomas Edison re-discovered the Edison Effect, now
known as thermionic emission, on this day in 1880.

1130 - Pope Honorius II died; he was succeeded by Innocent II the following day.

1503 - The so-called Disfida di Barletta - a famous challenge between 13 Italian and 13 French knights from Canosa di Puglia near the Italian town of Barletta - resulted in an Italian victory, following which the French left the area; the event was immortalized in a novel named Ettore Fieramosca by Massimo D'Azeglio in 1833, and the town is still known as the Città della Disfida.

1542 - Catherine Howard, erstwhile fifth wife of England's Henry VIII, was executed.

1575 - France's King Henry III was crowned at Rheims, on the same day as he married Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont.

1633 - Galileo arrived in Rome to testify before the Inquisition.

1689 - William III and Mary II were proclaimed co-rulers of England.

1692 - At the Massacre of Glencoe as many as 78 members of the Clan MacDonald in three towns adjacent to Scotland's Glen Coe - Invercoe, Inverrigan, and Achacon - were killed early in the morning hours for not promptly pledging allegiance to the new king, William of Orange.

1815 - The Cambridge Union Society was founded.

1866 - Members of the James-Younger Gang (including 19-year-old Jesse James) committed their first robbery - the first peacetime daylight bank robbery in US history - of the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri; one man, 19-year-old James Wymore of William Jewell College, was killed by Jesse in their getaway.

1880 - Work began on the covering of the Zenne, which buried the river flowing through the centre of Brussels and brought about the creation of that city's modern central boulevards.

1881 - The feminist newspaper La Citoyenne was first published in Paris by Hubertine Auclert; it appeared bi-monthly until 1891, agitating for changes to the Napoleonic Code, female suffrage, and greater rights for women.

1894 - The Lumiere Brothers patented the Cinematograph, a combination movie camera and projector.

1914 - ASCAP was founded in New York City.

1920 - The Negro National League was established in Kansas City, Missouri; another league with the same name was later established in 1933.

1934 - The Soviet steamship Cheliuskin sank in the Arctic Ocean near Kolyuchin Island in the Chukchi Sea.

1935 - Bruno Richard Hauptmann, accused of the kidnap and murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr., was found guilty by a jury in Flemington, New Jersey.

1945 - The siege of Budapest concluded with the unconditional surrender of German and Hungarian forces to the Red Army.

2000 - The final Peanuts comic strip appeared, the day after its creator Charles Schulz died; the first Peanuts strip debuted in October 1950.

2009 - 1234567890 in Unix Time occurred at 3:31:30 PM (PST).
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