Saturday, July 25, 2009

s'Newz occasional series of stories which recently caught my eye...

This story reminded me of my father, who used to sit for hours next to his portable short-wave radio, way back in the 60s, and tune into a channel which was broadcast solely in Morse Code. He learned the signal system in the army, when he barely missed WWII, and liked to practice his decoding skills by painstakingly writing down every dot and dash and then translating it. Nobody uses Morse Code anymore, but an office tower in Pittsburgh has been flashing "Pittsburgh" with dots and dashes since it was built in 1929. This year, over the Fourth of July weekend, some bored pedestrian looked up and decoded the signal, to discover that the beacon was instead spelling out "Pitetsbkrrh."

If my father had been in downtown Pittsburgh for the Fourth of July, he would have been that guy.

Did you hear this guy died?


Gordon Waller (the guy on the right) is not hugely remembered today, but in the early 60s, Peter and Gordon were an important part of the pop music scene. Dubbed the "Everly Brothers of the British Invasion," they had nine top 20 hits before breaking up in 1968. Their first hit was also their biggest, "A World Without Love," which was written by Paul McCartney (he was dating Peter's sister at the time).

This lesbian died recently:

Teresa Ann Butz


She was brutally murdered in her own home in Seattle last week. An intruder entered the home through an open window, and stabbed her and her partner. They both escaped outside, but Teresa died of her wounds. The couple was planning a commitment ceremony next month, to coincide with Teresa's 40th birthday. I would never have heard this story, had her brother not been Broadway star Norbert Leo Butz. By the wildest coincidence, Norbert is currently in Seattle, starring in the pre-Broadway try-out of the musical version of Catch Me If You Can. I have written in the past of my admiration for the Broadway Butz, whom I saw play the Emcee in Cabaret. Several preview performances of his show have been cancelled so he can tend to these family matters. Seattle police are not prepared to call the incident a Hate Crime

I must be the last one to hear this news. When I went to the movies this week, I saw this poster announcing a film opening next March, 2010:

I had no idea this film was in the works, but apparently, it's already causing lots of buzz. Johnny Depp teaming up with Tim Burton certainly isn't news; I guess the biggest surprise is that Disney hired the duo to pull a Willy Wonka on one of their animated classics. I will look forward to seeing Depp's Mad Hatter, a role I played many moons ago, but did not really understand. In fact, I don't think I've ever understood Alice in Wonderland. I look forward to Burton's explaining it to me. The first official trailer for the film is recently out; if you haven't seen it, take a peek:

But as much as I look forward to Burton and Depp finding the terror in Alice in Wonderland, I look forward to this even more. At first, I thought it was a hoax, but apparently not. Johnny Depp wants to star in a biopic of one of the most iconic Broadway performers of all time:

He honestly believes that, with all the special effects available these days, he can pull it off. And what's more, Channing herself believes it, too. She gave her blessing to the concept, proclaiming Depp a true artist, and pointing out that most of the people who have impersonated her over the years have had five o'clock shadows.

Yes, I want to see Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. But I would kill to see him belt out "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend."