Farewells. Besides beloved composer Marvin Hamlisch, the arts have had two other recent losses. Robert Hughes, an art critic for Time magazine as well as a historian and TV host, has died at the age of 74, reportedly after a long illness. And movie critic Judith Crist, especially known for her commentaries in TV Guide during its glory days and for the Today show, has passed away at the age of 90.
Hughes was also known for the book The Fatal Shore, about his native Australia, which still rests in a bookcase in my home. Crist is remembered for her sharp tongue — and for a style that, the New York Times once said, “was more that of Consumer Reports than of Partisan Review.”
As condescending as that sounds, it should be taken as a compliment. Crist knew that her audience in print and TV consisted of a lot of folks who spent hard-earned money on a movie and wanted to know whether the movie was worth it. In this day, even, when movie prices can be stratospheric (especially with 3-D premiums), a Consumer Reports approach is welcome.
Playing for Charity. Akron’s own Black Keys are among the artists set for a concert in New York City’s Central Park on Sept. 29 to raise awareness about global poverty issues.
As Rollingstone.com noted, “to distribute tickets, Global Poverty Project developed an online and app-based platform called Global Citizen through which potential concertgoers get placed in the lottery by taking action for the various causes and charities represented by the event — from making donations to educating themselves in depth about various issues.” One of the organizers said the festival is “about action, not money. By thinking different about how we distribute tickets, we’re building a movement.”
Also on the bill are Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Foo Fighters, Band of Horses and K’naan.
From Rollingstone.com: “The Black Keys, meanwhile, found a personal link in the downturn that’s long afflicted their hometown of Akron, Ohio. ‘All of us come from Ohio, so we grew up around working-class, hard-working people, but getting a global view makes you want to give back even more,’ explains Black Keys manager John Peets. ‘It just seemed to make a lot of sense: this is a cause we all felt was universal enough to get behind.’ ”
Read more at www.global festival.com.
Gunn Again. Timeless Media will release a box set of the complete Peter Gunn TV series in October. Old-time TV fans will remember the cool 1958-61 detective series starring Craig Stevens and Akron’s own Lola Albright; music fans unaware of the show may still know the theme song by Henry Mancini.
The 12-DVD set will include all 114 episodes and a CD of Mancini’s music for the show.
Idol-ness. American Idol is now taking online auditions, and letting people “nominate” folks they think should be on the show. You can find out more at https://auditions.americanidol.com. The process continues until Aug. 20.
Akron Shout-Out. The USA Network series Political Animals tossed in a local reference in Sunday’s episode. A closeted gay congressman in the drama about Washington doings was from Akron.
Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including in the HeldenFiles Online blog, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Twitter (as @rheldenfels) and Facebook. He can be reached at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.