Monday, January 11, 2016

Tribute: David Bowie (1947 - 2016)


Talk about a rotten weekend.

Two cultural legends -- the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm )and Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie) -- passed away during the last few days.

David Bowie (1947 - 2016) is -- and shall be -- remembered as one of the most important and influential voices in music of the late 20th century. This blog mostly covers genre film and television, and both Mr. Bowie's acting and musical performances have shaped more than a quarter century of artistic imagination in the cinema and on TV.

One need look no further than Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine (1998) to understand how Bowie's stirring, pioneering music, fashion style, and indeed, very persona, shaped and inspired a generation of admirers.


In terms of acting, Mr. Bowie often found his otherworldly, androgynous looks in demand for genre work. He was the titular character in Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), for example. There, Bowie played an alien corrupted by the vices of human beings.


In 1983, Bowie starred as an aged vampire in Tony Scott's The Hunger, and in 1986, he portrayed the (unforgettable) Goblin King in Jim Henson's Labyrinth.


Bowie also found unique and memorable roles in David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1991) and Christopher Nolan's The Prestige (2006).

In terms of his music, it is almost possible to paint a complete and whole picture of Mr. Bowie's influence on film and TV.

His work informs moments in Ridley Scott's The Martian (2015) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2015), to name just two recent blockbusters. On TV, his songs helped create the background reality on series including Mad Men, and Californication.  This list could fill a book.

Today, the man who fell to Earth has returned to the cosmos, and we all mourn his departure from his mortal coil.

His work -- his legacy and influence -- remains.  Godspeed, David Bowie.

5 comments:

  1. R.I.P. David Bowie :(

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  2. More sad news. I've had an acquaintance and a family member pass away recently, Angus Scrimm who haunted my dreams for a number of nights after seeing Phantasm is gone, Lemmy of Motorhead - who I thought was immortal - died and now Bowie.

    An aside: looking at the picture of him in Labyrinth reminds me that when I saw The Force Awakens I thought that one thing that would have improved it is if, instead of Snoke, they had gone with a character more like Bowie's Goblin King. Not the awesome-80's hairdo but the whole pretty but evil, charming but dangerous vibe he had in that role.

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  3. I was very sad to hear this. My condolences to his loved ones.

    One of my favorite songs of his is "Life on Mars?" which was inspired two TV series of the same name (minus the question mark): The UK original and the American remake. Any chance you might look at them? By the time you reach the end (in the case of the UK version, the end of the sequel series "Ashes to Ashes" [also named after a Bowie song!]) it's clear that these series have a strong genre connection....

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was very sad to hear this. My condolences to his loved ones.

    One of my favorite songs of his is "Life on Mars?" which was inspired two TV series of the same name (minus the question mark): The UK original and the American remake. Any chance you might look at them? By the time you reach the end (in the case of the UK version, the end of the sequel series "Ashes to Ashes" [also named after a Bowie song!]) it's clear that these series have a strong genre connection....

    ReplyDelete
  5. Raja991:43 PM

    I was very sad to hear this. My condolences to his loved ones.

    One of my favorite songs of his is "Life on Mars?" which was inspired two TV series of the same name (minus the question mark): The UK original and the American remake. Any chance you might look at them? By the time you reach the end (in the case of the UK version, the end of the sequel series "Ashes to Ashes" [also named after a Bowie song!]) it's clear that these series have a strong genre connection....

    ReplyDelete