Always Love Ann Beattie

Ann BeattieOn this day in 1588, the “father of acoustics,” mathematician and music theorist Marin Mersenne was born. The French Baroque composer Francois Francoeur was born in 1698. Here is his very fun Allegro Vivo:

Portrait miniature painter Ozias Humphry was born in 1742. The Mesoamerican ethnographer Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg was born in 1814. Composer Jaime Nuno was born in 1824. He composed the Mexican national anthem, which is not bad:

The great Czech composer Antonin Dvorak was born in 1841. He is not one of my favorite composers, but for a Romantic, he is quite good. Here is his “Song to the Moon”:

The modern composer Willem Pijper was born in 1894. His work is pretty difficult. Just the same, it has a lot of charm to go along with his polytonal palette. It really does reward the listener, although it isn’t something I’m often in the mood for. Here is his Concerto for Piano & Orchestra from 1927:

The great country singer Jimmie Rodgers was born in 1897. Here he is doing a few of his songs inside a really stupid (but charming) narrative structure:

The great comedic actor Peter Sellers was born in 1925. Here he is as a couple of characters in Dr. Strangelove:

Another great country singer Patsy Cline was born in 1932. She was only 30 when she died. Here she is doing “Crazy” on the TV box:

The great comedian Sid Caesar is 91 today. Playwright Michael Frayn is 80. He wrote the very funny farce Noises Off. Blues guitarist Guitar Shorty is 74. Socialist Bernie Sanders is 72. Musician Aimee Mann is 53. She started as the head of the band ‘Til Tuesday, a band that got less and less popular as it got better and better. Here is a great song from their second album. (Of course, Mann has had a great solo career since then.) I like the line, “But anything I could have said I felt somehow that you already knew.” The song isn’t perfect, though; it should have a third verse, but even Mann admits that she’s a lazy writer. If you want perfect songwriting craft, you need to check out her husband Michael Penn. Anyway, here is “Coming Up Close”:

And the great independent filmmaker Kimberly Peirce is 46.

The day, however, belongs to the great novelist Ann Beattie who is 66 today. She had an interesting arc as a writer. Her first three novels were light and funny. They were the perfect vacation novels. And then she wrote Picturing Will, a novel so full of existential angst that I couldn’t stop crying. It was a fine book, beautifully written. But it scarred me and I have not gone back again. However, I do think it would be fun to reread Falling In Place or Love Always.

Happy birthday Ann Beattie!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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