This is quite a day for birthdays. And frankly, I threw a bunch of people into “other birthdays” that I normally would have highlighted. So don’t take offensive. Not that you would.
On this day in 1917, the great jazz pianist Thelonious Monk was born. I am not often in the mood to listen to him, because he is challenging. But if I’m up to really listening, there really is no one better. Here he is with his quartet doing his most famous song “Round Midnight”:
The great playwright Harold Pinter was born in 1930. I like his work, but I’m not a big fan. In fact, I’m only listing him because I had no idea that he died back in 2008.
Musician John Prine is 67 today. I still love his very first album and listen to it at least a few times per year. He is a great songwriter. Here he is doing “Hello In There,” which still gives me chills:
Julia Sweeney is 54 today. Here she is doing the beginning of Letting Go of God:
The day, however, belongs to the film director Ed Wood. He is known for making “bad” films, but people who think this are idiots. Wood made low budget films with lots of problems. He certainly could have used a second unit crew because his films often lack proper transitions. But at their best, they are wild and wonderful. My favorite thing about his films is that they are subversive. Plan 9 from Outer Space attacks the whole idea of the Cold War nuclear arms race. In it, the aliens have come to earth to destroy the human race because we are about to develop a new bomb that will destroy the universe and they don’t think we are mature enough, “See! Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!” And so we were and are. Here’s the scene; it’s great:
Happy birthday Ed Wood!