Elliott Stein, 1928 - 2012

Categories: R.I.P.

Elliott Stein in the 1960s
By Nick Pinkerton

Elliott Stein, a longtime contributor to The Village Voice, as well as , Film Comment, Midi-Minuit, The New York Times, and goodness knows what other publications, passed away last Wednesday, aged 83.

Mr. Stein was born in Bensonhurst and grew up on Bay Parkway in Brooklyn, back when the RKO Albee was among the borough's movie palaces. Mr. Stein recollected the Albee, along with other reminiscences of jewel box theaters past, in his seminal work of movie-love autobiography, the marvelously anecdotal 1977 Rolling Stone piece "My Life with Kong," published between the release of Dino DeLaurentiis' Kong remake's and the demolition of the Albee. Through the prism of a 43-year personal history with "the most moving passion play ever seen on the screen," Stein filters details of a continent-hopping life -- he moved to Paris in 1948 and stayed on for decades -- and, incidentally, his various ineffaceable identities: queer, Jewish, Brooklynite.

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R.I.P. George Stoney, NYU Film Professor and Godfather of Public Access TV

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George Stoney, NYU professor and documentarian
NYU film professor, documentarian, and pioneer of cable access George Stoney passed away last week. He was 96 years old.

I had the opportunity to study under Stoney as a film student at NYU in the late 1990s. Back then, the elderly teacher (always in his trademark hat) cut an iconic silhouette as he wandered the streets of the Village. I saw him taking one of his familiar strolls just a few months ago. As students, my friends and I often marveled at how he kept going at such a strong clip while in his 80s. But according to the Times' obituary, Stoney was still teaching at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts "the last year of his life."

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Nora Ephron, R.I.P.: We'll Always Have What She's Having

It's no understatement to say that this New Yorker would not be a New Yorker but for Nora Ephron.

It's kind of bizarre, given how much my writing life has drifted from what first, in a roundabout way, brought me to New York City: the writing of Nora Ephron. Friends and readers who are familiar with my work might giggle at this, but I must admit it's true; there is perhaps no other writer more responsible for shaping my professional aspirations than the 71-year-old Ephron who died today.

As a 14-year-old freshman in high school drama class in Oxnard, California, I was enthralled when seniors did a scene from a new movie I'd never seen called When Harry Met Sally. Intrigued about how they'd learned their lines from a movie still in theaters (and not a play), I asked them and found out they'd gotten them from the screenplay of the film.

Screenplay? I'd never heard of such a thing.

And off I was to the Oxnard Public Library, checking out this screenplay by Nora Ephron.

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Andrew Sarris, 1928-2012: Highlights From His Village Voice Years

Categories: R.I.P.

We're very saddened to hear about the death of film critic Andrew Sarris at the age of 83. He spent some of his best years tilting with Pauline Kael here at the Voice, and while we're putting together an actual obit, we wanted to highlight some of the best things he did at this newspaper.

A few years ago, we had a project we called "Clip Job" whose aim was to get onto the web some of the Voice's best material from its pre-Internet archives.

Naturally, Sarris's column was often one we chose to republish. Please look them over now, and remember (or discover for the first time) what an important influence he was on American cinema, and what a great read, as well.

March 23, 1961: "L'Avventura...is an intellectual adventure or it is nothing."

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Donna Summer Has Danced Her "Last Dance"

TMZ is reporting that disco legend Donna Summer has danced her last dance, having lost a battle with cancer. She was 63.

We just happened to be listening to "Last Dance," Summer's 1978 hit, when we read the news on Twitter.

We already knew it was going to be quite a Pride celebration this June for New York's gay community, given the one year anniversary of the Marriage Equality Act and President Obama's recent endorsement of same-sex marriage. With the passing of one of Pride's most revered divas, it's going to be all the more bittersweet as people sing, "I need you, by me, beside me, to guide me/To hold, to scold me, 'cause when I'm bad, I'm so bad."

Thanks for that last chance for romance tonight, Donna. Dance in peace, in that big, disco hall in the sky.

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Maurice Sendak Has Gone On To Where The Wild Things Are

Brooklyn born writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak has died. He was 83-years-old.

Sendak was the author of Bumble-Ardy, In The Night Kitchen, and, of course, Where The Wild Things Are.

We just went back and listened to Sendak's interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air in September of 2011. It's almost 20 minutes long, but we highly recommend you take the time to listen to it yourself. It's an example of a master interviewer letting a master story teller reveal the important life lessons of love, loss, laughter and death.

Gross speaks to Sendak by phone from his home, when he is too weak to go to a studio. She speaks to him about his life as a gay man who never raised children, the death of his partner of 50 years, and the death of recent friends, including his publisher. Facing his own mortality himself, Sendak tells Gross, through tears:

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Broadcast Journalist And 60 Minutes Legend Mike Wallace Dies At 93

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Mike Wallace, veteran broadcast journalist known for his contributions to CBS' 60 Minutes has died. Wallace, 93, died at Waveny Care Center in New Canaan Saturday night, Conn. Wallace, who was known for his hard hitting interviews with controversial public figures, had said in interviews following his retirement that he wanted his epitaph to read "Tough But Fair," the New York Times reported. Wallace was born in 1918 as Myron Leon Wallace, he began developing his style, asking tough questions on the television show "Night Beat." He was one of the original 60 Minutes hosts when the show began in 1968.

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Presenting 'Shit Nobody Says,' the Inevitable Conclusion to the Shit Says Meme

The meme of the moment has turned on itself, eating its own shit tail, if you will. Here, from Tripp Crosby, Tyler Stanton, and others who could be co-opted into the making of this video, are "Phrases you will often never hear," in YouTube form.

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Violet the NYU Hawk Has Died

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Violet and Bobby in happier times.
Yesterday, it looked as though Violet the NYU hawk mother and star of the Bobst library hawk cam was doing OK apart from her cheating husband. She had been captured and was receiving treatment for her injured leg. Now, City Room reports that Violet has died. She was thought to be around five years old.

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#GodIsNotGreat Trending on Twitter, But Only in Certain Cities

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Following the announcement of Christopher Hitchens' death at the age of 62 very early this morning, Twitter has been awash with thoughts about the man. #ChristopherHitchens is trending throughout the U.S., though not, currently, worldwide [update: now it is], and not in the U.K. But what about #GodIsNotGreat, Hitchens' 2009 book and a phrase many equate with him?

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