Saturday, July 30, 2016

Horror Abounding

Somber Visit

Passing through the infamous gate

Pope Francis has been in Poland since July 24 to take part in the triennial World Youth Day, a somewhat inaptly-named week-long celebration currently taking place in Kraków, Poland.

On Friday, Francis visited the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau complex. The photographic images of his visit are powerful, and afterward he spoke eloquently of the emotional impact what he saw there had on him.

Today he celebrated a Mass at the sanctuary in Kraków dedicated to St. John Paul II.

Scary Movie Landmark

Original 1999 "one sheet" poster
On July 30, 1999 The Blair Witch Project was finally released in theaters after an innovative online marketing campaign.

A distinctly low-budget production (it cost around $750,000 to make), the film grossed about $250 million at the box office, and single-handedly popularized the "found footage" pseudo-documentary genre of horror films.

It was a particularly unsettling film to see
in a movie theatre, and despite a distinct lack of traditional horror movie tropes it is one of the scariest films I've ever seen. It is one of those movies that doesn't retain much "scare" value after the initial viewing, though. My mom, from whom I acquired my fondness for scary movies, would have loved it.

The Blair Witch Project became a cultural phenomenon, spawning a variety of related media products including books, video games, and comic books. There have also been a number of spoofs imitating the original film's style.

"If you bipeds spent more time in the woods you wouldn't find them so scary."

It isn't just being in the woods that makes it scary...

Horror Show

From the pen of Lisa Benson, whose editorial cartoons you should read often, as I do.

Until Next Time...

On July 30, 1936 George Guy was born in Lettsworth, Louisiana. After teaching himself to play on a two-string "diddley bow" he built with his own hands, Buddy Guy would go on to become a legendary figure in blues guitar.

Buddy's first "decent" guitar was a Harmony Monterey model which he eventually donated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has played a wide variety of electric guitars over the years, but he is most closely associated with the Fender Stratocaster. After spending some time playing in bands in Baton Rouge as a young man, when Buddy was 21 he moved to Chicago and began working with Muddy Waters and other key figures in Chicago blues music.

Buddy became one of the most influential guitarists in the history of music, inspiring generations of young musicians with his unique and high-energy playing style. Buddy has won six Grammy Awards in his long career, and in 2003 he received a National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, and received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2012. He was selected for membership in the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2014.

Buddy's 2015 album Born To Play Guitar was my weekly Music Recommendation here the week of August 3, 2015. No doubt due to the publicity boost that honor carries, Buddy's album reached No. 60 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart as well as No. 1 on the Blues Albums chart.

It also won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Blues Album, Buddy's sixth Grammy, proving that he's still going strong after more than half a century as a blues guitar slinger.

Two of the musicians on the album, bass player Michael Rhodes and keyboardist
Reese Wynans, are now part of the touring and recording band of my blues guitar hero Joe Bonamassa.

Today's send-off is the album's title track, from Buddy's VEVO channel. Enjoy...

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