Chris Kelly, one-half of the influential ’90s rap duo Kris Kross, was found unresponsive in his home yesterday afternoon and pronounced dead by the Atlanta Medical Center at 8 p.m. While an autopsy has yet to be performed, the belief is that he reportedly took a mixture of cocaine and heroin the night before his death.
A statement from Jermaine Dupri, the man who discovered Kelly and partner Chris Smith in Atlanta's Greenbriar Mall when they were only 13 (and he, 19):
"To the world chris was MacDaddy but to me, he was a son I never had, as much as you may think I taught him, he taught me, god has blessed me to be in the presence of so many naturally talented people, and chris was one. his understanding of what we set out to do, from day one was always on point. his passion for the music, his love for doing shows, his want to better than everyone else, was always turnt up. when I think about it I spent more time with chris than damn near anybody in my whole life, so you can imagine how bad this hurts. I will always love you chris, and I will never let the world forget you, may god bless your soul."
Who do we have to thank for this tragic crime? A Facebook contest. Yes, this life-or-death decision was determined by Facebook. This is a new low for our species.
Unbeknownst to me, Hasbro launched the "Save Your Token" campaign (deceptively aimed at the removal of an unpopular piece) alongside another campaign, also conducted via Facebook, to pick a new token. And when it was all said and done, it was not the thimble, nor the battleship, nor that stupid wheelbarrow that got the ax. It was the iron.
Johnny Lewis, best known for his role as Halfsack on Sons of Anarchy, died yesterday. It gets worse. According to TMZ, "Lewis was found in a driveway Wednesday morning in the Los Feliz neighborhood — and the elderly woman who owned the home [and rented a room to Lewis] was found dead inside ... the victim of a homicide. Investigators say they believe Lewis beat the woman to death ... According to multiple reports, neighbors heard the 81-year-old woman screaming ... and then saw a young man outside her home attack 2 other people with a piece of wood ... before he climbed onto the roof and fell to his death." Furthermore, "cops believe Johnny was on drugs — either PCP or meth" and the men he fought with say "Johnny showed 'super-human strength' and was 'phenomenally strong.'"
Michael Clarke Duncan, best known for his Academy Award–nominated role in The Green Mile, died Monday. According to a statement released by a representative of his family, Duncan "suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered"; he passed away in the same Los Angeles hospital where he had been since the incident. As CNN reports, "In his 20s, he worked digging ditches for Peoples Gas during the day and as a bouncer at night his coworkers at the gas company called him 'Hollywood' because he'd often talk about becoming a movie star. 'I'd be digging a ditch and they'd say, 'Hey, man, Bruce Willis wants to talk to you about a movie.' And they'd just crack up laughing.'"
With any luck, Andrew Sarris, who passed away yesterday at the age of 83, will now assume his rightful and undisputed place in the critical pantheon as the patron saint of the film buff/movie nerd/pop-culture junkie.
A thoughtful and erudite film critic whose career spanned over 50 years — which he described as “a lifetime in the darkness” — Sarris is probably best known for his landmark 1968 book The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968. In it, he articulated his version of auteurist film criticism. Adapted from French film critics like Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, this theory was grounded in the belief that a film’s director was its chief creative force. In his brilliant introduction to The American Cinema, titled “Toward a Theory of Film History,” Sarris argued:
The life of Henry Hill as seen in the film Goodfellas is merely a snapshot of what would turn out to be a true American story: one of rags to riches, sin and redemption, full of flaws, and with a slice of Hollywood flair for good measure.
I personally had the opportunity to get a glimpse of this ongoing tale back in 2007, when former NBA referee Tim Donaghy was suddenly neck-deep in a mob-connected point-shaving scandal. As expected, a story like this coming during the 24/7 Internet age prompted questions from almost every angle: How is the league handling this? How are the players handling this? How are the refs handling this?
Still, there was one question not asked: How is the Mafia handling this?
R.E.M. is breaking up! Amicably, though. A statement posted on their website today reads: “To our Fans and Friends: As R.E.M., and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band. We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening." Adds front man Michael Stipe, “A wise man once said — 'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave.’ We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it." The band has remained consistently active for nearly three decades, with all the lulls and disappointments and would-be comeback albums along the way. Their last release, the stick-to-the-script Collapse Into Now, dropped in March of this year, and was warmly, if not enthusiastically, received. Anyway, are you thinking what we’re thinking? Peter Buck solo album?