September 24, 1988 |
Some astronauts had a close encounter with John Denver, and not everyone came away impressed. Denver is a space buff and recently has been checking into the possibility of flying on a Soviet rocket, because NASA has shown little interest in taking him into space. Nonetheless, NASA arranged for the singer to give a briefing at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Sept. 6 - attendance required. A veteran astronaut, one of about 50 who attended the meeting, described it as "a waste of time and an insult to the astronauts who had better things to do," according to an article published in yesterday's Houston Chronicle.
January 29, 1989 |
February is Black History Month. Several institutions throughout the Delaware Valley plan to remember and celebrate the achievements of black Americans and the contributions they have made to this nation. Some of those achievements have been in Delaware County. Chester City, for example, was a stop on the Underground Railroad in 1857 for slaves escaping into Philadelphia. The city also was the home of the late Ethel Waters, a popular blues singer and actress. And the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. graduated from the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester.
September 8, 2003 |
Ask most rock snobs about the Dave Matthews Band, and this is what you get: Gripes about what they perceive as tediously long instrumental forays and charges of endless noodling. Complaints about calculus-level structures and the absence of electric guitar. An earful about fans who have almost religious reverence for the Charlottesville, Va., quintet. If, by some miracle, those snobs were to bring an open mind to a show like the one Matthews and his band put on Friday at the Tweeter Center, this is what they would have encountered: Episodic, and sometimes epic, musical journeys enlivened by swerving detours and split-second gearshifts that never finished exactly where they started.
November 5, 1987 |
PUT THAT IN YOUR GREEN JEANS, MISTER Bob Keeshan, that great old guy who's been playing Captain Kangaroo for 32 years now, really does care about kids. He's got a second career hopping around the country crusading for good daycare for children whose parents are out in the world trying to support them. He was talking societal cost-effectiveness at a seminar in Knoxville, Tenn., the other day. "It costs $35,000 a year to keep someone behind bars," he said. "Wouldn't it have been more sensible to spend a few thousand dollars a year the first seven or eight years of that person's life?
July 27, 1988 |
Laden with stultifying liberal pieties that border on condescension and invariably win prizes at the Cannes Film Festival, Chris Menges' A World Apart is a movie with its heart in the right place. It's also one that needs its head examined. Menges, a splendid cinematographer whose credits include a richly deserved Oscar for The Killing Fields, has taken essentially the same - and the wrong - approach, to the outrage of apartheid that crippled Richard Attenborough's honorable but misguided Cry Freedom.
June 2, 1988 |
So you say you're watching the NBA playoffs on television and you want more roundball action? You mean Saturday's controversial game between the Celtics and the Pistons wasn't enough for you? Well, there's hope for you in your VCR. Here's a summary of the best of the basketball videotapes. "Winning Basketball: Red Auerbach and Larry Bird" (Kodak Video, $19.95): OK, so they're members of the dreaded Celtics. There are still helpful hints from two of the best. For adults who want to enjoy what's left of the playoffs and also for those who can still run full-court in the playground.
December 1, 1989 |
After so many preachy, inert movies about apartheid, Mapantsula is a revelation. This raw, lively 1987 feature shot on the sly in Soweto and Johannesburg is a rare film about South Africa in that it is seen through the eyes of black South Africans who wrote, starred and directed. Its swaggering anti-hero, a pickpocket named Panic (played by screenwriter Thomas Mogotlane), recalls Jimmy Cliff's outlaw hero in The Harder They Come. (Mapantsula, incidentally, translates as gangster.) Panic sneers at the political activism of his chums from the black township.
September 28, 1988 |
If you think book banning occurs only in Bible-belt states and fascist countries, the Camden County College library has some surprises for you. The Blackwood campus is celebrating National Banned Books Week with displays, films and a crossword puzzle contest to test the public's knowledge of literary censorship. "We wanted students to have more information about the freedom to read," college spokeswoman Diane Holtzman said. "We wanted to make people aware of what is being banned today and what was banned years ago to create an appreciation for the freedom to read.
December 11, 1987 |
Jack Higgins returns to World War II in his Night of the Fox (Pocket Books, $4.95). We're on the eve, as historians like to say, of the invasion of Normandy, also known as D-Day. During an ill-timed sea maneuver, an American officer called Col. Hugh Kelso finds himself adrift in the English Channel after most of his colleagues have been killed. He washes ashore on the island of Jersey, which is occupied by the Germans. Big problem: Col. Kelso knows the date and location of D-Day. Uh-oh.
September 24, 1993 |
Hollywood's African-American community tackles apartheid in "Bopha!" another attempt to measure the tragic cost of racial separatism in South Africa in human terms. The movie comes courtesy of a mostly black creative team - executive producer Arsenio Hall, director Morgan Freeman and a cast headed by Danny Glover and Alfre Woodard - an approach that seems designed to immunize "Bopha!" from the charges of carpet-bagging flung at such pictures as "A Dry White Season," and "Cry Freedom," which used white characters to dramatize the strife in South Africa.