December 17th 2010
Don Van Vliet, a maverick musician who emerged from the Southern California desert with the name Captain Beefheart and a singular and influential form of avant-garde rock in the 1960s, died Friday. He was 69.
Van Vliet, who retreated to a reclusive life as an abstract painter in the early 1980s, died from complications of multiple sclerosis at a hospital near his home in Trinidad in Northern California, said a spokeswoman for the Michael Werner Gallery, his New York-based art dealer.
"Part of why I stopped doing music was because it was too hard to control the other people I needed to play the stuff, and I'd had enough animal training," he told The Times in 1990.
December 10th 2010
John E. du Pont, an heir to the DuPont Co. chemical fortune who was known as a generous if eccentric patron of amateur wrestling before he inexplicably shot and killed Olympic gold medalist Dave Schultz in 1996, died Dec. 9. He was 72.
He called the wrestlers he supported "Team Foxcatcher" and envisioned them filling the roster of the 1996 U.S. Olympic wrestling team. They lived and trained at the 14,000-square-foot facility he built on his property in Pennsylvania.
On Jan. 26, 1996, Mr. du Pont drove to the guesthouse where Schultz was living with his wife and two children. The heir fired three shots from a .38-caliber handgun out the window of his Lincoln Town Car. Schultz lay in the driveway, dying in his wife's arms.
Among other things: he drove 2 brand new Lincoln Town Cars into a pond back-to-back, believed he was the Dalai Lama of the United States, had razor wire installed in his walls, evicted all three black wrestlers from his property, blew up a family of foxes, and founded and ran the Villanova wrestling program in 1986 only to have it dismantled two years later on the grounds that he fired an assistant head coach for not wanting to be his gay lover.
December 6th 2010
The original Tony Romo, Meredith was the original Dallas Cowboy signing a personal services contract on Nov. 28, 1959, two months before the franchise officially gained admittance into the NFL. He was a two-time All-American at SMU and played for the Cowboys from 1960 to 1968. He led the Cowboys to the 1966 and 1967 NFL title games, both defeats to the Green Bay Packers, but he abruptly retired from pro football at age 31.
He was also on Monday Night Football for a decade and lived in an adobe in Santa Fe since 1982.
Goodbye, Dandy Don. The party's over.
November 16th 2010
The Rev. Alex Franco, who performed thousands of weddings at his Albertson Wedding Chapel in Los Angeles, has died. He was 91. "On a weekday you can walk in here and be married in 20 minutes," Franco told the Dallas Morning News in 1988. "On weekends, we are busier, we need a little notice."
Our own Seth Romatelli once attended a wedding at Mr. Franco's chapel on April Fool's Day, 1999. As he and his friends poured liquor into styrofoam cups in the parking lot, they ribbed the Israeli groom who had no concept of April Fool's Day, despite living in America for years. To his recollection, the service was beautiful. The couple has since divorced.
November 8th 2010
Seth Clips Vol. 6
November 8th 2010
Seth Clips Vol. 5
November 6th 2010
The Great Sparky Anderson has died at the age of 76. Sparky's Reds bested Seth's hometown nine for Baseball's World Series in 1975. As Seth recalls, "He was 41 at the time, but looked like he was 70." He went on to win 2 more World Series titles (1 each in Cincinnati and Detroit) and became the first manager in Major League Baseball to win the title in both the American and National Leagues.