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August 12: Happy Birthday Pat Metheny and Sam Fuller


We have had a number of greats of rock guitar as headliners in the past 12 months, so how about a jazz guitar legend.

Pat Metheny, who turns 63 today, grew up in Kansas City, and began to play guitar at 13.  By the time he was in his late teens, he was teaching music at the college level.  He began appearing on other musicians’ jazz albums around 1974 and released his debut album, Bright Size Life in 1976.  A year later Metheny got together with keyboardist Lyle Mays and a few other musicians to form the Pat Metheny Group; Metheny’s subsequent recording and performing career includes records released both under the Group’s name and his own.

Metheny has won 20 Grammys in his career; among winners who are exclusively or primarily jazz musicians, only Chick Corea has won more.  His wins have come in ten different categories, a Grammys record.  When someone has been recording for over 40 years, picking a single song to represent them is usually near to impossible.  However, this track, off of his first Grammy-winning album, is frequently mentioned as among his best:

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Best Actor Oscar Nominees (89th Academy Awards)


In most years, the Best Actor category is one of the major flash points of Oscars evening. Last year’s win for Leonardo DiCaprio was seen by some as the rightful end to a long-standing wrong (I wasn’t one of those people, but we’re not talking about me here). Both 2009 and 2010 featured Jeff Bridges and Colin Firth as top nominees with each man eventually taking home one statuette. Longtime favorites, unexpected darkhorses, and actual movie stars have made the walk to the stage to be honored over the years and there’s usually a lot of suspense or anticipation over a tight race or a coronation. Despite some uncertainty over who the actual winner will be, I’m not quite getting the same sense of excitement over this race as I have in many other years. No matter who wins, that performance will be seen by most as deserving, but I’m not sure there are a ton of people outside of the productions themselves who are emotionally invested in the outcome. Join me below as i discuss each nominee and maybe offer some hints as to why people might feel this way. Then help us vote for our own favorite to take home Oscar gold in this category!
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August 12: Happy Birthday Casey Affleck and Cecil B. DeMille


Casey Affleck was born this day in 1975 so he’s 41 today.  He started acting a little over 20 years ago, appearing in supporting roles in two Gus Van Sant films, To Die For and Good Will Hunting, and in Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy.  The latter two films saw him appearing with his older brother Ben.  During the “aughts,” he appeared in Ocean’s Eleven and its two sequels as Virgil Malloy, one of the Mormon brothers who are the wheelmen for Danny Ocean’s heist crew.

In 2007, Affleck was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for playing Robert Ford in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, a critical success but not a commercial one.  In the same year, Affleck was cast as one of the leads in Gone Baby Gone (written and directed by his brother), adapted from one of Dennis Lehane’s novels about his working-class PI team of Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro.  As a big fan of Patrick and Angie, I didn’t like everything about the movie, but I did like Casey’s performance as Patrick Kenzie, filled with a quiet intensity that belies his boyish appearance:

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