The Killing Kind by John Connolly

I would like to read the supernatural thriller The Killing Kind by John Connolly. It feature Maverick private detective Charlie Parker. Parker learns that In 1963, a group of four families known as the Aroostock Baptists left their homes on the eastern seaboard and journeyed north, to Eagle Lake between New Brunswick and Maine. However By January 1964, the settlement had been abandoned and No trace of the founding families was ever found again. Then the discovery of a Mass grave finally reveals the truth about what happened to the Aroostock Baptists

Parker is hired to investigate the circumstances surrounding the suspicious death of Grace Peltier, Did She really commit suicide? He discovers that shortly before her untimely demise Grace stole an ancient relic belonging to an ancient sinister organisation called The Fellowship and that this ancient artefact could link them to both the slaughter of the Aroostock Baptists and the death of Grace Peltier so sinister forces were dispatched to recover it and kill Grace Peltier.

He also discovers that the deaths of the Aroostock Baptists and the violent passing of Grace Peltier are part of the same mystery, one that has its roots in her family history and in the origins of the shadowy organisation known as the Fellowship. Aided by the genial killers Angel and Louis, Parker descends into the depths of a nightmare world populated by dark angels and lost souls, and finds himself drawn into a violent conflict with a group of zealots. He is also haunted by the ghost of a small boy and tormented by the demonic killer known as Mr. Pudd. Soon Parker is forced to fight for his lover, his friends and his very soul.

DeLorean DMC-12

dmc12On January 21st 1981 Production of the iconic DeLorean DMC-12 sports car began in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland. The DeLorean DMC-12 was manufactured by the DeLorean Motor Company for the American market in 1981-82. Featuring gull-wing doors with a fiberglass “underbody”, to which non-structural brushed stainless steel panels are affixed, the car became iconic for the appearance of a modified version as a time machine in the Back to the Future film trilogy. The first prototype appeared in October 1976, and production officially began in 1981 in Dunmurry, a suburb of south west Belfast, Northern Ireland. During its production, several features of the car were changed, such as the hood style, wheels and interior.

In October 1976, the first prototype DeLorean DMC-12 was completed by William T. Collins, chief engineer and designer (formerly chief engineer at Pontiac). The body design of the DMC-12 was a product of Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design and the car was Originally, intended to have a centrally-mounted Citroën/NSU Comotor Wankel rotary engine. The engine selection was reconsidered when Comotor production ended, and the favored engine became Ford’s “Clogne V6.” Eventually the French/Swedish PRV (Peugeot-Renault-Volvo) fuel injected V6, was selected. Also the engine location moved from the mid-engined location in the prototype to a rear-engined installation in the production car. The chassis was initially planned to be produced from a new and untested manufacturing technology known as Elastic Reservoir Moulding (ERM), which would lighten the car while presumably lowering its production costs. This new technology, for which DeLorean had purchased patent rights, was eventually found to be unsuitable. So Engineering was turned over to engineer Colin Chapman, founder and owner of Lotus. Chapman replaced most of the unproven material and manufacturing techniques with those then employed by Lotus. The backbone chassis is very similar to that of the Lotus Esprit. The original Giorgetto Giugiaro body design was left mostly intact, as were the distinctive stainless steel outer skin panels and gull-wing doors. DeLorean required $175 million to develop and build the motor company. DeLorean eventually built the DMC-12 in a factory in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland, a neighborhood a few miles from Belfast city center. Construction on the factory began in October 1978, and although production of the DMC-12 was scheduled to start in 1979, engineering problems and budget overruns delayed production until early 1981.

Hollywood celebrities such as Johnny Carson and Sammy Davis Jr also invested in the firm and The DMC-12 also appears in the Back to the Future film trilogy. The PRV engines of the cars were dubbed over with recorded V8 sounds. Six DeLorean chassis were used during the production, along with one manufactured out of fiberglass for scenes where a full-size DeLorean was needed to “fly” on-screen; only three of the cars still exist, with one having been destroyed at the end of Back to the Future Part III. Universal Studios owns two of the remaining cars, and the last resides in a private collection after having been extensively restored. Sadly though all this endorsement was not enough to save the company and The DeLorean Motor Company went bankrupt in late 1982 following John DeLorean’s arrest in October of that year on drug trafficking charges. He was later found not guilty, but it was too late for the DMC-12 to remain in production. and the company went into liquidation

Approximately 9,000 DMC-12s were made before production halted in late 1982 and about 100 partially assembled DMCs on the production line were completed by Consolidated International (now known as Big Lots). The remaining parts from the factory stock, the parts from the US Warranty Parts Center, as well as parts from the original suppliers that had not yet been delivered to the factory were all shipped to Columbus, Ohio in 1983–1984. A company called KAPAC sold these parts to retail and wholesale customers via mail order. In 1997, DeLorean Motor Company of Texas acquired this inventory. Overall just 9,200 DMC-12s were produced between January 1981 and December 1982 Almost a fifth of these were produced in October 1981. About one thousand 1982 models were produced between February and May 1982, As of 2007, about 6,500 DeLorean Motor cars were believed to still exist. In 1995 Texas entrepreneur Stephen Wynne started a separate company using the “DeLorean Motor Company” name and shortly thereafter acquired the trademark on the stylized “DMC” logo as well as the remaining parts inventory of the original DeLorean Motor Company. The company, at its suburban Humble, Texas location, completes newly assembled cars from new old stock (NOS) parts, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and reproduction parts on a “made to order” basis using existing Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Georges Melies

MeliesFrench film Pioneer and innovator Georges Méliès sadly passed away 21 January 1938. born December 8th 1861. After completing his education, Méliès joined the family shoe business. He also visited the Egyptian Hall, run by the famous London illusionist John Nevil Maskelyne, and developed a passion for magic. Méliès returned to Paris in 1885 and studied painting at the École des Beaux-Arts, he also attended performances at the Théâtre Robert-Houdin, founded by Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, and began taking magic lessons from Emile Voisin. In 1888 Georges Méliès purchased the Théâtre Robert-Houdin. Although the theatre was equipped with lights, levers, trapdoors, and several automata, Over the next nine years, Méliès personally created over 30 new illusions that brought more comedy and melodramatic pageantry to performances, much like those Méliès had seen in London. One of his best known illusions was the Recalcitrant Decapitated Man, in which a professor’s head is cut off in the middle of a speech and continues talking until it is returned to his body. While running the theatre, Méliès also worked as a political cartoonist for the liberal newspaper La Griffe.

LuneAs owner of the Théâtre Robert-Houdin, Méliès became more of a director, producer, writer, set and costume designer also inventing many magic tricks. As the theatre’s popularity grew, he brought many famous magicians to the theatre. Along with magic tricks, performances included fairy pantomimes, an automaton performance during intermissions, magic lantern shows, and special effects such as snowfall and lightning. In 1895, Méliès was elected president of the Chambre Syndicale des Artistes Illusionistes. Between 1896 and 1913, Méliès directed 531 films, these were similar to the magic theatre shows that Méliès had been doing, containing “tricks” and impossible events, such as objects disappearing or changing size. By experimenting with multiple exposures he was also able to play seven different characters simultaneously in film .After seeing the Lumière brothers’ films he bought several films and an Animatograph film projector & By April 1896 the Théâtre Robert-Houdin was showing films. Méliès built a film camera using parts from automata and special effect equipment.  Méliès also learnt film processing  through trial and error. ln 1896 he patented the Kinètographe Robert-Houdin, camera-projector, which he referred to as his “coffee grinder” and “machine gun” because of the noise that it made. Méliès began shooting his first films in May 1896, and screening them at the Théâtre Robert-Houdin and founded the Star-Film Company. Many of his earliest films were copies and remakes of the Lumière brothers films, including his first film Playing Cards. However, many of his other early films reflected Méliès’s knack for theatricality and spectacle, such as A Terrible Night, in which a hotel guest is attacked by a giant bedbug.

CONQUEST OF THE POLE http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CtrELhltAwo

VOYAGES DANS LE LUNE http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Eeqfxe4WSqk

Whereas The Lumière brothers intended their invention to be used for scientific and historical purposes and dispatched camera operators across the world to film serious documentaries Méliès’s Star-Film Company, was geared more towards the “fairground clientele” who wanted entertainment. In these earliest films, Méliès began to experiment with special effects that were unique to filmmaking. Méliès’s film effects and unique style of film magic were first used in The Vanishing Lady, in which the by then cliche magic trick of a person vanishing from the stage by means of a trap door is enhanced by the person turning into a skeleton until finally reappearing on the stage. In 1896, Méliès built a film studio on his property in Montreuil, just outside of Paris. which had glass walls and ceilings to allow sunlight in for film exposure. The property also included a shed for dressing rooms and a hangar for set construction. Because colors would often photograph in unexpected ways on black and white film, all sets, costumes and actors’ makeup were colored in different tones of gray. Actors performed in front of a painted set as inspired by the conventions of magic and musical theatre.

In 1896 Méliès made 78 films and 53 in 1897 covering every film genre including documentaries, comedies, historical reconstructions, dramas, magic tricks and féeries (fairy stories), .Méliès also made advertisements for whiskey, chocolate, and baby cereal. In 1898 Méliès made only 30 films but his work was becoming more ambitious and elaborate. His films included the historical reconstruction of the sinking of the USS Maine Divers at Work on the Wreck of the “Maine”, the magic trick film The Famous Box Trick, and the féerie The Astronomer’s Dream. He also made one of his first of many religious satires with The Temptation of Saint Anthony. He continued to experiment with special effects such as a reverse shot in A Dinner Under Difficulties and also experimented with superimposition where he would film actors in a black background, then rewind the film through the camera and expose the footage again to create a double exposure. These films included The Cave of the Demons, in which transparent ghosts haunt a cave, and The Four Troublesome Heads, in which Méliès removes his own head three times and creates a musical chorus. He continued to experiment with special effects, the early horror film Cleopatra depicts her mummy being resurrected in modern times. Méliès also made two of his most ambitious and well-known films. The Dreyfus Affair, and Cinderella. Méliès’s films were particularly popular across Europe and in the United States however US filmmakers as Thomas Edison were resentful of the competition from foreign companies & attempted to block Méliès from screening films in the US so film makers including Méliès established the trade union Chambre Syndicale des Editeurs Cinématographiques as a way to defend themselves in foreign markets and the Théâtre Robert-Houdin was the group’s headquarters

In 1900 Méliès made 33 films, including Joan of Arc, The One-Man Band and The Christmas Dream, In 1901 Méliès made The Brahmin and the Butterfly, Little Red Riding Hood and Bluebeard, both based on stories from Charles Perrault. In 1902 Méliès began to experiment with camera movement to create the illusion of a character changing size.This effect began with The Devil and the Statue and was used again in The Man with the Rubber Head. In May 1902 Méliès made his most famous film, A Trip to the Moon. The film includes the celebrated scene in which a spaceship hits the man in the moon in the eye; it was loosely based on Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and H. G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon. In the film Méliès stars as Professor Barbenfouillis, who is president of the Astronomer’s Club and oversees an expedition to the Moon. The six men explore the moon’s surface and are attacked by a group of moon men. The film was an enormous success in France and around the world, and made Méliès famous in the United States, Méliès’s enormous success continued with his three other major productions of that year. The Coronation of Edward VII, which used actual footage of the carriage procession in the film, and King Edward VII himself was said to have enjoyed it.

Next Méliès made Gulliver’s Travels, based on the novel by Jonathan Swift, and Robinson Crusoe, based on the novel by Daniel Defoe. In 1903 Méliès made Fairyland: A Kingdom of Fairies, Ten Ladies in one Umbrella, The Melomaniac and Faust in Hell, which is based on an opera by Hector Berlioz, In 1904 he made a sequel, Faust and Marguerite. based on an opera by Charles Gounod. in 1904 he made The Barber of Seville. His major production of 1904 was The Impossible Voyage, a film similar to A Trip to the Moon about an expedition around the world, into the oceans and even to the sun. In 1904, Méliès was invited to create a special effects film to be included in a theatre revue. The result was The Adventurous Automobile Trip. In 1905 Méliès contributed two short films to The Merry Deeds of Satan : The Space Trip and The Cyclone, and made 22 other films, including the adventure The Palace of Arabian Knights and the féerie Rip’s Dream. For the 100th birthday of Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, the Théâtre Robert-Houdin created a special celebration performance, including Méliès’s first new stage trick in several years, Les Phénomènes du spiritisme. He made eighteen films in 1906, including The Merry Deeds of Satan and The Witch. In 1907 Méliès created three new illusions for the stage and performed them at the Théâtre Robert-Houdin. He also made nineteen films, including a parody of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and a short version of Hamlet. in 1908 Méliès made one of his most ambitious films: Humanity Through the Ages, which retells the history of humans from Cain and Abel to the Hague Peace Conference of 1907. Méliès resumed filmmaking in the autumn of 1909 and produced three films that year. In 1910 his brother Gaston set up a studio called the Star Films Ranch in Texas, where he began to produce Westerns. By 1911 Gaston had renamed his branch of Star Films American Wildwest Productions & produced over 130 films between 1910 and 1912. Between 1910 and 1912, Georges Méliès produced 20 films including Whimsical Illusions, in which he performs a magic trick on stage & also created a new theatrical revue, Spiritualist Phenomena.

Sadly, Méliès made a questionable deal with Charles Pathé which eventually destroyed his film career. Méliès accepted a large amount of money to produce films and in exchange Pathé Frères would distribute and reserve the right to edit these films. Pathé also held the deed to both Méliès’s home and his Montreuil studio as part of the deal. From 1911 Méliès began production on more ambitious & elaborate films including The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Haunted Window & In 1912, Méliès made Conquest of the Pole. which was inspired by Robert Peary’s expedition to the North Pole in 1909 and Roald Amundsen’s expedition to the South Pole in 1911,The film included giant monsters and also has elements of Jules Verne’s The Adventures of Captain Hatteras which is often said to be the third film of Méliès’s fantastic voyage trilogy after A Trip to the Moon and The Impossible Voyage. Méliès also made The Snow Knight and Le Voyage de la famille Bourrichon. However Méliès subsequently lost $50,000 and was forced to sell the American branch of Star Films to Vitagraph Studios. As a result Méliès broke his contract with Pathé in 1913, but was too broke to repay the money that he owed Pathe. He was declared bankrupt and did not continue making films-He attributes his own inability to adapt to Pathé and other companies, his brother Gaston’s poor financial decisions and the horrors of World War I as the main reasons that he stopped making films. Due to the war, the Théâtre Robert-Houdin was shut down for a year and Méliès left Paris for several years. In 1917 the French army turned the main studio building at his Montreuil studio into a hospital for wounded soldiers. He and his family then turned the second studio set into a theatrical stage and performed over 24 variety show revues there until 1923. Also during the war, the French army confiscated over 400 of the original prints of Star-Films’s catalog of films in order to melt them down and retrieve their celluloid and silver content. In 1923, the Théâtre Robert-Houdin was torn down in order to rebuild the Boulevard Haussmann. That same year Pathé was finally able to take over Star-Films and the Montreuil studio. In a rage, Méliès personally burned all of the negatives of his films that he had stored at the Montreuil studio, as well as most of the sets and costumes.

As a result many of his films do not exist today. Nonetheless, just over 200 Méliès films have been preserved and are available on DVD. After being driven out of business, Méliès disappeared from public life. By the mid-1920s he was making a meager living as a candy and toy salesman at the Montparnasse station in Paris. In the 1920s several journalists began to research Méliès and his life’s work, creating new interest in him. As his prestige began to grow in the film world, he was given more recognition and in December 1929 a gala retrospective of his work was held at the Salle Pleyel. Georges Méliès was awarded the Légion d’honneur in 1931 by Louis Lumière, who said that Méliès was the “creator of the cinematic spectacle. In 1932, the Cinema Society arranged a place for Méliès, his granddaughter Madeleine and Jeanne d’Alcy at La Maison du Retrait du Cinéma, the film industry’s retirement home in Orly, where Méliès worked with several younger directors on scripts for films including a new version of Baron Münchhausen with Hans Richter and a film called Le Fantôme du métro (Phantom of the Metro) . In 1936 he rented an abandoned building on the property of the Orly retirement home to store the collection of film prints. They then entrusted the key to the building to Méliès and he became the first conservator of what would eventually become the Cinémathèque Française. Although he was never able to make another film after 1913 or stage another theatrical performance after 1923, he continued to draw, write and advise yoUnger film and theatrical admirers until the end of his life. By late 1937 Méliès had become very ill and he was admitted to the Léopold Bellan Hospital in Paris. one of Méliès last drawings was of a champagne bottle with the cork popped and bubbling over. Méliès died of cancer on 21 January 1938 just hours after the passing of Émile Cohl, another great French film pioneer, and was buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.

George Orwell

English novelist and journalist George Orwell, sadly passed away on 21 January 1950. Born Eric Arthur Blair on 25 June 1903, in Motihari, Bihar, in India, His work is marked by clarity, intelligence and wit, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and belief in democratic socialism. Although Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction and polemical journalism. He is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945), which together have sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author. His book Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, is widely acclaimed, as are his numerous essays on politics, literature, language and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945″. Orwell’s work continues to influence popular and political culture, and the term Orwellian — descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices — has entered the vernacular with several of his neologisms, such as doublethink, thoughtcrime, Big Brother and thought police.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Nineteen Eighty-Four was published in 1949. It is a dystopian and satirical novel set in Oceania, where society is tyrannized by The Party and its totalitarian ideology. The Oceanian province of Airstrip One is a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control, dictated by a political system euphemistically named English Socialism (Ingsoc) under the control of a privileged Inner Party elite that persecutes all individualism and independent thinking as thoughtcrimes.

Their tyranny is headed by Big Brother, the quasi-divine Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality, but who may not even exist. Big Brother and the Party justify their rule in the name of a supposed greater good. The novel’s protagonist Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party who works for the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. As a sort of Spin Doctor. Smith is a diligent and skillful worker, but he secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother.

As literary political fiction and as dystopian science-fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content, plot, and style. Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, and memory hole, have entered everyday use since its publication in 1949. Nineteen Eighty-Four spawned the term Orwellian, to describe official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past by a totalitarian or authoritarian state. In 2005 the novel was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. It was awarded a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 13 on the editor’s list, and 6 on the reader’s list. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 8 on the BBC’s survey The Big Read.

Animal Farm

Animal Farm is an allegorical novella which addresses corruption, wickedness, ignorance, greed, myopia and indifference. It was published in England in 1945 and reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, and then on into the Stalin era in the Soviet Union. Orwell, a democratic socialist, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism, especially after his experiences with the NKVD and the Spanish Civil War. The Soviet Union he believed, had become a brutal dictatorship, built upon a cult of personality and enforced by a reign of terror. In a letter to Yvonne Davet, Orwell described Animal Farm as his novel “contre Stalin” and in his essay of 1946, Why I Write, he wrote that Animal Farm was the first book in which he had tried, with full consciousness of what he was doing, “to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole”.

The original title was Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, but the subtitle was dropped by U.S. publishers for its 1946 publication. Other variations in the title include: A Satire and A Contemporary Satire. Orwell suggested the title Union des républiques socialistes animales for the French translation, which recalled the French name of the Soviet Union, Union des républiques socialistes soviétiques, and which abbreviates to URSA, the Latin for “bear”, a symbol of Russia. It was written Between November 1943-February 1944, when the wartime alliance with the Soviet Union was at its height and Stalin was held in highest esteem in Britain both among the people and intelligentsia, a fact that Orwell hated.

It was initially rejected by a number of British and American publishers, including one of Orwell’s own, Victor Gollancz. Although Its publication was delayed it became a great commercial success when it appeared— partly because the Cold War so quickly followed WW2. Time magazine chose the book as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005); it also places at number 31 on the Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels. It won a Retrospective Hugo Award in 1996 and is also included in the Great Books of the Western World. Both 1984 and Animal Farm have also been adapted for film and television numerous times, notably starring John Hurt as Winston Smith. There is also an animated version of Animal Farm and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone was doing an anthropomorphic version of Animal Farm using digital effects.

Tom Baker

Morbius Prolific British TV and Film actor Tom Baker was born on this day, 20 January in 1934. He is best known for playing the fourth incarnation of the Doctor in the science fiction television series Doctor Who, a role he played from 1974 to 1981. In the late 1960s and early 1970s Baker was part of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre company, and had his first big film break in 1971 with the role of Rasputin in the film Nicholas and Alexandra after Olivier recommended him for the part. He also appeared in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s version of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, released in 1972, as a younger husband of the Wife of Bath. In 1974. Tom Baker then took on his most famous role of the Doctor from Jon Pertwee. He was recommended to producer Barry Letts by the BBC’s Head of Serials, Bill Slater, who had directed Baker in Play of the Month. Impressed by Baker on meeting him, Letts was convinced he was right for the part after seeing his performance in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.

RobotsdeathHe quickly made the part his own. As the Doctor, his eccentric style of dress and speech, particularly his trademark long scarf and fondness for jelly babies, made him an immediately recognisable figure, and he quickly caught the viewing public’s imagination. Baker played the Doctor for seven consecutive seasons over a seven-year period, making him the longest-serving actor in the part on-screen. Baker himself suggested many aspects of the Fourth Doctor’s personality. The distinctive scarf came about by accident. James Acheson, the costume designer, had provided far more wool than was necessary to the knitter, Begonia Pope, and Ms. Pope knitted all the wool she was given. It was Baker who suggested that he wear the resulting ridiculously over-long scarf. The manifestation played by Tom Baker (1974–1981) is regarded by many as the most popular of the Doctors.

Alphacentauri DalekSince 2001 Baker has also been the narrator of Little Britain on BBC Radio 4, and remained in the role when it transferred to television. Baker has suggested that he was chosen for the part in Little Britain due to his popularity with Walliams and Lucas, part of the generation to whom he is the favourite Doctor. “I am now being employed by the children who grew up watching me”, he stated in a recent DVD commentary. Another trademark of Little Britain’s narration is the deadpan quotation of old rap lyrics, usually in the opening credit sequence. Baker is a prolific and highly recognisable voiceover artist, he narrated an animated adventure of Doctor Who as the Fourth Doctor, and also played Puddleglum, a “marsh-wiggle”, in the BBC adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair. Baker also portrayed Sherlock Holmes in a four part BBC miniseries version of The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1982 and made an appearance as the sea captain Redbeard Rum in Blackadder II. He has also appeared as a guest on the quiz show Have I Got News For You and was subsequently described by presenter Angus Deayton as the funniest guest in the show’s history…

Paul Stanley (Kiss)

KissPaul Stanley, the Vocalist and guitarist with hard rock band Kiss was born 20th January 1952. Kiss were Formed in New York City in January 1973 and rose to prominence in the mid to late 1970s on the basis of the members’ white and black face paint and flamboyant stage outfits and elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, The 1973–’80 original lineup of Paul Stanley (vocals and rhythm guitar), Gene Simmons (vocals and bass guitar), Ace Frehley (lead guitar) and Peter Criss (drums) is the most successful. With their makeup and costumes, they took on the personas of comic book-style characters: Starchild (Stanley), The Demon (Simmons), Spaceman or Space Ace (Frehley) and Catman (Criss) and the performances included levitating drum kits and pyrotechnics.

The band explains that the fans were the ones who ultimately chose their makeup designs. Stanley became the “Starchild” because of his tendency to be referred to as the “starry-eyed lover” and “hopeless romantic”. The “Demon” makeup reflected Simmons’ cynicism and dark sense of humor, as well as his affection for comic books. Frehley’s “Spaceman” makeup was a reflection of his fondness for science fiction and supposedly being from another planet. Criss’ “Catman” makeup was in accordance with the belief that he had nine lives because of his rough childhood in Brooklyn. Because of creative differences, both Criss and Frehley were out of the group by 1982. The band’s commercial fortunes had waned considerably by that point.

However Buoyed by a wave of Kiss nostalgia in the 1990s, the band announced a reunion of the original lineup in 1996. The resulting Kiss Alive/Worldwide/Reunion Tour was the top-grossing act of 1996 and 1997. Criss and Frehley have since left Kiss again, but the band continues with Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer. Stanley and Simmons have remained the only two constant members.

Kiss have also been named in many “Top” lists. They include Number 10 on VH1′s ’100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock’,9th on ‘The Greatest Metal Bands’ list by MTV, number one on Hit Paraders’s “Top 100 Live Bands”, 56th on VH1′s “100 Greatest Artists Of All Time”, and 26th on Gibson’s “50 Greatest American Rock Bands” and Counting the 1978 solo albums, Kiss has been awarded 28 gold albums to date, and have sold more than 40 million albums in the United States, of which 20 million have been certified by the RIAA and their worldwide sales exceeds 100 million albums.

Buzz Aldrin

BuzzAldrinAmerican astronaut Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. was born January 20, 1930. He was the second person to walk on the Moon. He was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history. On July 20, 1969, he set foot on the Moon, following mission commander Neil Armstrong. He is also a retired United States Air Force pilot.

After graduating from Montclair High School in 1946, Aldrin turned down a full scholarship offer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and went to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Buzz Aldrin graduated third in his class at West Point in 1951, with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and served as a jet fighter pilot during the Korean War. He flew 66 combat missions in F-86 Sabres and shot down two Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 aircraft. The June 8, 1953, issue of Life magazine featured gun camera photos taken by Aldrin of one of the Russian pilots ejecting from his damaged aircraft

Subsequent to the war, Aldrin was assigned as an aerial gunnery instructor at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, and next was an aide to the dean of faculty at the United States Air Force Academy, which had recently begun operations in 1955. He flew F-100 Super Sabres as a flight commander at Bitburg Air Base, Germany, in the 22d Fighter Squadron. In 1963 Aldrin earned a doctor of science degree in astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His graduate thesis was “Line-of-sight guidance techniques for manned orbital rendezvous”,[9] the dedication of which read, “In the hopes that this work may in some way contribute to their exploration of space, this is dedicated to the crew members of this country’s present and future manned space programs. If only I could join them in their exciting endeavors!” On completion of his doctorate, he was assigned to the Gemini Target Office of the Air Force Space Systems Division in Los Angeles before his selection as an astronaut. His initial application to join the astronaut corps was rejected on the basis of having never been a test pilot; that prerequisite was lifted when he re-applied and was accepted into the third astronaut class.

Aldrin was selected as part of the third group of NASA astronauts selected in October 1963. Because test pilot experience was no longer a requirement, this was the first selection for which he was eligible. After the deaths of the original Gemini 9 prime crew, Elliot See and Charles Bassett, Aldrin and Jim Lovell were promoted to back-up crew for the mission. The main objective of the revised mission (Gemini 9A) was to rendezvous and dock with a target vehicle, but when this failed, Aldrin improvised an effective exercise for the craft to rendezvous with a coordinate in space. He was confirmed as pilot on Gemini 12, the last Gemini mission and the last chance to prove methods for extra-vehicular activity (EVA). Aldrin set a record for EVA, demonstrating that astronauts could work outside spacecraft.

On July 20, 1969, he became the second astronaut to walk on the Moon, keeping his record total EVA time until that was surpassed on Apollo 14. There has been much speculation about Aldrin’s desire at the time to be the first astronaut to walk on the Moon. According to different NASA accounts, he had originally been proposed as the first to step onto the Moon’s surface, but due to the physical positioning of the astronauts inside the compact lunar landing module, it was easier for the commander, Neil Armstrong, to be the first to exit the spacecraft. Aldrin, a Presbyterian, was the first person to hold a religious ceremony on the Moon. After landing on the Moon, he radioed Earth: “I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours, and to give thanks in his or her own way.” He gave himself Communion on the surface of the Moon, but he kept it secret because of a lawsuit brought by atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair over the reading of Genesis on Apollo 8. Aldrin, a church elder, used a pastor’s home communion kit given to him by Dean Woodruff and reed words used by his pastor at Webster Presbyterian Church. Webster Presbyterian Church, a local congregation in Webster, Texas, (a Houston suburb near the Johnson Space Center) possesses the chalice used for communion on the Moon, and commemorates the event annually on the Sunday closest to July 20.

Paul Cezanne

Jas_de_bouffanfrench Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne was Born 19th January 1839 in Aix-en-Provence, France, At the age of ten Paul entered the Saint Joseph school, where he studied drawing under Joseph Gibert, a Spanish monk, in Aix. In 1852 Cézanne entered the Collège Bourbon (now Collège Mignet), where he met and became friends with Émile Zola, who was in a less advanced class, as well as Baptistin Baille—three friends who would come to be known as “les trois inséparables” (the three inseparables). He stayed there for six years. From 1858 to 1861, complying with his father’s wishes, Cézanne attended the law school of the University of Aix, while also receiving drawing lessons. Hhe committed himself to pursuing his artistic development and left Aix for Paris in 1861, encouraged by Zola, who was already living in the capital at the time. In Paris, Cézanne met the Impressionist Camille Pissarro and Over the course of the following decade they went on many landscape painting excursions together, in Louveciennes and Pontoise.Cézanne’s early work is often concerned with the figure in the landscape and includes many paintings of groups of large, heavy figures in the landscape, imaginatively painted.

Later in his career, he became more interested in working from direct observation and gradually developed a light, airy painting style, but was also interested in the simplification of naturally occurring forms to their geometric essentials.Additionally, Cézanne’s desire to capture the truth of perception led him to explore binocular vision graphically, rendering slightly different, yet simultaneous visual perceptions of the same phenomena to provide the viewer with a different aesthetic experience of depth than those of earlier ideals of perspective, in particular single-point perspective. Cézanne’s paintings were shown in the first exhibition of the Salon des Refusés in 1863, which displayed works not accepted by the jury of the official Paris Salon. Although in 1882 he exhibited Portrait of Louis-Auguste Cézanne, Father of the Artist, reading ‘l’Evénement his first and last successful submission to the Salon. Cézanne exhibited twice at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 and the third Impressionist exhibition in 1877). a few individual paintings were also shown at various venues, until 1895 when he had his first solo exhibition. He concentrated on a few subjects and was equally proficient in each of these genres: still lifes, portraits, landscapes and studies of bathers.

His work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th century Impressionism and the early 20th century’s new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. Both Matisse and Picasso considered Cézanne “ the father of us all”. Cézanne’s often repetitive, exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields. The paintings convey Cézanne’s intense study of his subjects. Cezanne sadly passed away, on 22nd October 1906 after he was caught in a rain storm for two hours while painting in a nearby field and contracted pneumonia. He is buried at the old cemetery in his beloved hometown of Aix-en-Provence.

Dolly Parton

Often referred to as “The Queen of Country Music,” The American singer-songwriter, author, multi-instrumentalist, actress and philanthropist Dolly Parton was born January 19 in 1946. Aside from singing Country Music she has also appeared in many movies such as 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Steel Magnolias and Straight Talk and is one of the most successful female country artists of all time.Dolly Parton was born in Sevierville, Tennessee, and began performing as a child, singing on local radio and television programs in the Eastern Tennessee area.

By age nine, she was appearing on The Cas Walker Show on both WIVK Radio and WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee. At thirteen, she recorded the single “Puppy Love”, on a small Louisiana label, Goldband Records, and appeared at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.It was at the Opry where she first met Johnny Cash who encouraged her to go where her heart took her, and not to care what others thought. The day after she graduated from high school in 1964, Parton moved to Nashville taking many traditional elements of folklore and popular music from East Tennessee with her. Parton’s initial success came as a songwriter, writing two top ten hits with her uncle Bill Owens: Bill Phillips’s “Put it Off Until Tomorrow” and Skeeter Davis’ 1967 hit “Fuel to the Flame”. She also wrote a minor chart hit for Hank Williams Jr during this period. She had signed with Monument Records in late 1965, where she was initially pitched as a bubblegum pop singer, earning only one national-chart single, “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby,” . The label agreed to let Parton sing country music after her composition, “Put It Off Until Tomorrow,” as recorded by Bill Phillips went to number six on the country music charts in 1966. Her first country single, “Dumb Blonde” reached number twenty-four on the country music charts in 1967, followed the same year with “Something Fishy,” which went to number seventeen. The two songs anchored her first full-length album, Hello, I’m Dolly.

In 1967, country entertainer Porter Wagoner invited Parton to join his organization, offering her a regular spot on his weekly syndicated television program The Porter Wagoner Show. He encouraged Dolly to sign to his label, RCA Victor. RCA released her first single as a duet with Wagoner. That song, “The Last Thing on My Mind,” was released in late 1967, reached the country top ten in January 1968, launching a six-year streak of virtually uninterrupted top ten singles for the pair. Parton’s first solo single for RCA, “Just Because I’m a Woman,” was released in 1968 and was a moderate chart hit. For the remainder of the decade, none of her solo efforts were as successful as her duets with Wagoner. The duo were named Vocal Group of the Year in 1968 by the Country Music Association. in February 1971,

For the next two years, she had a number of solo hits including her first number-one single, “Joshua.” and her signature song “Coat of Many Colors”, in addition to her duets she had successful singles, including “Jolene”. which was eleased in 1973 and topped the singles chart in February 1974, reaching No. 7 in the UK in 1976. From 1974 to 1980, she consistently charted in the country Top 10, with no fewer than eight singles reaching number one, and she also had her own syndicated-television variety show, Dolly! (1976–1977). It was also during this period that Parton began to embark on a high profile crossover campaign, attempting to aim her music in a more mainstream direction outside country music.

In Her 1976 album All I Can Do, Parton began taking more of an active role in production, and began specifically aiming her music in a more mainstream, pop direction. Her first entirely self-produced effort, 1977′s New Harvest … First Gathering, highlighted Parton’s pop sensibilities and contained covers of the pop and R&B classics “My Girl” and “Higher and Higher”. In 1978 Parton won a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her Here You Come Again album. She continued to have hits with “Heartbreaker” (1978), “Baby I’m Burning” and “You’re the Only One” (both 1979), all of which charted in the pop singles Top 40, and all of which also topped the country-singles chart.

Parton’s commercial success continued to grow during 1980, with three number-one hits in a row: the Donna Summer-written “Starting Over Again”, “Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You”, and “9 to 5,” which topped the country and pop charts in early 1981 and was the theme song to the feature film Nine to Five (1980) in which Parton starred alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Parton’s singles continued to appear consistently in the country Top 10 between 1981 and 1985. She also explored new business and entertainment ventures such as her Dollywood theme park, that opened in 1986 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. By the mid-1980s, her record sales were still relatively strong, in 1987 she released the album Trio (1987) to critical acclaim. The album spent five weeks at number one on Billboard’s Country Albumschart. Throughout the 1980′s 90′s and 2000 ownwards Dolly has continue to enjoy ongoing success.

As well as her Successful Business Ventures, such as Dollywood, her many televison and film appearances and her varied charity work, she has also won many awards and honours, including eight Grammy Awards and a total of 45 Grammy Award nominations, At the 2011 Grammies she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award and at the American Music Awards she has won three awards, At the Country Music Association, she has received 10 awards and At the Academy of Country Music, she won seven awards and is one of only six female artists (including Reba McEntire, Barbara Mandrell, Shania Twain, Loretta Lynn, and Taylor Swift), to win the Country Music Association’s highest honor, Entertainer of the Year.

She has also been nominated for two Academy Awards and a Tony Award. She was also awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording in 1984. Dolly wasalso inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1969, and in 1986 was named one of Ms. Magazine’s Women of the Year. In 1999, Parton received country music’s highest honor, an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She received an honorary doctorate degree from Carson-Newman College (Jefferson City, Tennessee) in 1990. This was followed by induction into the National Academy of Popular Music/Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2002, Parton ranked number four in CMT’s 40 Greatest Women of Country Music. On December 3, 2006, Parton received the Kennedy Center Honors from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for her lifetime of contributions to the arts. On November 16, 2010, Parton accepted the Liseberg Applause Award, the theme park industry’s most prestigious honor, on behalf of Dollywood theme park during a ceremony held at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010 in Orlando.

She is also a keen conservationist and In 2003, her efforts to preserve the bald eagle through the American Eagle Foundation’s sanctuary at Dollywood earned her the Partnership Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Parton also received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution at a ceremony in Nashville on November 8, 2007. For her work in literacy, Parton has received various other awards including: Association of American Publishers – AAP Honors Award in 2000, Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval in 2001, American Association of School Administrators – Galaxy Award in 2002, National State Teachers of the Year – Chasing Rainbows Award in 2002 and the Parents as Teachers National Center – Child and Family Advocacy Award in 2003.

Robert Palmer

PalmerAward-winning English singer-songwriter Robert Palmer was born 19 January, 1949 in Batley, Yorkshire. He was known for his distinctive voice and the eclectic mix of musical styles on his albums, combining soul, jazz, rock, pop, reggae and blues. He found success both in his solo career and in the musical act Power Station, and had Top 10 songs in both the US and the UK. His iconic music videos by Terence Donovan for the hits “Simply Irresistible” and “Addicted to Love”, featured identically dressed dancing women with pale faces, dark eye makeup and bright red lipstick, which resembled the women in the art of Patrick Nagel, an artist popular in the 1980s. Sharp-suited, his involvement in the music industry commenced in the 1960s, covered five decades and included a spell with Vinegar Joe.

He released his first album “Pressure Drop” in 1975, which infused with his interests in reggae and rock music. In 1978, he released Double Fun, a collection of Caribbean-influenced rock. Palmer’s next album was an artistic departure, concentrating on pure rock, 1979′s Secrets produced his second Top 20 single “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)”.The 1980s saw Palmer find an increasing amount of commercial success with his next album Clues, which contained the synth pop stylings of New Wave and gave him much needed exposure to a younger audience. The album contained the singles “Looking for Clues” and “Some Guys Have All the Luck”. In April 1983 Pride was released, which not as commercially successful as Clues did feature the title song and Palmer’s cover of The System’s “You Are In My System”. later that year Palmer also performed at Duran Duran’s charity concert at Aston Villa football ground where he struck up friendships with members of Duran Duran which would spawn the supergroup Power Station, and The subsequent album spawned two hit singles “Some Like It Hot” and a cover of the T.Rex song “Get It On (Bang a Gong)”

In 1985 Palmer recorded the album Riptide which featured the single “Addicted to Love“. which has a memorable and much-parodied music video, directed by Terence Donovan, and In 1987, he won the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Addicted to Love”.The album also contained The singles “Hyperactive!” and his cover of Cherrelle’s “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On”. In 1987 Palmer set up his own recording studio and released Heavy Nova in 1988, Palmer again returned to experimenting, this time with bossa nova rhythms, heavy rock and white-soul balladeering.

He repeated his previous success of “Addicted to Love” with the video of “Simply Irresistible“, again with a troupe of female “musicians”. The ballad “She Makes My Day” also proved to be a hit in the UK. In 1989, he won a second Grammy for “Simply Irresistible” which would later be featured in the Tony Award winning musical Contact. Rolling Stone magazine voted Palmer the best-dressed rock star for 1990. The same year Palmer expanded his range even further for his next album, Don’t Explain, which featured the Bob Dylan penned single “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”, in a collaboration with UB40. Marvin Gaye cover “Mercy Mercy Me”. Throughout the 1990s, Palmer ventured further into diverse material and his 1992 album Ridin’ High was a tribute to the Tin Pan Alley era. Sadly Palmer, who was a heavy smoker, died in Paris, France, from a heart attack on 26 September 2003 at the age of 54. He was survived by his parents, Leslie and Anna Palmer, his girlfriend Geraldine Edwards, his brother, Mark Palmer, and his children, James, Jane, Anthony, Anna and Martin.Tribute to Robert Palmer

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