Category Archives: Film / Tv / Theater Review

Song of the Day #1870

Song of the Day: Stevie Wonder “Stars on 45” Medley [YouTube link] includes “My Cherie Amour” [YouTube link to the original], a song featured on the jukebox on the night that police raided the Stonewall Inn in the wee hours of this date in 1969. The patrons fought back against brutality, in a cry of liberation for the right to live their own lives and pursue their own happiness. That Stonewall storm left a Rainbow of Pride in its wake that illuminates the dancefloor for all those who lovingly embrace the singular authenticity of the music inside them.

Steve Horwitz, RIP

I am very sorry to report this devastating news. My long-time colleague and friend, Steve Horwitz, passed away this morning. His wife, Sarah Skwire, has confirmed that he died around 5:15 am.

Steve had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma back in 2017. He was a warrior in facing this diagnosis and battling this disease, and an inspiration to countless thousands of people for his very public sharing of his trials and tribulations.

Steve was first and foremost a wonderful human being and a very dear friend. But he was also a thought-provoking scholar of the highest order. He was long associated with St. Lawrence University, and later became the Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise in the Department of Economics in the Miller College of Business at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. In 2020, he was the recipient of the Julian L. Simon Memorial Award from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Steve and I first met way back in the mid-1990s; his important work in the area of Austrian economics and on the progressive nature of market institutions (which would culminate in his wonderful book Hayek’s Modern Family) led me to spotlight his contributions to the “dialectical” turn in libertarian thought, in my book Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (2000). So enthused was he with the dialectical project that he gladly accepted an invitation to contribute a wonderful essay (“The Dialectic of Culture and Markets in Expanding Family Freedom“) to the 2019 anthology, The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom, which I coedited with Roger Bissell and Ed Younkins.

Our professional relationship also extended to Rand studies; he was a contributor to two of the symposia published by The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies: one to our 2003 discussion of Rand and progressive rock (“Rand, Rush, and De-totalizing the Utopianism of Progressive Rock“) and another to our 2005 centenary symposium on “Ayn Rand Among the Austrians” (“Two Worlds at Once: Rand, Hayek, and the Ethics of the Micro- and Macro-Cosmos“).

In 2012, Steve would join the journal’s Board of Advisors. Anytime I asked him to do a peer review, he accepted the project, even if he was tempted to torch some of the essays he had been asked to read. If I heard even the slightest hesitation from him, I’d take a line from the 1959 film version of “Ben-Hur“: “We keep you alive to serve this ship! So, row well and live” [YouTube link]. It became an ongoing mantra between us—anytime either of us suffered a medical setback. He told me I inspired him in my lifelong struggles with a congenital intestinal illness, and I’d tell him, “Are you kidding me? You’re an inspiration to all of us!”

My heart is broken. I want to extend my deepest condolences to Steve’s family and friends, and wish to say that I share their sorrow, while celebrating his extraordinary life.

Steve Horwitz (1964-2021)

Addendum: When asked about how we could keep Steve’s memory alive, I said:

Early on in Steve’s career, he, like Don Lavoie before him, showed a certain indebtedness to the highly dialectical approach of the hermeneutical tradition. Paul Ricoeur once said that a text is detached from its author and develops consequences of its own—transcending its relevance to its initial situation and addressing an indefinite range of possible readers.

As long as there are people who can read what Steve wrote and listen to what Steve has said, his work, his life, his legacy, will live on.

Hitchcock on TCM

They’re running a Hitchcock film festival on Turner Classic Movies that started this morning at 6 am and will end on Monday, June 28, at 6 am: 23 films (plus one encore) in a row. All the classics, from “North By Northwest,” “Shadow of a Doubt,” and “Psycho” to “Rear Window,” “Suspicion,” and both versions of “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” it’s quite a line-up. “Vertigo” is on right now, and the score alone is worth the price of admission. I remember seeing John Williams conducting the New York Philharmonic to this haunting Bernard Herrmann music for “Scene d’Amour” [YouTube link to a Boston Pops performance]. Here’s the scene in the film:

Song of the Day #1867

Song of the Day: Donna Summer Disconet Medley [YouTube link], mixed by Mike Carroll and Steven Von Blau, kicks off The Sixth Annual Summer Music Festival (Dance Medley Edition). The Northern Hemisphere greets the Summer Solstice at 11:32 pm ET, and what better way to embrace the warmth of Summer than with Summer herself! She may have been known as the “Queen of Disco,” but her powerful pipes transcended genres. Her music graced film and even ended up on Broadway in a poignant, joyful bio-musical. From “Spring Affair,” “Bad Girls,” and the technoblazing Giorgio Moroder-produced “I Feel Love” to “Rumor Has It,” “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” (her duet with Barbra Streisand), and the Oscar-winning “Last Dance,” Donna strikes the match that lights up our Summer dance floor.

Ten Iconic Hollywood Film Scenes (X)

The tenth installment of my series of ten iconic Hollywood film scenes among my all-time favorites is from the Francis Ford Coppola-directed 1972 film, “The Godfather”: The Baptism Scene. Filled with the tension of ‘payback’ justice and the symbolic depth of the inversion of “good” and “evil” through the interplay of the sacred and the profane, this film’s climax, highlighted by its superb film editing, constitutes the finale to my current series. I’ve got many more all-time favorite iconic cinema moments, so maybe we’ll do this again sometime! Till then: Leave the gun, take the cannoli [YouTube link]! (Coppola insists that actor Richard S. Castellano, who played Clemenza, improvised that line!)

Ten Iconic Hollywood Film Scenes (IX)

The ninth in a series of ten iconic Hollywood film scenes ranking among my all-time favorites is from the 1997 James Cameron-directed blockbuster, “Titanic”, the 11-Academy Award winner that tied “Ben-Hur” (and “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King”) for the most Oscars for any single film. The scene: The Sinking of the Titanic, in which this film’s Oscar-winning direction, art direction, cinematography, costume design, film editing, sound, sound effects editing, and visual effects are all on full display. Not to mention a spectacular Oscar-winning score by James Horner that grippingly augments this harrowing epic scene.

Ten Iconic Hollywood Film Scenes (VIII)

The eighth in a series of ten iconic Hollywood film scenes among my all-time favorites is another stop motion animation gem, this one from the great Ray Harryhausen: The Skeleton Duel from the 1963 film, “Jason and the Argonauts“, aided by an action-packed Bernard Herrmann score.

Ten Iconic Hollywood Film Scenes (VII)

The seventh in a series of ten iconic Hollywood film scenes among my all-time favorites takes us from yesterday’s Big Ape to a Planet of the Apes (1968). Needless to say, if you have never viewed the film, the finale contains one of the biggest spoilers—and shocking endings—in cinema history. When I saw this film at the young age of 8, the audience was so shocked by the Rod SerlingTwilight Zone”-like twist, that the theater remained eerily silent, even as the credits rolled.

Ten Iconic Hollywood Film Scenes (VI)

The sixth in a series of ten iconic Hollywood film scenes among my all-time favorites is the Boxing Match between King Kong and the T-Rex in the original 1933 film version of the ape story. There are so many iconic moments in this film … but this scene remains a showcase for Willis O’Brien’s trailblazing stop-motion animation—and Fay Wray‘s screams!

Ten Iconic Hollywood Film Scenes (V)

The fifth in a series of ten iconic Hollywood film scenes among my all-time favorites is the Chest-Burster Scene from director Ridley Scott’s 1979 film, “Alien”. “In space no one can hear you scream” was the tagline, but when I first saw this in a packed Brooklyn theater, the screams were palpable until the scene was over. Then … after a moment of silence, a little nervous laughter ensued.