History was made on November 13, 2017, when a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, Salvator Mundi, sold for $450.3 million at auction to an unknown buyer, making it the most expensive painting ever sold at auction1. Dating from around 1500, the oil on walnut panel painting depicts Jesus Christ against a dark background holding a very unrealistic glass orb.
Arts & Pop Culture
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was first released in the U.K. on May 26, 1967, and in the U.S. on June 2 of that year, exactly 50 years before this Second Thoughts entry. Widely regarded as the greatest album of all time, it is also one of the most widely recognized album covers.
Madison Square Garden is New York's premier indoor arena and venue. It is the home of the the New York Knicks (NBA), the New York Liberty (WNBA), and the New York Rangers (NHL) sports franchises. It is the main venue for the Men's Big East Basketball Conference Tournament, the National Invitational Tournament Final and many other sporting and boxing events. Even the first Wrestlemania was held there. As a concert hall, many famous bands and musicians have performed there, including Aerosmith, Marc Anthony, Beyoncé, Black Sabbath, Cher, Eric Clapton, Depeche Mode, Bob Dylan, Missy Elliot, Enrique Iglesias, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Elton John, Alicia Keys, Kiss, Lenny Kravitz, Lady Gaga, John Lennon, Madonna, Metallica, Katy Perry, Phish, Elvis Presley, Prince, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Barbara Streisand, Taylor Swift, U2, Kanye West, Whitney Houston, the Who, Neil Young, and many others.
This is one of those "only-people-interested-in-SilverMedals-type-stuff" entries. While researching two upcoming pieces for SilverMedals ("Thomas Jefferson's Second Dome" and "The Second Madison Square Garden"), the famous architect Stanford White came to figure prominently in both, which was not something that I had anticipated.
Geri Reischl may not be a household name but she occupies a rather unique place in American pop-cultural history. Some may know her for her singing. Some may know her for her toy ads in the late 60s and early 70s. There are many French Canadians who may remember Reischl from when she toured with singer René Simard. But the majority of those who remember Reischl know her as “Fake Jan.” As in, Jan Brady, the character from the family sitcom, The Brady Bunch.
When Pac-Man came out in 1980, it was big. I mean really big. Like “stand in a 10-person line to play for just a few minutes” big. For the price of 25¢, you could guide Pac-Man — a little, binge-eating, yellow, three-quarter circle — through a maze loaded with tasty little white pellets, while being chased by four colorful little ghosts named Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde.
Ms. Pac-Man, the sequel to Pac-Man and the second game in the Pac-Man series, was an even bigger success. The game itself was the same, but the game play was better. Ms. Pac-Man travelled faster, as did the ghosts. There were 4 mazes as opposed to the one that you kept playing over and over again in Pac-Man. The ghosts were “smarter” too, that is, they weren’t as predictable as those in Pac-Man. Then of course, there was Ms. Pac-Man, who was just so darn cute.
When the Pixies1 reunited in 2004, it was a huge prayer answered for many devoted fans. Having previously been disbanded in 1992 by frontman Black Francis, a.k.a. Frank Black—real name Charles Thompson (which is what we'll call him for the rest of this piece)—the odds of the post-punk band ever playing again seemed slim at best. There were stories of acrimony, personality clashes, and creative differences between the members, all of which was standard band-breaking-up stuff, but this breakup felt colder and deeper than most. No public feuds. No tell-all books or articles. Just a very business-like split. But then, like other things in business, time and money-making potential heal most wounds.
After the fifth installment of the James Bond movie series You Only Live Twice hit the theaters, Harry Saltzman and Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli, the producers of the lucrative franchise, had a problem. Their Bond didn't want to be Bond anymore. After spying, killing, and sexing his way through five movies, Sean Connery was ready to go.
There were several reasons for Connery's discontent. As an actor, he was worried he would spend the rest of his career being typecast in Bond-type roles. Another issue was Connery's experience in filming You Only Live Twice in Japan where the press constantly harassed the actor. Of course if you play James Bond, you're going to have to put up with a certain bit of that. But the most important issue for Connery above all was that he felt he was being exploited, and in a way he may have been.