They call Cleveland, Ohio, “The Mistake by the Lake.” It’s an unfortunate nickname, stemming from their wretched winters, a river that has a tendency to catch fire, and a seemingly permanent place on any Most Miserable Places to Live in America list. But for as much guff as Cleveland takes, it is a rock and roll town, perhaps the rock and roll town. There’s more than one reason the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, and today we celebrate one of them: the very first rock concert, held in 1952.
We made it through the Ides of March, which saw the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. But before Julius Caesar began his dictatorship, there was another leader of the Roman Empire who was as infamous as Caesar was famous. His full name was Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. That’s a mouthful, so he was most often referred to by his nickname, Caligula. That very word still brings up images of debauchery and madness today. He came to power on this day in 37 BC.
‘Tis the day of Saint Patrick, that old bastard, and as much as I would love to talk about how he single-handedly attempted to destroy Druidism and the rich heritage of Ireland’s pagan folk like the Great White Missionary he was, this is probably not the place for that.
You can’t do a daily column about pop culture history without running into the Beatles. They are a constant. On this day, George Harrison blew his nose on Paris. On this day, Ringo Starr learned a new time signature. The entertainment calendar is dotted with such Beatles minutiae and who cares? Folks, it’s time for a stark confession.
I have always been a Paul McCartney fan, and I would rather listen to Wings than the Beatles.
Odds are high that somebody will come up to you today at work and say, “Beware the Ides of March.” Yeah, that’s creepy, but if you wheel right around and ask, “What’s an Ide, Todd, and why are you in my cubicle?” they probably won’t have an answer for either question.
“Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket/Never let it fade away…”
Scientifically and astronomically, this is a terrible idea. Not only will you get burned, but that thing could be radioactive. While these instructions are no way to treat a meteorite, they are enough to get you a gold record. “Catch A Falling Star” by Perry Como was the first single ever to be awarded the RIAA status of gold record, and it happened on this date in 1958.
By Tim Murr
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born to a philosopher father and a feminist author mother. She lost her mother just a month after her birth. Her father brought her up with a more intense education than most women of that time period. At 17, she began her relationship with her future husband, poet/philosopher/radical Percy Shelley. In 1818, came the fateful holiday near Geneva, Switzerland where Mary, her sister, and Percy stayed with Lord Byron. They amused themselves with German ghost stories and then challenged one another to write their own ghost stories.
Although actor Mark Ruffalo is the one many now associate with The Incredible Hulk, thanks to the Avengers series of movies directed by JJ Abrams, it’s not the first time the green rage monster has appeared onscreen.
Eric Bana portrayed Dr. Bruce Banner and The Incredible Hulk in Ang Lee’s much-derided 2003 Hulk movie (remember the Hulked-out poodles?). When that film didn’t thrill audiences like they hoped, Marvel tried again, this time in 2008 with Edward Norton as the titular character and Louis Leterrier (The Transporter) behind the camera. Although both films doubled their budget in ticket sales, and received about the same amount of critical acclaim, the latter film was much more popular with audiences, at least according to Rotten Tomatoes.
The Barbie doll was introduced on this date, back in 1959. That chick is 57 years old and, suffice it to say, she looks great. She looks even better now that Mattel has decided to make Barbies in different skin tones and body types. I can’t be the only one to see those wasp-waisted blonde Barbies and think, “Damn. Eat a toy sandwich or something.”
Bill Graham was a rock and roll man, a promoter with a feel for the underground. He knew which bands were going to be hot and how to get their music out to their fans. He opened the famous nightclub, the Fillmore, in San Francisco. That venue, along with Graham’s promotion skills, were instrumental in the success of the Grateful Dead.