Happy 50th to Gabriel García Márquez’s ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’

Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center

You read it in high school or college or after or maybe just last week and it probably changed your life, a whole lot or just a little bit. And it turns 50 today.

May 30 is the 50th anniversary of Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” one of the most important novels of the late 20th century. It sold more than 30 million copies in dozens of languages and remains a crucial part of the Spanish-language canon.

The the Colombian-born, Nobel Prize–winning Márquez, who died in 2014 was a journalist, screenwriter, and key figure in 20th century Latin American history and politics.

As the the Ransom Center holds Márquez’s papers, the Center is celebrating the anniversary by releasing an online collection that documents the genesis of the novel from draft to literary classic.

The collection is online in English and Spanish.

And if you start to read it today, do yourself a favor and xerox the family tree in the front so you don’t have to keep flipping back. You will thank me later.

It’s World Goth Day, so let’s discuss this ranking of Cure songs

The Cure perform in concert at the Frank Erwin Center May 13, 2016 (photo: Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman)


Perhaps because it is World Goth Day,  the ’80s music site Slicing Up Eyeballs took a reader poll and ranked all 225 songs by the Cure. They tallied more than 100,000 votes. The results are kind of fascinating.

Nos. 2 to 10? Completely understandable: “Just Like Heaven,” Inbetween Days,” “Pictures of You,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Charlotte Sometimes,” “Fascination Street,” “Disintegration,” “Close to Me,” “A Night Like This.”

No. 1? “A Forest” (separated by *one vote* from “Just Like Heaven” — don’t let anyone tell you democracy doesn’t matter).

I like “A Forest.”  But it would not necessarily occur to me that it’s  The Best or Most Favorite Cure Song of All Time.

But I am clearly in the minority. It is a beloved tune, by both fans (obviously) and the band (it is the song they have played the most times) and remains one of the earlier examples of the Cure in one of its final forms: propulsive, yet atmospheric; driving, yet moody.

And what with ONE VOTE separating the top two songs, it is a virtual tie between goth Cure and pop Cure.

RELATED: The Cure deliver three hours of you at Frank Erwin Center


So here’s my list of 15 favorite Cure jams. No surprises here (and, honestly, just something of a rearrangement of stuff on the Slicing list), mostly because they weren’t shy about making the sharpest songs singles. (My list is likely heavily influenced by the cassette version of “Standing on a Beach,” their first and best singles collection and one of the best singles sets of the decade.)

1. “Just Like Heaven” (One of the perfect songs of the 1980s, period)

2. “Pictures of You” (Peak romantic Cure, absolutely amazing for pining over someone)

3. “Inbetween Days” (Throw some sequencers on there and it’s a perfect New Order song)

4. “Plainsong” (Sublime in the purest sense – just overwhelming stuff and one of the all-time great album/show openers)

5. “Charlotte Sometimes” (Peak Goth Cure)

6. “Fascination Street” (Both single version and album version; total rocker, also kinda obscene; forever the sickest bass line)

7. “The Hanging Garden” (Peak Goth Cure, pt. 2)

8. “The Lovecats” (Stunning pop song; terrific stand-up bass)

9. “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” (Peak bitchy Cure)

10. “Boys Don’t Cry” (I’m not made of stone)

11. “Primary” (Total live jam)

12. “A Forest” (Look, I said I liked it)

13. “10:15 Saturday Night” (All-time great ode to FOMO; perfect if you are a bored, friendless teen just waiting for SNL to start)

14. “Friday I’m in Love” (Past the point where I was paying attention as a fan, but their best structured song since “Just Like Heaven,” perhaps?)

15. “Close to Me” (The song that reminded everyone, Oh yeah, these guys can make almost any set of sounds into something that becomes the Cure.)

So what are YOUR favorites?


A chat with Enzo Priesnitz, the newly-crowned Funniest Person in Austin

So there is a new Funniest Person in Austin and unlike many former Funniest People, he is actually from here.

“Born and raised,” Enzo Priesnitz said Wednesday. The 25-year old comic has only been Funniest since May 15, when he was crowned at Cap City Comedy Club. (The previous winner was the much-missed Lashonda Lester, who died in April.)

Calling from his day job as a fabricator for a company that makes props for movies and exhibits for museums (“I’m mostly a welder for them”), Priesnitz says he’s been doing stand-up for about three years.

“I used to watch Comedy Central late at night after my parents were asleep,” he says, citing Greg Geraldo,  Louis CK and Dave Attell as inspirations, citing Attell’s “Skanks for the Memories” as “one of the greatest comedy albums of all time”).

“This is the closest thing I have to a headshot right now”

Priesnitz says he always enjoyed telling stories to friends and just started hitting local open mics. I mention that he seems to have no Internet video presence, which is unusual for 21st century comedians.

“That is on purpose,” he says, “I’ve been told by folks that you shouldn’t be seen until you are ready to be seen and there is a lot of material in those first few years I really wouldn’t stand by. When you start, you are just grasping at straws trying not to bomb.”

These days, Priesnitz tries to go up about four times a week “which is not very much,” he says “I really should do more.”

He’s also quick to shout out his favorite Austin comics. “I love Jared McCorkle. Christina Parrish is amazing, she put me in a movie recently (her film “Call Me Brother”). Danny Goodwin’s great. These are people who have way more going on than I do right now. Go and see them.”

Check out Priesnitz June 2 at the New Movement and June 5 at Spider House.

Four times Powers Boothe was incredibly intimidating on screen

Texas-born actor Powers Boothe died May 14 of natural causes at the age of 68.

Powers Boothe as Cy Tolliver


The gifted character actor, who hailed from Snyder, slithered into the public consciousness in 1980 playing cult leader Jim Jones in the TV movie “Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.”

And I do mean slithered — over the years, Boothe cultivated a gift for being slick, snake-like and often extremely scary. Here are a few examples:


Here is Boothe as Rev. Jim Jones. It’s a star-making turn; check out the way he says “All marriages….are dissolved.”  Doesn’t hurt, I suppose, that he was playing one of the most horrific Americans of the past 40 years — it’s a meaty, hideous role and Boothe made the most of it.

And then there’s the time that Boothe, in spite of wearing a completely ridiculous red shirt, was creepy as Curly Bill Brocius in the 1993 Western “Tombstone.” His line at :38 is probably in the meme hall of fame

Here is Boothe in an Austin production, as the beyond-corrupt Sen. Roark in Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s “Sin City.”

Boothe’s signature performance of the 21st century was as Cy Tolliver, owner of the Bella Union saloon and brothel in the still-stunning HBO series “Deadwood.”

Boothe seemed born to play this part, a mixture of viciousness, oily faux-class, increasingly desperate ambition, vain cowardice and fits of savage violence that can only come from the worst of the above. However awful Al Swearengen could be, Tolliver was always worse and Boothe was great at making that worse sing.

We’ll perhaps skip the scene where he all but beats to death a very young-looking Kristen Bell and instead focus on Tolliver matching wits with the genuinely psychopathic Wolcott.





Tom Holland is Spider-Man and Rihanna and is perfect at both

Tom Holland is my favorite 20-year-old famous person at the moment.

The young actor absolutely nailed it last year in our first look at him as Peter Parker, the amazing Spider-Man, in “Captain America: Civil War.”

Tom Holland is Spider-Man

The part was written perfectly, and Holland was note-perfect: the quips, the physicality, all of it.

RELATED: Ethical conflicts and new heroes power “Captain America” Civil War”

Here is the latest trailer for “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which comes out this summer, along with some released footage.

My favorite moment might be where Holland is kinda pulling a Michael Keaton reaction shot at the :58 mark (seeing as how Keaton was both Batman and Birdman).

RELATED: Keaton soars in “Birdman”

I was like, “OK, Tom Holland, still killin’ it as the Hero Who Could Be You.”

But then, Holland did this on the MTV show “Lip Synch Battle.”

Which is a good reminder that Holland is a song and dance man back home in England. (He played “Billy Elliot” on stage.) This is years of dance lessons, loads of talent and total fearlessness all at once.

Spectacular, Spider-Man.


This week: King Arthur, Lehane, “Anne” and Norm!

Even the star of “King Arthur” looks skeptical

“Since We Fell” by Dennis Lehane (Ecco) After she loses it on air, former journalist Rachel Childs has barely left the house. And then an encounter causes her life, marriage and possibly sanity to fall apart. Look, it’s the new Lehane; of course you’re curious. (May 9)

Norm Macdonald: Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery (Netflix) The newest special from the great Norm Macdonald. (May 9)

Zac Brown Band, “Welcome Home” (Southern Ground/Atlantic). The very embodiment of frat-country releases their seventh studio album, just in time for the end of college finals and the start of summer vacation. (May 12)

Harry Styles, “Harry Styles” (C(olumbia). Styles, former singer with One Direction and possessed of some of the greatest hair in popular music, makes his solo debut. Columbia is praying it has another Justin Timberlake on its hands. (May 12)

 “Anne” (Netflix). This is an eight-episode adaptation of the foundational 1908 all ages/children’s book “Anne of Green Gables,” about a complicated Canadian orphan girl and her adventures with friends and (adopted, more or less) family. You may make your own “bosom friends” joke here. (May 12)

Various artists, “The Bob’s Burgers Music Album” (Sub Pop). A double album with 112 songs from the first 107 episodes of one of the best animated shows of its era. (May 12)

“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.” Look, I love a King Arthur movie. Even bad ones (2004’s “King Arthur,” we’ll never forget you). But let’s be real: Does anyone remember the last time a King Arthur movie made any money domestically? Or any movie set in the Middle or Dark Ages? Was it in the 21st century? They tend to do OK overseas, but not so much in the States. Anyway, this one stars Charlie Hunnam as Arthur and Jude Law as Vortigern. Yes, I will see it, but I will be astonished if anyone else does. (May 12)

“Snatched.” Amy Schumer is the daughter, Goldie Hawn is the mother. They go on vacation. Hijinks ensue. (May 12)

10 essential titles to pick up on Free Comic Book Day

Saturday, May 6, is Free Comic Book Day, coming as it does the first Saturday after the summer’s first big comic book movie, aka the first Saturday in May. (“Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” is the name of that one and it is a bit… mixed).

Favorite for paper – James Roberts searches through boxes of comic books for sale on the first day of Wizard World Austin Comic Con at the Austin Convention Center on Friday, November 22nd, 2013. ERIKA RICH / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Some shops will be having special events or costumes or special snacks or just lines. Contact your local shop to see what hours it will be open and if the staff — all of whom will be working a very long day, possibly outside for at least part of it —  are doing anything that requires looking like Bane or Hellboy.


Here are ten comics that jumped out at me as worth checking out:

“Secret Empire” (Marvel)

Remember about a year ago when it looked like Captain America was an agent of Hydra and it kind of bummed everyone out? That plotline hits a peak in Marvel’s “Secret Empire” series, as (alternate universe?) Cap reveals himself to have been a Hydra agent all along. Writer Nick Spencer and artist Andrea Sorrentino bring the entire Marvel Universe together to fight Hydra, who have now taken over the country. We’ll see how this goes.  Plus, in less politically tone-deaf news: Check out a preview of storytellers Chip Zdarsky and Paulo Siqueira’s revival of “Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man,” which brings Spider-Man back to his humble roots. (He’s been head of a corporation for a while, it’s a whole thing.) Rated: Teen

“Wonder Woman” (DC)

Bestselling writer Greg Rucka had a really good run on “Wonder Woman” in the early 2000s and has returned for an equally acclaimed run with fan-favorite artist Nicola Scott. Wonder Woman has had kind of a rough go of it continuity-wise for the past 30 years or so, but Rucka is doing a bang-up job. (This is a reprint of his recent Wonder Woman #2.) Rated: Teen

“Buffy: The Teen Years” (Dark Horse)

Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slyer” has thrived in the comics format. But it’s rarely been all-ages. That changes with this book wherein writers Kel McDonald and Paul Tobin join artists Rachel Downing and Yishan Li for a story of 16-year-old Buffy fighting monsters and hanging out with pals. With a Plants vs. Zombies bonus story. Rated: All ages

“The Ballad of Franklin Bonisteel” (Lion’s Forge)

Full disclosure: Writer Gabe Soria is a friend of mine. In spite of this blight on his character, you should check out this one-shot about record producer Frank Bonisteel. Drawn by artist Warren Pleece, it’s a prequel (can a prequel come out before the actual book?) to Soria’s and artist Paul Reinwand’s really cool looking book “Murder Ballads,” a rock ‘n’ roll myth. Includes a download code for a cover of “In the Pines” by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and bluesman Robert Finely. Rated: Teen

“I Hate Image” (Image)

While some companies reprint books for Free Comic Book Day, some (see also the one directly above) are new stories. In “I Hate Image,” Skottie Young and Jean-Francois Beaulieu smash the fourth wall as Gertrude, the extremely violent star of their “I Hate Fairyland,” goes on a rampage against the casts of (completely unconnected) Image titles such as “Saga,” “The Walking Dead,” “Savage Dragon,” “Black Science,” “Spawn” and many others. Rated: Mature

“Kid Savage” (Image)

Man of Action Entertainment, the folks behind such vibrant IP as “Ben 10,” “Big Hero 6,” and “I Kill Giants” (specifically writer Joe Kelly and artist Ilya), present the story of a troubled, space-faring family who must rely on a, well, savage guide when they crash on his primitive planet. Rated: All ages

“World’s Greatest Cartoonists” (Fantagraphics)

Every year, art/literary comics king Fantagraphics produces a stellar sampler of those whom they publish, and this year is no different, featuring all-new, exclusive work from such cartoonists as Noah Van Sciver, Simon Hanselmann, Ed Piskor, Dash Shaw, Emil Ferris and many more.  A must-have and a great way to sample great talent. Rated: Mature

“Star Trek: The Next Generation — Mirror Broken” (IDW)

Writers Scott and David Tipton join artist J. K. Woodward to present a “Next Generation” story taking place in the Mirror Universe, where the Federation gave way to the Terran Empire and, incidentally, where that show never ventured. Check out the guns on Picard! Rated: All ages

“2000AD” (Rebellion)

The legendary British sci/fantasy anthology turns 40 this year and celebrated with a 32-page special starring Judge Dredd, the A.B.C. Warriors, Mallory Hope, Judge Anderson and Judge Death. Comes with additional digital content. Rated: Teen

“Catalyst Prime: The Event” (Lion’s Forge)

Christopher J. Priest has returned! After a long absence from comics, the writer of the terrific “Quantum and Woody” and the early-2000s “Black Panther” is back writing comics. His “Deathstroke” for DC is loads of fun and here he joins co-writer Joseph Illidge and artists Marco Turini and Jessica Kholinne to kick off the Catalyst Prime universe with this one-shot about an asteroid which changes the lives of five astronauts exposed to it. Rated: Teen.