Tuesday, March 1, 2011

For your consideration — links & looks

credit: David Horsey

Here are a few "mostly movies" items that have caught my eye over the past couple of days:

Other sites have done such a good job observing the passing of Jane Russell, for whom Howard Hughes made "scandalous" a résumé bullet point back in the '40s-'50s, that I have nothing to add to the conversation. I was never especially moved one way or another by her as either an actress or a va-voom presence (although of course I'm not blind to the va-vaoom hubba-hubba she represented). That said, she is unquestionably worthy of eulogy by film buffs and culture watchers, and the pieces I've read over the past 24 hours remind me that I should give her more than just a passing nod here. For starters, click over to:

Here's one after my own heart: The New York TimesNatalie Portman, Oscar Winner, Was Also a Precocious Scientist

I'm not just a movie buff. I'm a science enthusiast who has worked a sizable portion of my life as a public science writer and popularizer (cf. here and here) in various media and venues. In fact, that's been the work that has brought me the most satisfaction in a dizzily varied career.

So reading that newly minted Academy Award winner Natalie Portman, who at Harvard studied neuroscience, is "one of a handful of high-profile actors who happen to have serious scientific credentials — awards, degrees, patents and theorems in their name" dovetails two of my favorite things, chocolate-and-peanut-butter style.

I've been aware that Hedy Lamarr, "that most beautiful woman in Hollywood," sidelined as a rocket scientist, a fact that strikes me as among the coolest movie-star bios ever. What I didn't know — thank you, Natalie Angier, a NYT writer I particularly enjoy — was that Mayim Bialik, who plays nerd-love neurobiologist Amy on "The Big Bang Theory," really is Dr. Mayim Bialik, Ph.D. neurobiology. She is now my new impossible crush (well, maybe after Natalie; let us not speak of the Star Wars prequels).

Was it James Franco wobbling out onto the Oscars stage in that Marilyn Monroe dress? I don't know, but something over the past 48 hours has caused Google hits to my post on Some Like It Hot to spike through the ceiling. According to the referrer logs, for most of yesterday there was a seismic uptick in hits to that page and out-clicks on images of Marilyn there. The rush has plateaued and is now tapering off, though the number of page-hits remains atypically high. Thanks, James, I guess.

Music: kexp.org
Near at hand: Coffee mug with "Future City" illo by Douglas Smith.