Archive for February 3rd, 2009

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread?


What else could beat that claim other than a solar powered car? Today at 4pm the XOF1, the Toronto-based homebuilt solar powered car visits the Towe Auto Museum as it makes its way around the world.

Pretty much everything about the car is great. It looks like a flying saucer (check this video of passers-by encountering it on the side of the road), it’s lower than a TR3, and uses zero fossil fuels. There are plenty of youtube videos posted by the car’s developers and they are charmingly peculiar — heavy on the butchered english text, panned static photos and heavy metal music.  The official website for the project is so 1999 that it’s hard to believe that it’s in any way affiliated with such a tech-savvy project.  All of this only confirms the serious uber-nerd street cred of the builders.   In a word, awesome.

XOF1 Press Conference
4PM, Weds February 4
Towe Auto Museum
2200 Front Street

Fifty years ago today

It was 50 years ago today that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP “Big Bopper” Richardson died in a plane crash in an Iowa cornfield. At the time their deaths were of note largely to young rock and roll fans- the wider world barely noticed. Though it seems hard to believe today, the tragedy was not front page news; in fact, the New York Times reported the crash on page 66.

In the decades that followed, Valens, and Holly in particular have become icons of that earliest era of rock and roll. Valens was 17 years old when he died, at the beginning of a career whose promise will never be known. Holly was 22, already an old hand with many hit singles to his credit. Recently parted from his early collaborators the Crickets, Holly had begun to move toward more complicated songwriting and arrangements, and seemed poised to become one of the great American songwriters of the twentieth century.

Holly’s death reverberated throughout the burgeoning rock and roll universe. The Beatles named themselves in tribute to Holly’s Crickets. The Hollies went them one better. Songs in tribute to the fallen star were composed almost from the day he died, but it was Don McLean, a 13 year old rock and roll fan at the time of Holly’s death, who composed the song that is most closely associated with the tragedy, 1970’s “American Pie.”

Fifty years is a long time in pop culture. That Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper are still recognizable names today is a testament to the power of their music, to their status as musical innovators and to the enduring legacy of their work. Listening to Holly’s “Everyday” or Valens’ “La Bamba” brings each back anew, fresh, ready for eternal rediscovery.