Frank Barsalona 1938 to three weeks ago Thursday
Franky brought it to you. Mr. Barsalona planned the Beatles’s 1964 tour through the US of A. The Rolling Stones followed. Then Hendrix. The list goes on. Frank leaves behind rock and roll in the States.
Lars V. Hormander 1931 to two weeks ago Sunday
Dr. Hormander allowed us to to “understand what happens when an earthquake occurs in Chile and that signal propagates through the earth and shows up in a seismograph in China.” Maybe “us” is the wrong word. Perhaps only mathematicians and physicists can understand how Lars V. “basically revolutionized the field of linear partial differential equations.” Apparently, also PDEs make possible the automated ‘credit default swaps’ the year 2008 made so famous. I guess that means Lars leaves behind–among many other things–around 10 million foreclosures.
Peter Johnson 1921 to Monday
Seems like Johnson lived a life like that of the best Jesuits: “street smarts and raw ambition welded to a hard-nosed commitment to justice.” And he knew some of the best. Together with Fr. John Corridan S.J., (think Karl Malden in ‘On the Waterfront’) they fought for rights for long-abused longshoreman, including Johnson’s father. The elder Johnson died when Peter was 17 and Peter brought the fight against the union that wouldn’t pay for that burial. His righteous outrage lasted through his time as an NYC cop, being wounded as a Marine on Iwo Jima, and graduating from law school. Not too shabby for someone the doctors said wouldn’t survive a bout with pneumonia when he was ten. Though he never won the battle himself, he leaves behind a dismantled Tammany hall and a slightly-less-corrupt dockworkers union. He also leaves behind ‘On The Waterfront’ where the Jesuits are heroized almost as much as in ‘The Mission.’ Here’s proof:
Oscar Niemeyer 1907 to last Monday
Brasil is a nation of curves and that was reflected in the work of Niemeyer, perhaps Brasil’s favorite architect. Don’t take my word for it: “When you have a large space to conquer, the curve is the natural solution,” he said. “I once wrote a poem about the curve. The curve I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean and on the body of the beloved women.” He leaves behind Brasilia–the capital of this curviest of countries–which he designed and other great works which can be seen here.
Ravi Shankar 1920 to Tuesday
We begin and end with the Beatles. In the early 1950s, Shankar popularized the music of the sitar in the West. George Harrison encountered it in 1965 and the rest is history. He leaves behind the mesmerizing Norwegian Wood: