A Moment of Silence for Marcel Marceau

Over the years, I feel like I've seen Marcel Marceau around a lot. On PBS, in movies (he had the only speaking role in Mel Brooks' Silent Movie, and also starred in Barbarella), and generally whenever the word mime is accompanied with a photo. Yet, it was only in reading about the 84 year old entertainer's death last night that I realized what a strange and wonderful life he led. Here are a few snippets pulled from other stories, on things I didn't know about Marcel Marceau:

1. He cracked weird jokes about magicians. (from
heinz-01.jpg "Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards," Marceau once said, "for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup."

2. He had some pretty big fans
. (from
"To ensure his legacy, Marceau, after gentle prodding from colleagues, agreed to form the Marcel Marceau Foundation for the Advancement of Mime in New York. Foundation board members are an eclectic mix of stars that include Michael Jackson, Placido Domingo, Barbara Hendricks and Dustin Hoffman -- all devoted fans."

3. He's responsible for the greatest dance move of all-time. (from
mjmoonwalk.jpg "Michael Jackson borrowed his famous "moonwalk" from a Marceau sketch, "Walking Against the Wind."" According to Wikipedia (which seems to support the cnn quote here), in 1995, the pair were working on a concert for HBO together, but the project fell through.

4. He survived the Holocaust, was active in the French Resistance, saved Jewish children's lives, and worked with Patton's army.
"With his brother Alain, Marceau became active in the French Resistance. Marceau altered children's identity cards, changing their birth dates to trick the Germans into thinking they were too young to be deported. Because he spoke English, he was recruited to be a liaison officer with Gen. George S. Patton's army."

Picture 1.png5. He was famously chatty. (cnn)
"Never get a mime talking. He won't stop," he once said."
6. He was incredibly eloquent. (cnn)
"In 1944, Marceau's father was sent to Auschwitz, where he died. Later, he reflected on his father's death: "Yes, I cried for him." But he also thought of all the others killed: "Among those kids was maybe an Einstein, a Mozart, somebody who (would have) found a cancer drug," he told reporters in 2000. "That is why we have a great responsibility. Let us love one another.""

7. He's won a lot of things. (bbc and wikipedia)
He's been declared a National Treasure by Japan, received honorary doctorates from Princeton, University of Michigan and Ohio State, won countless grants and awards from the French government, and was chosen as a Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations (for their Assembly on Aging).

8. And while there's plenty of reference to his vinyl "Marcel Marceau: Greatest Hits" on the internet"¦
1968_Barbarella_1.JPGKara and I couldn't find any real evidence of it. Supposedly, it's 20 minutes of silence on either side followed by clapping. Anyone have a copy of it?

Rest in peace, Marcel.

Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs

Dominos are made to fall down—it's what they do. But in the hands of 19-year-old professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, known as Hevesh5 on YouTube, the tiny plastic tiles can be arranged to fall up a flight of stairs in spectacular fashion.

The video spotted by Thrillist shows the chain reaction being set off at the top a staircase. The momentum travels to the bottom of the stairs and is then carried back up through a Rube Goldberg machine of balls, cups, dominos, and other toys spanning the steps. The contraption leads back up to the platform where it began, only to end with a basketball bouncing down the steps and toppling a wall of dominos below.

The domino art seems to flow effortlessly, but it took more than a few shots to get it right. The footage below shows the 32nd attempt at having all the elements come together in one, unbroken take. (You can catch the blooper at the end of an uncooperative basketball ruining a near-perfect run.)

Hevesh’s domino chains that don't appear to defy gravity are no less impressive. Check out this ambitious rainbow domino spiral that took her 25 hours to construct.

[h/t Thrillist]

Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images
A Secret Room Full of Michelangelo's Sketches Will Soon Open in Florence
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Parents all over the world have chastised their children for drawing on the walls. But when you're Michelangelo, you've got some leeway. According to The Local, the Medici Chapels, part of the Bargello museum in Florence, Italy, has announced that it plans to open a largely unseen room full of the artist's sketches to the public by 2020.

Roughly 40 years ago, curators of the chapels at the Basilica di San Lorenzo had a very Dan Brown moment when they discovered a trap door in a wardrobe leading to an underground room that appeared to have works from Michelangelo covering its walls. The tiny retreat is thought to be a place where the artist hid out in 1530 after upsetting the Medicis—his patrons—by joining a revolt against their control of Florence. While in self-imposed exile for several months, he apparently spent his time drawing on whatever surfaces were available.

A drawing by Michelangelo under the Medici Chapels in Florence
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Museum officials previously believed the room and the charcoal drawings were too fragile to risk visitors, but have since had a change of heart, leading to their plan to renovate the building and create new attractions. While not all of the work is thought to be attributable to the famed artist, there's enough of it in the subterranean chamber—including drawings of Jesus and even recreations of portions of the Sistine Chapel—to make a trip worthwhile.

[h/t The Local]


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