Greetings! Those of us here at AdVantage News hope you are having a wonderful New Year so far (and that those resolutions have not fallen by the wayside). I am excited to see what 2016 has to offer, and I am looking forward to all of the exciting developments for the region, including right here in our office.
We also want to express our deepest sympathy to the friends and family of the 11-year-old Alton Acres resident who was tragically killed this past week right here in Alton. It is my hope the case can be resolved quickly and as painlessly as possible for the family.
Here we grow again
Hopefully you have enjoyed some of the tweaks to our print edition. Bucking convention, we have been “jazzing” some of our front pages (we actually think of them more as our “cover page”), using vibrant colors, larger font and photography that truly tells a story. We have also been sprucing up our inside content, as well.
Rest assured — we will not stray too far from the formula. We continue to be inundated with positive feedback, and I want to ensure we continue to give our readers the quality publication you have come to expect.
I am also excited to report that AdVantage News is expanding once again. Later this year, an all-new edition of our newspaper will begin arriving in mailboxes throughout the Edwardsville region. Following in the footsteps of our Granite City model, this independent publication will focus on the latest news, sports and entertainment in the Edwardsville and Glen Carbon communities. We are looking forward to welcoming this new base into the AdVantage News family!
Passing of Schneider and David Bowie
This past week, we lost two true pop icons when both Pat Harrington Jr., who portrayed lovable apartment superintendent Dwayne Schneider (Jan. 6); and artist-musician David Bowie (Jan. 10) passed away.
From 1975 until 1984, Harrington’s portrayal of Schneider was a highlight for millions of viewers of “One Day at a Time.” One of Norman Lear’s groundbreaking shows, the sitcom dealt with issues such as divorce and teenage sex during a time when morality on television was being re-examined and challenged at every turn. Schneider often provided the lighthearted slapstick in several “very special episodes.”
Harrington continued to act on television and on stage, including a guest appearance on former co-worker Valerie Bertinelli’s show “Hot in Cleveland.” He died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease on Jan. 6 at the age of 86.
More shocking was the news that trendsetting artist David Bowie died of liver cancer at the age of 69. Keeping his illness out of the press, Bowie instead focused on the release of his final album, “Blackstar,” released Jan. 8.
Always pushing the envelope and breaking rules while somehow maintaining an aura of old-school English regality, Bowie was instrumental in the rise of several genres of music, including glam rock in the early 1970s, English-tinged Krautrock toward the end of that decade, New Wave in the early 1980s, industrial in the early 1990s and experimental electronica in recent years. His hits “Space Oddity” (1969), “Changes” (1972), “Ashes to Ashes” (1980) and “Let’s Dance” (1983), along with dozens more, will remain in the American lexicon (and on American radio) for years to come.
In addition to his music, Bowie ventured into other areas, including acting (1976’s “The Man Who Fell to Earth” and 1983’s “The Hunger” are highlights). He also used his iconic status to challenge traditional roles and values, quietly shocking conservatives with androgyny and alternative lifestyles, often changing looks and personalities every few years.
Like many of my generation, I first really took notice of Bowie during his high point of success with his early ’80s pop hits. When exploring his 1960s and 1970s backlog, I was surprised at just how much of his music I recognized from listening to the tunes seeping out from my older siblings’ rooms growing up. Even as a youngster, I was impressed with how eclectic the music was, as he effortlessly glided from one genre to the next … and did it well.
For many of us who never really “fit in,” the music and fluid personas of David Bowie reminded us that art and individuality were never meant to be part of the cookie-cutter mold of “acceptable society.” When Cherie Curry paints her face like Bowie’s alien alter-ego Ziggy Stardust and performs for her derisive high school peers at the beginning of the film “The Runaways,” it is one more reminder of just how much influence David Robert Jones had on the music, culture, fashion and values that shaped (or at least tinged) so many of us.
Without David Bowie, pop culture would be a different place today. That doesn’t fade so easily, even after the man responsible has left the stage.
As always, do not forget to check our website and sign up for our daily email blasts; the print edition only has room for a fraction of the news we report and deliver on a daily basis.