David Bowie is dead. What a sad way to start the day. What can I say that you haven’t see millions of other places already? I can only tell my story, for what it’s worth.

When I was a kid I knew a few Bowie tunes, the few that got airplay on the “classic rock” station, but didn’t really think much of him. At some point in my later teens I made an effort to find out more about his work. Once I listened to Ziggy Stardust I was hooked. I had the album on repeat for months. Then I found out he was also a fine actor. The first film I saw Bowie in was The Hunger (1983). His performance was brief but well done and the opening sequence was so captivating, it seemed to feed off of his indefinable coolness, Catherine Deneuve’s, and Bela Lugosi all at once. To this day I show the scene to my students as a great example of a stylish and original opening. Even after three decades, and so many other vampire films in between, it feels fresh in many ways (Warning: This is a Rated R movie, filled with sex and violence).

My favorite Bowie performance was his depiction of Andy Warhol in Basquiat (1996); a must see.

He also made the perfect, mythical Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006) and my all time favorite Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), among other great performances.

I had the good fortune of seeing him in concert in the 90s and wish I had made the effort to do it again before he stopped touring. Last week, when his latest album came out, Blackstar, I breezed through it, half listening, and dismissed it. What a jerk I feel like now, to read that he had six heart attacks and was battling cancer to finish the thing. That’s our consumable culture; eat it and forget it; I’m bored, what’s the next big thing? We don’t take time to stop and appreciate genius, beauty, or most anything.

I’ve been listening to old Bowie tracks all day and occasionally looking at what people are saying about him online. My favorite item was this graphic from the BBC.

RIP Bowie. RIP, indeed. I think I should go home and watch The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004). I know he’s not in it, but his music is, and somehow it feels right.

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