About this Blog

"In the future everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes." So said the bleached-out, late lamented artist Andy Warhol. Having lived and worked in New York City, Warhol came to fully grasp the hold celebrity has on us. In this very famous sentence, he meant to point out that in a culture fixated on fame, many people will suddenly flash brightly onto the public screen, then--poof--will just as quickly disappear from public view--like shooting stars. Other individuals derive their celebrity from one stellar accomplishment (one hit song, one iconic role, etc.) that they never again match.

This blog is devoted to the one part of our celebrity culture that no one has written much about: temporary/one-shot celebrities.

The pace of modern life has quickened, and now we hear people speaking of someone's 15 seconds of fame. These "celebrities with a lower-case c" who will appear in this blog sometimes come to us from the world of entertainment, sometimes from the world of news. All are fascinating.

The need of our communications media for a continual stream of new material assures that we will have no end of colorful people who go quickly, where celebrity is concerned, from zero to hero (or villain) and back to zero. Now you see 'em, now you don't. What a crazy world, eh?

Temporary celebrities coming from the world of entertainment include one-hit recording artists; TV and movie icons who, although they might have had a great many accomplishments in their career, are remembered for one big role; standouts of reality TV; sports figures remembered for one remarkable accomplishment; and people whose celebrity came from one big role in a commercial or print ad.

News-based temporary celebrities come in many forms: mass/serial killers, other murderers of special note, sex-crime offenders, disgraced figures of government/military/business/media/religion, spies/traitors, hoaxers, femmes/hommes fatale, heroes, whistle blowers, inventors/innovators, and victims.

Celebrity Blogsburg will consider each category in turn.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Iconic TV role: :Jon Bauman

Those of us possessed of mature years can remember the "greasers" of our high school days, with their surly attitude, black leather jacket and longish, greasy hair. That persona brought a measure of celebrity to Jon Bauman, who himself was a high school boy in the Queens section of New York City. Bauman went on to earn a degree with honors from Columbia University.

His celebrity-producing role was as the character Bowser with the retro rock and roll vocal group Sha Na Na.

Bauman was a terrific bass with that group, although he was not one of its original members. The entire group dressed and acted like 1950s greasers or as gold lame-clad 1050s rockers, and Bowzer was its standout member.

He would affix the viewer with an attitude-dripping look, run a comb through his oily hair, and flex a skinny bicep as he sang. His mouth could open wide enough to accommodate an entire chocolate cake at one bite, and his outfit varied but was invariably as tacky as can be imagined. The group had its own TV show from 1977 to 1981 and also made appearances on other programs. Their usual closing number was "Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight," a song that had ended many a high school dance in the '50s.

Bauman has continued to make appearances as Bowzer and the Stingrays and has done some producing of early rock and roll music.

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