I’ve always been a bit wary of astronaut movies. It isn’t that I have a fear of outer space in the science fiction sense (I’m as big a trekkie as they come), but when it comes to reality? Well, that usually scares the crap out of me. I blame movies like SpaceCamp and You Only Live Twice for that, as fictitious as they may be. As a kid, I could barely get through Apollo 13 without continually asking my mom if they would be okay, and it took me years to properly appreciate that film. That being said, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy The MartianI refused to see it in the theater, worried that I might have a panic attack. But after it was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and won numerous other accolades, I decided I should give it a try. I’m happy to report that this is one of those movies I was completely wrong about.

Based on Andy Weir’s novel, The Martian tells the story of that one time your friends drove off and forgot you were still in the Taco Bell bathroom; okay not exactly, but take that situation and escalate it times a million and set it in outer space. During a manned mission to Mars, a violent dust storm forces the Ares III crew to abandon their research and go back to their orbiting ship. During the evacuation, botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is hit by debris and separated from the group. Commander Lewis (Jessica Chastain) attempts to find him before the emergency take off, but is forced to leave him behind. The storm worsens, and they presume him dead since the signal from his suit doesn’t show signs of life. The next sol (Martian solar day), Mark wakes up to find that he’s alone and injured. He’s able to tend to his wound at the Hab (the crew’s base of operations/habitation), but that’s the least of his worries. Aside from the fact that the machines that provide water and oxygen could malfunction, the mission was only supposed to last a certain number of days. As a result, the Hab is a temporary shelter, and there’s only so much food. On top of everything, Mark has no way to contact NASA.

The world is a darker place this morning with the loss of iconic grandad of glam, David Bowie. The Starman passed away on Sunday, January 10 after an 18-month battle with cancer, only 2 days after his 69th birthday and the release of his 25th studio album, Blackstar.

While we can in no way encompass all the reasons we love David Bowie, his music and his inspiration, in a single post, we have compiled a list of ten Bowie moments that have touched our lives.


(updated 1/12/16*)

*The City of Angels mourns David Bowie all month with special events. See here for more details. 

1) Hunting for Diamond Dogs

Right after high school, I became obsessed with glam rock, specifically, David Bowie. His is actually the only discography (besides NIN) I worked really hard to complete, and at the young age of 19, I was on the hunt for one of his more obscure albums to go with the more popular ones I already had, like Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. Diamond Dogs was notoriously the most difficult to find, and, even after I had most of the earlier stuff (the 1976 release David Bowie, was easier to find), I could never get DD (this was before the internet, ok). I remember trolling through Penny Lane, the local record store near my college in Pasadena, California, searching for Diamond Dogs on CD. The shop girl told me they didn’t have the album and wouldn’t get it in for ages. Well, my best friend had a tape player in her VW bug (our favorite mode of travel those days) and I had one in an old stereo system at home, so, I purchased a used copy of the album on tape, along with a CD copy of Station to Station. Both were glorious, dark and so perfect. I never did buy the CD and I still have the tape…somewhere.  –Diva

2) Bowie on Film

We all know that Bowie was a space alien, but his films confirm it. The Man Who Fell From Earth is so strange, and quiet and long, not an easy watch at all. Same goes for The Hunger, the go-to vampire movie before vampires were a thing. That being said, both are totally avant garde films that, if you’ve seen them, you know that these movies helped define Bowie’s otherness not only as a musician and an actor, but as an occupant of our planet. –Diva

Let’s face it: Christmas music is overdone. By the time December 25 actually comes around, most of us are willing to commit felonies to avoid hearing “Silver Bells” one more time. However, I have to admit that I love Christmas carols, and I have a few favorites that aren’t overplayed on the radio. So snuggle up by the fireplace, grab a mug of hot cocoa, and turn on some tunes.

Twisted Sister’s A Twisted Christmas

Mosh-pitting totally gets me in the holiday spirit.

Willie Nelson & Norah Jones “Baby It’s Cold Outside”

Stephen Colbert “Just Another Christmas Song”