Amy Winehouse: What a Loss

Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London home on July 23. The British singer/songwriter, known for her powerful voice, heralded a new wave of soul music when she broke onto the scene in 2003, but she became a household name in 2006 with her album Back to Black, which won five Grammys. According to a press release, "[London] Police were called by London Ambulance Service to an address in Camden Square NW1 shortly before 16:05 hours. . . . On arrival, officers found the body of a 27-year-old female, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Enquiries continue into the circumstances of the death. At this early stage, it is being treated as unexplained." Born on Sept. 14, 1983, Winehouse has had widely publicized battles with substance abuse and mental-health issues. She had canceled her European tour last month, shortly after a performance in Serbia showed her performing in a daze. Winehouse's death makes her the newest member of the so-called 27 club, joining Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. From a July 23 Heard Mentality blog post.


The contemporary-art world lost one of its most invigorating and pioneering creative forces when Gilbert "Magú" Luján passed away July 24 at the age of 70. A statement posted to the Magulandia Facebook page noted that he had died in the company of his immediate family; the influential Chicano sculptor, muralist and painter had been battling cancer. "[He] will always be recognized as one of those who invented the vocabulary and aesthetics of what is today called Chicano Art," says María Elena Gaitan, who is scheduled to provide the music as "Chola con Cello" at the special preview reception of the "Cruisin' Magulandia" exhibition in Pomona, all proceeds from which will be donated to the preservation of Luján's artistic legacy.

His creative output was always a rich amalgamation of the historical arc of his people from Meso-American folk to lowrider culture. As the Chicano movement continued into the early '70s, he completed his master of fine arts from UC Irvine and became founder of the famous "Los Four" Chicano art collective. Together with Carlos Almaraz, Frank Romero and Beto de la Rocha, Luján contributed to artistically articulating and manifesting the vibrancy of the social movement. Los Four broke new ground in 1974 by putting on the first Chicano Art exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Magulandia website has been updated to include a PayPal link for donations to assist the family, as well as a new page for those to share memories of the artist. From a July 25 post by Gabriel San Roman.

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This column appeared in print as "Amy Winehouse Joins the 27 Club."

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