When writer David Rakoff died Thursday at the age 47, he was barely the age he said he was always "meant" to be. In his 2010 memoir, Half Empty, he wrote, "Everyone has an internal age, a time in life when one is, if not one's best, then at very least one's most authentic self. I always felt that my internal clock was calibrated somewhere between 47 and 53 years old."
Rakoff died in New York City after a long struggle with cancer — an ordeal that he wrote about with sobering honesty and biting wit.
We would be remiss not to note that the legendary ranchera singer Chavela Vargas was sent off last night in Mexico City.
Her coffin was on display in Plaza Garibaldi, where Vargas was known to knock back a few drinks. NPR's Jasmine Garsd wrote about the 93-year-old Vargas on Sunday after her death. She was a woman who torched through barriers, many times singing about heartache with a pistol in her harness and a bottle of tequila in her hand.
A legend of Latin American song has died. Chavela Vargas was a cultural icon across the Spanish-speaking world, with a voice that redefined notions of beauty and an attitude that brashly bent gender roles. Vargas died Sunday; she was 93.
She was born Isabel Vargas Lizano in Costa Rica, but audiences knew her as Chavela, a hard-partying, rabble-rousing, fiery singer who adopted Mexico as her homeland and began singing on the streets in her early teens.