“Slightly bald,
can dance
a little.”

— from Fred
Astaire's first
screen test

On the business
card on the
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“Happiness is equilibrium. Shift your weight.”
— Tom Stoppard

Mark's personal bits

For those of you who do not yet know, Mark Bourne passed away February 25th, 2012 at the age of fifty. His official obituary can be found below. Glenn Erickson did a lovely description of Mark's contribution to film critiquing on his page at dvdsavant.com.

Mark Wilson Bourne passed away February 25th, 2012 at the age of fifty. He was born July 10, 1961 in Russellville, Arkansas to Philip and Elizabeth Wade Bourne. The middle of three boys, he is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, his stepson, Austin Lawhead, both brothers, Richard Bourne of Fort Collins, Colorado, and Randall Bourne of Phoenix, Arizona and a large network of friends and chosen family. Mark graduated from Russelville High School in 1979 and first attended Arkansas Tech, then the University of Arkansas where he earned his bachelor's with a double major in Music and English. He then achieved a Master's Degree in Theatre at the University of Nebraska.

Mark went on to script shows at planetaria and museums across the country. He is also well published and highly regarded in the science fiction field. His story "What Dreams Are Made On" was reprinted in the 4th edition of Literature and Ourselves: a Thematic Introduction for Readers and Writers - making Mark a writer of academic significance. Mark is also listed in Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction as having the earliest use of "morph" in a professionally published story "Being Human".

But the things Mark was known best for can't be quantified by the remarkable facts of his life, like his dry and mischievous sense of humor, his infectious grin, his fierce friendship, his braininess and insight, and his love and generosity. He'll never truly be gone as long as we remember him.

A photo montage celebrating Mark's life is available at YouTube.com

The family asks that donations be made to Heifer International in Mark's name, in lieu of flowers.

Below is Mark's Bio, as written by Mark for this page:

I'm a writer and creative director by trade; an astronomy buff by both avocation and erstwhile vocation; now and then paid the rent, back in the day, as an actor and stage director; and have been a seriously good teacher. The best were the occasions when I've been able to combine all of the above. This site serves largely as an extension of my business card and an addendum to my résumé. As such it has served me well and profitably.

yours trulySo feel welcome to look around, find out a bit about me, or even read a story. I enjoy hearing from total strangers who've found their way here, so don't be shy about dropping me a note.

Goals to enjoy before I die: trekking all up and down and across and around Great Britain. Seeing the night sky from the Southern Hemisphere. Having my books on the shelves between Sherwood Anderson and Michael Chabon. Perfecting a great pizza recipe.

Professionally and academically I've been lucky enough to be rewarded for my passions. I'm a science buff with a particular affinity for astronomy (I've been known to teach it and write about it as well as spend long, cold nights outdoors looking up through expensive tubing). I enjoy both researching and explaining, so some of my favorite career choices involve stints as a science and humanities writer (I especially enjoy seeing my work go public in a big way with museums and videos). I love theater (earned an M.A. in it and have been known to create some of it from time to time) and film journalism. My fondness for the Sherlock Holmes literature led directly to my being hired to write Holmesian mysteries for a computer game. Plus, well, just about anything else that wings my way. Now and then I sell fiction to pro markets, and am getting into that First Novel thing.

Here's a casual profile on me in the local press.

I have also...

...worked in cooperation with Ray Bradbury to bring two of his plays to life; written and seen produced scripts under the aegis of Paramount Pictures; performed with sketch and improvisational comedy groups before large and rowdy audiences; taught English lit, writing, and drama to high school students, and astronomy to little kids and adults; directed a senior class play and a semi-professional theater company; been a TV science correspondent; served as the Special Guest Buckaroo on the Ranger Bob children's TV show; and assistant-directed an outdoor Shakespeare Festival. Am both a "dog person" and a "cat person." Will probably never tire of watching Casablanca. And in the Star Wars universe an inhabited alien star system has been named after me.

Turn ons: New York City, London, damn good coffee, Tom Stoppard, Harper's, P.G. Wodehouse, This American Life, Fresh Air, Miles Davis, Penn & Teller, Billy Wilder, The Beatles (collectively and singly), Coltrane's "In a Sentimental Mood" and "My Favorite Things," Miles Davis' "So What," Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5, Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, Eudora Welty, Studs Terkel, the combination of chocolate and orange, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Hayden Planetarium, Improv Everywhere, Boing Boing, Bogie, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, T.C. Boyle, Michael Chabon, Jacques Tati, Hayao Miyazaki's films, Chuck Jones & Tex Avery & Bob Clampett, Bowmore Darkest Islay, Doonesbury, best-years Woody Allen, the Coen Brothers, the Flying Karamazov Brothers, Philip Glass, Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, Stephen Sondheim, René Magritte, the original King Kong, Stephen Jay Gould, Timothy Ferris, T.S. Eliot, Ray Harryhausen, Robertson Davies, Carl Sagan, John Steinbeck, the Alice books, William Faulkner, Guinness Stout.

Eddie Valiant: "What do you see in that guy?"
Jessica Rabbit: "He makes me laugh."
Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Funny: the Marx Brothers, Blackadder, xkcd, The Daily Show, Stephen Fry, Tom Tomorrow, Julia Sweeney, Tom the Dancing Bug, Blazing Saddles, Roy Blount Jr., the old National Lampoon Radio Hour, The Simpsons, Tom Lehrer, Monty Python, Firesign Theatre, Pogo, Calvin & Hobbes, The Onion.

Reached the Pacific Northwest by way of the shores of Lake Ontario by way of the Midwest by way of the Ozarks south, so how I ended up without a discernable accent of some sort is something of a mystery. Was once assigned to teach English at Bushwick High School in Brooklyn. I declined, but still have the certificate as a memento. (The school went on to become a rather notorious "failed" institution. Hiring me would not have changed that.)

A little while back, stately Bourne manor relocated from Portland to Seattle, specifically West Seattle, just a short walk to the local hub of activity, the Junction, and a boot-scoot to Alki Beach. We're at a crest of the peninsula, so with water on three sides of us, plus the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges jagging the eastern and western horizons, the views can be quite nice. Hello, Seattle.

Flickr set:
Alki Point lighthouse, West Seattle Alki, Winter sunset Alki wintersplash 06 Sunset piper Kayakers
birdview 1 Alki, foggy Sept. morning Bench Seattle sailing Rainy Sunday with a camera phone after going to the coffee shop to get a New York Times

Of course, out of the many people I have met in my life and travels — acquaintances whose lives intersected with mine briefly but meaningfully, friends and others coupling with mine for longer (some still ongoing) periods — not a one has had a greater beneficial impact on my heart and head than my wife, Elizabeth Lawhead Bourne. She's one of the best. She's taught me a lot — how to weed a garden, how to cook with the expensive kitchenware, that rosemary from the yard is better than the store-bought kind, what to do when it's cold and snowy out but you want to hit the outdoor hot tubs anyway (you hit the hot tubs and watch the snow melt against an invisible dome over your head).

Having been an artsy edge-chick in Boston, Manhattan, and Toronto, Elizabeth has become a veritable Wise Woman of the Tribe among our friends, who recognize that she is dangerously intelligent, experienced, perceptive, and an astute judge of character. She has repeatedly demonstrated that she is a woman who embodies the Oz-ish virtues of brains, heart, and courage, and I try to learn from her example. As my Southern Gentleman father would say, she's a good'n.

We met when we worked together on Star Trek: Orion Rendezvous. I was the writer and creative director, she was the hired-gun computer graphics artist. Remarkably well-read and diverse, she has too many enthusiasms to ever be boring or bored. At the moment she's addicted of the novels of Patrick O'Brian, Robertson Davies, and, natch, Jane Austen. In the nonfiction realm, she's currently riding a fascination for Hellenistic Alexandria, its famous Library and medical practices. Elizabeth is a long-time subscriber to Archaeology magazine, and in a nearby alternate reality she's Indiana Jones's chief competition.

A computer graphics artist since before it was cool, she illustrated the Arkham House Press collection of stories by Mary Rosenblum, Synthesis and Other Virtual Realities. Look for it and play "Name That Author" with the ills. She co-owned her own computer graphics business for 12 years, then was enticed away to become an exec (ultimately CEO) at a dotcom. She graduated from that to a cushy exec position in a firm that blissfully has nothing to do with either dots or coms, thus removing her from daily Dilbert scenarios while providing her with an office overlooking the Seattle cityscape. We're not complaining a bit.