Repost: The Genesis of Perving

[There was a recent to-do on Facebook that publication of half nude pictures of Richard Armitage from The Crucible were allegedly “objectifying” and “disrespectful.”  It wasn’t the first time the complaints arose and won’t be the last, although critics seem to assume their protests have never before been heard.  Four years ago, I wrote this piece about objectification after some fans complained, among a list of other things that supposedly didn’t honor him.  It elicited such a nice discussion and so many hits that it would be nice to start a new dialogue.]

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A anthropology student alerted me to the following tweet posted on allthingsrarmitage:

“Callipygian is a word coined by the ancient Greeks (‘kallipygos’) that means ‘having beautiful buttocks.” This picture was associated with that reference:

ultimate force arse shot

A nice example of beautiful buttocks.   Courtesy RichardArmitageNet.com

This screen capture is of course Richard Armitage in Ultimate Force.  Ancient Greeks would say he is quite callipygian.  Now this type of talk in the modern age raises protests of objectification.  My question is: why does that have to be so?

Ancient antiquity has always depicted nude image and statues of the human form.

nudes

(l) Greek male nude (r) Replica of nude male wrestlers. Both quite nude. Courtesy of Greek Museum Authority

The human form has always been considered a source of nature beauty, sculpted and painted for ages.  It’s certainly safe to say that because artists could not take actual human being and freeze them in time, they froze them through other media.  The following picture of Michelangelo’s “David,” sculpted circa 1501, is considered a masterpiece:

michelangelo david

Michelangelo’s “David.” Courtesy of Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence

Millions of tourists flock to see this statue.  Nobody would say (other than the must repressed prurient type) that it’s improper to admire and even study this work of art.  People would certainly say “David” is callipygian even though it’s an idealized medieval depiction of a human male.  Nobody could convincingly argue that Michelangelo objectified the human form unless they believe that all nudity is inappropriate.  Since that’s not my premise, I won’t answer that argument since it takes us down the road of morality and personal taste which I’m not discussing here.

So why do fans become uncomfortable when viewing this picture?  It caused quite a stir when first published:

RA as Lucas festooned in tatoos

Richard Armitage as Lucas festooned in tattoos. Would you say this form isn’t view-worthy? Courtesy RichardArmitageNet.com

I observe similar lines and muscles depicted in the idealized statues.  If fact, the real human form is more beautiful because it shows the real flawed form, not simply an idealization.  Does viewing his form suddenly become objectification because he’s a living man?  Is it improper to also say he’s callipygian here?  I argue no.

Sexual objectification arises when a person is viewed as an sexual object or only as one. I have yet to find any fan forum where RA’s artistry and personality isn’t also discussed in detail.  He is not seen solely as an object of lust.  However, it’s self-delusional to say that he shouldn’t be viewed as the sexy man he is.  Human beings are sexual creatures; this is how we have the drive to reproduce our species (or not, as the case may be).  We are hard-wired to perv each other. We sexually objectify each other to a degree on an instinctual level.  We view the human form as desirable and have since probably cave man times.   This form has been frankly depicted since antiquity.  The fact that the modern media makes it possible to photograph the human form in real time doesn’t change anything.

I’m always amused when women protest the loudest that men should not be objectified because it implies a hypocrisy in protesting against female objectification.  I have problems with female objectification only to the extent that it’s used for exploitation.  When that’s not the case, I have no issue if Halle Berry’s fans consider her the epitome of beauty.  Conversely I have no problem with male objectification and feel no shame and admiring male beauty. Is RA being exploited?  He is a grown man who made informed choices to appear in roles requiring undress.  I don’t believe it’s for us to question his judgment as to whether that undress was integral to the story or gratuitous.  I’m comfortable respecting his decisions as to whether he considers himself exploited or not. I can safely assume he would not take a role he deemed exploitative. Even if he did, it was still his decision.  So, I feel free to say that RA’s is callipygian in particular and gorgeous in general without any need to justify.

Here’s an absolutely callipygian screen cap:

Between the Sheets

Richard Armitage as Paul in Between the Sheets. Callipygian, no? My screen cap.

RA arse shot

Very callipygian. Yes? Richard Armitage as Lucas North. Donated artistic screen cap.

 

What, no? Does it really make a difference that this is a screen cap of a real man playing a fictional role in a fictional series?  What if RA decided to pose nude as himself?  I don’t think this picture is less worthy of being admired than if a sculptor made an approved marble statue of his bum or his body and placed it in a museum.  As a straight sexual female, I will admire his body no matter what form it took.

I’m amused every time the objectification issue arises.  When the above tatted picture surfaced, fans drooled but always rushed to add they also admired RA’s work and personality lest they be accused of objectification, although this was understood by everybody.  I find all this protestation unnecessary.  It’s time to drop that veil of political correctness and just be honest as fans.  We like to look up RA’s form because it’s beautiful and desirable.

Just say so.  Period. We understand the rest.

 

 

Monday Musings: Richard Armitage and Twitter

RA twitter

When Richard Armitage popped onto the Twitter scene August 22nd, his birthday no less, fandom collectively swooned.   Most couldn’t believe he’d gone and done it, despite statements that he “didn’t understand [Twitter].”  Some welcomed him, happy to have him onboard, curious about  what he would say, and grateful to have any perceived interaction with him.  Naysayers dreaded what could happen, fretting that he would lose his aura of mystery, that the more rabid fans would bother him, that he would be able to see and track the ongoings-on meant for fan eyes only.

In the almost five months, since RA started Twitter, fandom has – essentially remained the same.  We did not band together behind our crush to become one big happy peaceful family.  With such a diverse lot, that could never happen.  He still retains his mystery. His selfies, jokes, and charity pitches are at the heart no different from those he messaged frequently in years past and reveal no more than what he wants to show us.  Do we really know more than he’s a dorky guy with a quirky sense of humor, a taste for philanthropy and extreme sport, and a busy work schedule?  Not really.  As for the rabid fans – every fandom has them.  They troll his timeline and I’m sure he’s been warned to ignore them as he did when they contacted his agent.   Does he see the fandom machinations?  I’m sure his people have always kept a finger on the collective pulse; after all, we are the foundation of his livelihood.  They have to notice whatever is posted to his timeline.  But do they notice every fan spat and upheaval?  I’ve always assumed even before Twitter that the answer is: probably but that he and his people have found it unwise and unproductive to become involved.

It’s been suggested that RA’s presence is harmful to fandom because Armitage Protection  Mode types have come down harder on fans perceived to be disrespectful, offensive or somehow injurious to RA and thus hurt fandom creativity – a type of rally around Dear Leader attitude.  While it’s true that some policing fans have seized the opportunity to supposedly get others in line, it’s important to remember that just because RA’s mode of contact has changed, the option to push back has not.  There’s no need for a fan to tolerate browbeating just because “RA is in the house.”  The same is true for what I call “The Happy Police.”  These fans twist RA’s words to “be positive” and “lighthearted” to mean anything not in a fluffy happy vein is verboten because Dear Leader has allegedly spoken.  I don’t believe that fandom as a consequence loses it’s ability to think and speak critically because RA joined Twitter.  (That’s not to say that if RA himself said “Judiang, you’re out of bounds,”  I wouldn’t back down (or leave).  It is his fandom after all, not mine.)   We still have our voices and will continue to have them.  Nothing has really changed.  Only the medium has.

So RA reached 100,000 followers today; fandom goes on.

By the way, I’m still waiting for the rest of the story to come true.  You never know.

 

Fantasy and Crushes: How Far Is Too Far?

Crush_fotm_xlargeA few days ago, I saw a post on Tumblr, both brave and heartbreaking.  The poster is a big fan of Richard Armitage and spends a big part of her life watching, reading, and talking about him.  She also has a history of depression and uses her crush/fantasies to stave it off.  Initially, she thought she would be happy to know that RA was happy with somebody. But she became “incredibly sad,” as she described, over the RA/Lee Pace rumors, crying for hours.  Then she realized that the rumors regarding Lee Pace himself didn’t distress her.  What bothered her was the idea of RA being with anybody, male or female.  So she could not believe the rumors or any rumors because doing so would threaten her happiness – her survival.  She knew her view was selfish, but she deemed it a necessary buffer against depression.

I found the post to be remarkably honest and brave.   It was a hard admission to make because every fan thinks they want what their crush needs to be happy.  Not many open minded fans will admit to secretly harboring such feelings. As a person with depression, I can totally sympathize with needing to protect what makes one happy.  At times, the need to focus on something and get away from one’s misery can be overpowering and certainly, immersing oneself in the crush, in fandom activities can be productive and rewarding.   Look at the all the creative projects and friendships begun because of this fandom.  Fantasies, up to a point, are an integral part of crushing; it idealizes the person. We think the crush is somehow better looking, talented – special. There’s nothing wrong with this viewpoint.  That’s the nature of crushing.  The poster inserts herself into her fantasies which makes her feel good.  It’s what she enjoys.  However, she wants to protect that lest she falls back into depression.  I can understand her reasoning up to a point but I am unsettled because the poster fails to understand that being so deeply protective and inured in that fantasy comes at a cost.

This post isn’t about whether any truth to the Rich/Lee rumors will ruin fans’ fantasies. It’s about when crushes and attendant fantasies flip from rewarding to detrimental.  In my opinion, the poster’s objective of throwing herself into the fandom to stave off depression is only a temporary bandage.  What I find unsettling and heartbreaking is her desire to not temper fantasy with reality or face her issues.  What will she do if RA publicly states he’s with somebody?  Should she simply wait for her fantasy to implode to the detriment of her mental health?  Is this the route crushes and fantasies should take?  How far is too far?

I believe crushing should always be tempered with the here and now.  It’s important to enjoy oneself but stay grounded in the process. It’s one thing to say that crushing makes one happy, but another to totally rely on that person as the primary source and call it survival.  Disappointment is bound to happen because a crush is only human, fallible. Remember when I said fantasies are good up to a point?  Yes, they are as long as they don’t seek to harm anybody including oneself.   If a fan sees that his or her fantasy is bound to cause self-grief, then it’s time to step away, reassess what is happening, and take steps to deal with the real issues.  Crushing is supposed to be a joyful enriching experience, not lead to depression and tears.  The poster has already reached the point where crushing had turned detrimental; her willful denial is just delaying the inevitable.

What if the fan can’t let it go?  What if things have progressed to total devastation at the thought of a fantasy being ruined?  After 20 years in fandom, I believe the answer is simple but hard to do – walk away and get help.  Yes, leave the fandom until some equilibrium can be regained.  Time and again I’ve seen it as the only viable solution.  It’s possible to become so enmeshed in a crush, like the poster, that a fan can lose touch with the initial objective.   The poster will survive even though she thinks she won’t;  she’s too locked in the jaws of depression to see it now.  But hopefully with the guidance of trained mental health professionals, she will have achieved better perspective and control of the depression.

Looking at the bigger picture, I’ve seen many occasions where it seemed fans either needed to take a break or leave the fandom to determine what they really want.  Flame wars and heartlessly vicious arguments on forums are the biggest red lights.  Both signal that fans have become so deeply invested in the crush that the coin has turned from beneficial to detrimental.  So, be it Rich/Lee rumors, rumors in general or any other vicious bone of contention, if raging, crying, and depression enter the picture, it’s time to assess how far is too far and change course.

 

RECAP- Why RA? : Looking for Mr. Goodcrush Part 2

I started this series in October 2011.  It had numerous parts but unfortunately I never completed it or answered the ultimate question.  Friends have encouraged me to repost and get on with it already.   Since it’s been almost three years with a new influx of fans, I think it merits a new conversation.

*****

[I’m telling this story because it represents my background in fandom spanning a period of almost 20 years.  All observations and opinions stated are mine alone. This post has been months in the making because it’s been so difficult to articulate and pen.   It’s important to know this background so Dear Reader can understand upon what basis I attempt to answer the question of various bloggers in Armitage World: Why Richard Armitage?  This series will be posted sporadically as my thoughts gel.  Part 1 is here.]

Flash forward a few years.  I’d been out of fandom awhile and wasn’t looking for a new one.  Then while cruising the internet in 1996, I came across some stunning information about a defunct television show of which I’d been a fan much earlier.  There was a following for this show but the idea of get-togethers to watch episodes didn’t appeal.  So I had nobody with whom to share my enjoyment of this show except my parents who thought I was nuts.  When I came upon the tidbit that the show was rebooting, I knew there had to be others on the internet talking about this.  So I went back to AOHell, and found a forum pointing to an IRC chat room.  I’d never been in real geek chat room and the relative ease of use make chatting much more enjoyable. (This is on which the ArmitageWorld chat room is based.)  I found a small international group of men and women ranging from high school to Older Than Me.  Joy!

When the show finally televised its first episode in 15 years, we held a group viewing which to my surprise was a lot of fun.  The reboot flopped but the chat room continued.  This group had  been attending the national convention for this show in my city every Thanksgiving weekend for the past several years. I’d heard of this con, but the idea of grown people dressing up as characters made me wary.  Two people I’d met in chat convinced me to room with them and attend the con, reassuring me I’d have a blast.  Considering my past experience, I wasn’t keen on meeting virtual friends. What would these people be like?  I’d taken care this time to gauge their personalities and propensities but had I assessed correctly?

fandom chart

I was thisclose to not going but reasoned that since I lived in the same city, I could always go home.  So I packed and journeyed out to the boonies.  As soon as the two entered the room and gave me such radiant smiles, I instantly knew these women were as intelligent, sane, and friendly as they seemed online.  Everything would be alright.  We’ve been best friends for 15 years.  I met many more friends at the con which was a blast as promised. There wasn’t an ax murderer in the bunch.  The fans ran the gamut from grounded to suspect but I learned with cautious inquiries and observation, I could find a group that was a good fit for me.  One of the biggest things I enjoyed was the camaraderie and fun, things I had been looking for all along.

As luck would have it, I was in the inner circle of a fan club which sprang up around the star of the reboot. He was a British actor moderately popular in the UK but unknown elsewhere. From what we heard, the new Mr. Crush was a hard working, pleasant but very private married family man.  He was shy, charming, quietly intelligent with a sense of humor that wasn’t caustic.  He was also a good actor and quite good looking to boot.  He seemed like a safe bet.  I shared this assessment with a circle older, more mature fans who were grounded in their own lives, many of whom has been involved in other fandoms.

On the fandom scale, I was less than “hard core” but more than average. I’m not sure why I’ve never progressed to hard core in any fandom; maybe it’s my personality or Winston’s constant interference but I seem immune.  In any event, Mr. Crush appeared a good focus of my admiration.  Due to my past experience, I entertained no ideas about meeting him or going any further than socializing with my group.  I was happy for this fandom to inject some needed relief in my life. I could squee and be silly with a like-minded circle.  In a way, I was happy to feel light-hearted.  This group was similar in many ways to ArmitageWorld.

The chief instigator created a moderated mailing list, a place we could feel safe to chat about anything unmolested by internet trolls and unbalanced types.  List mom, as she came to be called, welcomed all forms of creative expression and it turned out we had quite a few talented writers and artists churning out fan fiction (both PG and erotic) amazing enough to be published.  We had paper newsletters and a digital magazine for which I wrote a short story for the first time in years. (That story is lost.)  This was fandom I’d never experienced; a safe group with whom I could feel connected and have fun.  The mailing list grew and flourished.  Meanwhile the IRC chat room also expanded exponentially after the convention.  We started role playing games on Saturdays.  For those who don’t know, we chose roles and then wildly ad libbed in real time mock episodes based on the old show.  Yes, hilarity did ensue as the cliche goes. (Remember this was social media before the advent of Twitter and Facebook.)  Some logs of these RPGs survive today.  Many of us have stayed connected. That was how things progressed for almost two years.

COMING SOON: The Fan Club Goes To The Next Level

 

Interlude XXXIX – It’s A Man’s World

Just returned from seeing Sky Fall with Daniel Craig.  His body is hot and he cleans up nice but I wanted a bit of pretty.  Let’s see if this is adequate.

Hmm, I’m not complaining.

Enjoy.

Richard Armitage notices a blimp of fangurls passing over.

Richard Armitage ponders whether to pose nude for the centerfold.  Courtesy of Fault Magazine Issue 13

Richard Armitage decides that the chains are too much.  Courtesy of Fault Magazine, Issue 13

Richard Armitage decides that the chains are too much. Courtesy of Fault Magazine, Issue 13

 

 

Interlude XXXVIII – Putting on the Ritz

…Well, actually Claridge’s.

Guests are arriving here for the weekend.  They want to see… The Hobbit.   I meet up with a fellow fan next weekend.  She wants to see…The Hobbit.  Did I mention I’ve seen it twice already?  ARRRRRRGH!  While I deal with this Hobbit glut, think about this: the age of bagginshield fan fic has dawned.

I’ll leave you to figure that out, along with this picture taken at Claridge’s hotel in London.

Enjoy.

Richard awaits his tea and crumpettes. Courtesy of Tumblr.

Richard awaits his tea and crumpettes. Courtesy of Natylyra on Tumblr.

60 Seconds with Richard Armitage

I love this promo with Martin Freeman asking Richard Armitage short questions.  RA is relaxed, jokey and appealing. It’s longer than 60 seconds, but that’s okay.

 

MAX 60 Seconds: Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) (Cinemax)

Subscribe to Cinemax: http://itsh.bo/10r1tmj Cinemax on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cinemax Cinemax on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cinemax Cinemax Official Site: http://itsh.bo/HPPXB4 Cinemax Go: http://itsh.bo/10qx3k5 Check out other HBO Channels HBO: http://www.youtube.com/hbo Game of Thrones: http://www.youtube.com/GameofThrones True Blood: http://www.youtube.com/trueblood HBO Sports: http://www.youtube.com/HBOsports Real Time with Bill Maher: http://www.youtube.com/RealTime HBO Documentary Films: http://www.youtube.com/HBODocs Cinemax: http://www.youtube.com/Cinemax HBO Latino: http://www.youtube.com/HBOLatino MAX 60 Seconds: Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) (Cinemax) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLIK-DREmJA

 

A few observations:

  • Aha! I knew he had enough vanity not to let himself go to pot.  My shallow fangurl is SO relieved.
  • I’m stricken he won’t get on Twitter.  Well, there goes that fantasy.
  • I miss the flowing locks, too (a la Guy).   Get back to growing that hair!
  • So he and his horse (a female?!) had a flowing locks thing together.
  • “Where’s my stylist?”  Yup, we always knew that.
  • Hmmm, yeah. Don’t try jokes.  Just smile for the camera, luv.
  • He’s also contradicted everything he’s said before, but hey, who’s paying attention?  😉

 

I’m still looking for creative writing ideas for Christmas week.  What story would you love for me to write?  This is your chance!

Oh! Here’s 60 Seconds with Martin Freeman.  Love how RA corrects, with a shift of the eyes, about “milky ‘foot’ substance” flying into a woman’s mouth. Whatever were you thinking, RA?  MF: “My publicist is having a coronary.”  Plus at the end MF: “I wonder how long my career will last. What a shame it’s over just as it’s beginning.”

MAX 60 Seconds: Martin Freeman (The Hobbit)

Subscribe to Cinemax: http://itsh.bo/10r1tmj Cinemax on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cinemax Cinemax on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cinemax Cinemax Official Site: http://itsh.bo/HPPXB4 Cinemax Go: http://itsh.bo/10qx3k5 Check out other HBO Channels HBO: http://www.youtube.com/hbo Game of Thrones: http://www.youtube.com/GameofThrones True Blood: http://www.youtube.com/trueblood HBO Sports: http://www.youtube.com/HBOsports Real Time with Bill Maher: http://www.youtube.com/RealTime HBO Documentary Films: http://www.youtube.com/HBODocs Cinemax: http://www.youtube.com/Cinemax HBO Latino: http://www.youtube.com/HBOLatino MAX 60 Seconds: Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNZCSGcU1MA

 

 

RA Break Day

This is another mental health day.  Still have a review of The Hobbit movie itself and RA’s report card to go before I’m done with the whole thing.  I still haven’t started any writing for Christmas week, so I’ll toss it to you Dear Reader:

What would you like me to write?

Anyway, I painstakingly searched through the amazing stash at RichardArmitageNet.com for you people and came upon this one.  What really tickles my funny bone are the expressions on the fans’ faces… after I looked up.

Priceless.

Behold, the power of RA

Behold, the power of The Armitage

 

Review of RA and Thorin; or Oh Thorin, You Fine Bastard

Thorin12I’m not a Tolkien fan, having never read any of his books.  I saw all of the LotR trilogy  enjoyed them, then promptly forgot them, except for Gollum and his precious. I wouldn’t have been particularly interested in seeing The Hobbit were it not for Richard Armitage being cast as Thorin.    So my knowledge of the story is either forgotten or nonexistent.   As for RA, I’ve made no bones about not being an avid fangurl.  But I wanted  him to do well and was thrilled for him that he’d snagged this major role.  Also, I attended with a friend who didn’t know RA from Adam. Truth be told, I would have felt mortified had she turned to me and said, “So that was your boy? He sucked.”

So yes, I hoped he didn’t fall on his face.  That was the extent of my expectations of him.

That’s also the extent of my objective fan bona fides.  Okay, now for RA and Thorin.

Knowing next to nothing about Thorin, I was prepared to embrace this dispossessed king.  I knew he might have some issues over the situation, but this Thorin is a total prick.  He is prideful, ego-driven, stubborn, obsessed, bastard – the poster child for grudge carrying.  Even the flashbacks showing Smaug toasting Erebor, Thranduil the Elvenking turning his back, and Azog beheading his grandfather didn’t adequately explain his highly antagonistic attitude towards Bilbo and need to insult him every chance he got.  Aside from marveling his noble and commanding warrior badassery, I felt little reason to care, other than he is the good guy.  By the end, I wouldn’t have been surprised had Bilbo acknowledged Thorin’s thanks by telling him where he could go.  RA gives a solid performance as a solid asshole.  But wait, this is a children’s movie.  Other fan reviewers raved and cried.  Hmm.

Clearly I was missing something.  So, I went back for a second viewing in a closer seat.  All became clear. Literally.  I was too nearsighted to see RA’s eyes during the first showing.  This time, Thorin is still a bastard, but such a good-looking one.  That always helps, it really, really, really does. (But you know I’m shallow).  More importantly, seeing his eyes makes him more human dwarven; they signal more depth and emotion underneath the gruff exterior.  This makes Thorin more palatable to me, but he is still not admirable as a character.  The big scene in which he loses his mind and marches out of the burning tree to take on Azog AND his warg,  leaving his group to die, qualifies him for a major beatdown later.  Or at least a good right hook.  There’s also the strong indication that his quest is more motivated by personal vengeance and the need to redeem himself in his own eyes as an heir of Durin than an altruistic reclamation for his people.  As he tells Balin, “*I* have no choice.”  He’s hell-bound to proceed with the mission no matter what and feels no qualms about leading a paltry band of 14 to do what an entire army of dwarves could not.  Again, having never read Tolkien, I assume honor and vengeance is the dwarven creed, so maybe his behavior is understandable.  While Thorin is not a particularly likeable character, there’s an indication that might change as the journey continues.  However, considering that he’s already half unhinged, I’m not sure how he will avoid the dragon sickness and its greed.

[EDIT: Thanks to our Mujer Tropical, I have a better understanding of Thorin.  Facing his destiny and fears is certainly admirable, so I revise that part.  However, I still have difficulty with his likeability, mainly because it take a little more time to understand such a character without some outside source (the books, Mujer Tropical).  Unlike Sir Ian with Gandalf, RA was given precious little time to convey Thorin’s complexities.]

RA delivers a solid performance as Thorin, considering he was quite hampered by the prosthetic forehead.  He had to dispense with the repertoire of micro-expressions for which he’s known.  RA reported he had to overreact scenes with his eyes and jaw in order to signal emotions to the audience.  He managed successfully, giving Thorin more depth than he would have had ordinarily.  Instead of being a bastard on a quest, he’s an interesting bastard with potential on a quest.  RA uses his low- baritone effectively, lending a commanding voice to his fine visage.  His characterization is mostly Thorin, although I detected Thornton in two lines, and Guy of Gisborne in a few  eye and head movements.  His fight scenes are excellent with his dancer’s spins and graceful choreography.  He did well with the material he had.  I can find no fault with his acting.  Most of my issues concern problems with the script and overall editing.

More about that later.

 

Surreal Saturday: Richard Sings!

I’m still pondering my review of The Hobbit and Richard Armitage’s performance, but first had to check that asylum invitations in Europe were still good.  They are.  Whew.   So, I shall tread foolishly on. Erm, here, have a picture.

Richard Armitage gets his black on.  Courtesy of Helsingin Sanomat

Richard Armitage gets his black on. Courtesy of Helsingin Sanomat

Yes, there’s nothing surreal about this post, but RA obliged a Finnish interviewer by singing a few bars of Lonely Mountain, a miracle in itself.  It’s the only time we’ve actually heard him singing literally a capella.  You get a better sense on the timber of his voice.  Here is the full interview including James Nesbitt an Aidan Turner.

See what I do for you people?

“That’s first thing in the morning, with a hangover.”

Twas the Night before The Hobbit

rahobbitgiftbombforcharitynov2612gratianal2…And this intrepid reporter barely stirs.  No, I’m not sending up the poem, although that’s not a bad idea.  Anyway I’m supposed to be resting, remember?  So accompanied by my furry shadow Patty, I’ve breakfasted; napped; lunched; napped; checked Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr (welcome back!), news (The Hobbit was shut out of the Golden Globes and SAG nominations) and viewed loads of RA videos, pics, and squeed over Francois, tux some more.  Napped.

So now I’m officially awake and heading out soon to the midnight show of The Hobbit accompanied by my friend, a retired film critic/film historian.  I’ll ask her to critique a certain British actor for me.  This should be interesting.

I felt a little trepidation earlier that not being a Tolkien fan might negatively affect my enjoyment of the movie.  But Traxy (TheSqueee) put my mind to rest with a certain observation.  Now I’m gung-ho and ready to go, finally, after two years.

Hopefully I’ll have a review ready tomorrow.

***

Did you enjoy The Hobbit tour?  Want to congratulate RA in his biggest film role debut?  Show your appreciation by gift bombing his Justgiving page!  Show him and the world you care.

You know you want to.

 

The Hobbit Blitz Ends or, Everybody Take a Breather

Thorin-3D-PosterFinally, the Great Worldwide The Hobbit Tour Megablitz Spectacular (except in the US, we sucked) is over.   I think.  Now those of us who haven’t seen it can swarm to the theaters to take in the cutting edge of event cinema: HFR 3D.   I’m curious about the format, even though I basically have monovision.  I’m also curious to know if and how RA has expanded his acting repertoire.

It turns out that I get to see the film twice; the December 14th midnight showing when I will simply enjoy the experience, and at the IMAX with a gift ticket courtesy of Anderson Cooper, when I’ll view with a critical eye.  That counts as two reviews I suppose.

Now, I make a show of being jaded and blase on the blog, but I’m becoming a bit excited about the whole thing.  This is my first midnight show for anything.  Covering the tour, attending the Anderson Cooper taping of the cast, and watching and reading about the experiences and feelings of fellow fans has been a real kick.  It’s also created a higher expectation than I would have had ordinarily.  Hopefully, the film will be everything the PR blitz has promised.

We shall see.

 

Richard Armitage: A Star Is Born – I Love You, Francois

Stylist Ilaria Urbinati has outdone herself.  She’s not yet tweeted the particulars regarding RA’s tuxedo at the London Royal Premiere, but I’m in love.  Look at the perfect cut.  How the collar lies just so.  The gorgeous bow tie sits perfectly at his throat.  The crisp while pleated shirt.   Just… perfection.

Here he is, my new love – Francois.

More sharp pics of this gorgeous suit as they become available.

EDIT: Francois is “a black Ermenegildo Zegna tuxedo. His tux features all the elements a modern man needs, a single button, shawl collar with a satin finish, slim fit, and exceptional Zegna tailoring” reported from the “Because I’m FABULOUS” blog.  Another Zegna, like George.  Siiiiigh.

My new love, Francois, accompanied by that bloke Richard Armitage.  He gets around. Courtesy of MashaNeronova on Twitter

My new love, Francois the tux, accompanied by that bloke Richard Armitage. He gets around. Courtesy of MashaNeronova on Twitter

Back up, baby.  Let’s see the shoes.  Erm, Rich, just relax the hands luv.

Full length view of Francois. Courtesy of

Full length view of Francois. Courtesy of MashaNeronova on Twitter

Ohhhh my.  What I can I say?  Simply stunning, eh?

 My love Francois, accompanied by that Armitage bloke.  Courtesy of Tim Whitby

In case you wanted a close up of that bloke. Courtesy of Tim Whitby

 

 

Richard Armitage: A Star Is Born – Liveblogging the Royal Premiere

Live streaming of the London Royal premiere has started.  Livestreams are here and here.  The Leicester Square webcam is here.  Time stated is my time.

11:15AM:  Streaming starts!  Looks like they transplanted the stage set from NZ.  And coming is Andy Serkis.  It looks quite cold but Andy looks psyched.  He’s traveling the green carpet sans coat with his wife and kids.  His wife wears a backless dress.  Must be freezing!  Lots and lots and lots of security.  Lots.  Older couple walking down.  Nobody knows who they are.  The commentator is…er… not commenting.

11:26AM: Martin Freeman arrives.  He’s cleaned up again! Imagine that.  No fool him.  He’s in a coat and gloves.  No need to catch pneumonia.  Closely following is Sir Ian McKellen also looking dapper.

11:29AM  Cate Blanchett arrives wearing a white backless…something…. gown.  It looks like a snug ripped sheet.  A dwarf has arrived.  He gets no name and no introduction.  Sorry Adam Brown.

11:32AM: The rotten commentator interviews Stephen Hunter about Bombur.  Stephen cleans up nice in a tux as well.  He described Bombur as mostly ginger. “Ginger’s going to be back in. I’m sure of it.”

11:37AM:  James Nesbitt is already on the scene and doling out autographs.  The photographers emerge.  Wait, there is our man Richard Armitage in a fabulous tux and —!  And they cut away to an interview with Adam Brown.  WTF???  Saw him for only a hot second ladies.

Wait… he’s looking FABULOUS.  And there’s Sir Ian again.  Did I mention how much I love Sir Ian?  Now an interview with Graham McTavish looking dashing.  His Dwalin is a Hell’s Angel with axes.

11:45AM:  And here is Sylvester McCoy, Rhadaghast.  Nobody wants to know about him.  Okaaay, he’s cleaned up in a nice matching tux.

11:50AM:  Another shot of RA who is standing around with his PR woman, not signing autographs.  Now Sir Peter Jackson is on the scene.  He dressed up, matches and everything!  There’s the boy band, McFly

11:55AM: Cate Blanchett shivers her way through an interview.  She’s so cold she mentioned going back in a TARDIS.  Poor thing.  “Peter is exactly the same, except he’s wearing shoes.”

11:57AM:  Andy is STILL working the crowd.  He seems to thrive on this.  Sir Ian is up next for the interview.  Ian to the commentator: “Are you done?”

12:03PM: Martin Freeman gets a reception at the interview.  Left the shades but kept on the gloves.  His hair is brushed back just so.  And he’s being his usual self sans the F bombs.  Congrats Martin.

A view of The Tux, Francoise.  Screencap courtesy of meandrichardarmitage.wordpress.com

A view of The Tux, Francois. Screencap courtesy of meandrichardarmitage.wordpress.com

12:06PM: RICHARD! Cheers for him.  He dreamed he got lost and couldn’t find his way to the cinema.  he looks happy and psyched.  Love the tux. Love the tie, rests at his neckline just so.  Lovely white shirt with mini pleats.  Looks like he got a hair cut (why!!!).  He wore formula 41 vests to cool them down, and were zipped into a cooling tent to keep the smell away.  Cute, Rich. Servetus just capped the hell out of this interview here.

12:11PM:  Aidan Turner and Dean O’Gorman, the double act, come up next.  I think they enjoy being the Bobsey Twins. Very jokey, completing each other’s thoughts.  Oh and yes, they clean up quite nicely too.

12:15PM:  A girl group in some wild fluttering costumes. Who are they?  What are they?  No clue.  Anyway, here is Andy for a chat.  Impersonation of Gollum in 3…2…1…. “Hello world!”

12:19PM:  James Nesbitt comes up flashing his dimples, chatting about Bofur.  He’s looking dashing, but as wonderfully as RA.  Naturally.

12:21PM: Sir Peter is looking uncharacteristically put together.  Haven’t seen his feet, but they might be matching dress shoes.

12:32PM: Finally group shots on the stage/set.  RA has the unfortunate knack for somehow standing in the back.  Sigh.  Cate rushes over for more autographs despite the fact she’s clearly freezing.  What a lady.

12:45PM:  HRH the Duke of Cambridge arrives.  Hey, Prince William!   Heh, didn’t even acknowledge the crowd.  Sounds like his official announcer calling off the dignitaries in a receiving line.  Didn’t realize how tall Prince William is.  Wow, this next guy in line looks nervous enough to pass out.  Sheesh, they are bringing out the bosses of very media studio and cinema and Prince William makes small talk with all of them.

1:01PM: The prince finally meets RA.  A head bow.  And my lip reading absolutely failed me.  Sorry all.  But he looked cool and collected.  And his mother behind him is lovely.

RA meets Prince William with his mother looking on. Courtesy of MorrighansMuse

RA meets Prince William with his mother looking on. Courtesy of MorrighansMuse

1:15PM:  Children present Wills with his 3D glasses.  They are ready to rock and roll!

 

Richard Armitage: A Star Is Born – Pre-blogging the London Royal Premiere

No rest for this intrepid reporter.  Live streaming of the London Royal premiere will start in 20 minutes.  Livestreams are here and here.  The Leicester Square webcam is here.  His fantastic stylist reported on Twiter at @ilariaurbinati that RA come *dressed* for the occasion in a tux.  Naturally.

Here’s a cap from one of yesterday’s interviews.  I suppose the outfit deserves a name…

Richard Armitage anticipates the circus question.  Not sure of origin.  Let me know if you do.

Richard Armitage anticipates the circus question. Not sure of origin. Let me know if you do.

Richard Armitage: A Star is Born – London Calls A Mental Health Break

I must have talked it up on Sunday.  A particular Real Life problem reared it’s ugly head.  Now I have to lick my wounds, rage, and do whatever I need to so I can think, regroup, and plot the next course of action.  After all, there’s the upcoming holidays to enjoy.  And I still need to finish the blitz coverage.  And the report card.  And stockpile some posts.  Yup, still tubthumping.

Meanwhile RA news has been surprisingly sparse with two things: firstly, a few interviews rehashing what RA has said since NZ.  Some pictures from the Q&A at the London Apple store have trickled in.  This one of my favorite casual outfits for him.  Stylish yet comfortable, don’t you think?

Richard Armitage learns his role ended on the cutting room floor.  Courtesy of http://sketchlavie.tumblr.com

Richard Armitage learns his role ended on the cutting room floor. Courtesy of http://sketchlavie.tumblr.com

Then there was the London press conference.  Information is just now coming in.  Richard Armitage Central has posted a video containing the RA part.  He broke out another suit, tie with an earlier seen tie and a new shirt.  Will have to sleep on this combination, render an opinion in the morning, and decide whether it’s worthy of a name.  What do you think?

Richard Armitage thinks about his secret Twitter account at the Hobbit London press conference. Courtesy of richardarmitagecentral.co.uk

Richard Armitage thinks about his secret Twitter account at the Hobbit London press conference. Courtesy of richardarmitagecentral.co.uk

 

Richard Armitage: A Star Is Born – Serene Sunday Edition – Ave Maria

Richard Armitage thinks about his holiday gift list at the NYC premiere. Courtesy of richardarmitagenet.com

Another day when this intrepid reporter can do Real Life stuff.  The Christmas season is in full swing and I’ve done nothing.  Sure, I played Pissy Elf for friends over Thanksgiving weekend, helping them decorate FOUR trees, but I’ve done nothing at home. So, my own tree rises like the Sphinx today, come hell or high water.

As you may know, I start obsessively playing holiday music in the middle of November.  Doesn’t everybody?  But with The Hobbit tour blitz and wall-to-wall RA coverage, I’ve not even blogged a single holiday song yet.  Oi!

Anyway, every time a certain song plays in my list, I starting thinking. (This might not always be a good thing, but bear with me).  I begin visualizing a certain person singing a certain song.  No, not O Holy Night, but Ave Maria, the Bach-Gunod version.  How did you guess?

I’ve heard this song performed by many tenors, but not other voice types I can recall.  However, because of the low, slow, tranquil movement of the music, I believe it can be done by other singers, such as a baritone, like say… RA.  See how I segued to Serene Sunday there?

Think about it, Dear Reader, having heard him sing Lonely Mountain, don’t you think he could do Ave Maria?  It requires more crooning than hitting very high notes; I think he could do it.  Playing in the background is Ave Maria sung by Perry Como.  He was a tenor who crooned most of his pieces.  Gaze at the picture (hard work, I know), and imagine RA’s lower register, singing it.

Would it work?

Have a serene Sunday.

 

[audio:https://jagrant.com/watcher/Audios/AveMaria.mp3]

 

***

NOT SO FAST!

Got that warm fuzzy feeling yet?  Keeping up with The Hobbit tour? Want to congratulate RA? Show your appreciation by gift bombing his Justgiving page!  Show him and the world you care.

You know you want to.

 

Richard Armitage: A Star Is Born – Anderson Live Edition

7:00PM

Home

Voices murmur.  The living room remains devoid of holiday decorations.  I remain in the den, feverishly tapping away on my laptop, dreaming of Francois the tuxedo.  Patty the Pom pecks away before the fireplace on her Dogtop, writing her memoirs.

Jodi stares at Jada in disbelief.  “Are you serious???”

Jada nods primly.

Quiet One shrugs, munching on the popcorn.

Fangurl bustles about setting up.

Jodi shakes hear.  “Really? So Thorin doesn’t get it on with Galadriel in the movie?

Jada sighs in exasperation.  “I said, no!”

Jodi frowns. “So what’s the point of an elven model if she doesn’t do THE sexy dwarf?!”

Quiet One snickers.

Fangurl calls out brightly.  “JUDI!  C’mon, I’ve had these memories set up for days!”

I drag in from the den.  There’s just been too much to do.  There’s the Christmas shopping and socializing to complete, not to mention coverage of this insane Hobbit tour blitz.  I sink onto the sofa, glancing curiously at Patty’s Dogtop.  She snaps it shut. Well.  I finally notice the wide screen memory screen.  All faces look at me expectantly.  Oh we’re doing this live?  Fiiiine.

I clear my throat. “Hello Dear Reader.  Welcome to my coverage of the Anderson Live taping I attended Tuesday during my whirlwind 12 hour trip to NYC.  Unfortunately I got only about 3 hours of sleep before, so my recollection of the taping has been a little hazy.  However, Inner Fangurl remembers, and she’s offered to help narrate, as long as she can co-host.”

Fangurl cheers.  “I’m FREEEEEEEEEE!”

I narrow my eyes at her. “Now, we agreed…”

Fangurl smiles sweetly. “Okaaaay.   Hey, ‘sup posse!”

I clear my throat again.  It’s so dry.  “Joining us in the peanut gallery is my personality trio: id, superego, and ego, Jodi, Jada, and Quiet One. You’ve met them in past blog posts.   Oh, and my Pomeranian Patty.”

Jodi waves.  “We got Sexy back!”

Jadi sighs at Jodi and nods.

Quiet One smiles, flashing a peace sign.

Patty looks up from texting on her iDog long enough to cock her head cutely and smile.

I’m starting to think better of this, but there’s no help for now.  “Fangurl has cued my memories, so let’s get started. Roll it.”

Fangurl sallies forth.  “Ah, here is where Judi’s moaning in her sleep.  I can’t believe she-”

I sit up sharply.  “Nobody needs to see that!  Fast forward!”

Fangurl works the remote.  “Ah, here’s where she camped at the wrong gate.  I -”

I grit my teeth.  “Hey, I made the flight!  Cut to the chase, will ya?”

The scene of the crime: CBS studios NYC at the Anderson Live door.

“Ahem, Dear Reader.  As you probably learned from our own Zan, I drew her into the insane idea of running off to NYC to see the Hobbit cast taped for Anderson Cooper Live.  (She blogged about it here and here.)  After wild texting, we met outside the CBS studios. Also there was another fan from Twitter, Luv.   Eventually the line queued down the block.  We met AwkwardCeleb, RA Central and others.  See, there we are taking pictures and enjoying the fun seeing each other on the flesh.  Oh, some even asked to take pictures with me. Imagine!”

Jodi laughs. “You’re infamous!”

Fangurl snorts. “Yeah, you’d think she was a real fan or something…”

I cut my eyes at her. “Anyway, as you can see, we queued for over two hours but it was a lovely cool day.  Eventually the staff came out with a cameraman and asked us to scream, cheer and hold up our signs.”

Fangurl interjects.  “And you didn’t want to do it!”

I blush.  “I didn’t know I’d have to fangurl!  On national television!”

Fangurl waves a hand.  “Well, I made her get that sign out.  It was so COOL!  *I* thought RA would get a kick out of it.”

I mutter.  “I thought only they were going to see it.”

The peanut gallery laughs.

The infamous sign in which I spell Sir Ian’s name wrong!

Fangurl waves me away again. “Anyway, let’s get through this.  We went through a security gauntlet and they ushered into like an audience green room-”

Jodi smiles. “Big, beefy, burly security guards too!”

Jada adds. “Except the room wasn’t green.  And made us sign a release to be on television.”

I remember this. “Yeah, my favorite was the part that said “you can’t sue us even if we edit you to look like a fool.”

Quiet One nods.

Patty chuffs in alarm.

Fangurl surges on.  “FINALLY, they took us to the studio and and sat us with Luv who was ushered in early because of her cane. We sat right there on the right in FRONT!”

Jodi nods. “On the soft seats.”

The set of Anderson Live where RA would shortly rest his posterior, far right.

I sigh.  “We were behind the cameras but they moved most of the time.  But we weren’t close enough for me to see RA well with my near-sighted self.”

Fangurl trills.  “That’s okay.  I had no problem.  So listen up.  They had two dance contests for the audience for free t-shirts. The first one was to Gangham Style. The second was to Sexy Back!  Zan and I loved that!”

I nod. “Yeah, I recall that.  Good thing I didn’t volunteer-.”

Jodi pipes up.  “*I* would have!”

Jada sniffs. “We don’t do that.”

Quiet One nods her head to the beat.

Patty rises and shakes her booty.  Some dog.

Fangurl continues. “Then the warm up lady gave us instructions on how to be a good audience- mainly act like over heated gerbils without scratching, wiggling and talking during the segments.  Then they brought out Anderson Cooper.  Such a funny guy.”

I frown.  Things starts to get fuzzy here.

Fangurl laughs. “See there, you did quite well.  I know you were zoning out there, girlfriend.  They had the camera on us for the longest time.  We’re going to be on TV!!!!  They did the segments about [CENSORED] and [CENSORED] and that crazy woman who [CENSORED], but the [CENSORED] was pretty cool!  Don’t know what we’re going to do with it, but you clung to it all the way home. Good job!”

The peanut gallery nods and applauds.

I smile uncertainly.

Fangurl is suddenly all aflutter. ” And then.. and THEN… it s time for the Hobbit cast.  And the audience went WILD!  Ohhh, look at the surprise on your face as Sir Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman came out of the entry right next to us. PRICELESS! Look, Sir Ian looked at you!”

I smirk.  “He probably was surprised by the surprised look on my face.”

Fangurl practically shakes with delight. “Coop interviewed just the two of them for two segments and then it was time for RIIIIIIICHARD!  Zan got all hot.  Oh my!”

I close my eyes, groaning.

Fangurl points at my memory. “THERE HE IS!  THERE HE IS!  He is talllll and soooo slender too! OMG, he is more gorgeous in person. We were so close!   SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!”

I facepalm.

The peanut gallery giggles and hoots.

Fangurl waves her arms about as if to take flight. “And then he sat his gorgeous arse down next to Andy Serkis – did I mention he came out too? – and then Sir Ian chattered and Martin said something and Richard listened and smiled and nodded.  SQUEEEE!  And then AwkwardCeleb asked him [CENSORED] and the audience laughed and [CENSORED], so he said [CENSORED] and the audience roared!  And the voice. THE VOICE!!!  Then Coop said we were getting [CENSORED] and the audience just about died!”

I nod.  “Yeah, that woke me up.  The [CENSORED] is pretty cool, I must say.”

Fangurl sags.  “And then it was all over and he exited stage right.”

I think hard.  “Yeah, Zan was fanning herself and Luv went off to get the elevator down.   My knee bothered me, but I opted to take the stairs anyway.”

Fangurl nods significantly.  “Yeeeees, we took the stairs. When we reached the sttreet, Luv ran over asking GUESS WHO she ran into in the elevator?  Richard Armitage. Enclosed.  IN.  AN.  ELEVATOR.”

Jodi yips.  “Oh Lordy!”

Jada sighs.  “She was tired.”

Quiet One shakes her head.

Patty shakes her head.

I whine.  “I was so tiiiiiiiiiired.  I wasn’t thinking!”

Fangurl presses.  “And THEN we stood on the Fatal Side of the door.”

I sputter. “But Andy Serkis ran over to us, signed autographs and posed for pictures.  I could practically touch him-”

Fangurl laughs.  “Yeah, and he blocked our view of Richard on the Other Side who posed very briefly before being whisked away.”

Jodi gasps. “Ohhhhhh.”

Jada sighs again.

Quiet One laughs. “Did you get anything with Andy Serkis?”

Patty glances my way warily.

I frown at the demanding bunch.  “You try fangurling on 3 hours of sleep and see how you do!”

Jodi snickers. “I thought you didn’t fangurl…”

I snap my mouth shut.  Shit.  “I meant.. I was there reporting.  For all the fangurls.”

They giggle and snort.

I jump to my feet. “It’s true!  I was there reporting, for the fans, enjoying the camaraderie and the joy of meeting people, and being part of something!”

They all smile.

I blink.  “And I had a fantastic time meeting Zan finally and putting a face to the name.”

They all nod and quirk eyebrows.  “Aaaaaand?”

I huff.  “And that’s all there is to it!”

I flounce off.

Fangurl calls after me.  “SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

They all fall out laughing.

Sometimes, I really get on my nerves.