Good morning, September! As a child, this month meant back to school. Now for me it begins the journey to December winter (and Christmas. YAY!!!) So because I’m an old fart, this song has been my earworm all morning. Jerry Orbach originally sang it in the 1962 off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks.
Richard Armitage rocking a Mr. Rogers look. Wouldn’t have minded staying in his neighborhood.
So I drank a margarita made with little alcohol (or so I requested) and it still knocked me on my ass. I need to crawl to bed. In the meantime, I’ll leave one of my favorite pictures of Mr. Rogers – I mean Richard Armitage.
Hello class. Hope your week has treated you well. Me, I was alternately placid and annoyed but that a topic for another. Today is all about the objectification. Let’s hit it.
Here is Richard Armitage news program picture from a 2014 interview circuit. This is a low resolution photo causing artifacts and blurring but the effect reminds me of a soft focus camera setting. The gauzy light makes him appear to have discovered the fountain of youth. Notice the return of soft radiant youthfulness, the smooth skin and perfect hair curling at the perfect longer length. (Personally, this is the perfect style for him at this age. It softens his angular features, balances the high forehead, and covers the elven ears.) Even the early stubble looks touchable. While I’m not a fan of dark shirts other than black, the brown does complement his hair. Overall, it’s a pretty damn good bad picture. Ah, the misty water colored memories of the way he was. Sigh.
What do you think? Do you prefer the old RA or the newer RA?
I’m not sure whether everybody has seen Amazon’s Echo. This device connects to an artificial intelligence server named Alexa, a kind of competition for iPhone’s Siri. (I have one.) With the appropriate equipment, Alexa turns lights on and off, wakes you up and puts you to bed, answers questions, and walks the dog. Well, not exactly but that doesn’t mean that Amazon hasn’t been thinking about your four-legged friends. Enter Petlexa – for your pet. What could possibly go wrong?
Enjoy. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my birthday with a day of lazing followed by culinary overindulgence at a location known only to friends. Ta ta!
Richard Armitage as Francis Dolarhyde displaying the latest in skintight briefs. From the series Hannibal.
Hello class. How’s your week been? Did you enjoy last week’s nose study? Well, we wouldn’t be at out objectifying best if we didn’t examine other…erm…areas. For science, you know. During my blogging absence, I continue to track Richard Armitage’s roles, including that of Dolarhyde in Hannibal. Luckily or not (your mileage may vary), I was already watching the show. In preparing for class, I came across an article describing the character as “sensual and empathetic,” not words I would have used.
But what’s important is that RA was “half undressed most of the time.” No I’m not criticizing his acting; it was quite good. However the character proved quite intense and violent which made viewing a bit daunting. Hence, I enjoyed the time he was on screen clad in nothing but nice tight black briefs.
This isn’t the greatest screen shot but RA here still appears as fit as he was as Guy 10 years ago, but let’s be sure. Shall we? Perky pecs? Check. Chiseled abs? Oh yes. Waxed chest? Yes please. Long finely muscled arms? Mmm hmm. Looks slightly heavier than the lean Guy days but perfectly acceptable.
But wait – is that a slight burgeoning love handle? Personally I think the briefs are so tight that they are cutting him in just a tad at the waist. The verdict? I think RA still looks pretty fine at his age, or for any age.
Back in the Jurassic Age, I was a lawyer. Courtrooms could be cavernous, swallowing up sound, so I plunked down money for state of the art hearing aids. That meant that they were molded in one piece and fit in the ear. I could control the volume on the piece and didn’t need a little black box that hung around the neck or fit in a pocket. I loved them until I realized they magnified all the noises I could already hear and nothing else. They drove me crazy. Into a drawer they went and years later, out with the trash.
So 27 years after my first failed experience, I decided to try again. Although I’ve been hearing impaired since birth (mostly deaf in the right, partially in the left), what remains has been gradually disappearing. Friends told me that I heard less. I found myself growing quieter and quieter in noisy social situations. I’d become so accustomed to the sound of silence that I didn’t realize how bad things were until the audiology test. To my dismay, the spikes and lines dipped much lower and the good ear had lost a great deal of word comprehension in noisy environments. Literature lying around warned that increasing deafness carried a higher risk of dementia. So I bought more state of the art digital hearing aids, fully programmable, and geared to amplifying the sounds I need. My geeky soul was thrilled. The audiologist stated he wouldn’t program the devices to full capacity so that the wall of noise wouldn’t knock me over. Instead he would increase the volume over a 45 day trial period which would allow my brain to adjust. Even so, the variety and loudness of sounds have been startling. Literally. I’ve jumped at every odd noise since beginning this post. Is the strangely loud washing really breaking down? I have clue.
The new high tech. Starkey Halo 2 hearing aid
Naturally my high tech gear has not come without glitches. The devices should be programmable with my iPhone allowing me to take calls and listen to music – that is if the damn phone will see them. One hour with the audiologist and two and half hours with Apple troubleshooting have yielded no fully functioning hearing aids. There’s another audiological appointment on Friday. Apple swears they are working on their end, and I’m about to bring Starkey, the manufacturer, into this. Needless to say, these iPhone friendly devices will be returned if they aren’t iPhone friendly soon.
All of this reminds me of another type of deafness which leaves people isolated in their personal bubble of silence. Simon and Garfunkel sang about it in Sound of Silence.
Courtesy of that hotel shoot. Please let me know which one so I can give credit.
So I combed through Pinterest of all places looking for photos and found another one from The Infamous Shoot. It’s another example of what should have been a stunning picture. Not that it’s bad, but RA appears either too lit up or wears too much make up. As it stands, this is one of the better photos from that shoot.
Tony award winning Hamilton is one of my fave musicals I’ve never seen yet. So I checked on YouTuber Peter Hollens to see if he had taken a shot at it. Lo and behold, there was the tribute video. So here is Hollens and company with a medley of hit from Hamilton.
Just because you can remake a movie, doesn’t mean you have to.
Disney takes a second shot at its own 1991 classic animated film by the same name. It offers what you would expect: big lavish production values, an array of stars, and a sense that this live action version must achieve parity or surpass the first mega-hit. As I read in another review, Disney seemed to “ask themselves in every scene whether it met the original and the answer was no.” So they added new songs and subplots which served both to lengthen the story and, I suppose, justify the additional material. Considering that Disney intends to remake its other classics like Little Mermaid in live action films, the stakes are very high.
Unless you have never been the original, it’s impossible not to make comparisons. In fact, several scenes are replicated line for line, frame by frame. But there’s an inherent problem with comparing live actors to their animated counterparts. Does Emma Watson look like Belle? (No.) Can you overlook it? (It depends.) Is her voice good enough? (That’s debatable.) This running dialogue ran through my head all during the movie. However, some actors rose above the chatter. Luke Evans as Gaston has a good voice and Josh Gad is a wonderful DeFou. The scenery is beautiful. The production is spectacular. The movie delivers on the extravaganza. It even has some magical moments towards the end that pulled me in.
But Emma Thompson singing the title song isn’t Angela Lansbury. Kevin Kline is miscast as Belle’s father. Dan Stevens’s Beast needs to learn from Richard Armitage’s Thorin and use his eyes to convey emotion under all that fur. The added songs and subplot are unnecessary and unmemorable. The story-line changes in odd ways. Cogsworth, Lumiere, and Mrs. Potts lose their charming animated expressions of the original. Even though the big razzle dazzle Big Our Guest seems to strain to be as Over the Top as OTP could ever be, there is something missing. In sum despite all the lavishness, some essential charm has been lost.
Audiences have apparently been coming in droves to see why Disney would want to risk remaking its own classic. Well, it’s for the usual reason: to insure that these old classics continue to make money by retreading them every generation. That’s not to say that this Beauty and the Beast is a waste of time. I didn’t leave wanting my money back. Those who have never seen the original should enjoy it. It’s just that for old-timers like me, there is a reason why a film becomes a classic after all.
One of my favorite animated films is Disney’s Beauty and the Beast released in 1991. Twenty-six years later, Disney decided to release a live action version. Naturally I wonder why they would want to do that when they had already achieved perfection? Still my curiosity is piqued, so I will go see it. I’ll tell you what I think.
In the meantime, you can compare the two versions of the title song. Here is the official 1991 video with Peabo Bryson and Celine Dion.
Ariana Grande and John Legend perform the new 2017 release. It is more lushly produced. What do you think?
Well, hello class! Yes, AGAIN. I know I’ve been away quite a few times actually but think of it as your teacher taking sabbaticals for her – mental health. Please know that the blog will transition away from Richard Armitage as soon as I start cranking out original stuff – but not just yet. There are still issues I need to address about him. Let’s get on with the foolishness, shall we?
I’m as shallow as I’ve always been. I have the uncanny tendency to pick actors starting in their mid-30’s at the height of their masculine beauty then following them until their 40’s when they reach the cusp of youthfulness. Then it’s downhill from there and I kick him to the curb. Well, imagine my wistfulness when I beheld this picture from a last year’s photo shoot after being away for awhile. (This is not a great one but my source of current photos seems to have tried up.) At first glance, he’s quite the fit, handsome, dapper man. But look closer. Use a magnifying glass. The lines are more pronounced. The softness around the eyes is disappearing. The lips are paler. The jawline isn’t as firm. Yes, our Richard is aging.
Well, this may not be a shock to you, but it was to me after all this time. Now this ordinarily would not be a big deal. I’m sure many men would love looking like this at 45. But RA is an actor who doesn’t move in ordinary circles. His vocation idolizes youth and the ability to project youthfulness as long as possible. Here is he is just finally achieving wide success and The Powers That Be ordain that men his age should either move on from lead roles to action parts or secondary characters. He has reached the time when moisturizer is a given and dermabrasion is recommended. Dare I mention a facelift on the horizon? (Personally, male beauty care if fine, but I don’t like facelifts on men. It makes them look too artificial.)
Program cover for the upcoming Music Inspires 2017 concert.
Unless you’ve been following me on Facebook, you may not know that I have become Girl Friday for a friend who is a fine arts chairman at posh college preparatory. I point out the poshness because it’s the only way the school can afford the many concerts and productions it has a year. Aside from assisting in musical production (such as Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables), I’ve taken over creating programs for her musical events.
It’s not just a matter of slapping information on a flyer. Oh no – you know me. Each flyer must be a production in itself, a work of art, starting with the cover. It must have acceptable graphics. In the past, I was content to surf the internet looking for freebies. But since the music department has upped the ante with lavish musicals, I realized that I needed to take the covers to the next level. In other words, create my own graphics like the one in the picture on the left. Looks pretty simple, right?
Let’s talk about Adobe Photoshop. I used the program for years to perform simple sharpening, cropping, etc. Then the program became increasing exorbitant and too rich for my blood. Now Adobe allows users to pay a monthly subscription for the software that’s always kept updated via uploads. Okay, I thought. I can teach myself how to slap some elements together and voila, my vision will be realized. I downloaded Photoshop CC 2017 and opened it.
Let me say, right out of the box, the program isn’t the least bit intuitive. Adobe prides itself on saying there are 10 different ways to do one thing. I had trouble discovering one. The software has become so bloated and involved. The drill down menus have drill down menus. I had to google how to turn off the splash screen. The Adobe site had tutorials but not the ones I needed, of course. So I visited PHLEARN.com for lessons. What was I trying to do? The music bar in the picture did not have a transparent background which meant I had to cut it out or mask it. Masking is an action Photoshop has always done and it even has magic masking that failed to work like magic despite control tweaking. And – you know me again – I’d picked a graphic that required detailed painstaking masking around the bars, between the lines and notes and flowers. Then I discovered that only keyboard commands worked some of the actions, so simple clicking would not do. Fun. Fun. Fun. By the time I realized properly adding text to the graphic wasn’t really intuitive either, I was ready toss everything out the window (but the desktop is expensive and really heavy). Eventually I broke down and added the text using Microsoft Publisher. And that was just over masking. There was still the zillion other things Photoshop could do chirps Adobe.
I may have to bring my visions down a notch. Sheesh.