Moments of escape can be moments of clarity!

"Oh, had I but followed the Arts"-William Shakespeare

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bits & Bobs & Summers End

We are nearing the last gasp of warm summer breezes. Surprisingly for the first Summer in years it's been a bit of a drought in the Acting arena. It's my first year with a new agent, so I guess finding my niche is proving a difficulty.  So I have concentrated my efforts on my music & formulating a piano/singer endeavor. The end of summer feels like the end of leisure time. I know it's an illusion, but It feels like I have more time in the Summer for reading. I'm heading off for a bit of a Holiday, so this is my end of Summer Book review.
I've chosen John Connolly's "THE WOLF IN WINTER", the 12th in his Charlie Parker series (13th counting the Novella "The Reflecting Eye" from Nocturnes).

From the outside, the town of Prosperous is perfect. It lives up to it's name. A town that is a well-off,quiet, serene, tight-knit Community. It feels Homey and Folksy, but scratch the surface and Prosperous has a bleeding, evil, festering center.
A homeless man enlists Private Investigator Charlie Parker to help to find his missing Daughter. Later this same man is found dead. Charlie continues his investigation, which leads him straight to Prosperous. As is Charlies nature, he is once again impelled to right a wrong and bring whoever is responsible for the disappearance of his clients daughter to their knees.
Charlie has already faced some of the most depraved & lethal evil imaginable, but the Town of Prosperous will stop at nothing...nothing to protect what they have built, but They've not come across the likes of Charlie Parker & they sense in him an unrelenting danger that must be stopped.

Despite the title, "THE WOLF IN WINTER" is a great Summer read. The tension builds page by page, It's one of those books that will have you saying "Just one more page, and I'll put it down". Don't be daunted by the number of books in the series. I started with the 4th book "The White Road" (Still one of my favorites.), but I didn't feel I was missing anything. It just made me want to go back to the beginning to read the 3 I'd skipped.
I am intrigued by the protagonist Charlie Parker. He's a fragile man, who doesn't realize he's fragile. He turns his fragmented soul outward, compelled to protect & avenge those least able to do so for themselves. Unaware that each time he is driven into darkness, a little more of his soul is pounded to dust.
I envy those of you who are just starting your journey with Charlie Parker. All those exciting, well written stories await you. When you have finished with Charlie Parker, Samuel Johnson is waiting in the wings. Also his new series "Conquest" with co-author Jennie Ridyard (A Sci-Fi treat). It's like Christmas.......really.... Christmas.

In case you are in search of new music:
Eiayay's Summer Music rotation

The Summery, always danceable THE BOMBAY ROYALE

and LA SANTA CECELIA, they do a wonderful version of "Strawberry Fields"

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Lost Art Of Gentlemanly Behavior

My Reel of the Week is 2012's PARADE'S END". It was originally a BBC mini-series (5 Hours) and broadcast on HBO. It is currently out on DVD.

Benedict Cumberbatch  plays Christopher Tietjens a high-collar , priviledged nobleman who is trying desperately to hold tight to the attitudes and social mores of an ever changing egalitarian Society. Britain is also tense with the whisperings  of WWI.
After a moment of weakness and lack of judgement, Christopher finds himself married to a pregnant Sylvia (Rebecca Hall). Shortly after their marriage she gives birth to a boy who may or may not be Christopher's. because of his sense of duty and principles, Christopher turns a blind eye to Sylvia's manipulations, indiscretions and belittling remarks, determined to fulfill his obligations as a husband and father.
He meets young suffragette Valentine Wannop (Adelaide Clemmons). He
feels the stirrings of a passion he must resist to avoid corrupting his principles and disgracing his family. With both the impending War and the Women's Suffragette Movement looming, Christopher is pushed to either move with changing times or stay hopelessly anchored to the past.

PARADE"S END started a little slow, but by the second hour I was thoroughly engrossed and invested, but I had to keep reminding myself that the timeline was the 1900's to cut down on my shouting of "WTF is wrong with these people".
Rebecca Hall was perfection in the role of Sylvia. I wanted to really hate her for her horrendous treatment of Christopher, but you also saw how insecure and damaged she was.
Adelaide Clemmons as the Suffragette Valentine was a bit young for the role and seemed disconnected from the Era she was portraying. I wasn't convinced she had any real frame of reference to draw on to make her character more alive. She was able to convey the naïveté of a young girl navigating the minefield of first love.
 Many people have knocked Benedict Cumberbatch as an actor because he has the been at the apex of that double-edged sword of being the IT person right now. As an actor myself I learn something new from every performance I have seen him in. He is a fearless actor, something I aspire to and envy. He is a chameleon, who allows himself to be vulnerable, which is what we all strive for as actors and is the most difficult part of being an actor,opening yourself fully to each role. In PARADE'S END he was perfectly and frustratingly Christopher Tietjens.
PARADE'S END was moving and romantic & perfect for what I wanted at that moment.