Richard Armitage / Father Quart syncretic holiday

•March 18, 2022 • 2 Comments

Since it’s been such a holidayed week, Father Quart is wishing Happy Holi! to those celebrating. (He can do that, he’s a Jesuit.)

This looks like a new project

•March 17, 2022 • 12 Comments

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Erotic thriller!

Erin go bragh! Chag sameach! It’s a trifecta!

•March 17, 2022 • 15 Comments

[note this is a very old tweet]

And from me:

It’s also Purim! Purim Sameach!

And from the whiskey industry:

It’s Purim and St Patrick’s on the same day! Last time till 2041.

 

The two holidays both are marked by excessive drinking.

It’s also my grandmother’s 104th birthday. She loved St Patrick’s Day and always put on her green. She was (cough) not a big drinker, though.

Anyway, here’s the Maccabeats’ new holiday vid!

Armitage thanks

•March 17, 2022 • 3 Comments

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I’ll have to get my hands on it

•March 12, 2022 • 15 Comments

The Guardian thinks the accent is solid.

The war business thrives

•March 4, 2022 • Leave a Comment

I’m sure I’m the problem here

•March 3, 2022 • 22 Comments

But yeah, great idea. Donate money to a website run by the American equivalent of an oligarch on the assumption that he knows enough suffering people and he’ll do what’s right. No charity rating, no accountability. Just trust him. I don’t think so. Of course everyone can do with their own money what they wish, but saying I don’t know any other way to help is just plain fucking lazy. And advocating for it is worse.

I really need to stay away from Richard Armitage’s twitter. My fault.

Ocean’s 8 touches Ukraine

•March 2, 2022 • 8 Comments

Remember that restaurant scene? Veselka is in the news again as an impromptu center for supporting the Ukrainian people. I thought this was a really interesting article about the significance of the restaurant. I still wonder whether Armitage ever ate there, and if so, what.

The increased prominence of Ukrainian-Americans in Wisconsin during the last week has also definitely expanded my awareness of the situation. I knew that my main co-op farmer had immigrated here from the area around Lviv in the 1990s, but it has a new meaning now.

The article has links to more options for donating to support Ukraine, including buying military supplies for the Ukrainians. I’m not comfortable with that (yet), and I am not sure how it’s even legal. We weren’t allowed to send money to the IRA back in the day and more recently, people have been convicted for supporting military groups in Central Asia. My money ended up going to Polish Medical Mission. They have been raising money for supplies for Ukrainian hospitals and also have been working in reception areas for refugees on the Polish / Ukrainian border. I have nothing against the big international charities (especially when there’s no other option), but I think there’s often less overhead when money goes to a relatively local group.

Slava Ukraini!

Chekhov is terrifying: Drive My Car (2021)

•March 2, 2022 • 18 Comments

 

According to Fandango, it’s been 2.5 months since I was at the movies (about the time that Omicron started gathering speed here), to see House of Gucci (a mixed pleasure). In contrast, Drive My Car — an adaptation of some stories from a Haruki Marukami book that surpasses the original, but equally of Uncle Vanya — was a rip-roaring return that reminded me why it’s worth it to go to the movies.

In the first third of the film, we see the relationship between the Kafukus — Yusuke, an actor, and his wife Oto, a screenwriter. In the second two thirds, we see Mr. Kafuku as he directs a production of Vanya at a theater festival in Hiroshima; some mines laid in the relationship then explode during the preparation of the play. The plot, while at times gut-wrenching in its revelations (the reason why I am not giving more details, as I suspect most readers will not have seen it yet), is effectively balanced with insights about acting and theater that are equally comments on life and (especially) loss. The film got much-deserved Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, and it’s clearly the best of the nominated films that I’ve seen. By miles.

One of the film’s main themes is Kafuku’s directorial approach to classic theater, which we see at the beginning. In a scene from Waiting for Godot, each actor in the drama speaks his own native language and the audience follows the whole thing in supertitles. We see an audition for Vanya and a number of rehearsals, which make it clear how a company of actors works to draw out the feelings of the text, first into their own experiences and then into something for the audience. The intentional placement of obstacles to their communication makes them work just that much harder. Kafuku’s approach means that the actors are more than usually dependent on facial expression and gesture to communicate their sentiments and work on each other, in particular as Sonia is played by an actor who signs her lines in Korean Sign Language. But the first step for Kafuku is the text: he wants the words to filter into the actors’ subconscious, so rehearsals involve a very particular style of speech that is almost hypnotic. In a key scene in the film, he tells one of the actors in his play that he can’t perform Chekhov anymore — the lines “drag out the real you.” In the same scene, Kafuku comments on the ideal temperament of the actor.

But privately, Kafuku is still working his way through the Vanya text, with long stretches of him reciting Vanya’s lines against a recording of the play that his wife made. When his routine is complicated by the unwelcome introduction of a driver into his routine, another dimension is added to the script by the new character’s personal narrative, which connects with Kafuku’s on an emotional level. Crisis strikes and the two go on a journey together where both sort out the role that their own failures have played in the losses that torture them both. It was a dollop of cream on top that I think I have now seen a version of the ending scene of Vanya that emotionally convinced me, that didn’t seem like just so much more gaslighting. When Kafuku lets the actor playing Sonia “drag out the real” him, I grasp the real tragedy at the core of the play more fully than I ever have before. As punishing as Kafuku’s approach has been, so rewarding the result for the spectator: Vanya’s mid-life crisis finally seems real, rather than just another manifestation of his self-indulgence.

Yes, it’s three hours long, and yes, it’s heavily subtitled. This didn’t bother me as there isn’t a lot of complicated speech. I also suspect that this film will mean a lot more to people who are familiar with Vanya, although this is probably not a difficulty for Armitage fans.

This is really a film Richard Armitage should see — and not just because of Vanya.

Me eating more sugar is not going to help the Ukrainians

•March 1, 2022 • 14 Comments

However.

A pączek. Happy Shrove Tuesday.

 
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