'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

21 March 2012

The Franco Brothers

Thanks to parents Doug (passed away September 2011) and Betsy Franco we have some remarkably talented and oh so interesting boys. They are described as academic, liberal and largely secular so what a great upbringing for a wonderful, talented and artistic family.
James Franco
Born 18 April 1978 and he is 5'10". His first Film/TV appearances began in 1997. He has a remarkable 74 acting roles to his credit already (I only have 14 so far on DVD) and then there are 16 as director, 12 as writer, and then producer etc. etc. 
My collection of James Franco DVD's.
I will also have these 3 when they are released.  There are another 10 in the works.
Dedicated to study, he has moved from Bachelor Degrees to Masters and heading toward a Doctorate, studying English and Creative Writing while studying at three different schools including Yale at last I heard. Obsessively busy, he has received criticism for this for reasons that elude me. He is a fascinating man who has played and directed numerous gay characters and continues to do so. He will play large and small roles and appears to be plotting his own individual path. Brilliant!!
The Feast of Stephen
James Franco wrote and directed this student film, which includes nudity, about gay bullying based on a poem by American Anthony Hecht.

James Franco kissing himself.

From an interview with one of my favourite film directors that I have corresponded with on several occasions Bruce La Bruce on http://www.queerty.com/

I Want Your Love director Travis Mathews is directing James Franco in what he calls a “homo-sex-art-film.” Can you shed some light on Franco’s fascination with playing gay and his “queering” of the male heartthrob?   -  I’m friends with James, and I’m supposed to be collaborating with him on a film project also. But he’s very promiscuous, artistically speaking, so we’ll see if it actually happens! But I think his interest in the gay experience is quite endearing, actually. A friend of mine, Mark Ewert, was lovers with Allan Ginsberg when he was 18 and Ginsberg was in his 70s. Mark thinks James really nailed his portrayal of Ginsberg [in Howl], which I thought was quite an important endorsement. He’s obviously sincere in his interest in queer culture, and I think he particularly relates to the old-school rebels who were at the forefront of gay liberation, which is a good thing. I loved the project he did with Gus Van Sant, in which he did his own re-edit of My Own Private Idaho based on an early draft of the script, and also made a Super 8 remake of the movie with younger actors. It’s really fresh.

Dave Franco
Born 12 June 1985 and he is 5'7". His film/TV appearances began in 2006. He is the youngest and smallest of the three brothers and has a lot of comedy under his belt. He is also gorgeous. Dave Franco is in a few of my DVD's like 'Milk', 'The Shortcut', 'Charlie St, Cloud', 'Fright Night', 21 Jump Street'. and his brother's 'The Broken Tower'.
3 short and very funny video's of Dave Franco.

Or Watch Dave Franco and Chris Mintz-Plasse video "You're So Hot"

And even more from the Franco Family - 
Tom Franco
For Tom's art, sculpture, bio etc.

17 March 2012

Margaret Whitlam RIP

A National Treasure
Wife of the outstanding Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, Margaret became first lady of Australia in 1972 and changed the role of and raised the IQ of the position. She was tall, she was intelligent, she was a patron of the arts, she was remarkable. Margaret was one of this countries most beloved and amazing women. I adored her for decades. Today she died and left the world the poorer.
In a great moment of Australian culture, it was Margaret Whitlam's Husband Gough (not a Royalist) who when he was Prime Minister appeared in a 1970's film 'The Adventures of Barry McKenzie' and on screen he dubbed Edna Everage a Dame at Sydney airport. Hence we now have Dame Edna Everage.

Charles Dickens is 200.

2012 marks 200 Years since Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth on the 7th February 1812.
UPDATE 23 rd March:- As part of the celebration I went to see Miriam Margolyes in her one woman show "Dicken's Women" which returned to Australian stages after a very successful tour a few years back. An astounding and enjoyable evening of performances of many of the women in the stories of Charles Dickens. Accompanied by a pianist and on a set which included three chairs and a replica of Dickens own lecture stand as shown in the sketch below, Margolyes, now 71, skipped from voice to voice as she recreated the life and mind of Dickens, his family and his character creations. As I left the theatre it was some time before I could speak as by the end I had changed from laughter to tears and it was several minutes walking down the street until I could regain my voice and clear my eyes. A brilliant evening.

Actor, lesbian, socialist, Jewish marriage equality advocate Miriam Margoyles becomes Australian Citizen on Australia Day 26th January 2013.  Great to have her settled here with her Australian partner of over forty years.

Apart from  non fiction, a play and many short stories he wrote the following fiction. 
A Christmas Carol
A Message from the Sea
A Tale of Two Cities
All The Year Round
American Notes
Barnaby Rudge
Bleak House
David Copperfield
Dombey and Son
Great Expectations
Hard Times
Holiday Romance
Hunted Down
Little Dorrit
Martin Chuzzlewit
Master Humphrey’s Clock
Mudfog and Other Sketches
Nicholas Nickleby
Oliver Twist
Our Mutual Friend
Reprinted Pieces
Sketches by Boz
Stories About Children Every Child Can Read
The Battle of Life
The Chimes
The Cricket on the Hearth
The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain
The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
The Old Curiosity Shop
The Pickwick Papers
The Uncommercial Traveller

Gay Actress and Dickens expert Miraim Margolyes discusses Charles Dickens.

Gay Actor and another Dickens expert Simon Callow discusses Charles Dickens. 
Leading the global celebrations of this anniversary is Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall who has special interest and support for reading. Seen below the Prince lays a wreath on the grave of Charles Dickens in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey. Dickens died on the 9th June 1870

15 March 2012

The Diamond Celebration

Royal Jubilee
The celebration of a Royal Jubilee seems to date back to Namer, the first Pharaoh of a united Ancient Egypt some 5,200 years ago. Known as the Heb-Sed it was generally declared after 30 years on the throne and then every 3 years, but this was not always so and varied according to political necessity. The Mace Head of Namer shown below apparently records the Jubilee celebration. Beside this is Pharaoh Pepi I dressed to celebrate his Heb-Seb in 2362 BCE. (note Pepi is the name of my blog although I am thinking of his son Pepi II and my dog of course) To replace a tendency to possible assassination of a Pharaoh thought too old to rule, the festival, which often involved physical feats and running, was meant to rejuvenate the Pharaoh's strength, stamina and virility. 
Although the extensive tours this year will see a test of stamina for The Queen I do not expect to see her racing down the Mall although Queens such as Hatshetsup, who took on the garb and false beard of a king, is shown running with the sacred Apis Bull at her Heb-Sed.
The Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
It is now 60 years since Princess Elizabeth heard of the death of her father King George VI on the 6th February 1952  while she was on a visit to Kenya. At this moment she became Queen of Britain and all her considerable realms. She returned immediately to The United Kingdom and was met at the airport by her first Prime Minister Winston Churchill. It was not until the 2nd. June the following year 1953, that she was finally crowned. To date she has had 12 UK and 12 Australian Prime Ministers and in that time there have been 12 US Presidents. She met all except LBJ. Her length and quality of service are outstanding by any reckoning.
This would brighten up the Guard of Honour for Her Majesty.
Give her a present of a real inspection of her fit troops for the Jubilee.
Other pages here on this blog relating to The Queen:-
also on Wikipedia

08 March 2012

Australian String Quartet

Tonight I attended the first concert for 2012 of the Australian String Quartet as part of their national tour. What an evening of pleasures.
Towards Light
Peter Sculthorpe, String Quartet No 11
Dvořák, String Quartet No 10 in E flat major, Op 51
Shostakovich, Piano and String Quintet in G Minor Op 57
With guest pianist Daniel de Borah
Behind the scenes of the new line up.

The first piece Jabiru Dreaming by Australian Peter Sculthorpe was composed as a gift from Australia to France on the bicentenary of the Revolution and premiered in Paris. It drew on indigenous melodies transcribed by a French expedition in 1802. Sculthorpe creates the true ingrained sound of Australia that is as unique as the art of Sidney Nolan or the ancient dirt and the individual animals of this land. The Dvorak was wonderful and to me the Dumka (2nd movement) or folk music expressed the same sounds as the Dvorak Dumky Trio which is a favourite piece I have loved for decades. What was most spectacular for me for the evening was the pure evocative and meditative sound Kristian Winther drew from his violin in the Intermezzo of the Schostakovich (Piano) Quintet in G Minor Op 57. One could hardly breath in the extended passages of perfection. In fact I heard Kristian gulp a huge breath at one stage as he and we had been transfixed by the long single note he held with his steady bow. The exciting and profoundly dramatic Scherzo (3rd part) was encored at the end after a rousing reception and this time they accelerated the pace to bring the evening to a piano crashing, string ripping, very showy finale. 
The Blues movement from Ravel's "Violin Sonata No 2."with new boy Kristian Winther back in 2008 when he was 24, way before he joined the Australian String Quartet. This young man is on a trajectory to great fame. He has magnetic stage presence, is beautiful to look at, moves with interesting grace and plays with gripping talent. Some did note that he is not wholly successful as an ensemble player, but I did not see this. Perhaps it is because he looks like a star.
Here you can listen to the plaintive Intermezzo performed at the Lugano Festival 2006.

Web Site for The Australian String Quartet - http://www.asq.com.au/
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