kangeiko: (Default)
A very happy Easter to all those observing it. I've had quite a busy Easter weekend, all in all.

I met up with [livejournal.com profile] monanotlisa on Saturday and we went to see Six Degrees of Separation (front-row centre complimentary seats, courtesy of the amazing [livejournal.com profile] athena25 ) which was wonderful. Snippety snip for review. )*

Later on that day, we went to the Retro Bar for a drink and to watch the New Who. To quote just about everyone: a mad man with a box. )

*

And on Sunday... )

Currently,  am watching Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which I hadn't seen before. It is... interesting.
kangeiko: (Default)
Imagine this:

You have purchased a spa day for your mother's birthday. She's a busy lady who doesn't have time to go out to the middle of nowhere, so you have opted for the Park Lane Hilton. You do this on 9th July, specifying that it is a gift and providing her name.

The voucher for the spa day finally arrives three weeks later, on 29th July. It not only has the price prominent, it also has THE WRONG NAME on it.

You are due to present your mother with this gift on Sunday 2nd August.

Now imagine trying to get hold of someone in the Hilton Park Lane who will accept responsibility for fixing this, and failing miserably. Imagine leaving a barrage of messages. Imagine seething about this helplessly.

I swear to God, there better be next-day delivery of a replacement or I won't simply be imagining the number of websites who will have a one-star review submitted for this.
kangeiko: (Default)
- Saw The Observer at the National Theatre last night - excellent production, provocative and thoughtful.

- Have introduced [livejournal.com profile] athena25 to the joys of Veronica Mars, I stand triumphant.

- Gossip Girl is making me insanely happy right now. And making me crave Laduree macaroons like a crazy pregnant woman.

- Speaking of, someone brought in their baby to work yesterday, and I got him for close to twenty minutes. He was adorable, but seemed to be under the impression that I was edible (or at least my fingers, which were admittedly wearing coral nail lacquer and therefore could well have resembled sweeties). I also got to impart sage toothing advice: frozen bananas.

- And something else, that is so AMAZING I can't quite speak about it yet lest it dissolve in my greedy little hands. *clutches it tightly to my bosom*
kangeiko: (RSC players)
[livejournal.com profile] queenspanky, [livejournal.com profile] wingsmith, [livejournal.com profile] rifle and I went to see Waiting for Godot last night. To be more accurate, we went to see the first half, then went for dinner.

Now we're not really Beckett fans at the best of times, but still we persevered, determined to see Stewart in a production that wasn't awful (nightmares of Macbeth, the last thing we saw him in, loomed. [livejournal.com profile] queenspanky had the good fortune to see him in Hamlet, but unfortunately I missed out on that one. So Beckett it was, then.) Now, there is a slight hitch with this plan, in that Beckett is... ok, let's face it, the only Beckett performance I have ever enjoyed was done by a troupe of French clowns. Now they could deliver futility like no-one's business. And I'm not really familiar with Waiting for Godot, so I thought that even if I hated the play, it's unfamiliarity would keep me watching.

Which were we hit the second snag, and that's the Theatre Royal itself. As we weren't convinced, we got cheap seats up in the Gallery. It turns out that they're not only cheap, but also hideously uncomfortable. There was no leg room, they were angled oddly, and there was no back support whatsoever. Plus, they were tiny tiny tiny, so you ended up pressed arm-to-arm with those around you. Yesterday was 32C in London, which also didn't help. Finally, the acoustics of the Theatre Royal when it comes to the Gallery... well, there aren't any. You could hardly hear a thing.

So, halfway through, we walked. I enjoyed Stewart and McKellen's performance, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if 1) I didn't hate the play quite so much, and 2) the theatre was marginally better. I think if the theatre had been better I would have sat through it diligently, but as it is, I was working hard on staying conscious and also not having a panic attack at being so pressed up against other people for two hours. So let's call that a bust all 'round, shall we?

Afterwards over dinner [livejournal.com profile] wingsmith remarked that he'd give his eyeteeth to see Stewart and McKellen play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. I concur.
kangeiko: (RSC players)
And just briefly, Madame de Sade at Wyndham's is a crock of bulls&*%. Do not pay money to see it. Even Dame Judi couldn't save this from being a complete waste of time. The only bright spots were Dame Judi and Frances Barber, and they were criminally underused. Rosamund Pike was hideously earnest throughout; a terrible one-note performance with no heart. And the script... oh, boy, the script. [livejournal.com profile] queenspanky, [livejournal.com profile] wingsmith and I were in hysterics. No no no.

*

OTOH, Death and the King's Horseman at the National Theatre was excellent beyond words. Not only do I recommend it heartily, I'm going to see it again. You may have trouble with the accents initially, but don't let that stop you, it's magnificent. (Having just got back from West Africa, I had a definite leg-up on the accents, I confess, but [livejournal.com profile] monanotlisa had trouble with them, as did quite a few people around us. Don't worry, that passes after about half an hour or so.) It featured some excellent performances, with the lead (Nonso Anozie) and the chorus/dancers being particularly impressive. Go see this instead.
kangeiko: (RSC players)
Tonight I saw The Fever by Wallace Shawn at the Royal Court Theatre.

It was a comped show for me, as it was first night and I am part of their target audience (or, rather, my friends are their target audience, and I am the person that's gonna tell them to go see it). All in all, it was an interesting but tiring experience. Clare Higgins is very good in delivering what is essentially a 90 minute monologue. The material is at times striking, amusing, and upsetting. A woman travelling to a poor country develops a fever and starts to question the motivation for her travels, and for her belief that what she's doing is good. It's good stuff, albeit marred by an over-reliance on clich├ęd imagery. Frequently people and objects are 'soaked in blood', and guilt is used somewhat overbearingly to force a reaction. Strangely, it's the humour that makes this work, elevating the material above that of a 90 minute navel-gazing session. It rings too close to home to be dismissed as that; the arguments used to justify the woman's lifestyle choices are the very same we all use, and it is the nervous, self-deprecating humour that lays that bare - not the descriptions of people suffering. At the end of the day, the audience leaves more interested in the wealthy traveller and her motivation than the nameless people she sees tortured and murdered. They have faded to a backdrop in her story.

*

On a side note, we had excellent seats in the stalls, and sitting a couple of rows in front of us was ... Wallace Shawn himself, who is, of course, Vizzini in The Princess Bride. Yes, I had to go look in imdb for that, because I recognised the face immediately but had no idea who the guy's name was... so was mildly surprised to realise that he was the writer! It makes sense he'd be there for the opening night, though. My brother - who was my theatre +1 for the evening - was also rather pleased.

Edit: and is also Grand Nagus Zek in DSN! (Gossip Girl and Sex and the City I knew about. DSN slipped my mind completely. Woe. But also, yay!) *fangirls shamelessly*
kangeiko: (RSC players)
I saw Complicit at the Old Vic tonight, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] athena25. I knew nothing about it going in, and had some bizarre impression that it was a period drama (possibly because it had David Suchet?) that was quickly dispelled by the beautiful - and very tech-heavy - in-the-round stage. The floor was raised, and glass, with screens panelled at odd angles beneath, showing both AV aspects of the play and also standing in for set (streets, wood panelling, the tv on the wall). Very nicely done. And the remodelled Old Vic is very pretty in the round; it will be a shame to go back to the proscenium after a few months.

The play itself was new writing, and somewhat middling, script-wise. Sometimes it gave the actors scope for comedy and pathos, but often it veered into 'worthy but dull' territory. Part of the problem was that it was about a reporter who is dragged in front of a grand jury to be questioned about a book he wrote in which he described the torture going on at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Suchet is excellent as the lawyer trying to keep his friend out of jail, manoeuvring behind the scenes to work the system to their advantage. Richard Dreyfuss played the reporter, Ben Kritzer, and had a fair stab at it. Unfortunately, he had far too many scenes with Elizabeth McGovern, who was incredibly wooden in her role as his wife. To be fair, the script didn't do her any favours, leaving her little to do but repeat "won't you think of your family!" at appropriate intervals.

Overall, I thought it was an average script, generally very well acted and superbly staged. It's worth going for the AV aspects alone.

*

name-drop )

Araki

Jan. 8th, 2006 04:40 pm
kangeiko: (Default)
Araki: Self - Life - Death, still showing at the Barbican.

Even those who are unfamiliar with Araki's work have probably seen some of his more explicit images: his wife, or one of his other models, naked and tied up with silk ropes. It's certainly what I was expecting when I went to the exhibition, and was a little wary at 4,000+ explicit images before lunchtime.

Happily, my preconceptions couldn't have been further from the truth. Yes, Araki's work focuses on the erotic and on death - erotos - but what struck me about many of the most explicit pieces was the inclusion of the model's faces. I had been expecting 1) the concealment of the face or at the very least 2) a blank expression. Instead, the models looked right into the camera. It was actually somewhat unnerving to be watched whilst examining them.

While the erotic permeated the entire exhibition, not all of the photographs were explicit - or, indeed, of people. In fact, one of my favourite sections was 'Flowers', which featured close-ups of the inside of flowers, budding or in bloom. Some of the photos had overlays of colour; some had been painted before being photographed. All of the 'Flowers' photos were, without exception, vibrant and intensely erotic.

My other favourite section was entitled 'From a Blue Period', and spanned many types of shots, from cityscapes to kinbaku (rope bondage) to 'distressed' over-exposed shots to simple portraits. The choice of colour and the overlays of filters etc, especially in the 'Blue period' kinbaku shots, was absolutely beautiful. (So much so that I was highly tempted to purchase a coffee-table book of the selection, despite the hefty price-tag. Alas, frugality prevailed, and I consoled myself with some postcards instead.)

Not all of the exhibition was wonderful, of course. The 4,000+ photographs would have been even more overwhelming if fully half of them were not polaroids, and covered one room from floor to ceiling. As [livejournal.com profile] wingsmith and I slowly walked around this room, I started to get rather dizzy. Many of the polaroids were very similar, and very explicit. They struck me as works in progress, or at least research - certainly not completed works. There are only so many photographs of a poached egg that a person can examine before becoming slightly confused as to why they were doing this.

[livejournal.com profile] wingsmith and I were also slightly discomforted at the photographs of dolls with kinbaku ropes stringing them up. The channish implications of this - even if they were just in my head and not intended by the artist - were rather disturbing for me.

Conclusions: worth a look. A documentary ("Arakimentary") is screened every two hours (and lasts an hour and a half), which looks at the artist at work; pretty much all of Araki's major works are included, and, as I said, the 'Flowers' and 'Blue Period' sections make it worth the price of a ticket.

Serenity

Aug. 25th, 2005 12:24 pm
kangeiko: (Default)
I went to see Serenity last night, with [livejournal.com profile] erykah101. I am a fan of Firefly; [livejournal.com profile] erykah101 has seen maybe one episode. I know all the character names and background; [livejournal.com profile] erykah101 knows her Joss meta. Really, between the two of us, we were pretty representative of Joss' fanbase.

Slight spoilers, but hopefully nothing too bad if you've seen the trailers and/or watched the show )

Right, so the film itself was good, and I'm giving it 8.5 out of 10 and many thumbs up.

After the movie, Joss and Summer Glau turned up for questions. Let me say now - oh my dear god, Summer is tiny. Like, tiny tiny. And, being a dancer, she doesn't look skinny or unhealthy, just tiny.

She was also absolutely adorable. She had trouble sitting in the big chair set out for her. In had a gap at the back, and she couldn't arrange herself against it, then dropped her bag through it and had to go hunt for it, then nearly fell off - bless her. "You're not to laugh at me, I tried so hard to be grown up tonight!" She wailed at one point. She is so unbelievably adorable, I think I have a slight (or possibly not so slight) crush.

Apparently, anything that went wrong on the set is Summer's fault. So, when she dropped her bag etc., the entire auditorium called, "Suuuuum-mer!" And she turned bright red. I say again - adorable.

I can't remember much of the Q & A, to be honest, because I was very much drugged up to the eyeballs. However, I did manage to gather enough wits together to ask one question (I was 'lady in the blue hat', because my mummy told me to wrap up warm. Shaddup.). I asked Joss about Book's background (because it turned out all them spoilers I had thrown at me? Were wrong.). Do you know what he said? spoilery by omission, I guess. ) So I'm officially sulking. :)

Oh! And the Session 416 clips that have been surfacing? The doctor in them is played by Joss himself, 'cause he couldn't be bothered to cast anyone as they were done spur of the moment. And there will be more coming out, apparently. So it's all good.

There was much talk about the marketing and promotion of Serenity, as well, which mainly centred on TPTB showing the film to people. This undderstandably made Joss nervous. "But, if they're all going to see the movie before opening weekend, then, come opening weekend, won't they... all have seen the movie already?" *clutches head in pain* Hopefully, though, it'll work a treat, and all those people who've already seen it will encourage their non-fan friends etc to go see this really cool new movie.

And you should. Because it's the best damn sci-fi movie out in freaking ages. Plus? There's politics in it. And cultural imperialism. And, also, ass-kicking.

*jawdrop*

Jul. 25th, 2005 04:19 pm
kangeiko: (Default)
Have just read Ministry of Space during my lunch hour, and may I just say? fuck me sideways )

Go sell your most expendable family member and get your mitts on a copy of this.

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