Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hare Décor VI


Image: "Hare Handle Basket with Four Legs" (glazed stoneware, 1995) by Ken Ferguson.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Standing Ovations

The following is excerpted from Mark Shenton's December 23, 2010 commentary "The Full Monty," which is about what one blogger calls the "best hung the­at­rical her­oes."

___________


I recently wrote here about critics getting too personal in reviews, following the furore that engulfed Alastair Macaulay of the New York Times for his characterisation of the Sugar Plum Fairy in a New York City Ballet production of The Nutcracker having consumed too many sugar plums herself. But as Michael Cove­ney sug­ges­ted in his blog on Tues­day, “A per­former gets on a stage and per­forms. With heart, mind and body. All three are fair game for crit­ics, and being rude or not simply doesn’t come into it. What an actor, or a dan­cer, looks like is what crit­ics write about.”

And if a per­former goes naked, it should, to fol­low this reas­on­ing, be fair game for their par­tic­u­lar attrib­utes to be com­men­ted on, too.

Crit­ics, of course, often do, par­tic­u­larly if the per­former doesn’t exactly meas­ure up, so to speak. I have pre­vi­ously writ­ten here how Mark Lawson once com­men­ted adversely on Ian Holm’s man­hood when he appeared naked dur­ing the storm scene in a National Theatre pro­duc­tion of King Lear, and how Holm replied in his auto­bi­o­graphy that the com­ments have “stayed with me, so I sup­pose they must have hit some kind of nerve.” But Holm gets his revenge: “Even dis­reg­ard­ing Lawson’s own phys­ical short­com­ings (the liver lips, the pudgy plas­ti­cine face, the old man’s pre­ma­turely bald­ing dome), I am not con­vinced that his no doubt enorm­ous cock would not also have dwindled after a cold bath in front of sev­eral thou­sand people.”

Ian McK­el­len, play­ing the same role for the RSC (and like­wise strip­ping), on the other hand drew this admir­ing, even slav­er­ing, review from New York critic Michael Port­antiere, in which he noted, “Spe­cial note for those who care about such things: In a brief nude scene, McK­el­len amply demon­strates the truth of Lear’s state­ment that he is ‘every inch a king’.” No won­der that Derek Jac­obi, now play­ing the role for the Don­mar, has pub­licly declared in an inter­view with Dominic Cav­endish in the Daily Tele­graph: “I can’t com­pete!!”. . . and so he doesn’t try and remains fully clothed dur­ing that scene.

When Daniel Rad­cliffe, the Harry Pot­ter film wiz­ard, fam­ously showed his own per­sonal wand as he made his stage debut in the lead role of Equus, a role that involved a pro­longed nude scene, he told the New York Times when he reprised the role there that he suffered from what he called Michelangelo’s David Effect. [According to Radcliffe] David “wasn’t very well endowed, because he was fight­ing Goliath. There was very much of that effect. You tighten up like a ham­ster. The first time it happened, I turned around and went, ‘You know, there’s a thou­sand people here, and I don’t think even one of them would expect you to look your best in this situation.’”

Nich­olas de Jongh, then theatre critic of the Even­ing Standard, how­ever, clearly expec­ted more, declar­ing that “never in mod­ern times has such excite­ment been stirred by the pro­spect of view­ing a very few inches of adoles­cent male flesh”.

The very phrasing, of course, proves that nude scenes in the theatre do undoubtedly cause a frisson and sexual tension that isn’t necessarily to do with the character at all but about the actor’s own exposure of something far more intimate. And in any case, I heard from separate reports over the course of the New York run that far from suffering the David Effect, appearing in Equus proved to be sheer theatrical Viagra for young Mr Radcliffe, who was more man than boy as the play increasingly stirred him to attention.

A similar thing happened to Eddie Izzard when he appeared in a nude scene in the West End play Lenny with co-star Elizabeth Berkley, and rose to the occasion in every sense, so to speak. As Max Bialystock says to Ulla after her audition in The Producers, “Even though we’re sitting down, Mr Bloom and I are giving you a standing ovation,” so it seems that both Mr Radcliffe and Mr Izzard wanted to lead the standing ovations.

To read Mark Shenton's commentary in its entirety, click here.

See also the previous posts:
Hard
Not a Weapon or a Mere Tool
Body and Soul
Rethinking the Normal Penis

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Communion


com·mu·nion (noun): a close relationship
with someone or something.


See also the previous posts:
"I Have Become Your Brother . . . One of Your Kin"
Creature of Mystery, Creature of Magic
Emanation

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Morning Light


Image: Subject and photographer unknown.

See also the previous posts:
Hard
Not a Weapon or a Mere Tool
Body and Soul
Rethinking the Normal Penis


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bronze Hare


Above: "Bronze Hare" by Belinda Sillars.

On her website it's noted that "Belinda Sillars is a renowned sculptor of extraordinary talent. Her bronze wildlife sculptures have developed from a love of wildlife since childhood . . . a very rare and natural talent that captures the true character of her subjects."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ballerino II


Image: Subject and photographer unknown.

Monday, August 18, 2014

This Fleeting Journey


Beautiful and precious one,
take care on this fleeting journey,
one so full of danger and despair.


Image: Photographer unknown.
Words: The Leveret.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Art of Juliusz Lewandowski


According to his Saatchi Art website, Polish artist Juliusz Lewandowski is a "self taught painter, cooperating with Sopot Auction House in Warsaw, the Museum of Eroticism in Cracow, and the Catarine Miller Gallery in London.








To view more of and/or purchase Lewandowski's artwork, click here, here, and here.


See also the previous posts:
The Art of Felix d'Eon
The Art of Herbert List
The Art of Joe Ziolkowski

Friday, August 8, 2014

In Meadow Flowers


Image: "Brown Hare in Meadow Flowers" by Mike Rae.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bel Homme XXXVI




































Image: Subject and photographer unknown.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Going Floral


Writes Linda Sharkey in the British newspaper The Independent:

. . . Suddenly, beards [have] became a fashion statement. It’s not so much of a new thing though, they’ve always been cool, but for rather different reasons. Fashion editor Alexander Fury explains that “in the 1850s, the beard came into fashion as a symbol of authority, masculinity, orthodoxy. By contrast, the 1950s beatniks' and 1960s hippies' hairiness was an affront to the still-prevalent military diktats of short back and sides and clean-shaven face. A beard was a bushy banner of rebellion. Today, all that deep and meaningful gumph kind of mashes together. To our modern eyes, a beard is redolent of tradition, a touch archaic.”

But most recently, the bushy beard’s masculinity has been turned off and instead adorned with flower power. A wacky new trend sees hipsters weave foliage into their facial hair. It’s emerging across boho America. Yes, men in Brooklyn, Portland and San Francisco are adorning their faces with blossoms, seemingly for the sole purpose of artistic portraits that have been taking over the social media with the hashtag #flowerbeards.



It started gaining popularity on the social platform of Tumblr, when a blogger began "Will It Beard" project, and has since blossomed elsewhere around the internet.

However, it seems that the beard garden is not so new. Some images of flower beards date back to 1977, during the aftermath of the hippie movement. At that time, flower crowns were all the rage - that Frida Kahlo blossom head accessory that comes back every festival season. So flowers and hair is an old story. The new add here is ‘facial hair.’

Wherever the trend came from or whether we’ll start seeing flower beards walking the streets in Britain, these images are worth admiring. In portraits, the blossoming beards are a wonder to behold.


-- Linda Sharkey
Excerpted from "Flower Beards: The Beard Frenzy Has Now Gone Floral"
The Independent
July 21, 2014



Related Off-site Links:
This is the Latest Bizarre Viral Male Fashion Trend – Eileen Shim (Mic.com, July 15, 2014).
Behold! Lovely Men with Flowers in Their Beards – Allison P. Davis (New York Magazine, July 10, 2014).


Image 1: Marlee Meghan Banta.
Image 2: Photographer unknown.
Image 3: Sarah Winward.
Image 4: Tumblr.