We Need to Talk about Kevin

I have pondered a lot over the past days whether to write or not about Kevin Spacey. I have been, and still am, a huge fan. I am also a public relations professional and a woman who has, like pretty much every other woman in Eastern European Romania, seen and experienced her fair share of sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour.

I have read in horror all the witness stories written about Harvey Weinstein and empathised, just like everyone else with a pulse and a heart in the right place, with those who have been pushed around, denied roles, threatened or molested by a bully in a position of power.

But somehow, in my book, nothing that has been so far written about Kevin Spacey registers in the same way. I hear people who have been bothered by a massage in an age where sexual partners are chosen on Tinder. I hear vertically moral people bothered by a blow job in a gay bar in a country where this happens pretty much every year.

I see a world class career destroyed in a matter of days in a whirlwind of social media where anonymous comments evoke shady incidents that are literally from the last century. I see that a theatre – which has been brought back to glory from rubble and disarray by Spacey and endowed with a humongous amount of money not two years ago – is trying to ride the publicity wave by opening a “confidential email address” where people are encouraged to spill the beans on Kevin Spacey.

Leaving aside the preposterous notion of anonymous email messages or confidential email addresses, two concepts that would work today only for crass computer illiterates, the headline that this poor gang of gossipers gets in Vanity Fair says it all “Kevin Spacey’s Former Theatre Has Opened a Confidential Tip Line”. Sorry, Old Vic, for the American audiences you still are and will be Kevin Spacey’s former theatre…

I see Spacey fired, blamed, his work discarded, his awards withdrawn, his strong and, I am sure, overbearing personality condemned at every step, and yet I saw no outrage of such caliber two years ago when this came to light. Not the first time, mind you, but the third or the fourth time in ten years…

I see now Masterclass is cancelling his class on acting, Kevin Spacey being the main reason I had learned about Masterclass.com in the first place. I wonder when Dustin Hoffman will also get the axe judging by the same weird wave of morality that suddenly got into us…

I read his PR advisors and publicists are deserting him right now and trying to put some distance – and I remember all the glorious campaigns and ideas that surrounded “House of Cards” or The Old Vic every single year… I was in awe of all that… and frankly, I am disgusted by all this…

I see all this happening in a country lead by Donald Trump… I see all this happening to one of the great friends of Bill Clinton… forgive me if I really feel this is off…

I can’t rule out the possibility that I might be horribly wrong. The private lives of individuals cannot be judged objectively by outsiders. You can never know all the inner details of a crisis situation as long as you are not in the room… But I would have felt extremely hypocritical if I had not written this. Kevin Spacey was the one to make me come to London and experience world class theatre for years and years and years… He left me in awe following his performances in Richard III, Inherit the Wind, Clarence Darrow, The Usual Suspects, but also for The Life of David Gale. He left me in tears after the wildly emotional speech he delivered the night before leaving The Old Vic as a Creative Director.

This is none of my business and yet it is… cause if we start throwing shit at people and destroy careers based on gossip and we all agree that this is somehow ok, who’s gonna say who the next target is and who’s gonna wait and analyse and judge (I mean really judge) whether it was warranted or not…

Oh, and if you are looking for good movies to watch, you should try this one sometime…

Cum e ca spectator la ”Vocea României”

O sa spuneti ca mai e mult pana la toamna, dar pentru fanii adevarati, ”Vocea Romaniei” a inceput deja, cu inregistrarea etapelor de auditii in blind. Urmaresc emisiunea de la primul sezon, am mai scris despre ea in trecut pentru ca mi se pare unul dintre foarte putinele programe de televiziune carora merita sa le acordati timpul vostru si, prin grija prietenilor mei, am ajuns in fiecare an, mai devreme sau mai tarziu, in sala, sau mai bine zis, in studio.

A fi spectator la ”Vocea Romaniei” nu e o experienta obisnuita – rigorile bunului simt, de care (sper) tinem cont la orice spectacol, sunt dublate de rigorile impuse de o emisiune de televiziune care trebuie sa si sune, dar sa si arate bine. Auditiile dureaza mult – sunt ore si ore de inregistrare si efort pentru echipa si pentru cei patru jurati, sositi intr-o formula noua anul acesta.

Daca pentru noi, cei din sala, programul incepe in jurul pranzului si se termina seara tarziu, pentru ei incepe de dimineata, eventual si dupa o seara in care au avut concerte sau aparitii publice. Ei sunt punctuali, si noi trebuie sa fim punctuali – drumul pana in Stefanesti ia putin in weekend, dar enorm in timpul saptamanii, iar de asta e bine sa tineti cont. Mai bine sunteti siguri ca ajungeti si plecati mai din timp decat sa constatati ca ati batut drumul degeaba pana acolo. Continue reading “Cum e ca spectator la ”Vocea României””

Live Baryshnikov

Mărturisesc, am mers anul acesta la Sibiu la FITS special pentru Mikhail Baryshnikov. Semn de snobism cultural? Nu tocmai. M-am întâlnit pentru prima oară cu el pe un VHS prost înregistrat, în anii 80, într-un film care spunea o poveste pe care, până la un punct, am fi dorit cu toții s-o trăim. Un balerin genial reușește să evadeze din spațiul comunist și ajunge în Statele Unite.

He had me from hello – spune o replică celebră dintr-un film. Baryshnikov m-a făcut să mă uit altfel la un generic de film pentru că genericul de la ”White Nights” este așa

De acest generic și de multe altele mi-a amintit seara de la FITS petrecută în compania unui Baryshnikov peste care vremea a trecut cu destulă delicatețe.

BrodskyBaryshnikov-11028

Când l-am invitat prima oară pe un amic la o expoziție a Barbarei Hangan, mi-a mărturisit ce reacție de respingere inițială a avut când a auzit – ”hai la un vernisaj de pictură românească contemporană” – doar ca să fie mai apoi peste măsură de surprins de grația, inteligența și atemporalitatea picturilor ei. Continue reading “Live Baryshnikov”

Manele culte

Ca multi dintre noi in ultima vreme, am inceput sa ma feresc deliberat si consecvent de experiente mizerabile – si in business si in afara lui. Daca ma duc la un spectacol, ma informez, ma pregatesc, ma incant in avans si vreau sa ma bucur de o experienta care sa ma emotioneze, sa ma incarce, sa ma inspire. N-as fi scris postul asta daca nu as fi trecut in 2016 prin trei asemenea ”spectacole” care mi-au provocat in cel mai bun caz stupoare si dezolare si in cel mai rau – dezgust.

Trei proiecte promovate serios, cu blazoane si nume mari s-au demonstrat a fi niste constructii calpe, de un grobianism feroce, facute pentru bucuria targului, pentru cateva chicoteli ieftine ale unui public venit in mare parte pe invitatii – deci, desigur, cu intarziere, dar si cu apetit pentru aplauze complezente la final.

Incep cu ultimul, pentru ca mi-a demontat pentru totdeauna un mit creat acum 20 de ani – acela al regizorului Andrei Serban. Opera Nationala Bucuresti a gazduit aseara, in ceea ce mai intai a fost si apoi n-a mai fost deschidere de stagiune, o opereta – ”Vaduva vesela”. Interpretata, aproape in exclusivitate, de artisti de la Opera Nationala din Iasi. Voci pentru care, asa cum n-am vazut nicaieri pe unde am fost, au fost necesare …microfoane, ca la musical, ca la muzica pop, ca la…noi la nimeni.

Campania anunta, ce-i drept, ca aceasta va fi o ”Vaduva Vesela” ce n-a vazut Parisul, dar conotatiile expresiei, de regula sunt pozitive. In retrospect, nu ma mir de ce n-ar vedea Parisul o asemenea concoctie dubioasa.

Afisul, precum productia, era semnat de un alt nume celebru – las la latitudinea voastra sa-i calculati valoarea estetica.

Afis Vaduva Vesela

Continue reading “Manele culte”

A modern fairy – Michele Carragher

I got caught up in the Game of Thrones in the 4th season – binged it all up and then followed it week after week religiously. One of the details you notice as a fan is the rich texture of the costumes – clear indication that the production team is as much in love with the books as any of us. Yet finding the artists to create the wonderful clothes and armours, to imagine and deliver the fabulous embroidery on Cersei’s dresses in silk or leather or Daenerys’s blue dragonscale tunic is quite a feat in this day and age.

The eyes, brains and hands behind the magical embroidery on the GoT costumes belong to Michele Carragher, a young and very talented British artist, with an impressive portfolio of costume design for period and fantasy movies. Here are her thoughts on embroidery, creativity and the World of Costume in an exclusive interview.

You seem to have drawn inspiration for your wonderful embroidery work from many sources – from architecture to painting and jewellery. What is the one most important thing that you learned from each of these three?
Because I often want to create sculptural and 3 dimensional elements to my embroidery I find it really useful to look at architectural decoration, or jewellery as a starting point as it will be easier for me to visualise the embroidery for the particular piece I am working on, for example a lion, from an already sculpted shape.
I do however look to nature too, particularly if I want to capture movement within a piece. Within paintings I may be looking to the historical textiles and decoration within them, or it may be to look at how colours, mood and light have been captured by a particular artist.

You have worked both for Elizabeth I, where the need for historical accuracy was a bit stricter, and for Game of Thrones, which allows for more creativity? Which setup worked better for you – the one that provided more guidelines for your work or the one that left everything to your imagination?
For a historical drama like Elizabeth I there are usually documented references for you to draw on, in books, on the Net and in Museums, and you use all these to influence your designs but you don’t have to recreate pin point accurate embroideries, as there wouldn’t be time to do this. You are trying to create an impression of the style of work that is believable to the audience as belonging to the period you are portraying on screen and is suitable for the particular character’s status or narrative story. With a Fantasy like Game of Thrones you have more freedom to create designs as you are not restricted to a specific period in time.
Whatever genre of film you are working towards conveying a visual narrative to the audience to create a believable and understandable world, be it contemporary, fictional, factual or fantasy.
Out of the two productions I would say I prefer working on Game of Thrones as it has allowed me to present my own authorship within the designs I have created, this doesn’t take away any importance from my work on Elizabeth 1, I loved the challenge it presented me with the designs I had to conceive, and I really did enjoy working on this project due the Elizabethan era being such a great period of history to work on, with lots of rich encrusted decoration. Continue reading “A modern fairy – Michele Carragher”

Un colt de rai ”a l’ancienne”

Pe bulevardul Maresal Prezan, la nr. 4 A intri pe o alee in care te intampina mirosul de cetina chiar si in plina vara. In capat, protejata de un rond impunator de hortensii care isi fac de cap pentru ca au atata apa si atata umbra cata le trebuie, e o casa paralelipipedica, jumatate ziduri jumatate ferestre, unde isi are sediul un adevarat muzeu al modei somptuoase, teatrale si al accesoriilor de mare clasa.

E firesc, e casa doamnei Doina Levintza si a domnului Dan Coma, atelier, locuinta, showroom si spatiu de intalniri magice cum nu cred sa mai existe in Bucuresti. Bubu, bichonul alb, bucuros si zgomotos te intampina la usa indiferent pe ce buton te nimeresti sa suni. De la intrare dai peste piese artizanale de colectie, intr-un alandala relaxat si artistic, semn ca fiecare dintre ele si-a gasit locul natural, la un anumit moment, si de-acolo nu s-a mai clintit, lasand sa se adune straturi si straturi de obiecte, care mai de care mai interesante, care mai de care mai cu poveste.

Vin in casa din Maresal Prezan cu bucuria de a ma reintalni cu un loc extraordinar, in afara timpului, in care maiestria e judecata si pretuita la adevarata ei valoare, in care ai interlocutori minunati sa discuti frumosul, fie ca el se modeleaza in cristal, in bronz, in ulei sau acuarela, in lemn sau argint. Si mai ales in piele. Continue reading “Un colt de rai ”a l’ancienne””

Iubire cu OCD

Festivalul International de Teatru de la Sibiu nu e numai despre teatru. Surprizele cele mai mari mi le-au produs, in fiecare an, reprezentatiile de dans. Adica, la teatru ma asteptam, dar la dans de mare clasa, sincer, mai putin. Anul acesta nu a facut exceptie.

Am mers, intr-o companie selecta, tot la Fabrica de Cultura, unde parca a tunat si a adunat crema spectacolelor, pe Triajului 1-3, sa vedem OCD Love, spectacolul trupei israeliene L-E-V.

De la ei am si aflat ca LEV inseamna “inima”- cu alte cuvinte, oameni pregatiti inca din titlu sa exploreze profunzimile dramei sau elevatia extazului. O trupa de sase dansatori cu suflet si cu tehnica de atleti, yogini, practicanti de arte martiale.

Spectacolul debuteaza cu un solo care stabileste tonul intregii reprezentatii, respectiv te reduce la tacere si la niste periodice suspine de uimire pentru ca e imposibil sa nu te miste controlul miscarii, modul in care ea reverbereaza muzica pe scena, iluzia ca solista e double-jointed. Nu e.

Atinsa eu insami si de OCD si de Love, desfasurarea de forte si de forta a trupei israeliene mi s-a parut foarte explicita. E o transfigurare, in dans, a indoielilor si metodelor de supravietuire ale omului modern, care oscileaza intre dorinta de a-si controla existenta si de a-si lasa sufletul sa piarda controlul in iubire.

iubire-cu-nabadai-2

Continue reading “Iubire cu OCD”

Tu de cate ori ai vazut Faust?

Anul trecut, la Sibiu, la Fabrica de Cultura, m-am simtit oarecum in afara gastii cand am primit aceasta intrebare. Anul acesta am primit un tricou care atesta, rosu pe negru, ca problema s-a remediat si ca da, am vazut Faust. Dar era absolut necesar sa vad spectacolul lui Silviu Purcarete si a doua oara pentru ca asa e el, te lasa cu o dorinta intensa de a reveni. Pentru ca nu-ti crezi ochilor si urechilor. Pentru ca nu poti uita mirosul de kerosen.

Am re-vazut Faust in ultima zi de #FITS2016, in conditii privilegiate, precedat de o conversatie intensa de dimineata, cu o prietena foarte buna care traieste in lumea teatrului si a filmului si de o alta conversatie, mai in fapt de seara, cu …Mefistofelia Popii. Continue reading “Tu de cate ori ai vazut Faust?”

Cinci femei si-o piesa

Am citit ”Pe aripile vantului” cand eram mica, pe vremea cand ai mei se intrebau ce naiba as putea intelege eu din cele doua volume scrise de Margaret Mitchell. Eheee… Filmul l-am vazut mult mai tarziu, dar evident ca am fost fascinata de Vivien Leigh. Iar ideea de a-ti face fuste sau rochii din draperii mi s-a parut intotdeauna foarte practica, mai ales daca ai draperii din brocart sau shantung de buna calitate. Cum avea Scarlett.

Lamia

Saptamana asta am fost sa vad “Ultima conferinta de presa”. O piesa despre Vivien Leigh. Scrisa de Marcy Lafferty (o actrita americana), in disperare de cauza, intr-un moment in care nu gasea nici un text care sa ii puna in valoare expresivitatea si pasiunea pentru teatru. Altfel, Lafferty, cu studii serioase de balet si de teatru, ar fi ramas in istoria digitala doar prin faptul ca a fost, la un moment dat, sotia lui William Shatner, alaturi de care a si jucat, de altfel, in Star Trek…

La noi, “Ultima conferinta de presa” prinde viata prin intermediul Lamiei Beligan, care marturiseste ca piesa i-a fost recomandata de tatal sau. Recomandarea a fost inspirata, pe scena Lamia e fragila, frumoasa, seducatoare si nebuna cu convingere si sensibilitate.

Continue reading “Cinci femei si-o piesa”

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