The "Brit a Day" series

What does a months-long parade of attractive British men have to do with fiction, you might well ask? These gentlemen have inspired some lovely scenes, part of the life I live in my head. Over time, some of these scenes reach out to one another and begin to form a story. For the present, each one of these pictures provides a writing prompt for me, a way to keep me writing with a sense of passion and narrative, even when the stories are not yet fully formed.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Brit a Day [#146]

This post is for Thursday, and then I might take a wee break from posting for the Fourth of July weekend.

Many people look to "The Constant" as the peak episode of all the six seasons of LOST, and a lot of that praise is thanks to the performance of Henry Ian Cusick. However, this picture is not from "The Constant." It's not even from the same season.

"The Constant" would have meant next to nothing were it not for the groundwork that Ian laid down for his character Desmond in Season 3. Desmond is, by Ian's own admission, the best part he's ever played, and I say his work in Lost, Season 3, is the best he's ever done.

A Brit a Day [#145]

I see Captain Hook at the heart of many of the characters Jason Isaacs plays, so I chose Hook as the top of Jason's game. I've brought back a photo from just weeks ago and this wonderful fan art because I just realized recently that one might be based on the other.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Painting a picture with a text

I love pairing a photograph with a favorite bit of text. This passage is from "John Thomas and Lady Jane" by D. H. Lawrence. JT&LJ is, historically speaking, an earlier draft of "Lady Chatterley," but as literature, it stands alone and is often described as superior to the final version. I love them both, like fraternal twins. They are indeed very different, but in the end you know that they come from the same place.

In this passage, the two lovers are meeting after a period of time in which they had to stay apart from one another. One reason for the separation is that, in English society of the 1920's, neither of them could obtain a divorce from their respective spouses if they were found to be morally at fault for the break up of the marriage. Go figure. But their larger problem is that they come from different strata in the English class hierarchy. It makes their baby all the more of a miracle, and their love for one another is a symbol of hope.

My sincerest thanks to the artist who manipulated this screen cap from the final episode of 'Lost.' Gives us a shout if you are around so I can credit you properly!

A Brit a Day [#144]

I've not seen Daniel Radcliffe perform on stage, as much as I would like to. In my narrow experience of his work in films, he is at his top in the Harry Potter series. "Prisoner of Azkaban" and "Half-Blood Prince" tug at my heart for personal favorite among the series, but I think Daniel's performance of the character is at its peak in the fourth film, "The Goblet of Fire."

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Brit a Day [#143]

For Christian Bale, "American Psycho" would have been an obvious choice and a good choice. But I think the subtle turn he makes in "Laurel Canyon" from angry man to wounded child, from jealous boyfriend to laying his heart open and bare, makes that performance my favorite and thus my pick for his Top of His Game. The last time we see him emerge from the pool there is like a small rebirth, something you suspect his character will have to do again and again.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Brit a Day [#142]

This week I'd like to show off the cast at The Top of Their Game. This will be a thoroughly disorganized and unofficially applied theme as I have not seen each of these actors in every one of their roles. But...

Here is Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin in 'Sweeney Todd'. It was so hard to pick one character as Rickman's top contender. My mind always runs to Rasputin, for which he won an Emmy, and his melancholy/quirky part in 'An Awfully Big Adventure.' But singing "Pretty Women" with Johnny Depp pushed Judge Turpin into the top spot. [Good work on the part of the make-up department here too. Those fingernails make him almost completely disgusting.]

Saturday, June 26, 2010

An Open Letter to Terry Gross

As the DVD releases of Lost, Season 6, and Lost The Complete Series are approaching in August, I have a guest to recommend for your NPR radio program "Fresh Air". Henry Ian Cusick, who played Desmond, a pivotal character and huge favorite of fans, has proven himself in the closing weeks of the series to be a charming and articulate spokesman for LOST. His lovely Scottish accent has found its way into many hearts, as well as his self-deprecating humor. I do know for a fact that he has a huge following on the internet, and my personal knowledge of some of his fans supports the notion that they are bright people who would like to hear a great journalist interview him! A quick survey at YouTube would probably bring you up to date on his Lost-Finale interviews.

Thank you for the all the good interviews and reporting you have given us over the years. There are no words.....

Best Wishes,

a listener of KPBS Fm in San Diego, CA

A Brit a Day [#141]

Sorry, I couldn't resist...Plus one and one more. Nestor Carbonell, Henry Ian Cusick and Special Agent Oso. On a personal note, I just turned to my son and asked him the name of the guy in the middle. He said, "I told you the last time you asked me, I DON'T KNOW." That implies Tragedy A) My memory's shot, because I don't remember him saying that, and Tragedy B) There's no one in my house young enough to give a toot about Playhouse Disney characters anymore.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Brit a Day [#140]

Eddie Argos is great about having his picture taken with fans, so there are lots of pics of Eddie out there 'plus one.' But his only Number One is Dyan.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Brit a Day [#139]

Henry Ian Cusick plus one at the Tag the World Triathlon in Hawaii last year. [Was it just last year?...] The young lady is familiar to me but I can't place her. Does anyone know if she is a celebrity, on a show or something? Or maybe she just resembles someone I know.

What?...You say you haven't looked at the girl in the picture yet?...I can't imagine why not.

Speaking of triathletes, I follow the blog of Ian's former couch Marion from her present home in Australia. She's going through a tough time right now with the sudden onset of Bell's Palsy, but she's as determined as ever. I'm sending good thoughts Marion's way.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Essay for Michele

As I post this essay, I want you to know that this is the highest achievement of an otherwise melancholy day. My daughter is home, uncharacteristically sound asleep with a sore throat, right on the heels of her younger brother having a cold. No surprise, but when I think of how fleeting the summer break between school years is, I don't want them to miss a moment of it. She's missing a girl scout camp called Girls Empowered to Make Movies--GEMM--it's just as wonderful as it sounds. I want her to be there, not home sick.

I'm in mourning for my country, an inescapable mourning that does not dissipate when I go to my "Happy Place" a long, long way from here on an island or in Scotland. The cap on the Horrible Offshore Oil Well in the Gulf has been knocked off by a robot, of all things--as in an 8-year-old's nightmares--and oil is spewing into the gulf again, the Ocean, at a rate as unchecked as ever. Tar balls were discovered along nine miles of coast at Pensacola Florida this morning. Observers were described as silent, silent. My home, the outer banks of North Carolina, is just around the geographical corner. It could be there later this summer.

I'm in mourning for my country, and I want to know what kind of drugs Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone put into McChrystal's drink. Whatever it was, what ever was done, it was poison.

More than ever, I need to be in the company of artists. Women. Writers. Friends and "Friends."
I'm proud to have written another essay expressing in my own way the heart and soul of Michele's work, as I am so honored that she has asked me to write one again.

Correspondences and Elevation:
An installation of Paintings by Michele Guieu

“It’s really a group,” says Michele, “and the group could evolve…it’s possible to make this piece live.” Michele has just guided me into the space that now, for the third time, hosts a solo exhibition of her work at SDAI. Seeing the installation “Correspondences and Elevation” for the first time reminds me of what it’s like being introduced to a tall, well-built man—not overwhelming, but it holds an aura of authority, and at the same time it is a joy to visually behold, to flirt with.

In “Here It’s Peace,” Michele’s 2008 solo installation at SDAI, each piece was individually titled and owned its own space even though the whole of the show was much greater than the sum of its parts. This new show is simply one piece, one title. In 2009, in her show “C’est La Vie,” the separate canvases had a very organic relationship to one another, displayed on a mural-sized silhouette of human figures on the beach. Now in 2010, the canvases are like frames from a roll of 35mm still photo film, the images brought into soft focus by knowing that the installation’s title derives from two beloved poems by Charles Baudelaire.

Other than as a Photoshop mock-up on her computer, Michele could not see this piece in its entirety before installing it here. “There was not even enough room on the floor to do this at home.” The canvases are uniform in height and vary with widths of 36”, 48” and 60”. Their size contributes to the drama of the work—drama that is developed without being political. The emotions evoked by “Correspondences and Elevation” defy expectations of what a piece about family, home, and place should be. “I feel like I’m going forward,” Michele says. Her growth as an artist here is an expansion of the direction we saw her work take at Art Produce. The installation she did at the North Park gallery earlier this year, “Lucy, Darwin, and Me,” was a tribute to Charles Darwin, nature, science, and family.

In “Correspondences and Elevation” newer works are not seamlessly camouflaged among the older pieces. They are, instead, allowed to be bold in a way that shows a new generation has come of age in a family. Some of these canvases predate my own acquaintance with Michele and therefore predate her first solo show here two years ago. On the other hand, some of these are so new that, as I stand here a day before the opening, they are practically still wet.

For Michele, that which is personal extends to her family and the ocean and beach that she loves. Each of these frames is imbued with the sense that it is a personal favorite, each in its own flavor. The work as a whole, then, feels like a big box of See’s Candy, personally selected to include as many favorites as possible, while each individual piece is a work of art.

Michele is definitely moving forward. The newer pieces have achieved a manipulation of color and texture that I’ve never seen in her work before. “Nothing is fake,” she says. “I connect to the place I live; I’m super-connected to my family.” Interaction with nature is an inescapable theme and fact of her life. “I was choking in Paris. I need those [natural] places.”

These images come at a time when remembering natural spaces could make us profoundly sad. While “Correspondences and Elevation” doesn’t specifically address the present catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, it certainly addresses what we have to lose. Eighty percent of the world’s population is now urban, Michele tells me, so people on the whole are completely disconnected from nature.

Images here that are just plays on the light contrasting the dark can seem like odes to things coming apart, like sides being drawn in a battle, and can be as disturbing as deep shadowy places often are. But the political fallout of our failure to protect nature does not underlie this show; it is simply Michele’s appreciation of natural beauty.

Jane La Motte
San Diego, California
June 2010

A Brit a Day [#138]

Mr. Isaacs is standing down today to hold my hand through some nasty cramps....I wish.....OK, enough about me. Here's one of the loveliest Boy Brits ever, Alex Turner [right] with one of his Arctic Monkeys bandmates. This photo is years old--I doubt Alex was out of his teens--but the band had already exploded by then on an international scale. And I mean that in a good way!

I will do my best to arrange to send a dollar-off coupon for Midol to the person who tells me the bandmate's name. I feel rather rude for not knowing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Brit a Day [#137]

I don't know who Dan Radcliffe's very cute 'plus one' is in this picture, but there were other photos in the same post where I found this one [years ago] that made it look like they had a lot of fun making that birthday cake!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Brit a Day [#136]

Christian Bale has graciously stepped aside for the day to allow James Blunt to bring his 'plus one'. I don't know if the gentleman who is seated is his producer, an engineer, or a band mate...but isn't that recording studio, with its natural light flowing through the big French windows, the one of your dreams? Hands in pockets, it seems like a moment of peaceful accomplishment for James Blunt.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Brit a Day [#135]

This week's theme is 'Celebrity Brit + One'. In this case, Alan Rickman's 'plus one' is Sonya Walger. Or it could be the other way around--she is most certainly a lovely Brit as well.

I don't mean to imply anything romantic with the 'plus one' thing--'Plus one' is just the person you take with you to a wedding or high tea or an invitation-only concert in which a rich kid tries to present a fusion of classical music and rock with a band called DriveShaft....okay, I didn't say that....

Anyway, here are Alan and Sonya. They were very cute together in 'The Search for John Gissing.' And by 'cute together' I don't mean to imply.....

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Brit a Day [#134]

I slept so late today that I got to combine breakfast and lunch into one continuous meal--I know, it's called brunch, but I prefer to think like a Hobbit and make it into as many feedings as possible--Second Breakfast, Elevensies..... In honor of getting 2-for-1, I bring you two fabulous brits today in one gorgeous photo session. Naveen Andrews played Sayid on LOST for 6 years with an Iraqi accent [I started to say 'flawless' but what do I really know], however in real life he has the cutest South London twang ever. And that other guy can dial up the Scottish burrrrr to about 11 out of 10.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Brit a Day [#133]

Eddie Argos.

This is kind of like a photoshoot within a photoshoot. Eddie stands in front of pictures of his band Art Brut from the shoot for their first album 'Bang Bang Rock and Roll.' The open French cuffs sort of set the tone for all that is to come.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Old video post, new to me

To say I'm having a hard time letting go...would be such an understatement.

A Brit a Day [#132]

This post is for Thursday, and this is Henry Ian Cusick.

You have to wonder how many casting directors, male and female, spilled their coffee the morning this headshot slid across their desks.

A Brit a Day [#131]

I suppose it could be a screen cap but I think it's from a photo shoot for 'Peter Pan'. Jason Isaacs is looking at the camera all Captain-Hook-defiant. I see a strong resemblance to Gary Sinise's character in 'Forest Gump'--a post-Vietnam-amputee Lt. Dan.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Brit a Day [#130]

What can I say about how much I love this picture? I'd say "Lock up your daughters," but my daughter never much cared for him. I think it did bother her that her mother spent an unseemly amount of time looking at pictures of Daniel Radcliffe.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Brit a Day [#129]

Christian Bale, in GQ I think. His face is so nicely softened by the well-trimmed beard, the loosened tie. The quote lower right is lovely--interesting too.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Brit a Day [#128]

This week's theme is "Suitable for Framing," those breathtaking studio pics that happen when something just 'clicks' between the photographer and the subject. Go click yerself on this picture and it becomes delightfully large, and Alan Rickman looks fantastic.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Brit a Day [#127]

This post is for Saturday.

I love this photograph more than I can say. Tippy Hedron and you-know-who from around the time they made "The Birds;" photographed by Lawrence Schiller, it's currently on display at the Orange County Museum of Art as a part of an exhibit of Schiller's work, including iconic later pics of Marilyn Monroe.

Alfred Hitchcock may be my favorite director, but I bet he was a bear to work for. Appropriate to this week's theme, I love how utterly at ease Tippy Hedron looks here, either unaware of or in spite of the Great One's weighty presence. And hand it to Schiller, he avoided the easy way out--there isn't a bird in sight.

A Brit a Day [#126]

Eddie Argos looks quite comfortable here, and no doubt stuffed with Dyan's brilliant cooking.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Brit a Day [#125]

This post is for Thursday.

There is general agreement among the people [you know who you are if you are one] who discuss this kind of thing that, in this picture, Henry Ian Cusick looks like a man who is quite comfortable with himself and who he is. And so are we.

A Brit a Day [#124]

I seem to have loads of pictures of Jason Isaacs looking comfortable. I think that's just the way he is. I say to myself, "I think I'll just lay my head right here for a minute," and I've got oodles of choices about where 'right here' could be.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Brit a Day [#123]

Dan R. is taking the day off to make way for Alan-Rickman-Not-As-Snape, an incarnation of AR that we haven't seen around here for a while. Here's Alan looking like he just rolled out of bed...with the bed...and the drapes...I'll send a guest pass to my 6' bath tub to anyone who can tell me what this picture is from/about.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Brit a Day [#122]

I was thinking about having the cast barefoot as a theme this week, but I'm just not enthusiastic about googling for images of bare feet. Christian Bale was all ready to oblige, though, quite tastefully and looking quite comfortable in his own skin, as we say. So unless/until I come up with something more creative [and 'creativity' may depend on the purchase of an All-in-One that has yet to happen] this week's post will center on The Comfy/Happy. Now go get that second cup of tea....

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Brit a Day [#121]

This post is for Sunday.
The chibi Snape is credited on the artwork. The one below is, alas, uncredited.

And finally, here is Severus Snape by uniqueLegend. The reference to Lily Potter is so poignant.

A Brit a Day [#120]

I've really enjoyed this week's posts. The fan art theme is hard for me to let go of. There are so many brilliant examples in my files, I hate to leave so much on the cutting room floor.

Collecting "pictures" as digital files really began with my obsession over Alan Rickman playing Professor Snape. Back in the day, I remember thinking, "Someone really ought to come up with a way to access and sort images that's more useful and attractive than a list of file names. Like, Thumbnails would be nice...." I even purchased software called Scanalog to help me do it. I considered it a business expense since I had hundreds of clippings that I had saved in the course of designing sets that I wanted to scan and store on my computer. Then, at some point, Windows caught up [no, I did not invent Windows 7] and searching for my picture files became a breeze.

OK, that was a serious digression...doing that a lot lately.....ahem. ANYWAY, I've decided to bridge the end of Fan Art Week to tomorrow's Alan Rickman post by filling the weekend with my favorite Snape fan fantasies. There'll be a few more's a festival!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Brit a Day [#119]

I've had this portrait of Eddie in my Brit file for a long time. The artist's signature is Superman. I can't remember if Eddie credited it in his blog to a specific person. At any rate, it's fabulous, that's Eddie's posture through and through.

And I don't think this piece below qualifies as fan art, but it does if 'The New Yorker' magazine is considered a fan. I think this is huge, being illustrated in the goings-on-about-town section of 'The New Yorker'--I'm so happy for Eddie and Dyan.
And finally, I couldn't leave this one out--even though it is not fan art of Eddie, it's literally a portrait of the artist's cat, named for the human Eddie Argos. I love the paw poised over the keyboard, ready to write some amazing lyrics.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Brit a Day [#118.5]

I just had to add this one--this is LOST Exodus by terbeag, found on deviantArt, again by the Sistahs.

A Brit a Day [#118]

This gorgeous piece of fan art featuring Desmond [Henry Ian Cusick] from 'Lost' is called "Unstuck" and it is by artist Dr. Mikey. I actually own a print of this painting. Take a close look at the linework and shading--it's all made up of words, and to a stunning effect.

I found--or I should say Mianne of the Sistahs found--the piece below on Deviant Art [I think] and I fell in love with it. I can happily credit Neanderthal Jam for the nice work. Earn trivia points if you know the name of the sailboat.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Brit a Day [#117]

Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook by Yukipon.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Brit a Day [#116]

Whether this was photoshopped or someone actually has HP wall decals, I don't know. Either way, this picture is fan art of Dan Radcliffe in the true spirit of the words.

And it's a nicely composed photograph.