Worlds Collide…again! #RABlogReunion

 

Well, well, well, it seems everything around here is still in working order after nearly TWO YEARS!!  How can that even be?!  I didn’t have any kind of major mood shift that made me step back from the fandom – more like just a series of life altering events that diverted my attention to different things in the short term and ultimately changed the make up of my days so that blogging became something I could no longer accomplish during my normal “computer time,” and my normal “computer time” became so encompassing that logging onto a computer outside of that time became less than appealing.

If I’m truthful, I’ll also cop to the fact that the major Armitage project at the time, Berlin Station, left me pretty cold about half way through the first season.  I like a good convoluted spy thriller as much as the next fangirl, especially if there’s a regular chance of OOA sightings, but Berlin Station just did not do it for me.  Right around the same time, my kids and I moved out of our house for a few months as my marriage hit it’s terminal stage.

Now happily divorced for just over a year and back in my castle, professional life on relatively established path, I’ve noticed that I’ve been veering back to the Armitage oeuvre more and more.  First, I really, really enjoy the animated romp that is Castlelvania – the third season of Trevor Belmont and crew was particularly fantastic!  I have become pretty reliant on what I can easily access from one of my streaming platforms (or even add to my Amazon prime channels with one click) so I was delighted to find (thanks for the tip Servetus!) The Stranger on Netflix.

I settled down on a Saturday afternoon where by some strange planetary alignment, nobody but a particularly insistent lapsitting cat interrupted me as I binge watched the first half of the series.  I do like a complicated mystery, and I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns of this Harlan Coben story.  I guess that I must have mentioned having watched a new RA work to my oldest child (formerly Showbiz Kid who I shall now refer to as Drop Dead Diva), because a few weeks later, my world’s collided again like they had something like 8 years ago!

A little bit of context:  My Drop Dead Diva began transitioning to her true female self right around the time that my ex and I separated (in retrospect, surely NOT a coincidence), and one of the things that she had always been interested in and is now far more open about sharing is the world of drag performers. (there are a lot more layers to this world than I ever knew) I’ve never not been aware of drag – after all, it is a huge element of classical drama, but until recently, I wasn’t really aware of the wide ranging appeal of contemporary drag performers, especially in the wake of the popularity of the RuPaul’s Drag Race series.

This would be the obvious place to wonder how these dots connect…

While it is probably quite likely that Richard Armitage has worked in some form of drag in some theatrical production at some point in his career (I could probably look this up, but, LAZY.), it’s certainly not the first association that comes to mind.  However, one of the things DDD has introduced to our YouTube watching is a little Netflix sponsored YouTube series called, I Like to Watch,”   featuring American drag superstars Trixie Mattel and Katya.  Hilarious.  Definitely moments that are NSFW, but nevertheless, Hilarious.

Here’s where my day to day world and the RA world collide – it turns out that there is also a UK version of I Like to Watch featuring British drag queens The Vivienne and Baga Chipz, and guess what they like to watch?!?

You got it – The Stranger!  The video above is FULL of spoilers, so if you haven’t watched The Stranger, consider yourself warned.  As I laughed out loud all the way through this video, I realized that there do seem to be persistent hints that my worlds are indeed still connected.  Things may evolve into something that looks a little bit different around here, but I think (I know that I’ve said this before but…) I think that I may still have some things to say from time to time since it still seems that, “I Like to Watch,” too Richard Armitage!

Cheers!

Frozen Motion: Richard Armitage and the Discobolos of Myron

I’ve been tossing this piece around for a couple of weeks…since watching episode 1 of Berlin Station.   Then I was distracted by a trip to New York to see some play…my account is coming soon.

I’ve been kind of hot and cold about Berlin Station – I’m no TV critic, but for it’s genre, I’ve found the overall pace of the show to be rather slow and it’s plot to be extra convoluted, even for a spy show.   I think the last few episodes have picked it up a bit, so I’m hanging in there.  Who am I kidding – I’d be there to the bitter end as long as Richard Armitage is a part of the cast 

One element that grabbed my attention in Episode 1 was a brief flash of mostly bare Richard Armitage.  Apart from purely prurient interest, this is enticing to me from an artistic perspective since the artistic material I study generally features figures depicted in the buff, and similarly nude shots of Richard Armitage are fairly few and far between.  In case you’ve forgotten it, the scene I’m referring occurs about midway through episode 1.

Pretty dark...pretty grainy, but you get the drift.  (my screen shot)

Pretty dark…pretty grainy, but you get the drift. (my screen shot)

In this scene, Armitage’s character, Daniel Miller has just stepped out of the shower and is bending to pull on his briefs.  The bent position, that long, LOOOONNNNNGGGG length of leg and subtly rippling back reminded me immediately of the motion that is frozen by Myron in his iconic Discobolos (Δισκοβόλος – Discus Thrower)

Discobolus of Myron

Discobolus of Myron (Source)

All of the examples pictured are Roman copies in marble of the Greek original.  Like so many ancient Greek sculptures, the original piece by Myron was sculpted in bronze and has been lost to time.  What we can piece together from the copies is that the original belonged stylistically to the very end of the Severe Style of the 5th century BC.

Myron was a contemporary of the sculptors Pheidias and Polykleitos and was well known for his frequent depictions of athletes.  Here he has captured the discus thrower in mid-motion…the viewer can almost feel the arrested energy of the athlete.  The Discobolos is a masterpiece of both frozen motion as well as the ideals of beauty, symmetry and proportion of 5th century Athens.

armitage-discobolos-side-by-side

Laying the images side by side for comparison, a couple of things become evident:

  1.  While not exactly the same pose, I’m again struck by the general similarity of the frozen motion.
  2. Richard Armitage is clearly not conformant with the proportional canon as idealized by the ancient Greeks…his legs are much longer and his torso somewhat shorter.               2.1:  Who cares?  🙂  

**Happily, I capped the scene right before I had to look away in horror as Daniel picked up the towel he is standing on in the cap above and used the surface recently in contact with the bathroom floor to dry his hair.  ICK cubed.**

Camo Armitage?

T’was the night before Thanksgiving Break and all through the campus, not a creature was stirring…not even a grampus (it’s a word – look it up!).  

I suppose that’s not entirely true since I am still here and stirring just a bit…doing some clean up in preparation to take a few days off for the holiday.  I’m actually kind of excited because I’ve officially declined to join the big family Thanksgiving fête on Thursday – for all kinds of reasons.   I feel almost liberated at the thought of puttering around in my PJ’s all day – even while making our mini feast.

Turkey, pumpkin pie and antagonistic family gatherings are not all that are synonymous with Thanksgiving in these parts.  This time of year also coincides with the annual whitetail deer gun hunt.  As such, I was not at all surprised to see four hooves sticking up from the back end of a pickup truck riding down the interstate yesterday.  My personal Facebook feed is plastered with images of hunters and their vanquished prey.  I was only slightly unnerved by all of the cars of hunters parked in fields along the interstate – they know how far they need to stay from the road with rifles right?

HUNTERS7

Although camo clothing is optimal for hunting, in gun deer season, remaining completely invisible to the deer is less important than being very visible to the other people with guns.  Hence, blaze orange is a required element for all hunters (and anyone else who dares step a toe onto hunting grounds).  It becomes the unofficial uniform of Wisconsin in late November.

All this camo pondering got me thinking about the Berlin Station production (?) pic of Richard Armitage which surfaced this week via Getty Images (this one doesn’t appear available to embed, and I’m not keen to mess with Getty Images this week).  The grey henley, grey hoodie, grey ball cap look with the dark jacket and dark jeans read like a sort of urban overcast day camo.  Perfect for hiding in plain sight in a fast paced cityscape where most people only register as a passing glance…a shadowy glimpse.  Perfect for an espionage type trying to keep a low profile.

As you might expect, Greek myth has its own “camo” stories.  Most of them revolve around the Ἄϊδος κυνέην or “Cap of Invisibility.”  Athena wore it in The Iliad when she came to the aid one of her favorites, Diomedes, as he fought her half brother Ares.  The Ἄϊδος κυνέην made her invisible to Ares so that she could help Diomedes defeat him with out being caught interfering.

Perhaps the most famous myth including the Ἄϊδος κυνέην centers around the hero Perseus.  Tasked with returning with the head of the Gorgon Medusa (she who’s face turns humans to stone) Perseus needed all the help he could get.   He didn’t need the helmet to behead Medusa, depicted below in glorious, if gory, bronze detail by Cellini.

Perseus by Cellini Source

Perseus by Cellini
Source

Nope, that he managed with the help of a special shield and some winged sandals he’d been lent by a couple of helpful deities.  The Ἄϊδος κυνέην came in really handy when it came time to flee from Medusa’s sister Gorgons…seems they were more than a bit put out that someone (who they couldn’t see) had just lopped off their sister’s head!

I’m rather glad Richard Armitage doesn’t have an Ἄϊδος κυνέην – then we couldn’t get a glimpse of the quintessence of quadriceps that simply can’t be hidden regardless of the grey…

Happy Hunting Armitageworld!!