Various and Sundry…Armitage et alia

Well, today marks my first full, post surgical, week back on campus.  The surgeon tells me that I’m good to go (more or less) but I think I’ll keep up the facade of a restriction on lifting for a little while longer (those baskets of laundry aren’t going to carry themselves upstairs…)  As I try to settle back into my routine – which had been derailed the past few months by chronically feeling rotten – I’ve been taking stock of a few things..

  1.  After dithering around with framing it for over a year, tonight I finally said “F$&k it, it’s a poster!” and hung the Crucible poster that Servetus gifted me with last fall on the wall in my office…without a frame.

crucible poster

I think it fits in well with the ca 1954 map of ancient Greece and the SARCASM plaque…even without a frame!  Who knows…maybe finally hanging it on the wall will be the kick in the butt I need to go back and write that analysis of Sophocles, Antigone, Arthur Miller and The Crucible I’ve been kvetching to myself about for a year.

The thought of writing a classically inspired analysis of a piece of the Armitage oeuvre brings me to a second point I’ve been pondering:

Why is it that intersections of Richard Armitage and cheesehead hats generate so much blog traffic?!

armitage cheesea query for the sages no doubt!

And finally, another new piece of wall art for the new office – my recent comic book class has revealed the fact that I really dig the look of vintage comic art –

Cover of  Detective Comics No. 27 - 1st Appearance of Batman  (and man do I need to find more things to hang on that continent of beige wall!)

Cover of Detective Comics No. 27 – 1st Appearance of Batman (and man do I need to find more things to hang on that continent of beige wall!)


…reminds me that I’d promised to report back on whether or not my students were able to detect all of the background character development work that went into Richard Armitage’s portrayal of Heinz Kruger in Captain America The First Avenger:

That would be a resounding “NO” 

They all concurred that the Heinz Kruger character was more or less typical of the one dimensionality one would expect from the 1940’s era comic book villian.  (Sorry about that Mr. Armitage!)

Deep thoughts indeed  😉

Bummer: 0 for 3 on The Crucible download…

Three tries, same laptop, different internet servers.  Best result:  97% complete…APP CRASH.

I KNOW - It's really pissing me off too!! Source

I KNOW – It’s really pissing me off too!!

I have had no problem streaming – apart from finding the requisite time, but I want that *bleep* download I paid for.  I guess I have to bite the bullet and contact Digital Theatre.  While I’m sure their technicials will be perfectly polite,



I find IT conversations perfectly excruciating…

But, at least it’s Friday right?!

Happy Weekend Armitageworld!

θηλή? papilla? It’s all nipple to me Richard Armitage

How does that Shakespeare quote go again? “What’s in a name…would a nipple by any other name still be…um…nipply?”

(Yeah, Yeah…most abject apologies to the bard and all…)

I was complaining to friends on Friday that I was beyond bored and Armitageworld was silent as a crypt with everyone occupied a la Crucible.  Then Saturday happened…Nipplegate Saturday (like Fat Tuesday and Black Friday!)  The resounding swell of spoofing does my satirical self good.  Far be it from me to let an opportunity pass me by, so I bring you a brief chronological survey of some ancient Greco-Roman nippleage?  Nipplage?

Late Bronze Age Nipples (2000-1200 BC)

"Prince of the Lilies" Archaeological Museum of Iraklion

“Prince of the Lilies”  (my circles)
Archaeological Museum of Iraklion

The painted plaster is damaged, but you can still make them out if you look closely…but then again, who notices nipples with that amazing hat?!  Too subtle?  This next image is one that I use in every survey class I teach:

Minoan "Snake Goddess" from Knossos, Crete

Minoan “Snake Goddess”
from Knossos, Crete

No class, it’s not her bared breasts or her nipples…it’s the SNAKES people – and maybe the bird perched on her head…and her pomegranate wreath fertility hat.  Nipples?  Totally mundane here.

Archaic Nipples (750-490 BC)

 (there are no Iron Age Nipples…I’ve looked everywhere, but since there is no figured art in Greece from 1100 – 800, alas, no nips)

Anavysos Kouros

Anavysos Kouros

Originally a grave marker, I have to admit that Kroisos is much more renowned for his thunderous thighs than his rather petite nipples.

My avatar dates to roughly this same period…lo and behold – Nipples!

Enthroned Zeus (fragement of ceramic cup) MMA Rogers Fund, 1911

Enthroned Zeus
(fragement of ceramic cup) MMA Rogers Fund, 1911


Kritios Boy Acropolis Museum - Athens

Kritios Boy
Acropolis Museum – Athens

Yep he has nipples, but he’s much more important because he is sculpted in a style that clearly marks the transition from the late Archaic to the Early Classical – or Severe Style.

High Classical Nipples (480-400 BC)

Centaur AND Lapith Nipples

Centaur AND Lapith Nipples

The sculptural program of the Athenian Parthenon is considered the epitome of the High Classical Style…yet nipples, human and semi human, abound!

Hellenistic Baroque Nipples (300-30 BC)

Farnese Hercules National Archaeological Museum, Naples

Farnese Hercules
National Archaeological Museum, Naples

Considering that this rendition of Hercules is well over life sized, those are some super huge Hellenistic hero nipples!

Even the Roman’s got into the Nipple Act Nipples

Prima Porta Augustus Vatican Museum

Prima Porta Augustus
Vatican Museum

In this, most likely posthumous, depiction of the Augustus, the divine emperor is shown in military garb with an elaborately detailed cuirass or breastplate.  The scene on it depicts the diplomatic high point of his long career – The Return of the Parthian Standards.  Right above that?  Fake nipples to go along with the fake navel which serve to model the natural male form on the cuirass. Here’s the thing.  They’re nipples.  All mammals have them, and occasionally they peek out of a costume through the deliberate design of the costume designer.

The smoking gun of Nipplegate. Source:  Thorinbaconshield

The smoking gun of Nipplegate. (psst…I’m pretty sure Richard Armitage knows his nip is showing…)
Source: Thorinbaconshield

No one will convince me that this particular hole placement was not deliberate and was not designed to produce a particular effect.  Frankly, human chests look a little odd without nipples…kind of like faces without eyebrows.  In this particular case, with this particular actor, people were intended to notice…intended to react, and it’s neither criminal nor a mark of depravity to do so. People have been noticing the nipples on classical sculpture for centuries, so I’m fairly certain that I have not degraded hundreds of years of classical scholarship by pertly pointing them out here.  I am equally certain that the reality of fans noticing, with appreciation, a nipple revealed by a costume gap, has by no means denigrated or desecrated their appreciation of the artist or the gravity of the work he produced. Class dismissed.

It’s D-Day Richard Armitage!

download poem

Errr..right, not quitting the day job.  Of course D-Day in these parts means the long awaited Worldwide Download of the Digital Theatre’s production of The Old Vic’s The Crucible.  

I was right there with everyone else…I had a great plan.  It’s Spring Break.  The campus – and more importantly, the web server – is virtually empty.  I hooked my computer to the web via a nice, sturdy Ethernet cable and away I went.  When I finally managed to enter my credit card info correctly (after three operator errors on my part) the purchase went smoothly.

crucible download

There it is…in my Digital Theatre Library – along with my purchase of the “Exclusive Interview” (we’ll pretend that the original audience wasn’t there…more exclusive that way really 😉  )  Since I’m not able to devote 3 hours 19 minutes today, I proceeded to the download.  The player and some Adobe utility downloaded rapidly and then came the main attraction – The Crucible. (At 6.5GB in HD, I made the right decision to NOT download the file to my iPad…I like you a lot Richard Armitage, but I’m not purging 99.5% of the apps on my 8GB free to me iPad for you.  Sorry.)  

Here’s where we run into a bit of a snag…I employed the stopwatch app on my phone shortly after the download started and didn’t move from 0% complete.  After 1:17:39, it was still only 3% complete (that’s .195GB if you’re keeping score).  Speedy…like dial up speedy!  Good thing I already knew I wasn’t going to be able to watch…

tearing hair crop

…or I might still be hoarse from ululating and half bald from tearing my hair in despair!  Unlike the ladies above (funeral mourners), I’ll live to download another day (my hair intact, thank you!), so I figured I might as well cancel out of the download and make room on the Digital Theatre server for someone else…You’re welcome!  😉

Best of luck to those still in the queque!

Stop taunting me Digital Theatre



I get it.  There are massive licensing issues that prevent public cinema screenings of the Digital Theatre release of The Crucible starring Richard Armitage.  I really do get it, and I have been trying to be extra, extra patient.  But desperate times lead to desperate measures…To channel my impatience, I’ve begun to craft a plan by which I will can almost replicate a cinema experience privately.  I’ve spotted out a familiar space:

Yes, that *is* a baptismal font...

Yes, that *is* a baptismal font…it sometimes pays off to chair the Technology Team!

It’s not quite as big as an actual movie screen, but it is definitely about 20 times the size of my biggest TV screen.  Even better, our new, 5000 lumens projector is due to be installed any day…if you look closely, you can see it hiding in boxes at the bottom center of the image.  If I can get my…I mean my fellow committee members in line, we should have the CAT 6 wiring pulled to establish a nice, steady and secure Ethernet connection.  We also have a recent sound upgrade which will give me surround sound.

I even have one of these!!  (I can also lay my hands on cinema like boxes of Goobers and Snowcaps!)

I even have one of these!! (I can also lay my hands on cinema like boxes of Goobers and Snowcaps!)

Looks like I’m pretty much set, but it seems like something is still missing…now what was it?  Oh, that’s right….I still need the #%$@* main event!  If I were a betting person, I’d guess North America won’t see a digital download until the cinema screenings run their course…April?  May?  Who can say?  Until then though…

A girl can dream...and photo edit! Photo Source

A girl can dream…and photo edit!
Photo Source

I’ll keep the popcorn popper on standby…anybody with me?  (BYOS – bring your own sweater…it’s kinda frosty in there after hours!)

ExtRApolating on future collaboRAtions with Yaël Farber…

Last night at the premiere for Digital Theatre and Cinema Live’s film release of The Crucible, when Ben Hewis of What’s on Stage (thanks to Armitage Agonistes for the link) asked Richard Armitage, about working with Yaël Farber, part of his response was:

Richard Armitage and Yael Farber Source

Richard Armitage and Yael Farber

“…I really hope we can do something else together.

We’re putting our heads together and having a really

good think about what we can do next.”

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy this could be good…really good…CLASSICALLY good even!

Here’s how my twisted little brain spins this all out:   A cursory look at the “Productions” page on Yaël Farber’s website revealed this:

Right smack in the middle are two Yaël Farber adaptations of classical plays.  In Molora, Farber retools Aeschylus’ Oresteia – the tale of The House of Atreus…you know, Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Elektra?  Powerful stuff.

Both of Yaël Farber’s classical adaptations have met with critical acclaim and Molora was particularly well received in a world wide productions…Farber’s blend of classical themes with contemporary issues and unique staging consistently packs a punch.

It’s Kadmos, though, that has me really intrigued.  I became aware of this Yaël Farber adaptation…this time of Sophocles’ Theban Plays, this summer when I was doing a little research on Yaël Farber, Sophocles, Arthur Miller and The Crucible…there are some interesting connections for sure, but I think I’ll save that bit until I’m able to see The Crucible when it eventually turns up in my neck of the woods.

In the Theban Plays, Farber’s adaptation is titled after the first king of Thebes…Kadmos, Sophocles traces the story of the Oedipus and his family in three plays:

Οἰδίπους Τύραννος – Oedipus the King

Οἰδίπους ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ – Oedipus at Colonos

Ἀντιγόνη  – Antigone


When I first looked at Yaël Farber’s CV over the summer I also noticed this enticing little nugget:

Shut the front door!  Is this in development for the Athens & Epidauros Festival? I wondered.  I clicked over to their website and found no trace of it.  However…could it be that its production was postponed for some reason…fate perhaps???

It seems like there is another connection that I’m missing here…Oh right – there’s that Richard Armitage tweet from last summer…

OMG, OMG, OMG!!!  That would be a splendissimus collaboRAtion (sorry…I got excited and mixed languages!!)  While we’re at it, let’s just up the ante and say it will be produced in Athens, Summer 2016.  If that happens,

Puppies and nerds wrigglin'

Puppies and nerds wrigglin’

Someone fetch me in time to buy tickets, ’cause I’ll be down here celebrating with the puppies!!

It’s not that easy being green Richard Armitage…

Or blue for that matter.   I have been unusually melancholy for the last week or so.  Things that normally roll off me are really bugging me, things I usually want to do I’ve been putting off.  I do believe I’m having a rather mild case of the “midlife crisis.”   Although I may be a little young, (after all, my paternal grandmother lived to be 101, and her father 105) sometimes I can’t help but feel that my life is passing me by.  I had this really terrifying moment last week when I realized that decisions that I made fifteen or twenty years ago really do have the potential to define the course of my life.  A thought that some things, at least for the moment, in the current state of affairs, are set in stone.

Coupled with that revelation was a flare up of the terminal “bein’ green” syndrome Kermit describes.  A fear of not being special, of being always overlooked…of not being red or purple or some other color.  Basically, a fear of being me and not being enough for anyone or anything.   I think everyone goes through times like this…usually I shake it off and move along, but this particular flare has been stubbornly hanging around.  The impending shift from summer to fall only seemed to make it worse, but then something interesting happened…

I wonder if it's a coincidence that my vertigo returned shortly after seeing the film?

I wonder if it’s a coincidence that my vertigo returned shortly after seeing the film?

First, I went Into the Storm (account of our encounter is forthcoming) over the holiday weekend with my oldest and we had a great time.  It was his suggestion – he who calls me an “uncultured troglodyte” because I am not conversant in musical theater – you could have knocked me over with a feather!  Actually, he has become a bit of a sounding board for me on fandom related business…we have a sort of quid pro quo arrangement.  He will listen to me blather about Armitage related topics in return for having a live audience to relate the latest Dragon Age on dit to.  Although I now know waaaay more I need to know about the pending release of Dragon Age: Inquisition, and the resultant raging in the DA fandom (and also that Henry Cavill is a DA fanboy), the trade off is that my 16 year old seeks *me* out to chat!

Secondly, having come down with a head cold (which is probably more to blame for the vertigo than ITS 🙂  ) I was feeling pretty lousy Wednesday morning when I opened my email to find this from a friend who was in London:


I’ve been excited to see each and every account that has come in from people who’ve seen The Crucible in London, whether they were posted by strangers or good friends, but I’d be a giant liar if I didn’t admit that I’ve also been a little sad in spots that I’ll not be able to see what so many have described as a “must see” performance.   Even so, it brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye to think that my friend would be bringing me along, if only in spirit!

So goes the mood altering mojo of a little Armitageworld intervention!  It also did not hurt to read the accounts of Monday evening’s Conversation in which Richard Armitage recounts a certain amount of trepidation at taking the role of John Proctor in the first place, and doubts in the midst of the run if he could continue to rise to the challenge again and again.

I don't think I'll ever get tired of this picture! Photo by Jay Brooks for The Crucible at The Old Vic

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this picture!
Photo by Jay Brooks for The Crucible at The Old Vic

He did take the role, he can do it, he does power through it performance after performance and he has apparently come to the realization that he’s not afraid anymore. That is something I need to consider.  Things that I thought were immutable…maybe not.  Maybe it’s just fear that’s stopping me from taking steps to move the stone.

Virtutes Romanes: Richard Armitage and Firmitas

Yesterday, I had every intention of writing a Roman virtues post on CLEMENTIA (mildness or gentleness), a quality that has been on display in Richard Armitage’s public appearances lately…contrasting nicely with the intensity of his performance as John Proctor in The Crucible.  I had definitely planned to do it…and then I took my son, his new learner’s permit in hand, out for a driving lesson.  After an hour of trying to mildly instruct him to “stop…Stop….STOP!” or helplessly but gently navigate him through the space between the asphalt truck and the asphalt roller or around a ginormous oncoming combine…

Him: "We won't fit!"   Me:  "It's OK honey...we will.  Just move over a little to the, no, not that much that's the ditch!"

Him: “We won’t fit!”
Me: “It’s OK honey…we will. Just move over a little to the right…no, no, not that much that’s the ditch!”

…any trace of CLEMENTIA in me had been eradicated.

Consequently, we’ll leave gentle and mild for the moment and move on to another virtue…FIRMITAS.  Probably the most ubiquitous modern association with firmitas lies in Vitruvius who wrote *the* book on Roman architecture.  Vitruvius combined FIRMITAS, (firmness, durability or strength) with UTILITAS (usefulness) and VENUSTAS (beauty) into what has come to be called the Vitruvian Virtues of Architecture.

As evidenced by the recent images shot by Francesco Guidicini for the Sunday Times/News Syndication, there is very little about Richard Armitage that is not FIRMITAS by literal definition.  However, while the ancient Romans certainly valued a strong physical form, the Roman virtue of firmitas was connected to its alternate meaning of tenacity or steadfastness.

Rome didn’t emerge as a Mediterranean super power overnight.  It started out as a dinky west central Italian city state ruled by a fratricide king and populated mostly by felons and malcontents who’d been kicked out of every other place in the area.  They had to scrap for just about everything…they even had to steal wives from their neighbors the Sabines, but they held fast and fought forward.  The power and extent of Roman influence grew over centuries of tenacious expansion during which they suffered a number of crushing defeats that could well have ended it all.  But as a culture, the Romans seemed to possess this sort of iron spine of perseverance...firmitas… that propelled them onward.  This was true on an individual level as well.  Although access to high political influence was limited to a very few elites, Roman society actually had a great deal of potential for upward economic mobility, which over time…with a healthy dose of firmitas… could lead to social and political mobility as well.  Stick-to-it-ness was a highly prized virtue for the Romans.

Reading through the “annals” of Richard Armitage’s career, one will find that there is a similar concept at work, beginning when he was an adolescent badgering his parents about the school he wanted to attend.  Despite a paucity of roles early on, he stuck it out…waiting tables, laying floors, doing whatever it took to fill in the gaps while he continued to tenaciously work toward an acting career.  More recently, (notably in the Telegraph article by Chris Harvey) we’ve seen him recount his firmitas in the steadfast determination to gain access to desirable stage roles by first building a reputation and a name as a screen actor.  It took years, and there may well have been times when he was ready to chuck it all, but he didn’t…he steadfastly pushed forward and then, there it was…

From the Old Vic Newsletter

From the Old Vic Newsletter