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The Phantom openings tonight.  My volunteer stint is almost at an end.  In the meantime, I want to share this video with you because that’s the kind of gal I am.

Goodnight Internet.

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Crazy Week

The week ramps up to the Phantom of the Opera opening Friday night. It’s so hectic that I have no time to blog this week. Still tuned next week for regularly scheduled programming.

Meanwhile feel free to submit topics for me to discuss in the comments below.

Welcome back to Foolish Friday, class!  I know it’s been gone a long time, but it’s taken me this long to remember what I did on Fridays.  But thanks to Bare-ChestedGate,  my memory jogged and we can return to our regularly scheduled objectifying. Yes!

I just read that Richard Armitage has topped 70,000 followers on Weibo.  In my eminently prepared style, I have no idea what Weibo is but assume it’s popular with non-English speakers. This got me to feeling slightly wistful that our RA has truly been discovered by the world; he’s no longer the obscure actor known only by the UK and its allies (unless that 70,000 are the same people on Twitter).  We can no longer think of him as our little secret (well, except me).  Our boy has burst forth from his cocoon and stands ready to fly away.  That bit of overwrought prose had me looking through photos of the younger RA, when he was happy to get a small part.  Thankfully, the younger RA offered prime objectifying material.  Let’s have a look class.

This is Himself as Lee Preston in Cold Feet.  While it’s not that picture, this rarely posted shot has a lot to offer.  Notice the laid back youthfulness on the cusp of a man in his prime.  The smoothness of the chest and abs contrasting with the hairiness of the forearms and reminding us that he waxes.  The firmness of the jawline.  Although people joke about speedos, I developed a new appreciation with his.  Must have been the color.

Need to run and continue production work.  Your homework is to find other aspects in this picture that the world needs to know.  I know you can do it.

Richard Armitage as Lee in Cold Feet.

Richard Armitage as Lee in Cold Feet. Courtesy richardarmitagenet.com

 

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We’re now ramping up production on Phantom of the Opera.  Fifty-two talents each with four costume changes.  The sets need erecting.  Mary Ellen and Ellen are stressed to the max, the seamstress hasn’t arrived, and I’m flailing around taking notes and plugging up holes popping up left and right.  And it isn’t even rehearsal week yet.   Good grief.

It’s so crazy a gal could use some objectifying, so why not my favorite go-to – Guy of Gisborne. Hey, had it not been for this bad load of pretty, I wouldn’t have discovered Richard Armitage.

Enjoy.

Guy demonstrates to Marian how semi-nudity is integral to the story, Courtesty of richardarmitagenet.com

Guy demonstrates to Marian how semi-nudity is integral to the story, Courtesy of richardarmitagenet.com

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[There was a recent to-do on Facebook that publication of half nude pictures of Richard Armitage from The Crucible were allegedly “objectifying” and “disrespectful.”  It wasn’t the first time the complaints arose and won’t be the last, although critics seem to assume their protests have never before been heard.  Four years ago, I wrote this piece about objectification after some fans complained, among a list of other things that supposedly didn’t honor him.  It elicited such a nice discussion and so many hits that it would be nice to start a new dialogue.]

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A anthropology student alerted me to the following tweet posted on allthingsrarmitage:

“Callipygian is a word coined by the ancient Greeks (‘kallipygos’) that means ‘having beautiful buttocks.” This picture was associated with that reference:

ultimate force arse shot

A nice example of beautiful buttocks.   Courtesy RichardArmitageNet.com

This screen capture is of course Richard Armitage in Ultimate Force.  Ancient Greeks would say he is quite callipygian.  Now this type of talk in the modern age raises protests of objectification.  My question is: why does that have to be so?

Ancient antiquity has always depicted nude image and statues of the human form.

nudes

(l) Greek male nude (r) Replica of nude male wrestlers. Both quite nude. Courtesy of Greek Museum Authority

The human form has always been considered a source of nature beauty, sculpted and painted for ages.  It’s certainly safe to say that because artists could not take actual human being and freeze them in time, they froze them through other media.  The following picture of Michelangelo’s “David,” sculpted circa 1501, is considered a masterpiece:

michelangelo david

Michelangelo’s “David.” Courtesy of Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence

Millions of tourists flock to see this statue.  Nobody would say (other than the must repressed prurient type) that it’s improper to admire and even study this work of art.  People would certainly say “David” is callipygian even though it’s an idealized medieval depiction of a human male.  Nobody could convincingly argue that Michelangelo objectified the human form unless they believe that all nudity is inappropriate.  Since that’s not my premise, I won’t answer that argument since it takes us down the road of morality and personal taste which I’m not discussing here.

So why do fans become uncomfortable when viewing this picture?  It caused quite a stir when first published:

RA as Lucas festooned in tatoos

Richard Armitage as Lucas festooned in tattoos. Would you say this form isn’t view-worthy? Courtesy RichardArmitageNet.com

I observe similar lines and muscles depicted in the idealized statues.  If fact, the real human form is more beautiful because it shows the real flawed form, not simply an idealization.  Does viewing his form suddenly become objectification because he’s a living man?  Is it improper to also say he’s callipygian here?  I argue no.

Sexual objectification arises when a person is viewed as an sexual object or only as one. I have yet to find any fan forum where RA’s artistry and personality isn’t also discussed in detail.  He is not seen solely as an object of lust.  However, it’s self-delusional to say that he shouldn’t be viewed as the sexy man he is.  Human beings are sexual creatures; this is how we have the drive to reproduce our species (or not, as the case may be).  We are hard-wired to perv each other. We sexually objectify each other to a degree on an instinctual level.  We view the human form as desirable and have since probably cave man times.   This form has been frankly depicted since antiquity.  The fact that the modern media makes it possible to photograph the human form in real time doesn’t change anything.

I’m always amused when women protest the loudest that men should not be objectified because it implies a hypocrisy in protesting against female objectification.  I have problems with female objectification only to the extent that it’s used for exploitation.  When that’s not the case, I have no issue if Halle Berry’s fans consider her the epitome of beauty.  Conversely I have no problem with male objectification and feel no shame and admiring male beauty. Is RA being exploited?  He is a grown man who made informed choices to appear in roles requiring undress.  I don’t believe it’s for us to question his judgment as to whether that undress was integral to the story or gratuitous.  I’m comfortable respecting his decisions as to whether he considers himself exploited or not. I can safely assume he would not take a role he deemed exploitative. Even if he did, it was still his decision.  So, I feel free to say that RA’s is callipygian in particular and gorgeous in general without any need to justify.

Here’s an absolutely callipygian screen cap:

Between the Sheets

Richard Armitage as Paul in Between the Sheets. Callipygian, no? My screen cap.

RA arse shot

Very callipygian. Yes? Richard Armitage as Lucas North. Donated artistic screen cap.

 

What, no? Does it really make a difference that this is a screen cap of a real man playing a fictional role in a fictional series?  What if RA decided to pose nude as himself?  I don’t think this picture is less worthy of being admired than if a sculptor made an approved marble statue of his bum or his body and placed it in a museum.  As a straight sexual female, I will admire his body no matter what form it took.

I’m amused every time the objectification issue arises.  When the above tatted picture surfaced, fans drooled but always rushed to add they also admired RA’s work and personality lest they be accused of objectification, although this was understood by everybody.  I find all this protestation unnecessary.  It’s time to drop that veil of political correctness and just be honest as fans.  We like to look up RA’s form because it’s beautiful and desirable.

Just say so.  Period. We understand the rest.

 

 

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WordPress internal server errors and no internet conspired to keep me away.  But Jazzbaby is on top of things. Read her excellent response to a recent “nudity” fan kerfuffle on Facebook.

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Since the fan-sphere has been talking about Hannibal, I thought I’d repost these truly surreal tableau.  Definitely not the Barbie you remember!

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Blame Didion.  She started this on her website.   I’ve been searching high and low for something truly surreal, and she gets it in one.  Just *had* to Google this.  It turns out to be inspired by artist Mariel Clayton.  When she photographs Barbie and family, she envisions something a bit…er… different.  (Click all the links in all the articles to see the catalog. Some aren’t even gory or kinky.)

This is so macabre and delightfully twisted, I just had to share.  I’m having a great time dreaming up theories for the evil deeds.

“Play nice with daddy!”

 

“Evian, not Perrier, mommy!”

Thanks Didion.

 

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OT: My Guy David Tennant

Of course you all know that Richard Armitage is just the bit on the side.  David Tennant is my main attraction.  I discovered him in 2006 when he played the lead in Doctor Who.  I didn’t even like him for three whole episodes and then it dawned that this man could really act.  He went on to become the most popular Doctor ever (which takes some doing) and beloved enough to be called “a national treasure.”  I crossed the pond to see his acclaimed “Hamlet,” and popular “Much Ado About Nothing” where I confirmed that DT really is a special talent.  (These shows are available for digital download; you should really watch.)  His latest popular series is “Broadchurch.”  Coworkers and fans like remark that he’s a genuinely nice caring person.  I observed the same thing especially when he dealt with his small fans.  (He was solicitous of me when I got pushed into a barricade by a rambunctious crowd, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)  The man is simply a peach.  *Squee* *Cough*D

Anyway, DT received a Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards.  He’s always been popular at the NTA’s; why not give him another?  Amazingly they managed to keep it a total secret from him.  So here is the presentation and his acceptance speech.

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We’ve almost finished building the scenery for The Snow Queen production this weekend.  More work tomorrow.  Sleep seems like a good idea.

Apropos of nothing, I was searching for one of my favorite pics of Guy tied up (how many times does that happen anyway) and came across this one.  Kind of looks like a scene from Season 4 –  The Sir Guy of Gisborne Show.  Televised after the family hour time slot, naturally. Really late.   Really really late.

Guy nightmareep6_0013

Guy is either having a bad nightmare or a lovely time. Courtesy richardarmitagenet.com

 

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dominoes[The 4th anniversary of my “accidental” blog passed on December 28th.  It was a very change filled interesting year to say the least.  Surprising of all was how Real Life and fandom collided in such an unexpected way.  I wrote this piece several months ago, thinking I would use it to conclude a series about The Crucible.  However in a way it summarizes the mishmash of thoughts inspired over the past year. It’s a good time to share it now.]

I spent last night with a friend discussing how a series of events have been clicking into place, one after other, like dominoes falling, hitting the next one and the next, cascading down the line as they needed to.  She suggested that the dominoes may always have been there, waiting for the right angle for me to see them – pointing the way to what I needed.  I’d bought the tickets to see The Crucible on September 10th and 11th, knowing I’d probably not be able to go.  For months, I said I’d go only if A, B, and C happened – in order by September 5th.   As time went on, chances grew slimmer and slimmer.  But then amazing things happened.

I thought it started in June with a friend rushing over to help sort my financial mess.  Click.  All caused by my illness and subsequent retirement.  Click click.  Calling the realtor I’d consulted the year before who immediately leaped in the cash breach of fixing up the condo. Click. Rousing out of my inertia to whip the place into shape (no small feat). Click.  Signing the listing agreement and going live in 12 days. Click.  Finding a seller in just 11 days.  Click.  Being housed and supported by incredible friends pending the move and closing.  Click.  Weathering a bumpy process but finally closing on September 5th. Click. Booking a flight, room and flying to London in three days flat.  Click. Moving about town despite being in physically bad shape. Click.

All to see a play right?

Wrong.

Picture or it didn't happen.  Richard Armitage and me.  92nd ST Y, NYC.

Picture or it didn’t happen. Richard Armitage and me. 92nd ST Y, NYC.

That wasn’t the big domino.  To explain I’ll have to back up – to my childhood.  Amidst all the dysfunctional drama, I came away feeling like I didn’t matter, as if I were invisible.  Of course as an adult (and with lots of therapy), I understood it wasn’t true but the realization never sank past a superficial level.  That critical inner voice always whispered otherwise; and I had to keep correcting that tape again and again.  This explains why I was so disconcerted at the Proust cast party when Richard Armitage kept watching me and Zan.  After all, how could my crush display any curiosity towards me? I felt – naked – in my glaring visibility. His glances said: I see you.  Who are you?  Subconsciously, it confused me that he would think I mattered enough to inspire curiosity.

After the party, the inner voice returned, brushing the episode aside: he just wondered what the hell both of us were doing there. Who was I after all.  Running up to London, I half-feared he might remember me.  He’d seen me long enough at the party. What if he knew I was *gasp* a fan? (After all, if your crush remembers you’re a fan, it’s hard to really deny it, ya know?). Oh no, they said. He meets hundreds of people. You’re good.  So part of me wanted to be safe in my perceived invisibility.  Seems a bit ridiculous, but this is what I told myself.

During the first two stage doors, he was still too emotionally enmeshed in his role to interact fully with the fans. A veil existed between him and us.  He kept his head down, uttered thanks somewhat robot-like, and scrawled his autograph.  However after the last performance, he dropped the character and was fully present. I observed him animatedly replying to fans but not speaking first.

I expected maybe a fleeting eye contact and a signature.  Instead, he glanced at me fleetingly, look down, began to write, looked back up at me and said: hello.  And waited for me to answer.

I’m sure that inner voice died of shock.  Surely in that moment, my mind was a void.  I thought nothing, heard nothing, and saw only two blue eyes staring at me, judiang in the flesh dressed in a black coat standing on a small sidewalk outside a London theater, recognized, awaiting a simple reply. I see you. I remember you.  Hi there.  I reflexively answered hello back. And it was over.  I turned to my grinning London friend.  “Why didn’t you tell me he’d recognize me?” I exclaimed.  “Because, I knew he would,” she answered, as if to say: why not – you needed that to happen.

So me, the anti-fangurl, went to London and what I unwittingly got from the crush himself was – inarguable validation.  It’s pretty hard to think I’m invisible and don’t matter when the crush somehow remembers me months later, does a double-take and speaks first.  I haven’t heard that particular inner voice since. Click.

Don’t forget, my friend said, that couldn’t have happened had not been for the Proust party.  Click.

So after years of therapy, I learned a final lesson in accepting my value as a person.  And it makes it easier to accept others’ good estimation and opinion of me.

Click.

Dr. G.  was ecstatic.

 

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