Know Surprises

Richard Armitage with bedroom eyesNow that we’re reasonably sure Richard Armitage will be starring in The Old Vic’s version of The Crucible, this probably means no RA at Comic-Con in San Diego. Yep, I’m thinking that may be what it means. Unless he got two days off to make a jaunt across the pond. If he does come to the Con, he probably won’t be there on Saturday but rather Thursday, since Saturdays are big days in the theater. Or am I wrong about this?

Yeah, I think the group in London will try to accommodate a trip to Cali — at least mid-week so he can promote Into the Storm. Unless his last minute appearance at Cinema-Con in Las Vegas was a trade-off for not appearing in San Diego.

Then again, I could be so out in left field, because last time I checked, Peter Jackson is no pushover, and he’s not going to have a skeleton crew at Comic-Con and certainly not doing his thing on Thursday. It will be Saturday for PJ and company, and not to mention that Richard Armitage seems to be the point man for pushing The Hobbit. But maybe that was also a trade-off, so that Richard is getting it out of the way and will be free all summer. I kind of doubt that.

Or maybe it’s either/or. He gets to be there on Thursday or Saturday but not both. Or maybe both PJ and Todd have their promotions running on Saturday. I’m so confused.

My gut: if he made an agreement with Peter Jackson to be there for The Hobbit, he will be. How can I say that? Hmm, Peter Jackson, the West End, Peter Jackson, the West End. Uh yeah, it’s Peter Jackson. Whether fair or not, that’s probably reality.

Whatever happens, it’s probably not a good idea for fans to buy tickets to The Crucible from July 23-28.* Can you imagine how pissed off you would be if you did and he was an ocean away? Yeah, consider this post a public service.

Other than that, the photo above is an interesting pick for The Mail. Is he a deer caught in the glare of the paparazzi or are those the bedroom eyes that get John Proctor and the rest of Salem in trouble? ;-)

And a thank you to Baz Bamigboye for the latest ripple effect. Now if he could just put his ear to the ground and answer my musing…

edit: it just occurred to me I may have made an error in this piece because The Old Vic is not technically in the West End. It’s not even in the area known as Theatreland. I’m doing this entirely from memory, so if anyone knows, educate me please. I don’t have time to look it up! :)

* those blackout dates are subject to change based on the confirmed news we hear; however, it’s good to keep in mind that the Into the Storm premiere will be coming up not long after Comic-con. The world premiere will be less than two weeks after Comic-Con ends.

Tangent — Peter Jackson and the Missing Malaysian Plane

MH370: Hobbit Director Peter Jackson’s Private Jet Aids Search

A private jet owned by “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” director Sir Peter Jackson is involved in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, New Zealand media reported Wednesday.

The Gulfstream G650 is being used as a communications relay for military aircraft searching for wreckage of the Boeing 777, officials at Australia’s Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre told Radio NZ and the New Zealand Herald newspaper.

Read the rest here

This doesn’t surprise me at all. It seems in character for what I’ve deduced about Peter Jackson. Part of that conclusion is predicated on the belief the cryptic post Larry Curtis made about unreported acts of kindness had something to do with Jackson.

In Case You Didn’t Get the Memo

I received a lot of mail about the Anglophile Channel’s interview of Richard Armitage before it was broadcast. The consensus of a significant number of the notes seemed to be three questions: who are these people? how can they interview Richard Armitage when they’re not Entertainment Tonight or CNN or even TheOneRing [or insert some other well known media outlet or website]? And why would Richard subject himself to it?!

It seems fairly obvious these fans thought that site was bogus at worst and not important enough at best.

Meanwhile the rest of the world moved on.

And where did everyone else go? They moved into the new age of media which is far from limited to a few established networks and sites. It just doesn’t work that way anymore and hasn’t in a while. The new media is this. No, I mean this, what you are looking at right now. If you have a site, you are a media producer. Heck, if you have a cell phone, you are a media producer. And that is the shift some resist — consumers have become producers.

Henry Jenkins explains this evolution of media including the reemergence of participatory culture and the rise of convergence culture (more on Jenkins shortly):

Nowhere have participatory and convergence cultures been more ubiquitous than among fandoms. Look at all of the media it has produced and intersected with traditional media. In this particular fandom, which is not even close to the largest, we have produced a large body of media such as artwork, video, stories, and reporting, and more traditional outlets have tapped into it. Hollywood is also looking at that and co-opting the fervor as they feel they can, and one of the early adopters was Peter Jackson. The main reason is Jackson is a fanboy himself and understands and appreciates the ardor. It’s no surprise he was looking at fan sites back in 1997 and developed a relationship with Harry Knowles. It’s no surprise he let a New Zealand resident, who created a a site about The Lord of the Rings movies, onto the sets to document the progress for fans. Jackson gets it, and as well as his artistry, it is a key part of his success.

This evolution of media has been happening for a long time, and I should have been more aware of its progress given my exposure to the power of the Net early on. Nevertheless, I watched that video above in the Fall of 2009 and became fascinated again and read Jenkins’ book, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. Interestingly, I realized while I was reading that I had another book on my shelves by Jenkins. It’s a seminal work on fandom, and it came into my possession over 20 years ago.

When I worked at IBM, there was a graphic designer, Bob, whom I and all my co-workers tapped for “prettying up” our documents. He was a major Trekkie who had written his own language and had a beautiful poster of it as well as some other Trekkie memorabilia decorating his office. Everyone teased him about his obsession, but I was curious what had made him so rabid. We had several conversations over the years about his involvement in the Star Trek fandom, and I remember saying early on, “You must be really into this to put up with the ribbing you get.” I’ll never forget his response, “People don’t get it, and I don’t care. I enjoy it, and it’s a great creative outlet.” It was about a fairly judgment free environment for his creative efforts. He had been to art school, and according to him there was a very oppressive mentality there. One that said if you didn’t do it a certain way, you were no good. Fandom welcomed him and allowed him to make mistakes. That thought stayed with me, and perhaps I was a fan in the making even then. About two years later as I was leaving the company, Bob gave me the Jenkins’ book, Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. I didn’t read it until 16 years later.

Those two books changed my view of media and creative outlet, and in late 2009, I began to see my personal blog as something different and eventually became frustrated with it. I also began to become more involved in the blogosophere with the thought that I had ideas and didn’t want to just consume others’ ideas. By happenstance I developed a very rewarding relationship of give and take with a powerful media player in England. He is in fact one of the founders of Empire Magazine. There I was exchanging ideas with him, and having a blast and I think he was too, and I was realizing the world really had gotten tiny and huge at the same time. I adored that, so when I started this site, I knew there was power in blogging. But I feel compelled to say to some in this fandom who are determined to cast people as connivers, that I did not start this site with an eye toward capitalizing on that kind of power. Are you kidding me?!! I was scared to death someone would find out I was running this place. But I don’t think it would have been wrong if I had been motivated by that. I just wasn’t. I was simply desperate to say something without every little part of it being nitpicked. Whatever fortuitous things have happened to me here as some sort of result, have just happened with no one more surprised than me. All just further confirmation of the power of the new media.

And now I come to the Anglophile interview with Richard Armitage. For a few hours after I watched the promo video for the interview, I had the same view of Marlise Boland so many others of the spectatorial era seemed to have. This idea that she was out of bounds! But a little time later, I mentally slapped myself for two reasons. I recognized she was seizing a marvelous opportunity of the new media, and more important to me is she was a female who was trying to start a business. Why would I want to demean that? Thankfully the better part of me quickly came to my senses and didn’t. I haven’t even seen the interview yet, but I support her efforts. You go, Girl!

If you think about it, this meeting was a natural for Richard for two reasons:

1) He has already made it plain he’s fan friendly. Hello! Have you read this page?

2) Who has he been hanging out with for three years?

richardarmitageanglophilechannelI have no clue what he’s saying, but I have the feeling I’m going to use this cap again. :D

note: Henry Jenkins was the Co-Director of Comparative Media Studies program at MIT and is now a Professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, and someone I would love to interview.

I’ve gone on to read quite a bit about fan culture and the new media as well as quite a few sociology books. It now takes up an entire bookshelf. Very enlightening, and I’m sure I’ll be talking more about this. Maybe not on this blog. I’m not sure yet.

Okay, I’m Ready for Berlin, Sir Peter

Yesterday I had to revert to a casual fan to get my bearings before the Desolation of Smaug premiere in Berlin, which I understand is now going to be live streamed here. Starts at 6:20pm Berlin time. For those in the U.S. that’s 12:20pm Eastern Time.

A couple of photos of the preparations.

Maybe it’s me, but it look like there’s still a bit of work to do, but then it wouldn’t be any fun if we could see this completed two days before the event:

Yep, some photos, but how many candid shots will we get of Richard Armitage? I hope we get a lot! And I will admit to wondering what his father looks like. Perhaps some of you already know, but I haven’t been as attentive and did not see any images of him at the London Premiere last year.

Google hangout link at YT, if you’re so inclined.

Reblogged from Me and Richard. Click to check it out over there:

Hobbit Google Hangout

and it will begin in a little over an hour.

Another Reaction to the Hobbit Fan Event

I’m enjoying these fan reactions. Whether they paint a complete picture of Richard Armitage or not, they’re still interesting, and in the interest of a little diversity (especially in light of the recent Esquire Magazine release), below is Armitagebesotted’s unabashed reaction to seeing internet crush Richard Armitage for the first time live (at the Hobbit fan event in New York). If you’re prone to Armitage Protection Mode, you may want to think twice about reading this. Why? Because you need to read the whole thing and not trip and then quit reading after the opening paragraph.

He’s just a guy — who looked anxious, and uncomfortable, and squirmed like a bug being examined under glass. He’s clearly an introvert (not shy, Google the difference) who hates these things. He picked at his cuticles,wriggled in his seat and ducked his head self-consciously to the point that I actually felt guilty for participating in making him miserable by being an audience member.

But that didn’t stop me from staring. Steadily. For 45 minutes. (I missed a lot of the movie stuff and totally tuned out Anderson Cooper.)

I’m sorry, Richard. Please forgive me my obsession. I’m besotted, and I can’t help myself.

Others have written good descriptions of the lines, security, etc., so I’ll skip that. These are my further impressions:

Meeting fellow fangirls was the best, but I found the fan event presentation itself a little…underwhelming. It was disorganized and unrehearsed, and that was painfully obvious. All three “talents” (Bloom, Armitage and Cooper) looked like they desperately would have liked some direction, but they made the best of it.

RA’s introduction was buried in clapping for Bloom (RA deserved a solo entrance!), and there was no “ending.” Bloom, Armitage and Cooper just popped off their chairs as the sneak peeks started and slunk out of the theater in the dark — all three of them. We didn’t get to clap goodbye.

But we clapped, hooted and hollered the whole time they were on stage, so really, what did they miss?

There was a substantial amount of dead air. Several times, while waiting for the images from the other cities to appear on screen and to sync up, we in the audience were entertained by the crawl of Twitter messages at the bottom of the screen, including our own. I prodded my seat mates to put something out so we would see how long they took to appear (only a few minutes.)

My favorite was: “LOOK my tweet is on the big screen!!!” Janine Pineo’s tweet got a major rush of recognition, causing the three on stage to look up like, “Huh? What are they clapping for?”

There’s a story in there about the existentialism of supplementing the actual “event” (live people on stage in front of you) with your own stage-ignoring activity (fumbling with a gadget) in order to “participate” in the event. Or does that mean WE were the event? I will leave that to others to analyze.

Often, the theater was kind of quiet while Cooper listened to whatever was coming through his earphone and Bloom and Armitage squirmed. I was thinking it would be entertaining to give Armitage a phone book and ask him to read out loud to us. Or a Chinese restaurant menu. Too bad I didn’t have the guts to yell that out. Instead, I’m lamely putting it out now, as if I actually pulled off a good joke.

Speaking of yelling, people were heckling Anderson Cooper — Anderson Cooper, I tell you! Out of over-excitement, boredom or antsy-ness, I’m not sure which.

Bloom and Armitage spent most of their time looking down at their monitor, which was below the stage, in front of us, so that provided another weird disconnect. We’re right in front of them, and they weren’t looking at us.

We were looking at them, though. Non-stop. With comments. Bloom loved it. Armitage hated it.

Richard only got to speak once, but, of course, he made the most of it and was wonderful.

He’s very thin again. Thinner than last month in LA. Lucas North thin. His jeans were loose. I thought he looked tired and, dare I say it, frail.

The images of Richard on screen, on the other hand, were fabulous — and drew cheers from our crowd repeatedly. He and Orlando stood in the back during the trailer that opened the show and today I read that they watched the scenes from the movie which closed the show from the back, also. RA had to be gratified to hear us scream wildly every time he appeared. Bloom got his clapping, too, but there was no mistaking that this was a Richard Armitage audience. The roar each time Thorin appeared was LOUD.

Gripe, gripe, gripe. Having unloaded all my complaints, I will also throw in a few compliments. I can’t imagine, but do appreciate, the technology and technical support behind pulling off this event. Actually, we got one clue; there were four semis with satellite dishes on their roofs outside our theater in New York.

The 20 minutes of footage from the not-yet-released film which Peter Jackson wrangled out of Warner Brothers was a true gift to the fans. I do like to see anyone best entertainment conglomerates, so “Go, Peter!” Please continue to prove that the “creatives” who invent the “content” are in charge, not the financiers and the promoters.

Ooops, is my snarky, skeptical side showing? The marketing element of this “event” was inescapable. We all signed waivers….

The best part of the experience was meeting other fans and connecting on-screen fake names with real people and real names (which will not be revealed here.) This fandom’s dedication is mighty impressive. When I found myself between a woman who had driven overnight from Michigan and two who had flown from Chicago and Idaho, respectively, I decided to keep to myself how disgruntled I was when my train ran slowly from Times Square to 68th Street, making my trip from Brooklyn take a whole hour.

Frenz’s reaction: Maybe a little APM kicked in on me. LOL!

Dear Rich,

What a pain in the ass to be present at an event that is not well planned and have a bunch of people watching me like a hawk. I probably would have picked my cuticles too and squirmed and just generally wondered when can I get out of here!

But no worries that we don’t love you as you can see how we completely take the organizers to task and never you. :D

The particulars of the event aside, it should be obvious that we all just like to see you in person. Mostly I think because some of us have a hard time believing you’re real and must see for ourselves that you are. You’re like a dream, Man. And if I stop long enough to really think about that, it makes me feel bad for you. That’s a helluva persona to carry around. Who could do that non-stop? Even your toilet joke doesn’t seem to detract from it.

I’ve said enough. Just know I still love you even if you do pick your cuticles.

A crazy fan — of yours. A crazy fan of yours.

P.S. You do have some really wonderful fans. I thank you personally for that! I just hate I didn’t get to see any of them this time around.

Like Armitagebesotted, I appreciate the technology of the event and also the dynamics “the powers that be” were trying to accomplish. Maybe it was just too ambitious with not enough time to pull it off. If this is done again, I would bet it will be much better organized. Looking forward to that.

I feel a letter to Sir Peter coming on, so I’ll stop with that line of thinking, or this post will take forever to load!

Before I go, Armitagebesotted and I want to once again thank Library Girl for her graciousness and let her know we both feel ANYTIME we get a chance to see Richard Armitage in the flesh, is a good time!

I understand RA Central has more media and lots of it!

And I’m looking forward to TheQueen’s take on things. No pressure though, Queen, no pressure. :D

Now I’m really done.

I Had a Great Need to Do This

Richard Armitage auditioning for Thorin

Since the Thorin audition has been talked about quite extensively, I’m not going to bore you with my full assessment of it. Suffice to say it agrees with much of what I’ve read from several of you with my net assessment being my gushing over Richard Armitage’s talent is justified, and we ain’t seen nothing yet. :D

But all the talk aside, I had to do this for myself.

In the meantime, it’s going to be interesting to see how others come to view him, and it’s hard to think there won’t be a critical mass who see him as quite a force. And if I’m deceived in my thinking, I don’t care. I like his stuff, and that’s enough for me.