I’m Just Going to Say It


Some of you already know I think it, and please forgive me if it sounds arrogant. That is not how I feel at all. I’m still flabbergasted.

This is fun:

FireShot Screen Capture #165 - 'Twitter _ Notifications' - twitter_com_i_notifications

Every time I want to look at Richard Armitage’s timeline, I have to search it because I’ve been too busy to make a list. And when I search it, I see that above and get a stupid grin on my face and laugh involuntarily. One time SO was standing nearby, and I had to be nefarious about what made me laugh. LOL! How old am I? Do not answer that! I had to be sly because SO would have royally taken the Mickey out of me.

Maybe I’ll stop grinning at some point when this becomes old hat, but I’m having a hard time thinking this would ever become old hat. And this morning I can’t contain my exuberance.

In fact, I’m laughing as I write this and thinking about how this blog was supposed to be a 2-3 month lark. Thankfully, SO is out of earshot. And ohmygosh, if some of you knew how many times I’ve said I was going to quit! It’s pretty much a quarterly thing for me and sometimes more often. I’m still not sure how long I can go with this, but for now, this is still a lot of fun. Thanks, Richard. :D

note to self: Remember you have never taken this place seriously; don’t start now. Also, remember Twitter followers can be fickle even when they don’t intend to be. It happens, so don’t forget that. For now, just go with it and hope others have as much fun coming along for the ride.

edit: Richard Armitage followed me about five months, and it was fun while it lasted. :D

It’s All Good

What a pleasure to speak with Todd Garner, Producer on Black Sky, about his new movie and about Richard Armitage, whom he says is “thoughtful and smart.” This should come as little surprise to fans since Richard has received praise from quite a few professionals during his career. Mostly due to his zeal to ensure the story is paramount and his character a perfect complement. His habit of writing character biographies has become almost legendary among fans and has prompted some to ask if he is a writer in the making. Garner thinks he is already there, “He’s an amazing actor but also a terrific writer even though he wouldn’t say that. He has come up with great moments not only for himself and others but for the movie. In fact we just finished shooting a moment he came up with that might be in the trailer.”

Black Sky is the story of a group of people in the midst of the worst tornado in recorded U.S. history. Richard plays a teacher caught up in finding his teenage son in the storm, and his preparation for the role could not be more perfect:

The moment when [the character biography] comes alive is when that research turns into the character, and that character goes out into the big wide world and collides with other characters (often the facets created in the biography are designed to cause chaos when this happens, like planting a few explosions inside the character).
Richard Armitage, Vulpes Libris interview.

Although Garner could not reveal much about the plot, it will be fascinating to see with which characters Richard collides whether people or the elements. And his reaction to Richard’s work on set seems to confirm that whatever the collisions, they are impressive, “He brings a great realism and weight to the movie that we wanted when we were casting. There is so much going on technically and with the story. It’s chaotic as it’s supposed to be since it’s a disaster movie. But it’s great to have an actor who in the midst of all of the chaos has complete control and still makes incredibly smart and surprising choices in his acting.” As for Richard’s speech, he will play an American from Oklahoma, and according to Todd, “He’s nailing the accent.”

Garner has also been impressed with Richard’s fans, “They seem very thoughtful, great and just cool. And it’s been fun. It’s a new experience for me since most of the people I’ve interacted with are comedians and fans of comedians.” He certainly didn’t seem to be the least bothered by fans coming to the set and explained, “Every movie with a star who’s beloved and with the internet making location shooting so well known, whether a Nicholas Cage movie, or a Tom Cruise movie, or a Kevin James movie, has fans who come to the set, and actors are for the most part grateful. Richard certainly feels that way and is happy to oblige. He’s a wonderful person who is very real and very giving and charming and hasn’t been put off by this at all. And everyone has been very respectful.” With the cast and crew working very hard on this movie, the only thing expected of the fans is to continue that respect, and I feel confident we will.

Regarding new pictures, Todd asks that we be patient with him and those working on the publicity for the movie who are trying to be thoughtful and intelligent about it. But it will probably be about two weeks when we get another photo. Considering how engaged he’s been so far, there should be no worries.

Todd Garner has served as producer on several well known movies such as Anger Management and Thirteen Going on 30. His next movie Here Comes the Boom starring Kevin James is due for release early October.

Photos courtesy of Todd Garner

I Finally Had a Richard Armitage Dream

Yep, I finally had a dream about Richard Armitage. Oh yeah, of course I did. ;-)

Last night I was dreaming I went to Comic-Con with hopes of seeing Richard there. In the dream, I envisioned myself interviewing people with an eye toward maybe seeing our guy. Heather, laden with camera equipment, was also with me and we were there trying to do our job — bringing reports and pictures to the fans. Then I woke up a couple of hours ago, and I really was there. :D

Seriously, awhile back I was invited by TheOneRingnet to come to Comic-Con, and thankfully, really was able to bring Heather with me. I want to take this opportunity to thank Larry Curtis for the invitation, and we will do our best to report as much as possible. Heather and I are also doing work for some other sites, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to do something you love as a job!

For those who read this blog, I will be over at TORn, so check there for reporting, and I may get over here some when I can. We’ll see. Right now the whole experience is surreal, and I’m trying to process exactly what is happening! But I adore a challenge, so stay tuned! :D

Note: I ask that you all understand I am not RAFrenzy this week, or should I say RAFrenzied. LOL! Tolkien and the creativity he inspires has put my imagination in overdrive. I told you all awhile back that I was going to do something else in the future, and I am. Creativity is a big part of that. But no worries. I will get pictures of Richard Armitage if I can get into Hall H and anything I get will be posted as part of TORn’s coverage.

Lords of the North Audio Book Winner

I thought this would never get here! My very juvenile self has been dying to give these books away to people who really enjoy Richard Armitage. Actually, I’m just announcing one of the winners. The other one I haven’t heard from yet, so who knows? Maybe I’ll draw a second time for that one? ;-) No, I have a feeling I’ll hear from them. :D

But I have to confess this has been so much fun that I want to do it again sometime soon. I have two more copies of LOTN and a little stockpile of Heyer books, so I’ll definitely be doing it! And I have to thank AudioGo again for supplying the books in this giveaway. Thank you so much; the gift helps prolong the fun for next time. Until then:

And of course I had to ask Anakris to respond:

Hi Frenz!

These are wonderful news! Coming to work in a rainy day like this and find out that I won this audio book… just made my day!

You asked me to tell you something about myself, so I have to ask you back: “Me, as a person? (…) I have 45 years to talk about”. (I keep feeling butterflies in my stomach every time I hear that). Although I have all those years to talk about (I wont, that’s a promise) I only came to know about Richard Armitage, early this year, through a dear friend of mine who send me a link to a video of The Vicar of Dibley, warning me on the side effects of the expression “well, there you go”. And there I went! From that day on a hurricane of RA information took over my computer, my TV was flooded with new DVDs, films and TV Series, and my MP3 is almost reaching melting point. Venetia as read by Richard Armitage, kept me company while waiting for my children to get out of school, everyday during 2nd period and now Lords of the North will do the same during the 3rd one! Again, all this I owe it to my friend Sandra (who is also a frequent reader of this blog) so I think I should publicly thank her from the bottom of my heart and obviously, I’ll be sharing this piece of melting chocolate voice with her!

Reading to your blog, Frenz, is now part of my daily routine, and while doing it I find myself many times nodding at your comments and thanking you for being so accurate and objective. Talking about RA being handsome, and hunky, and breathtaking, and (I’ll leave it here) it’s easy but I think all of us here agree that RA is so much more than just a pretty face and you really honour that.

Keep on the good writing and, again, thank you for this opportunity!

From Portugal

Anakris so glad to meet you, and thank you so much for the kind words. It’s been my pleasure. Truly.

Be sure to tell us how you like the book!

Original screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.Com

Doing the Hongi

No, this isn’t a FanstRAvaganza post but another interruption, because frankly, I can’t help myself.

I’ve talked about RA’s voice and his ear and the wonderful vibrations, and I even posted a little sample of what Thorin may sound like, but aren’t any of you really curious about what’s going on in New Zealand?!! Oh, I want to know! Where is he exactly? What is he doing? Which way did he go? Huh?

Perhaps there will soon be some more photos or at least some words. I know several are hanging on the tweets of Robert Kazinsky and the blog pieces and flickr from Ian McKellen, and maybe a few other things floating around or on the periphery of RA universe. Those have all certainly been treats. I’ve absolutely loved them, but dammit! I want some hard news about RA! LOL! I haven’t gotten any since the cricket match fundraiser and the picture with Vicki Treadell, the British High Commissioner to New Zealand.

I did recently read that ‘The Hobbit’ cast participated in a powhiri or Maori welcoming ceremony the day filming commenced. I knew a little bit about the ceremony since a close friend of mine spent a month in New Zealand a couple of years ago. Actually, I just knew it was a welcoming ceremony, and that’s about it. LOL! So I went in search of info but became a little confused as there was so much terminology to learn. Thankfully, I found a very clear write-up of the parts of the powhiri:

* Kawa – customs or protocols for greeting visitors. These introductory instructions are first given to the manuhiri, or visitors, such that they may be guided “safely through the spiritual and physical realms,” and so “they understand what is expected of them”10.

* Taki (or wero) – a challenge is presented, where warriors appear to determine the intentions of the visitors. If the visitors’ intentions are peaceful, the warriors present a rautapu, or some sort of symbolic peace offering, which the visitors “nod and acknowledge that [they have]… received it”11. Once this is done, the warriors guide the visitors into the sacred marae.

* Karanga – the vocal call of a female begins which will be a kind a purifying preparation or “clear a spiritual pathway between the hosts and visitors… acknowledging the spirits of all our ancestors who have passed on into the veil of the world, without end.”12. It is a type of call to the Maori and visitors’ ancestors.

* Karakia – a prayer or blessing is offered to the gods to “bring everyone together. Asking assistance of a superior being to give spiritual protection to all those who are participating in the powhiri”13. This is a type of demon or devil cleansing such that everyone may be “free from any destructive spiritual influences”14.

* Mihi – formal greetings and identification of who you are. It is a recitation of your ancestors, history, family line (genealogy), and your relationship to one another. These details were often only known by oral transmission and memory.15

* Waiata – a spiritual song is sung. “Traditional waiata of the ancestors were often aligned with spiritual
events, which could include supporting karakia or prayer to evoke supernatural forces”16.

* Koha – the act of gifting, in a very honorable, dignified, way. Traditionally this was done by offering assistance in the gathering of food, or taonga, treasures. Today it is usually a monetary-type gift. 17

* Hongi – the unique and very sacred Maori physical embrace wherein the two sides become one. “The hongi is the traditional greeting of nose pressing. It is the exchange of the ha, or breath of life… This greeting makes the visitor at one with the tangata whenua [hosts]”18. “The most sacred part of the Maori is this portion here – the face and head. When you make contact with a fellow human, it’s the embracing, the light touching of the noses. Because you’re now dealing with the most sacred part of the person. It’s the essence of life to mankind. Where else does the breath of life enter man?”19. This is the portion of the ceremony in which the breath of life is exchanged and intermingled between host and visitor, and makes the visitors one with the Maori, ready to share in all responsibilities and duties. This tradition is said to have come “directly from the gods”20. “In Maori folklore, woman was created by the gods moulding her shape out of the earth. The god Tane (meaning male) embraced the figure and breathed into her nostrils. She then sneezed and came to life. Her name was Hineahuone (earth formed woman)”21. Sometimes this embrace in the ceremony also includes the hariru, which is a handshake between hosts and visitors, and even a kiss or hug. One website describes it thus:

Direction will be given for manuhiri to go forward to hariru/shake hands, hug or hongi with tangata whenua. Whether you hariru, hongi, hug or do all three is entirely up to you at the time. We trust people will feel culturally comfortable whatever their choice. The action of performing hongi is associated with the hariru. The two people shake hands, each using the right hand. At the same time the left hand maybe placed on or near the other person’s shoulder. The head is bent, the eyes closed, and sometimes foreheads touch as noses are pressed. Some choose to press once and some twice – both ways are of equal significance. Invariably, tangata whenua will indicate their kawa/ways by example. It is appropriate to say “tena koe”/”hello to you” or “kia ora”/”greetings” as part of the greeting. In this greeting our ancestors meet as we meet and together we share the breath of life. This physical contact between manuhiri and tangata whenua completes lifts the waewae tapu/sacredness of first time visitors, allowing us all to be one, as tangata whenua for the duration of this Gathering. The running of the marae, for the time of our stay, is now ours to share.22

* Hakari – ritual feasting and sharing of traditional foods in a banquet to finish the binding together. “At the conclusion of that you are finally part of the family. And it’s a very happy occasion. And you can feel it. There’s a warmth in the room amongst everyone”23………

* Poroporaoki (or Mihi-whakamutunga) – final speeches and farewell. It is the returning of the esteem and authority of the Maori hosts back to them. It is a time of reflection on becoming one or a part of the Maori people.

(emphasis mine)

As I was surfing around, it was hard not to realize the importance of the powhiri and in particular the hongi to the Maori:

Essentially it’s the moment the hosts and visitors become one, and I remember my friend telling me how powerful it was to observe.

The Hongi:

Of course eventually I was burning with curiosity to know how RA fit into all of this, and it was almost as if my thoughts were heard and someone took pity on me. I received a note from someone in a position to know something about what went on, or maybe they have only inflamed me some more? :D

To be the leader of the visitors is pretty intimidating – you have to maintain eye contact and yet be diplomatic. Plus to speak Maori in a public occasion is tough. But Richard was the one who replied for the whole cast and even spoke Maori in his reply. Very impressive.

Yes, I think I’ve definitely been inflamed. LOL! My mind is working overtime to imagine him speaking Maori and being honored to represent the cast! Is there any doubt that he did his homework on the powhiri? Yes, that’s what I thought; he definitely was prepared. This is what is so lovely about him — he actually has a wonderful brain and uses it. Thank you, Richard!

I hope some photos emerge to confirm what I’m saying and to help along the wonderful picture in my head. Whatever the case, this is fun to imagine.

Edit: And it turned out to be true! :D More on that here.

All photos are in the public domain.