Seeing All Sides of Richard Armitage

The fascinating video on the very recent transformation once again of The Old Vic into a theater in the round.

The amount of planning, material and labor is impressively outlined and the actual time lapse transformation begins at :56

Pre-Screening of Into the Storm

“On June 16, “Into the Storm” will be screened at CineEurope [] 2014 which will be held in Barcelona, Spain.” – Thanks to


into the storm newtumblr into the storm

New Crucible Poster! OMG!


Clearly The Old Vic PR wants my soul, as well as my money. If it wasn’t lost before…

Originally posted on Obsessive Behavior:

crucible topless

View original

Linnet’s Nominees for the Versatile Blogger Award


There is a very nice list of bloggers here, and I really, really could not recommend Linnet Moss’ blog highly enough. She does me a huge honor that I can not ignore with not re-blogging.

Originally posted on Linnet Moss:

Just for fun, I decided to change the “Versatile Blogger Award” rules so that winners now have a choice of displaying either Kit Harington’s abs or Scarlett Johansson’s pecs. 


Not long ago I was nominated as a “Versatile Blogger” (many thanks, Perry of Armitage Agonistes!). It was a thrill because I used to worry that my blog was perhaps too unfocused to attract a regular set of readers. After all, how many people out there share an interest in all the things I write about, from rapini to Ralph Fiennes to rosé to ancient Rome?

This award gives me a chance to celebrate ten other versatile bloggers (some longtime favorites and a few newly discovered) and invite them to participate, if they so choose. The award is intended to be an honor, not a burden, so if you do not have time, no worries! Just bask in the…

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In Memory of Harriet – “a wonderful, funny, thoughtful smart brave girl”

harriet and richard

Harriet and Richard Armitage – July 2013, The World’s End premiere.

Harriet Rowland, who has been in a hospice for the last several weeks, has lost her battle with cancer.

For those of you who may recall, it was last year that Harriet, who as a guest of Philippa Boyens, attended The World’s End premiere where she very excitedly met Richard Armitage and many other Hobbit friends and film folk, taking pictures and writing extensively on her blog My Experience of Walking The Dog” about such experiences, while living with cancer.

philippa and harriet

Philippa Boyens and Harriet, “The World’s End” premiere

I wrote on this in my Tumblr blog at the time, but to my shame and embarrassment – because I hadn’t read her blog fully enough – I had not realized just how sick Harriet really was.  So I went back to read more about the truth and the hard reality. It was there where I was enlightened on what at a truly strong and positive human being Harriet was.  Her blog documents how she fought with unimaginable strength and grace in her traveling, in living and her clearly generously loving ways.

A little while ago, a friend of hers on Tumblr informed me of her entering a hospice prior to passing. It was there that I discovered that Harriet, inspired by one of her favorite books, “The Fault in Our Stars”, had published her blog entries in a book, The Book of Hat,” with the aid and encouragement of her family and her “Hobbit” family, where proceeds have gone to benefit CanTeen, and has since sold out.

UPDATE: Makaro Press informs that “The Book of Hat” has been reprinted and will be available.

I thought I would share here some wonderful excerpts in her blog on her experiences with her hobbit family and her travels, where she writes openly and passionately.

After attending the New Zealand Charity Gala premiere of The Desolation of Smaug in December 2013 , Harriet wrote:

“I even went to Park Road Post Production and got to see the Hobbit being made into the wonderful film it is going to be!! I am sooo excited to see the whole thing but as per usual I can tell you nothing apart from Phillipa is truly one of the most amazing woman I have had the pleasure of meeting! “

And in another post…

“Philippa Boyens is honestly one of the kindest people I know. She is always so busy yet she found time to fit me in. from Phil, Fran and Katie coming to visit me in hospital before running off to premiere the movie in LA. I also got invited to go to the New Zealand Premiere with my friend Tessa.”

And there is this…

“The whole Hobbit cast has been so wonderful to me Richard Armitage wrote me such a wonderful email. He even said I was “you are such a wonderful, funny, thoughtful smart brave girl.” which I must made my day that much better. He is such an amazing actor to not only think of me while busily promoting a movie but he also wrote me an email!”

A clear testament to her wide-reaching personality, charm, and friendliness, here is a loving tribute on YouTube by Harriet’s endless number of friends and family -

Harriet’s last entry in her blog says all on how passionate was her living:

Friday, 21 February 2014

“…On Wednesday I had one of the most magical nights as I launched my book ‘The Book Of Hat’ into the world! It is actually amazing and the night was out of the world spectacular!

The first print run has sold out but If you want to buy copies of “The Book of Hat” you can contact the publisher Mary McCallum at

What people didn’t realize at the magical launch was that in the morning poor mum wasn’t even sure if I was going to be alive in the afternoon to do this. It surprises me sometimes how she doubts my abilities. There was no way I was missing my own book launch.

But this is also an apology as to why I have been out of communicado. I am now an in patient at Mary Potter hospice just while they try to sort out what meds and stuff I need so that I can still function but I am not in pain because I have had to been choosing and neither option is pleasant really.

Anyways, as always I get very bored in hospital/now hospice so would love visits to keep me company!

PS I even hear dogs may be allowed to visit hospices!!!!

Silver lining to every cloud.”

A brief note regarding this post, at the risk of looking exploitive:

Harriet’s connection to Richard and her friends Peter, Fran, Katie and Philippa are mentioned, but my agenda and intent is just this – that with encouragement, interest in Harriet’s book might grow enough to gain another worthy pressing, a generously shared legacy with a greater benefit to all who might read it, I think. And that Harriet should be remembered.

harriet and hobbit family

Harriet Rowland at her book launch, February 19, 2014, at Park Road Post, center, with Philippa Boyens and Katie Jackson, Left, and Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson, Right, holding copies of her book, “The Book of Hat”

harriet and hobbit family 2

Harriet Rowland, Left, with friend Philippa Boyens – at the launch of her book, “The Book of Hat”, February 19, 2014

Harriets and friend

Harriet Rowland, right, with her friend Mac, at the launch of her book, “The Book of Hat”

Harriet and family

Harriet Rowland, with her family at the launch of her book, “The Book of Hat”

Harriets publishers

Harriet Rowland’s book publishers Paul Stewart and Mary McCallum at Makaro Press at the launch of her book, “The Book of Hat”

Notable Brilliant Actresses Richard Armitage Would Like To Work With

richard work


Cate Blanchett, Photo source: IMDb

In the final installment of The Anglophile Channel’s Favourite British Artist of the Year Award 2013 presentation, when asked which leading ladies he would most like to work with, Richard Armitage mentioned several very busy professionals. The following highlights four of the actresses that he singled-out this time, outside of the very fine Cate Blanchett.


Janet McTeer


Janet McTeer – Photo Source, IMDb

 The first thing I ever saw Janet McTeer in was “Songcatcher”, a modest film about a musicologist who seeks to record and log the songs of American mountain-folk whose inspirations stem from pain and longing and the struggle in this life. But her work as an actress is often (“The Woman in Black”, “The Parade’s End”, “Albert Nobbs”, “Sense & Sensibility”) where I have found her characters to be both hard and soft, alternating quiet and powerful, simultaneously. It is an understatement to say that she is a strong actress. She would definitely keep Richard on his toes.

Sally Dexter - Photo source, IMDb

Sally Dexter – Photo source, IMDb


Sally Dexter

I am not as familiar with Sally Dexter‘s work much outside of that in “Secret Diary of A Call Girl” and “Hotel Babylon”. Both shows I have seen, but I cannot honestly say I recall anything of her performances. But she also appears to work in theater much, especially in London, in shows such as “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” as the White Witch/Ice Queen, and in “Closer” (with Ciarán Hinds)  – and right there that says much to me about her talent. By Richard mentioning her, he clearly admires her work enough to want to work to her opposite.

redlineFanny Ardant

fanny ardant

Fanny Ardant – Image source,

 Fanny Ardant is a gorgeous French actress who oozes with sensuality and subtle strength. Some favorites of mine have been “Elizabeth” (with Cate Blanchett) and her work with Truffaut (“The Woman Next Door”, “Confidentially Yours”). I am sad to say I haven’t followed her work recently, but working she certainly still is and I think that Richard work would well to her opposite.


Tilda Swinton – Image source, Spin


Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton – well I could go on forever about this choice. The very first film I saw her in was “Caravaggio”, her first film made by her longtime friend and Director, Derek Jarman, whose work she would participate in often. Most notable to me is her performance in “Orlando”, where she played both male and female, and is the signature piece of her career – even if her character in “Michael Clayton” is about the most chilling. But Tilda is beyond brilliant and can do anything – just anything – as she is sensual and hard and intense in her immense talent. As much as I adore Cate Blanchett, I would wish for this pairing – romantic or otherwise – even more. Tilda is mind-blowingly good.


Just an idea on how they might look together. And you’ll have to indulge me, but I thought I’d take liberties with the “costume drama” aspect of their careers.

I could easily see his working with them all. I think Richard has good taste and a sincere appreciation for talent.

richard and janet and sally and fanny and tilda

Richard Armitage Admirer, The Arkenstone, Pays It Forward: A Spread the Love Connection Through Outlander

A good way to spend a Sunday morning

A very nice way to spend a Sunday morning

      I have become the recipient of several books that I had only recently come to know of upon hearing that Graham McTavish had been cast in the new Starz original series, “Outlander.” Naturally, I patiently await news and its premiere.

      Needless to say I was floored when I received these books – a set of seven of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series of eight.  This generous gift was received from a fellow Richard Armitage admirer and ravenous book reader, The Arkenstone – who is also lovingly known as Arkie.

     The thick paperback tomes are simplistic and minimal in their cover art, and their contents appear to be far richer.

Graham McTavish as Dougal MacKenzie in Outlander

Graham McTavish as Dougal MacKenzie in Starz original series, “Outlander”

      Shamefully, however, after receiving them (because I have many other books in my “queue” to read), I failed to notice a very special feature about these particular books.

      I had tucked them away to await their turn in my queue, but auspiciously, while I was moving the books a few days ago, Outlander fell open to reveal a unique concept of giving which is labeled and detailed on the inside cover.

outlander label

Outlander tracking label at

       These series of books have been entered in a program which is designed to encourage book sharing.  The books’ participation – all initiated and perpetuated by Arkie – have been labeled with custom-made sticker labels that each carry ID numbers for tracking and information on this share program.  Each book’s new owners are encouraged by the sticker to seek out the website, where the its specific travel history can be obtained and a new owner can continue on the tradition.

       Although The Arkenstone writes fan fiction herself, she also generously shares links to other’s fan fiction as well in her weekly wrap-ups.

       After being clued in to the fact that there was more “gift” beneath their covers, I spoke with Arkie about this program and her participation, where more was learned on her passion for reading, writing and sharing.


CC: I just adore my new books! Please tell me how came to your attention and when did you join the program?

TA: My husband gave me a Nook as a Mother’s Day gift in 2010, with the intention of ridding our house of the over-abundance of books. Let me step back for a second, not only did I have new books, but I also collect pre-1950 hardback books. Why pre-1950? Because there are less of them. My oldest is an 1853 Fifth Grade Primer. Think about it. 31 States. No Civil War, No Abraham Lincoln. Franklin Pierce was President. Potato Chips weren’t invented until August, 1853. There were also less words per page. Anyway, he knew I wouldn’t get rid of the old books. For the next few months, I gave several boxes to the local library, but they didn’t have the room for any more. I sent my paperback books to the Veterans Association or Wounded Warriors. One day I was searching the Internet for some books for my Nook and happened to see an advertisement for The rest as they say is history.

dragonfly in amber2

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

CC: Aside from signing up, what is the process for participating in the program as you understand it?

TA: It’s really that easy. You don’t have to have books to share. You can look for books that are available and request them. It’s a sharing site to get people to read. It’s a chance to read an author you might have heard of and not read. I think there’s probably more books there that people have never heard of than you can imagine.


Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

CC: When did you first read the books/become a fan of Diane Gabaldon? What made you choose, or wish to share, these books in particular?

TA: I have always been a fan of science fiction and fantasy. When “Outlander” came out in 1991, I bought it. I read it in 3 days. I couldn’t put it down. I bought every one of the series as soon as it hit the stores. I didn’t wait for the paperback. I really thought I would keep them forever. Then when word got out that Starz was making a series, my first reaction was “Oh no. I have to cart those heavy tomes around, when I’m now using a Nook?” I decided since I was going to buy the ebook version, that I didn’t need to keep 12 pounds of books around. I first put them on in a controlled release, simply because there were so many copies of the Outlander series already listed. That way I could hold them and not feel obligated to set them out someplace. They were in pristine condition.

CC: Yes, the books are indeed in pristine condition, and I do plan to keep them that way until I put them back into circulation. So how many books would you say you read a year?

TA: Easier to ask me how many books I read in a week. If the book is good, I will read it in a day. I’ve been known to read a book a day. So on an average, I would say probably in the neighborhood of 200, more or less. I will read almost everything and almost anything.

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

CC: Shamefully I could never keep up with you as such a prolific reader. But I think we may mutually know of a certain someone who might come close to that when he’s not working, hm? So, when did Richard Armitage come into your own sightlines?

TA: Probably 2011. My husband was channel-surfing and we came across Robin Hood. As someone once said, “I rooted for the wrong side.” I didn’t really get into the whole “Armitage Army” until later, but I did look him up on the Internet and checked out a few of his fan websites. I was amazed at their dedication to him. That is until Gandalf opened the door to him at Bilbo’s house. Thorin Oakenshield pretty much turned my whole world upside down.

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

CC: So was it then that began reading fan fiction containing the characters portrayed by Richard Armitage, or does it go further back to other characters/fandoms?

TA: I didn’t read fan-fiction before I wrote fan-fiction. There are a couple of series I read now.

CC: How long have you been writing yourself? Is there a site that we can go to?

TA: I wrote my first fan-fiction in June 2013. I post on a couple of sites, Wattpad and DreamerFiction. Wattpad is easy to register on. Dreamer Fiction you have to be invited to join. It’s a little more selective. [Note: Dreamer Fiction is a private chat forum site. Joining requires a referral from an existing member and is for those aged 18 and over.]

CC: Would you like to mention specific fan-fiction writers that you adore and/or recommend?

TA: There are some really good writers out there. My absolute favorite is Morrighan’s Muse. She wrote a serial called “A Willing Heart” that was my first fan-fiction story that I could not get enough of. She’s writing a serial now called “Every Fifth Living Thing”. It’s amazing. A publisher soon is going to notice her. Zeesmuse is another one. She wrote a story called “Manna From Heaven.” It was yummy.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

CC: What are your favorite fan-fiction sites?

TA: There are several fan-fiction sites. I wouldn’t want to say which are better than any of the others, since they are all different in their own unique way. Some are more geared to teens and band fan-fiction. Some are geared to slash fiction. Some are soft porn or are fairly racy.

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

CC: Anything else specific you want to share or say?

TA: Just a couple of things. One, share. Share your knowledge. I am amazed every day to hear that our children know so little about our country and the world. Ask your children some simple history questions. See what they are learning in school. Share your books. There are still people out there who cannot read because books are not available to them. There are soldiers and sailors serving our country who would be thrilled to have a paperback to read. They don’t even care what it is. Some of those same veterans are in hospitals recovering from injuries who wish they had something to read to pass the time.

Lastly, thanks for taking the time to listen to me ramble on.

Anytime, Arkie!

Where The Arkenstone can be found, amongst other treasures of course -

~ crystalchandlyre

I am not going to assume that things are always going to be…

I’d like to always feel…

…that there will always be something nice around.

 I want to take literal advantage of the benefits and freedoms that I have…

…without ever taking them for granted.

 But at the end of the day, I’d still always like to genuinely and truthfully say…

…that I’ve been good to myself, I’ve been good to others, I still have nice things…

…and that I still have the ability to love and be loved.

My words, not Richard’s.

~ crystalchandlyre


Richard Armitage In Times Square

Our Micra (Microlina on Tumblr) posted this screen cap below of RABlogger’s AXE contest win – her “Kiss For Peace” submission of Richard Armitage as John Thornton and Daniela Denbe-Ashe as Margaret Hale.

Click the images for the original post and larger images.

twitter axe

@armitageblogger – AXE “Kiss for Peace”

make love not war

Richard Armitage – New York Times Square – AXE Peace “Make Love Not War” Campaign

A Slightly More Tangible Dream of Richard Armitage…


Dragon, The Ocelot


Richard Armitage

…I dreamt of an Ocelot, a pet who belonged to someone else, but he was in my care. I watched over him, knowing he would never hurt me and knowing the owners would be back soon. I very clearly understood his name to be Dragon…

…Although my job title was unclear, I was working on a movie. Although outdoors, studio buildings loomed about us. I could see Richard in the distance, and sometimes in passing, but he was rarely alone. The passed, and I entered a room – a lunchroom that had become a makeshift office of sorts. Richard was behind a counter, and I approached, presenting filmstrip clippings to him for his review or clearance. He did not look at me, only what I put before him. The images were of him – actual 35mm clippings from the film being made – that we were making – like pirated edits stolen from release prints, but all the image contained him. But whatever the reason for this was, it was clearly part of my job. I do not know what their use was for, but he said nothing. He just kept to the business at hand…

…It was the end of the day and I was very tired. My job had morphed into that of a form of production assistant. I did what was needed.  At once I needed sleep. I wandered into a room and Richard was there.  He had positioned himself on the floor, prepared to sleep. He seemed unaffected by the fact that he was on the floor, and I did not need to look at him to know how tired he was. He did not see or me, or acknowledge me. There was a very large armchair, empty. It was almost the size of a love-sofa, but really only room enough for one to sleep – but not enough for a six-foot-three man.


Richard Armitage


Richard Armitage

There was indeterminate clutter all around us, and I had to climb it carefully to circumvent Richard in order to get to that chair. I desperately needed to sleep and I needed to be in the chair, which was clearly behind him and only slightly above. I navigated my way carefully to the chair, careful not to disturb him – although I knew he was still awake – and I curled in, like a cat might, and became immediately comfortable and warm. I was awoken in my sleep dream by a growing din of voices. I opened my sleep eyes, and the room was filled and filling with people who had worked on the film, although I knew none of them. I screamed the words, “Shut up and get out, or I swear I will beat the crap out of each and every one of you.” Richard sat up slowly – but he only looked at them, and never at me. They disappeared, like smoke apparitions, and he and I each laid back down to our respective roosts, were I slipped deeply into the warmth…

…I watched the film, which may have been a comedy. Truncated and odd, the story was nothing I would imagine Richard would have ever chosen to do – but he seemed to be enjoying himself in his role. There were seats, but I was not in a theater, as the film was around us. I sat at the end of a well-worn sofa, where I saw that I was not alone. Others were all around me, and on the sofa as well, but not close. I looked to my left, and Richard sat right next to me, almost touching and yet not. He was with others, and occasionally conversed with them. But when he stopped, I continued to sit, almost uncomfortable with the feeling of his warmth next to me, unable to concentrate on the film because my mind was filled with him and his proximity.

Then there was an announcement, and the voice that spoke said brightly that I would be “singing for us all tonight.” I was mortified. I do not sing. I brought my jacket that was in my lap up around me, like a blanket.  I could feel the flush fill my cheeks and people’s eyes on me, but I did not look at them. Then a warm hand settled on my knee underneath the coat…

…Then I awoke.


Richard Armitage

Philip Seymour Hoffman, You Left Us Too Soon…


I really loved this man’s work. This breaks my heart more than I can express here.

Originally posted on Love, Sex & Other Dirty Words:

philip-seymour-hoffmanOscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York apartment on Sunday.

He was 46.

Law enforcement officials said Hoffman died at his apartment in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan.

via Philip Seymour Hoffman Dead: Actor Dies in New York | Variety.

I’m so saddened and shocked by this.  He was such a talented man and one I greatly admired for his talent as an actor and theater director.  Unpretentious and dedicated to his craft.

When I started out writing independent movie reviews for a local newspaper, my first ever interview (face to face) was with his friend Dan Futterman, who would later direct Hoffman in Capote, one of my favorite movies which Futterman also wrote.  Hoffman won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Truman Capote and if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s an amazing movie.


Hoffman was widely…

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A Dream Of Richard Armitage…And Not…

Anna Kane …I dreamt of men and women whose urban sleep depended on beds that lay on narrow and unprotected balconies that were many stories above ground. They huddled together, end-to-end and barely fitting the width of the ledges, risking the chance that any moment – while still sleeping – they might roll and drop to their deaths. Then I saw a woman fall, swaddled in her bedding. I watched her fall all the way down and land, still asleep. The impact was bloodless, like a G-rated film, so it was unclear if she was actually dead or just relaxed, with the bedding protecting her from breaking inside. Then it occurred to me that I was on such a balcony, looking down, and that any wrong move I made could put those huddled around me at risk…

two more
I dreamt of a roller-coaster. A monstrous mass of bent tubed steel and buttressed iron, enclosed in an abandoned building, where the interior was being sponge-painted black. I dreamt of the men who built it – a few men, whose talents twisted loops into hairpin turns that went into narrow open portals. I could see the bends and exits through the portals, but not the re-entry. I struggled to imagine the other sides, but I could not be sure. I considered the risk of such a ride, as there were no cars – just the placement of the human body on a track roller – unprotected, but unhindered in sensation. I was emotionally connected to one of the men. Still knowing there were flaws in its construction, he smiled with pride at the hastily built contraption. It angered me. Yet I still wanted to ride…but there were delays…

three more…I dreamt of a boy, a young man whose job it was was to make sure that he made his family proud and take care of those in his charge. He showed me his brand new Tuk Tuk. He was proud of it – white and shiny – but its enormity and steel construction made it far too large and cumbersome for him to actually pull. He begged and begged me to get in, so I did, and I watched him struggle. To help him, I began to pull myself, and we went faster. It upset him. I could see in his eyes that it made him feel lesser that I would do such a thing. But my pulling also made him free of pain and fatigue, and he knew I was in a hurry. Because my help was a relief, he let me…

…I dreamt of Richard Armitage. He was at a distance, and yet close. And although I knew it was wrong, because I hadn’t asked permission – or even said as much as a “Hello” – I reached out to touch him…

dream richard bordered

An edit of an Ascroft – Richard Armitage

…and then I awoke.

The 100th (WordPress) Post of Days of Wine and Richard Armitage: CrystalChandlyre

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2014!

It is now a new year on the Pacific coast and this is my very last post for 2013.

To all my friends in the Armitage Army, my fellow Armitage Admirers, my fellow Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ friends, and all the lovely people who visit this blog for whatever reason – I celebrate with you and wish you equal good company and the most beautiful, prosperous, and healthiest of years!

May you enjoy your fill until the last drop hits the bottom of the glass!





champagne drop

The Pervasiveness of Armitage Art: Sarah-Pete-Designs

Entering the Abyss

Googling, although now recognized as a verb, is not a recognized art form or craft. But if one is tenacious and patient, you can find most anything on anybody. Granted, for some, the term is synonymous with stalking. But the internet is a double-edged sword for those who depend on the ready dissemination of information to promote their careers, their art, and overall whatever business they might be in.
richard armitage - lucas north - sarah-pete-designs

richard armitage – lucas north – sarah-pete-designs

Like any other search engine, Google is a tool. Because I make it my business to know – and because I have a desire to know – about virtually any and every subject that is searchable, and “researchable”, using the internet and its tools are part of my job, as well as my passion. But I am selective, because I know that not all information made available is truth – even in images.
When I began seeking out more information on Richard Armitage’s career, I was initially quite blissful in my discoveries, because images of him available at the time seemed abundant.
Most of the professional images of Richard, along with career information, articles, interviews, etc., have been typically found (housed lovingly and generously) for all to see on websites such as Richard Armitage,  Richard Armitage, Richard Armitage, or Armitage, just to name just a few.
richard armitage - sarah-pete-designs

richard armitage – sarah-pete-designs – unknown fan shots

Outside of these websites, and the professional (commissioned) photographer sites, there also exists the seemingly endless archives of images of Richard Armitage that circulate on numerous social network sites. Many of these images are known as “Caps”, or screen captures of images, that are snapped from videos played on a computer/laptop/ipad desktop, courtesy or YouTube, Netflix, or Daily Motion, etc.
Many of these images are “capped” as is, but some, along with some professional photos, become stylized manipulated graphics. There is some controversy over this kind of manipulation, as commonly these images are changed to convey a different meaning or story than that which was originally intended. When images include that of others – either within or side by side – which allude to a relationship between characters or people, these are called “Ships. (To be sure, Ships are NOT the subject of this article.)
However, some of these stylized graphic artists have no agenda other than to create art. These artists manipulate existing images, essentially creating a new piece of work. Often, the work is more about love, appreciation, and wanting to create something new as an homage to the subject within that image, and not wish to deconstruct another’s work. These manipulations might change color, mood, create new surroundings, and are often done to “freshen up” or make new that which has already been seen many, many times – especially when new images are not available for long periods of time.
But more often than none I found that many of these images, or “edits” as they are commonly referred to, were either on numerous blogs (similar to this one) or on something called Tumblr.
richard armitage - john porter - sarah-pete-designs

richard armitage – john porter – sarah-pete-designs

I stumbled upon Tumblr many, many times in my searches initially. Over time, I stumbled so often that I knew at some point I needed to look further into what this was about. At the time, I did not know that I was looking into an abyssal. The end result was that I literally fell into that very abyss. It has been a black hole that has kept me willingly captive – fueling my own need to create and circulate most every piece of information on Richard’s career and beautiful image I came across. (I say “most”, because I set my own boundaries in this respect.)
So, I then became part of a well-oiled, community-constructed, information disseminating machine. If anyone doubts its power, then they are seriously kidding themselves – or they have yet to really experience, or understand, Tumblr.

The Armitage Admirer Connection

In my searches, there were many, many watermarked names that were encountered repeatedly. Like an artist to an oil painting, these are the signatures that lay claim to a piece of work in digital form. In time, these names would become synonymous with the Armitage Army for me.  In these names I would recognize, over time, as having been involved in following Richard’s career to the extent that their art would reflect their inspiration by, and their admiration of, the actor.
One such name was Sarah-Pete-Designs, or Sarah P., whose graphics of Richard Armitage are found mostly on her Tumblr page, and are circulated greatly by her Tumblr “Followers” – friends who Like, Follow and reblog admired posts.
After becoming mutual Followers, Sarah was recently generous and patient enough to share with us the roots that lead to her fan art that features Richard Armitage. She opened up about some issues regarding copyright concerns and the recent worry that property owners might take action on publicly shared art featuring their images in social media.
richard armitage - john mulligan & john porter - sarah-pete-designs

richard armitage – john mulligan & john porter – sarah-pete-designs

Sarah’s discovery of Richard Armitage was in the summer of 2012, during a grueling school year. Her scheduled classes were few, but they contained extended breaks in between which kept her at school for long days. Because she was too far away to go home during these breaks in class times, after doing homework she’d then watch shows on Netflix and YouTube. Already a frequenter on Tumblr, and knowing her taste, it was suggested by a Follower that she should see North and South. Although she enjoyed the program, her initial reaction to Richard was not yet strong. It was only after The Hobbit, with an initial desire to see Lee Pace, that she would “walk out in love with Mr. Armitage.”
Although born in California, Sarah Pete lives in Park Ridge, a few minutes outside of Chicago. Her favorites studies in grade school centered around art.  Immediately after high school she become a nail technician to help save money for college.
“[I] excelled in creating different kinds of nail art back then,” said Sarah, via email. “I was unsure what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
Over time, Sarah Pete discovered web design. After working with codes for themes on social networking sites like MySpace, where such themes can be “tweaked” by manipulating code, she decided to further her work in design by taking classes in Photoshop, among others.  From there, her work naturally flowed to website design,  fan pages, and blogging on Tumblr.
Once on Tumblr, Sarah was further inspired by Richard Armitage, where she now creates graphics edits that either enhance, change the mood or otherwise create impact of an existing image. Her edits are created via her laptop, Mac desktop or iPad. She uses the iPad for quicker edits with various photo editing apps, where she spends an “average [of about] 20 hours a week.”
richard armitage - john standring & john thornton - sarah-pete-designs

richard armitage – john standring & john thornton – sarah-pete-designs

“If I have something in mind that might be more extensive/creative, then I have to do that in Photoshop,” Sarah said. “The quick ones I can do in about 5 minutes on average. The more in depth ones can range from 10 minutes…to about an hour or two.”
Since then, Sarah has gone on to earn her  Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the Web Design and Interactive Media program at the Illinois Institute of Art in  Schaumburg.
In light of some recent events that have happened regarding discussions on copyright issues and fair use on Tumblr, like many others, Sarah had some concerns.
“I was concerned at first, but that was my initial paranoia setting in I think, “ said Sarah in an email. “I’m not saying one shouldn’t be concerned or ignore it, but I do think the chances of being contacted by people taking legal action are slim. And I’m a bit miffed by [any] photographer [that might be] upset because I personally believe they get more recognition for their work and most of us in this particular fandom give credit to them and don’t claim their work as our own.”
Sarah takes screen capped images and combines them into Cinematographs, or animated gifs that are grafted into a static image.
Like a loving parent, these stylized graphic artists, or “Digital Brushing Artist”, as Sarah likes to call herself, will have favorite pieces of work.
“My more detailed graphics tend to be more from North and South or The Hobbit, “ said Sarah. “I’ve made a few for Lucas North. And I of course make general edits for all RA characters and Richard himself. I love working on the North and South pieces because I’m more romantic I guess.”
~ crystalchandlyre
richard armitage & daniela denby-ashe - john thornton & margaret hale - sarah-pete-designs

richard armitage & daniela denby-ashe – john thornton & margaret hale – sarah-pete-designs


Sarah Pete Designs -
  1.  This is a non-commissioned exercise, and not an official band page, which features Sarah’s banner art and links to include tracks and videos.

  2. The focus of this site was to be instructive and include a quiz on one page

  3. A mock-up for an app.

Richard Armitage – Waterstones Charm or All I Want For Christmas…


richard armitage – waterstones – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug visual companion book signing

In response to a little Naughty and a lot of Nice.

Waterstones Piccadilly the hobbit: the desolation of smaug visual companion book signing.022169-3d-transparent-glass-icon-culture-holiday-holly

Source: Lee Haran via Cristina Salvini (Twitter)


richard armitage – waterstones – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug visual companion book signing

richard 21 laugh5

richard armitage – waterstones – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug companion book signing

richard 21 laugh3

richard armitage – waterstones – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug companion book signing

richard 21 laugh4

richard armitage – waterstones – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug companion book signing

richard 21 laugh6

richard armitage – waterstones – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug companion book signing

richard 23

richard armitage – waterstones – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug companion book signing

richard 21 smirk

richard armitage – waterstones – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug companion book signing


Where Richard Armitage Spelunked, Skied, or Soared

“I visited the Waitomo Caves and saw the glowworms. I skied down Mount Ruapehu. I skied at Queenstown and all of the ski locations there. I skied at Mount Hutt. I took a helicopter out to White Island. I took a helicopter to the Milford Sound.”  – Richard Armitage

glow worms

Waitomo Caves Glowworms, New Zealand – Photo: Ralph Roberts

large ruapehu

Mt. Ruapehu Skiing, New Zealand – photo:

Mount Hutt Ski Lift

Mt. Hutt and Chair Lift, New Zealand – photo: Creative Commons

Mt. Hutt Skiing

Mt. Hutt, New Zealand – photo: Simkin

white island

White Island, New Zealand – photo:


Queenstown ski lift, over looking the sound, New Zealand – photo: Destination Queenstown

New Zealand South Island Fiordland National Park Milford Sound

Flyingseeing over Milford Sound, New Zealand – photo:

Holiday Classics By The Fire or My Annual Pilgrimage To Bedford Falls


warming up the chimney for santa’s arrival, along with my gift. After all, I’m expecting tall, dark and hot.

The following is a short list of 5 films that I not only make a point of watching each Christmastime, but never manage to tire of:

The Apartment (1960)

Okay, if you are not familiar with this film, I encourage you to give an hour and a half of your undivided.  It is one of my very favorite films overall, it’s stylish (Mad Men-era), it won the Oscar for best picture (among other Oscars) in 1960, and I think of it as a great holiday film over all. I’ve always wanted my own Jack Lemmon to make me spaghetti and meatballs with a tennis racket.

A bit of trivia – the term use of calling someone a “Baxter” was coined after Jack Lemmon’s characterization in this film.

Holiday Divider Transparent

“…the sherry itself – it stimulates, it warms, it inspires, but no matter how much you drink, it never inebriates.” – Professor Wutheridge

The Bishop’s Wife (1943)

So much to say about this film, besides Cary Grant, Cary Grant and Cary Grant.

A bit of trivia – Billy Wilder did not direct, but he was asked to come in and do “fixing” re-writes, and a directors were changed. Karolyn Grimes, who plays in the film, also plays ‘Zuzu’ (Zuzu’s petals) in It’s A Wonderful Life.

Holiday Divider Transparent

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” – Clarence, the Angel

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

I never let a Christmas go by with out watching this film. Never. It is my all-time treasured Capra. One year, while visiting my grandparents in Louisiana, our entire family sat and watched the film as it was scheduled on the television. I was about 12 years old, and my grandparents only had a black and white television at the time. Right after the film was televised, there was an encore of it immediately thereafter. Because there had been a constant rotation of family coming and going with exchanges of gifts, eating, visiting and seeing other family in the area, most everyone watched it so that they could catch what they missed while distracted or late-coming. I sat and watched it fully both times.

A bit of trivia – The film was considered somewhat of a flop by critics upon its initial release, Bert & Ernie’s character names are forever honored on Sesame Street, and it was scorching summer temperatures on the set of “Bedford Falls” in Encino where Jimmy Stewart runs down main street in 3,000 tons of manufactured snow.

Holiday Divider Transparent

Scrooge (A Christmas Carol, 1951) 

This version with Alastair Sim is my personal favorite, and has a wonderfully chilling effect, which is the mood I feel that fully Dickens intended.  The ghosts of Christmas past and future will make you shiver in your boots. 

I like that sort of thing.

Holiday Divider Transparent

“Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to.”

A Miracle On 34th Street  (1947)

Spoilers if you haven’t seen it …and shame on you if you haven’t.
Edmond Gwenn won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for playing the finest of Santa Claus’.

I believe…

~ crystalchandlyre


“every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” – zuzu

Taking Things For Granted

When things change, we are either prepared or were are not.  If we are not expecting it, chances are it is because we have assumed consistency. And when that happens, often there is shock, maybe some pain, and possibly even regret, involved.  This regret can stem from taking for granted that which was assumed would always be there, available, or expected to produce.
I have just learned that the Richard Armitage Fan Page, Richard Armitage Online, will discontinue her updates due to restrictions that exist in the program that houses the website.richardarmitageonline
Having only come into the Fandom a few years ago myself, I am not fully aware of the website’s origins, its creator(s), or its actual time of inception.  All I have really known, outside of the catalog of articles, news, and career chronology, is that the website is/was a source of Richard Armitage’s monthly-down-to-annually Messages or letters to his fans, which were posted faithfully and openly by the website and its webmistress, Annette.
Like Richard’s posted messages, I had assumed that they would always produce and be fruitful, offering pieces of insight into the mind, heart, and soul of the very actor that many of us have come to admire, as a result of viewing his work in some form.
And as with other websites that dedicate themselves to the celebration and archiving of Richard’s bio, career history, press, images, and all things related, Richard Armitage Online has consistently provided Richard’s fan with regularly updated, publicly made, actively available information – and all completely through the work of the websites creator(s)’ own generosity and expense. At least, as I understand it.
In interviews, I have heard Richard make mention of Annette and make reference to the fan sites in general.  I can only speculate as to what this kind of acknowledgement might mean to one who makes such an effort to produce and maintain a website, with only things like sincere admiration or even a desire to be of service, as payment. That and a maybe a desire for an outlet to create as well.
My own true regret is that I have assumed that Richard Armitage Online would always be there.  And that like most any professional looking site which may also be assumed to be commercially funded, I also took for granted that it would always be updated with the plethora of regularly available goods that circulate on the internet for fans like me to enjoy.
richards last letter
Although Annette has indicated in a message on the site that she is not taking it down, but merely discontinuing the site’s updates, it still brings a sadness that such a thing will occur.
From my heart, I simply wish to say to Annette, and to anyone else who may be currently contributing to the site, that I have fully enjoyed and appreciated all the lovely work contained on Richard Armitage Online, and that I now regret that I had not visited and communicated more often.

Good Afternoon, Richard or The Afterglow – Part II

After a Second Viewing, some feelings left over from the initial viewing on characters that I did not mention the first time around –

“I’m better at being somebody who is very far away from myself I think.
But of course I fantasize about playing the romantic lead and the heroic character I just don’t think my face suits that – I think there’s just something dark and malevolent.”
– Richard Armitage, Popcorn Taxi, Sydney, Australia, May 2013″


thorin judges you – THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), released by Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM. Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Beorn: he is good, and it would have been really nice to have more of him and experiencing his home.  I think much was edited to make room for Smaug.  In that I cannot lament. Where I indeed do lament is where I have already said, which is lack of screen time for Stephen Fry as Master of Lake Town. Hopefully more will come in the final installment.

As Thranduil goes, I did not have much issue with there not being much of him. Often I have seen something in a trailer – commonly just a line delivered very differently – and then things end up on the proverbial cutting room floor in the end to make room or to push the story along sooner, or whatever reason the filmmakers had or needed. For Thranduil fans, that is a shame.  For me – I didn’t feel like I missed anything. Thranduil, as a character, hasn’t been rocking my boat in the trailers for some reason. I will say this – I would have wanted to feel the gravity of Thorin’s imprisonment more, in order to hate Thranduil maybe a bit more.  Richard talked of it much -  how “he” felt within his own back story and personal subtext as Thorin. I do feel that the opportunity to show and some screen time allotted to feel that was lost or not given.

Yes indeed, the barrel scene was fun and wonderful. I liked the feeling of being pulled into the water with them. Now I saw this 2D…I can only imagine that 3D must be a truly amazing experience, and along with it, Smaug in his magnificence.

Luke Evans as Bard the Bowman should be mentioned here. He is a rich character and one you do indeed really like. Luke fills the screen in all the best of ways – with his presence and character. No false flash and no upstaging…which, after seeing him in interviews and on red carpets, I have to admit I expected.

Orlando as Legolas is fine. It didn’t lose anything for me, but he did seem a tad ubiquitous in some slighlty unnatural – no, let’s say non-organic – ways.

I like Tauriel. I really do. More than I thought I would. She’s a level-headed badass and I like her. She steps up, she produces and contributes, and she does not feel like added eye candy. Good job Evangeline!


thorin still judges you – THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), released by Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM. photo credit – unknown, assume Warner Bros. Pictures.

Notable is the fact that we get a bit more of Graham McTavish, Adam Brown, and a few more of the Dwarves – and it is nice, but it is really not a whole lot.  Yes, there is little of Dean O’Gorman and yes, I agree that that is a shame. The actor can certainly hold his own in talent and there is not much opportunity here.

But Richard.

I think I’ve got a demonic streak in me which you’re not allowed to have in real life. Otherwise you’d just be hated by everyone. Anyway, they’re always the most interesting parts to play, aren’t they?” – Richard Armitage, Time Out Magazine, November 2004

Again, kudos and much pride to Richard Armitage, for pulling so much more out where there was none in the book. With respect to other reviewers, I know I am not saying much more here. And it is probably expected that I would gush, but it is not unwarranted. What can I say? I should acknowledge that when I first saw him on screen my eyes did get a bit glazy, and with it my brain a bit foggy. I am hoping I can absorb more in my next viewing. I was far too tired to say all this early this morning.divider_big_transparent

Good Morning, Richard or The Afterglow

There is not much initially to say, except…WOW!
Actually, there is…but this is not really a review, just mainly an expression of sincere feeling.
It is four in the morning and I just got back from the midnight showing of The Desolation of Smaug, and I am not even sure where to begin.
the modest little theatre where I had the pleasure of seeing the hobbit: the desolation of smaug – the iPIC
There is so much going on in the movie that I am not even sure I have processed it all.  I see it again Saturday, so that will be more opportunity.
Richard Armitage fans – you will not be disappointed.  There is much to enjoy of him.  And much is heroic.  And as serious as Thorin might be, there is still much fun.  Much!
Martin Freeman as Bilbo. I am not going to not say much here.  So much happens that is special.  I could say this with ease in the first film, but now I can say it with absolute conviction – Martin as Bilbo is so perfectly cast that I really could not picture anyone else in the part.  Honestly.
And although the film is glossy, it has what I can only describe as an appropriate and beautiful patina and antiquing to it.   It’s a good look.
the modest little theatre where I had the pleasure of seeing the hobbit: the desolation of smaug – the iPIC
But, the Dragon. THE Dragon!
Peter Jackson’s Smaug cannot be described properly on paper.  Drawn maybe – and thank you John Howe and Alan Lee  – but not accurately described.
The size of him.  The sound of him. His realization on film will certainly – must be – recognized by respective Academies and Guilds.  It is an understatement to say that Smaug as a character cannot be outdone by any other character in the movie.  Sorry Martin.  And also, …sorry Richard.  But as much as it is the performance of Benedict Cumberbatch, sincere and almost complete recognition must go to his visual fabricators and conceptual artists.
His CG construction is so perfect…you will forget he is CG.  I certainly forgot that he was CG.  All who had a part in his creation – his designers, his animators, the Actor’s physical and vocal contributions, the writers, and the directors’, have all created a frighteningly massive and fierce work of art.  This is no token dragon. He steals the screen, and for long, lingering nuggets of time. You will not soon forget him. And thank you Joe Letteri and your brilliant team!
Keeping warm in the modest little theatre I was in before Smaug warmed things up further.
And equally, thereafter, all the things that happen around him are in the same caliber of quality and attention to detail.
There is no fail here, at least not for me.  Is it long?  Yes.  Was I riveted? Yes, constantly and throughout the film.  Did I want more?  Yes, but I am willing to wait for it. Was there enough Stephen Fry? No, but lets hope for more in There and Back again, shall we? Was I pummeled over the head with action?  No, it was appropriate and worthy of proper spectacle.
The movie deserves all the accolades it will get, and should get.
Bravo, Sir Peter Jackson!


Bedtime Stories for Ladies, Read by Richard Armitage


Spectacular!  If you haven’t yet heard these treasures, I cannot recommend these recordings, or these books, enough!  Linnet has reviewed here my very favorite Audio Recordings by Richard Armitage, and some very fine reading of Georgette Heyer.  Richard thinks he can’t do voices, he says?  Pshaw.  There is such an incredible variety of well done vocal characterizations that I can’t even begin to outline.  My personal favorites are “Venetia”, and most especially, “A Convenient Marriage”. I absolutely fell in love with the brave and open Horatia.
I will say this as well – his female voices are so nuanced and specific that you can easily pick out the character once voiced again.  You will actually forget it that it is Richard – a man – who is playing them and will become deeply immersed.

Comments to Linnet Moss please, thank you!

Originally posted on Linnet Moss:

Georgette Heyer is a top-selling author, but most people have never heard of her– unless they work in a public library. In which case they know that her books are perennial favorites, well-thumbed and well-loved by (mostly) female patrons.


Georgette Heyer in her youth– a lovely woman. Click for source (

If you tore through the oeuvre of Jane Austen, re-read them several times and then sighed that there was no more to be had from that brilliant pen, Heyer is for you. Away with all the Austen adaptations, imitations, and ripoffs we see these days! They can’t hold a candle to Heyer’s wit, fine writing, and most of all, her exquisite research. She spent her life gathering all the details of Regency slang, dress, manners, amusements and minutiae of daily life into her notebooks–straight from contemporary letters and other primary sources.

In fact, her books are not Austen imitations…

View original 1,211 more words

Seeing Richard Armitage – Part II, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Premiere LA


On my way to see Richard Armitage at the Los Angeles Premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – like the skies of erebor

(Read Part I – Seeing Richard Armitage, Against All Odds or Welcome to My ‘Hood, Richard )

Return to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Los Angeles Premiere

My drive to Hollywood was an auspicious one, being that one of the visions when approaching the event was the very beautiful image of the Gothic First Hollywood Methodist Church silhouetted by a sunset backdrop.  The sky looked as if on fire.
Because I was apprehensive about actually going at first, my very first reaction when I first arrived at the Premiere of The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug  was surprise at the relative sparseness of fans in attendance.  I was actually both relieved and a little dismayed.
For my own sake, I was relieved because I do not do well with crowds.  For the sake of the filmmakers and planners of such an event, I was dismayed because crowds make a premiere appear more successful.  At the time I did not realize that LA people – like me – actually really do know how it works.  If you come too early, you wait around a lot.  If you come too late, you miss a good spot. Like most anything, timing is everything.  It was also a work/school day, so many were probably still commuting.  The fact that I got lucky in that respect was probably pure kismet, or just good timing.
But later, I would find that there were indeed more people than had met my eyes at that moment.
After securing a spot or two, with one retained in absentia by persuading some kind folk to look after a much-needed chair that I appropriated from another level – for a stranger who has had two knee surgeries and simply cannot stand for what might become hours – I then wandered the complex more to enjoy seeing the people, scenery and possibly find an even better vantage point.
bofur cosplay at the hobbit: the desolation of smaug los angeles premiere – the hollywood and highland
I walked toward the front entryway, and virtual proscenium, to the street where the Black Carpet actually makes a right-hand turn into the complex and towards the Oscar steps.  On my way I was pleasantly pleased to encounter a cosplay “Bofur”, who indicated that he was making his way to his own “Thorin” and in the direction I was headed.  We emerged out onto the Hollywood Boulevard section that was now transformed into the carpeted and dressed “Hollywood Hobbit Greeting” for fans, paparazzi and guest talent that were to walk the 8 foot wide ebony ribbon laid out before them.
dwarves and elves
cosplay at the hobbit: the desolation of smaug los angeles premiere – the hollywood and highland – elves and dwarves certainly can be friends – legolas, tauriel, thorin and bofur
Bofur and I were then greeted by his friends Tauriel, Legolas and, of course, Thorin, who were holding court at the barricades and on the Walk of Fame Stars beneath our feet.  Naturally, I begged permission to take photographs, which they graciously allowed.  Immediately thereafter, the now increasing crowds descended in such a way that let me know I had broken the ice enough to want ask and take pictures themselves.
I then walked up and down the elaborate setup that was just now filling with photographers  in mid-setup in preparation for the onslaught. Their onslaught.

The Real Hollywood

I would later hear what Benedict Cumberbatch would have to say about that very bank of paparazzi, which dismayed me.   I think Los Angeles press photographers are getting meaner and pushier with the years of living in this town, and I think it is beyond sad and embarrassing.  Nothing is more pathetic than saying to the world “You are welcome here as long as you do exactly what I want and I get what I want from you.”
screen cap – live stream, the hobbit: desolation of smaug los angeles premiere
As a kinder, gentler Angelina, for the most part, I would just like to say here to people visiting Los Angeles from other countries, that as rude as people can get here – or as shallow also as they might appear to be – on the whole we are really not all of us that bad. We can greet openly occasionally, share smiles and stories, and – thank goodness – even willingly save seats for strangers.   We like tourists and visitors and do not see them as a hindrance or bothersome.  We really do love our guests.
The is an unfortunate reality, however, there is just no room for them to stay permanently.  The town is more than full and over-flowing and that overcrowding is making people mean and bitter, especially in regards to auto traffic.  As nice as the weather is here, and as pretty as some of the people and specific places might be, it really is an ugly place.  We hide the ugly as much as possible, like one would sweep dust under the carpet or hastily stash away junk in the closet or beneath the bed.
hobbit black carpet3
the hobbit: desolation of smaug los angeles premiere black carpet – “Giant Eagle” eye view.
 The “real” Hollywood is actually not in Hollywood at all.  It is in Burbank, Century City, Culver City and a smattering of other outlying areas.  The traffic connecting those parts of Los Angeles, the even more cluttered downtown area, and the vast, outlying urban-suburban sprawl spanning miles outside Los Angeles proper, is beyond unnerving, unhealthy, and down-right often dangerous.
And there is truth in the fact that we never walk anywhere if we can help it and we may never get to actually know our neighbors after living next to them for years.  These truths probably seems odd to the rest of the world, and sometimes to me as well, but the reasons for it are not fear or – in the case of the latter – unfriendliness.   From my perspective, it has been that when a complete stranger approaches in most instances, my first thought is often that they want something from me or they want to sell me something.  Those are the pitfalls of living in a sprawling, stranglingly crowded, and fast city such as this one.  But there it is.
hollywood boulevard as viewed from the hollywood and highland – wikipedia image
This town taints and is tainted in ways beyond the effects of mere traffic frustration, and in ways that are just too numerous to fully describe. However, when I know there are tourists or folk who nearest me, and for an event such as the Premiere, with an almost unified purpose I have a tendency to force passed my shyness and push out the graciousness within me – both the “Virgo” willingness to be of service and the person proud to welcome someone who is possibly visiting for the first time.  I want visitors to have the best experience possible when here, especially when I hear they have saved all their lives and/or traveled thousands of miles just to come here.  It is then that want to show them what is actually beautiful, as well as what they would most like to see.  Of course, since I have not a vested financial interest in it, I could care less that they bring money or business.  They do.  But better still, they go home retaining the memories of a place that I call home, so I would only wish them the best experience.
Like that of Jed Brophy, I have a pride in my home town that I would want to share with a visitor.  But unlike Los Angeles, Jed’s home has far more breathing room and likely better air to do so.

grand hollywood and highlandEagle’s View

After I  left Bofur, Thorin and friends, I made my way back into the complex, taking elevators and escalators to the upper levels to scout, sight-see and people watch. Throughout my wandering, several people asked me to take pictures of them against the Hollywood sky line, such as the one above, of which I obliged gladly.  I was relieved to find that many people had gathered further and were littered throughout the upper levels of the complex.  Many preferred the birds-eye views that were afforded them, looking down into the sprawl below and taking in the glittering and sparkling scenery that culminated both the Hollywood strip, skyline, and Hobbit Premiere finery.
the hobbit: desolation of smaug los angeles premiere – black carpet inside the hollywood and highland
I was beyond elated.
To the folks who watched the online streaming, and to the actors and talent who walked the black carpet and “might” see this report, there was no way you would have know about the masses above you.  If you were on the carpet and looked up, you might have seen some faces from way above looking down, but that would not have given you a complete grasp of the volume of people there.
After doing my own sightseeing, I made my way back to my spots, where one was  thankfully still available.
I stood with a young woman of whom I thought was a photographer, but when asked she said “No, just a fan.” She had been getting eagle-eye zoom shots down from the upper level of the receiving line.  I asked who she had gotten pictures of and asked specifically about Richard.  She was not sure who was who in the initial arrivals, but said that a actor pulled up in an ostentatious yellow Lamborghini.  My instincts thought No, but I described Richard anyway.  From my description, she thought it might be him.  She further described what he wore,  that he was tall, and seemed to be very “all about himself” as she put it.  I just that couldn’t be.  So she showed me a picture, although slightly blurry, where it was confirmed that it indeed was not Richard.  But I knew who it was.  The who had emerged from the yellow Lamborghini was non-other than Manu Bennett.

Waiting for Romeo

My primary vantage point was that of a second level area to the right of the entrance way, or the right-most area as seen from the Live Streaming cameras. It was almost my very own “Juliet Tower” – a common, affectionate term for a small balcony for just such purpose in most theaters – and I settled there for a long time.
dean ogorman oscar steps
dean o’gorman – the hobbit: desolation of smaug los angeles premiere
 When things got busy down below, I had taken images that later I would discover were quite good, along with others of course that were, well, not so good.  I also discovered some that I had not realized I had indeed gotten – such as that of Dean O’Gorman and Aidan Turner, along with Stephen Fry and Orlando Bloom – the latter image being far to blurry to post, but in existence none-the-less.
When it occurred to me that my vantage point was truly not a good one, I moved as fast as I could and made my way through the thongs and towards the Oscar steps.
As luck would have it, I had positioned myself just in time to see the very person I had really come to see  – the one who could either make my night, or ruin it, if indeed I had missed even the slightest glimpse of him.  But I did indeed get to see him – Richard Armitage – and in a way that may not have been optimum, but still would turn out to be special, even if fleeting.
aidan turner – the hobbit: desolation of smaug los angeles premiere
Seeing Richard at the moment almost made time stop.  And it only came to be that when I had actually stopped fiddling with my #@%&ing evil contraption of a camera to observe and “be” there.  I watched him ascend the steps where possibly even he, at that moment, may have realized that others of whom he also admires have had actually walked.  He may have also realized that millions of fans have walked those steps with also just that very thought in mind.  He may have also said his own personal prayers of hope , as I did, that someday he would walk up the those very steps again, and to an awards show that would require him to descend down them while grasping that oh-so-familiar and coveted piece of gold, naked hunk of metal that means far more than its actual monetary value to the one who earns it.
I wish this for Richard more than anything.
While I reflect on these images, I recall what I thought at the time I first glimpsed his face.  To quote from my comment in a previous post:
“I had looked directly into his face at one point. No eye contact, but I saw “him” and that too is invaluable…Those of us who have now seen him probably have different takes.
I will say this…where I should have said before, he was both alike and yet different from how I have imagined. Bigger-than-life is difficult to describe about an actor’s persona and physicality when compared to their actual physical being. For instance, some images appear to me to make his head seem larger. His head is better proportioned in reality, at least from my perception.
He is slender, but because I know that images can put “weight” on people, he did not seem any slimmer than in recent images. He is still slimmer than that of North/Bateman, John Porter or Sir Guy, but not skinny.
…I don’t know where he gets that he has a mean face. I saw much boy, and a softness (not fleshy – soft.) And I can now easily see how one might not randomly recognize him on the street, as he has said in interviews. He has the everyman about him – in countenance and looks. This is the truth.”

richard premiere
richard armitage – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug los angeles premiere – live stream screen cap
In that moment I could only lament that the time was indeed so fleeting.  My own memory retention may not be the best – and often escapes me, and disappoints others almost as much as it disappoints me – but in this respect I can honestly say I am not embellishing or creating any new memories based on images seen in print, online, or on any screen – these memories are mine and they are unusually strong.  This is probably because I wish to hold onto them so desperately, and I am consciously working to be sure that none are added to by other input.
When he walked up the stairs, and I stopped my useless and wasteful fiddling, I watched him ascend and felt nothing but pride and admiration.  For someone who is a complete stranger really to me – as I to him – this is possibly viewed as an odd, almost disjointed reaction to someone reading my recollection from the outside.  Probably. Although I don’t care really, I am still aware, acutely, of how it must look to observe a stranger so intently.
I think I comforted to know, as he has relayed in interviews – even recently – that Richard may practiced  or experienced something like this himself, over someone he admires even now or has idolized in the past.
This thought gives me comfort really, even if there is a chance that it’s not true to the same extent in which I feel my admiration for him.


denny’s – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug promotional menu – link to article
When everything was done, at least as far as I was concerned for myself, I headed east with the intention to get something to eat and maybe write.  Once I secured a location (I almost went to Denny’s but I decided I really just wanted to get out of Hollywood.)  So I settled on a place that I was more comfortable with, and closer to my own home, with the intention to have dinner and go home to write more.
I hardly ate a thing, just having a glass of wine and a partial bowl of soup, because I write the entire time I am there – essentially closing down the place because I was committed (obsessed?) to relaying as much as possible.  But still, I was forced to cut it short at least to the point where I had an ending and could post in a reasonable amount of time relative to the event, unlike this one.
leena and orlando and abbey
leena tailor (@leenaNZ & @koolkiwis), her friend abbey, and orlando bloom – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug after party – dolby theatre
If I had had both the tenacity and energy to stay, I might have eaten instead there at the Hollywood and Highland to wait out the premiere exit and sought the after party.
There’s always an after party.
This could have been in one of several places, with the more likely being The Highland, the Grand Ballroom that normally holds the Governor’s Ball/Oscar Post Party or another ballroom immediately adjacent to the theater.
But wherever the location, it was there that Twitter friend and Freelance Journalist, Leena Tailor of @koolkiwis, along with her friend Abbey, indeed ventured to seek out the premiere goers.  Although she indicated that she had seen Richard at one point, it was there that was able to connect with a Middle Earth Elf, rather than a Middle Earth Dwarf this time.
As with any post I do – and this is each and every time – I never know if anyone will ever even read it, much less find anything I have to say interesting.  But I go ahead post, looking forward to any comments that might come my way that might express pleasure in what I have written.
I was floored and overwhelmed at the response to my initial story.  The fact that I had more to say didn’t really occur to me until after I was prompted in comments by others, which was after a comment or two posted later that contained more of my reflections and memories.
So here it is in total.  There really is no more.  My hope, once again, is that what memories I was able to retain, and what few synaptic connections I still have been able, might afford any remaining interest in what I have to say still and nearly almost three days after the fact.
~ crystalchandlyre

Seeing Richard Armitage, Against All Odds or Welcome To My ‘Hood, Richard

dolby edit

dolby theatre corporate, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre

I did something I did not think I would do.  I actually went to the premiere.  And yes, I saw Richard Armitage.
The decision to do this was a last minute one.  It occurred to me that there would probably be no other opportunity for me available in my lifetime.  Really.  I am a realist.  I freelance and I am small time and I am late in the game in my chosen profession.  I do not have the connections under my belt to gain press access in a timely manner, and my own physical (mental?) restrictions prevent me from seeking out crowds.
I hate crowds.  Tonight reminded me as to just why, but to be honest, it really was not that bad.  That is probably not a good thing, as far as premieres go.  But I, personally, am grateful.
It was worth it.
I began my trek from the Pasadena area around 4:35 pm and made my way to Hollywood proper.  The freeways were mercifully clear, with a minor jam nearest my exit off of Gower St, spilling me off the 101 freeway at 5:00 pm.  At rush hour, this is exceptional good time.
black carpet edit
the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre
I came in the back way to the Hollywood and Highland, from Franklin, passing by my once Hollywood apartment which was about 6 blocks from my “now” destination.  Pausing at the light, I look up to my left, and there is a new sign on what must be the corporate headquarters for the Dolby Theatre.  This all is new.  Well, new to me.  I then turn left from Franklin onto Highland in my very familiar old ‘hood, and headed just one block to enter directly into the 15 year old complex known as The Hollywood & Highland.
Parking ease was a good sign also.  However, this still required winding down 5 levels as I went straight to the bottom-most section of the structure, securing my usual spot which most folk have yet to grasp as to how easy it really is to find.  Ready and eager to go, I grabbed my gear and made my way up 5 sets of escalators, working towards the Dolby Theatre, which was located on the 2nd level of the complex.  By this time it is 5:15 pm.
Men in black suits littered the entryway of the Dolby open-air pre-foyer, screening those begging entrance to the Ticket Will Call.  I myself had hoped that I would have secured tickets through the Women’s Health Magazine contest, but it was no surprise really that I did not.  I don’t win contests.
above edit
the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre
I quickly worked easily passed the roped and shallow barricaded black carpet that lead from the street front and up the famous red steps of Oscar fame – steps created for just that purpose.
It is about here, however, where I proceed to make what I think are good decisions, but are actually bad.
At this point, things are not too busy.  People are lined at the barricades, but they are only allowing single lines, so – good girl that I am – I heed this.
It’s 5:45 and I am told by a very nice Man in Black that “things” will start at 7:00.  Okay. I have time.
So, for the next hour or so I wander the area to scope out a spot.  I take pictures of the entire setup, and some of glittering landscape around, so that I can share it here.  I make my way to upper levels, getting “eagle” eye views and capturing those as well.  I do happen to know the complex very well, as I have taken many a set of relatives and friends from out of state on mini tours.  And when The Highland club opened, I organized and held my 20 year class reunion there.  I went to school just down the street.
This really is my ‘hood.
hobbit carpet press edit
the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre
So finally, I settle on a position nearest the steps up to the Dolby and secure it.  It is on an upper level looking down and there is a convenient chair.  Expecting my zoom feature to provide decent images of my then vantage point, I keep the position, testing out my camera and what-not, so that when the time comes I am ready.
This was bad idea #1.
Of course, all of this activity has begun to wear down my battery.  But no fear, I have my power cord and I miraculously secure an outlet.  I hear screams from around the corner around this time, and because they come at 5 minute intervals, I vacillate between my secured area and the outlet to hover near my furiously charging camera, hoping that nothing “happens” while this is taking place.  But I get impatient often and I am constantly unplugging, checking and fiddling with the camera, and replugging in the camera over the course of a 45 minute time period.
This was bad idea #2.
As I write this I am thinking about how I am too old for this, but hey – Richard is my age-ish and he has put up with far more, so here is where I stop whining…somewhat.
the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre
I hear screams from around the corner.  They die down, but fairly quickly down the carpet comes Production Designer, Dan Hennah.  And I have a feeling Richard Taylor, Creatures, Effects and “Orcrist” designer, went by as well, amongst a host of other fantastic crew folk too quick and too humble to work the crowds.
Again, I hear the screams, but this time is after a black SUV pulls to the front most area, and not with the other vehicles which are not in sight, but around the corner.  Out of the SUV comes Luke Evans, who goes straight and fast out of sight, which was to the last leg of the 50 yard press line-up.  He was still too far away for an image.
Then, 5 minutes later, there are screams.  Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee), and his family, move down the carpet far too fast for any pics, stopping maybe once or twice for autographs.
Then in another 5 minutes, Philippa Boyens makes her way down.  She does stop for autographs and I, of course, am not able to get decent images.  She is just lovely.
I then see a large group forming and I realize that my position really won’t do.  Suddenly a mass containing Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, and then someone yells “Peter.”  I take some pics, but I just know that this will not do.  So I move, and as quickly as I can, down the stairs and into the throngs below.
richard mine
richard armitage – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre
Men in Black try to keep the lineup at the barricades as “single” or as narrow as possible, and so we are constantly being moved – me and the throngs that are now getting frenzied.  I am moving closer to the stairs, I recall a vantage point that might be a good one.  I keep myself moving so that I don’t get told to move.
Then I hear it…several screams of “Richard!”
richard armitage - the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles - 12-2-13 - Photo crystalchandlyre

richard armitage – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre

I turn around to find and struggle to secure as close a spot as possible.  Then suddenly, he is there…right there.  I aim my camera in panic and press.  Nothing.  I press again, and snap.  No flash. I do this several times not knowing if anything is happening I just keep pressing and snapping.  Then within seconds he is already up the steps, and rather quickly.  I realize that I must just stop pressing the camera button because if I don’t I will not get to see much of him.  So, at this point, for about 4 seconds, I just watch him walk up the “Oscar” steps.  He looked good.  Sharp and slender in his grey suit.  But he did look like a man whose eyes  had just been assaulted by camera flash for what was probably hour.
So I watched that familiar rear view, and one I have to acknowledge that I have never seen that close, from approximately 5 – 8 feet away, until he receded into the awaiting reception of the above open-air foyer to the Dolby.  I then realized that I was staring and motionless and people were crazed around me.
stairsrichard armitage, an exiting view – the hobbit: the desolation of smaug premiere, Los Angeles – 12-2-13 – Photo crystalchandlyre
Then it occurred why.  I could hear the screams of “Aidan!”, “Dean!”, and “Orlando!”.
They traveled in a pack, I swear!  This made it very difficult to actually do much of anything, but try I did.
Aidan was the best, frequently turning around while heading up the steps.  But even then,  I – and my camera – were not fast enough really.  But he really is so very charming.
It was at this point I realized I was done.
This was probably the final bad idea of the night, since there were still many others to follow.  No Martin and no Benedict – I missed them both.  Live & learn.
I still feel good about this.  As miserable as I felt the moment I checked my images to find that I had not shot off much at all, it occurred to me that – at the time I write this – Richard, his cast mates and the filmmakers are all in a dark theater, about 12 miles away from where I am now, enjoying a movie I will also enjoy in about 10 days, and in a place I grew up in and have watched metamorphose into what it is now – a re-imagined, premiere-worthy Hollywood.
So I now realize that I indeed accomplished something I did not even think I would try.
I saw Richard Armitage tonight.

~ crystalchandlyre


Hobbits and Black Rider.


What was that Richard Armitage?…Something about “dark and malevolent?”

Really very nice work here.

Originally posted on Middle England Earth Art:

This is a water-soluble graphite painting I did back in 2008, just for fun; starring Guy of Gisborne as an unmasked black rider. I could only fit three of the hobbits on the paper. Sorry about that, Merry.

View original

The British Government Axes American Novels


This is a bit sad.

Originally posted on 101 Books:

This sucks if you’re a book nerd who lives in the U.K.

According to USA Today, the list of books U.K. students read for national exams will begin to focus more on titles from British authors, meaning classics like The Crucible, Of Mice and Men, and To Kill A Mockingbird will no longer be required reading in British schools.

Education Secretary Michael Gove led the charge on this decision.

The Sunday Times put it this way:

View original 132 more words


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