HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Olga Levina (SceithAilm) has completed all the elements of her 2014 Geek Calendar in time for printing and gift giving. She has made her Hi-Res images available to all – and not just this blog – essentially gifting it to her fans, as well as the fans of the Artists depicted. The images are high quality and print beautifully in 11″ x 17″! (see below)
(To view higher resolution – click each linked image, then click to enlarge; right-click to save image)
The printing of this calendar on 11″ x 17″ calendar paper, including cover stock and binding, cost approximately $16 each at Office Max, which made great gifts for the holidays – including for yours truly.
Artist, Olga Levina – SceithAilm. Friend/Follow her at:
- Facebook page www.facebook.com/olga.levina.146
- Tumblr blog http://sceithailm.tumblr.com/
- DeviantArt sceithailm.deviantart.com
- The Pervasiveness of Armitage Art: Richard Armitage As Muse to Russian Artist, SceithAilm (crystalchandlyre.wordpress.com)
- SceithAilm’s Beautiful Lord of the Rings Themed Tarot Cards (themarysue.com)
- The Pervasiveness of Armitage Art: Sarah-Pete-Designs (crystalchandlyre.wordpress.com)
- Bedtime Stories for Ladies, Read by Richard Armitage (linnetmoss.com)
- The Pervasiveness of Armitage Art: Thorin As Muse to Korean Artist, EvanKart (crystalchandlyre.wordpress.com)
- The Kings New Coat or A Different Circus Question (crystalchandlyre.wordpress.com)
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
- Seeing Richard Armitage, Against All Odds or Welcome To My Hood, Richard (crystalchandlyre.wordpress.com)
- Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage in photos from the L.A. premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (blogs.montrealgazette.com)
- Leena Tailor of @KoolKiwis Pleases With A Tease – Richard Armitage Interview & The Book of New Zealand (crystalchandlyre.wordpress.com)
- Orlando Bloom, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Armitage & More Bring The Super Sexy To ‘The Hobbit’ Premiere (socialitelife.com)
- ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Los Angeles Premiere, Contest and TORn Pre-Party (crystalchandlyre.wordpress.com)
- “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” unveils full look at the dragon (panarmenian.net)
Several years ago, and for many years, American television seemed to consist primarily of silly situational comedies, creepy and “unrealistic” reality TV, vicious gossip forums, and various types of vapid music competition shows.
With the exception of PBS Stations and Masterpiece, I was starved for decent television.
When BBC America reached American shores and became a cable channel staple, I believe I said a prayer of thanks to the Gods of Television – or at the very least suddenly became thrilled at the prospect of paying my monthly cable bill. (Trailer Video)
I very quickly became an addict.
Along with it came Netflix, which (then) for about $15.00 per month I was afforded all my new favorite shows and actors gifted from across the pond.
Very soon I was clamoring to search for other work of Richard’s that was available, of which the aforementioned sources certainly did provide me the “hook up” – but still I wanted more. So it was in my searches that I very quickly discovered the website, RichardArmitageNet.com (aka RANet.com).
Since then, the website has been a go-to for me for All-Things-Richard-Armitage, and where I simultaneously became a fan of the site as well.
Ali is the very talented, communicative and open Webmistress of RANet.com. She generously agreed to speak with me about the website, its inception, her experiences, and the passion that fuels her as its Administrator.
CC: When did you become moved enough by Richard Armitage, and his work as an Actor, to create a webpage for and about him?
ALI: “That’s not quite how it happened. I was asked to run a fansite (now closed down) for a short while with a friend when the current Admin [at the time] took a break in 2008. Both of us had met the Admin in real life and became friends so we were delighted and flattered when she asked us to run it for her. When she returned to the site my friend and I knew immediately we had to create our own site. It had been too much fun to let go and we now had the freedom to make design and content choices. There are now many sites of course and I think it’s great that they all offer something for everyone.”
CC: So you run the site by yourself now? How did that come about?
ALI: “In 2010 my friend decided she needed to take a step back from the site, which involved covering for me during holiday periods, but in the end the break came about naturally. Although she still follows Richard’s career, her attentions have been diverted by an actor who plays the infamous tricksy Norse God. He’s attracted the interest of many an RA fan as well I believe!”
CC: When is the anniversary of the inception of RANet.com?
ALI: “The website was created on 22 October 2008 under a different name and then renamed in April 2009 to RichardArmitageNet.com.”
CC: How has the experience of creating and maintaining the website changed your life or affected you, or what have been some of the pros and cons?
ALI: “That’s quite difficult to answer. Has it affected me? It has introduced me to many people around the world, some of whom I consider to be good friends and meeting some of those people has led to several entertaining weekends and many happy memories. Sometimes I’m faced with a few challenges that I could do without. I’ve never been close to wanting to give up the website, but I won’t lie and say that it’s always easy. You encounter many different types of people with many different requests, but it is true that 99% of the time running the website is just plain, good fun. That’s why I do it I think. Lord knows I’ve asked myself many times why I run this site, but I think it’s because it’s my hobby, it’s fun, I learn new things all the time, I’m introduced to many lovely people via email all the time, and Richard continues to entertain me with fascinating interviews and captivating roles.”
CC: How many hours a week would you say you spend on the site?
ALI: “That varies enormously depending on what Richard is doing and my own schedule. If I need to update the site with news and check for new comments and guestbook entries then I might only log-in for half an hour or an hour a day, but if I’m doing some general maintenance or updating site content then I might spend a few hours. The bulk of my time is not taken up with the website but responding to emails, and this amount of time has reduced considerably since the picture of the day feature stopped. I’ve had to implement that change because the spare time I had for the site has now disappeared since starting a new career. I am concerned about the influx of news we will likely get at the end of the year when promotion begins for The Desolation of Smaug as I won’t be able to update the website as often as I used to or reply to emails as promptly, but I’ll get there eventually.”
CC: What would you say is your favorite article or audio interview of Richard?
ALI: “I have two favourite radio interviews, the first because it’s downright hilarious and there is much giggling, and the second because Richard answered a question from me with the most brilliant answer about Gisborne’s back story. The funny interview is with Andi Peters on Heat Radio, October 2008 and the one in which he answered my question took place a year earlier in October 2007 in a radio interview with Radio Solent (#4 on this page).
It’s too difficult to choose a favourite [article] interview as there are so many. [Richard] always gives wonderful interviews to his original local paper, the Leicester Mercury. The interview on 15 Dec 2012 was a good one. I’m particularly fond of the Sunday Times Culture magazine interview, 30 April 2006, because that’s how I discovered Richard. Unlike most people who saw him first on screen, I saw him first on the cover of that newspaper and read the excellent article inside, intrigued by the guy who was going to play Claude Monet in the upcoming Impressionists series, as I’d heard that was airing soon and intended to watch it. After reading that article and watching The Impressionists, I bought the North and South DVD, watched it a few times, and then watched the first series of Robin Hood when it aired in the autumn of 2006 in the UK. I was hooked and found the Armitage Army forum (since renamed to the RichardArmitageCentral forum). So if you want to push me for a favourite interview, I’ll choose the Sunday Times 30 April 2006.
I don’t have a favourite video interview as there are too many. Any new video becomes the favourite, especially when he hasn’t made any appearances for a while.”
CC: I think anyone who is a fan of Richard’s who is prone to comb the internet for interviews the way I have, or has heard them first hand, has a favorite quote. What’s yours?
ALI: “His answer to the question in the Radio Times Oct 2005 article ‘Put a handsome bloke in a period costume’, etc. In that answer, he nailed the reason women yearn for the romance offered to the heroines of period drama by Darcy/Rochester/Thornton. The end of his quote succinctly states what is lacking in many modern romcoms. They could learn a lot from period drama about how to heighten the unresolved sexual tension.
Another quote is from the Vulpes Libres interview July 2009:
‘One of my great mantras is that ‘characters are at their most interesting when they are behaving out of character’, so when actors say: “my character just wouldn’t do that”, I always say ‘well see what happens when you ‘make’ them do that!’ I had to instruct myself like this quite frequently with Guy of Gisborne, which is why he became interesting to me. He helped me to develop as an actor, for this reason.’ – Richard Armitage
I read and re-read this quote many times. I’m often exasperated by critics of a show who take issue because they feel a character has acted ‘out of character’. Richard makes an excellent point that those out of character moments offer such interesting challenges to actors, but also I think, to audiences. If the actor is good enough, he will convince us.”
CC: I certainly agree with that. Since RANet.com is often my “go to” place for recently released or found images, I was wondering if you have a favorite picture of Richard?
Some of those pictures were requested by others, but the majority are mine. You’ll have to guess which ones are my favourites!”
CC: Of Richard’s work, what would you say is your favorite film and/or TV show?
ALI: “I don’t like to narrow this down as there are moments in many shows that are memorable, but if pressed I would say North and South. However Guy of Gisborne is my favourite character. It’s not happened yet, but I think the Hobbit trilogy might overtake N&S as my favourite if parts 2 and 3 are going to be as good as I think they are. I enjoyed An Unexpected Journey, but I think the best is yet to come.”
CC: I do too. Ali, have there been any perks or opportunities that have made your experience as Webmistress of RANet.com extra special?
ALI: “I have been sent some DVDs which I have given away in competitions and Warner Bros have been in touch a few times to give me press releases. I have had some interesting chats with TV writers on Twitter. Dominic Minghella (Robin Hood series 1&2 lead writer) was very kind. And one of the Spooks writers said he referred to my site many times during the broadcast of Spooks to read the reviews and related articles, which was great.
Also Twitter has been useful when it comes to interviews: some TV stations and PR reps have tweeted me to tell me when Richard was interviewed so that I will publicize it for them via Twitter and on the site, so that’s been great.
That’s about it!”
A huge thank you to Ali for all her patience and time for this interview!
- Latest “Strike Back” Media Blitz Highlights Richard Armitage (armitageagonistes.wordpress.com)
- Anglophilia – The Ripples and Tremors Felt Across the Pond (crystalchandlyre.wordpress.com)
“For those few folks needing more proof (assuming they still exist) that big budgets aren’t essential to good moviemaking, I present to you Brendan Muldowney’s “Pilgrimage”, a beautiful and propulsive medieval thriller anchored in 13th century European complexity and brutality. “
For those few folks needing more proof (assuming they still exist) that big budgets aren’t essential to good moviemaking, I present to you Brendan Muldowney’s “Pilgrimage”, a beautiful and propulsive medieval thriller anchored in 13th century European complexity and brutality. With a meager budget of just over $5 million, “Pilgrimage” looks and plays out better than many of its […]
EXCLUSIVE: Richard Armitage has joined the cast of Julie Delpy’s My Zoe, which is being sold at the EFM in Berlin by Protagonist Pictures. He’ll join Daniel Brühl, Lior Ashkenazy and child actor Sophia Ally in the pic, which is written and directed by Delpy and produced by Philomena and The Invisible Woman producer Gabrielle Tana. Armitage, who’s renowned for playing Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, will play the role of James, the ex-husband of…
Three years ago today I started this blog to say Happy Birthday to Richard. Today it continues, even though so much is different, and yet some things do not change.
Richard, may you drink deep from the well of happiness, good health, and prosperity. May your good friends, and their love, be endless and unconditional. And may you have the most beautiful, productive (or restful,) and glorious of Birthdays!
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.
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.
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 www.BookCrossing.com, 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 BookCrossing.com 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 BookCrossing.com. The rest as they say is history.
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.
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 BookCrossing.com 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Where The Arkenstone can be found, amongst other treasures of course –
“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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
- Richard Armitage at the Book of New Zealand Exhibit Opening (marieastra8.wordpress.com)
- Leena Tailor of @KoolKiwis Pleases With A Tease – Richard Armitage Interview & The Book of New Zealand (crystalchandlyre.wordpress.com)
- ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Los Angeles Premiere, Contest and TORn Pre-Party (crystalchandlyre.wordpress.com)
- Richard Armitage Interview from Cinema Fanpage – A New Translation (crystalchandlyre.wordpress.com)
- The Pervasiveness of Armitage Art: Richard Armitage as Muse to Russian Artist, SceithAilm (crystalchandlyre.wordpress.com)