Tag Archives: Dawn French

Montreux takes it all off for 2012 jazzfest poster and Jennifer does a dazzling take-off on Downton Abbey

LIFE BEFORE YOUTUBE:  Yes, I do remember all those years before it existed. What I can’t figure out is, how did we manage without it?

SAUNDERS: As Dame Maggie

One of the latest YouTube delights to go viral is a wonderful spoof of the monster hit series Downton Abbey from the deliciously wicked pens of Absolutely Fabulous creators Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French. Created as a special bonus for BBC’s annual Comic Relief fundraiser, Uptown Downstairs Abbey features Saunders in Dame Maggie Smith’s role, Kim Cattrall in Elizabeth McGovern’s role and Saunders’ pal Dame Joanna Lumley (aka AbFab’s Patsy) as the housekeeper, with Harry Enfield and Victoria Wood adding to the fun. Gravely narrated by Michael (Singing Detective) Gambon, it’s a lavish, sumptuous send-up in two too-brief outrageously inside-showbiz acts.  Click on Part One and Part Two, and enjoy.

DAME MAGGIE: The one & only

Mind you. the residents of Downton Abby would  never indulge in such an extravagant  meal without concluding their feasting with an appropriate dessert. So do help yourself to YouTube’s Top 10 Maggie Moments – sweet, yes, but fattening, no.

TV TASTE TEST:  Canadians are currently enjoying free samples of The Movie Network OnDemand. TMN is inviting non-subscribers to taste-test such acclaimed hits as Dexter, True Blood and Game of Thrones, as well as hot new series Luck, House of Lies and Spartacus: Vengeance. Some viewers are PVR-ing episodes of each one, so they can decide if they want to become subscribers. Meanwhile the ‘free’ part will vanish at the end of the month – so enjoy it while you can!

SUITABLE FOR FRAMING: For the first time in more than 40 years, a photographer has been given a free hand to create the poster for the 2012 Montreux Jazz Festival– but not just any photographer.

2012 MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL poster by GREG GORMAN

In 1967, a black-and-white photograph shot by Giuseppe Pino was used to advertise the first edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival. For the 46th edition of the Montreux festival, acclaimed U.S. photog Greg Gorman has presented a male nude reminiscent of a classical sculpture in motion.

Why the nude Monteux Jazz Festival poster?

Michael Jackson © 1987 Greg Gorman

“When I saw the festival poster from the year 1969 of a female nude I thought it was quite interesting, especially since it was the only nude in the collaboration of illustrative images for the posters. Since I have done many male and female nudes in my fine art photography, I thought why not do a male nude for this project. I love the total unexpected element of the male nude. Music can surprise, unsettle and sometimes even confuse people. A male nude even more so than a female nude, because it is still often thought of as taboo.”

Gorman has published nine books, created iconic film posters and photographed hundreds of high-profile advertising campaigns. He still runs photography workshops four times a year at his home in Mendocino, California, which is where he first worked with the model, Jordan David Miles, a 21-year old skateboarder and graffiti artist from Southern California. And he believes the Montreux festivaI decision to allow him

David Bowie © 1984 Greg Gorman

to present a nude was a very courageous one. “Nudity in photography is real and very direct. To offer a photographer carte blanche once again after so many years clearly illustrates the readiness of the festival to try out new things, to take risks and to surprise people.”

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Gorman has also photographed countless musicians, including Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, P. Diddy, Bette Midler and Quincy Jones. As a 1968 hippie he borrowed a camera to photograph Jimi Hendrix in concert. “The following morning,” he recalls, “I processed the film in a friend’s darkroom and when I saw the image coming up in the developer I was hooked.” A few weeks later he brought the camera to a Jim Morrison concert and he was on his way. Over the years he’s had some great shoots with rock stars, but his sessions with David Bowie in particular “were always amazing. He was one of my heroes from the beginning and he never let me down in any of our photo shoots together, which always involved a strong collaborative effort.”

Not siurprisingly, Gorman’s elegant website is stunning in its content and simplicity. Is it any wonder he’s been so successful for so long?                          Enjoy.

Jann goes Disney, Shia beefs up, Roger starts his own club, and Ron and Ms. Atwood make a documentary

SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY: SuperWarbler Jann Arden has been amusing her 12,000 Twitter followers this week with daily dispatches from Disney World, where she seems to have developed a major crush on daffy comedy duo Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders. (Go

LEBEOUF: working out?

figure!) … my hero Liz Smith suspects that Wall Street II star Shia LeBeouf is currently boeufing-up for a remake of American Gigolo, with original Gigolo Richard Gere cast as the male madam who books LeBoeuf’s sexual assignations. (Now that’s comedy!!) editor Trena White wraps up a six-year stint at McClelland & Stewart tomorrow. White is moving back to Vancouver, where she grew up, to join Douglas & McIntyre as an acquiring editor … meanwhile, it’s official: Ken Finkleman’s new novel, Noah’s Turn, is now set to launch in August … and Roger Ebert has launched his own cyber club, with membership benefits, to help offset the cost of his ambitious and prolific web production. He also explains why in one of his tirelessly engaging Journal entries, I Wonder If This Will Work. To learn more about The Ebert Club, click here. To enjoy his Journal entry, click here — and enjoy!

THE YEAR OF THE ATWOOD: Entrepreneurial novelist Margaret Atwood is working with documentary master Ron Mann (“the guy with the hair that matches mine!”) on a

MANN & ATWOOD: it's their Year

screen version of her tour promoting her current bestseller Year Of The Flood. “It’s called In the Wake of the Flood. The film is due to launch on August 5 in Toronto to coincide with the paperback publication of the book. Then it will go around the world to film festivals, literary festivals, environmental festivals, and fundraising events. We did the Year of the Flood tour as an awareness-raiser and fundraiser, primarily for birds, and In the Wake of the Flood both documents the experience and continues the effort.”

SHOOTING STARS: Sometimes funny-man Will Ferrell is set to star in Everything Must Go, a new film by writer-director Dan Rush. Ferrell will reportedly play a relapsed alcoholic

RIVERS: new season

who loses his job and his wife and decides to live on his front lawn while selling all of his belongings … William Hurt and Isabella Rossellini will star in French director Julie GavrasLate Bloomers, about an aging couple who react to their senior status in different ways. (Shouldn’t that be Late Zoomers? Oh well) The stellar cast also features Simon Callow and legendary Ab Fab scene-stealer Joanna Lumley (or Dame Joanna and Sir Simon, if they care to pull rank)  … and Joan Rivers is shooting her second season of How’d You Get So Rich for a May 5 re-launch on TV Land. How rich are her new finds? “One guy is sooooo rich,” she reports, “that when his computer breaks, Bill Gates comes to fix it!”

P.S.: The doc that rocked Sundance this year, Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work, is set for Hot Docs screenings on May 2 & May 3. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

OK GO: ingenious

SEE/HEAR: The L.A.-based OK Go, a rock band originally from Chicago, keeps creating amazing videos – considerably more amazing, in fact, than their appealing ear-candy music. They’ve become an integral part of new millennium YouTube culture and won a 2007 Grammy for their stellar treadmill dance video, Here It Goes Again, which still evokes happy memories of the kind of ingenuity Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly espoused in their heydays at MGM. Their current monster video hit,This Too Shall Pass, has been viewed by more than 10 million internet users so far. Or maybe it’s only two million users who can’t resist watching it five times. Wondering what all the fuss is about? Just click on the song titles above and that mystery will be solved. Enjoy!

TOMORROW:

More hats ‘n’ horns for birthday boy Stephen Sondheim.

-/-