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.

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