Friday, April 19, 2013

„Šerlokas“ (Benedict Cumberbatch "Sherlock" BBC) pirmoji serija ant LRT Televizija Lietuvoje, ir Rusiškas Šerlokas Holmsas (Vasily Livanov)

http://pramogos.delfi.lt/eteris/geriausias-musu-laiku-detektyvas-serlokas-sekmadienio-vakarais-per-lrt.d?id=59887509

Ekscentrikas Šerlokas Holmsas (Benedict Cumberbatch) suo 

Džonu Votsonu (Martin Freeman) ant 

Lietuviska Televizija
.

Arthuro Conano Doyle‘o knyga darba suo technologija ir internetuo. 

Misis Hadson, Meifroftas, Moriartis, ir visi kiti.

Suo Benedict Cumberbatch ("Benedictas Cumberbatchas" in Lithuanian), Martin Freeman (Martinas Freemanas), Mark Gatiss (Markis Gatiss...his last name already sounds Lithuanian, LOL), et al.

Season one 2009 season 10 2010 
UK produced, won dozens of awards, 9 million viewers in the UK
DVD sold in 180 countries worldwide,
yet still virtually unknown in America. Aired on PBS (Public Broadcasting Station) in the United States.

blog by DainaSurrealsm, Lithuanian surrealist artist, musician, performance artist in Chicago

Benedict Cumberbatch was now #1 on IMDb top actor list during run of Star Trek Into Darkness.
Please vote on my Cumberhair survey. It's anonymous, and you get to view statistics after you're done! 


In this new adaptation of the classic, the Sherlock character is transposed from Victorian England to the modern era. He uses the modern technology of our time, such as the Internet and cell phones, in order to solve crime mysteries. Stephen Moffat (best known as main writer of "Dr. who") co-created "Sherlock" with Mark Gatiss (writer of "Dr. Who," and plays Lazarus in "Dr Who: the Lazarus Experiment") did a commendable job of storytelling in this novel concept of a modern-day Sherlock Holmes. 

Benedict Cumberbatch is an impeccable actor regardless which role he plays, and he is especially talented as Sherlock. Susanna White, director of Parade's End" (BBC drama), called Cumberbatch "one of the finest actors of his generation." He does a brilliant job of portraying the genius of Sherlock who is socially awkward with an abrasive, yet, comical and witty character.

The tension and excitement is highly entertaining in each of the six episodes. The humour is dry with a heavy dose of classic British absurdity reminiscent of "Harry Potter." This sort of absurdist humour has a history that spans from Lewis Carroll's classic book "Alice in Wonderland" to Edward Lear's limericks, to "Monty Python" and "Black Adder." It's like to keep a straight face of this kind of silliness going on!

An example of the classic absurdist British humor, Sherlock's wits, and his unconventional methods of deduction skills can be witnessed in the scene when he comes home to find intruders that have broken in and all holding his landlady, Mrs. Hudson, hostage.





Sherlock and Watson (played wonderfully by Martin Freeman) have a love-hate relationship going on with each other. Sherlock insults Watson calling him and others around him simpleminded because they fail to see what is "so obvious" to Sherlock. Watson alternates between amazment of Sherlock's mental abilities and annoyance of his blatant disregard for manners and social conventions.


This series is unusual in another way as well: each episode is 90 minutes long, each season has three episodes, thus making the individual episodes feel more like a film than the TV show.

Season 3 is currently in production, with the first episode "the Empty Hearse" having just completed film on 15th of April.

The show combines ingenious and seamless editing and creative camera angles which to April job of showing the world shall lot eyes which was not present, to the best of my knowledge, on previous incarnations of Sherlock on film.

Innovative camera techniques, such as the introduction of the show being shot in "Tilt Shift" also known as "Tiny Town" technique which was developed by a German filmmaker in Berlin. This method, which utilizes a focus on the centre of the frame whilst leaving the rest of the objects in frame slightly out of focus, creates the effect of making the London cityscape looked like toy model city with mechanical moving parts (trains, cars, people, etc). Here is the intro...

And this is the way Berlin looks using the same technique....



Note that  the camera technique utilized in "Sherlock" Vatican Cameos scene was using Phantom cameras (by Vision Research Cameras). These super high speed cameras are a cinematographer's dream. They shoot at four different speeds:

554 frames per second at 2000 p Resolution
1050 FPS at 1080 p
1500 FPS at 720 p
2351 FPS at 480 p



They used this in the "Vatican Cameos" scene in "A Scandal in Belgravia" (season 2 episode 1), which is shown below...

Here is wonderful example of how this camera captures slow motion w/ actor Alan Rickman at normal speed (11 seconds) and slow motion (7 mins). Amazing!

By the way, http://www.sherlockology.com/ (the Ultimate Guide for any Sherlock fan) is a splendid site for all things Sherlock, from info on clothes, props, episodes, shopping, behind-the-scenes, news, downloads, etc.
 
Season 3 hints from the creators of "Sherlock" 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~If there are any videos in Lithuanian, please let me know in the comments. I'd be more than happy to post them!

"Sherlock" in 5 languages: English, Italian, Russian, Spanish, French (below)


"Sherlock" blanket rants in 4 languages: English, French, Russian, Spanish (below)





"Sherlock" in 6 languages: English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish (below)






Nice review of Lithuanian "Sherlock" in Lithuanian
http://www.pinigukarta.lt/apzvalgos/tv-serialai/serlokas

Guinese Book of world records states that Sherlock Holmes is the most often played iconic character in film. 211 films and 75 actors who played him. The first portrayal on film being back in 1900.

Guinesso rekordų knyga tai padarė už mus – Šerlokas Holmsas yra labiausiai ekranizuotas personažas, 211 filmų jį vaidino 75 aktoriai, o pirmasis pasirodymas įvyko jau 1900 metais.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Found a lovely Tumblr on Lithuanian "Sherlock" and how it's received in Lithuania (below). This ties in well with my "What its-Really like Knowing Someone Famous" blog, which apologizes about excessive and obsessive fandom, as opposed to viewing fandom from a different perspective.
http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/%C5%A0erlokas


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„Šerloko Holmso nuotykiai“ (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes) w/Jeremy Brett on Lithuanian TV

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Rusiškas Šerlokas Holmsas švenčia jubiliejų (suoVasili Livanov) http://zebra.15min.lt/lt/mokslas_it/mokslas/rusiskas-serlokas-holmsas-svencia-jubilieju-207314.html#gallery 


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Lithuanian wikipedia entry on Sherlock Holmes (the character) "Šerlokas Holmsas"
http://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%A0erlokas_Holmsas



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STRANGE INTERLUDE: My Dream, Time-Travel inspired band, "Hypnagogic Telegram" is going VIRAL on Youtube. Timelord Rock. Trock. I play literal personification of a ZeitGeist (TimeGhost) that inhabits the wardrobe closet in the TARDIS. I come out in costumes from various eras to dance & sing in various languages (Lithuanian. French, German, Russian, English) . If Doctor Who would have a band, it might sound like this.
<---- View YOUTUBE VIDEO here.
On FACEBOOK @ HYPNAGOGIC TELEGRAM

Check out my Time Travel, Dream, surreal artwork, performance art, costuming & photography on the other blog pages!




Thursday, April 18, 2013

What it's Really like Knowing Someone Famous: Strange Observations

There are various assumptions, projections, and stereotypes about the famous. I'm writing in order to dispel these myths which float about in our celebrity culture. Someone once told me, "You don't get fangasms because you worked in the film industry." "No," I replied, "it goes back further than that." I grew up around prominent individuals; some are friends, schoolmates, family, peers; others are professors, doctors, mentors, and even enemies. Some of them live in the US, some in other countries. Some of them inspire me, some repel me, and some lie somewhere in between.

It was a famous critic who inspired me to start a blog to begin with. I took an honours class which he taught and we were to post our homework assignments on a blog. That made me post my art on here, and the rest is history. For this, I thank him.




This is how I view fame...
People are strange when it comes to famous individuals, I've noticed that ever since my childhood. My first exposure to someone famous was with my godfather, who, as my daughter so simply puts it "got famous for jumping off a boat." He didn't jump off just any boat, he jumped off a Soviet vessel, landed on an American ship and begged for political asylum, thus making him a defector during the Cold War. When the American government decided to return him to the Russian authorities it became an international scandal. Hollywood produced a film about him. In my house we didn't have a television, but then one day my mum came home and exclaimed, "They made a film about your godfather, so I'm buying a TV so you can know his life story."

And Exactly How Strange is Fame?

But this is not a blog about him, it's about how strange things get when you know someone in the public eye.  It took me many years to finally find the words to describe how this feels. There is an episode of "Doctor Who" called "Turn Left" in which the Doctor's companion, Donna, is told she has something on her back. She spends the rest of the episode trying to see what that something is but to no avail, for it is invisible. It turns out that some people can see it, while others are completely oblivious to its presence. Those few who see it freak out upon sight of it. Only toward the end of the show do we find out that this is a massive insect-like creature which has made her back its home.


To me fame is exactly that: some strange creature that has landed on the shoulders of some people I know. No matter how long and hard I look at these individuals, I can never see the creature that elicits such strange and abrupt reactions from people around them. Many times these reactions seem over-the-top and irrational. I've had to live with this as a constant in my life since I was a child. When I think about it, I can't help but wonder if these experiences and observations have somehow contributed to me becoming a surrealist. Every time I witnessed one of these strange reactions, I felt like I was Alice after she fell down the rabbit hole because everything got turned upside down and nonsense reigned supreme. Nothing made sense anymore: the fangasms, the "oh my God"s, the obsessions, they just left me confused because I still couldn't see that creature which they made such a fuss about. There were also ironic moments, when I would be at the home of someone in the public eye: two such friends, a continent and decades apart, broke down and cried telling me how lonely they felt. The first time it happened I was shocked. I was a teenager at boarding school with a famous schoolmate. The second time it happened, I wasn't surprised, I was expecting it.

How can Someone Famous Feel Lonely?

How, you ask? The same way someone popular can feel lonely. Fame is nothing more than a more exaggerated form of popularity, anyway. It's all a mathematical calculation. Popularity is a set of digits of how many people know someone and fame is just a set of higher digits (Google someone famous & observe the numbers). One recurring comment from such friends and family members is, "people look at me and they only see one thing:  they don't see all the other sides of who I am." They may be surrounded by a lot of people, and be known by a lot of people, but it doesn't mean that they are close to a lot of people. The fact remains that most of the people in anyone's life are superficial, and that is a universal no matter how popular/famous one is. So, therefore, in the case of famous people, that would only be exponential. It's not how many people know you or that you know, it's how near and dear those relationships are that count. Quality versus quantity.

How Exposure to the Famous has Changed the Way I View Everyone

Maybe the fact that I grew up observing these prominent people made me realize exactly how multi-sided they were as individuals. That taught me how, no matter what others see, an individual is a multi-faceted gem which one can view from a plethora of different angles. I can't ever look at any person and only see one aspect of who they are, that to me is impossible. Not one single soul: not my professors, not my neighbours, not even my enemies. People are amazed at how I can calmly say positive things about my worst enemies. I can do so because I understand that they, too, are complex human beings. I may not like their behaviour, but I do admit when they have talent, intelligence, or are simply wearing a nice scarf. I look at famous people I don't know and ask myself: what languages do they speak, what books do they enjoy reading, what other talents do they have which only their friends know about? And so it goes full circle.

What Prompted me to Write this Article

Now onto my dying friend. He is a prominent artist with a wealth of knowledge from his numerous travels and life adventures. I love his philosophical side. He understands the deeper meaning in life and has always taken the time to share his experiences and hopes with those around him. The stories of his life which he shared with us will echo long after he has shaken this mortal coil. I will walk away with lessons from my years of knowing him. The walls of the places he's lived in were covered from floor to ceiling with frames containing illustrations and photographs representing the spectrum of the human race: everyone from the famous to the homeless are rendered in his work. That inspired me to take down some of my posters (designed by others) and put up more of my own artwork and photography. It's such a no-brainer for an artist to reserve whole walls for their artwork, yet, for some strange reason, I didn't think of doing it until I met him.

I told him about how I moved to Europe in my teens (without my parents, mind you) and of my adventures there. In turns out that those stories inspired him because he wrote this on a gift he gave me.

How Someone's Fame Presents Difficulties for Those Close to Them

Sometimes you are able to chat with these prominent individuals for as long as you are outside a building, but once you both go in, they get whisked away at the door and are constantly surrounded by people who want this, that, and the other from them. You spend hours observing the crowd surrounding them. It's hard to approach them, even as their friend. And why would you want to wiggle your way through the chaos, when you know that you can save that conversation for later, when you can sit at their dinner table, enjoy a nice cup of tea and chat leisurely for hours? I miss those kind of conversations with my artist friend. I had visited him at his last home, before he moved to his current location, and spent the entire afternoon chatting with him one-on-one. Grant it, a couple of people dropped in for brief moments, but we had most of the afternoon to ourselves. He had given me a massive spider plant, which I still have now. The offshoots of his plant remind me of the cycle of life. He is dying of cancer, but his plant grows and has new life with new potential in its offshoots. His plant will still be with me when he's gone. I know that would make him happy.

I so long to have one last face-to-face chat with him: I wish to say my farewell and give him another long hug. The last time I saw him was at the opening of his photography exhibit. The place was so full, that people were going outside into the frigid Chicago winter just for a breath of air. The flow of people wanting to chat with him was constant, I hardly had a chance to exchange a few sentences. Another prominent friend of mine had called me that afternoon to tell me she was coming to town, so we met at the exhibit. I hadn't seen her in years; we used to work at a bank together. That was before she had her singing career with hits songs in a few countries, before she embarked on tours. She lived out-of-town and that was a rare chance to see her. The connection on the phone was choppy, so I didn't understand her when she mentioned something about dialysis. Once I saw her I realized exactly how serious her condition was. She has kidney failure and had almost died. It was incredibly hard for me to be with two people who were so close to death. I couldn't help but think about how superficially society views the famous, but for me it was painfully obvious how human they really are. How much more human can you get when your body is failing you? I stood between them both as our photo was taken. I wished the crowd wasn't there so I could chat with both of them. I felt that I couldn't do enough as their friend that evening, I longed to connect with them on a deeper level than the situation allowed. I chatted with them for as long as I could. I closed my eyes as I hugged him and held on for a while, knowing it may be my last chance to do so. I was late for my following obligation that evening, which I couldn't get out of, but I didn't care. I only cared about the two of them. The crowd reminded me of how fame can sometimes be an obstacle.

His presence seems to follow me, and his fame only amplifies it. Even while I was on campus, I saw two newspapers with his face on the cover. He was interviewed on the radio. Those are bitter reminders of how hard it is for me to see him in person. How Murphy's Law prevents me from arranging a visit between my school schedule and his busy life. I see him, but I can't really see him. It's hard to describe how that feels. This is when knowing someone famous is painful.

I know a fellow who isn't famous himself, but comes from a famous family. His father, uncle, and grandfather are household names in the country in which he resides. Many cities in this country have streets named after his family members. He had an addiction problem. His friends were naive as to why he turned to alcohol and drugs; but I had seen this before. The fame of the family was weighing on him. It could have been that the family themselves put pressure on him (why can't you be like your father), or that others recognized his last name (you're one of the ___  family...so, what do you do?), or that he internalized the pressure (what have I done?), or a combination thereof. For a while, it seemed uncertain if he would ever get off the addiction. I am happy to say that the last time I saw him he was staying sober and on the right track.

Does Fame Change a Person?

I have grown to hate the terms which describe such people in my life: famous, celebrity, and most dreadful of all, star. A star is a distant sun, not a human being. These words only seem to create a false separation, a kind of distance between us and them. I always felt that such words dehumanize. I try to find other ways to express these terms in my post, but find it challenging to think of alternatives. I never saw them as being different. They just happen to be people who had that invisible creature land on their shoulder. I like to envision a parallel universe in which they never became famous. They would still be the same people. Fame doesn't really change a person. Some people think it does, but it really doesn't. At times I find myself debating this with people who say, "____ is like that because they're famous." Fame may amplify something which is already there (such as an addictive personality,or anger issues, for example), but that seed existed before the arrival of the weird creature. I've witnessed enough people transition into fame to know better. The stresses of fame take their toll, but it's all how that person copes with stress that determines the outcome. It reminds me of the scene from "Star Wars" in which Luke Skywalker stands outside the cave on Dagobah and asks Yoda, "what's in there?" To which Yoda replies, "whatever you take with you."



How do such Individuals Feel about their own Fame?

I believe the experience of living with my schoolmate has shaped my perspective of fame. Her creature landed on her during the time we spent at school. I stood behind her when the photograph that made her famous was taken. The ensuing crowd that formed around her always made her turn to me and say, "why don't they just leave me alone?" I never could find an answer for her question. She despised her fame, she never asked for it. She reminds me of the main character Tony Curtis played in The Outsider; a Native American soldier stationed in Iwo Jima who became famous after a photograph taken of him and other soldiers hoisting the American flag was taken. You know the picture, it's iconic. He, too, hated the attention fame brought him. I still visit her and our kids play together. She is very clever about her fame; she knows to live in a country where she is anonymous. I knew she was highly intelligent the day I met her, and by flying under the radar like that, she demonstrates precisely how clever she truly is.

Others I know have varying degree of comfort levels. One of them, a prominent musician, amazes me because he continues to live in the country where he is well-known. He speaks six languages and holds European citizenship, thus enabling him to make any place he lays his hat his home. Yet he stays where the paparazzi hound him and his family. He is currently in the middle of a media frenzy in his country solely based on racist comments made toward him by the public and the press. In many ways, he is the polar opposite of the previous example. I don't understand how he can even tolerate such an environment, but I let him know that, no matter what, I support him in this time of crisis. I've moved out of countries over less than that, but this seems to be his comfort level and I respect his choice.

Another individual I know uses his prominent status to promote the field in which he is an expert. For years, he wrote weekly articles for a prominent newspaper. He often puts his name out there in order to bring attention to the topic which he feels so passionate about. He is outspoken in this area, yet I sometimes worry that he extends himself too much without thinking of the possible consequences of doing so. As his friend, I support his cause, while at the same time trying to keep him from harming himself in the process. This is easier said than done. Thus, despite him seeing it as a comfort level, I see it as potentially excessive.

The Fame Triangle: The Famous, Their Relationship with Fame, and My Relationship with Their Fame

These prominent people have their own unique relationships in regard to social media. There are a couple of prominent people I know who are on everything; Facebook, twitter, have their own websites, their own blogs, and don't mind the exposure. They are happy to take part in these activities and have plenty of fans on those sites. Others choose to limit their exposure. At least one of these people I know chooses not to be on any social media. Whereas most of the rest fall somewhere in between. It's almost like seasoning a soup; everybody has their own unique taste.

Over time I've learned to adapt to the relationship that these people have with their fame. Are they comfortable having photos of them being taken/posted? What is their relationship with the media? What is common knowledge about them and what isn't? As their friend, it's important to understand this. Some are at ease with tons of pictures online, others have virtually none. Every individual is different and sometimes I find these differences quite surprising. I know one famous individual, for example, who is bound to ask me why I didn't mention his name here, simply because he often uses his name recognition as a platform to promote the field in which he is an expert. That, despite the fact that I am respectfully vague in order to protect the privacy of these individuals.


How Fans and Others see Their Fame: Obsessions

This is the part where things get really insane and twisted. It's when people start projecting their hopes, wishes, and desires onto human beings who aren't projection screens. Delusion sets in like a foggy day and hovers thickly in the air. So take a seat at the table and allow me to pour you some tea while the backwards running clock takes you back in time. Enter Mad Hatter stage left...

To your right sits an obsessive groupie and this is the peculiar story of how we met. In my teens, I was an admirer of a world-famous band. I had all their albums and attended numerous concerts where they played. One day, I met up with three other fans of said band. One of them started bragging about how she knew precisely which hotel the songwriter stayed at when visiting NYC. She spoke of how she would wait for hours in order to catch a glimpse of him as he came in and out of the main entrance. All this time I was hoping her parents were mindful enough to get her some therapy. One of the girls asked the three of us, "which one of the band members would you want to have sex with?" Each one of the three named a different member, with the stalker naming her stalkee. My turn came up, "None of them," I retorted. What a dazed look came upon their faces! "What's wrong with you?" and "How can you call yourself a fan?" were their responses. "There's absolutely nothing wrong with me. I can be somebody's fan and not want to have sex with them." I might as well have been speaking Jabberwockese because this was a foreign concept to them!

Up until that gathering, I had thought that obsessive fans were just a stereotype made up by the media to make teens look bad. Imagine my surprise having met one of these people face-to-face! I felt like Alice after she met the Unicorn in Through the Looking Glass, in which she says, " I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters. I never saw one alive before!" Those type of fans struck me as mythological characters that couldn't possibly exist in reality because they simply didn't make sense!


Oh wait! This story only gets weirder...About a month later, I met the fellow she was stalking. He and the rest of the band were at a club in which I was a regular. My best friend started talking with him and introduced us. I chatted with him for over an hour. This was luckily before the days of cell phones, so celebrities in public didn't get swarmed as quickly as they do now (cell phones may be great inventions but I'm sure there are plenty of celebrities who hate their existence). He and I both had a passion for Berlin. We exchanged recommendations on our favourite hangouts there. I was surprised to hear him tell me that he no longer lived in Berlin. I, on the other hand, had just bought a ticket to Germany (I moved to Berlin just a few months after this encounter). So in that way, we were like the changing of the guards. He leaves Berlin, but not before giving me tips for my stay there. Life is funny like that. 

During our conversation, I never once mentioned his music. I didn't let on that I was a fan. It's a philosophy of mine to approach famous people from a different angle in order to see the other sides of who they are. I don't acknowledge their fame because it would make me feel as if I am joining the chorus of voices who echo around them. The thought that he had multiple stalkers in the world was in the back of my head. I felt empathy for him and, having seen his demeanor, felt that something like that would make him rather ill at ease.

What I noticed about his fame, was that he was uncomfortable being in the limelight. He never danced on stage or in his videos. His body language on both film and stage was always that of discomfort. During interviews he spoke with a shaky voice. Yet, when I met him, he was the most comfortable I'd ever seen him. He was even dancing! I attribute that to the setting we were in and the fact that, at that moment, he wasn't the center of attention, thus enabling him to be carefree. His band is still prominent today. Watching him on film now, I see he has shed some of his stage fright, but the limelight is still not his cup of tea.

Back to the groupies: I continued to hang out with the girl who introduced me to the stalker. I didn't tell her about meeting the band. After some time, she started behaving cruelly toward me. It turns out, she heard through the grapevine about my encounter with said band. She became jealous and terminated our friendship. To terminate a friendship over something this trivial? Who does that? It only goes to show exactly how irrational she was.

Although I was never friends with this songwriter, I only hung out with him that one time, I feel this story is still very poignant. It demonstrates how fandom can go too far, how harmful it is to treat obsessive behaviour as if it was normal, and that no matter how long someone is in the public eye, they may never feel fully comfortable in that environment. Hanging out with some (but not all, to be fair) of the fans freaked me out, yet hanging out with the actual celebrity seemed quite normal to me. Life and its ironies!

To your left is one of the highest ranking Chess players in America. He once told me about the time he had to take a stalker to court! Yes, even famous Chess players get stalking groupies! He had to get a restraining order on her. Crazy, huh?! If that's not weird enough, there was a bunny involved.
and not nearly as huge as this! 
Not quite as fuffy as this...



















How Fans and Others see Their Fame: False Projections and Misrepresentations in the Media

To your left sits a fan of the fellow in jail I mentioned previously. She thinks she's in love with him, despite the fact that his attraction to women only exists on film and not in reality. She finds him "dreamy" and went so far as to cross-stitch his face onto a pillow cover that she keeps on her bed. This is somebody who has never met him, she bases her beliefs on what she saw in a film. And she's not the only one. I've come across quite a few fans of his and at times it seemed like it was an irrationality contest for "Who can believe the most nonsense about him?" Of all the famous people I know, to me he's the least attractive. His personality is shallow, and he constantly hides behind stage persona. Even those who visit him in jail say that he puts on a performance depending on what he thinks somebody wishes to see. I know there is a human being in there somewhere, yet he has hidden behind that mask for so long that one wonders whether that mask will ever come off. He clings to this stage persona despite the fact the final curtain came down on that act nearly 20 years ago.

At various times during his imprisonment, some of his fans were circulating a petition for his early parole. I refuse to sign it. They would ask, "but you know him, why would you not sign it?" I said, "that is precisely why I won't sign it because I do know him." His lack of remorse disgusted me. He was like that long before that creature sat on his shoulder and despite all the talk of famous people changing, he never did change. I'm still torn whether I should write to him or not.

Another example of misrepresentation in the media involves my godfather. The film which Hollywood made about his life was also inaccurate. The actress who played my godmother was blonde and slim, whereas my actual godmother was a heavyset brunette. America: a country with, at that time, 250 million people and they couldn't find a brunette actress? That is why I take any "based on a true story" films with a grain of salt.

How Fans and Others see Their Fame: Hypocrasies

The prominent musician I mentioned earlier has strange fans as well. He is biracial, his father being African, yet some of his diehard fans are white supremacists! On one hand, they want Jews, foreigners, and people of colour to leave the country, yet on the other hand, they are down with him and his music. How exactly does that work?! I sometimes worry about his safety in that kind of environment.

Now, I'm not saying that all fans of everybody famous are crazy. I'm a fan of many people myself, but is it too much to ask for a little bit of rationality in all this? It certainly doesn't help that the media glamorizes fame and turns it into such a desirable commodity. The media makes celebrities look like deities that live on Mount Olympus! There are positive sides to fame, yes, but nobody talks about the downside. Observing those who don't have anonymity makes me appreciate my own anonymity more. I enjoy what other people take for granted. I treasure the luxury of being alone with my thoughts in a public place, such as on a train or on long walks. Some of my famous friends can't do that. These are the little things in life but they are important.

How Fans and Others see Their Fame: The "Rich and Famous" Assumption

I know an artist who belonged to the same youth group of which I was a member. I used to visit him at his artist studio and admired his imagination and creativity. Years later, a prominent director made a documentary film about him which propelled said artist into fame. At this point his landlord approached him and said, "well, now since you're rich and famous, you can afford to pay three times as much rent." The fact is that he did not become rich, he continued to live on disability, but that didn't stop the landlord from the oft false assumption of fame going hand-in-hand with wealth. This forced the artist to move: he now lives in a much smaller studio.

 Another example of the same fallacy of logic, is that of a fellow I know who was on TV once a week. I once attended a question-and-answer session he had with an audience in a theatre. He was asked, "what's it like being rich and famous?" To which he responded, "I may be famous but I'm not rich." He was asked this question not once but twice! I've often had to explain to people that "not all the rich people I know are famous, and not all the famous people I know are rich." I've had to repeat this so many times that I think it's best they just read my blog instead!

The High Price of Fame

Every prominent person I know paid a price for their fame. Some gave up their privacy to the media, some gave up the chance to have a spouse and kids, and others gave up their anonymity in  public surroundings. Those who became famous in their youth, gave up the opportunity to attend university. It's not impossible for a famous person to attend classes on campus, but you can imagine the resulting challenges facing them. Media, fans, etc. Sometimes fame can be a nuisance. Even though I did hear of a case of a clever famous person going incognito in a wig under an assumed name in order to take classes. Good for her, I thought!

There are much higher prices for fame. I knew someone back in New York City who was a well-known artist. We hung out in the same circles and knew the same people. He had an addiction problem and I never saw him sober. He was one of the most superficial people I ever met. That is why we never got along with each other. He made it out to a few parties here in Chicago, but I  refused to say "hi" to him. Then one day I found out he was arrested for murder. It was a scandalous case that made the national headlines. I watched TV interviews in which he showed little remorse, and it sickened me. Watching him in front of the cameras gave me flashbacks of Norma Desmond (played by Gloria Swanson), the main character in Sunset Boulevard. He posed for the cameras thinking that this was his big break, ignoring the reality that this had nothing to do with his talent and everything to do with murder.

A book was written about him, then a Hollywood movie; except with this film I wasn't proud of the main character, I was appalled by him. It shamed me that I even knew someone who showed so little conscience for taking the life of another person. I watched the film with trepidation; the depictions of the creative scene we were in filed me with sentimentality and melancholy. The actor who portrayed him did an impeccable job of capturing the essence of his character. As someone who knows the real-life character, I observed the actor have all the same mannerisms, facial expressions, and attitude as him. I couldn't help but think that the actor must have met him in jail in order to prepare for the role by studying him. But as Hollywood goes, there are always some inaccuracies: for one thing, the script made him out to be bisexual. None of us who know him really believe that. He was gay. I believe the scriptwriters took creative license to made him bisexual just for dramatic effect. I heard it said that Hollywood stereotypes bisexuals as homicidal maniacs. In this case, I agree. As an old high school friend of mine who knows him once said, "don't take it personally when he's so rude: he's just one of those gay guys who doesn't like women, even as friends." He longed for fame, he courted it; scrambling for the cameras in the scene, hoping to "see and be seen." It's been said, "be careful what you wish for, for it may be granted you." There are different types of fame, and he landed the negative end of it, by being notorious. He is now serving 20 years behind bars.

Sometimes fame can be unspeakably cruel and heartless. The person I knew who paid the highest price for his fame was a doctor of mine. He didn't have a receptionist, he just run his office alone, picking up the phone, doing the paperwork. That was so unusual in the age of medical assistants, nurses, etc. That old-school charm, which I loved so much,  was in the end, his own undoing. I used to drop by his office just to chat. He told me he attended the University of Heidelberg in Germany, which was just a few towns over from my old school. Small world indeed, I thought. When I told him how much I love German scientific terminology, he promised to lend me his German chemistry book. But alas, that never happened, because he became the victim of a famous murder case. I won't go into details, I can't. The suspect fled America to beg asylum in French territory, stating that the death penalty would await him if they sent him back. The extradition negotiations went as high up as the presidents of both France and the United States. This happened six years ago, and, as with many extradition cases around the world, it is a long, arduous process, and, in this case, never-ending. We are still awaiting closure. He never wanted fame, yet he paid for it with his life. All he wanted was to retire in a few years. That wish was never granted him.

I remember him fondly and on occasion, I imagine him in that parallel universe where fame never touched him. I visualize him smiling in the sunlight enjoying his retirement with his wife and children. This is the only thought that brings me consolation.

Conclusion

In closing, I would just like to reiterate that everybody is different, and that you can't use blanket terms like "all of famous people are ___." Some celebrities I know are rather boring people, no matter how pretty they look in front of the cameras. With some I have a love/hate relationship because they can be difficult at times. Others have been an inspiration to me and played tremendously important roles in my life. They were role models to me, and I can't thank them enough for being pillars of light in my life when I most needed them. They know who they are.

As I'm writing these lines, Stephen Colbert is on TV talking about how he can't walk around NYC without someone recognizing him. He is popping on a waste basket on his head with an Ipod displaying his face in a distorted manner. I've often thought how celebrities could disguise themselves: after all, it's only the face that is recognizable. Those famous individuals who ride motorbikes have the advantage of not being recognized while in transit. If they put on a wig, or learn to apply some prosthetic makeup, maybe they could be anonymous again. Just a random thought.

It goes without saying that I am a fan of certain celebrities (actors, musicians, authors, artists, scientists, etc) both of by-gone eras and modern times, yet I view fandom differently. Some famous people, such as Charlie Chaplin, Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Dodgson), Claude Cohun, Michael Ende make me wish I had a TARDIS so I could travel back in time and have tea with them. I bring up these four people because of their complexity and creativity. I bet we would have interesting conversations! I find it hard to have a crush on a famous person but, I have to admit, I wouldn't mind being friends with some of them.


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STRANGE INTERLUDE: My Dream, Time-Travel inspired band, "Hypnagogic Telegram" is going VIRAL on Youtube. Timelord Rock. Trock. I play a timeghost (zeitgeist) that inhabits the wardrobe closet in the TARDIS. I come out in costumes from various eras to dance & sing. If Doctor Who would have a band, it might sound like this.
<---- View YOUTUBE VIDEO here.
On FACEBOOK @ HYPNAGOGIC TELEGRAM

Check out my Time Travel, Dream, surreal artwork, performance art, costuming & photography on the other blog pages!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Illuminated Dream Manuscript

I've been a lucid dreamer since childhood. My Russian step-grandfather got me into the habit of recalling my dreams for him in the morning. I started this Illuminated Dream Manuscript years ago. It was just an elaborate sketchbook; that is, until Penelope and Franklin Rosemont, the founding members of the Chicago Surrealist Group took a look at it. Imagine my astonishment when they asked if I would want to publish it! Inspired by Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts which pre-dated Guttenberg's printed Bibles, this work is meditative in its undertaking. I received a lovely fountain pen as a Christmas present. That, in turn, inspired me to experiment with a wide spectrum of calligraphic styles. I decided to use Gothic Blackletter calligraphy (12th c. forward) throughout much of the book.
This example contains illustrations and letterheads of my designs. Dave McKean, Neil Gaiman's illustrator of "Sandman" drew the anthropomorthic human face (lower right center), and Neil Gaiman signed above it. The Alice in Wonderland illustration is enlarged and coloured in pencil by me.
The above was a dream I had on a transatlantic flight from Hamburg to New York.
I have thousands of dreams recorded; first in scribble form on paper, then on mini tapes, now in digital formats.

 More pics forthcoming.

I started this project 20 years ago. It wasn't until two years ago that I heard of Carl Jung's Red Book (aka Liber Novis, Latin for New Book), which wasn't published till 2009. Carl Jung (1875 - 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist who was closely associated with Sigmund Freud until they disagreed and parted ways in 19 Historian Sonu Shamdasani convinced one of Carl Jung's heirs to allow him to publish the work. The Red Book is an extraordinarily illustrated volume containing his dreams and visions which he experienced starting in 1913. It contains 205 pages of his experiments with calligraphy, letterheads, and singular artwork. His book is the only other example I know of which combines illustrations, dreams, and visions with attention tremendous attention to detail in a hand written work.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Red-Book-C-Jung/dp/0393065677/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366420433&sr=8-1&keywords=carl+jung+red+book


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
STRANGE INTERLUDE: My Dream, Time-Travel inspired band, "Hypnagogic Telegram" is going VIRAL on Youtube. Timelord Rock. Trock. I play a timeghost (zeitgeist) that inhabits the wardrobe closet in the TARDIS. I come out in costumes from various eras to dance & sing. If Doctor Who would have a band, it might sound like this.
<---- View YOUTUBE VIDEO here.
On FACEBOOK @ HYPNAGOGIC TELEGRAM

Check out my Time Travel, Dream, surreal artwork, performance art, costuming & photography on the other blog pages!

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DainaSurrealism Member of Chicago Surrealist Group, and Lewis Carroll Society of North America (LCSNA). "Hypnagogic Telegram" vocalist, performer. Surrealist music/vaudeville act. Going VIRAL on Youtube w/ Chaplin dance. Speak Russian, German, French, Lithuanian, & English, learning Spanish, Italian, and Latin. Working on 3 books currently: Illuminated Manuscript Dream Book (with surreal images and collages), Alice in Wonderland Illustrated Expanded Universe, and autobiography.

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