Monday, June 27, 2011

The Love One by Eveyln Waugh

The Loved One is probably my favorite book by Evelyn Waugh. I enjoyed both Decline and Fall and Vile Bodies. But I really think The Loved One is the best story he wrote. Funny, cynical, witty and macabre to the point of being ghoulish. What is there NOT to love about this book?

The movie version produced in 1965 was not bad with it's star-studded cast of Jonathan Winters, Rod Steiger and Sir John Gielgud not to mention the likes of Milton "Uncle Milty" Berle, Robert Morley, Roddy McDowall, James Coburn and even Liberace in some unlikely cameo roles make a veritable who's who list of movie and television stars popular at that time.

And it has Newton Massachusetts born actor Robert Morse as Dennis Barlow. Those of you who follow the series Man Men (I don't) may now recognize him as Bertram Cooper.

I actually when I look at him in The Loved One, I kind of think Robert Morse resembled Dave Foley from Kids in the Hall a little bit.

While remaining true and many of the scenes and characters Evelyn Waugh's original novel remain intact in one form or another, the movie is amost entirely different from the book having the story based in contemporary 1965 rather than 1948 when the story was written. It also pokes fun at the nuclear and space age the Country was beginning to head into at that time.

Which I don't think Evelyn Waugh even dreamed about when he wrote the book in 1948.

But I still find it to be an enjoyable movie. I especially think Jonathan Winters in dual roles as twin brothers Henry and Wibur Glenworthy is very good. Especially his performance as the Revernd Wilbur Glenworthty. Which I think he does sinister (and completely mad) surprising well.

I decided to introduce it to my wife Sydney after she saw it in my DVD pile. We had both read the book and so she was intriged to see how different the movie version was.

So far she's enjoying it. It's a long movie so we've had to break it down into a few nights watching. But she made an interesting comment before we started watching it.

She said to me, "You know I think you could do a really good adaptation of the Loved One as a graphic novel."

Which I told her was funny because I've really wanted to adapt it as a graphic novel for some time. But with something like Evelyn Waugh's work unlike something like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Mary Shelly's work is I would have to contact the literary agency that holds the rights to his stories.

However, it is one of those pet projects I would like to do. If I were to do it I think I would opt to do Evelyn Waugh's original story note for note because I tend to prefer to remain true to the authors original story rather than doing my own version of it.

For one thing, I prefer Waugh's more cynical and deliciously dark ending over the one the movie gave us. I don't want to spoil either the book or the movie for anyone by giving it away.

I may contact the literary agent and see how I would go about getting permission. It's not a project I'm really planning anytime soon. But you never know.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Last day of school... for a couple weeks.

I've been thoroughly enjoying my time at Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School this year. And I'm actually not supposed to be here right now but my good buddy Andy Fish needed me to fill in for his film class and I was very happy to help.

Which reminds me, I have to give Andy back the DVD's he loaned me for the class.

Today is my last day there till next Fall. Since the snow days extended the school year I had to dig through my own collection for a few extra. Today I've decided to go out with a laugh and show the students the Road to Morocco. The "Road Movies" as they have been referred to are not the most brilliant films ever made. But they are fun to watch. The last couple weeks I've been focusing on different types of comedies. I started showing an earlier Charlie Chaplin film with the Kid and a later one with Modern Times so the students could compare and contrast between the films. Even though there were a lot of similaries, there were many differences. And Chaplin was very clever in Modern Times the way he used sound while keeping it technically a silent film.

Although a couple of the students thought The Kid was the worst film of all time!! WHEW!! Tough crowd!! But in their defense, I think a lot of it is to due with the fact I feel a silent film is very hard to follow. Especially since I don't know if many kids have seen a great deal of silent films.

But I have appreciated the way they have stuck with it and despite not completely Mclovin' the films I've shown, they've given them a fair shake.

The week following I showed them the Ladykillers with Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers. Just to show how British Comedy is different from American Comedy. Especially this film which is basically a dark comedy.

Well, after today I have a little downtime before I have to head back to the Art Museum for Summer Classes. Even though I'm not a morning person, I haven't minded getting out of bed early for these classes. I'm getting to do something I really love. And that is watch old movies!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Uncanny X-Men coming to an end

Pretty much the series that started Marvel's whole X-Men franchise back in 1963 which spawned such series as X-Factor, X-Force, Generation X and Jim Lee's own title... umm... X-Men is coming to an end at issue 544 this October.

To be honest I'm not surprised and I wouldn't be surprised if more books started to follow suit. I don't follow series. And if I do want to catch up on a particular story arc I just pick up the trade paperback.

I still think graphic novels are the future for comics. Artists and writers get the opportunity to tell more of the story they like. And a great many times like in the case of New Frontier or Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil, these artists and writers are given the opportunity to operate outside the normal continuity of these characters.

Not all these books turn out great but it does give writers that chance to work with the characters the way they want to.

And to be honest, with all the means out there to publish your own book (i.e. Lulu or Ka-Blam) as well as many indie companies who still have opened submissions I think it makes trying to submit your work to a big company less tantilizing.

With that said, if you get the opportunity to work for Marvel or DC go for it!!

Who knows. Maybe the big two are starting to get the feeling that comic book series are finally on the way out and the only way to stay in the game is graphic novels.

Or they're just going to bring Uncanny X-Men back in a years time. Like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Non-Clone Spider-Man, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Wolverine's claws (I think) and... the Marvel Comics Captain Marvel?

Did they bring him back? Or is he still dead?

I don't mind if you ferociously disagree with me. But I think the series style of comic books is dead. However, this might mean more ongoging and serialized graphic novels. We'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Etsy shop is officially opened!!

Sydney and I basically got most of the stuff for our wedding on Etsy. The wedding bands, cake topper and the flower hair clips Sydney and the bridesmaids wore were all created by people who sell on Etsy.

I printed the wedding invites through and the centerpieces we constructed and printed ourselves. Syd also made her own crystal bouquet and the bouquets for the bridesmaids as well as the crystal Boutineers for myself and the groomsmen. But everything else was bought on Etsy.

So, after much thought I decided to start selling some of my work on Etsy. I'm not going to be closing down my E-Bay store. Just think of it as another place you can purchase my work. Click on the link below to check out what I am currently selling:

Back from Newport

To be honest, it's been so long since I've been on a vacation of any kind that I don't even remember the last time I went on vacation. It might have been back in 1997.

So what better time to go on vacation than when you're on your honeymoon ;-)

Well, Sydney and I just got back from Newport on Sunday night and we've been busy unpacking, giving out souveniers from our trip, getting everything straightened up and getting back to work.

Needless to say, Newport was wonderful. We had such a great time and I think we did everything we possibly could in the stretch of five days. Well, actually six days since we were having such a wonderful time we decided to check in at the Travel Lodge and stay one extra day.

We had decided on Newport because it was a place Syd really loved to go on family vacations as a kid. And I'm really happy she suggested it because I fell in love with the place the moment we drove over the bridge.

We stayed at the Marshall Slocum Inn for the most of our honeymoon. It was a great place and Mark Spring who runs the inn cooks an out of this world breakfast. And our room has a spiral staircase. So how cool is that???

We did all the things tourists usually did but we enjoyed it at our own pace. We visited most if not mansions... I mean... Summer homes. My personal favorite was Chateau Sur Mer which reminded us both of the Addams Family's home.

We also got a chance to go to the beach. It was my first time swimming since 1997. It felt great!! Being down in Newport reminded me how much I love the ocean. As much as I have said otherwise over the years, I think I finally admitted to myself while on my honeymoon how much of a sea body I am.

However, my farmer's tan says other ;-)

Our last day there was spent driving around town in a scooter car.

As you can see, they kind of resemble a cross between a golf cart, a motorcycle and a Volkswagen Beetle. But they are so much fun!! Note the ear-to-ear smile on Syd's face. We also went to the Illustration Museum on our last day too. I don't confess to being a huge fan of Norman Rockwell. I don't hate his work, mind you. But it's never grabbed me.

However, I immediately went for JC Leyendecker's work. Although, I am embarrassed to admit I actualy confused Norman Rockwell's painting of Sampson tearing down the temple for a Frank Frazetta. I said it aloud to Syd and then read the name tag of the painting and felt like a complete ass.

While I was on the trip I also got a chance to finish reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelly during a few of our beach trips and before I went to sleep. It should be mentioned while in Newport, it gave me an idea to direct an independent film based on the novel but film it primarily in Newport around the 1600 or 1700's.

The ghost tour we went on which talked about how they used to hang pirates for made me think of that.

I have a great deal of friends who do independent films. I may have to contact them. But don't be surprised if a script is written in the next couple of weeks.

There are also one or two people I know who would be ideal for the creature. For both their stature and their voices. Not necessarily for their looks. So, don't beat me up ;-)

But we both had a wonderful time on our honeymoon and we're looking forward to our next trip down to Newport.

I also discovered the joy of Del's Frozen Lemonade. It should be noted that I used Del's Lemonade in fellow Worcesterite and super talented artist Derek Ring's favorite Summer drink which consists of Miller High Life and Countrytime Lemonade. I subsituted Del's for Countrytime and I was successful in finding a way that Syd can enjoy drinking beer. More on that mix later.