this photo seems suggestive

chrisivins  asked:

Hi Eric—Is my mind playing tricks on me, or is your illustration for Tess and Mathew, from Maria Semple's Today Will Be Different, based on Elaine Robinson and Ben Braddock?

Hello Chris – Your mind is playing only the mildest of tricks on you. Maria and I certainly decided to model the heroine of her book’s mom, Tess, on the actress Katherine Ross. Tess was a stage actress and very much “of” the late-60s showbusiness era. For the nightclub piece, I paid particular attention to the image of Katherine Ross from the end of The Graduate. Partly, this choice was because the illustrations in the book are meant to serve as replacement-photographs, a gift from one sister to another, since all of their private family photos were tragically and carelessly junked. And, partly, because Eleanor (the heroine and “illustrator”) comes from that time when photos of one’s parents always seemed to suggest their having much greater glamour than people generally displayed in subsequent generations. So, it kind of works that Eleanor, not having any photos of her mother, might use Katherine Ross as a reference: her parents seemed kind of like movie stars anyway. I even imagined Eleanor having associated her mom with Elaine Robinson when she was a little kid.

But Matthew, the dad, is not based on anyone – although his left hand with its perfectly dangled cigarette came from a photo of James Dean. I was surprised by how – to me at least – lively the image of Matthew turned out. By which I mean he seems to have some animating spark in his eyes and half-smile … Strangely, he came out with pleasant hints of the movie director Sydney Pollack and the actor Ben Gazzara (although I didn’t look at pictures of either of those guys – but both of whom I love.)

Thanks for asking! Best wishes,


The mystery of the black and white deer

The photo

A few weeks ago my friend Kath posted the above grainy photo on my Facebook feed with some accompanying blurb:

“While out on the bike spotted this crazy deer! Back was pure white! Bred with a polar bear? What do u think of this? 

External image
  feeling confused.”

The photo clearly showed something stood by a suburban Glenrothes house but it was too dark to say exactly what.  I confess I’d not seen anything like it, but thought it looked more like a pony than a deer.

Kath’s pals were quick to express their opinions.  Some said it was a goat, some said it was a llama, one even suggested it was two local farmers strolling about the woods in a pantomime horse.

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The Barbican have released the “official” photo for Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet next year.

I really admire their commitment in finding a child who can even approximate BC’s deadpan stare. And a ginger child, too.

At the risk of overanalysing a promotional photo (watch me go), the costume/set-dressing seem to suggest the show will be roughly period, rather than transplanted out of Shakespeare’s time. I really hope that is the case - I’m a bit fed up of Shakespeare plays being transported to the Cold War for no apparent reason.

Every actor-director combo doing Hamlet chooses a different aspect of the character to bring to the fore - I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that Benedict Cumberbatch and Lyndsey Turner are going for his juvenility, his inexperience, his impulsiveness.

We’ll find out next August… If anyone manages to get tickets, that is.
Call The Midwife stars film funeral after Evangelina's death ended last series
It remains a mystery whether it's Sister Evangelina being buried, but it's certainly not fan fave Helen George
By Janine Yaqoob

Some news! This is the Mirror (a tabloid), but it has pictures. They seem to be trying to suggest the funeral is for a regular character, but looking at the pictures, I don’t think so. I think it’s a guest character. Here’s why (Series 6 speculation follows):

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If Frankie picked up Zach to take him to the party (as that family photo seems to suggest) then I’m guessing Zach is staying with the Grandes because how else would he get home? No one is going to be in any shape to drive. Right?