Friday, July 17, 2009

Out with the old, in with the cheaper??

When the news was broken to me that FOX were recasting the characters in Futurama, I reacted very differently to how I would have a while ago. Back in my youth, in the earlier days of Futurama impressions and giddy voiceover aspirations, I would have cheered and been excited at the possibility of having a shot (however ridiculous) at auditioning for one of my most favourite shows ever.

However, it's a different case now.

I was infuriated (and still am, although some explanations have allowed me to simmer) that FOX would disregard actors like Billy West, Maurice LaMarche, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal (and the rest) who are giants of the industry.

Quite obviously, they have played a big part in making the show what it is. When Futurama comes back, us fans don't want a new Futurama - we want the old Futurama, with new exciting episodes!

Bob Bergen
and J.S. Gilbert have informed me that this is indeed a move by the studios to avoid paying the actors more money. You can read a bit about what Bob thinks here on the VO-BB.

As I said, in earlier years, I probably would have jumped at the chance to audition for Futurama. Now though, I am not so lame to believe that I could bring the individual spark that each actor on Futurama provides. We can all bring our own thing, but that is why they were on the show before it stopped - they brought their own, personal magic. Plus, now that I have characters on an animated series myself, I know how I would feel if the studio tried to hire other people to get a penny pinching deal.

So, out with with the old, in with the cheaper? I think many of us are united in saying, "I bloody hope not".

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Beckett meets a cast of superhumans

I went to see Waiting For Godot at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, on Tuesday night.

Let me say that I have been a fan of this production since I heard about it last year.

I ended up getting a pretty damn good ticket - front row upper circle. It's not as high as some of the upper circles out there, but from what I could see, I would definitely not recommend the 'gallery'. It's too far back.

The performance itself was just pure, uncut brilliance. It was a playful and witty interpretation of the play and each character shone in their own special way. I wouldn't call myself a 'Godot' expert, but I know the play from studying it in high school, and reading it every now and then over the years. However, from talking with some fellow theatre goers afterwards, I would say that at least some knowledge and understanding of the play was necessary. The comment was that the cast was 'great' but that they didn't enjoy the play so much. It really is one of those 'hit or miss' works, I think.

I don't really want to give away too much of the show itself (even though I know most people may not see it), but let me ambiguously reveal a couple of highlights. Patrick Stewart + dancing and singing, Simon Callow and some great slapstick, Ronald Pickup and the Lucky 'monologue' and just Ian McKellen in general.

Let me say that I am not the type to get starstruck (this is owing to the fact that I myself am hugely famous in The Maldives), but I was pretty damn stoked to meet Mr. Stewart and Sir Ian (or as I now call them - 'Paddy' and 'McIan') after the show.

I had them sign my gorgeous Theatre Royal Haymarket W.F.G programme (which I shall treasure for years) and did the same with the other two masters in the cast - Simon Callow and Ronald Pickup. I had a brief chat with Simon Callow about a performance that he gave not too long ago, at the Royal Festival Hall (which I was lucky enough to attend). He played the part of Tchaikovsky, reading diary entries and monologuing in between the orchestra playing Tchaik's music. It was very cool to talk with him. 

I'm so glad I went to see this show. It was not so much of a 'meaty' production of Godot - it had the more air of two old friends screwing about, waiting for Godot. However, towards the end, Vladimir questions the reality of life through his anger at Godot, for his not being there.

It was sweeeeeeeet. Props to Sean Mathias.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Non-essential things I can't live without

Australian Rainforests and mountains
Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony
My family
Sweet chilli tuna sandwiches
Hot crossed buns during the Easter period
Pens and paper
A Passport
Symphony Fantastique
Friends who can make me fall to the ground and cry with laughter
A flute or a piano
A collection of my favourite cartoon shows and movies
Anything by Mozart

Post Script

I went to a concert a couple of Thursdays ago, with my mate from back home, Megan (who recently deserted me to go back to Australia). It was the London Philharmonic (surprise, surprise) performing the Second Piano Concerto by Brahms, and Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. Some of you may know that this is a favourite of mine, so I've been anticipating the concert for quite a while.

Right after the concert, I tried to compile my thoughts of the performance in way that would do it justice in the form of an internet blog. Well, that fell flat on it's face! The concert was so amazing that I found it bloody difficult to write a paragraph or two, that adequately described it.

So instead, I came up with a list of things that I don't necessarily need to survive, but could just not do without.

What are yours? If you feel comfortable sharing, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Scalpers and chocolate...Fantastique times.

Again, another blog from quite a while ago. I still try to get them out though. Enjoy!!


You know that concert or show that you’ve been waiting months to see since the program was released?

Oo, oo! This one.

So, tonight I went to see the London Philharmonic perform Messiaen’s Les offrandes oubliées, Tchaikovsky’s Piano concerto No.1 in Bb minor and Symphonie Fantastique by my hero, Hector Berlioz. Let me start by putting out there that the concert was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it (except the usual ridiculous coughing fits in between movents).Yeah, I know – I complain about it every time.

I had been checking the website for the South Bank Centre over the last months, and in the last couple of days, there seemed to be quite a few seats available. Due to this, I decided to buy my tickets on the night. When I arrived, I lined up to purchase my seat for the night, and encountered a few dear old ladies (Imogen, Peggy and May), who were trying to scalp off a ticket because their friend, Ethel, had a cold and couldn’t make it (Ok, I made up that name because I can’t remember what it really is). The ticket was a great seat and because it was a charity purchase (I think), they had scored it for only 15 quid. So I happily agreed to take it off their hands and then went to chill before the show.

LPO started with Les offrandes oubliées, which was a colourful and evocative introduction. It represents the Cross, the descent of Man into sin and the salvation offered through Eucharist. I guess they were gearing up for Easter.

Then we had the monumental Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto. Favourite of old ladies and classical enthusiasts world-wide. I gotta say, I was always quite 'meh' about the concerto in comparison to Tchaik's other works. However, as soon as I heard those majestic opening chords on the piano, I had chills and a whole new appreciation of the piece. The second movement is just sublime, and of course ya gotta love the flute feature in it.

Despite this, the pinnacle of the performance was the Berlioz. Before that, though, I have to tell a story about interval. I had of course, had some lovely short conversations with my elderly scalping friends, and then I let them know that I was just going to stretch my legs at interval. After a pleasant ten minutes out on the balcony looking out onto the Thames, I arrived back at my seat to find that they had saved me some pieces from their Cadbury chocolate bar. Now, I know you shouldn't take candy from strangers, but who am I to turn down caramel squares?

Anyway, I thought that was just the most brilliant thing ever. I gotta hang about the elderly more often at these classical concerts.

Onto Berlioz. I was a tad excited and could barely contain myself when Reveries commenced. Tell you what, when I first heard that idée fixe, my night was made. Just stunning.

Despite LPO being their usual dynamic and glorious selves, there were a couple of moments, particularly in Un Bal that were slightly sloppy. However, other than select instances they were generally very tight.

I probably listen to Symphonie Fantastique once a week (a movement, at least), so to have this spectular, passionate, rich and resonating work performed by a powerhouse group like LPO was a massive treat.

Stay tuned for the next one.


Present day: I'm really looking forward to the next concert - Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony (amazing) and the Brahms Piano Concerto! Come and join me if you're a Londoner - Wednesday night at the South Bank Centre (Tube: Embankment). Even if you're not a classical fan, I'm almost positive you'll get a kick out of this performance. We'll have a pint or vino and then catch the concert! Take it easy!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Krang kreative process

If you're a fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pat Fraley goes through his process of how he came up with the voice. Pure cool. Hear/view it here

I love stuff like this, because it shows you that everyone has their own individual way of creating.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Annie Awards podcasted...SCORE.

Thanks to Erik Sheppard for passing this on. At long last, there is a way for those of us who can't get to the Annie Awards to see snippets (and hopefully the whole thing).

You can download a video of Tom Kenny's introduction and the award for Best Video Game here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Would you like some Awesome with your Salzburger?

Let me start by saying that I don't think I've ever been so irritated by such a small thing as a foreign keyboard before.

So I touched down in Salzburg after sleeping through most of the plane trip and playing Metal Slug when I wasn't. I saw snow and was like WOW. It was great to have such an amazing initial view from above of this incredible city.

Once again, I did the traditional walk around without looking at the map, and then i tried to find 
my way back to the hostel. Oh, before that, I 
bought a ticket to the 'Mozart Dinner Concert' and had some time to kill beforehand- This mainly involved taking pictures of the brilliant snow and beautiful architecture. Well worth the cold. Maybe it's me gradually aclimatising to this cold weather, but -8, -9 degrees doesnt seem that cold anymore. Perhaps it's also my Drizabone.

Anyway, better write something quickly about the concert I went to. When I booked the ticket and looked at the program, my heart sank a little, because i saw that they were going to be playing 'Mozart favourites' I was expecting to hear 12 different variations of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Symphony No. 40 played upside down. BUT - it was totally not that kind of concert. It was reeeeally good, and the food was amazing. The string ensemble and the two
 vocalists performed excerpts from 3 of Mozart's operas - Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and the Magic Flute. They were very good and I found the singers extremely enjoyable to watch. I realised that I still can't sit through Madamina, Il Catalogo without giggling at the 'Spain' bit. I'm sure anyone who was in the Classical Studies class at the Con may share some fond memories...

The food, as I said, was delicious... The entree was lemon cream soup with cinnamon...

Then the main course was Capon with an unreal sauce and potatoes cooked incredibly 
well with
 other tasty vegies. The dessert was a semi-frozen honey parfait which was scrumptious, but not so much my kind of meal.

I headed back to my hostel afterwards and caught up with a couple of Aussies who were watching the '24/7' screening of The Sound of Music at the hostel. That's right, the TV only plays the one movie. I didn't watch it with them, I viewed it in full another night.

Full photos can be found on my Flickr page and in the next post I'll talk a bit about my snowboarding adventures.