Friday, July 17, 2009
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
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.
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.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony
Sweet chilli tuna sandwiches
Hot crossed buns during the Easter period
Pens and paper
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
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
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.
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
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Any Asterix fans?
Saturday, January 17, 2009
However, allow me to briefly paint a picture of my short time out on the town beforehand. I went to the concert by myself, so my wandering allowed me to be somewhat more observational than usual. Saying that, it would have been particularly difficult for me to miss the things I saw.
In a true overview of London I noticed the following three things:
1. A giant crowd of tourists standing outside of a Subway restaurant arguing about whether they should eat at Subway, or Ha Ha Bar and Grill (big difference).
2. A street preacher, and
3. A man relieving himself against a railing.
Big props to the bloke for trying to do it inconspicuously, but unfortunately he clearly was not aware that the fence/railing was on the edge of the road and he was facing the traffic. Luckily for me, I was on the same side as his back. The people over the other side of street were not so lucky...
Anyway, on to the concert.
The performance was of excellent quality, overall. The LPO played Richard Strauss' Til Eulenspiegel, Piano Concerto no. 22 by Mozart, K. 482, Suite from 'Daphnis and Chloe' by Maurice Ravel and Firebird Suite - Igor Stravinsky.
Great Grizzly Pandas, what a line up (especially for flutes).
The conductor was a very talented lady by the name of Marin Alsop.
She seemed to inspire the orchestra with a lot of energy and intensity. The shining qualities of each of the pieces were captured extremely well. Til Eulenspiegel was quirky and crazy, Daphnis was just pure magic - floating, soaring, swelling magic and Firebird was just bloody fantastic, mate. Yep, that's the best I can come up with today.
The only thing that didn't work as much, in my opinion, was the Mozart piano concerto. Jonathon Bliss is an exceptional pianist, I can tell that - but he just didn't have the flow and elegance that was presented in the concert with Mitsuko Uchida. I much prefer that in performances of Mozart. He certainly has vibrance, which is also essential. The other thing that didn't work as well (which I couldn't put my finger on at first) was Alsop's conducting of the piece. I much prefer to have the ensemble directed by the soloist, when playing works by a composer like Mozart. Alsop's direction of the orchestra in the concerto was a little clunky, and I believe this transfered into the soloist's playing.
On the whole, as I said - the concert was fantastic. Special mention needs to be given to Adam Walker - the flautist who played principal for the evening. Absolutely top flute player and a good bloke as well - I caught up with him after the concert and went out for a drink with his crew of musos.
Well, that's a good time out in London, and I really do recommend going to see the LPO. If you're keen to catch them, let me know and we'll catch up at or after the concert.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Is it 'voiceover', 'voice over' or voice-over?
Personally, I have always gone with 'voiceover'. I never really looked at which made the most sense grammatically, just which looked better.
It's interesting, because as a flute player, there is a similar debate with the name of that profession. There is flautist - pronounced either 'flawt-ist' or 'flout-ist', or flutist. James Galway raised a valid point that he does not play the flawt or the flout, but the flute. I like to avoid any conflict whatsoever, by just saying I'm a flute player.
What do you think? If you don't care about voiceovers or flutes, do you have a similar situation with your vocation?
Monday, January 12, 2009
For me, personally, I tend to work hard at improving something, but end up putting the ole' blinkers on and don't see the elements that really need to be removed to make everything change. It's so much easier to press forwards once you do realise what's in the way.
Enjoy, and I hope it helps you in some way.
Check out Andy's original post