Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: holiday, movie
Categories: inspiration, movie

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… Life moves pretty fast.
You don’t stop and look around once in awhile you could miss it.”
                                                                                       – Ferris Bueller

It’s cold, windy & rainy outside. I “should be” working in the studio already.
Instead, I’m curled up on the sofa, updating the blog & Facebook pages,
and watching one of my favorite movies ever!!! Another guilty pleasure from the 80′s. I’ve always wanted them to do a sequel… even still… maybe Ferris Bueller taking a day off from his big important corporate job?!

Categories: Chicago, movie

Those of us who live here already know it.
But those who haven’t been to Chicago might need a little visual “tutorial.”

Click here for a beautiful video about the beauty & strength of Chicago.

Categories: artists, movie

So my new Swedish potter-friend Saga Johnsson has created a wonderful film.
It’s a couple of days in the life of a potter in Sweden… and the making of one of her trademark mugs from start to finish. It’s a great little film. Love the style. Love the music!!! What a great idea… a little shameless self-promotion with a wonderful twist. Brilliant!!!!

Click here to watch Saga’s Silent Film on YouTube.

Categories: movie, process, production, stamps

Anyone out there want to see how this class demo platter went from plain to fully stamped???
You’ve been asking… there’s a “very good chance” that there may be a video in the works?!

And the stamps that did most of the “magic”…

Categories: movie, process, stamps

Guess who is playing with iMovie???…
and might just have something fun to share later this evening???

Categories: movie, nature, photography

When I got into the studio this morning, I opened my stuff and pulled out my Netflix movie envelopes. Keep in mind that my queue has been long for a long amount of time. I’ve pretty much forgotten what I’ve put on the list. And I’m frequently surprised when I open the envelope. Well, today was one of those days.

After a couple days of really cool (and somewhat dangerous) ice formations on my back porch, I chuckled to myself when I saw the title of the first movie – “Chasing Ice.” It’s a documentary about how the glaciers are receding all around the world. And my thought was “Sure, and now they’re all covering Chicago!!!” Timing is everything!

The movie is a beautiful. Environmental photographer James Balog started by photographing the beauty & majesty of glaciers & frozen formations. As he continued over the years, he could see that the glaciers were slowly disappearing. And he set out to document the geological change. He deployed time-lapse cameras to capture a record of the world’s changing glaciers, compressing years into seconds to illustrate how these ice mountains are disappearing at a breathtaking rate. The videos are amazing, beautiful & sad. The comparisons between years are shocking.

The movie starts out with some breathtaking photography – which I’m sure is the reason I added it to my Netflix queue in the first place. Soon enough you become enthralled by his passion & adventure to capture the glacial changes with time-lapse photography. Regardless of which side you are on in the Global Warming debate, these images are hard to dispute. I’m just glad I rode my bike through Glacier National Park when there were still glaciers there!!!

Click here to see the official trailer for “Chasing Ice.”

And here are just a few of the stunning images from the documentary…

Categories: friends, movie, movies

Continuing a new post-Christmas tradition (for the second year now), I had a fun breakfast with metalsmiths Sarah Chapman & Pam Robinson. After eating far too much food, including pumpkin pancakes as an appetizer, we sat around, chatted, solved all the problems of the world and exchanged gifts. Sarah had other commitments, but Pam and I continued our new “tradition” with a double-feature movie. And we did good…. FOUR THUMBS UP!!!

After just seeing “Mary Poppins” onstage, it was fun for us to see “Saving Mr. Banks” which is all about Poppins author P.L. Travers and the ongoing struggle she had with Walt Disney in the making of the movie. I was more than pleasantly surprised by how good this movie was. So many insights into the roots of Mary Poppins, and how the author’s persanal life influenced so much of her work.

Our second movie was “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” with Ben Stiller. It wasn’t quite as outlandish, spectacular or fantastical as I thought it was going to be from the previews. Instead, it was much more though-provoking and life-affirming in his many adventures… including a great performance by Sean Penn!

Great breakfast. Great friends. Great movies.
The tradition continues!!!

And on a slightly twisted side note…
In between movies, Pam and I spent some time at Barnes & Noble.
And I found it strange that on the day after Christmas, we would find ourselves in a book shop looking at a bookshelf of Christian Fiction… which in and of itself I find quite ironic… and somewhat redundant!!!

Categories: inspiration, movie, pottery, television

We potters have all been plagued with every reference imaginable from that scene
in “Ghost” where Patrick Swayze & Demi Moore are getting all hot & bothered while
throwing pottery on a wheel. You know the scene… and then “Unchained Melody”
plays in the background. Making it an all-too-memorable movie moment that no one
seems to forget. We hear about it all the time.

As it if were even possible, and you’ve forgotten… click here for the “Ghost” video!

And now, just when you thought that maybe “Ghost” had been forgotten…
“Glee” has brought it that scene back! Sure, not quite so sexy. But still.

So now we’ll be hearing that “unchained” reference again… now from a whole new,
younger generation who may have never even heard of “Ghost.” Great. Just great.

Categories: cirque du soleil, friends, movie, movies

Like I haven’t had enough stuff to keep me busy, what with all the “glitter gigs,”
the Home Shows and getting ready for Christmas. Most people would kick back
& relax on the day after Christmas. But not us… we had planned a great day of fun
with some of my friends!!!

Breakfast
Pam & I met up with Sarah & Julie for breakfast at “Yolk” downtown in the Streeterville
neighborhood. We all had stories to share about our Christmas adventures and some
mis
-adventures for others. Besides hanging out with friends, the highlight was the pancakes
we ordered as our group appetizer! They were multigrain pancakes with granola & blueberries
mixed into the batter, then sliced bananas & honey on top! So yummy, that I got another
stack of them with my omelet!!!

Cirque du Soleil : Worlds Away 3-D
Next, Pam and I met up with Nancy and we made it to the new Cirque du Soleil movie.
It was beautifully filmed – and the 3D effects were not too over-the-top like most movies.
The film has a very loose plot following a couple as they try to find each other while traveling
through the “worlds” of the permanent Cirque du Soleil shows that are in Las Vegas. After
awhile, I must admit that it seemed a little like a travelog advertisement to get you to go to
Vegas! The movie was beautiful, but being at the actual show is SO much better!!!
But if you can’t make it to Las Vegas, by all means, go see the movie!
Click here for the official Cirque du Soleil : Worlds Away 3-D movie trailer.

Lunch
The three of us had some time to kill in between movies, so we went to the Grand Luxe Cafe
for lunch. I had never been there before, nor did I know that it was a “kitchen cousin” of
The Cheesecake Factory. So we sat around, relaxed and had some good food. Again, sharing
stories of our Christmases and plans for the New Year. But it was a little hard to focus…
I was too anxious for what was next…

Les Miserables
Finally. The highlight of the day that I had been waiting forever for!
My FAVORITE musical ever has finally made it to the silver screen. Sure, there are other
movie versions of “Les Miserables.” But none of them are the movie version of the stage
musical production! Which has always been my favorite. So I was just a little more than
excited to finally see it. We got to the theater a little early to make sire we got good seats.
And we did… smack dab in the middle!!! The commercials & previews seemed to go on
forever. When you finally hear the first few notes of the musical, my heart skipped a beat.
And I was mesmerized for the duration of the show. Which is fantastic!!!
Sure, it’s no replacement for seeing it live on stage, but it is a whole ‘nother version of it
with all of the grandeur & spectacle. It definitely did not disappoint.

Overall, it was incredible. When Anne “Fantine” Hathaway sings “I Dreamed A Dream”
towards the beginning of the movie, I had goosebumps and was choking back the tears.
Her performance was incredible. As was Hugh Jackman as “Jean Valjean.” He did an
incredible job of telling his story, singing the demanding songs and aging through the film.
Also loved Helena Bonham Carter & Sacha Barn Cohen as the Thenardiers. Brilliant casting.
Actualy, I think most of the casting was spot-on, and all of the voices were great. With one
exception… okay, I’ve never been a fan, I’ve never figured quite out his appeal, and I was
fearful of his singing abilities… not to mention any names…
Russell Crowe. For those of us
who have been fans for so many years, and have memorized every word to every song, you
know that the role of Javert is pretty strong. For some reason, Russell Crowe never quite
showed any depth or emotion, and his singing was fairly monotone as well. I kept waiting
for him to open up and belt out my second-favorite song “Stars.” But he never did. It wasn’t
until his “final” scene that there was some emotion in his singing voice. Finally.
But by then, it’s too late if you know what I mean…

But still… my favorite is Eponine. With “Les Miz” stage actress Samantha Barks securing
the role instead of some big Hollywood name, she delivered on all accounts. And when she
sings my favorite song of the entire show, “On My Own,” I must admit there were more than
a few tears welling up. Brilliant… so brilliant, that here’s a little sneak peek for you…
Click here for the Eponine “On My Own” version of the movie trailer.

So there it is. Finally. A beautiful film version of the stage musical “Les Miserables.”
And well worth the wait. I can’t wait to see it again. My only other “complaint” besides
Russell Crowe was how dark the film was. Sure, I know it’s supposed to be dark & moody.
But there were times when it seemed that the film was so dark that it was a little tough to see
what was going on?! Sure, a lot happens at night, I get it. But there are also some movie-
making tricks they could have used to I could at least see the characters singing. I’m just sayin’.

Also, so much has been said about how, for the first time, all of the actors in the movie are
singing live as they are being filmed. No dubbing. No sound stage mixing. How every word in
every scene was recorded live, along with breathing, background noises.
Click here for a special featurette about the special recording process for “Les Miserables.”

It’s also a great testament to the movie of how silent it was during the entire film. No rustling.
No candy wrappers. And oddly no singing. I found myself quietly mouthing the words. But it
was SO incredibly quiet that I didn’t feel that my singing would be appreciated. Totally silent…
until the very end when the audience applauded for the film! Serious applause. There aren’t
many films I’ve been too where the theater audience breaks out into applause.
It was that good.

So, all in all, It was a very long day. But SO much fun packed in along the way!!!
Squeezing in as much as I could with friends after the Christmas hustle & bustle.
Chatting, sharing stories & hanging out with Pam, Sarah, Julie & Nancy. So much fun.
Seeing two of my passions make it to the Big Screen. Not being disappointed by either one!
A great day…
                     … and now I need to see “Les Miserables” again !!!