Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: artists, creativity, movies

This movie looks pretty incredible. The style, the process, the visuals.
Apparently it’s the first time ever using this film-making process. Think of it as a stop-action, clay-mation type movie… but using individual oil paintings instead of clay?!!! Amazing… and slightly crazy, right? I’ll definitely be “Van Gogh-ing” to see this one! Would be great at the Drive-In under some beautiful Starry, Starry Night.

Click here to see the trailer video of “Loving Vincent” on INSIDER’s videos.

Categories: holiday, movies, studio

A little Halloween Eve fun in the studio tonight. Working on my ornaments while resisting (slightly) the urge to break out into The Time Warp. And I’m not too proud to say it… I know all the words and I’m not afraid to sing along!!! So I did.

Categories: movies, YouTube

My how time flies…
Doesn’t see that long ago that Ally Sheedy was making it snow…

Click here for a video flashback on YouTube… “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”.

Categories: creativity, movies

My favorite movie in 3rd Grade was “The Red Balloon.” We watched it during a school assembly and I was mesmerized. The simple story has stuck with me for years.

So I was excited, and quickly transported back to 3rd Grade, when I saw this whimsical table on Sure, the kid may have only had ONE Red Balloon… but since then, it looks like they’ve multiplied to make this wonderful table!!!

According to
The UP Balloon Coffee Table designed by Duffy London cleverly creates the illusion of a glass tabletop supported by 11 helium balloons. The balloons and strings in the UP Balloons table are actually made from steel rods and metal resin composite, creating a sturdy base. Duffy plans to make only 25 tables and they’re available in red, gold, and silver balloons.

Categories: movies

Last night was the Academy Awards. Always a fun night. No big surprises though.
I think Ellen DeGeneres did a pretty good job. Loved the pizza delivery for the audience!!!
Love Lupita N’Yongo. Love Jennifer Lawrence. Loved “12 Years A Slave.”
Love the Selfie that crashed Twitter!!! Love idea… and it’s a great picture too!!!

But let’s be real… did you think that one of the highlights was when John Travolta completely butchered Idina Menzel’s name when he introduced her?! I laughed out loud… and then backed it up and watched it again!!!

Categories: movies, special events

So there were nine movies nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture this morning. Which makes nine movies I need to see in the next six weeks. Bring on the popcorn!!!

“12 Years a Slave”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”
“Captain Phillips”
“American Hustle”
“Dallas Buyers Club”

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: movies

Every year I try my best to see all of the movies nominated for Best Picture.
It’s always so much fun to see them all and have a “vested interest” in the outcome.
Well, today the nominations were revealed and I’ve got a lot of movies to see!
Out of the list for Best Picture, I’ve only seen one so far… “Les Miserables.”
And there are two I’ve never even heard of?!

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“Django Unchained”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

So there they are… the 2013 Oscar Nominations for Best Picture.
I’ve got a LOT of movies to see… a lot of popcorn to eat… and quick!
The Academy Awards are on Sunday, February 24th… sooner than you think!


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!!!

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
-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.

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 !!!

Categories: movies

Too funny… too true…
Day One from the “Les Miserables” Advent Calendar!!!

1. When Eponine comes in with “he was never mine to lose” in “A Heart Full Of Love”.
Mmmmmbest. ( It comes later than you think. Fourth verse.)

2. We have to assume someone is organizing an unofficial-but-come-on-sing-along-screening.
This sounds like fun.

3. Possible uptick in babies named “Enroljas.”

4. Wolverine is going to sing “Bring Him Home.”

5. Being able to call every weird trash heap of discarded and presumably bed-buggy
furniture a “barricade.”

6.  The end of having to hear about Anne Hathaway’s diets.

7. Helena Bonham Carter’s side-eye. Helena Bonham Carter’s everything, really.

8. It will suddenly be okay for a few weeks to reenact important scenes from Les Miz at a bar.

9. Anything that references the spinning stage.

10. Russell Crowe’s inevitable jaunty hat line – a tri-corner in every color!!!

11. The movie version of “One Day More” making its way around YouTube, so we can send it
to people the night before important events (weddings, trips, etc.). Not that we don’t do this
with the tenth-anniversary version, but you know, options!!!

12. The confusion that will sweep over the theater when the new song plays.

13. Sasha Baron Cohen’s cockney accent.

14. Seth MacFarlane singing “Confrontation” at the Oscars in voices…
Brian as Valjean, Stewie sas Javert.

15. People going as Javert for Halloween next year, and then being confused
for Capt’n Crunch.

16. Sitcoms making Les Miz jokes in two or three months. We’re looking at you, New Girl.

17. Taylor Swift’s inevitable revenge cover of “On My Own,” with the words changed
to shame Samantha Barks.

18. Measuring time in “Les Mizes.” Set your crock pot for two “Les Mizes”
and you’ll have the best chili in the world.

19. Changing all our passwords to 24601. Just kidding… we didn’t do that;
please don’t try to hack into our e-mail.

20. A guaranteed two hours without anyone talking about The Hobbit.