Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Artful Royals of Buckingham Palace

Who said the Royals are old school anyway? Royal Watchers and techno geeks take note.

Despite the Old World pomp and circumstance surrounding the British monarchy, the New World with its sublime slices of modernity is what the the Royals like to nibble on.

These days you can watch them on their Royal Channel on youtube.com, catch blogs posted daily from their favourite charitable foundations, become an FBF of Queen Elizabeth and post comments on her Facebook page, and for eight short weeks shuffle along with the rest of the crowd touring the Queen’s official residence all the while using a touch-tone digital audio guide that pipes in the voices of the actual staff who work at Buckingham Palace, discussing all things royal of course.

To boot, Buckingham Palace is hosting a celebration this summer. read more...

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Date With A Prince

Okay some of us go through life kissing plenty of frogs with none ever turning into a prince. But what about meeting one? I decided to go for the real deal.

Buckingham Palace is normally off-limits but not this time.

Since 1993 during the months of August and September, Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II, has opened the door of her private residence, offering public tours to some of the State Rooms while she and the rest of the Royals head up to Scotland to their countryside retreat.

On this occasion things were different. read more...
Photo: Graham Jepson/VisitBritain

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Relic Hunters by London's Tower Bridge

Face it, London is so ancient you feel like you’re walking in the footsteps of Charles Dickens or William Shakespeare.

On a recent visit a few blocks from the historic Tower of London, currently home to Dressed To Kill, a fascinating collection of King Henry VIII’s armour never before seen since the time of his daughter Elizabeth I, and past the Tower Bridge, another piece of architectural mastery, I spotted a block-sized abyss on 20 Fenchurch Street.

Construction worker-types congregated around the chasm, some with arms crossed, while others were scratching their heads. I peered out from my cab that resembles a film prop from the sixties TV hit The Avengers, and stared in unison with the now growing brood.

What's up? read more...

What’s With The Archaeological Site By London Bridge?

Face it, London is so ancient you feel like you’re walking in the footsteps of Charles Dickens or William Shakespeare.

On a recent visit a few blocks from the historic Tower of London, currently home to Dressed To Kill, a fascinating collection of King Henry VIII’s armour never before seen since the time of his daughter Elizabeth I, and past the London Bridge, another piece of architectural mastery, I spotted a block-sized abyss on 20 Fenchurch Street.

Construction worker types congregated around the chasm, some with arms crossed, while others were scratching their heads. I peered out from my cab that resembles a film prop from the sixties TV hit The Avengers, and stared in unison with the now growing brood.

What is it?

Turns out last year the Museum of London Archaeology Service (www.museumoflondonarchaeology.org.uk ) uncovered a late Roman masonry cellar here. What baffles the team is the mysteries surrounding a glass vessel found with the letter A. Nowhere in London have archaeologists ever been able to find Roman glass of this quality dating to the fourth century.

No one knows what to make of this extraordinary piece and experts predict likely it will remain a mystery.

So what’s going to replace the gaping hole? That’s no mystery. Try a 36-storey building nicknamed the Walkie-Talkie. Located in London’s emerging “Eastern Cluster,” the estimated over £200m (US$400-million) development is the brainchild of Uruguayan-American architect Rafael Vinoly (http://www.rvapc.com/) who brought us the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the new Fortabat Museum in Buenos Aries. Needless to say, the radical complex has been a thorn in the side of some critics.

Originally the new yet-to-be-built structure was going to hover nearly 200 metres tall, with many reporting it would severely impact St. Paul’s Cathedral. Back to the drawing board it was. Design alterations have been made and the Walkie-Talkie is expected to be completed by 2012. To date three phases of archaeological excavations have been planned with the third one now in high gear.

Oh what would the ghosts who flowed over London Bridge in T.S. Elliot’s Waste Land say?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Annigoni: Portrait of an Artist


This award-winning, critically acclaimed motion picture is based on the life and times of the last century's most famous portrait painter, Italian master Pietro Annigoni.


This is the first film to tell the story of Annigoni. From his artistic birth in Florence, to the height of his fame and fortune Annigoni pursued his own path, standing alone against the forces of modernism in art. Annigoni was a bohemian, a drinker, a fighter and a womanizer, yet the world's most powerful and celebrated people sought him out for portraits. Pietro Annigoni was once called the painter of beautiful women but chose instead to be the painter of beggars.

100 Best Movies You've Never Seen by Richard Crouse http://www.amazon.com/Best-Movies-Youve-Never-Seen/dp/1550225901
"Exquisite... a superb and memorable film"
John Haslett Cuff - The Globe and Mail

"Intellectually intoxicating... a fascinating document"
Independent Eye

"A stirring and compelling work"
Geoff Pevere - Film International

"Poetically photographed, accompanied by a stirring musical score"
TV GUIDE

"...has a single minded passion worthy of the artist."
Peter Goddard - Toronto Star

"...amazing...hours of televisual excellence."
Patrick Watson - CBC Writer/Broadcaster
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