"Life in Squares," a three part BBC television drama about Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group
With fall right around the corner, the cultural calendar is heating up and there are so many things to look forward to. Next week I will post some of the events and happenings I am most excited about. But for now, here are some tantalizing pieces of news that have caught my attention. They are all making me smile!
BBC is producing a three-part television drama about Virginia Woolf and her circle called Life in Squares. (See photo above) It will trace the growth of this influential group of artists and writers and their impact on the cultural life of twentieth-century England. Featuring several rising young stars, it is being filmed in London and at Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex. The two actresses Phoebe Fox and Lydia Leonard (pictured above) play sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. The physical resemblance is remarkable! After doing a little research, I learned that the action kicks off in 1901 with the death of Queen Victoria and shows the young writers and artists feeling creative and sexual freedom for the first time. This really seems to be the year for Bloomsbury, with the fashion house Burberry creating an entire collection based on the art at Charleston, as well as the exhibition on Virginia Woolf at the National Portrait Gallery in London. I really hope this BBC drama makes it to American television. Masterpiece Theatre, are you listening?
Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes in "Sherlock" on Masterpiece Theatre
The next piece of news that caught my eye was about Benedict Cumberbatch who will be starring in a London production of Hamlet one year from now in August 2015. The entire 12-week run sold out in ten minutes. Apparently this is the fastest selling theatrical event in history. Looks like everyone is dying to see this great actor play the most challenging of Shakespeare's leading roles. Fortunately there is some good news for those who couldn't get a ticket: the production is holding back 100 tickets each night that will sell for 10 pounds each. By the way, did you watch the Emmy's last night and see that Benedict and Martin Freeman both won Emmys for their roles on "Sherlock"?!! So happy about that. It's one of the best shows on television and their performances are brilliant.
Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in "The Trip to Italy"
And speaking of talented Brits, the new film The Trip to Italy has just opened. I saw it the other night and loved it. I thought it was just as funny as the first film,"The Trip,"which was set in England. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon basically play themselves taking a road trip, this time in Italy, to do research for a food column they are writing for The Observer. They travel through some gorgeous Italian scenery in a little Mini-Cooper, eventually arriving at the Amalfi Coast. They eat some incredible meals (you will want Italian food afterwards!), drink some great wines, and stay in some glorious hotels. But mostly they talk endlessly and riff on celebrity voices, especially that of Michael Caine. These movies are very funny. If you haven't seen the original, be sure to rent it before seeing this one. You are in for a treat.
And finally, have you seen any of the "Ice Bucket Challenges"? These involve people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting the video on social media, and then nominating others to do the same. It is all in the cause of raising awareness of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. People can either accept the challenge or make a donation to an ALS charity. Many do both. This campaign has been hugely successful. The ALS Association has received $88.5 million in donations compared to $2.6 million during the same time period last year (July 29 - August 26). Benedict Cumberbatch took the ice bucket challenge. But he does it in his own inimitable style, quite fitting for the actor who plays Sherlock Holmes. Just watch this.
Go here to find out how you can get involved in this worthwhile cause
What has been catching your eye lately?
I would love to know what books you are reading and which movies you have seen.
Next up: Fall Preview!