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Lennon, Thatcher, Henry VIII star in 'Face of Britain'

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LONDON What do John Lennon, Margaret Thatcher, Henry VIII and West Indian immigrants in 1956 London have in common? They are all, according to British historian Simon Schama, part of “The Face of Britain”.

Schama – known to worldwide audiences for his 15-part documentary “A History Of Britain” – has curated a small but delightfully precise exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery.

It takes a thematic approach. Rather than starting with portraits of early Britons and heading towards the modern, the exhibition is presented in five rooms dedicated to “Power”, “Love”, “Fame”, “Self” and “People”.

This approach allows for some fascinating juxtapositions.

In “Power”, for example, Thatcher, Britain’s first woman prime minister, shares space with Henry VIII, the king who ruled England from 1509 to 1547.

Both portraits – respectively, a sitting by Rodrigo Moynihan and a painting by George Vertue after Remigius van Leemout and Hans Holbein the Younger – tell a tale about their subjects.

Henry is portrayed with his third wife, Jane Seymour, but also with his parents Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. The message is one of legitimacy in a dynasty – the Tudors – that at the time was still fairly vulnerable.

The Thatcher portrait was apparently subject to much interference from the sitter, who was renowned for her strident views and penchant for control. The painting, as a result, is rather bland.

Elegant juxtapositions continue in the “Love” gallery, where Beatle Lennon shares the walls with George, prince of Wales, and his older, commoner mistress of circa 1784 onwards, Maria Fitzherbert.

Both have poignant stories. The Lennon portrait – the famous photograph by Annie Leibowitz of a naked Lennon curled up on his (clothed) wife Yoko Ono – was taken just a few hours before he was assassinated in 1980.

George, meanwhile, is said to have died as King George IV in 1830 with a miniature of Fitzherbert around his neck.

“The craving to keep the ones we love close to us never goes away,” says in an introduction to the “Love” gallery. “If they can’t be with us, having their likeness can turn absence into presence, divide distance and even defy death.”


The exhibition, befitting the nature of the gallery itself, does not limit itself to painting and photographs.

For example, pride of place in the “Fame” room – where Diana, princess of Wales, Horatio Nelson and William Shakespeare can be found – is a display of 50 cigarette cards from 1926 of contemporary celebrities, including a youngish Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin and G.K. Chesterton.

Elsewhere, there is a lenticular portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, and sculptor Marc Quinn’s self-portrait made with his own blood.

Ordinary people also get a look in. A series of photographs taken in Torquay around 1900 present people such as a chair mender and a crab salesman.

Similarly, Jamaican-born photographer Charlie Phillips offers a glimpse at London’s pre-gentifried multi-racial Notting Hill Gate.

The exhibition, which is free, runs until January 4. A link can be found at: here

(Editing by Michael Roddy and Gareth Jones)

Source: R-HMovies


Prince joins lists of Europe concert no-shows after Paris shootings

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LONDON Prince has joined Irish band U2 and American group the Foo Fighters and other entertainers in cancelling concerts in France, and elsewhere in Europe, following the carnage at a Paris concert venue on Friday.

Vienna’s Wiener Konzerthaus, announcing that he would not appear on Nov. 24 as planned, said on its website, “Due to the tragic events in Paris, the tour promoter has decided to postpone the upcoming European tour until further notice.”

Reports published in France by Agence France Presse and on websites said Prince had also canceled two shows scheduled for early December at the Palais Garnier in Paris. His concert promoters in Paris could not be reached for comment.

Islamist militant gunmen on a rampage in the north of Paris shot dead at least 87 people at the Bataclan concert hall and killed 42 others in attacks across the French capital.

American group Eagles of Death Metal was performing at the venue and escaped unhurt but one of their merchandise sellers, Nick Alexander, was killed, as were three people who worked for Universal Music, one of the world’s largest music labels.

(Reporting by Michael Roddy; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Source: R-HMovies


Jennifer Lawrence ranked 'most valuable star'; Chris Pratt soars

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NEW YORK Jennifer Lawrence came out top for a second successive year in a ranking of the most valuable movie stars, released on Monday, that saw Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt drop out of the top 10, and a huge rise for “Jurassic World” star Chris Pratt.

Lawrence, 25, an Oscar winner for “Silver Linings Playbook” and star of the “Hunger Games” movie franchise, was deemed “the leading movie star of her generation” by editors at culture and entertainment website

Previously, Forbes had named Lawrence the highest-paid actress last year with an estimated $52 million in earnings. The ranking also assessed factors including likeability, Twitter mentions, critical respect and Oscar nominations.

“Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr. and perennial favorite Leonardo DiCaprio ranked second and third overall, unchanged from last year.

Jolie slipped from 6th place in 2014 to 17th overall, but she came top of the “most discussed on social media” list. Husband Pitt dropped from nine to 16 on the ranking.

Pratt, 36, had a meteoric rise after two years that saw him star in blockbuster “Jurassic World” and the 2014 sci-fi adventure “Guardians of the Galaxy.” He rose 57 places to no.11, and topped the “most likable” rankings.

Oscar winning actor-director-producer Ben Affleck, publicity averse actor Joaquin Phoenix, and Emmy-winning comedian Amy Schumer were the three “most critically respected” on the list.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant)

Source: R-HMovies

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