Having a holly jolly holiday so far . . .

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Ho, ho, ho! Yeah, I know, the bangs need a serious trim and if you could see the regrowth and all that grey . . . but I am still holly jolly.

I have admitted to really being in the holiday spirit these days. I’ve started breaking out the Christmas scarves and this particular pair of specs always makes me feel like Mrs. Claus. I need a little red mob-cap with white lace trim . . .

Saturday only further cemented my festive feelings. Benny and I headed to Montgomery late in the afternoon for our evening at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. We are both big fans of “A Christmas Carol” (our favorite film version being from 1951 and starring the incomparable Alistair Sim as Scrooge) and we sat tonight and counted up. It is five times we’ve seen ASF’s various stagings of Dickens’ classic tale (another year I was seriously ill and unable to attend). By attending one of the two preview performances (the show doesn’t officially open until early December) we scored great seats (second row) for a very reasonable price.

A scene from the dress rehearsal of this year’s production of “A Christmas Carol” at ASF.

I had to confess it was not my favorite of the adaptations they have presented. It had a somewhat sluggish second act that could have used some tightening up. Nonetheless it was very enjoyable, ASF’s customary high-caliber production, with lots of talented actors, detailed costumes and sets, and good use of the Festival Theatre’s revolving stage and trap door and lots of atmospheric stage fog.

One thing I did really like about this version was adding Dickens himself as a sort of narrator and actor within the play, taking on roles such as Fred’s dim-witted but good-hearted friend, Topper. Dickens , who went on tours where he gave readings in which he performed portions of his novels for the audiences, was also an enthusiastic amateur magician who performed for his large family, and several magic tricks were incorporated into the play.

The author also seems to be pulling invisible strings as the master puppeteer, causing bells to ring, thunder to crash, and mysterious figures to rise up in the fog . . .

And I do love how it “snows” at the end of each production. I like to look around and watch the faces of children in the audience, who are clearly delighted to see the white stuff–even if it isn’t the real thing. You don’t see a lot of snow in Lower Alabama.  And Tiny Tim was downright adorable.

Before the play, several of the production’s carolers, clad in Victorian costume, performed Christmas classics in the front lobby, with the giant statue of Shakespeare looming behind them, a festive wreath of holly adorning his brow and another in his hands. I was wishing I had my camera with me. Benny tried to take some photos with his phone, but–they didn’t turn out, alas. Knowing I couldn’t take photos of the actual play, I hadn’t packed the trusty Olympus. Always be prepared!

The promo art for the 2012 ASF production of Dickens’ classic holiday tale. I love the message of spreading Christmas spirit through generosity, kindness and compassion for the less fortunate.

Scrooge encounters Marley’s ghost as the fog machines work overtime. Courtesy of the Montgomery Advertiser.

The theatre complex is located on a lake within the beautiful green expanse of Blount Cultural Park, which also hosts such events as the Scottish Highland Games.

Not only did I get to enjoy this classic holiday tale on stage, I also got to do some shopping, my feet comfortably enclosed in a pair of red leather high-top Nikes that Benny dug out of the closet for me. My beloved “elf shoes” of years past, red suede Reeboks, have had to be retired. But with the colorful holiday ribbon I found at Target and the jingle bells I should find in the multi-purpose room, my elf shoes will return! Now I know what my go-to footwear will be this Christmas season.

I was trying to find a copy of the Rolling Stone’s Hobbit issue, but had no luck there. However, Benny came through once again for me. His sharper eyes discovered a Hobbit Tribute magazine dedicated to our friends at TheOneRingNet. So naturally I had to snap that up.  Benny and I also looked over the Hobbit/LOTR display at the big book store we were visiting.

Funny thing is, I seem to already have a lot of it—books, Thorin’s action figure . . .  who’d a thunk it?  Ah, Thorin . . . will it only be three weeks now from tomorrow that I finally see him in glorious 3D? It shall, it shall!!

And then I come home later and see that new photo of Richard at the airport after a 24-hour flight on Servetus’ blog and am gobsmacked at how fine he looks.  Good grief, imagine this on the red carpet. The mind boggles. The heart palpitates. Drool seems to be forming in the corner of the mouth.

Oh, Richard, how do I love this photo? Let me count a few of the ways . . .

And once Agzym pointed out certain–aspects of Mr. A’s appearance, it was hard to look away. My gosh, what a splendid specimen of masculine beauty.

It’s freezing cold tonight after another big atmospheric change here. But I feel snug and warm and not just from my cozy PJs and the layers of blankets and the cuddly tuxedo cat on my feet.  Feeling all holly jolly–and having new Armitage goodness to contemplate–warms the very cockles of a girl’s heart.  Have a happy Sunday/Monday, my dears.

Oh, and I almost forgot. My beloved Alabama Crimson Tide beat their archrivals, the Auburn Tigers, 49-0. They were pulling first string players off the field by the fourth quarter to give them a rest and keep from further running up the score. Now we have bragging rights until this time next year and a good chance at another National Collegiate Championship, which would make it two in a row.  Rooollllllll Tide!

58 responses »

  1. LOL, I’m waiting for The Empire magazine with Thorin on the cover to find it’s way into my mailbox, so maybe that’s why I’m so focued on packages 😉
    That picture is just beautiful and I adore the biker chic look.

    • Could be! 😉 Of course, the fact he kind of looks as if he was melted and poured into those jeans doesn’t help either. LOL Don’t you want to know what they look like from the rear? He looks great. Astonishingly handsome and sexy for someone who’s had such a long flight (yes, even in first class). After all, he isn’t a dewy-eyed youth anymore (not that they do a thing for me). And he looks HAPPY. That makes me happy. 😀

      • Happy is good; makes me happy, too. Yeah, I’d love to see the rear view, but somehow I don’t see the photographer out there in the airport yelling at the poor guy to turn around…

        • THere’ll come a time, I’m afraid when photographers WILL yell at him to turn around, do this, pose like that, stand like this…comes with the territory I suppose. Whether he likes the term or not he WILL become a movie star…it’s inevitable.

          • Yeah, I’ve seen it done to so many other celebrities, who seem to learn largely to take it in stride. And yeah, uncomfortable though it may be, the man is going ot have to accept he is going to be a big movie star, reluctant though he might be.

      • OK, you asked for it, so here’s my honest opinion.
        You know how he had to sit for so many hours on board the plane.
        My theory is that the back is flat from all that sitting whereas the front scrunched up LOL! Hence the effect 😉

  2. Your holiday spirit is infectious — I can’t not smile. I’m delighted you had such a good time. Then there’s Richard, looking indecently gorgeous. “Tall, dark, and toothsome” is right. If this is what he looks like after being in the air for 24 hours, just imagine once he’s had a good shower, a good meal, and a decent sleep in a real bed. The mind boggles.

    • There’s this goofy side of me that just enjoys making people smile and laugh if I can. I just told Benny I am a bit sore in several places this morning after our evening out but I still had a fabulous time. 😀

      As to Richard—oh, brother, I would be powerless to resist simply melting into a puddle of goo if I was in his presence under the latter conditions. Blindingly handsome, I believe some have called him?

  3. That picture is stunning! It almost took my breath away! Maybe one of those ladies walking in the group is a stylist. LOL 🙂 On Facebook many of the ladies wanted to know who those women were. I’m wondering if the friend he’s been visiting in NYC is a special lady as well. Hummm…food for thought!

    The differences between Martin and Richard is those photos is really interesting. Martin in a sports coat and an ascot, Richard in those wow, wow, wow, jeans, and a leather jacket. Martin looks a little strange and quirky. Richard looks effortlessly sexy!!! If I was Martin, I’d want to stay far away from Richard to avoid those unfavorable comparisons!

    • Oh, well, let’s face it, Frodo wasn’t exactly the sex symbol of LOTR and I don’t think Martin–as adorable as he is–is going to be known as that super sexy hobbit. He’s probably reconciled himself to that by now LOL Richard is just in a whole other league. Oh, I have a post I will probably do tomorrow with some wonderful quotes about expectations of RA being THE sex symbol of the film (from this Hobbit tribute mag I bought yesterday).

          • That makes sense…the Men…Aragorn and Thorin; the heart throbs…Legolas, Kili and Fili. I go more for the “Men” but I can appreciate the heart throbs! I can remember thinking Aragorn was really attractive and that I could go for a man like that! I can also remember thinking how “cute” Legolas was but he was too “boyish” for me to have any real interest in.

            • Yeah, Legolas was too much of the “pretty boy” for my tastes; Aragorn, on the other hand–oh yeah. I always loved that character in the books and I really like Viggo Mortensen so it was all good. I love that the trio of hotties are closely related–the uncrowned king and his two sister-sons. You know, it runs in the family. 😉

  4. Oh, I almost forgot, I’m going to see a stage performance of The Christmas Carol in Pittsburgh, the last weekend before Christmas. I’ve never seen it on stage before. I know I’ll enjoy it (if my 8 year old niece can keep quiet!).

    • Oh, yes, you will. 😀 It’s such a classic tale, and I actually know passages by heart from seeing the play and watching the movies so many times LOL

      There were a lot of children at last night’s performance and they were very well behaved. They laughed at the funny stuff just as they should, but they didn’t talk or fidget a lot or anything like that. I don’t every recall any kids being problems at these performances.

      They have a set of rules in place and make it clear everyone is expected to abide. If you leave your seat during the performance, you don’t get to return to it until intermission. All cell phones off and no talking. There was a group of students from a private school in a adjacent county that behaved horribly one time (high school students) and they stopped the show, escorted them out and they were banned from attending any future performances. Which is just as it should have been.

      I also think a lot of these kids probably do attend plays and other such performances on a regular basis and they’ve learned proper decorum.

      • She’s been to many performances before, too! She knows how to behave but she just gets excited when I’m home. And she’s a very exuberant girl! My mom thinks she should have acting lessons. She ropes us into acting out all sorts of “plays”! Maybe this is how little Richie behaved when he was a little guy!

        • You know, I was thinking last night about how one of the kids in the audience or one of the young cast members might be inspired to go on and pursue performing as a career. And of course I thought of Richard . . . it’s amazing how so many things lead me to think of Richard, but at least this was performance-related. LOL Also, they are doing Macbeth later this season so of course I thought of him playing Angus.

  5. I think it is important that children learn to appreciate the performing arts, from willing suspension of disbelief to learning to sit still and pay attention. The worst that can happen is the accusation my daughter leveled at me, “You only had me so you would have someone to go to the opera with you.” LOL

    • Ha ha I think my dad&mum had me only to go to the opera with them! Well no that’s not fair because they had my brother first…:) But my brother had always refused to go to concerts&opera with our parents, he was much more into sports, but I was malleable so it was me who they “dragged” to these events – that’s how I got infected with “Bel Canto”. Not a bad infection to have! 🙂

  6. Love that photo of you Angie! You look so exuberant and happy and pretty! And what can I say about the airport pic of Rich that hasn’t already been said. I was wondering if he’s actually human..How can he look THAT dashing after a 24 hour flight? Unfair! 🙂 Must say that press photo beats the Accion Cine picture hands down in my book!!!

    • Seriously – who looks that good after that kind of flight – is there some sort of Faustian deal at play here? 🙂 (I have no such deal – I usually look like a truck backed over me after an 8 hour flight!)

          • I would seriously like to know that, too. I just had to buy more night cream. With the weather getting colder and my skin changing (used to be oily, now it’s getting drier in patches) I needed some extra help. He was obviously blessed with good skin to begin with, but it seems he also does take good care of it.

            • The only thing is that what works for one person often doesn’t work for another, even with a similar type of skin. I know what works for me, but when friends have tried it, it hasn’t done much for them.

            • I’m always a little embarrassed to admit it (idk why 🙂 ) but I love the good old pink Olay “beauty fluid”-it’s light and not greasy. I think my grandma may have used it 😉 I’ve tried other things, but I always go back.

              • My mother used Dove Soap for many years to wash her face and followed with Oil of Olay in the daytime and their night cream in the evening. I distinctly recall the smell and feel of it when I kissed her goodnight. She still had amazing skin in her 80s.

              • My daughter uses a similar routine and her ivory-fair skin is amazing. People always guess that she is younger than she is.

              • I use moisturizer/makeup with sunscreen and avoid too much time in the sun and, of course, there are my hats–some of my classmates who have spent so much time sunbathing/boating without proper protection, well, let’s say it shows. And nowadays with the thinning ozone layer, it’s downright dangerous. Lots of cases of skin cancer.

              • Yes, sunscreen is critical. So many of us had no idea back when, and we got badly sunburned => now we pay the price. At least for those I know, early detection was a big plus and the surgical scars are not disfiguring, but it can be so much worse.

              • I got a couple of bad sunburns when I was a teenager and didn’t know any better. And I did get a bit burned on my honeymoon in some–unusual places. Hey, we had a hilltop house on St. John USVI and it was very private. 😉

    • Awww, thanks, dear. 😀 He’s just unbelievable. No man has any right to look that damn gorgeous after being stuck on a plane for an entire day. Now THAT’s a movie star!!

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