Friday, November 16, 2012
A Continuation of the story of Richard Rhys and Victoria Thornton from A Rogue in Londinium.
Erotica, Art, History, Alchemy, qabalistic tree of life, Time Travel, Transmigration, ghosts, soul mates and true love.
The Great White Storm that hit New York in 1888 was the worst blizzard in US history. Richard Rhys newly married to Victoria Thornton leaves for an appointment with Edwin Booth on a spring morning in March. His wife has taken the landau to their Manor house in the Flatlands of Brooklyn. By the afternoon New York City is crippled by the white hurricane. As Richard cloaks himself in a bison hide and walks across the Brooklyn Bridge to find his wife he is met with the mortality of his past and future incarnations appearing as a female painter, Ashley in 2011 and also as a half Lakota - half Tibetan Medicine woman, Ansa, at the time of the Dutch settlements of New Amsterdam in 1664. Using a saffron thread from Ansa’s ancient Tibetan robe, Richard is met with incarnations of his wife and lover as Chief Tamanend and a modern Writer for an Arts Magazine, Chelsea. Traveling to London to unlock the secrets of the past, Ashley and Chelsea come face to face with alchemy and prominent mystical figures. Luminaries such as William Penn, Dr. Samuel Pepys, Sitting Bull, Dr. John Dee, Stanford White, Buffalo Bill Cody, Nichola Tesla, Madam Blavatsky, Mary Astor, Jacob Riis, Edwin Booth, Abraham Lincoln, Nichola Tesla, John Wilkes Booth, Jack the Ripper, Louisa May Alcott, Charlie Chaplin and Queen Elizabeth the II. Discovering 13 large sea paintings by Rhys locked away at the Tate Museum, they find that if studied in a certain sequence the paintings bring about profound transformations and enlightenment. A story of how a soul can continue to change the world life after life.
Available on Kindle here.
Paperback available 12.12.12
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
|A Rogue in Londinium|
|Dana Bennison and Whitney Hamilton|
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Happy New Year! A week late. Over the holidays I was simultaneously busy with family and yet had a lot of free time on my hands since everything in the outside world slows to a crawl. I treated myself to True Grit. I am a fan of the original with John Wayne, Kim Darby and Glen Campbell and I was a bit tentative to see what the Coen Brothers came up with. I have to say I was prepped by the media blitz that the brothers decided to return to the source, a novel by Charles Portis. My first impression within the first ten minutes was how brilliant Hailee Steinfeld is as Mattie Ross, the teenage girl avenging the death of her father. She owned that character and as a result shines brightest in the entire film. I enjoy Jeff Bridges work immensely. That being said it is extremely hard to take on a part played so wonderfully by the Duke himself. Being a child of the late 70’s my only association with John Wayne was as Rooster Cogburn. It wasn’t until I became an adult with film appreciation that I discovered classics like Stage Coach, Rio Bravo and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. I was even older before I watched the WWII films that Wayne made. I digress. Jeff Bridges is a talented actor. He played the part well. Matt Damon, however, made La Beouf his own. The chemistry between Haille and Matt is wonderful. What struck me about this version is how simple and streamlined it is, a strong adaptation with minimal sets and impeccable acting work. Alas, the Western genre is alive and well. Thank you Joel and Ethan. The last five minutes of the film were also particularly memorable. It is the epilogue to the story and the adult Mattie returns to thank Mr. Cogburn. What struck me is the simplicity and beauty of the last moments. The adult Mattie looked like a real woman, not an actress in a western costume. Elizabeth Marvel, a staple of New York Theatre and alum of the Coen brothers, is striking. I had never seen her before and I was immediately struck by how memorable a countenance she has, not to mention the lush cinematography she is encapsulated in. The brothers are known for their quick wit and wonderful timing. One of my all time favorites is Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. They are masters of the timing of language and their humor is quite original. Raising Arizona is a classic. Another Western that truly impressed me is The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It is an amazing film written and directed by Andrew Dominick. Beautifully photographed by the legendary Roger Deakins. With Brad Pitt as an unnerving and psychopathic Jesse James and Casey Affleck as the awkward hero-worshipping Bob Ford it runs just shy of three hours. There is a lot of tension, psychological ‘space’ and storytelling through the lush cinematography. When I watched The Assassination of Jesse James I couldn’t take my eyes off the story. It makes me wonder if only studio made films can run that long. True Grit runs an hour and fifty. Both are fantastic stories in their genre and yet totally different in style. Although A Rogue in Londinium is not a western there are similarities in style to The Assassination of Jesse James…in that they both linger in scenes for the emotional effect. I have a feeling that The Assassination of Jesse James did far better in Europe and overseas than in the US because of its length and editing style. I want to mention an amazing western that became a sleeper. That is The Jack Bull (1999) with John Cusack. Every time I stumble upon it playing on a showtime or starz channel I stop what I’m doing and watch it again. Once again, the story is simple and succinct. One of the reasons I bring up the genre is that on a recent visit to check out the progress of Londinium and talk with Elizabeth, the director, is that a Western is on the agenda for Bjornquist Films. Very exciting.
“How the hell are you going to pull off a western in this economic climate?” I asked her.
“Where there’s a will there’s a way.” She said. “Besides, we pulled off a Civil War story on a micro budget.”
“True.” I reply. They did. My Brother’s War.
“If the story is strong and simple and takes place on the trail, then we have almost no sets, a few actors, a few horses and their wranglers and a crew. It can be done and done well. Every project we do we seem to evolve in the art and craft of it.” She said. And I know this to be true.
“So what is happening with Londinium?” I ask.
“Well we’re fresh off the holidays so there isn’t much movement at the moment. I’m taking the down time to research the market.” She says. “I’m also trying my best to learn and utilize social media to inform my audience out there. It is a whole new animal.”
I ask her if she had seen the brief PR buzz around Glen Close’s project, Albert Nobbs, in which Glen’s character disguises herself as a man in Victorian Ireland in order to find work.
“Sounds awfully similar to My Brother’s War.” I say.
“I think this transvestism that we as a culture have uncovered from the past is nothing new. I think women in any culture because of their gender’s station in society have had to pretend to be men in order to survive whatever crisis, prejudice or injustice had befallen them. It makes for good story-telling and great drama. We live in a society where on the surface it seems like women are equal to men and that gender issues are blurry these days but they’re not. We have yet to elect a female president and 2010 was the first year we gave an outstanding award to a woman for Best Director. What does that say about our society and the things we tell ourselves?”
Food for thought. I chew on it for a while and it keeps repeating on me. I have always considered my wife to be, if not my equal, then my superior in almost everything.
“I read that Ms. Close has been trying to make this project for fifteen years.” I say.
“Isn’t that a shame.” She replies. “That it takes that long to rally people to see the value in a well told story. It was proven onstage. That’s what happened with The King’s Speech. It was a play first and adapted for the screen. I wonder how long it took Tom Hooper and David Seidler to move it from stage to screen. I’m willing to bet a lot less time than fifteen years.” She says.
“It only took you a little over two years to make A Rogue in Londinium. That’s a pretty big achievement.” I say.
“Yes, but I had a lot of help from my partners Patrick Sullivan and Thom Milano. The cast and crew were beyond amazing. I don’t know the details of Ms. Close’s project but I can’t wait to see it when it is done.” She replies.
“What do you see for the new year?” I ask.
“A completely new way of approaching and working within the business.” She says. “In doing a few private screenings down south and here in New York the enthusiasm and excitement over Londinium continues to build. If I can keep steadily expanding my audience then DIY distribution on the DVD/VOD front could yield a profit come the Fall.
“Are you planning on a theatrical run?” I ask.
“I would love a theatrical run even if it rolls out for a week in a few art house theatres here in New York. We’ll see how it does and plan from there. I am realistic, though. I know that unless there are millions in marketing behind a film that the film’s audience will only be reachable through grassroots efforts like the internet and social media. That is my extended goal. To turn the unknown and undiscovered into a remarkable experience and well-loved piece of cinema.” She explains.
“Huzzah!” I reply.