Manchester International Festival 2011: Opera ‘Dr Dee’ proved a hit for Blur front man, Damon Albarn

January 14, 2012 on 1:24 am | In Famous People, Musicians, Opera | No Comments

Some articles at where written but never posted & here we delve into the archives & publish articles we think our viewers will find interesting. Here’s a gem from June 2011:

We have just heard that English born singer-song writer and record producer, Damon Albarn, in collaboration with theatre director Rufus Norris, has written and is set to premier his brand new opera ‘Doctor Dee’, on the 1st of July 2011 at the Manchester International Festival. It is an exciting adaptation of the life of Dr. John Dee, the Elizabethan astrologer, courtier, alchemist and spy.

Albarn who is arguably most famous for front lining the world wide renowned bands Blur and Gorillaz, has written about 4 opera’s now, showcasing his incredible, natural talents as a musician, singer, writer and general all round, world class entertainer.

‘Dr Dee’ was inspired by Damon Albarn’s long years of interest in ‘questions of Englishness and the occult and things that up to now I have felt a bit closeted about expressing publicly.’

Rufus Norris, who Damon is collaborating with on this project, is a theatre and opera director whose portfolio includes many West End and Broadway shows, such as: Cabaret, Don Giovanni, Festen, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Vernon God Little.

This should be an incredible performance, not only with amazing music but a fabulous cast too. Don’t forget to check it out at the Manchester International Festival – on now!!

Useful Links:

Manchester International Festival page
Guardian Newspaper article
Interview with Damon Albarn

Friend of Marilyn Monroe & Pioneering Photojournalist Eve Arnold, Dies Aged 99

January 12, 2012 on 5:11 pm | In Breaking News, Celebrities, Eve Arnold, Famous People, Marilyn Monroe, Photography, Photojournalism | No Comments

It is with regret that we inform you of the passing of legendary photojournalist, Eve Arnold on 4th January 2012

(Eve Arnold at work. She was one of the first photographers of her era to break away from only shooting in the confined studios of Hollywood)

Born in Philadelphia in 1912, Eve Arnold never intended to become a pioneer of the photographic industry. In fact, the very idea of earning a living through the art of photography wasn’t even considered until 38 year old Arnold was handed a $40 Rolleiflex by her boyfriend…and as they say, the rest is history.

Click image below, for more info on the limited edition photo

(A Thoughtful Moment, The Misfits, 1960
– limited edition photo of 495 Copies)

Through her naturalistic style, Arnold always managed to capture the mood and emotion of her subject, and by doing so would tell their poignant story through her photos.

By the 1950’s, Eve’s career path had changed dramatically. She was the only woman to have joined the prestigious Magnum Photography Agency wherein she got to travel the world capturing on film disabled Vietnam war veterans, Mongolian Herdsmen, migrant workers, and civil rights protesters of apartheid South Africa. Magnum, previously known for its predominantly masculine and harder approach to photography was now, for the first time, projecting a softer ethos. This was down to the feminine sensibility and the skilful art of storytelling apparent in every image captured by the legendary Eve Arnold.

(Eve Arnold. Cuba, Havana. Bar girl in a brothel in the red light district. 1954.)

By the mid 1950’s it was apparent that Eve Arnold was equally at ease photographing the Hollywood elite of her era, including the likes of Joan Crawford. However, it was her candid shots of the now late Marilyn Monroe that she became best known for. Marked by her sense of compassion and understanding, Arnold took on a photojournalistic approach to her work allowing her to capture images of Monroe in a naturalistic style never seen before. Arnold’s style was directly opposed to the generically staged studio photography sessions associated with Hollywood at the time.

Click image below, for more info on the limited edition photo

(Marilyn Taking Direction, The Misfits, 1960
– limited edition photo of 495 Copies)

In the ten years that Eve Arnold extensively photographed Marilyn Monroe, she became a close friend to the movie star up until her tragic death in 1962. It was this friendship and trust between the two that allowed Eve to intimately capture Monroe’s spontaneous moods. Marilyn allowed Eve to portray her as more than just a blonde bombshell of the big screen. Instead, we were able to see her as human. A human who, just like the rest of us, had moments of vulnerability and insecurity. This charm and fragility can be seen in many of Eve’s photographs of Miss Monroe, but perhaps is most poignantly portrayed in ‘Memorising Lines’; as Monroe is captured insecurely holding her hands to her face as she attempts to remember her lines on the set of her 1960 film ‘The Misfits’.

(Eve Arnold. Memorising Lines, The Misfits. 1960)

Although we have lost Eve Arnold in person, her legacy will most certainly live on. Through her pioneering photojournalistic approach to her art, and her unique and privileged relationships with her subjects, Arnold cemented her place as one of the photographic industry’s most revered figures of the 20th Century. And it is here she will forever remain.

Rest In Peace, Eve.


(All images are copyright Eve Arnold & Magnum Photography)

Useful Links:

The Guardian – Eve Arnold’s most memorable shots

Marilyn Monroe – Biography

BBC’s selection of Eve Arnold’s work

Muhammad Ali (signed) portraits by official artist Simon Bull

November 30, 2010 on 1:15 pm | In Box Canvas, Famous People, Original Art, Simon Bull, Sport | 2 Comments

London art gallery Picture Perfect Gallery has scooped a national exclusive and will be the first gallery in the country to sell new portraits of Muhammad Ali by British American artist Simon Bull. The portraits are from a series of works that hang in the Muhammad Ali Museum in Louisville Kentucky and are personally signed by Muhammad Ali. Until now they have only been exhibited in the USA.

(Distant Thunder, original by Simon Bull – also signed by Ali)

Gallery proprietor Russell said: “This is a real coup for both the gallery and the City, to have an exclusive UK exhibition of perhaps the most iconic man of the last century is fantastic”

Bull, who in 2009 was commissioned to paint joint portraits of Ali and US president Barack Obama said: “Muhammad Ali is an icon, not just for sports fans, but politically, spiritually and culturally. His story is a noble one and one that reflects and represents the wider human narrative. His life has been and continues to be an inspiration to a global audience. Bringing a selection of these works for exhibition in the UK represents an exciting moment for fans and collectors alike.”

(Simon Bull meeting Muhammad Ali & Lonnie Ali in their home)

Others from the series are in exhibition at the Muhammad Ali centre in Louisville, Kentucky in the USA

thank you


The Muhammad Ali Educational Centre
Muhammad Ali biography
Picture Perfect Gallery can be contacted in the UK on 0845 644 7877

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