From the Batman and Sons webcomic.
Such an amazing time. Max was so much fun to play with and I love that he's loving nerdy stuff like his Uncle Jimmy (Batman, Spider-Man, Star Wars, etc). Chloe is speaking more and more and even said "Unca Jimmy" and "I love you". Heart melted. And just always great to hang with Sis and Bob. So thankful to have them in my life. To think that had I never found her all those years ago, I wouldn't.
Oh, you don't know that story? Look it up, kids! Happy Christmas!
Sis Wonder Woman.
Xmas eve snow!
It was around 1995-96. Les Miserables had been running successfully on Broadway since 1987. If I remember correctly, they hadn't had an audition for some time. And I think they underestimated. The auditions were held at the Equity (the stage actor's union) building. People started lining up EARLY. Hundreds of males showed up for the male call and perhaps twice as many females for their call later in the afternoon. How they were going to get through all of us was beyond me.
I signed up and waited for hours to be seen. Before they started, casting director Ron LaRosa popped out to apologize for underestimating the turnout and that they'd get to all of us as quickly as possible. Adding that we should have our standard 16 bars of a song to sing. If you don't know, that's a good chunk of time depending on the song.
After about an hour, LaRosa came out again. "Sorry everyone. We're way behind. I'm cutting it down to 8 bars". A few audible groans and shuffling of sheet music as people had to quickly reconfigure their 16 to the best 8 to show off their voice. Not necessarily that hard but still can throw you off.
Maybe another hour passes. You guessed it. Out comes LaRosa. "Sorry again. REALLY need to pick things up. You have 4 bars to sing". This time, the entire room groaned and many audible protestations were made. He put his hand up and the room silenced. He was, after all, one of the most powerful stage casting directors at the time. He says quietly and simply, "I can tell if you can sing in 2". DAMN. That's gangsta.
I was worried. I had a good 8 bar cut of "Gethsemane" from Jesus Christ Superstar that hit a high note and showed my range. Cutting it to 4 would be a challenge as I usually can build up to the high note but would have to hit it on the 2nd bar. Yikes!
Eventually, it was my turn. I was pretty nervous as this was a huge audition. I had auditioned for other Broadway shows before but never had felt this anxious. I walk in and say hello and walk straight to the piano player to hand my sheet music. Pointing out where I'm starting/stopping. I go to the center spot and introduce myself and the song and LaRosa nods. I sing the 4 bars and stop. It was an abrupt stop in the music, but he said 4 bars. As I stopped, I realized the piano player kept playing as there were only another 4 bars left to the music and suddenly LaRosa said nicely, "Oh, you could have finished." And I stumbled, "Oh, sorry. You said 4 bars, so I...sorry, I can..." and then he interrupts (again nicely), "Never stop unless we ask you to. Thanks very much!".
Curses. I had blown it. But I learned a valuable lesson. Never stop doing your thing until you're done. If someone wants you to stop, they'll ask or say so. Until then, as the wise Michael Jackson once said, "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough". Or even better, a great quote from Socrates, "Keep on truckin'."
When the credits rolled, I didn't realize it was Colm Wilkinson (the original Valjean on Broadway and The West End) making a cameo as The Bishop. And then when I got home and looked up info, I find that Frances Ruffelle (original Eponine on Broadway and The West End) had a cameo as one of the prostitutes.
Overall, I really liked it as it was nice to see a big production of one of my favorite musicals on screen with a stellar cast. If only they'd gotten someone else for Javert. Heck, if it was just star power they were after, what about Robert Downey Jr? He's got pipes and is a fantastic actor.
If you're a musical theater nerd, you'll be seeing this anyway. If not, give it a shot. You'll either leave the theater singing "One Day More" or wishing you had that day back. Maybe it was a miserable day anyway. So...win/win.
Rating: 4 out of 5 JAquino whip cracks!
Hey Whovians! I've given it a couple of days since the Doctor Who Christmas special aired. I wanted to share the press pack I got via email from the grand folks at BBC America. Not really any spoilers in it but if you haven't seen the episode yet, maybe wait until after. And if you want to hear my thoughts on it, listen to the recent episode 452 of my podcast COMIC NEWS INSIDER.
Christmas Eve 1892 and the falling snow is the stuff of fairy-tales. When the fairy-tale becomes a nightmare and a chilling menace threatens Earth, an unorthodox young governess, Clara, calls on the Doctor for help. But the Doctor is in mourning, reclusive and determined not to engage in the problems of the universe. As old friends return, will the Doctor really abandon humankind or will he fight to save the world – and Christmas – from the icy clutches of this mysterious menace?
Lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat on the Christmas special: “The Christmas episode is Doctor Who epitomized and this year we're going for even more epic. The Doctor, when we meet him, isn't in a good place. A bit like when we first encountered William Hartnell as the Doctor in 1963 - or indeed Christopher Eccleston in 2005 - this a cold and withdrawn Time Lord, wanting no part of the world around him. It's going to take a lot of Christmas spirit to get him back out those TARDIS doors.”
The Doctor: Matt Smith (Going for Gold, Christopher and His Kind)
Clara: Jenna-Louise Coleman (Emmerdale, Captain America: The First Avenger)
Doctor Simeon: Richard E Grant (Iron Lady, Dracula)
Captain Latimer: Tom Ward (Silent Witness)
Executive Producer and Lead Writer: Steven Moffat (Sherlock)
Executive Producer: Caroline Skinner (The Fades)
Director: Saul Metzstein (Upstairs Downstairs)
Producer: Marcus Wilson (True Dare Kiss, Life on Mars)
1) Are there any new monsters?
Well there are Snowmen. You've probably guessed that from the title. But that's not all. Dear me, no! But monsters should always be a bit surprising, so that's all I'm saying.
2) How do you find writing the Christmas special as opposed to a regular episode? Does it differ at all?
You're very aware of the time of year, and the noisy, sugared-up, slightly tipsy household. Sometimes we play along with something a bit frothier. Though this year, we might just give them a fright!
3) Last time we saw the Doctor he said goodbye to the Ponds, will we see a different side to the Doctor in this episode?
The Doctor is almost defined by his friendships. When they end, and the TARDIS is silent again, he's a very different man. He's lost a lot of people in the time we've known him, and this Christmas he's decided he's finally had enough...
4) This episode welcomes Jenna-Louise Coleman, what can you tell us about her character?
It's going to be quite a journey of discovery with Jenna and her character - and it doesn't start here, it starts on Christmas Day. For now, enough to say, that the Doctor in his darkest hour, long ago in a Victorian winter meets the exactly the right person. Or does he?
Returning to screens on Christmas Day, it’s all change for Matt Smith’s Doctor with a new costume, a new hat and minus Amy Pond. Here he talks about what fans can expect from this festive treat and family tradition.
Lots of snow and a rather good villain, Matt is chatting enthusiastically about this year’s Christmas special, The Snowmen. Set in a Victorian snow covered England the episode opens with the Doctor feeling more ‘bah humbug’ than festive, as he struggles to get over the loss of his companions the Ponds.
He is slightly removed and not at his best, explains Matt. But after the Doctor meets a feisty young governess, Clara, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman do we see a change in the Doctor? You get to see a different side to him, Matt explains, she is very different to Amy Pond. That is the great thing about this show, he continues, reinvention, it keeps me as an actor on my toes!
As well as seeing Matt Smith’s Doctor for the first time without his old companions, Matt will be sporting a new costume complete with top hat, It is a bit like the Doctor meets the Artful Dodger, says Matt.
So can we expect to see a period of grieving following the loss of the Ponds? Grieving has its place, says Matt, but it is important to show that and then propel back in to adventure.
And that is exactly what this Christmas special does. Matt reveals that this Christmas the Doctor will embark on a dangerous adventure – a quest that leads him to Darkover House where something sinister is lurking.
As well as guest star Tom Ward (Silent Witness), Richard E Grant features as this year’s villain, Doctor Simeon. He was a delight and brilliant at being villainous. Some actors are just made for the show and he was one of them. And he looked wonderful in Victorian garb, says Matt.
Now a family tradition, Matt is chuffed to be part of the Christmas special, I love being part of them. Family TV on Christmas Day is a great tradition and Doctor Who is at the heart of that.
So will Matt be making an appointment to watch on Christmas day? Absolutely, I can’t wait.
Having made a surprise appearance in the series opener Asylum of the Daleks in September, fans have already met the new companion….or have they? Here Jenna-Louise gives a little bit of insight in to the character she plays in the festive episode and what we can expect from Clara.
She is from the Victorian era and a mysterious one, explains Jenna. Very down to earth, but feisty and curious too with numerous jobs, she continues revealing more about new girl Clara.
Set in Victorian England we first catch a glimpse of Clara as a barmaid in the ‘Rose and Crown’ pub, but after meeting the intriguing Doctor she soon sets about following him, because as Jenna explains, He has the answers to her questions. With his self-imposed solitude the Doctor appears uninterested, but eventually gets drawn in as an army of evil snowmen cover London and it becomes apparent that Christmas and the world are at risk.
With Matt Smith revealing that She is a very different to Amy Pond, how does Jenna explain the dynamic of the relationship between the Doctor and Clara, following the loss of the Ponds in the epic mid-series finale The Angels Take Manhattan? She isn’t intimidated by the Doctor, says Jenna, instead she finds him amazing and ridiculous. But she is on her own mission and lives by her own means, she is very resourceful.
As well as a barmaid, Clara adopts the role of governess to two children in Darkover House where something sinister is lurking in their garden and whose last governess hasn’t yet left the premises…
After being selected for the coveted role of companion, Jenna started filming in BBC Cymru Wales’ Roath Lock studios earlier this year and made her first appearance in Season 7 opener Asylum of the Daleks. So how has she found the job so far? Every day is really surprising, she explains. For the last two years I have mainly been doing period dramas, so to be thrown into this world with loads of CGI is very different. Whole new sets are built in the space of a couple of weeks. For this episode we had snow machines and it does make you feel like a big kid!
Stepping in to Karen Gillan’s shoes, who played Amy Pond, did Jenna receive any advice? Karen has been great, explains Jenna, she has texted me advice on Cardiff like where to eat. And Matt always has an ear out for me.
Unlike the Doctor in this festive episode, Jenna isn’t a Christmas grump, I love Christmas and will probably be sitting down with the family to watch this adventure on Christmas Day! It is one of the shows that can do Christmas properly and this is a proper Christmas treat.
RICHARD E GRANT
Having previously played the Doctor in the 2003 online animated series Scream of the Shalka and during a Comic Relief spoof some years ago, Richard E Grant returns to Doctor Who, but this time as the villainous Doctor Simeon.
I have been told that on pain of death I am not allowed to reveal anything about my role in the Christmas Special, explains Richard, other than that this character has never been in Doctor Who before….
Returning to Doctor Who for the third time, Richard explains, I have had two 'brushes' with the Who phenomenon before, playing the Doctor in the cartoon digital version and the Comic Relief spoof some years ago, before the franchise was re-booted with Christopher Eccleston.
Richard is tasked with playing this year’s villain, the mysterious Doctor Simeon who, with a vendetta to settle from childhood, recruits an army of evil and hungry snowmen to bring together his plan.
So how did Richard enjoy playing the villain? When you're born with a ten foot long face, you don't get hero roles, but I'm not complaining as I have hugely enjoyed the wide variety of parts I've got to play.
Growing up in Swaziland Richard has had to devote time to catching up on the British institution, he explains, Having grown up in a country without TV, I missed seeing Doctor Who through my childhood, but I have made up for lost time since with box sets.
As the Doctor battles to defeat Doctor Simeon and his army, Richard shared many scenes with Matt Smith, so what did he make of working with Matt? I have really admired Matt from when I first saw him in a play called That Face at the Royal Court Theatre some years ago, says Richard, and have keenly followed his career progress. He is the perfect fit for Doctor Who. His interpretation is very kinetic and fast talking.
So will Richard be watching this Christmas? I love Christmas and everything about it. I will be at home and watching TV after lunch, hoping I can stay awake after the feast!
Star of Silent Witness for over 10 years, Doctor Who presents a departure for Tom from the modern day to the world of sci-fi. Here he explains what we can expect from his character and whether he will be watching on Christmas Day.
He hasn’t been used to dealing with his children, explains Tom as he reveals a small insight in to his character Captain Latimer, he wants to love them, but he is an old naval captain that has struggled to build a relationship.
Tom plays an archetypal Victorian gent, complete with a rather good beard, Yes it is, laughs Tom as he confirms the beard is real, you often get the obligatory moustache in a Victorian drama, but I wanted to go further and the beard seemed appropriate.
Having spent 10 years in a drama not necessarily accessible to his children, Tom reveals he is excited to have done something they can watch, My children are very excited that I am in Doctor Who and I am glad they have something that they can finally watch! My oldest child is 10, so this will give him bragging rights at school and hopefully me a little bit of school gate currency.
So what drew Tom to the role? It was one of the best scripts I had read in a long time and the thought of doing a period sci-fi was really fun.
With Tom admitting that his favorite Doctor is Tom Baker, he expresses admiration for current Doctor, Matt Smith. He is brilliant, he kept the set feeling happy and is full of energy, says Tom, he has a great relationship with the crew. As well as co-starring Tom, the Christmas episode will also feature Richard E Grant, I had one scene with him, explains Tom, and he was a legend. An absolute delight.
In this episode we also meet Clara played by Jenna-Louise Coleman for the first time, She is a brilliant actress, says Tom, full of life and energy, so funny and has a great rapport with Matt.
With Tom confirming that his children are fans, will he be watching on Christmas day? We have just moved in to the country, so it will be the family round and the fire blazing. I don’t normally like to watch myself on TV, but this time I think I will make an exception…
Reviews: Black Beetle Night Shift #0, JSA The Liberty Files The Whistling Skull #1, Rotten Apple One Shot, Uncanny X-Force #35, Doctor Who Christmas Special 2012
Jimmy went out to New Jersey for Christmas and the plan was to record with his sister and brother-in-law. Alas, due to sleep schedules, company, shopping, gift wrapping, etc...it didn't happen. But you get this express Xmas quickie from Jimmy solo! He had an amazing Xmas with the fam! You may hear a few special holiday related bits in the show as well. News includes: Gail Simone re-hired on Batgirl, Star Wars comics coming to Marvel in 2015, Shelly Bond is promoted to new Vertigo Executive Editor, BBC America picks up Nerdist, and Glen Mazzara bugs out on The Walking Dead. Here's wishing everyone who celebrates it the happiest of Christmases! As always, listener feedback, Top 3 and more! Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love!
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Perhaps to some of your annoyance (sorry!), I decided to "live tweet" my annual watching of my fave movie It's A Wonderful Life. Here are all the tweets in order for your convenience. You're welcome! And Merry Christmas!
Got to my sister's house today to spend Christmas. Happiness is me with my niece Chloe and nephew Maximus.
And here's an early gift they gave me. Home made super hero ornaments!
I bought this at a liquor store here in Jersey a couple of years ago and have kept it here for when I visit. Haven't seen it anywhere since. Someone find more and send away!
Hope you all have a happy Christmas!!!