2018. What a year. On a personal note, it’s been the best of times. It’s been the worst of times. It’s been all the times in between. But at vivandlarry.com it’s been great, so here’s a run-down of some of the exciting things that happened in this little corner of the Internet, and in my Viv and Larry life.…
2017 – what a year!
Hi, everyone. Are you still out there? I’m a bit embarrassed but haven’t fallen completely off the wagon, honestly. The Viv and Larry Facebook page is still updated regularly and I recently launched an Instagram page called @vivandlarrygram where I’ve been spending lots of time over the past month or so. My interest in Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier hasn’t waned — in fact, some pretty major events happened in this, the site’s 10-year anniversary, that will hopefully lead to big things in the future — but finding the time and the inspiration for long form posting has been difficult.
*Header image by Nina’s Clicks
I’ve got a few New Year’s resolutions, although some of them are New Years hopes. But one of the things I’m determined to achieve from the outset is to read more books for fun. Last year was the first time I was able to do this in ages, although I neglected to keep a written list. (Highlights included Clara Bow: Runnin’ Wild by David Stenn, In The Woods by Tana French, The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport, Garden of Dreams: The Life of Simone Signoret by Patricia DeMaio and Brando’s Smile by Susan Mizruchi) That changes this year, dammit! I’ll be keeping track on Goodreads, Instagram and will do my best to keep this log updated here.
So far, so good!
1. Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis by Alexis Coe (historical non-fiction; true crime)
2. My Name Escapes Me: The Diary of a Retiring Actor by Sir Alec Guinness (memoir)
3. Neverhome by Laird Hunt (historical fiction; American Civil War)
4. Of All Places! by Patience, Richard and Johnny Abbe (memoir)
5. The Romanovs: The Final Chapter by Robert K. Massie (non-fiction; Russian history)
6. Wild by Cheryl Strayed (memoir; travel)
7. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (fiction)
8. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (non-fiction; science)
9. Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach (non-fiction; science)
10. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (fiction)
11. Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie (biography; Russian history)
12. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (fiction)
13. The Great Hollywood Portrait Photographers by John Kobal (film studies; photography)
14. A Girl Walks into a Bar by Rachel Dratch (comedy; memoir)
15. Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog by James Grissom (memoir; theatre)
16. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick (historical non-fiction)
17. An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks (psychology; neurology)
18. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (fiction)
19. The Natty Professor by Tim Gunn (memoir)
20. The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke (historical fiction)
21. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (fiction; thriller)
22. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson (historical non-fiction)
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This weekend Hollywood is getting nostalgic, recalling its glamorous past as Turner Classic Movies unrolls the red carpet for the 4th annual TCM Film Festival. Although I was still living in southern California during the festival’s inaugural event in 2010, I’ve sadly never been able to attend. Instead, I live vicariously through the classic film blogging community as twitter and facebook explode with updates about celebrity sightings, screenings of favorite films in Hollywood’s famous cinemas, round table discussions with many-a-film-fan’s personal idol Robert Osborne, and, of course, meeting and forming friendships with other film bloggers.
Being half way around the world, it’s really expensive to fly back to California (I’ve only been home twice in the past 2 1/2 years). So, another year, another fun TCM Film Festival party that I won’t be at. Here are five things I’ll be doing this weekend while everyone else is sitting poolside at the Roosevelt and drinking cocktails with Eva Marie Saint:
5. Enjoying the rain
Just kidding. This week, spring finally decided to grace London with its presence, and it was glorious! I left my winter coat in the closet for the first time since November and walked outside wearing a cardigan. And I didn’t freeze to death (60 degrees is shorts weather for Britons, but anyone from California knows 80 is where it’s really at). However, it looks like this warm spell is going to be short-lived.
4. Organizing my new apartment
After a year and a half living in the quaint suburb of Crouch End, birthplace of actress and Vivien Leigh look-alike Jean Simmons, I’ve finally ditched my awkward and sometimes downright rude flatmates (seriously, they had a penchant for cooking at midnight and telling me I was “cutting in to their time” when I brought up household issues) and moved south of the river with Robbie. It’s really nice having my own (shared) space and not feeling like I have to cloister myself in my room because the couple mentioned above took over the rest of the flat. Although it is rather startling how much stuff I managed to fit into that shoebox I used to sleep in.
3. Watching Game of Thrones
I admit it. I’m kind of obsessed with the goings on in Westeros. I mean, did you see last week’s episode? How fierce is Daenerys Targaryen? Will Tyrion Lannister get the revenge he seeks? What is Varys going to do with that sorcerer in a crate? What does Diana Rigg (Olenna Redwyne) have up her sleeve? Also, this.
2. Making a video about Vivien Leigh
Although I update facebook and twitter every day, I’ve been neglecting this blog over the past six months or so. I blame the whirlwind that has been writing and assembling my upcoming Vivien Leigh book by the deadlines specified by my editor. Now that this is winding down and the publication date grows nearer, I’ve been thinking of new ways to jump start the blog again. I get a lot of questions from fans who visit London and wonder where they can see places related to Vivien Leigh. This weekend, Robbie and I are planning to put together a special video chronicling exactly that. Fingers crossed the rain stays away!
1. Finishing my book
I got the second proof of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait this week, and now have to hand in the chapter notes and photo credits by Monday. It’s really exciting and kind of strange to see the end in sight after having spent so much time working on it. Onward to the finish line!
I’m not hanging out with the stars in Hollywood this weekend, but I’d highly recommend following along with some great bloggers who are:
In the 75 years since Margaret Mitchell published her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the phenomenon that is Gone with the Wind has never quite died down. In 1939, David O. Selznick turned the most popular novel of its time into the most popular film ever made. It is perhaps the film, more than the book, that keeps the fanfare alive around the world today. Yet, in spite of its popularity, Gone with the Wind has come under fire in recent years from film critics who often cite it as outdated and chide its non-PC depiction of slavery. Even with its faults, Selznick’s Civil War epic has stood the test of time and remains the shining beacon of the Hollywood studio era. Here are 10 reasons why Gone with the Wind is still an awesome film.