Tag: photo essays

photography the oliviers travel

Destination: Stratford Upon Avon

Holy Trinity Church Shakespeare's grave

For someone who’s been dead for nearly 400 years, William Shakespeare sure knows how to make a living. His birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, is a virtual tourist trap for travelers who come from far and wide wanting to indulge in all things Shakespeare-related. One can learn of the town’s Tudor history at Falstaffs Experience, see plays come to life at the famous Royal Shakespeare Company, and even visit the bard’s final resting place in the Holy Trinity church–all for a price, of course.

Luckily, I had no need to elicit the services of a conspicuous-looking man in a doublet and lace, leather gloves and a wide brimmed hat on my visit to Stratford yesterday. My tour guide was the lovely Emma Parry, a long-time friend of vivandlarry.com who invited me up to have a look around. Being a fellow Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier fan, Emma knew all of the best sites to see.

We had lunch in a great restaurant called Edward Moon. The leek and potato soup, and mushroom and madiera chicken were fantastic–no room left for crème brûlée, sadly! Afterward, we took a walk to the Royal Shakespeare Company to see where the Oliviers performed in Macbeth, Titus Andronicus and Twelfth Night during the famous 1955 season. Although it was overcast, the walk offered beautiful views of the theatre and parkland on both sides of the River Avon. We stopped by the Holy Trinity church to pay a visit to Shakespeare himself and saw the memorial tree that had been dedicated to Vivien Leigh.

Our tour of Stratford was followed by a drive in the country to visit Emma’s home town, Chipping Campden, and then on to Broadway, both in the picturesque Cotswolds. We enjoyed afternoon tea with fresh scones, clotted cream and home-made jam at the Bantam Tea Rooms in Chipping Campden before heading over to Broadway to buy sweets in the old fashioned candy shop. The Cotswolds are the definition of a picturesque English village, and look like something out of a Thomas Kincaide painting. One of the most notable buildings in Broadway is the Lygon Arms. This famous hotel has served as a rendezvous spot for many famous people over the centuries. Notable guests have included Oliver Cromwell, J.M. Barrie, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, and the Kennedys.

It was wonderful to explore the heart of England with a kindred spirit. I honestly feel very lucky that this website has brought me in contact with so many amazing people. Thanks again for being a fabulous tour guide, Emma!

All photos in his post © Kendra Bean/vivandlarry.com

london photography vivien leigh

Final Destination: Golders Green

Golders Green crematorium

Consider this 31 Days of the Oliviers {days 10-15}.

There have been many posts around the classic film blogosphere lately documenting visits to cemeteries where the rich and famous are interred. Okay, so all of these posts have come from Meredith at Dear Mr. Gable, but they’re fascinating. I have a long-standing fascination with cemeteries, particularly victorian ones such as Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, GA, and Highgate Cemetery in North London (which I visited a few months ago and posted about on my photography blog). They are beautiful, somewhat creepy and endlessly fascinating. There are many burial grounds in London. Whether out in the open or inside cathedrals, if you visit one you’re almost guaranteed to spot a famous person’s grave.

Today I went to snap photos at a place that’s slightly different from your traditional cemetery. Golders Green Crematorium is one of the oldest crematoria in Britain. Its gates opened in 1902, and it has been providing non-secular cremations and funeral services for both celebrities and the general public ever since. Fans of Vivien Leigh may find it interesting because she was cremated here in 1967 before her ashes were scattered at Tickerage Mill. Some of the notable names who still remain at Golders Green include Ivor Novello, Alexander Korda, Elisabeth Bergner, Keith Moon, Sigmund Freud, Conrad Veidt, Anna Pavlova and Peter Sellers, among others.

The grounds and garden are very beautiful, especially now that the foliage has donned Autumn colors. It was very quiet and peaceful when I visited this afternoon, with only one or two people resting on the benches in the garden, taking in the afternoon sun and possibly thinking of a departed loved one. As it is a crematorium and not a cemetery, there are no grave stones. Ashes are kept in urns inside the chapels or are scattered on the lawns in the garden. Plaques adorn the walls as well as sit at the base of rose bushes and trees that have been dedicated in memory of the dead.

Golders Green Crematorium can be reached via Golders Green tube or by bus from Golders Green road. It’s very easy to find–located just across the street from the Jewish cemetery.

All photos in this post © Kendra Bean/vivandlarry.com

photography the oliviers travel

Return to Notley Abbey

31 Days of the Oliviers {Day 7}

I mentioned in a previous post my friend Zsazsa’s visit from Hungary. Because she had missed the Weekend with the Oliviers back in May, we decided to take a trip out to Notley Abbey. I admit I was a bit nervous about doing so, for fear there would possibly be a wedding on. I needn’t have worried. All was quiet save for a few couples driving up to view it as a possible wedding location. The day was windy and overcast, but Autumn was definitely definitely set in, turning Larry’s Lime Walk to a brilliant yellow and brown. The various trees around the house were splashed with fiery reds and oranges.

I’ve already written about my experiences at Notley, so I asked Zsazsa if she’d like to write about her own, and will post her account later. For now, she’s given me permission to post some of the photos she took. As you may already know, Zsazsa is a brilliant photographer, and she perfectly captured the aura of romance and history that surrounds Vivien Leigh’s and Laurence Olivier’s former country estate.

See more of her work here.

Photos in this post © Zsazsa Ribai.
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london photography the oliviers

Girls’ Night Out at The Savoy

The Savoy Hotel, Strand, London

My friend Zsazsa came to visit from Hungary two weeks ago. She’s a big Vivien Leigh fan, so we made some plans to see some of the places we visited back in May during the Weekend with the Oliviers (Zsazsa unfortunately couldn’t make it). One of the first things we did was have drinks at the Savoy. Three of my friends, Sami, Ali and Emma joined us and we went for cocktails at the ultra-classy Beaufort Bar.

The Beaufort Bar has the atmosphere of an upscale gin joint with its black and gold art deco furnishings. The bar itself occupies the former cabaret stage where Gershwin once performed. They still employ a piano player and cabaret singer who lend greatly to the ambiance by crooning Cole Porter, Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne. But the best part of the experience is the booze!

The first time I came to the Savoy for my friend Shirmoa’s birthday, I had a cocktail called Grounds for Divorce:

50 ml BACARDI – Reserva Superior 8 Year Old
15 ml LILLET – Blanc
10 ml NOILLY PRAT – Original French Dry
4 ml Black Treacle Syrup
1 dash(es) Bob’s Vanilla Bitters

It was fantastic but a bit heavy. This time I decided to go for something a little more girly and ordered the Princess Ida (named after the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera):

Grey Goose
Cherry Mariner
Pressed Lemon

A nice light martini (by light I mean flavor-wise, definitely not alcohol by volume!). It was divine. I have to confess that I don’t like beer (with the exception of Crabbie’s alcoholic ginger beer, a delicious but probably tooth-rotting beverage that can be purchased in Wetherspoon’s) and therefore always prefer a proper cocktail bar over a regular pub, particularly one where fancy dress is required!

Photos © Zsuzsa Ribai

gone with the wind photography travel

Home to Tara: Culver Studios

Culver Studios, formerly Selznick International

Last week my friend Jay and I made a pilgrimage of sorts down to Culver City to see a famous mansion that stands on the corner of Washington and Ince. Culver Studios, as is it known today, is the former home of Desilu, RKO, DeMille, Ince and Selznick International. The mansion’s famous facade can be seen at the beginning of many illustrious films of the 1930s and 40s, including a Civil War epic loved by many.

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