“The Crown”–Glory to Her Highness

the-crownThe anachronistic British aristocracy must sensitively negotiate its relationship with its public. “The Crown”, the November original series released from Netflix, is the story of a conflict between private and public, between the personal feelings of a wife, mother, and sister and the queen (Elizabeth II).

At its core “The Crown” is a character study and a family drama. Do you put personal fulfillment over political duty and obligation? That is the question. “The Crown” is a family saga, particularly between sisters. Conflicts with personal fulfillment and romantic love hide behind a curtain of pomp and circumstance. We are allowed behind palace doors to witness a struggle of personalities.

Elizabeth’s drama begins with the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936, which forces his reluctant younger brother George VI to ascend to the throne. His oldest daughter, Elizabeth (in a remarkable performance by Claire Foy from “Wolf Hall”), is a witness to all the regal drama. With the death of King George VI, Elizabeth must suddenly transform from a loving sibling and shy young wife and mother into a queen.

And at the moment of her father’s death, it becomes clear that Elizabeth — unlike her tearful mother and sister — is able to suppress her desires and emotions in order to assume the throne.

Perhaps the most compelling drama in “The Crown”, however, is the conflict between sisters. Her younger and more glamorous sister, Margaret, asks for permission to marry a recently divorced officer whose ex-wife is still living. This love affair, ironically, is similar in circumstances to that of her uncle (King Edward VIII) who was compelled to abdicate the throne for marriage to a divorced woman (Wallace Simpson). At that time remarriage under those circumstances was strictly forbidden by the Anglican Church. First promising to stand by her sister, Elizabeth is compelled by those in power to recant as she chooses duty as queen and defender of the Anglican Church over her love for her sister.

The popularity of “Downton Abbey” reveals an American fascination with the British royal family and aristocracy. Why is the monarchy this crucial to the nation? Queen Mary (played by Eileen Atkins), the grandmother of Elizabeth, reminds her granddaughter: “Monarchy is God’s sacred mission to grace and dignify the earth, to give ordinary people an ideal to strive towards, an example of nobility and duty to raise them in their wretched lives.”

A superb family saga with the machinations of politics as its undercurrent!

David Bowie–Connoisseur of Art

[Guest blogger, Ray Hecht, has provided a post on David Bowie’s private art collection in Hong Kong.   Ray now resides in China.  For more photos, please visit his website: www.rayhecht.com]

Originally posted on the Ray Hecht website on October 24, 2016

 On my last trip to Hong Kong, I was lucky enough to go to the exhibition from the late David Bowie’s private art collection. Although I didn’t bid on the auction any of the pieces, it was a great experience to be able to witness works of art that Bowie had personally owned!

Really fascinating works. The man had an incredible aesthetic, as we all know. The Basquiat pieces particularly stood out:  20161013_163532

And there was even a work of art that Bowie collaborated on with Damien Hirst:

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More information can be found at Sotheby’s blog.

Unfortunately, the exhibition was only on for one week before moving to London for November 10-11. During the London weekend festival, Sotheby’s hosted five talks with a panel of curators, writers, designers and producers – all with a connection to Bowie and the art he collected and loved. Held in the galleries and then videotaped for Facebook,  the discussions were hosted by Sotheby’s specialists in Modern British art, Contemporary art and 20th Century Design  allowing audiences a unique opportunity to ask questions about the objects surrounding them in the galleries, and Bowie’s creativity in the art world and beyond. At the heart of the auction is Bowie’s collection of 20th-century British Art, which moves from Damien Hirst from the 1990s to Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Eduardo Paolozzi, Patrick Caulfield, Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff. The selection includes key works by Marcel Duchamp, a major influence on Bowie.

Enjoy the Facebook site and have a vicarious visit!

 

Remember–This is the Year of the Monkey

Monkey2016  For those of you who didn’t get a chance to read my Chinese New Year’s post on The Year of the Monkey–Anything Can Happen, here it is again!  This has been a crazy year — the most volatile in the Chinese twelve-year Zodiac cycle and who can argue with that after this Tuesday’s election.  Inauguration Day 2017 is January 20 and the Year of the Monkey officially ends on January 27, 2017.

“As the Year of the Sheep comes to an end and the Year of the Monkey arrives, 2016 will be a year of invention and improvisation, unpredictability and unexpected change. The Year of the Monkey is considered the most volatile in the twelve-year cycle.

The Monkey is considered intelligent, witty, and inventive. The ninth animal in the Chinese zodiac, the Monkey is also believed to be a magnificent problem-solver and independent high achiever. Clever and nimble, monkeys are playful, energetic creatures who move from activity to activity, swinging from branch to branch. Though honored in Buddhist tales, the Monkey is also famous as an irrepressible trickster.

All animals in the Chinese zodiac have a dark side too. The problem-solving in the Year of the Monkey can turn opportunistic and untrustworthy, unscrupulous and devious, capricious and misguided.

Some may gamble, speculate, take unnecessary and highly risky chances but for some there will be ingenious outcomes. Business can thrive in surprising ways under the Monkey’s optimistic and shrewd influence.  Anything can happen. Everything is in flux.

Communication also takes on a humorous, even mischievous and light-hearted side as an antidote to the stressful changes which will occur. Some risks will have astonishing results and unconventional solutions are needed to solve old problems. Daring to be different leads to success but  tremendous effort is also required. Now is the time for bold action; even the wildest ideas may succeed.

Remember this year will reward individualistic and highly original enterprises. A lot of global economic growth due to entrepreneurship can be expected in the Year of the Monkey. Also expect a lot of life changes. The Year of the Monkey 2016 is a good year to break free and take calculated risks as there is nothing more powerful or rewarding than following your instincts, passion and intuition. This is the best year for changing jobs in the next decade! Don’t look back!”

 

 

 

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