Friday, September 22, 2017

‘The Snowy Day’ Captured in New Stamp Series

United States Postal Service

Pictures of the Day / 21 September 2017 / The earthquake

Pictures of the Day / 23 June 2017 / Hurricane Maria

Pictures of the Day: 23 June 2017

Pictures of the Day / 23 June 2017 / Woman

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Margaret Atwood and Elisabeth Moss on the Urgency of The Handmaid’s Tale

Portrait of Elisabeth Moss and Margaret Atwood shot at the Time Inc. Photo Studios in New York,
March 18, 2017.
 Ruven Afanador for TIME. 

Margaret Atwood and Elisabeth Moss on the Urgency of The Handmaid’s Tale

Eliana Dockterman
Apr 12, 2017

Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian novel about a society with a plummeting birth rate, in 1984. In the book, a totalitarian American regime strips women of their rights and forces those who are fertile to become “handmaids” to bear children for wealthy men and their barren wives.

Atwood challenged herself to only include events in the book that had happened in history. The result was a tale about the future that can, at turns, feel all too contemporary. The story includes an environmental crisis, restrictions on abortion, marches for women's rights and Americans fleeing to Canada.

Elisabeth Moss / The actress whose very presence is a guarantee of quality

 Elisabeth Moss starring in The Handmaid’s Tale. Photograph: MGM/Hulu

Elisabeth Moss: the actress whose very presence is a guarantee of quality

The new television adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale is further evidence that the Mad Men star has a talent and range few others can match

Sarah Hughes
Sunday 21 May 2017 00.05 BST

hen the idea of a television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s feminist classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, was mooted, the key phrase attached was “with Elisabeth Moss playing the lead”. The 34-year-old’s involvement was a small but clear signal of reassurance to fans of the source material: this was an adaptation to trust.

Next Sunday, British fans will get a chance to judge whether their faith was well placed as The Handmaid’s Tale arrives on Channel 4. In the US, the series has been rapturously received, hailed by the New York Times as “unflinching, vital and scary as hell”.
The biggest plaudits, however, were saved for Moss, who plays Offred, the title’s handmaid and a woman reduced by a repressive and patriarchal society into sexual enslavement, her old name removed, her new one the signifier of her owner, making her literally Of-Fred. The Boston Globe was impressed: “With The Handmaid’s Tale, Moss establishes herself as one of TV’s best dramatic actresses.”
In truth, she’d done that already. Twice. As Peggy Olson, the dowdy Catholic secretary turned go-getting copy chief on Mad Men, Moss became the no-nonsense heroine for a generation of cable TV watchers. Then, with Mad Mencoming to an end, Moss ensured she would not be consumed by the role that defined her.

Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson in Mad Men
Photograph: Jaimie 

Going to New Zealand, she took the lead in Jane Campion’s bleak, bruising Top of the Lake, a dark, dense story about a violent, closed-off community, which returns for a second series this summer. Moss will again play troubled detective Robin Griffith, with Campion full of praise for her star: “She does a very Elisabeth Moss thing, which is… show strength and vulnerability at once, and also mystery.” Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner was more succinct, stating in a Guardian profile that the only two things you need to know about Moss were that she “never gives a bad take and is a rubbish drinker”. Small wonder New York magazine recently named her “the Queen of Peak TV”.

The down-to-earth and outwardly easy-going Moss prefers to play down the praise. “I wish I was super-serious, anguished. I see those actors and I am like, oh God, they are so cool and they seem so interesting,” she said. “I don’t take acting that seriously. I love my work but I do not think that I am saving the world... I am a Valley Girl.”
She wasn’t entirely joking, although beneath the sunny exterior lurks a more complicated soul. She was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1982 and grew up in Laurel Canyon. Her British father, Ron, was a jazz musician and music manager, her American mother, Linda, a harmonica player in blues bands. She and her younger brother, Derek, were raised in a relaxed environment where the arts had more value than a traditional education.

“My earliest memories are at the Blue Note in New York or backstage at different theatres or different clubs,” she told the Guardian. “We grew up with musicians coming over jamming. We had tons of instruments. So holidays were always like, 50 people would come over and there would be a jam session with everyone playing jazz. When I was 12 I didn’t know about Nirvana or Oasis or any of those people. I was listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Gershwin.”
There was, however, a strange wrinkle in this idyllic picture of bohemian freedom – the family were Scientologists and Moss, raised in the church, remains in it today. “I feel it has given me a sanity and a stability that I’m not sure I would necessarily have had,” she told the Times in 2010. In recent years, perhaps mindful of reputation (hers and the church’s), she has become more reticent about her religion: “I said what it meant to me and anyone can go and look at that if they want to know what I feel. But now it’s private, off limits.”
If Scientology and music were two crucial poles of her upbringing, the third, and in some ways most important, was ballet. As a child, she pursued dual careers, taking roles in commercials and made-for-TV movies while training as a dancer. At 15, she chose acting, noting it was the easier option. It was certainly the right one. By 17, she was playing the daughter of the president (Martin Sheen) in The West Wing; by 19, she had moved to New York to star in a play; at 23, having already been acting professionally for more than a decade, she was cast as Peggy in Mad Men.

“In my mind, there was something far more difficult than acting, which was either ballet or music,” she told the Independent in an attempt to explain why her work came so naturally to her. “You have to practise for hours every day. And that’s how you make it. That kind of discipline was very grounding.”
She is an actress of great control who can say a lot while seeming to do very little and whose performances Campion describes as “coming from the inside out”. Yet alongside this restraint comes a natural warmth, which makes even the most closed-off character appear sympathetic. It’s a skill that has stood her in particularly good stead on The Handmaid’s Tale, where Offred hides her resistance to the new regime behind the blank face she presents to the world. She can snap quickly out of a role once off stage and in the wings. “I barely hang on to it while we’re filming,” she admitted to New York magazine. “I am totally that person that they yell ‘cut’ and I’m making jokes and doing stupid stuff. It’s fake to me to be any other way.”
Away from the camera, she is relaxed and a little goofy with a reputation as a joker. “She’s not one of those actresses who is walking around with her headphones on listing to Nine Inch Nails to get into a scene,” Mark Duplass, who worked with her on The One I Love, told New York magazine. “She’s joking around causally and then you yell ‘action’ and her heartbeat goes up to 150 beats per minute.”

Elisabeth Moss starring in The Handmaid’s Tale

Having spent most of her life working, she admits to being occasionally emotionally naive; in an otherwise lighthearted Q&A, she stated that her biggest secret was “I tend to fall in love a little bit too easily sometimes”. A short, unhappy marriage to comedian Fred Armisen, which lasted less than a year amid reports that Armisen thought he was marrying Peggy Olson, not Elizabeth Moss, seems to highlight that truth. “Looking back, I feel like I was really young,” she told New York magazine. “It was extremely traumatic and awful and horrible. At the same time, it turned out for the best. I’m glad I’m not there. I’m glad it didn’t happen when I was 50. Like, that’s probably not going to happen again.”
Perhaps because of this she now prefers a quiet life, renting apartments in New York’s Upper West Side and West Hollywood, LA, and hanging out at a handful of familiar haunts. She says she prefers staying in watching TV to going out but is also a committed shopper. “Whenever she likes something, be it food or clothes or shoes, she orders heaps of it,” noted Campion. “I remember her apartment in New Zealand was piled with boxes. She does girly-girl very well.”
A self-described “card-carrying feminist”, Moss ran in trouble last month after appearing to suggest that The Handmaid’s Tale was a story about “human” rather than “women’s rights”. Always sensitive to perceptions, she was quick to clarify,stressing that she had merely wanted to highlight “the different problems we are facing – the infringements on a lot of different human rights OBVIOUSLY, all caps, it’s a feminist story”.
It was a rare misstep from a preternaturally poised actress and unlikely to be repeated in the near future.


Born Elisabeth Singleton Moss in Los Angeles, California, 24 July 1982. Her parents were both musicians and she was raised a Scientologist.
Best of times
As Mad Men’s Peggy Olson, she was nominated six times for a best actress Emmy. She has yet to win.
Worst of times
A whirlwind romance with Fred Armisen resulted in a marriage that collapsed in under a year.
What she says
“When someone puts up the gif of Peggy walking down the hall with the box and the cigarette and connects it to International Women’s Day or the Hillary Clinton campaign, I’m always like, ‘Damn, that’s so cool’.”
What they say
“She’s a little bit like a Mona Lisa. There’s a lot that she’s not showing you.”
Jane Campion

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Like a hook into an eye / Ten essential works by Margaret Atwood


The release of MaddAddam at the end of August only confirmed what many people already know. Already a legendary figure in the Canadian literary scene because of works like The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood has written dynamic works of poetry and fiction for about fifty years. They deal with the creation and maintaining of identity in worlds both isolated and oppressive. They turn sexist preconceptions on their head. They unabashedly challenge the very DNA of language. Here are ten of Atwood’s finest works. Let us know what you think!
1. The Edible Woman (1969)
Atwood’s first major novel introduced many of the themes that the author would deal with for decades. About a woman who loses touch with reality after her marriage, the title refers to her irrational belief that the foods around him are taking on human qualities. While not a wholly feminist text, it prefigures the stronger positions Atwood would take in the future.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Margaret Atwood / The Handmaid's Tale / Quotes

Margaret Atwood 
The Handmaid's Tale 

Margaret Atwood / Two Quotes

Margaret Atwood

by Margaret Atwood


The basic Female body comes with the following accessories: garter belt, panty-girdle, crinoline, camisole, bustle, brassiere, stomacher, chemise, virgin zone, spike heels, nose ring, veil, kid gloves, fishnet stockings, fichu, bandeau, Merry Widow, weepers, chokers, barrettes, bangles, beads, lorgnette, feather boa, basic black, compact, Lycra stretch one-piece with modesty panel, designer peignoir, flannel nightie, lace teddy, bed, head.

Men and Women

She even had a kind of special position among men: she was an exception, she fitted none of the categories they commonly used when talking about girls; she wasn't a cock-teaser, a cold fish, an easy lay or a sneaky bitch; she was an honorary person. She had grown to share their contempt for most women.





Egon Schiele by Tim Walker

Egon Schiele

By Tim Walker

Monday, September 18, 2017

Harry Dean Stanton / Gentleness, sensitivity, gallantry and painful masculinity

Harry Dean Stanton

Harry Dean Stanton: gentleness, sensitivity, gallantry and painful masculinity

After decades of supporting roles and character parts, the late Harry Dean Stanton’s legend suddenly came into focus in Paris, Texas

Peter Bradshaw
Saturday 16 September 2017 03.29 BST

It took a German director to notice one of cinema’s most iconic American faces: in 1984, when this actor was 58 years old. He had been there all along.
After decades of supporting roles and character parts, playing opposite the big stars and loyally showcasing their grandstanding with his own calm stillness and occasionally with his own beautiful singing voice, Harry Dean Stanton had become craggily gaunt in his ascetic handsomeness, like some Bergmanian pastor or the farmer in Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Harry Dean Stanton / 'Life? It's one big phantasmagoria'

Harry Dean Stanton

Harry Dean Stanton: 'Life? It's one big phantasmagoria'

The wine, the women, the song… The great Harry Dean Stanton talks to Sean O'Hagan about jogging with Dylan, Rebecca de Mornay leaving him for Tom Cruise and why Paris, Texas is his greatest film

Sean O'Hagan
Saturday 23 November 2013 20.00 GMT
arry Dean Stanton is singing "The Rose of Tralee". His wavering voice echoes across the rows of people gathered in the Village East cinema in New York, where a special screening of a new documentary about his life and work, Partly Fiction, has just finished. You can tell that the director, Sophie Huber, and the cinematographer, Seamus McGarvey, who are sitting beside him, are used to this sort of thing from Harry, but the rest of us are by turns delighted and a little bit nervous on his behalf. Now that he's 87, Stanton's voice is as unsteady as his gait, but he steers the old Irish ballad home in his inimitable manner and the audience responds with cheers and applause.

Harry Dean Stanton / A life in pictures

Harry Dean Stanton and Nastassja Kinski in 'Paris, Texas'

Harry Dean Stanton
A life in pictures

A Time For Killing, 1967
Harry Dean Stanton was born on 14 July 1926 in West Irvine, Kentucky. His screen career began in 1954 as he played cowboys and henchmen on TV, with bit parts in film

Harry Dean Stanton, cult American actor, dies aged 91

Harry Dean Stanton, cult American actor, dies aged 91

Prolific character actor, who appeared in scores of films including Paris, Texas, Alien, Repo Man and The Straight Story, died in an LA hospital on Friday

Andrew Pulver
Saturday 16 September 2017 10.25 BST

Harry Dean Stanton, the veteran American actor who ballasted generations of independent and cult films, has died aged 91. The subject of the late critic Roger Ebert’s “Stanton Walsh Rule” – “No movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad” – Stanton was famed for his ability to project his hangdog, laconic charm into minor roles, which ensured he worked continuously for over six decades. Directors who cast him include David Lynch, Sam Peckinpah, Ridley Scott, Alex Cox and Wim Wenders, but he was never nominated for an Oscar or any of the other principal acting awards.

Harry Dean Stanton (1926 - 2017)

Harry Dean Stanton

Harry Dean Stanton 


Harry Dean Stanton, one of the finest, most understated American screen actors of the past several decades died today of natural causes at the age of 91.
Stanton was probably best known for his roles as the prophet Roman Grant on the HBO series Big Love, as Molly Ringwald's dissolute dad in Pretty in Pink, as Brain in Escape From New York, as Saul/Paul in Last Temptation of Christ, and above all as Bud in Repo Man. Most recently, he turned up in the new season of David Lynch's Twin Peaks (he was also in Fire Walk With MeWild at Heart, and Inland Empire).