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Baz Vibes - Five O'The Best

What's the betting that deckchair on the right is going to order that deckchair on the left go get the ice creams and 'stop being a whiny cow' - Bank holidays, huh

What's the betting that deckchair on the right is going to order that deckchair on the left go get the ice creams and 'stop being a whiny cow' - Bank holidays, huh

Hey Bazzers! Us here again, fresh-faced and sun kissed (ok, slightly sunburned) from that scorcher of a Bank Hol Weekend - and as the longer days encourage shorter sleeves, brightly coloured drinks and the fact that your mum says you can play out later, we thought with all the nonsense happening in the world currently, why not keep it positive with some of our Favourite Things we here at Team Baz have appreciated recently. So without further ado -five of our most favourite things we are digging this month. Lift up the red curtain! (well, not really, there isn't one, but work with us here) 

- Our Mates, Doing the Thing: Out BazPals always keep our dance card very full and brimming with excellence- and with fantastic works of music and theatre such as Laura Moody and the Phaedra Ensemble in their piece 'Medium' (link) there is always an embarrassment of riches from Baz collaborators and pals. And from our ADs too - as Sarah Bedi directed a celebration of the Bard with Globe Theatre players in 'Shakespeare Within the Abbey'. That is to say, Westminster. You know, just casually.

Rooftops, Courtyards and Banks: After a weekend such as this - a shock to the average theatre type, used as we are to working in a black box all day and not stepping outside until sundown. (Hang on...are we all vampires? Fully researched, intense blog to follow) This shock to the system has side affects that include- a sudden, uncalled-for abundance of pale skin, day drinking, lounging and generally 60% less theatre than usual. But with courtyards like Somerset House, housing the Courtauld Institute and Gallery and sculpture court (WITH FOUNTAINS), the small deckchair village that multiplies in front of the National Theatre, or various themed bars on painfully cool Hackney roofs, what choice do we have, really? Yeah, yeah no: we're just taking this to work outside.

Vegan Food: Yes, this can be a bit polarising, forgive us: but unusually, we have, in the Baz triumvirate a Vegan Majority (good name for a band) and majority rules, so. The good weather usually brings out good food stalls - but all year round Hackney Vegan Festival, LDN Vegan Nights and lunchtime vegan street stalls are becoming a common sight. Chuffed. But if you get bored of lettuce, word to the wise: Temple of Seitan do devilishly good Vegan Fast Food. Thank us later.

The Prominently Female Jury at Cannes This Year: Women and film have had a turbulent relationship since time immemorial - but really rocky recent times has not made it a friend to women. This year's jury at Cannes - where, a few years earlier, women weren't allowed into screenings wearing flat shoes -is made up of Cate Blanchett, Ava DuVernay, Lea Seydeux, Khadja Nin and Kristen Stewart. Oh, and a few token men. And it's not even for a female-only category! Progress, thy name is Cannes. Keep it up and maybe film can redeem itself. 

Childish Gambino's Track and Video 'This Is America: Put simply, when art does the thing. Part modern art and music video, this could potentially be installed in the Tate Modern, and featured in your dissertation. Art at its most provoking. 

Special mentions to the upcoming all-female Ocean's Eight film, avant-garde punk choreographer Michael Clark's latest stunning, Bowie-infused offering 'To a Simple Rock n Roll...song' is on iPlayer, starlet Zendaya turning up to the Met Gala and embracing the theme of Catholic imagination dressed as the most fashionable Joan of Arc we've ever seen, but most importantly -  Graeae Theatre Company's Sensibilty Festival in Birmingham coming up later this month, 18-20th May featuring work from D/deaf, blind and disabled artists - more info on their twitter @graeae

More as we get it, but sorry we have to go - a deckchair was just vacated. You get the ice creams, yeah?

Big love and Best,

Baz x

 

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The Bold and the Beautiful - Baz on Speaking Out

Hello, friends. We hope the changing season has treated you well, and we’re still very much excited about our week R&D-in’ with our fab crew and company a few weeks back - going through all the pics and notes has brought back some wonderful memories. It would be a lie however, to state we’ve been able to avoid upsetting and yet unsurprising headlines about our industry of late - something that mars all industry, in fact - and that with the changing seasons, winds of change are finally starting to lift up embedded lint - and though the results are upsetting and uncomfortable, we are so inspired by the bravery of these women and men speaking out.

Allegations and accusations were recently dredged up from the peat bog which is show business; some after decades, showing the long lasting effect and the collusion of cover up that’s dogged the arts and more particularly Hollyweird sleaze elite. And with it, a lot of raw unfettered emotion: anger and sadness at the variety and widespread nature of these actions, a sense of relief that it can at last be revealed and a nervousness about national response. It’s no secret that Britain has the worst news and print industry in the world, something exacerbated by a certain Australian mogul deciding to make himself an empire based on personal slander, misogyny and gross invasions of privacy. The thought to not believe a woman or a man’s accusation has been planted in our mind for decades, or at least to see her as an objectified image, or the more dangerous thought of ‘I can’t say anything’ intimidated by the famousness or power of the abuser to make others keep quiet or turn a blind eye.To no one’s surprise the tools that are meant to bring us together, that of “social media” have instead made us turn against each other and give a mouth-piece to people and views you could have otherwise happily lived your life never hearing. These voices are given free rein while Rose McGowan’s treatment, that of personal abuse, suspended twitter activity and now a conveniently timed accusation of drug use colludes in a ‘keep quiet’ culture that led us to this point in the first place.

To us, art and the arts are based on a trust - as a writer, performer and director, you share so much of yourself - your time, your effort, your skill, your self - and when this works, you fly. This is certainly what Baz has found, through both our methods and our practice of casting and enlisting talent and points of view of any race, culture or otherwise. When one of our would be actors comes in to audition, we want to let them know and assume this is a safe space where safety and freedom of expression is encouraged. These men have made that task difficult. It’s so insulting to us that a Westernised culture that objectifies women has infected the earnest work of producing good stories, entertaining and educating the world and inspiring people to act, write, sing, direct - that these perpetrators took that genuine craft and turned it into a quest for personal satisfaction is disgusting.

Baz obviously condemns the objectification, the misogyny of the arts, a depressingly common theme not only in 20th century theatre, but in these decades too - be it subtle or otherwise. Too often the female role is a nagging girlfriend or mother, a damsel in distress looking for a male saviour - or a prop to the male main character to be used now and then. That women still have to fight for better roles, we knew, but it’s only coming out now, how many other things they have to fight first. Baz is an all female run company and for sure in the Baz workplace you can ask anyone of a harrowing or uncomfortable experience they’ve been subjected to in the industry,  but of course it’s not confined to the arts, and is prevalent everywhere. It’s still early days, and though we’re, in situations such as these, encouraged to share and work through the experience, having it screamed from the headlines without care for those who could be triggered, highlights to us here at Baz just how multi-layered this issue is for us all -  Baz is relieved to see and hear more stories being told, and we are amazed at the strength of conviction and spirit of these men and women to break their silences, we are just as sorry however, that in order to do that, they must relive it. We’d like to thank them for that, wholeheartedly. All survivors, male or female, are finally getting a chance to be heard, and the world, that was darkened by these perpetrators, their accomplices and the industry covering it up is lightened slightly with every brave statement these survivors make.

We truly hope there is some salvation to be found for this industry we love, and we here at Baz, rest assured are here to support them, all women in the arts, and all men too- in all fields of work, everywhere: whatever role they play, and our dedication remains to tell human stories with equality, truth and care.

Thank you. Much love.

Baz xx

 

 

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Got The Whole World In her Hand - Doctor Who, for All

Baz is a-buzz - and much more than usual, given the vats of coffee we manage to drink here at Baz HQ - but our caffeinated buzz has been way overtaken by the news of the weekend. Doctor Who number 13 is a woman - and Jodie Whittaker to be precise. We are chuffed to something not mentionable before the watershed about such an important and well-loved character graduating, especially for the yoof, playing in the garden with their figurines as per usual, the only difference being the narration of “and then she runs back into the TARDIS…” and it’s surely for that image alone that we must embark on a spotlight for Jodie, the Doctor, and her Doctor. Warp thrusters are a go, people…

Yes, we here at Baz have *those* among us, those that consume tales of space and time travel like catnip, as well as the natural high that comes with any announcement of a woman cast in such a high-status role, huge swathes of us bazzers are pleased by unifying and unique reasons. At a basic level it signals a great new direction for TV casting in general - precious few are led by one woman alone, let alone in such a powerful role with the exception of the fantastic Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley and Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag - long live the 50/50 Era movement James Nesbitt championed at this past year’s BAFTA awards before presenting one to Sarah Lancashire- but in a much larger scope, this casting, it’s kind of genius. As Doctor Who fans we should be delighted with the new opportunities, new conversations this will bring to a show that’s been running for 50 years.

Firstly, let’s get this straight - Jodie is not cast in this role because she’s a woman - Chris Chibnall cast her in the role because she encapsulated his vision the best  - and that’s it. That just happens to be a fact alongside the long-held view the sky is blue. It has no impact on her ability to act, take on a role, or lead a show, so ‘Woman Doctor’- no thank you very much. New Actor Takes On Iconic Role, we’ll take that. Of course the media showed us its mucky, putrid underbelly with the usual suspects being implausible and yet predictably vile in its rags/chip paper -  safe and snug in their 15th century attitudes, with males taking to their keyboards to wail about “ruined childhoods” that ended, presumably officially, 30 years ago. But hey. Imagination. Sometimes it evades sci-fi fans. For the rest of us, very exciting days ahead (and way back, to the side, in a different galaxy) await.

Secondly, we’ll have to dip into the archives (oh no, really, etc - ok then) to see it’s not that surprising - despite the 12 male actors that have claimed the main role down the years, they have been outnumbered by far more women over its 50 years playing important and groundbreaking roles - you’re just as likely to see women in a blonde wig and union jack shirt, as Billie Piper’s Rose as a long coat and tie at Dr Who conventions. From the forward thinking, no nonsense, feminist companions of the 70s in Lis Sladen and Katy Manning, to the 80s counterpart, Sophie Aldred’s Tomboyish punk, Ace, to the modern women who’ve joined the often flawed alien on his travels, Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman, Catherine Tate and most recently, Pearl Mackie - all teaching the Doctor a little something themselves about modern lives and progressive attitudes. Of course, alongside the portrayal of strong willed and minded women aboard the TARDIS (for those not in the know, the Doctor’s spaceship of sorts) there’s been some excellent casting along the way with representation happening across the board - so a change like this was certainly in the offing.

So what about the 13th Doctor herself? What do we know about Jodie Whittaker, and what are the plans for her takeover? Well, we can’t predict the second part - and it’s fantastic to, for once, be excited to tune in on Saturdays, and see something you have certainly not seen before (oop, but our Dr Who Nerdy senses are tingling and getting us to add that Joanna Lumley once briefly played a memorable version of the Doctor in a Stephen Moffat-penned sketch of ‘99 for Comic Relief) but we do know Jodie is an incredible talent - and we notice looking back on her previous work: from her first role, a film straight out of Guildhall School Of Music and Drama, with Vanessa Redgrave and Peter O’Toole, through to various stage roles: a memorable Antigone at the National, an innocent bystander and fighter in monster film with a difference Attack The Block and most recently in Broadchurch as the grieving mother in Chris Chibnall, new Who showrunner’s hit. We notice that she has an incredible ability to get you on her side, a kind of everywoman you side for and instantly like, on top of some standout, gutful performances. And alongside a lot of our favourite actresses, comes from the school of powerful, top-notch actresses of the North: from the likes  Sarah Lancashire and Vicky McClure. And what else could you ask of your new hero, we ask you now - a likeable, talented, passionate human being. What else indeed. Oh and she’s a fan of house music and mashups - after listening to her recent Front Row interview she recommended the album co-produced by The Heritage Orchestra and Pete Tong, compete with live string plucking to the dance classic Insomnia, and we literally. Cannot. Stop. Dancing at our desk. So you know, that’s another big tick.

But lastly - we ask you, out there who are not sure, some even afraid of the change and what this means for the franchise - give it a chance, a whole chance and nothing but a chance- this truly was a long time coming, perhaps written in the stars. As 8th doctor Colin Baker tweeted “Change, my dears. And not a moment too soon.” Has this appointment been marred by negativity and name calling? Yes. Would that have happened if another WASP had been cast in the role - for once, possibly - as there was the strange phenomenon of public pressure on the Beeb to get its arse out of the 50s and, wielding their wand, fairy godmother that business and give us a Doctor for the 21st century we deserve.

Congratulations Jodie, history made.

With much love and support,

Baz x

P.S As per Jodie’s request, we attach the instant party starter- the hugely popular Ibiza Prom back in 2015. Rave on. x

 

 

 

 

 

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