The Clone Wars Continue.

Film Forces of Destiny, the Star Wars series of animated webisodes returns with a couple more stories set during The Clones Wars featuring the original cast. Neither of them really break canon but they're fun nonetheless:

With Rebels ending next year, can Disney please go back and complete The Clone Wars?

Lear Here.

TV The BBC has announced a King Lear for broadcast in 2018 starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson directed by Richard Eyre. Here are some of the other casting highlights:
"Emmy Award nominated Jim Carter (Downton Abbey, Cranford) takes the role of the Earl of Kent, Emmy Award winner Christopher Eccleston (The Leftovers, Thor: The Dark World) as Oswald, and Golden Globe nominee Tobias Menzies (Outlander, The Terror), plays the Duke of Cornwall. Anthony Calf (New Tricks, Riviera) plays the Duke of Albany and Karl Johnson (Wittgenstein, Rome) is set to play Lear’s loyal jester the Fool."
Interesting the BBC's own press release fails to notice this features a Doctor Who but hey ho. So that's Lear and Hamlet next year. Not to sound churlish (perish the thought) because both projects sound extraordinary and a few years ago under you know who the idea of having any classical drama on television was zero, but the variety of productions has dwindled again hasn't it?  Are the Roman plays ala The Hollow Crown still on the books?  No chance of an As You Like It soon?

Love Actually is £39.50, £49.50 or £65.

Film Angie Sammons on the new look Liverpool Confidential website notices that Love Actually will be playing at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool this Christmas (11th December) with a live orchestra, so you can hear the theme from Shakespeare in Love again in the same room which would be an attractive prospect if it was actually Shakespeare in Love. Lord is it expensive:
"With the best tickets in the house going for £65 a pop, you might want to consider taking your own flask of mulled wine and secreting a mince pie or two in your underparts to offset the cost. Or just wheel a trolley around the Aintree Asda any time after October 31 to hear Mariah Carey warble All I Want For Christmas, while reminding yourself never to attempt it's difficult vocal in any public place, especially on gin."
For £65 you could go and see six decent films at FACT. Or buy the whole of FRIENDS on blu-ray. Or a return ticket to practically anywhere in the country and visit the Christmas market.  Ironically, I'll be spending eight hours in London doing exactly that on the same day as the concert.  Shame.

Yes, you'll have also noticed that I'm mentioned in that article because of my enmity for this piteous two hours.  As ever. it's a bit weird seeing my surname used that newsy way which reminds me of school, where everyone was known by their family name.  But it's nice of Sammons to spread the word, try to save as many people as possible.

Ghost Train Station.

Travel For years the railway station at Canfranc on the French-Spanish border was considered a white elephant, a folly, despite its grand architecture and aims. The BBC offers a history of the curiosity and a change in its fortunes:
"It was one of the world's most opulent railway stations, sitting imposingly on the French-Spanish border - but then it fell into disrepair. Now, writes Chris Bockman, the building is showing new signs of life.

When they built the station at Canfranc, it was on a grand scale and with no expense spared. It had to be bold and modern - an architect's dream come true, built in iron and glass, complete with a hospital, restaurant and living quarters for customs officers from both France and Spain.

At the time it was nicknamed the "Titanic of the Mountains"."
I've often wondered what Exchange Station in Liverpool must have been like in its heyday. With Lime Street closing for nearly a month for refurbishment, it's a reminder that it's not always a good idea to have one mainline station in a city and what was lost when Exchange closed. Manchester has two.

Extra Time.

TV Danielle Sepulveres was Juliana Margolis's stand in on The Good Wife for five seasons. She writes for The Atlantic about how a temporary job became full time employment:
"I didn’t expect to do more than that (the hours on that movie set were long and involved a lot of sitting and waiting around), but when another “real” job offer fell through at the last minute, I signed up—in a fit of frustration—for an account on an industry casting site. It was temporary, I told myself. It would be the equivalent of an aspiring actress holding down a waitressing job, except in reverse. Rather then waiting tables in between scrambling off to auditions, I’d be wandering around in the background of 30 Rock episodes. Or playing a haughty party guest mingling at a Gossip Girl socialite shindig. Or dressed up as a Prohibition-era lady of the night and sitting on a gangster’s lap on Boardwalk Empire. (These are all things I ended up doing.)"
I had no idea that getting a SAG card was this involved.

Liverpool Vagabond.

Art Liverpool Biennial have announced the list of artist's for next years festival and in amongst the names is French New Wave director Agnes Varda, which is frankly amazing. They've also revealed the theme, which sounds much stricter than of late which will hopefully mean the festival has the greater focus of earlier years:
"The artistic concept and title for Beautiful world, where are you? derives from a 1788 poem by the German poet Friedrich Schiller, later set to music by Austrian composer Franz Schubert in 1819. The years between the composition of Schiller’s poem and Schubert’s song saw great upheaval and profound change in Europe, from the French Revolution to the fall of the Napoleonic Empire. Today the poem continues to suggest a world gripped by deep uncertainty; a world of social, political and environmental turmoil. It can be seen as a lament but also as an invitation to reconsider our past, advancing a new sense of beauty that might be shared in a more equitable way."
What I'd really like to see is less smushing around of the artworks, with all of an artist's work in one place either in their own space or a larger venue. The recent tendency to mix them together across venues has a diluting effect, especially if it isn't that strong to begin with. 

Notably, the list of venues doesn't include the usual derelict space due for demolition or refurbishment.  Although the Cunard Building was used successfully in the past, so maybe Blackburne House is going to fulfill the function of containing the "main" exhibition.

Art of the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Titles.

Film The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 titles are an example of how such things can be a vital and integral part of the overall experience of watching a film, especially the end titles which are like the after party for a main event, when everyone's lounging about listening to old records and chatting. Art of the Titles talks to Executive Creative Director Erin Sarofsky and Animation Supervisor Arslan Elver about their endeavours.
"It was a very heavily visual effects sequence. All the characters were shot against green screen doing their wire work, so really nothing was there. All that was there were the circular platforms that they were standing on, the orbs in the back, and the beast in very crude form — all of the main elements were in there. But they had the people cut out as they’re flying around and sometimes you still saw the wires. There were two shots that were pretty finished-looking because by that point the trailer was out. So those two little chunks were there, but even then they changed those shots — they were still working on them. Just because it’s in the trailer doesn’t mean it’s finished!"
I am Groot.