What is it about puppets that so fascinates us? From an early age, we come into contact with finger puppets, marionettes, or possibly even sock puppets. They introduce us to speech, interaction, and imagination. It’s no wonder they’ve been around since ancient times.
After a time, they are still amusing (just look at the popularity Jim Henson’s Muppets still carry), but we move on to other forms of entertainment. In this digital age, it is so easy to overlook those simple hand-operated characters that once held our attention indefinitely. Still, every once in a while, we see an innovation that sparks that old, child-like sense of wonder.
Meet Barnaby Dixon, YouTube host, animator, and, yes, puppeteer. Barnaby’s interest in animation started back in 2003 when a media center opened near his home. He focuses mainly on stop-motion animation, inspired by films such as The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wallace and Gromit, or The Nightmare Before Christmas. When he couldn’t get the shots he wanted, he knew he needed something to make the job easier. Thus, a puppet was born.
“It took some time to refine, and alterations may still be made,” he states on his YouTube channel. “But it’s at a stage now that I’m happy to show y’all.”
As you watch this, or one of his other videos, it is easy to see why he is passionate about his creations. The fluid movements of his puppet are quite mesmerizing. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and this maxim clearly holds true for Barnaby and his sidekick.
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In this week’s issue of People magazine, Burton says though it was “a different time” when he starred in the original 1977 series as Kunta Kinte, he’s “acutely aware” of the social implications of airing a remake in 2016, and hopes the show will create a deeper dialogue.
“I’m hoping we can create a conversation about race that is absent fear, anger, guilt and shame, and just deal honestly with what continues to hold us back.” he told the magazine. “This is an opportunity.”
Among those onboard to support Burton’s mission is Rev. Al. Sharpton, who has used his public platform — ranging from his national syndicated radio show to his MSNBC talk show, “PoliticsNation” — to help advance the conversation on the importance of “Roots” with viewers and listeners.
“If we can create the conversation, [Roots] will not only get a wide viewership, it will evolve the discussions about race,” Sharpton told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month. “Hopefully, from yelling at each other to really talking about the pain and what we’re going to do in the post-Obama era.”
For Burton avoiding the implications of racial profiling by law enforcement is a much needed skill he has shared with his son.
“I roll down my window, take my hands and put them on the door of the car, because I want that approaching officer to be as relaxed and comfortable as he can be,” Burton told People, “It’s a survival skill. Being a black man in America is still a dangerous experience. That’s simply a reality.”
Television writer Carla Lane, who created shows including 1980s Liverpool sitcom Bread, has died aged 87.
Lane, who was born in Liverpool and later became known for her animal rights activism, also wrote Butterflies and co-wrote The Liver Birds.
She died at Stapely Care Home on Tuesday, her family confirmed.
They paid tribute to her “quick wit, determination and passion” which “brought Liverpool to life on screen for others to share”.
The family said: “With heavy hearts we said goodbye to our darling Carla today.
“But with smiles on our faces we also take this opportunity to reflect on her incredible achievements all of which make us so unbelievably proud to be part of her family.”
Lane first became known for The Liver Birds, a sitcom which focused on the lives of two women who shared a flat together in Liverpool, co-writing and creating the programme with her friend and fellow Liverpudlian Myra Taylor.
The programme aired from 1969 to 1979 and returned for a one-off series in 1996.
Her next sitcom, Butterflies, which aired from 1978 to 1983, focused on the lives of the Parkinson family and helped launch the career of actor Nicholas Lyndhurst.
Lane then created and wrote Bread, which focused on the working class Boswell family as they struggled through the city’s high unemployment and poor prospects in the late 1980s. It aired for seven series between 1986 and 1991.
Much of her work focused on women’s lives and featured frustrated housewives and working class matriarchs.
She received an OBE for services to writing in 1989 but returned it to the then Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2002 in disgust at animal cruelty.
In 1995, Lane was given a Royal Television Society award for her Outstanding Contribution to British Television.
Lane later became known for looking after hundreds of rescue animals – running an animal sanctuary from her mansion in Horsted Keynes, Sussex, until 2009 – and was a close friend of Sir Paul McCartney’s late wife Linda.
“We used to sit on the lawn with our two puppies, kicking leaves, and looking at them. We were like two scientists trying to find out why people don’t like animals, and what we’d do to them, if we only could.”
Lane also had an animal sanctuary named after her.
Fran Ellis, founder and trustee at the Carla Lane Animals in Need Sanctuary in Melling, Merseyside, paid tribute to a “champion of animal welfare”.
“We changed the name of our charity to recognise the work done by this special lady. Her name will live on in all we do,” she said.
BBC entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba said Lane was someone that “understood people and that’s why she was able to write them so well… there was a real degree of honesty”.
Tributes have been paid to the comedy writer on Twitter.
Actress Melanie Hill, who played Aveline in Bread and starred in long-running school TV drama Waterloo Road, tweeted: “Very sad to hear #CarlaLane has left us. Writer and creator of many fantastic shows @BBCOne #bread #Aveline.”
Piers Morgan tweeted: “RIP Carla Lane, who made us all laugh.”
What are your memories of Carla Lane? Have you met her or worked with her? Email your experiences to email@example.com.
If you are happy to speak to a BBC journalist, please include a contact telephone number.
Jimelle Levon spent most of his childhood in a homeless shelter with his mother. At an early age, he understood the importance of hard work and determination. Levon is a young entrepreneur willing to do anything to get him and his mother out of their situation. “Me and my mother lived in a shelter before when I was in fifth grade,” Jimelle told WCMH. “From there on, once I hit sixth grade, I was always a hard worker, either shoveling the snow or anything to gain money because I didn’t want to be in the predicament anymore.”
The 18-year-old self-taught designer out of Columbus, Ohio designs and makes prom dresses by hand. The dress he made for his prom date was inspired by Vanessa Bell Calloway’s gold sequined dress that was featured in the 1988 movie Coming to America. According to Yahoo Style, Levon cut each gold leaf by hand and directly stitched it onto the sheer fabric that was covering his date.
You can visit his Instagram, jimellelevon, to see all of his stunning creations. He even has a website, where you can order your own dress.
Don’t forget to SHARE these gorgeous dresses with your friends and family!
All 120 Austin Reed stores will close by the end of June at the cost of 1,000 jobs, the administrator said.
AlixPartners said it would wind down the menswear retailer as no viable offers had been received for the business.
Austin Reed fell into administration last month, amid a “challenging” retail market and cashflow issues.
The collapse means that the 116-year-old brand could disappear from the High Street.
Peter Savile, joint administrator, said: “Despite a significant number of interested parties coming forward during this period, it became clear as the process progressed that a viable solution which kept the business whole was not forthcoming.
“As a result we have made the difficult decision to cease trading the business and commence a wind-down of the estate.”
Five Austin Reed concessions located in Boundary Mills outlet villages in the north of England have been sold to the owners of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, resulting in the transfer of 28 staff.
It also bought the Austin Reed and Country Casual brands.
Administrators may announce a sale of some BHS stores later this week.
Austin Reed’s website is no longer accepting new orders, but any purchases already placed will be despatched.
Gift vouchers can still be used in stores but not online.
The retailer’s sales had been falling in recent years, with analysts blaming a poorly designed website and “tired” stores.
Austin Reed was last listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2006, when it was taken private by an investment firm for 49m.
It started as a tailoring business in the City of London in 1900, selling off-the-rack suits that could pass as made-to-measure. The retailer once counted figures including Winston Churchill as customers.
Austin Reed had a concession on the transatlantic liner Queen Elizabeth and supplied clothing for special agents and resistance fighters during World War Two.