Patrick Stewart raves about ‘sensational’ Louvre Abu Dhabi

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Legendary actor Patrick Stewart took to the stage at the Dubai International Film Festival. (Arab News)
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Legendary actor Patrick Stewart took to the stage at the Dubai International Film Festival. (Arab News)
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Legendary actor Patrick Stewart took to the stage at the Dubai International Film Festival. (Arab News)
Updated 10 December 2017
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Patrick Stewart raves about ‘sensational’ Louvre Abu Dhabi

DUBAI: Legendary actor Patrick Stewart, known for iconic roles in some of film’s biggest franchises and his years in British theater, raved about his experience at the Louvre Abu Dhabi while on stage at the 14th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).
“We went to the Louvre in Abu Dhabi and if you have yet to see it — I know it’s only been open for a little more than three weeks — it’s sensational,” Stewart said. “The collection is good, but the way it is organized is what makes it unique — unlike any other gallery or museum I’ve been in.”
Stewart also had kind words about his third visit in the UAE, and the one in which he has been able to finally establish personal connections with the people of the country.
“There is such kindness, such generosity, such welcoming and modesty. We’ve enjoyed it immensely.”
Stewart is himself beloved audiences across the world for his portrayals of Captain Jean Luc Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and its subsequent films and Professor Charles Xavier of the “X-Men” film franchise.
A final goodbye, and a possible return
Earlier this year, Stewart portrayed Charles Xavier for the final time in “Logan” (2017), which was also the swan song for Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine. It was not until he finally saw the film on the big screen that he knew that this was the end, he told an enraptured DIFF audience.
“Hugh and I were sitting side by side and we were so moved by the last 15 to 20 minutes of the film. I still find it hard to watch the last 20 minutes. As the credits rolled, as Hugh gripped my hand, which he had taken about halfway through, as he was emotional as I was, I thought that there couldn’t be a better ‘au revoir’ to Charles Xavier than what I had witnessed. This was the perfect farewell to this franchise. At the next morning’s press conference, I announced, ‘me too, I’m done’.”
While Stewart has said his final goodbyes to X-Men, he also opened the door to returning to his other most famous role. It’s been more than 15 years since Stewart last played Star Trek’s beloved Captain Picard on the big screen. When the film series rebooted with a new cast and direction, many gave up hope that they would ever see the legendary actor helm the USS Enterprise again.
Stewart was quoted as late as Dec. 5 2017 saying he would never return to Star Trek. Now, something has changed his mind.
“I’ve recently heard whispers that a certain person by the name of Quentin Tarantino might be looking at some Star Trek ideas,” Stewart said “It seems improbable, doesn’t it? There’s no director on earth — yes I’d love to work with Steven Spielberg — but Tarantino is my hero. I so want to be in one of his movies. If he were to take a Tarantino-esque view of Star Trek, that might be interesting. I only recently heard these whispers.”
He would not, however, offer Tarantino any advice on how to approach the franchise.
“From my mouth, not a word. When there are masters around, I’m not going to dabble in directing. I’m going to let them get on with it. Hope they cast me!”
A look back at his younger self
Stewart was open, candid and personal with the Dubai audience, telling stories from his childhood and detailing his moments of self-doubt and the challenges he has faced in his years as an actor.
“My home life was chaotic and at times dangerous, but the stage, I found, from the moment I stepped onto it, was the safest place I had ever been,” Stewart said about his life growing up in a poor area in England. “This was for a number of reasons, none of which I knew at the time, but of course because of high class extensive therapy in Los Angeles, I know now what was going on.”
“In a play, there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is planned out, and rehearsed,” Stewart went on. “There is no chaos. There are not any surprises. It is all known and predictable. Also, on stage, I was not being Patrick Stewart, of whom I didn’t have a particularly high opinion. I was someone else. I so much more enjoyed being someone else than being Patrick Stewart. It’s something of a confession, but I have to say, I still feel the same way about what I do.”
The cinema was also a place for Stewart to escape, when he was young. “The houselights would come up and it was over, and I had to quickly struggle to wipe away my tears before I got up and went into the street. I didn’t want to go back there.”
The movie that changed his life was On the Waterfront (1954), which portrayed poverty much like that he grew up in.
“I didn’t know people made movies about me or families like mine. The world that those poor people in those tenements inhabited in On the Waterfront was not very far from my world. That’s when I had the enlightenment that cinema can also be about a world that is not fantasy, that is real and dark and painful and troubling. That was an important night in my life.”
Stewart finished with a plea to the audience to learn from the mistakes he made in his career by being too afraid to fail.
“I was actually hiding for years and years, hiding because I was either afraid or didn’t believe that I had anything personal to contribute. I always listened to everybody else,” Stewart confessed.
Stewart only stopped being afraid of failure 15-20 years ago, he said.
“Now, I am so fascinated by acting as a process of inner revelation, of the emotions and feelings being my own. I’m excited about anything that anybody asks me to do, because I can explore even further this personal, private, inner life, which I can share.”


A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, ‘We want beards’

Updated 20 July 2018
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A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, ‘We want beards’

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island: Now that women in the Navy can wear ponytails, men want beards.
The Navy said last week that servicewomen could sport ponytails, lock hairstyles, or ropelike strands, and wider hair buns, reversing a policy that long forbade females from letting their hair down.
Servicemen immediately chimed in on social media, asking the Navy if they could grow beards. A sailor’s Facebook post with a #WeWantBeards hashtag was shared thousands of times.
Beards were banned in 1984. The Navy wanted professional-looking sailors who could wear firefighting masks and breathing apparatuses without interference.
The Navy says that’s still the case. Still, some hope the change in female grooming standards opens the door.
Travis Rader, a 29-year-old naval physical security officer, said allowing beards would boost morale for men, just like allowing ponytails and locks has for women. There are two things that would make many Navy men happy: beards and better boots, he added.
Rader had a 6-inch-long beard when he joined the Navy after high school.
“You take something away from somebody, and they want it more,” said Rader, a master-at-arms assigned to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City.
The Navy announced it was adding grooming options for women during a Facebook Live event. Many black women had asked the Navy to be more inclusive of different hair textures. The Navy had the standards in place because of safety concerns and to ensure everyone maintained a uniform, professional look.
Rader was one of several sailors who wrote in the comments section of the Facebook Live event to press for beards. Bill Williams, a 20-year-old naval information systems technician, commented too, asking why sailors can’t have beards if bearded civilian firefighters wear masks.
Williams said he thinks a nice, well-groomed beard looks very professional.
“It’d be great because I know that when I shave for multiple days in a row, it starts to really hurt,” said Williams, who works at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Hampton Roads in Virginia.
Sailors can get permission to grow a beard for religious reasons or if they have a skin condition that’s irritated by shaving. Mustaches are allowed as long as they are trimmed and neat.
“Handlebar mustaches, goatees, beards or eccentricities are not permitted,” the policy states. The Navy isn’t currently considering changing that.
Safety continues to be the primary concern, said Lt. J.G. Stuart Phillips, a spokesman for the chief of naval personnel. He referenced a 2016 study by the Naval Safety Center, which concluded that facial hair affects the proper fit and performance of respirators.