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John Legend (#110 of 3)

On Location Downton Abbey‘s Highclere Castle

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On Location: Downton Abbey’s Highclere Castle
On Location: Downton Abbey’s Highclere Castle

Along with the tail end of Lord Grantham’s (Hugh Bonneville) faithful Labrador, Isis, it appears at the start of the opening credits of each Downton Abbey episode: That spectacular English manse that gives the series its name. In real life, the home of the well-to-do Crawley family and their entourage of servants is Highclere Castle, and it rests in Hampshire, on England’s southern coast. The Jacobethan centerpiece of a 1,000-acre estate, Highclere offers a setting of seemingly limitless shooting potential, with baroque state rooms, hallways, and pristinely primped courtyards ready to house all manner of high-society intrigue. On the hit show, created by Julian Fellowes (who also scripted Robert Altman’s Gosford Park), characters regard the home as a bona fide entity, as if those regal archways and amply-adorned walls could actually breathe. It’s an age-old cliché, but the estate is very much its own character on Downton Abbey, and moreover, it’s the character that unites all others. Of course, it serves as the embodiment of the ever-looming issue of Lord Grantham’s heir, representative of all that’s to be gained by whomever carries on the Crawley lineage. But it’s also the common ground between the aristocrats and the help, as all see the good of the house as the greater good. Downton is, to an extent, its own nation, with devoted citizens both upstairs and down.

New York Fashion Week: Fall 2007

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New York Fashion Week: Fall 2007
New York Fashion Week: Fall 2007

In the immortal words of topless-model-turned-’80s-pop-star Sam Fox (who, according to a source not so close to the singer, is a total lesbian), it’s hard to keep a good woman down, but, then again, maybe that could be fun! In other words, it’s me again, Alexa Camp, and I’m back from my extended vacation. Yes, I’m fashionably late, and I’m not just talking about my period. No, I wasn’t preggers (at least not that often, and not for long) and I wasn’t in South America getting cheap massive reconstructive surgery. It’s just that with Slant getting a hot makeover (the purple was my idea, thankyouverymuch) there hasn’t been much room for Auntie Alexa. My inbox was stuffed with emails from all of my pretty babies asking where I’ve been and you know how I hate to disappoint my public. So now that I’m back I’ve thrown myself into contract renegotiations. I guess I’m the Rosie O’Donnell of the Internet. I told the boys at Slant that I wanted my own section with fuscia background and purple text, a fuzzy Hello Kitty Trapper Keeper, a year’s supply of SmartWater, and a 25% stake in the magazine. They said I could relaunch my Letters From Camp column in the blog, limited my entries to once a week, and offered me a glass from the tap. But whatev. I’m not hard to please.