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The piece is a peon to Ted Hughes’ CROW but the reader is reminded in rhythm and rhyme quite quickly and emphatically of Dylan Thomas at the beginning of the loquacious locomotion of Max Porter’s GRIEF IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS.

The very title of part one of this Thomas tinted tome, A Lick of Night, conjures bible black habitat, but not with boat bobbing bays, more the interior landscape of the recently bereaved:-

“I felt like Earth in that extraordinary picture of the planet surrounded by a thick belt of space junk.” Continue reading GRIEF IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS

Traffic Jam Galleries Presents Works By Nicholas Daunt and Rebecca Pierce

Inset pic- Rebecca Pierce- THE SAILOR, Featured pic- Nicholas Daunt SUBURBIA

The current colourful and exciting exhibition at the Traffic Jam Galleries features the work of Nicholas Daunt and Rebecca Pierce.

Daunt’s beautiful series of large paintings, entitled ‘Undaunted Return “ demonstrates another jump and expansion in Daunt’s work.

Born in London, he studied here at what was then known as City Art Institute, (part of UNSW). Daunt has also lived in New Zealand and America and has exhibited internationally.

Now living in the Coffs Harbour region of NSW he is represented in public collections in Australia and in private collections worldwide. Continue reading Traffic Jam Galleries Presents Works By Nicholas Daunt and Rebecca Pierce


Mother and daughter sit down to chat- Grace Gummer and Patricia Clarkson
Mother and daughter sit down to chat- played by Grace Gummer and Patricia Clarkson

“Seat belt first” is a mantra repeated by driving instructor Darwin during LEARNING TO DRIVE  a new film from Spanish Director Isabel Coixet, but this gentle, funny film is not a wild ride.  It’s not BULLITT.  It’s an intimate, closeup look at mutual friendship which develops slowly from an accidental meeting of complete opposites.

Darwin (Ben Kingsley) is a Sikh driving instructor and taxi driver in New York.  That’s a pressure existence but Darwin is self-contained and overtly stress-free.  Into his cab gets Wendy (Patricia Clarkson) and her husband Ted (Jake Weber) and Ted chooses this moment to end the marriage leaving a bewildered, unbelieving Wendy for Darwin to drive her back to her now empty house. Continue reading LEARNING TO DRIVE

Willoughby Symphony: Myths and Legends @ The Concourse Chatswood

Inset pic- After interval, Solomon John Frank was awarded the winner of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra /Fine Music 102.5 Young Composer Award and then his piece Spectra was performed. Featured pic- Guest Soloist Ruben Palma.

The umbrella title for this latest sensational programme by the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra (WSO) was MYTHS AND LEGENDS.

Under the energetic emphatic and dynamic baton of maestro Stephen Mould we heard four pieces, one of which was by Solomon John Frank, the winner of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra /Fine Music 102.5 Young Composer Award.

The programme opened with a dazzling performance of Elena Kats-Chernin’s: Mythic that made you blink, sit up straight and pay intense attention. The work referred in particular to Kats-Chernin’s vision of ‘entering a large, mythic cave’. Her piece featured ominous, flowing strings and sharp, spiky woodwind. There were  hints of John William’s music for the Star Wars films and Stravinsky’s The Firebird. Continue reading Willoughby Symphony: Myths and Legends @ The Concourse Chatswood


ITW - Print-16

Inviting a reviewer to a preview is tricky. Anyone following the London Hamlet furore knows how horribly wrong it can go. People are exhausted, voices are tired, musicians are sore and techies are the walking dead. Writing a review about a preview is even trickier. What will naturally go wrong needs to be separated from what is endemically wrong?

And I hope I’m not wrong about this because I am about to write a glowing endorsement of Blacktown Theatre Company’s INTO THE WOODS at the Joan. I’m leaving out the plethora of things that the cast and crew are tweaking and adjusting and finishing off over the next 24 hours because the only thing a review reader needs to know is that this exuberant, colourful production is rich in concept and execution. I loved it warts and all. Continue reading BLACKTOWN THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS INTO THE WOODS @ THE JOAN, PENRITH


Matt Damon portrays an astronaut who faces seemingly insurmountable odds as he tries to find a way to subsist on a hostile planet.
Matt Damon portrays an astronaut who faces seemingly insurmountable odds as he tries to find a way to subsist on a hostile planet.

Matt Damon becomes the space age Robinson Crusoe when he is presumed dead and left behind on Mars and struggles to survive and get himself back home to earth in THE MARTIAN.

Based on Andy Weir’s 2011 novel of the same name and directed by sci fi auteur Ridley Scott who gave us Alien and Blade Runner, this is a film that has been best described as Apollo 13 meets Cast Away. Continue reading THE MARTIAN


AA44_TP_00035R (1)

It has become an obsession. For almost a century, people across around the world have sought to bring more adventure into their everyday lives by attempting to climb the highest and most dangerous place on Earth: Mount Everest. In 1953, two British mountaineers were the first to climb the peak of Everest.

Since then, it has attracted thousands to achieve the same, including Erik Weihenmayerthe, the only blind person to reach the summit of Everest.  Continue reading EVEREST


Adversaries: Ewen Leslie as Ivanov and Yalin Ozucelik as Doctor Lvov. Production photography by Brett Boardman
Adversaries: Ewen Leslie as Ivanov and Yalin Ozucelik as Doctor Lvov. Production photography by Brett Boardman

The focus of Chekhov’s plays are always his very human, colourful characters and how they face the often harsh winds of change that blow though their lives.

The hallmark of Eamon Flack’s impressive adaptation and production was the vivid portrayals of these characters by an excellent cast.  It was an engrossing two hours spending time in their company.

In  the lead,  Ewen Leslie cut a fiery, intense figure as the very troubled  Nikolai Ivanov. As a young, ambitious, highly intelligent, bookish man Nikolai  had great  plans for his life. Now he has struck middle-age, he’s broke,  his wife is ill and he has no idea where to turn. Leslie plays him as a Hamlet like forever thinking out loud, on the edge of a precipice. Continue reading ANTON CHEKHOV’S IVANOV @ BELVOIR STREET

Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing @ Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House

OTIS - Blake Erickson, Jay James-Moody, Rob Johnson, Nathan Farrow( pic Michael Francis)

Truth, justice and the American way– this Gershwin musical is, as they say, is as American as apple pie, Superman , the Brady Bunch–and in this case, not forgetting corn muffins!  The lyrics are at times very witty and Gershwin’s music is exuberant, but it is way over the top and superficial.

I think most of the problem lay with the ‘book’, which is extremely dated, of its time, misogynist and flimsy . A wickedly delightful satire the performances by the combined team of Squabbalogic and the Sydney Philharmonia Choir of this semi – staged extravaganza are stellar however the show was way too long and became tedious.

It is 1931. In a frantic US presidential campaign it is announced that the candidate , J.P. Wintergreen promises to marry the winner of a beauty contest, whoever is crowned Miss White House, but he falls in love instead with Mary, who is working on the Miss White House quest, because among other things she bakes delicious corn muffins.

Wintergreen is elected President but the winner of the Miss White House contest, Diana, takes both legal and political action, threatening an international incident when it is alleged she is an illegitimate descendant of Napoleon- cue delegations from the French Ambassador.  Wintergreen survives impeachment for breach of promise , Mary announces she is pregnant and then  has twins and Diana marries the bumbling vice-president. Some how, in 1932, this play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

There is just a long table, decorated with the American flag, and some tables and chairs and assorted hand props are used.

Gershwin’s score includes allusions to musicals of the era (eg ‘Showboat’ , ‘Oklahoma’) and there are hints of Gilbert and Sullivan patter songs too. Gershwin’s wonderful score is toe tappingly good.

Exuberant conductor Brett Weymark finely brought control of the singers/actors, an excellent chamber-sized orchestra and several galleries of the choir.

The wonderful choir of more than 200 folk was thrilling, acting as a chorus, commenting on events, Senate members, enthusiastic crowds and, at one point engaged in a  tightly choreographed exuberant dance/wave sequence.

Tall, dark and handsome David Berry looked perfect Presidential material and had a charismatic presence.

Courtney Glass plays his eventual wife Mary and is portrayed as intelligent, hard working , elegantly dressed and of-course she is expected to give up her job once she marries, becoming The Perfect Wife.  In her other roles as a clomping around maid and a scrubber woman,  Glass is almost unrecognizable.

Jaimie Leigh Johnson portrays her character, that of Miss White House winner, Diana, as a ruthless blonde bimbo. We mostly see her as a singing pink glittering Barbie like doll, or in Act 2 , in cahoots with the French Ambassador, as an over the top Marie Antoinette in a white dress with a huge headdress and hat. Johnson also does nice work in her other role, as dance leader, Miss Benson.

James Jay Moody who also directed the show has great fun stealing the show as Throttlebottom , the insignificant , almost invisible and appalling dressed Vice President. .His witty dialogue is delivered with impeccable comic timing. Will he get to become President ?

Nathan Farrow had great fun switching between his several roles, in particular that of Texan oil millionaire with a Stetson Gilhooley and the French Ambassador with a red beret and a small mustache mask.

Blake Erickson was magnificent in his assorted roles, effortlessly switching between them and leading the dancing at times .Rob Johnson in his various roles (eg Chief Justice ) was also terrific.

It is hard not to call to mind the Republican Party’s current embarrassments at this time when viewing this show.

This was a perhaps once in lifetime chance to catch a major but neglected musical .And here’s hoping that the wonderful Squabbalogic and the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs will collaborate on other shows in the future .

Running time 2 hours 45 minutes including one interval.

There were only two performance of OF THEE I SING, on the 26th and 27th September, at the Concert Hall , Sydney Opera House.

Australian Haydn Ensemble: Haydn’s Bravura @ Utzon Room Sydney Opera House

Soprano Celeste Lazarenko sang Haydn and Mozart.
Soprano Celeste Lazarenko sang Haydn and Mozart.

An energetic and enlightened example of a concert format from the late 18th century was welcomed heartily by the crowd attending HAYDN’S BRAVURA. The collaboration between the artistic director of the Australian Haydn Ensemble (AHE), Skye McIntosh and musical director Erin Helyard was dynamic as they led the ensemble with informed resolve and joyous music making in the Sydney Opera House’s Utzon Room.

In late eighteenth century style, this programme added continuo layers to embellish set standard formats such as the string quartet. Also, the Symphony No 102 by Joseph Haydn was not performed as a whole or even in order. Other music was interspersed between the movements in a ‘mash-up’ style to provide events with even more variety. Continue reading Australian Haydn Ensemble: Haydn’s Bravura @ Utzon Room Sydney Opera House

Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Sydney presents The Gondoliers @ Lyric Theatre Shore School

by Minh Huynh
Inset pic by Minh Huynh. Featured pic by Ray Wing Lun.

Don Alhambra del Bolero the Grand Inquisitor commands that you attend and greatly enjoy this effervescent production of THE GONDOLIERS by the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera, Sydney.

The silly plot of arguably one of the most loved G& S operettas can be briefly summarised as follows:-

The opera is set in 18th century Venice, and two dashing young gondoliers, brothers Marco & Giuseppe, who have been raised on thoroughly egalitarian principles, suddenly find themselves joint monarchs of an island kingdom called Barataria with very chaotic results!

Both newlyweds, they must leave their brides, Gianetta and Tessa behind in Venice until it is determined which of them is the true king who was secretly married in infancy to Casilda, the daughter of the penniless, eccentric Duke of Plazo, Toro.

Will the Grand Inquisitor discover who the real king is? What happens when the two husbands manage to acquire three wives?!

This production, directed by Gordon Costello with a deft touch, is sumptuously costumed.

In Act 1 we have the look of a Romantic ballet ( ‘Napoli’, ‘Giselle’ ) whilst in Act 2 there is more of a Mozart opera look.

Act 1 has a rather minimalist set with some doors and a few steps and a striking photo of Venice as a backdrop. Act 2 is a light, clear ‘palace’ set with a colourful, cartoon like throne.

The ensemble work was splendid and Elizabeth Lowrencev’s snazzy choreography was terrific, incorporating  musical, ballet and folk dance elements. The large production number of the Cachucha was enormous fun. Much attention was paid to Gilbert’s witty lyrics, and Sullivan’s lush, lilting, catchy music will make you feel like dancing in the aisles. Energetic and enthusiastic music conductor Rod Mounjed led well from the front.

As the two Gondoliers Marco and Giuseppe, Spencer Darby and Tristan Entwhistle were fabulous, in fine voice and a great, witty comic team. Their solos “Rising Early In the Morning and “ Take A Pair of Sparkling Eyes’ were tremendous.

The duets /quartets/quintets were terrifically performed and the showy solos were wonderful as well. Their wives, Gianetta and Tessa, were delightfully sung by Marisa Panzarin and Anne-Louise Finlayson who have much fun with songs such as ‘When A Merry Maiden Marries”.

Dean Sinclair as the Duke of Plaza Toro had great fun stealing all the scenes he was in. He strutted, puffed, danced very elegantly – especially in Act 2– and was wickedly delightful. In Act 2 he channeled his inner Sun King in an extraordinary gold and red outfit. His solos were terrific.

Stephanie Jennifer Poropat  was a wonderful Casilda. She sang divinely and looked beautiful in her red, pink and white outfit in Act 1 and  in a lovely green and white dress in Act 2.  She was in excellent voice and her arias were marvellous.

Catherine Bulfin had great fun as the overbearing Duchess of Plaza-Toro with some very striking heavily beaded and feathered, glittering costumes and with a huge ostrich feather fan in Act 2 .

As the rather sinister, pompous, sneering Grand Inquisitor, severely dressed in black, Anthony Mason was excellent, dominating the stage in his solos.

Luiz was delightfully played by Michael Bond. Tall, handsome and imposing, he looked tremendous in his drummer’s uniform in Act 1 and in his brief appearance in Act 2 he looked just like a storybook prince. His duets with Casilda were  terrific.

This was a delightful, enchanting performance of one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular operettas.

Running time:  2 hours and 50 minutes including one interval.

The production is currently playing at the Smith Auditorium Lyric Theatre, Shore School, William Street, North Sydney. The remaining performances are this Friday night 2nd October at 8pm, and this Saturday night 3rd October at 8pm as well as a matinee at 2pm. Bookings:    

The Culture @ Erskineville Town Hall

Image: Tom Robinson

There are a myriad of reasons why I want to live a long time and tonight a theatre piece has brought one of these screaming into sharp relief. I want to live in a future when the audience of THE CULTURE is coming to see a period drama. When themes of street harassment, domestic violence and homophobia are akin to watching the Ancient Greeks perform for the glory of Dionysus. Entertaining but irrelevant.

There are two theatrical throughlines to THE CULTURE. One is appealing to the intellect … information, anecdotes, quotes, facts and figures … all presented in a thought provoking, character based way. The other’s appeal is to the emotions. Continue reading The Culture @ Erskineville Town Hall


Nine - Legs Banner

Now in its 13th year of theatre making, The Sydney University Musical Theatre Ensemble (MUSE) is proud to return to the Seymour Centre to present the timeless classic NINE to Sydney theatre-goers once mor

NINE follows Guido Contini, an Italian film director who is facing a midlife crisis and a failing marriage. Set in early-1960’s Venice, nine explores Guido’s growing desperation as he navigates writers’ block and a web of romantic entanglements, all while trying to finish his latest film.

Inspired by Federico Fellini’s masterpiece film 8 1/2,   NINE received Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Score, and has been produced to great acclaim across the globe.

NINE’s celebration of love, creativity and what it means to ‘Be Italian’ resonates across generations and has cemented its place as a landmark piece of musical theatre that rewards all who see it.

The show is to be directed by Jonathon Rush, choreography by Natasha Hewyard and stars Douglas Emery in the lead role.

NINE will play the Reginald Theatre at the Seymour Centre between Wednesday 21st October and Saturday 24th October.

Sydney Arts Guide has one double pass to offer a lucky reader to the performance at the Seymour Centre on Thursday 22nd October. Be the first to email the Editor on- with NINE  GIVEWAY in the subject heading.

Prehistoric Aquarium @ Carriageworks

Erth_Prehisoric Aquarium.Kronosaur + kids

Erth and their puppets are back! Having been several times to visit Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo, we were looking forward to the latest incarnation.

Our host Drew- casually interacts with his audience as they settle. The target group, the younger audience, are encouraged to sit on the carpet area at the front before a ‘live’ giant screen that takes us into the prehistoric aquarium world.

Drew disarms and makes new friends. He is brightly coloured and his demeanour of the informal is also linked to his lack of real knowledge. Then as the show begins he is interrupted by Catherine the resident marine biologist to secure the facts. This attempt at layering the information is quite effective. Continue reading Prehistoric Aquarium @ Carriageworks

13: A New Musical @ Bryan Brown Theatre Bankstown

The cast of 13

AFAICR nevr come across 13 b4. AIAMU. Z0mg… Sg8.

Don’t speak teenager? Let me translate.

As far as I can recall, I have never come across 13 before. Am I am monkey’s uncle? Oh my god … so great.

I just saw Birdie Productions’ musical 13 at the Bryan Brown theatre in Bankstown and I am jiggie with it! FYI this is how it rolls.

12 year old New Yorker, Evan Goldman is ripped from the greatest city in the world by his getting-divorced Mom. He lands in a small town in Indiana on the eve of his Bar Mitzvah and is totally focused on getting in with the cool kids so that he will have a fantastic party. For the next 2 hours he makes every wrong choice available. Continue reading 13: A New Musical @ Bryan Brown Theatre Bankstown


Images of Rae Howell by Anne Skilbeck
Images of Rae Howell by Anne Skilbeck

Last Thursday evening  pianist Rae Howell performed a very pleasing concert at the warm, intimate Glebe venue.

Howell showcased pieces from her debut solo album INVISIBLE WILDERNESS: VOLUME 1 and VOLUME 2 which she has described as, “a collection of my solo piano compositions written over the past 15 years. Some pieces have grown from improvisations; and others through theatre productions, long lost recordings rediscovered, private commissions, maniacal rhythmic technical exercises, or are expressions of a time and place during music residencies or travels.”


BEING A DANCER by Lyndsey Winship


‘I’m obsessed and passionate, and it is my whole life, but it is only dancing.’ – Wayne McGregor.

 This is a very handy new reference book, one that you would probably dip in and out of rather than reading straight from cover to cover in one burst.

Hot off the press, it is a fascinating snapshot of the current UK dance world as all the experts interviewed live and work in the UK (including Australian Steven McRae ).

These experts coming from the assorted fields of South Asian dance, contemporary, classical ballet, music theatre and hip hop include  Carlos Acosta, Matthew Bourne, Teneisha Bonner, Darcey Bussell, Lauren Cuthbertson, Maxine Doyle, Tommy Franzén, Adam Garcia, Jonathan Goddard, Matthew Golding, Melissa Hamilton, Wayne McGregor, Steven McRae, Stephen Mear, Cassa Pancho, Seeta Patel, Arlene Phillips, Arthur Pita, Kate Prince, Matthew Rees, Tamara Rojo, Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy, Hofesh Shechter, Aaron Sillis and Marlon ‘Swoosh’ Wallen. Continue reading BEING A DANCER by Lyndsey Winship

The Fall Of The House Of Usher @ Pavilion Theatre Castle Hill


This adaptation by Jack Neary of the classic Edgar Allen Poe short story takes the challenging, haunting tale and re-invents it as a fast-moving 1930’s detective thriller, while still maintaining Poe’s basic story of family treachery and madness.

Director Paul Sztelma sets the scene for this dark tale in a dim sitting room complete with old family portraits, cobwebs, trails of smoke and candles. In front of this scene the play opens in the police interrogation room with tough New York detective Michael Shauhgnessy, played very convincingly, by Stephen Snars interrogating James Brookfield, an up-and-coming writer of crime novels from New York City. Continue reading The Fall Of The House Of Usher @ Pavilion Theatre Castle Hill


Jake Freeman interviewing Neighbours star Olympia Valance
Jake Freeman interviewing Neighbours star Olympia Valance


There was plenty of unique designs and dress ensembles that graced the red carpet at last Saturday’s 2015 Annual Fashion Aid Gala at the Crown Palladium in Melbourne.

Every year since its inception, eight years ago, Fashion Aid, supports and raises money for a different charity or foundation through fashion and entertainment. At this year’s event, all the proceeds will go to the Leukemia Foundation’s Building of Hope project. Continue reading FASHION AID 2015 @ CROWN PALLADIUM


Inset pic- Emcees Deborah Hutton and Richard Wilkins. Featured pic- Olivia Newton John and her husband
Inset pic- Emcees Deborah Hutton and Richard Wilkins. Featured pic- Olivia Newton John and her husband John Easterling

She is one of the most famous people in the world thanks to her starring roles in Grease and Xanadu.  

Now nearly three decades on and still looking younger than her age, a smiling and radiant Olivia Newton-John graced the red carpet with her husband John Easterling  by her side.

Olivia was in Melbourne celebrating and co-hosting her 3rd annual ONJ Gala which raises money, support and awareness for her Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre at the Austin Hospital Melbourne. Continue reading OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN GALA CHARITY EVENT


Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard and Levi Miller as Peter Pan in Pan

Peter Pan first flew into our imaginations in 1902 in The Little White Bird by J. M. Barrie. Since then, the story has been reproduced countless times in books, stage plays, radio dramas and cinema.

Peter Pan made its silver screen debut in the 1924 silent, black and white motion picture with actress Betty Bronson as the title character. Then there was the classic animated version by Disney in the early 1950s. Spielberg with his 1991 adaptation  gave us his take of a grown up Peter Pan lured back to Neverland by Captain Hook.

Joe Wright’s new take on the Pan tells the story of how a young Peter Pan first came to Neverland.    Continue reading PAN


Peter McRobbie, Ed Oxenbould and Deanna Dunagan in The Visit

By the age of 29, M. Night Shyamalan was already scouted as one the hottest directors in Hollywood. He had several of the highest grossing and most critically acclaimed films under his belt including, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs.

Shyamalan latest film, The Visit, which he directed, produced and wrote, followsthe “found-footage” film genre made popular by The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, Unfriended and Grave Encounters.

Aspiring filmmakers brother-sister duo Rebecca and Tyler, played by Australian Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould are sent to stay for a week with their grandparents, whom they’ve never met before. In the film’s opening, it is revealed that the children’s parents have split up. Their mother has been estranged from her parents for many years.

To make their vacation more memorable they choose to film a documentary about their visit. They experience and record all the oddities displayed by their grandparents.

What makes this movie differs from others in this genre is that it plays down on the horror element and focuses more on the suspense, plot twists, emotion and comedy.

THE VISIT  is now screening in cinemas.

Giles Bettison: Pattern and Perception


‘’To find order in nature and then to find where it interacts or is side by side with chaos – this I believe is where the real beauty lies “’ (Giles Bettison)

Part of a series of books showcasing the work of South Australian living artists, this is a lavishly, exquisitely illustrated medium to large coffee table book featuring the work of Giles Bettison. The book accompanies a major survey exhibition of his work in August 2015 at the Australian craft and design centre at the Jam Factory in Adelaide. This exhibition has only recently closed on the 12th September.

In the mid 1990’s Giles Bettison exploded onto the international glass scene as a young artist, having studied at the famed glass programme at the Australian National University in Canberra.

In 1999 he was honoured with the Urban Glass New York Award for New Talent and was chosen for representation by major private galleries in Europe and America.

Since the late 1990’s Bettison has exhibited most frequently overseas, his works in both private and public major collections. In 2004 Bettison returned from America to South Australia, where he re – established his studio in Adelaide.

His glass is represented in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, and in museum collections in America and Europe.

Bettison’s constant fascination with developing extremely complex chromatic patterns in glass is inspired by landscape and other sources in the visible world, including Japanese pottery, Australian Aboriginal art African textiles, Venetian lace and more.

Some of the work is quite pointillist and abstract. Bettison seeks to explore and engage the viewer’s perception of beauty at an intuitive sensory level. He has said, ‘Almost always, in everything, I aim for beauty and visual intrigue.’

His contemporary multi layered reworking of the ancient technique of murrine glass as a voice for his distinctive creative language has earned him international acclaim. In murrine Giles Bettison found an abstract glass language in which he could express his perceptions of beauty in everyday life.

Margaret Osborne’s insightful opening essay is fascinating and instructive, providing an overview of Bettison’s life and work and introducing us to various glass blowing technical terms and leaves us wanting more…

We learn about the various techniques, how Bettison is influenced by the landscape and the various series of works he has produced.

At the back of the book there is a very handy extensive chronology of Bettison’s work, a CV listing his group and solo works and there is also a bibliography.

Most of the book, however, is devoted to superb lavish, glowing full page illustrations of Bettison’s various works in luminous detail (some 118 illustrations in all).

At the beginning of the book there is a photo of him working and we have shots of the Billet, Lace, Paddock series and also an identifying listing for each of them, with technical information and where they have been exhibited.

Margot Osborne lives in Adelaide SA and is currently completing her PhD. She is a writer, art critic, curator and art historian and has written many articles as well as three other books.

Verdict. This is a sumptuous visual feast. A work to be savored and treasured.

Title: Giles Bettison : Pattern and Perception

Author: Margot Osborne

EAN: 9781743053812

ISBN: 1743053819

Publisher: Wakefield Press

Dimensions: 28 x 23.5 centimetres (1.18 kg)

Age Range: 15+ years


An invention of whom Ian Fleming would be proud, inheritance has been well and aptly bestowed upon Anthony Horowitz’s continuation James Bond novel, TRIGGER MORTIS.

TRIGGER MORTIS picks up immediately after Goldfinger, and finds Bond domestically ensconced with Pussy Galore. The relationship, however, is on the wane, the fag end of her heterosexual experiment and the beginning of his “desiring, but not wanting her.” Forget SPECTRE, it’s Bond’s borderline spectrum that works against him in pissing Pussy off.

It’s not the only hangover from the encounter with the villain with the name that sounded like a French nail varnish. When sent on assignment to thwart a SMERSH operation that was to smash up a British racing driving champion, Bond encounters a Korean, Sin Jai-Seong, aka Jason Sin, all the more deadly than Oddjob. Continue reading TRIGGER MORTIS


Featured pic- Monash Art Ensemble with guest artists\ Mark Helias and Dave Douglas. Inser pic- Legendary American bass player Mark Helias

The award winning Monash Art Ensemble, featuring Australian jazz icon Paul Grabowsky (piano), Rob Burke(saxophone) Jordan Murray (trombone) and Paul Williamson (trumpet), will be joined by acclaimed American musicians Mark Helias (bass) and Nasheet Waits (drums) for a one-off performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on Thursday 1 October at 7pm.

The concert celebrates the 50th anniversary of Monash University’s Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and is set to highlight the heavyweights of improvised music; Mark Helias and Nasheet Waits, considered archetypal improvisers on the New York scene, and the formidable free-wielding talents of the Monash Art Ensemble.

The Beyond Borders program features Mark Helias’ compositions as well as a new work from celebrated Australian born, New York City based pianist and composer, Barney McAll entitled Zephyrus Split: A Suite In Four Parts. This piece has been especially commissioned for the concert by Monash University.

Established in August 2012, the Monash Art Ensemble is a collaboration between the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and the Australian Art Orchestra. MAE acts to support the development of excellence in young Australian musicians, foster a culture of innovation amongst established Australian musicians and encourage community engagement with Australian musicians and music.

Since its inception, the ensemble has commissioned eight new Australian works including three award winning works, has collaborated with international musicians including George Lewis, Dave Douglas and Django Bates and has released two award-winning CDs.

Throughout his 30-year career, Yale School of Music graduate Mark Helias has performed with a panoply of world class artists including Edward Blackwell, Anthony Davis, Marcel Khalife and Gerry Hemingway. A prolific composer he has written music for two feature films as well as chamber pieces and large ensemble and big band works.

Nasheet Waits graduated from New York’s Long Island University with honours and has had many musical influences including renowned percussionist Michael Carvin, Max Roach and not the least, his father, legendary percussionist Frederick Waits. Nasheet has recorded and toured extensively in Africa, Europe, Japan, Canada, South America and the United States and lists one highlight of his tenure with Roach’s famed percussion ensemble M’BOOM performing with Tony Williams and Ginger Baker.

Barney McAll is the 2015 recipient of the Peggy Glanville-Hicks composer residency in Sydney. He has collaborated with many musicians including Dewey RedmanRoy AyersKenny GarrettMaceo ParkerAloe BlaccDaniel Merriweather and is currently, musical director for Australian vocalist Sia Furler.

From August to October, more than 200 musicians including leading international players, Australian icons, acclaimed alumni, staff and students have come together to make music in exciting and innovative ways. The program of over 30 concerts, including 18 free performances, celebrate Monash University’s Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music’s 50th anniversary.

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