TEN DOUBLE PASSES TO THE NEW IRANIAN FILM ‘THE SALESMAN’

 

Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi’s award-winning feature film, THE SALESMAN, tells the story of Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), actors playing the roles of husband and wife in a Tehran production of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.

They are also husband and wife off-stage, sharing an apartment that is devastated by an earthquake.

Forced to move, a tragic incident changes their lives in ways they could never have predicted.

THE SALESMAN has been described as a powerful social critique that touches on themes of family, gender, and the chilling psychology of vengeance.

The film will be released nationally on March 9.

Sydney Arts Guide has ten in season double passes to give away. Be one of the first to email editor.sydneyartsguide@gmail.com.

Please provide your postal address in the body of the email. Winners will first be advised by email.

PARIS OPERA BALLET MAGNIFICENT REVIVAL OF NUREYEV’S ‘SWAN LAKE’

If you want to see pure, dazzling, practically perfect classical ballet technique danced superbly then this screening is for you.

The Paris Opera Ballet’s revival of  Nureyev’s SWAN LAKE is superb. The production choreographed by Nureyev was first presented at the Paris Opera Ballet in 1984 and previously last seen in 2011.  This screening was of the performance that took place at the Opera Bastille in Paris on the 8th December 2016.

Nureyev’s rather Freudian version is presented as if it is the main characters Siegfried’s dying dream,  controlled by Wolfgang, his tutor, who in Siegfried’s mind becomes the mysterious, malevolent Rothbart. The orchestra, under maestro Vello Pahn, plays superbly .

For the scenes in the palace there are clean , elegant lines of doorways and for the lakeside ‘white’ scenes there is  a rather Turner like ominous landscape. Continue reading PARIS OPERA BALLET MAGNIFICENT REVIVAL OF NUREYEV’S ‘SWAN LAKE’

KOSHER THEATRESPORTS 2017 : MORE LAUGHS THAN YOU CAN POKE A SHTICK AT

More laughs than you can poke a shtick at…more colours than you can put in a rainbow…more clowning than you will see at a circus…yes, it was all happening folks last night when Kosher Theatresports 2017, with the umbrella title Surfin’ Safari On The Chai Seas,played to a near capacity house, including a few Rabbis, at the Bondi Pav.

Five teams with hip names competed for the trophy, cleverly named the Kiddush Cup,each bearing a quirky name – SURFIN’ SEPHARDI – Jon Williams, Dave Bloustien and Joel Goodman, NIPPERS MIT KIPPERS – Dave Callan, Mack Callan and Liz Hovey, SLIP SLOP SHLEP – Adaya Turkia, Dave Borowski and Oliver Burton, THE BEACH GOYS – John Knowles, Matthew Friedman, Philip Feinstein and Scott Brown, JUDAH MACCABEACH – Michael Gregory, Jordan Gregory, Liora Baram and Paul Baram.

Three judges, each well versed in all things theatrical, Lyn Pierse, known as the Godmother of Australian Theatresports, cabaret artist and performer Joanne Weinberg and actor and director Tanya Goldberg, held up their scorecards- marking the performances from one to five with five being funtastic,

Overseeing all the frivolity was the zany emcee Ewan Campbell and an ebullient Geoff Sirmai was the all important timekeeper.

The skits ran fast,furious and funny and before you could say ‘Find Your Ending’, the show’s had indeed come to a close. The winner of the coveted Kiddush trophy were Surfin’ Sephardi, decided after a hilarious tiebreak.

In the other award categories,David Callan won Best and Fairest, Adaya Turkia was Rookie Of The Year, and Moment of the Match was won by the Judah Maccabeach group’s skit ‘Death and Resurrection by Meds’.

Actually, on the night, everybody was a star, from the zany performers, to keyboardist Benny Davis’ wonderful musical accompaniment, to Daniel and Clem running back and forth across the stage throwing missile lollies and chocolates into the audience, and to the lighting man working hard up the back, Daniel O’Shea.

Kosher Theatresports, you were absent too long – some three years- make sure that you come back again next year.

All photos by Ben Apfelbaum (c).

THE TESTAMENT OF MARY @ WHARF 1 SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY

When the lights come up on The Testament of Mary the audience is confronted with a traditional Catholic scene, Mary surrounded by candles with lamb in arms. The steps leading to this very iconic image resemble an altar , which is stunning in an understated style, yet the foreground of the stage is roped off with velvet cord draping languidly between the bollards: it is the church as a museum piece, a quaint antiquity. Then the edifice crumbles as Mary swiftly jettisons the props that have become a part of her legacy, a legacy which playwright Colm Tóibín revises from the safe distance of the ‘collapsed’ Catholic. Continue reading THE TESTAMENT OF MARY @ WHARF 1 SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY

THE MYSTERY OF LOVE AND SEX @ THE ETERNITY PLAYHOUSE DARLINGHURST

I am a romantic at heart. It was the case that I was always going to go and see this new production. It was made even more appealing  when it was announced that the play would open on Valentine’s Day,

This was a play, appropriately, with a big heart. American playwright Bathsheba Doran has a lot of love for her four characters, their foibles, confusions, adventures.

First we meet Charlotte and Jonny. They have been best friends since they were nine, and now are in their early twenties. Charlotte is white and Jewish, Jonny is black and Baptist.

The playwright, interestingly, catches their friendship on the cusp of change. After so many years it now has to find a different form for it to survive. Continue reading THE MYSTERY OF LOVE AND SEX @ THE ETERNITY PLAYHOUSE DARLINGHURST

THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY : A MARVELLOUSLY COHESIVE PRODUCTION BY SIREN THEATRE COMPANY

Nothing is as it seems in THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY. From the obscuring haze of thick smoke as we enter the theatre to the delicately constructed dance of death that concludes the work, people and events are viewed through a glass darkly. A mirror, a lens, a dirty window pane perhaps. There is an obstinate obfuscation in Lachlan Philpott’s text and Director Kate Gaul has successfully pulled the story from the page without exposing it to the full light. Like the magnesium flashpowder of the antique photographer’s T which will give light to a sepia photograph, there are puffs of understanding dispersed in a stillness of wondering.

THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY is a highly theatrical interpretation of a true story. Harry Crawford was arrested in July 1920 for the October 1917 murder of his wife, Annie. Her charred remains had been found near the Lane Cove River at Chatswood where she and Harry had been picnicking. When taken to the police station, Harry asked to be taken to the female cells and it was revealed that he was in fact Eugenia Falleni, assigned female at birth. Harry had been living as cisgender man since he had run away to sea as a very young person.

The image on Siren CT’s poster is from the Historic Houses Trust held mugshot and there have been exhibitions and articles, books and podcasts about the case in our own time. But it is the morbid curiosity, malice and prurient interest of the public at the time of Harry’s trial that allows us so many records about the case. Continue reading THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY : A MARVELLOUSLY COHESIVE PRODUCTION BY SIREN THEATRE COMPANY

LILLIAN HELLMAN’S ‘THE LITTLE FOXES’ @ THE GUILD THEATRE ROCKDALE

American playwright Lillian Hellman’s THE LITTLE FOXES is set in the early 20th Century in the deep south of America. Rapid industrialisation is sweeping the country.

The little foxes of the title are the members of the Hubbard family. They are offered a business deal of a lifetime, rapid industrialisation is taking place and the family has the opportunity to ‘industrialise’ their large cotton plantation and reap the profits. The family need to fund the deal and do so by both legal and illegal means. Bitter in-fighting takes place as the pressure builds and the family begins to implode.

It is a cold, difficult world that Hellman depicts. Interestingly, Hellman had the idea for the play from observing the tough business practices that took place within her own family! Continue reading LILLIAN HELLMAN’S ‘THE LITTLE FOXES’ @ THE GUILD THEATRE ROCKDALE

T2 TRAINSPOTTING : AN IMPRESSIVE SEQUEL

First there is opportunity, then there is betrayal. This the repeated refrain of TRAINSPOTTING 2, a sequel that is not skeletal like so many sequels are.

There’s meat on the bones and dramatic marrow as well as the band get back together twenty years later to deal with old wounds and then largely fuck up all over again.

First there is opportunity to recapture the rapture of the original film, reuniting director Danny Boyle, screenwriter John Hodge, source author Irvine Welsh and most of the original cast. Then there is betrayal of the fans who count Trainspotting as a seminal film of the twilight of the Twentieth Century.

Marvellously, the opportunity is not betrayed, and T2 is a sequel among equals.
The film gets off to a sly start with ex junkie, Renton, now a gym junkie, tread-milling his way to cardio overdose. Continue reading T2 TRAINSPOTTING : AN IMPRESSIVE SEQUEL

BRAZIL DREAMING ON A SYDNEY SUMMER’S DAY

 

ARTIST STATEMENT –  FLAVIA JULIUS

I was born and grew up in São Paulo, an extremely busy city, full of contrasts. I have always loved to wander around the old downtown, amongst high rises, noisy traffic and people from all walks of life.

Bossa Nova is forever the rhythm that calms me down; and samba is in my blood. Maybe in a past life I lived in Africa. Drums hypnotise me, and Carnival is a sublime elation.

I wish Brazil did not have the major social inequality it does. There´s a lot of suffering around, but funnily enough through suffering huge creativity flourishes. Natural beauty and an aura of excitement: even in its dull moments, Brazil is a party place, where you can have fun and find love.

Speaking about love! I met my Aussie husband on the Amazon, and yes, it was true love! I moved to Sydney, which quickly turned into another passion.

Aboriginal art and culture became an inspiration as much as Indigenous and African culture were inspirations in Brazil.

My soul is forever divided by my original and new roots, however through painting I feel complete, I´m able to connect my two beloved countries, or indeed all the amazing places I have visited around this planet, and the ones I hope to see in the future.

When I can´t travel physically, I travel through my art.

On this particular trip, I couldn´t go anywhere else but deep into Brazil. It´s a combination of art, design, nature, culture, music, people, the spiritual, the raw and the mundane. It´s Brazilian Dreaming.

.Flavia is extending an invitation to readers to see her exhibition on display at the Penny Farthing Design House, 51 Darling Street, East Balmain from the 3-11 March.

For more about brazilian dreaming, visit https://www.pennyfarthingdh.com.au
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Featured image – Brazilian/Australian artist Flavia Julius at work.

MARK LANGHAM’S ‘BIG CROW’ @ ACTOR’S PULSE THEATRE, REDFERN

Mark Langham’s new play BIG CROW flies into the intimate Actors Pulse Theatre next Tuesday night for a short season.

Langham’s play, loosely based on a true story, is set in the early 1930’s and sees two young Londoners ground down by poverty, Tommy and Albie, being offered a spur of the moment trip to Australia.

No sooner had they landed that they are taken to work as virtual slaves on a huge station, completely at the mercy of the station owner Roy, a man who’s life has been a stream of disappointments.

Tommy is a weasel; swift, cunning and potentially fatal. Albie could crush you with his kindness, but only if Tommy told him to… and their desperation has led them to a decision – they’re going to kill Roy. Roy’s wife and daughter disturb the murder but are far more interested in watching than saving him. The murder is put on hold and a dialogue begins. Continue reading MARK LANGHAM’S ‘BIG CROW’ @ ACTOR’S PULSE THEATRE, REDFERN

AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : MURDER AND REDEMPTION @ CITY RECITAL HALL

 

Featured image – Guest violinist Pekka Kuusisto.

This was not your standard Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) concert, but as always it featured absolutely superb playing by the ACO who were in inspired form and dynamically led by the charismatic, bouncing, at times close to dancing guest violinist Pekka Kuusisto, who has taken the place of Richard Tognetti, who is currently in residence at the Barbican in London. (The ACO will play at the Barbican next month).

The concert was divided into two halves,as befits the concert’s title. There was a fascinating blend and contrast of blues grass folk songs sung and played on guitar and banjo by  guest artist Sam Amidon, with a turbulent, passionate Janacek piece (his first string quartet, The Kreutzer Sonata, as well as a dazzling version of a John Adams work entitled, Shaker Loops (1947) .

In the first half, Murder, the turbulent , at times quite spiky Janacek piece was magnificently played by the ACO. The wprk was inspired by the Tolstoy novella of the same name. At one time there was a stormy argument between sections of the orchestra tensely, breathlessly played, and this was contrasted with more melancholic and reflective sections .

Amidon’s folk songs, played in both halves, appeared at first to be simple tunes but then proved to be more complex. In the first half, in the work Way Go Lily, there were rippling flowing rhythms.  How Come That Blood featured a fluid, clip clop almost galloping rhythm – Amidon on banjo , the orchestra accompanying him, and there was an interesting use of pizzicato.

For the first half the songs were arranged by Nico Muhly.  Amidon’s rough hewn, sincere vocal style gave his retelling of these folk songs a powerful punch.  Amidon’s raw playing contrasted with the more refined tomes of the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

The Redemption set opening the second half was a selection of songs performed by Amidon and Kuusisto alone, in a delightfully intimate yet casual and relaxed manner. This contrasted with, and allowed some relief, from the darker subject matter of the program’s first half.

Kuusisto treated his violin more like a folk fiddler, and occasionally joined his voice to Amidon’s in a delightful performance that also included a showy violin solo.

This half also featured an acapella like, haunting and powerful version of Brackett’s Simple Gifts, (the most famous hymn of the Shaker sect) as sung by Amidon.

John Adams work Shaker Loops was rich and multi layered and featured an aching ‘centre’. At times, the piece evoked the ‘music of the spheres’, shimmering and delicate, at other the playing was strident, with bubbling violins and  cellos rumbling underneath.

This was a dazzling concert with a running time of two  hours and ten minutes.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra’s toured the concert  MURDER AND REDEMPTION nationally between the 2nd and 14th February.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra in Murder and Redemption was on national tour February 2 -14

https://www.aco.com.au

SHORT+SWEET 2017 TOP 80 : WEEK SIX @ THE DEPOT THEATRE

Live theatre is the best medicine, and Short + Sweet is my favourite time of year, with eight brand new plays this week, interesting and moving and resonating. Well chosen selection of emotional and thought provoking themes with chess, drama, satire, comedy and dance. Quite impossible to pick just the one winner.

(1) – Broadband Blues

Written and Directed by Geoff McCubbin

Cast: David Humphrey, Fran Bosly-Craft, Mark Smith, Anton Baggerman

Broadband Blues
Broadband Blues

Each NBN company provides rhyming verse constant comedy delight, as both Wilma and Fred try to get each NBN company to actually provide a human being to answer the telephone. You would have to be absolutely crazy to sign up with the NBN. Of course there is no support, and there never is any offer of competitive pricing, because every company that is not Telstra, offer the exact same price, for the exact same deal.

(2) – Compos Mentis

Written by Marilyn Millstone / Directed by Patrick Matijevic

Cast: Aileen Beale, Graham Egan and Denise Kitching

Compos Mentis
Compos Mentis

We visit Silver Glades Senior Living, nine minutes of excellent comedy ensues, full of guile, as both Robert and Alese deliberately fail the induction interview.

(3) – The Last

Written by Bokkie Robertson / Directed by Chantelle Corbet

Cast: Alex Hatz and Milica Pajic

The Last
The Last

Nuclear winter following nuclear war, drama as there is now only one human being still alive on Planet Earth, and he enters into a lively conversation and emotional reflection, with the soon to be unemployed “Grim Reaper”.

(4) – Out of the Woods

ITC Presented by Everyday Monster

Starring / Written / Directed by Brenton Amies and Cam Ralph

Out of the Woods
Out of the Woods

Incredible dark comedy, of two former Children’s Television Hosts who were “Hooly Dooly”, now meet to resolve their past issues. However one actor has unresolved anger management issues, and is still costumed and still speaking as “The Fluffy Bear” and many other bizarre issues urgently need to be addressed.

(5) – Freestyle Pawn Stars

ITC Presented by e4 Productions

Written by Keegan Fisher, Jake Izzy, Julz Larson and Ziggy Tockuss / Directed by Dudley Levell

Cast: Keegan Fisher, Jake Izzy, Julz Larson, Ziggy Tockuss and Mark Longhurst

Freestyle Pawn Stars
Freestyle Pawn Stars

Audience participation, the play was an impressive chess game with completely improvised and clever hip hop rap infused dialogue. Every night the brave cast risks all, by randomly trying to find someone from the audience who admits to playing the game of chess. Opening Night volunteer Karl was given black, and chose each of his moves quite badly, to quickly find himself on the losing side in a very fast checkmate, via witty rhythm, rhyme, riffs and freestyle rap. Heaps of applause, a fresh delight that was interesting and precocious, and resonated with the audience.

(6) – My Name is Lucinda

ITC Presented by Backstage Pass

Written and Directed by Lisa Kelaher

My Name is Lucinda
My Name is Lucinda

Margareta Moir stars as Catherine, telling a perfectly structured, short story monologue all about her life. As a child the simplicity of Catherine the introvert, enjoying all those John Wayne westerns of daytime television, and she decides her life is so much better as the driven “Wild West” extrovert Lucinda. Delivered everything a play should be, Margareta Moir did a beautiful job of providing the wonderful duality of the role, in a superb and winning performance on Opening Night.

(7) – Killjoy

ITC Presented by Imprint Theatre Company (Company Devised Script)

Cast: Wendi Lanham, Laurence Nelmes, Martin Quinn, Rebecca Waters, Kate Vozella and Annie Thorold

Killjoy
Killjoy

Three couples suffering in style through their pain, and these six actors give their all on the boards, with no safety net to save them, and strongly deliver a talented volatile fight for their vision, with stage art versus stage business. Music, physicality, silence, mime, dialogue, with choreographed dance and movement, the cast provide extraordinary power and strength in their performance. As with all theatre art, because we all have non-identical life experiences, what you see is always subject to differing interpretations, hence the exact same play, could also be experienced as just two people with relationship pain, represented by all six actors.

(8) – Ice Cream Mafia

Written by Vee Malnar / Directed by Thomas Richards

Cast: Jay Duncan, Erick Guanlao, Jasper Musgrave and Meili Bookluck

Ice Cream Mafia
Ice Cream Mafia

Comedy erupts when the local mafia, decide to take over a sensational ice-cream brand, that has been destroying their ice-cream business.

Week Six Plays: February 15-19 (Wed – Sun @ 7.30pm)

All photos by Robert Miniter.

SHORT AND SWEET THEATRE 2017 Top80 Week SIX, runs from Wednesday 15th February 2017 to Sunday 19th February 2017.

The Depot Theatre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville, with on-site free car parking.

Website:   : http://www.shortandsweet.org/festivals/shortsweet-sydney-0
Facebook:   https: //facebook.com/shortsweetsydney
Twitter:   @ShortSweetFest
Instagram:   @shortsweetfest

 

 

 

 

A QUIRKY DOUBLE BILL @ SYDNEY’S BEAUTIFUL DARLING HARBOUR

Darling Harbour is always a colourful, multi-cultural melting pot on any given weekend. This was very much the case when we visited one lovely Sunday afternoon in early February.

Ben had plenty of opportunities to use his camera with two events taking place on a lovely Sunday afternoon-  the RTX fans convention and the annual Serbian Festival, now in its 5th year.

The Cosplayers at the RTX fans convention

The RTX fans convention, held at one of Darling Harbour’s main convention centres, was a time for Cosplayers to get together and do their  thing. Their shtick is to get dressed up and act as characters from a range of video games, cartoons, movies, and television shows.

This was very much a young person’s scene, and my God did the kids really get into it. The costumes, the make-up, the expressions were all wonderfully over the top.

We moved on from this bright world of fantasy to soon find ourselves immersed in the fascinating and proud Serbian culture.

The Serbian Cultural Festival 2017

A large stage/bandstand area was set up and there were a host of musicians entertaining audiences through the day and into the evening. The highlight was the folk dancing, as young women, dressed up in traditional garb, danced together.

There were plenty of stalls set up around the Festival grounds, a  large marque for people to mingle and relax and have a break from the sun, and there was even a mini tennis court which proved very popular with families. This was definitely a nod to the most famous Serbian tennis player of all, one Novak Djokovic.

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).

 

JESS SCOTT DRIKSNA’S ‘MAKING LOVE’ : A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE?!

Most Sydney theatres have something running to support the LGBTQI community during Mardi Gras.  Gone are the days when it was about grasping for the pink or lavender dollar, the offerings these days are genuine attempts to tell stories which put the gay and lesbian community on stage with dignity and acceptance.  MAKING LOVE does that in spades.  The story may have a heterosexual story as the plot driver but love is the theme.  Whoever you love.  

It’s the future.  One can buy abiding love if you are as rich and successful as Sara is.  Sara is nervous.  She has purchased or designed or created or customised (euphemisms abound and there is an evident nomenclature war for acceptance) a synthetic companion D’Arcy.  D’Arcy is being delivered with the support of a PAXCORP representative, Mitchell and his synthetic partner Hercules.  It’s all a bit comfy until Jackson, an old flame, unexpectedly bursts in and skews the dynamic.  There is also a truth game invented by Hercules which threatens the harmony. Continue reading JESS SCOTT DRIKSNA’S ‘MAKING LOVE’ : A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE?!

MELBOURNE BALLET COMPANY GETS PHILOSOPHICAL WITH ITS NEW WORK : BEING AND TIME

Simon Hoy is the resident choreographer and tour director of the Melbourne Ballet Company and up till now has created seventeen works for the Company.

Hoy studied at the Australian Ballet School and has worked in Europe, Asia and America before returning to Australia in 2007.

The Melbourne Ballet Company, established in 2007, is led by Alisa Finney, and has talented dancers from around the globe.

As part of a national tour, and the Company’s tenth anniversary celebration, they are bringing a triple bill entitled BEING AND TIME to the Concourse at Chatswood.

This is a world premiere production and will feature new works by Simon Hoy,  Lucas Jervies (who has worked with the Australian Ballet, Scapino Ballet, Expressions Dance Company , Sydney Dance Company and the Queensland Ballet, among others ) and Tim Podesta (who has worked with the South African Ballet Theatre, Queensland Ballet and Projection Dance, to name just a few).

Hoy described this new production, ” as  examining the belief that philosophical thinking begins with, and reflects, its human subjects, in their acting, feeling, and as recognisable, living human individuals. This existential understanding of being is ‘grounded in time’, or the more popular way of describing it, is ‘of living in the moment.”

Hoy has been inspired by reading the works of Martin Heidegger the German philosopher. “While the predominant value of existentialist thought is widely acknowledged to be its freedom, its intrinsic primary virtue lies in its authenticity. Being and Time seeks to explore the concept of authenticity and the meaning of life, striving to articulate the question of Being.

“Through the movements depicted , questions are raised, – where does this movement come from? what does it mean to be human?!”

Hoy said that with this new work he is, “attempting to ignore his knowledge and preconceived ideas about the Company’s dancers, and create something as new, fresh and challenging as possible.”

The company is very excited as Mara Galeazzi, a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet – currently performing with them in Woolf Works – will be joining the Company for the production.

Hoy has worked with her previously on a gala, and has already met with her this year.and met her again earlier this year.

In other exciting news, Joseph Phillips , of the State Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theater in Vladivostok, and formerly of the American Ballet Theatre,  will also be part of the production.

The Melbourne Ballet Company is classically based but like almost all dance companies now performs a mix of a variety of styles including ‘neoclassical’ and contemporary, They have a loyal following and have developed enthusiastic audiences in not just Melbourne but in regional areas too.

Hoy said he  regards regional touring as very important and is excited that the Company  is touring widely including to Darwin, Alice Springs and Western  Australia.

The Melbourne ballet Company can be seen performing BEING AND TIME at the Chatswood Concourse on March 11 and 12.

The Company will return to the Concourse again at the end of June when it will stage another new work, Arche, based on Swan Lake.

 

WORKING CLASS BOY : THE EARLY LIFE OF JIMMY BARNES

Just finished reading WORKING CLASS BOY the first instalment of the story of James Dixon Swan, aka – Jimmy Barnes. As usual I am about six months behind the times, the book was published to much fanfare last year, ironically when Barnsey was doing publicity for the book at various venues in Sydney I was in Glasgow. In a pub, about ten minutes from Cowcaddens, the rough area that Barnes lived in until the age of five.  That’s just how life is sometimes, but back to the real story.

Barnes’ home life in both Glasgow and Elizabeth, SA (where he spent most of his youth) was shambolic, the family lived in poverty and violence was commonplace. The stories he tells make your hair stand on end, the two bottles of vodka a day that became a regular feature of his later life start making sense. His substance abuse was not the usual garden variety abuse of the ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll crowd. Barnes was in need of more anesthetizing, to banish the memories of his troubled upbringing. Yet he tells it with such candour and humour that the reader is drawn in to the grey streets of Glasgow and South Australia willingly and we are happy to take the journey with him, and to some pretty dark places. Continue reading WORKING CLASS BOY : THE EARLY LIFE OF JIMMY BARNES

BOTTICELLI INFERNO : BOTTICELLI’S PAINTING OF DANTE’S VISION OF HELL

Featured image – Director Ralph Loop at an event for the film.

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Dante

This is a  fascinating, intense examination of Sandro Botticelli’s (1445- 1510) famous work that jumps from the Vatican to Florence, Berlin, London and the Scottish lowlands.

The film is directed by Ralph Loop, who also has an expert, an Italian historian who knows the city of Florence in the Renaissance period to enthusiastically narrate part of the film. As well there are interviews with the Directors of the various galleries.

The film examines the history of one of Botticelli’s famous works : the illustrations he produced based on Dante’s Divine Comedy and particularly concentrates on The Inferno and his depiction of the nine levels of, and the map of the descent, into Hell, as described by Dante. In contrast, we also see his vision of Paradise. Continue reading BOTTICELLI INFERNO : BOTTICELLI’S PAINTING OF DANTE’S VISION OF HELL

THE GREAT SYNAGOGUE SERVICE FOR THE OPENING OF THE LAW TERM

Featured image – Mark Speakman SC and Attorney General addressing the congregation. All photos by Ben Apfelbaum.

Although Church and the secular judiciary are supposed to be constitutionally separate, it is a tradition that the various religions bless the judiciary so that their decisions are wise and just.

On the 8th February it was the Jewish faith’s turn to place a benediction on the legal fraternity at the Great Synagogue, in the presence of the Chief Justice of New South Wales, the Hon. T.F.Bathurst AC.

Justice Stephen Rothman, President of the Great Synagogue, welcomed the legal profession to the service and outlined the contribution Jewish lawyers had made to New South Wales.

Mark Speakman SC, Attorney General, representing the Premier delivered a message on behalf of the Government of New South Wales, emphasising how the rule of law sustains democracy. Continue reading THE GREAT SYNAGOGUE SERVICE FOR THE OPENING OF THE LAW TERM

CHINESE NEW YEAR : 28 JANUARY – 12 FEBRUARY 2017

The Chinese community usually holds a huge parade down George Street but due to the construction of the light rail their substitute cultural expression is manifested in a display of lanterns depicting the Chinese signs of the Zodiac.

As it is the Year of the Rooster the lantern took pride of place by the Opera House and there have been various sculptures of the Rooster throughout the city including the QVB.

The Rooster always has its beak facing east towards the dawn and so Chinese people born under the sign of the Rooster look to the future with optimism and confidence.

Images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).

MOSMAN MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘MUSIC FROM THE SILVER SCREEN’

MUSIC FOR THE SILVER SCREEN is a concert which will showcase some of the most beautiful numbers written over decades for the silver screen.

The  concert will be performed by the voices of the Mosman Musical Society accompanied by  the orchestra of the Mosman Music Club.

There will be two concerts, both on Sunday March 12. First concert is at 2 pm and the second concert at 4.30 pm.

Light refreshments will be served after each concert with a chance to meet the performers.

For more about Music for the Silver Screen, visit
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SYDNEY PHILHARMONIA CHOIR : OFFERING A MASTERCLASS IN CHORAL MUSIC

The Discover masterclasses in 2017 will take place at the legendary choir’s rehearsal space in Millers Point. Please see below for dates, themes and to register. Discover is held on Sunday mornings, 10am-12pm.

Registration is $40 per person.

Register for all Discover masterclasses and receive a 10% discount!

Why join the workshops?

Gain a deeper understanding of the times in which the music was written and uncover the stories around the work
Actively engage in the music, singing sections of the work
Learn about your voice and the ways it is used to sing these great choral works

Dates in 2017:
26 February – The music of Brahms with Sam Allchurch
2 April – The Bach Passions with Brett Weymark.
14 May – Elijah, a taster of what you can expect at ChorusOz.
9 July – French Choral Music.
13 August – English Choral music with Brett Weymark.
8 October – The Music of Elgar.
3 December – The Music of Handel, Messiah.

DATES
26th February, 2nd April, 14th May, 9th July, 13th August, 8th October, 3rd December

For more about Discover Choral Masterclasses, visit http://www.sydneyphilharmonia.com.au/discover/
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TROPFEST 2017 : 25 YEARS STRONG

All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c). Featured image of Matt Day receiving his award. Among the onlookers are Rose Byrne and Will Gluck.

TROPFEST, in its 25th year, survived the heatwave that spread over the Sydney region on the weekend.

Matt Day was announced as this year’s winner with the Festival taking place at its new venue at Parramatta Park.

The winning film was  The Mother Situation  which tells the comedic story of three adult siblings who assist their terminally ill mother to commit suicide.

The 16 finalist films went head to head to take out the top prize, chosen by the impressive lineup of judges, which included Head of Jury, Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids, X-Men: Apocolypse, upcoming Peter Rabbit), George Miller (Academy Award Winner, Mad Max: Fury Road), Sam Neill (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Jurassic Park, upcoming Peter Rabbit), Rachel Perkins (Bran New Dau,upcoming Jasper Jones), Bruna Papandrea (Gone Girl, Wild, TV’s upcoming Big Little Lies) and Will Gluck (Easy A, Friends with Benefits, upcoming Peter Rabbit). Continue reading TROPFEST 2017 : 25 YEARS STRONG

THE AUSTRALIAN DESIGN CENTRE : CURRENT EXHIBITIONS ARE FUN FOR ALL AGES

A sense of fun and joie de vivre is the dominant theme in two current exhibitions at the Australian Design Centre (ADC) : Annie Gobel: Edge In and Chili Philly: Crochet Social. The ‘wearable sculptures” jewellery by Annie Gobel and colourful garment pieces by Chili Philly both intrigue and delight the senses.

Annie Gobel Edge In.

This exhibition is presented by the ADC in collaboration with the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

Annie is Indonesian born and Melbourne based. As well as exhibiting around Australia this young artist has recently exhibited in Japan.

Beginning with a thick bold outline, the jewellery is simply set against corrugated cardboard backdrops, which are closer to skin tones than stark white walls. The texture also lifts the works and allows pastel colours to shine. The objects are often candy coloured enamel and some of the playful pieces are made from toys. This renders them more tactile and enticing.

Chili Philly Crochet Social

Melbourne based artist Phil Ferguson goes by the name Chili Philly. His work is being exhibited in partnership with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, with one of the organisers describing it as ‘fun, camp and clever’.

Philly’s wearable art often takes the form of everyday objects, mainly food-related, which are transformed then captured as self-portraits and uploaded on Instagram. They sprang from the foods surrounding him in his earlier hospitality jobs.

The transformations use wool, acrylic and poly-filler. The video and photographic aspects are less self aggrandisement than an avenue naturally allowing his self deprecating humour to gain a wider audience.

His brightly coloured crocheted garments have gained a strong following on social media in the past few years, especially since March 2016 when this art became his full-time occupation.

At the launch of this exhibition the majority of the full house were obvious fans, many adorning food based head gear, crocheted and other. Their dedication was all the more extraordinary given the Sydney heatwave, as they queued for selfies with the creator.

Some serious trained crochet craftspeople wonder how he does it. He remarked that he started each work only knowing only one stitch, and he continued working to meet  more people when new in town – hence the ‘social’ aspect.

The Wrap

Both exhibitions of jewellery and garments are fun and induce play. The Australian Design Centre organised kids’ and family workshops with the artists. Young attendees at the launches were impressed by the work. The exhibitions are truly fun for all ages.

The Australian Design Centre is located at 101-115 William Street Darlinghurst. The exhibitions are on display until the 15th March.

Featured image is from the Chili Philly Crochet Social exhibition. Pic by Simon Cardwell. 

https://australiandesigncentre.co

 

 

TROP JNR 2017 : OUR YOUNG FILMMAKERS SHOW PLENTY OF PROMISE

Mums and Dads were highest on the thank you lists from the participants for TROP JNR this year and the audience was certainly filled with siblings and adults rooting for their films.

TROP JR is part of TROPFEST and has been running side by side since 2008. Modelled on the world’s largest short film festival, TROPFEST,  TROP JR is a short filmmaking competition and a free, outdoor festival for kids aged 15 years and younger.  Each year there is a ‘signature item’ which needs to be included. This year was it was ‘mask’.

TROPFEST moved from Centennial Park to Parramatta Park this year but the weather was not co-operating. To keep the kids safe in the extreme heat, the organizers moved events to a cinema and everyone I spoke to was incredibly relieved to be settled into the air con. Some of the tiniest supporters may have missed having a run in wide open spaces but the rest of us settled back to see these remarkable young filmmakers’ work. Continue reading TROP JNR 2017 : OUR YOUNG FILMMAKERS SHOW PLENTY OF PROMISE

THE WRONG HAND : JANE JAGO’S BRILLIANT FIRST NOVEL

There’s no disputing the good writing and deserved bestsellerdom of books like Gone, Girl and Girl on a Train, just as there is no disputing the good writing and deserved bestsellerdom of Australian fiction that conjures comparison with these international blockbusters.

I recently waxed lyrical over Emily McGuire’s An Isolated Incident (run the search on this site), and I unequivocally wax the same lyricism for Jane Jago’s THE WRONG HAND.

This is a strong meat story of juvenile homicide, the taking of a young male life by two other young males. Based on the James Bulger case, Jago has written an absorbing narrative of the families affected, and the fate of both victims and the perpetrators. Continue reading THE WRONG HAND : JANE JAGO’S BRILLIANT FIRST NOVEL

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