Festivals

BONDI FEAST : CONFIDENTIAL MEMO RE EXCLUSION ZONE : A WALKING TOUR

CONFIDENTIAL MEMO

To: Editor, Sydney Arts Guide

From : Judith Greenaway

RE: Exclusion Zone: A Walking Tour

Hi David,

Just a quick, late night note about that little mission you sent me on to see Exclusion Zone: A Walking Tour at the Bondi Feast.

I’m sorry I won’t be able to send anything through about the show. We had to sign a damned Non-Disclosure Agreement. Along with a Liability Waiver I might add.

But, just between us, I reckon you should really check it out. The guy, Caleb Lewis, I think it is, is an absolute nutter. It’s just obvious from the time he tells you that Euclidian mathematics and Newtonian physics don’t apply where he’s taking us. Yep, truly, he says that.

And he is so freaking believable I just couldn’t help but get sucked in. Seriously … the man has all these statistics and pictures and diagrams and shit like that. It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s something in it. Did I just say that out loud … LOL. Pack your tin-foil hat is all I’m sayin.

Anyway, it’s so much weird stuff so well delivered… you really have to sift through it. Soooo many dates and numbers. 1984 keeps popping up and 42 and 1359. You would probably love that but I was just worried about some of the people he was talking about … freaky … not to mention poor old Ricochet the cat.

You really have to anchor yourself in the here and now and find a way to be alert despite the quite immersive, seductive, logically illogical, ‘alternative fact’ nature of it all. That Caleb guy is a real storyteller and you get drawn into this bloody web of um ..sort of … I dunno. You know!!

Especially in some of those back streets where the pavement needs work . You could fall into some of those cracks and disappear for ever. Which reminds me. Don’t take Aunt Maude with you. There is a lot of walking and it’s fast and that guy has really long legs. Remember that time she wandered off, got lost and we had to put up signs on the telephone poles … we don’t want that again do we?

Anyway David, I’m off to bed. Exclusion Zone: A Walking Tour is happening again on Friday and Saturday at 6:45, heaven only knows why they let this crackpot loose. But go and have a look and let me know what you think.

Judith

Bluebeard; or, the Marriage Mistakes of a Nameless Bride @ Bondi Pav

BLUEBEARD; OR, THE MARRIAGE MISTAKES OF A NAMELESS BRIDE is playing as part of the Bondi Feast. The Feast, which is held at the Bondi Pavilion, has numerous venues and I have been to pretty much all of them these past 2 weeks. Until tonight. Curiosity drew me.

This production takes place in the male change room of the venerable 1920s building. The audience sit on the benches with the drama happening in front of them and around them and hidden in the next cubicle. Part radio play, part immersion, part spectator experience: the show begins with a ritual.

The solitude of a shower. Then the donning of clothes and of the self which is shown to the world. The actors look at us as if in a mirror and check that the prsona is all tidy, correct and at its best before taking it away from the intimacy of dressing.

Melissa Hume and Curly Fernandez are the actors and the characters remain nameless but we are seeing Bluebeard and the Bride. Our guide is Gideon Payten-Griffiths, a troubadour of sorts who provides music to guide emotions, to preface events and to warn of danger. Continue reading Bluebeard; or, the Marriage Mistakes of a Nameless Bride @ Bondi Pav

BONDI FEAST : THE ETERNITY OF THE WORLD (PARTS MISSING)

 

Nope.

No way.

Didn’t understand it.

Didn’t get it.

Can’t review it.

Instead.

In the true spirit of deconstructed post-modernist anarchic performance I saw this …

Venue problems … the bane of the touring show. Suggestion: instead of telling people to move away from the speakers just turn the f’ing thing down. Didn’t hear most of it.

Saw it all though. Traverse seating!

Props and costume changes and scripts read from loose papers and set pieces … so a plot, through line, a sequence, a vague structure must exist. Continue reading BONDI FEAST : THE ETERNITY OF THE WORLD (PARTS MISSING)

THE BONDI FEAST : SOME EARLY HIGHLIGHTS

It’s certainly my idea of a cheap theatre menu. Tickets are $10-$20 and one can choose from delights sweet, spicy or salty.

First on my plate at BONDI FEAST?

STORY CLUB SOLO: ZOE NORTON LODGE, a storyteller who knows how to pull you straight from a wintery beach into the warmth of a loving family. Put your hand up who here is not my mother? Why are you here? She asks of the large audience show of hands … It’s really cold. More disturbing perhaps is the number of people who yell and raise arms to the question, Who here is my mother? Feels like a family.

And what a family! Not quite what we think a good Greek girl who grew up in leafy Annandale might be standing on stage talking about. Aberrant grandparents who hate each other, dodgy neighbours with whom to pull cones and a surprisingly coherent 2 and a half year old hell bent on ruling the pre-school. Continue reading THE BONDI FEAST : SOME EARLY HIGHLIGHTS

THAT’S NOT ME

It looks a million dollars but THAT’S NOT ME cost a mere $60,000.

THAT’S NOT ME begins with the picture’s protagonist, Polly, sitting on the toilet clutching an air freshener and delivering an Oscar acceptance speech.

Polly is an aspiring actress, the twin sister of another aspiring actress, Amy. She is a serious minded thespian, biding her time for a shot at stardom working at a cinema selling tickets, popcorn and choc-tops.

When her agent suggests her for a role in the popular soap, Summer Street, she baulks at the idea of playing an albino, perceiving whitening up as repugnant as blacking up.

Amy takes the gig instead, is a success, lands a role in an HBO show and starts dating Jared Leto.

A disastrous trip to LA does little to help matters, but the unbearable situation becomes a little better when Polly discovers that she can use her sister’s celebrity to her advantage to get free clothes, free booze and casual sex.

There’s not a dud note in THAT’S NOT ME thanks to a solid foundation in a script by Alice Foulcher and Gregory Erdstein, and anchored by a winning lead performance by Foulcher and Helmed with an assured hand by Erdstein.

The support casting is impeccable with a mix of the well known and the unknown. Andrew S. Gilbert and Catherine Hill are perfect as Polly’s parents and Isabel Lucas is ferociously good as Polly’s drama school pal, Zoe, who has transplanted to Hollywood and deliciously pays out on the studio who has dissed her.

Andrew O’Keeffe serves up a sparkling cameo as a soap star and the director, Gregory Erdstein sends the self important director caricature into cauterised comic cuts.

Cinematography by Shelley Farthing-Dawe is first class as is the rich production design of Sally Addinsall.

What could have been cheesy has been kept bright and breezy in this very funny film of awkward ambition, shallow celebrity, sibling rivalry and playing the real.

DATES FOR THE DIARY: 

THAT’S NOT ME plays Sydney Film Festival Saturday June 10 6.30 pm at Event George, and Sunday June 11 8.30 pm at The Ritz, Randwick, and Monday June 12, 6.30 pm at the Hayden Orpheum, Cremorne.

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL DOCOS : TWO OF THE BEST

Invariably, the great surprises and sincere sensations of the Sydney Film Festival come from documentary film makers shining cinematic spotlights on our past, present and futures, rectifying the forgotten by elevating remembrance, examining the individual and celebrating the universal.

Two such gems are part of this year’s Festival line up. For some it will be an education. For aficionados it will be an edification. Link Wray, Mildred Bailey, Charley Patton, Jimi Hendrix, and more make up this stomping tribute to Native American musicians who have heretofore gone unheralded in their cultural contribution to world music.

This Sundance winner kicks off with the thumping riffs of Shawnee guitarist Link Wray’s 1950s classic Rumble; the tune that gives the film it’s irrepressible name and sets its fascinating rhythm. Continue reading SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL DOCOS : TWO OF THE BEST

COMING SOON : NAIDOC BLACK MARKETS @ BARANGAROO

The iconic Blak Markets will return to Sydney’s spectacular harbour headland park, Barangaroo Reserve to host a special Aboriginal art market on Sunday, 2 July.

Taking place at the beginning of NAIDOC Week, the family-friendly event will be a vibrant celebration of Australia’s rich Aboriginal culture.

Aboriginal artists from 11 remote Australian arts centres will bring their artworks, sculptures, textiles and accessories to Sydney to exhibit and sell at the market; there will be host Tjanpi weaving workshops; and demonstrations of Rarrk painting and pandanus weaving.

The event is a rare opportunity for Sydneysiders to buy high quality Aboriginal art directly from a diverse range of artists from remote art centres in the NT, WA and SA. There will be artwork and products on sale to suit a range of budgets.

The lively open-air market will also feature more than 30 stalls, bush tucker cooking demonstrations by Indigiearth and Jody Orcher; live music by Jessie Lloyd and Emma Donovan, Jarjum, and Freshwater; Aboriginal dance performances by Thikkabilla (Dubbo), Yadhamayi (Central Coast), and Wagana (Greater Sydney); language and culture workshops; Aboriginal Cultural Tours of Barangaroo Reserve; and a Tribal Warrior Tour to Goat Island.

 

DATE FOR THE DIARY 
Sunday 2 July 2017 11 am to 5 pm

For more about NAIDOC Blak Markets at Barangaroo, visit http://www.barangaroo.sydney/whats-on/blak-markets-at-barangaroo-reserve/
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SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM’S INAUGURAL INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL

Featured image – The Phil Slater Band

As one of the most prestigious and longest-running music schools in Australia, it is only fitting that the Sydney Conservatorium of Music open its doors to the public, as it did last Sunday, in an event which united International jazz artists with students, to deliver an elite and diverse lineup.

In its inaugural year the program presented a plethora of musicians to represent both popular or traditional jazz and a more highbrow, experimental jazz. Enhanced by the stunning Sydney Harbour location, the Conservatorium of Music is only five minutes walk from Circular Quay; it’s castle-like trusses grandly fill the sky as you enter the through the main entrance. During the week, ‘the Con’ is a home to music students but on this day it became a magical and revered space for the public to share in. Continue reading SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM’S INAUGURAL INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL

LIBERATION DAY : A BIZARRE AND BRILLIANT DOCUMENTARY

“Our only responsibility is to remain irresponsible” is the motto of Laibach, the Slovenian band invited to appear in North Korea, a tour documented in the bizarre, beguiling and brilliant documentary, LIBERATION DAY.

Famous for their art rock interpretations of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, and their emblematic logo of the Cross and the Cog, Laibach’s inverse Orwellian motto “All propaganda is art” must have appealed to the powers that be in Pyongyang.

The invitation was too “out there” to refuse, the implications of their visit was even more out there when they were out there!

Confronting strict ideology and cultural differences, the band struggles to get their songs through the needle’s eye of censorship before they can be unleashed on an audience never before exposed to alternative rock’n’roll. Continue reading LIBERATION DAY : A BIZARRE AND BRILLIANT DOCUMENTARY

‘UNA’ AND ‘THE TEACHER’ : TWO OUTSTANDING FILMS AT THIS YEAR’S SFF

Two very different films about child abuse are among the picks of this year’s Sydney Film Festival (7-18 June).

Benedict Andrews first feature film, UNA, is a taut tale of sexual obsession.

Based on David Harrower’s play Blackbird, the screenplay has been written by the playwright.

The events of the summer when Una was thirteen still exert a tremendous, magnetic pull on her, thirteen years later.

Thirteen years ago, the thirteen year old Una waited for the much older Ray in a hotel room. Ray was her next door neighbour and Una had run away with Ray, they had sex for the first time, and the he appeared to have loved and left her.

Now, thirteen years later, Una tracks Ray, now known as Peter, to his workplace, neither to condemn or condone, but to confront.

What happened between Ray and Una should never have happened, but what happened transformed and shattered their lives. They are left to piece together their broken lives and to reflect on how their lives might be repaired. True to life, there are no easy answers.

The main characters names bear special significance in this film. Ray got to change his – he’s now called Peter- but Una has lived with hers. Una, translated from the Latin, means one.The core question for Una, throughout the course of her journey in the film is…Was I the only one?” Continue reading ‘UNA’ AND ‘THE TEACHER’ : TWO OUTSTANDING FILMS AT THIS YEAR’S SFF

DIARY OF A VOLUNTEER – SYDNEY WRITER’S FESTIVAL 2017

Despite being surrounded by the buzz of the Volunteer Green Room on this final day of the 2017 Sydney Writers Festival, I am a little contemplative. Saying goodbye to people I have only known for a week is harder than I expected. Realistically, the more I consider it, nothing about volunteering for the SWF has been as I expected.

When I was working in the crowded Club Stage yesterday I was struck by a comment from Steve Amsterdam about a reader’s response to some of the events of his novel THE EASY WAY OUT. “You are on a ride and you want to see a lot of things on a ride.” And a ride of discovery it has been for my first experience as a vollie for the Festival. The volunteer experience is so well organized for this event. 250 people seamlessly fit together and there is time for contemplation and discovery. I have learned so much about myself. Continue reading DIARY OF A VOLUNTEER – SYDNEY WRITER’S FESTIVAL 2017

Diary of a Volunteer: Sydney Writers Festival 2017

 

SWF Survey Questions

This week, in an organisation I work with, I participated in a study about volunteer retention. Today I had a practical lesson in how. Via the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Survey taker Induction. How hard can it be? I might just miss this one! It will be fine on the day! It’s all good! Just asking questions, right? This might have been my thinking when my roster first came out but my Festival volunteer experience so far leads me to believe that if they run a course in something, go to it. And I was right.

We were a pretty representative group and all the worries when I am approached to do surveys were mentioned in today’s briefing: Is my data available to marketers; if I give you my email to enter the competition for a $200 Glebebooks voucher, is it linked to my data; you just want me to say good stuff about the Festival don’t you; will you be sending me emails asking for donations? Answer to all of the above. Nope. Continue reading Diary of a Volunteer: Sydney Writers Festival 2017

TEN DOUBLE PASSES TO THE AMERICAN ESSENTIALS FILM FESTIVAL

 

This May Palace Cinemas once again brings the best of American independent film to Australian screens with American Essentials.

Twenty films make their Australian premiere at the three-week festival, celebrating the latest indie treasures in narrative feature and documentary, together with newly restored American classics.

Thirty-one films curated by Artistic Director Richard Sowada reflects the remarkable breadth of contemporary independent cinema produced in the US, proving a richness far greater than the same old, same old studio pictures inherent in the Hollywood machine.

American Essentials kicks off with 20th CENTURY WOMEN. Nominated for Best Original Screenplay in this year’s Academy Awards, Mike Mill’s 20thCENTURY WOMEN resembles a ramshackle novel rather than a polished screenplay. Continue reading TEN DOUBLE PASSES TO THE AMERICAN ESSENTIALS FILM FESTIVAL

DIARY OF A VOLUNTEER : SYDNEY WRITER’S FESTIVAL

Any new experience can be a bit scary and there were a lot of reassured volunteers today when Misty, Sydney Writer’s Festival Volunteer Manager looked across the rows of eager newbies and said. “You will probably be petrified when you arrive at the Vollies Green Room for the first time. Don’t worry. We’ll spot you!” And that’s my takeaway from today’s Volunteer Orientation, we are in good hands.

Experience tells and as Misty and Ashleigh, the Volunteer Co-coordinator, warmly greeted the hundreds of volunteers as we queued for orientation, they knew our names and what we were slated for. Both the old hands like some of the people around me, and novices like myself and the new queue friend I had just made.

It looked like there were equal numbers of both as we did a show of hands for the more experienced and the excitable new ones. I sort of expected older people for reasons that don’t make any sense when I think about it. We are young and old, able bodied and differently abled. My new intergenerational friend is an aspiring writer and the couple near me voracious readers. And we all seem to be ‘volunteery’ type people. RFS, SES, Red Cross, working with youth, nursing home visitor we all seem to do something and so many people look forward to giving their time on the SWF each year.

Including our team supervisors. 28 of them with 130 combined Festivals between them. As badges were given for 5, 10 years volunteer service up to an impressive 13 years, I was getting that very calming ‘we’ve got you’ vibe. And the training only served to put me even further at ease. Emergency training, weather training, anecdotes to learn from and lots of thank yous and look after yourselfs. And being of a theatrical bent, I especially loved the variety of ways one of our trainers said nearly 30 times. “Don’t go in the water!” It’s not a thing apparently!

There is no secret to how to behave when you are a volunteer. We are united by a willingness and desire to help just as the SWF crowds are united in their love of ideas and their expression. Well behaved too we are told. Our team leaders have encountered most out of norm situations and as hundreds of us were ushered around the site by helpful, friendly, knowledgeable supervisors we got a real time, best practice demonstration.

There’s homework admittedly. We need to know where the toilets are about a thousand times a day. Know what events are on during your shift. Know where the venues are and know the map intimately. Questions continue all the way home on the train if you are still wearing your T-shirt and lanyard we are told.

I will be very excited to report on my first question… hope it’s not too pedestrian. Or too hairy. Either way I am ready to go. First stop: my local library for Sandra Leigh Price and The River Sings.

Sydney Writers Festival is 22-28th May
https://www.swf.org.au/
Twitter: @SydWritersFest
#sydneywritersfestival
Facebook: @SydWritersFest
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Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuCZP35tRLm6YfvB9HiS3Vg
iTunes Podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/sydney-writers-festival/id985898011?mt=2

 

ALLIANCE FRANCAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL 2017

 

The Alliance Française French Film Festival will return to Palace Cinemas throughout March and April with a host of contemporary movies and documentaries exemplifying the very best of France’s vibrant film industry. 

Brimming with highlights, the 2017 event will present 45 films, unveiling the artistry of renowned directors ranging from Emmanuelle Bercot, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Nicole Garcia, Benoît Jacquot and Mia Hansen-Løve, to Philippe Lioret, Martin Provost, Jérôme Salle, Bertrand Tavernier and Roschdy Zem.

Helming the Festival for the first time, Artistic Director, Philippe Platel, has assembled a brilliant programme encompassing romance, adventure, comedy, historical tales, thrillers and dramas, that will be showcased across 10 aptly named sections, incorporating many Australian première screenings. Continue reading ALLIANCE FRANCAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL 2017

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).

 

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).

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

Cementa17 – contemporary arts festival in Kandos

The contemporary arts festival Cementa is back for 2017, offering an entirely FREE four-day showcase of independent and experimental arts spread across the New South Wales post industrial town of Kandos from Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 April.

Cementa17 will present the work of over 60 artists at the vanguard of Australia’s creative community and artist collectives. Since its debut in 2013, Cementa has grown to become a popular destination event with its total focus on arts, community and the environment.

Cementa is an independent not-for-profit Australian cultural festival event that takes place in Kandos, a small regional town located on the side of Coombermelon Mountain between Lithgow and Mudgee in Central West NSW. The region provides the backdrop to which artists make, exhibit and perform work relating to the social, historical, or environmental context of the town and its surrounds.

A unique festival experience, Cementa17 will offer four days and nights of performance, sound, cabaret, interactive and electronic arts, video, installation, painting, photograpy and ceramics spread across more than twenty venues. Artworks will pop-up in Kandos’ shopfronts, cafes, on the streets, in the local museum & nursery, at parks, garages, cars, backyards, the tennis courts, a golf club, community halls, church yards and for the first time beyond the town perimeter to include two new satellite sites – the natural arena of Ganguddy, (Dunns Swamp picnic grounds and nearby Bird’s Hut) and a local farming property, Marloo.

Building on the success of the previous two festivals, Cementa celebrates the state of Australian contemporary art across the spectrum of practice, from emerging to established, from urban to regional.

Highlights include: A performance by ‘Dauntless Movement Crew’, a Fairfield Parkour, hip-hop and tricking team that will adapt their technique to the unique pagoda rock formations at the stunning landscape at Ganguddy (Dunn’s Swamp).

‘Super Critical Mass’ – a large-scale found object orchestra composed of regional choristers with up to 40 participants performing in The Kandos Community Hall.

‘Correspondence of Imaginary Places’ – an exchange of work between seven Australian artists with seven New York artists, (with the Australian work being installed in Manhattan and the New York artist’s work being installed in an historical hut outside of Kandos).

Artist John A. Douglas remaking scenes from sci-fi classic, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, adapted to the local landscape.

Installations from acclaimed Aboriginal artist Tony Albert and a portrait series by legendary documentary photographer, Mervyn Bishop, plus much much more.

Cementa17 is a celebration of contemporary art in Australia and of the small town that hosts it – developed and fostered by three creative directors who live and work in the region: Ann Finegan, Christine McMillan and Alex Wisser.

info@cementa.com.au

DATES
6th – 9th April 2017

For more about cementa17 – contemporary arts festival, visit https://www.cementa.com.au
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SHORT+SWEET 2017 TOP 80 : WEEK THREE @ THE DEPOT THEATRE

 

Every week of the Festival which runs from January to March, Short and Sweet features brilliant new plays with the very best  returning to compete in March in the Gala Finals.

This very successful and now international ten minute play Festival is now in its sixteenth  year.

Festival Director Wayne Tunks chose just nine plays to be included in Week 3 with every play being very good in its own way. It was a treat to have four wonderful comic delights included in this selection. Continue reading SHORT+SWEET 2017 TOP 80 : WEEK THREE @ THE DEPOT THEATRE

MARDI GRAS FILM FESTIVAL LAUNCH

Diversity within the LGBTIQ community? Search no further than the 24th Mardi Gras Film Festival program. Curated by Queer Screen, the range of topics and genres is truly impressive.

At the season launch last night, Queer Screen’s President Lisa Rose spoke about their mission to provide a “celebration of queer storytelling on screen”. Inclusive, respectful stories full of creativity, inspiration and pride.

There are big big films and there are small big films and everything in between. Like MOONLIGHT  which has just been nominated in several categories including Best Picture for the 2017 Oscars. There is singalong, a smellovison 3 D FINDING DORY for the rainbow family and even mystery movie plus more superb international and home-grown documentaries, dramas, romances etc than you can poke a glitter wand at.

Then there are the shorts. Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Asia/Pacific shorts all have showings and if this doesn’t suit there is even an evening of Mixed Shorts. Continue reading MARDI GRAS FILM FESTIVAL LAUNCH

DON’T CALL ME SON

DON’T CALL ME SON is an intimate film. The story, the characters, the setting … all personal.  The filmmaking… close-up and exclusive of clutter in dialogue, plot and technique.  One of the films chosen for Queer Screen’s 24th Mardi Gras Film Festival, this offering from Brazil, subtitled from the Portuguese, has been on the Festival Circuit since its premier at the Berlin Film Festival in February last year.  At that event it won the Teddy which Berlinale’s site calls ‘the most outstanding queer film prize in the world’.  It was in Australia for last year’s Melbourne Film Festival and has been selected for 20 Festivals from Transatlantyk to Ljubljana.

True to the intimacy which pervades the film, the film’s protagonist is in tight shot as we follow him through a party before the credits. The colours pulse blue and sexy, the music thumps distantly and he is wearing a confusingly closely feathered bird headpiece.  He accepts an intimate hug from a male partner and a deep kiss from a female dancer.  Then the realism sets in.  Suddenly he and the girl are having sex in a starkly white, brightly lit bathroom.  As the camera tilts down from the activity it is clear that he is wearing lacy female underwear. Continue reading DON’T CALL ME SON

FORM DANCE PROJECTS PRESENTS ‘CHAMPIONS’ @ CARRIAGEWORKS

Production photography by Heidrun Lohr.

CHAMPIONS is a stonkingly good dance work … with the common touch.

It’s a large scale work with 11 dancers filling a field of dreams inside the vast space and it begins like any large scale sporting event with the team captain interview.  Sports presenter, Mel McLaughlin, well known to viewers as one of the anchors of Seven’s Olympic coverage, is on the screen wall which dominates the upstage area of the arena.  She is interviewing Carlee Mellow and we get a team update on the selections for today’s match.

Pre-game, a suitably comic and silly swan mascot has entertained the large and vocal crowd to a pounding pizzicato on the soundtrack and the audience is ready for the action.  At interval she reappears in a circular lake of light … I loved that! There are cheers and claps as the players wander on with their yoga mats to warm up.  In the same way that everyone’s a sports fan during the Olympics, this work begins with expert coverage to inform and guide us.  Mellow and McLaughlin go through each dancer stats, temperament and what they bring to the line-up while a manufactured playing, smiling, concentrating image of each woman fills the screen. Continue reading FORM DANCE PROJECTS PRESENTS ‘CHAMPIONS’ @ CARRIAGEWORKS

NICOLE LIZEE WITH THE AUSTRALIAN ART ORCHESTRA @ RECITAL HALL

 The Sydney Festival promises quality collaboration and a celebration of cutting-edge creativity. Nicole Lizée’s innovative program of manipulated image and music fulfils this promise several times over.

The Australian Art Orchestra (AAO) , which started under the leadership of Paul Grabowsky, is seen here obviously thrilled to work on stage with the award winning composer. In the two works it plays in, the orchestra boldy realises Lizee’s reworkings of sound and scenic fragments from popular TV, film and karaoke film clips.

For an event which champions the Canadian turntablist and composer’s clever manipulation of elements, the title is also tweaked from Steven Soderbergh’s popular 1989 comedy, Sex, Lies and Videotape to describe Lizee’s twentieth century influences.

During the opening Lynch’s Etudes, on a screen above the stage we see small excerpts from the TV and film classics of David Lynch. These are reworked through savage reiteration, visual scratching and dragging. Time and vocal pitch in scenes from Wild At Heart, Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks are also warped heavily. Continue reading NICOLE LIZEE WITH THE AUSTRALIAN ART ORCHESTRA @ RECITAL HALL

URBAN THEATRE PROJECTS PRESENTS ‘HOME COUNTRY’

As the wafting smoke from the Welcome to Country drifts through the audience it seems to help me focus. It envelops so that the traffic speeding past seems distant. The smoke is pungent and yet soothing. It heightens my senses and increases my receptivity, yet several times during HOME COUNTRY I find little moments of wondering why I feel … whatever it is I am feeling.

HOME COUNTRY is the latest work from Urban Theatre Projects with Blacktown Arts Centre as part of the Sydney Festival. It is staged in Blacktown; it has three stories in a multi-storey carpark; it has a culturally diverse creative team of, writers, musicians, advisors, designers. But it is the actors who do the job here. They are a wonderful cast.

The first characters we meet are from the story BLACKTOWN ANGELS (Andrea James). Angel (Shakira Clanton) has been guarding the audience for quite a while, perched over us on the edge of one of the car park levels. What a presence this actor has. And then she begins to sing. What a voice! The words are unfamiliar but so beautifully rendered to be as enveloping as that smoke. Continue reading URBAN THEATRE PROJECTS PRESENTS ‘HOME COUNTRY’