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Plundered & Broken

The tale of Aboriginal plunder is a never-ending ballad that sings in the winds of this great country, a land that Elea (Albert) Namatjira painted so lovingly in watercolour. Namatjira’s world-renowned artistic status may have provided him with a thin shield against racism but it was easily shattered, even his greatness, wealth and innocence could not protect him from incarceration.

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Namatjira surrounded by family as he painted

The legend begins when Artist , Rex Battarbee took a painting trip into the Outback, after returning from the devastation of War in the 1930’s. He met Namatjira and it was through their collaboration that the 30-year-old Aranda man learnt to paint and exhibit. They went onto become lifetime friends, able to see pass the bigotry of the day.

International success took this humble man to great worldly heights, he was awarded the Coronation Medal and was the toast of the town. His exhibitions sold out shortly after they opened and most kitchens had one of his reproductions on a calendar or tea towel.

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Before the 1967 Referendum, Australian Aboriginals where denied Human Constitutional Rights and were categorised as part of the wildlife or wards of the state. They were denied most basic human rights and in an insipid twist of irony could not own their land as it had been acquired by the Commonwealth.

Namatjira’s unprecedented rise on the world stage would require him to have a passport and his growing wealth attracted taxes, thus him and his wife Robina were given Australian citizenship  in 1957, enabling him to buy a house in Morris Soak .

Unfortunately his children were not granted citizenship and were regarded as ‘Wards of the State’ as all Aboriginal people were. They did not have the right to choose their marriage partner, be legally responsible for their own children,to change location or socialise with non-aboriginals. It also meant that when the Great Artist and his wife died the Legal Will that aimed to financially protect their children was made void as his children belonged to the state. Their financial copyright royalties were ‘acquired’ by the state and sold on.

The Namatjira Project  began as an objective to buy back the royalties (which will expire shortly) but has become a legal investigation. Quite frankly, this case could burst the pipes of oppression and the best legal minds should be bringing in their best team, this is a golden opportunity for a Legal Human Rights Firm to make a name for itself. This is challenging Constitutional Law, how many ‘Wards of the State’ were plundered, how many children taken.

The most moving part of the film is when Namatjira’s  homeless grandson gives his artwork to the Queen in her palace and walks away empty-handed. The documentary is a thoughtful journey, full of beautiful archives and an artistic vision, they tip toe over a mine field but I think they have let off a bomb.

 

April Forward

 

The Namatjira Family continue the water-colour tradition as their cultural inheritance.

 

 

THE NAMATJIRA PROJECT

DIRECTOR & CINEMATOGRAPHER Sera Davies

PRODUCER

Sophia Marinos

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Julia Overton

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS (CULTURAL)
Lenie Namatjira
Gloria Pannka

Countdown Star

 

 

Renee Geyer

Australian jazz and soul legend, Renee Geyer has maintained a career that has spanned over 40 years. Her resonating voice has withstood the revolving door of the season and carved itself into a shaft of solid talent. She sprouted in the days of Countdown  under the wing of Mollie Meldrum, when Australian Music was finding itself in the awkward 70’s. Since then she has performed with Joe Cocker, Stevie Wonder and Caka Kahn.

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Renee Geyer interview by Molly Meldrum on Countdown

‘Heading in the Right Direction’ was the cornerstone of her International rise in R & B circles despite her Australian origin. Her powerful raspy sound demanded renown and in 2005 Geyer was inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame.

‘Renée Geyer had started out a sensual blues belter. Now she has evolved into a bona fide music icon’

  Norman Gunstan interview Geyer at end of act

The further one digs into the Artist’s rise, Melbourne’s musical roots are unearthed and reveal its early adolescence. The heavily populated music scene that is bursting through the internet daily has replaced the sleepy town that waited a week to watch 30 minutes of Countdown on the ABC, for the latest music news.

The unbridled talent of the local star walks hand-in hand with her controversial mentions in the news, from careless driving to public tantrums, she is a formidable Melbourne force.

Sat Aug 5;  8pm – MEMO Music Hall St Kilda  7.30pm, 

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HELPING LOCAL FAMILIES

donate@stkilda.org

 

 

What to Do?

As the last veil of sunshine and warmth left our streets at the end of June, a shadow fell like doom and cast us into our beds with flu’s. June was invigorating, July is dismal. Fortunately there is the The Tour De France to remind us of a Summer, somewhere.

Sorting through the closet each morning to find something warm to wear is challenging and reduces the rotating option to the point where black is best. There is nothing more unnerving than looking out of the window, before heading out, and seeing the trees twisted over by the wind. For bike riders, it tests endurance.

During Summer people proclaim winter is great as you can rug-up, mmmm, wind and hail are stronger. In the sunny season, they say, it’s cosy in front of a fire, mmmm, who has an open flame? They say it’s easier to get warm than get cool, mmmm, my bedroom is an ice machine.

What to do?

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The Clever ones are exploring Central Australia, cruising the Islands or flying North. For those that forgot to book the early-bird airfares there are a few local options.

Option 1. Head to the snow, you can buy bus day-passes at Southern Cross railway station, on your way home from work.

Option 2. Do Christmas in July, make it fun.

Option 3. Book a ticket on the ferry to Tasmania, be fearless.

Of Course, there is football.

On that happy note, be brave, drive carefully and buy orange juice.

 

 

April Forward

 

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Editing & Document writer

Ramsay Art Prize finalists

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SA BIKE TOURS

 

FullSizeRender-60Art is language and in many countries pictures are a part of dialogue. The inviting interiors of Cue, De Souza, Hughes and Selleck examine the priorities of pretext and invite interactive, participation. The exhibition moves away from traditional painting and allows a multi-media vioce.

Let’s meet the ART

GEORGINA CUE

The Living room, sets an exotic stage for a classical diva in what appears like an ancient setting. The bold artwork seems to have a Cubist influence with an early Century  twist. Both powerful and beautiful, the photographic work ,an inkjet on rag-paper, is a central work in the exhibition.

REBECCA SELLECK

Lapin Plague, 2016

This is an engaging installation, on many levels, firstly it invites you into it. It is a homely domestic scene with what appears to be, occupied by small rabbits. On closer examination the (heated) rabbit skins have no heads, therefore they are not alive. ‘Outside of the cage’, it would appear that the rabbits and humans are enjoying a shared space and when you touch the skins they are robust and warm, but they are not.

KEG DE SOUZA

We built this city

This impressive structure is made from salvaged tents and plaid laundry bags. Within the interior is a communal area with milk crates to sit on and books on the history of the Tent Embassy in Canberra. Coming off the main ‘room’ are an array of small tent rooms. It is the perfect Festival space, providing your guests have house manners, better than a Tipi because there are rooms, however a tad flammable.

The concept of tribe and tent and engaging in the environment as opposed to destroying it, is an old age concept, in Western Culture according to the old testament, the Christian/ Jewish God lived in a tent.

The added beauty whist in the tent is listening to the haunting sound of traditional Fado singers, from the outside film by Jacobus Capon that examines memories of a home gone. The Australian factor is that we came as refugees, yet our memories resonate. Are we adapting or are we all in a state of diaspora.

 JACOBUS CAPONE

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Forgiving night for day.

Multiple films projected  onto the Art Gallery wall are of lone characters watching the dawn above the rooftops of Lisbon, Portugal. Capone examines the state of nostalgia. It is an absorbing work, visually engaging as the sound-scape floods the skies above the sleeping town.

NATALYA HUGHES

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All of Your Women and Some of Mine, 2016

An interior space with a strong Mattise influence, using decorative abstract contrasts in colour and pattern, appearing like a digital construct..

TONY ALBERT

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Exotica (Mid Century Modern)

Albert’s political comment on the state of our country as an ashtray, is in dire contrast of the pristine land that was taken from its previous owners.

‘Albert has developed a universal language that seeks to rewrite historical mistruths and injustice.’

SARAH CONTOS

FullSizeRender-66The Long Kiss Goodbye

‘The winning work of art is titled Sarah Contos Presents: The Long Kiss Goodbye and brings together personal remnants of Contos’ practice from the last four years’. Contos was awarded $100,000 for this mixed medium collaged ‘quilt’.

 

April Forward

 

 

 

 

 

escapegoat.com.au

Includes kangaroos, koalas, bike hire, pick ups from Adelaide and a stack more.

 

 

A beautiful evening

MUSIC REVIEW

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Josh, one of our new music reviewer’s arrived to a full house at the Tote in Collingwood on the weekend, for the launch of  Ferla’s  new album Guilt Pop / Stay Posi.

‘It was packed, nearly overflowing, an Indie rock sound, a bit electronic; in the genre of Sticky Fingers. The crowd was  ‘very alive’ and tuned in; mostly hipsters. ‘

Giuliano Ferla. hit the high notes easily whist being supported by a band that infused his mood, the synthesiser player engaged the audience with a complex construct of layered chords,  one on a keyboard and synth on the other. Ocean Party, and dewy garage Girlatones. were the supporting bands and Loose Tooth DJs spun the tunes for the night.

Ferla engaged with the audience and explained the development of the lyrics with personal insights.

 “Imagine your life as if you wanted nothing at all.”

It was a great evening, showcasing a talent that has arrived after a many performances, a terrific line-up and an evening that engaged the respect of the audience.

“There was a great vibe.” Josh

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Audience Response:

“If its on spotify its definitely going in my collection.”

 

FERLA Wasted on you

FERLA GUILT POP/STAY POSI
DOUBLE EP

1. Breakups Are Hard For Everybody
2. I’m Nobody’s Baby Now
3. In The Night
4. You’re There
5. I Can’t Let You Down
6. Wasted On You
7. Children Are Our Future
8. Limited Time

Spotify | iTunes
Facebook| Instagram | Bandcamp

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2 Bob Weekend

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Ormond Rd Elwood Grocer

On a mild Winter weekend, Melbourne’s Music elite came together to honour the songs of Bob Dylan before a full house at the Memo in St Kilda. Friday night was dedicated to acoustic Bob and on Saturday night, it was electric Bob.

The ‘All-Star’ back up band,  consisting of  Benny Franz, Stephen Hadley, Ben Wiesner , and Shane O’Mara , melted seamlessly into each other, but it was guitar legend O’Mara that stole the night with his stella performance. It was a group of musicians fit for the honoured legend himself.

Who is Bob Dylan? Songwriter, Poet or Prophet; Jew or Christian? His lyrics resonated with the crowd that held resolute with dignified appreciation of the words and the artists. Loud talkers were quickly hushed.

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

Each vocalist made his songs their own and each captivated the audience. Liz Stringer was haunting, almost gothic as her lone figure shone in the darkness etching the words and reaching into the void. Song-bird Lisa Miller was mesmerizing and thrust the show forward,  her talent is palpable. Chris Wilson’s scratchy soul voice penetrated into the mind of the listener, like a dark cry and ‘Raised by Eagles’ duo Luke and Nick raised the tempo with a bit of  rockabilly. All of the vocalists on the night where exceptional.

A memorable evening.

Audience response.

“Shane O’Mara is a Melbourne music legend and of Liz Stringer, you need to get her last two albums.”

Review by April Forward

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Writer for Hire

Truth, what is truth?

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REVIEW

George Orwell’s 1984 , adapted by Robert Icke & Duncan Macmillan, is currently playing at the Comedy Theatre.

‘You don’t have to be an expert to know that Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year.”

Unwriting people, removing words, controlling thoughts was Orwell’s dismal view of the future. The play explores the tragic demise of the human spirit with brutal clarity.

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Tom Conroy as Winston

Winston played by Tom Conroy, is man of fear that falls prey to the Party machinery by daring to hope. His Partner in crime, the fierce and splendid Julia (Ursula Mills) is a vision that bursts into his life to set it ablaze for a brief moment.

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O’Brien (Terrence Crawford) Winston (Tom Conroy) & Julia (Ursula Mills)

The wooden interiors and costumes seem reminiscent of the 50’s when the book was written, a generation looking through the keyhole of the condition of the world in 1984. There are no clumsy cream PC’s or the continuous screening of the Iran- Iraq war that dominated our tv’s, in the 80’s. In its essence, the rich nostalgic settings creates a longing for something personal and contrasts the horror of The Ministry of Love.

The acting,direction and effects are flawless. Fiona Press as Mrs Parsons is formidable, by merely stirring a caldron, she captivates a mood that seeps onto the stage.

The Lighting (Natasha Chivers), Sound (Tom Gibbons) and Video Designer (Tim Reid) are major players in the production and carry the full power and might of Big Brother. It’s a beautifully crafted masterpiece, the sets have amazing attention to detail and border on the sublime.

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Paul Blackwell , Terence Crawford & Tom Conroy

Audience response:

“Nothing is believable, everything is manipulated, it’s unfortunate for humanity”

Do you think the play has any relevance to you? MP

“Which agencies are believable and which aren’t , its awful and in the end all you have is your own soul and that’s ripped apart as well.”

So what did you think about the play?

“It’s done amazingly well , there is nothing held back”

Would you recommend it?

“Very much , I want the world to see it”.

Some audience members had to leave midway in the final act, it is confronting.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY SHANE REID

MELBOURNE
Comedy Theatre
until June 10

 

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The Man who United our Nation

The Lonely Hero

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Lionel Rose was unaware of the National Pride that he had evoked. When the plane landed back in Melbourne in 1968, thousands of well dressed white people cheered from the tarmac and balconies to welcome home the Aboriginal Star. A convertible was parked awaiting his arrival.

” Who are all these people waiting for ?” Rose asked the Air-hostess. He thought that maybe a The Beatles had arrived at Essendon Airport.

“You” she replied.

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Lionel Rose was a National Boxing Hero after he won the Bantamweight Title by beating Masahiko ‘Fighting’ Harada, the Japanese Champion in Tokyo.

People had sent gum leaves over to Japan in support of the young boxer.

Lionel Rose was propped up at the back of the convertible so that the roaring crowd could get a good look at him and shake his hand as he passed. A ticker-tape parade down Swanston Street had been arranged, and the street was lined with 100,000 Melbournians, cheering the Aboriginal man. He went on to become The Australian of the Year in 1968.

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Aboriginal people had been granted Australian Citizenship in 1967 which meant that Rose could obtain a passport, buy land and obtain legal rights. The constitutional Referendum, to allow Aboriginals rights, was voted in favour by 90.77 of the population, on the 27th of May. Rose won the Title on 26th of Feb, which meant that the 19-year-old had been an Australian Citizen for 9 months. Rose was a Celebrity for both Aboriginals and Caucasians, when the fight against racism was still on shaky turf.

Rose was the first Original Australian to be named Australian of the Year. When accepting the award, he said;

“One hundred and eighty-two years ago one of my mob would have been a dead cert for this.” (www.australianoftheyear.org.au)

RECONCILIATION WEEK May 27 – June 3

Orwell’s 1984 is back

‘Power is only what you allow it to be’.1984

English-born , George Orwell’s, 1984, will be re-visited.

MELBOURNE
Comedy Theatre
31 May – 10 June

Despite the age of the novel, its potent warning remains.

Orwell wrote the book in 1948, but it’s most relevant to those born in 1984 as the days of surveillance are upon us. ‘Big brother is watching’. Ironically Steve Jobs included a clip of the movie when Apple launched the Mac, in 1983. 1984 and the internet age coincide and determine the possibility of life imitating art.

Many of us read 1984 at school, a few of us saw the movie and though it’s been dormant for a decade or two, it resurfaces in a blaze.

Written as a Sci-fi, he wrote it based on events he witnessed as a Colonial Policeman in Burma. He never went to university and was not author previously, but what he wrote continues to resonate through time.

‘Why was he writing it? For the future, for the unborn’ (1984)

In ‘1984’, war is prolific, slavery, torture and imprisonment without trial, are common and fear abounds. The population is constantly aware that they are being watched and denied privacy.

He explains that ‘double speak’ is talk that reframes negative terms as positive and this language is used to subvert and confuse the masses.

War is Peace

Freedom is Slavery

Ignorance is Strength

Orwell knew the exploitation of power as he saw it first hand, as an inflicter, not a victim. He had used a female slave as a house companion, enforced cruelty and led men to their deaths. 1984 was to purge the pain of his conscience and to warn the innocent.

‘The hate had started.’ Orwell

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1984

“To hold the population down by force, I was in the police, which is to say. I was part of the machinery” Orwell

Although Orwell engaged in an evil authority he could not digest it, it disturbed him and led him to undermine his future life in acts of penance. 1984 was written to warn the innocent and to have hope that a future he saw could be prevented.

“ I watched a man hang once …… I didn’t realise what it meant to destroy a healthy conscious man…cutting a life short when it is in full tide, this man was not dying, he was alive, just as we were alive. He and we were a party of men, seeing, hearing and feeling, understanding the same world and in two minutes one of us would be gone” Orwell

Today young children play killing games, in their rooms on their computers. Some of the video games are rich in realism which makes the malice more personal; some are playing on Defence websites that observe their results for recruiting purposes. Many parents adopt the slogan, ‘Ignorance is Strength.’

‘So vicious was the boys demeanor it was hardly a game, it was frightening like tiger-cubs that will grow into man eaters … Mrs Parsons eyes flitted nervously from Winston to the children and back again….they do get noisy, she said. They’re disappointed because they couldn’t get to see the hanging, I’m too busy to take them.’ 1984

Orwell like Vincent Van Gogh walked away from his middle class life to become ‘down and out in Paris and London’, as a hobo he hoped to rid himself of the imperialist past that haunted him.

According to Orwell, war is ‘double think’, it is to use the product of the machine without producing goods. It is designed to strip human resources so those that have absolute power, can enjoy power.

If people live hungry and are overworked, even when it is easy for all to live well, it serves cruelty. Orwell explains in 1984 that there is a surplus of resources and all are able to live well but this is contrary to the desires of the ruling class.

‘The slave population allow the continuous tempo of war to be sped up …the primary aim of warfare is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living, the problem of what to do with the surplus’ 1984

Orwell explains that poverty is deliberate.

 

The Other Art Fair

Get on your bike and head off to the other art fair.

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Before entering the building, graffiti artists have already marked the journey.

 

 

It’s a fabulous space, housing a catacomb of galleries and a cafe

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JC

Upon immediate entry we are reassured that the art is going to be world class with the work of JC.

 

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Jo White

The nostalgic work of Jo White is a delight.

 

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Cynthia Ellis

and Cynthia Ellis lays it on thick.

 

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Leah Emery at work

Leah Emery applies the cross-stitch of random pornographic spam as the new temptation

 

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Time Jones, Kittens 

and Tim Jones brings it home.

 

Christina Popovici explains Action Art

This is just a slim slice of The Other Art Fair at Kensington. I could have stayed all day. Go and be stimulated. Adorn with Australian Art.

The Other Art Fair presented by Saatchi Art   May 4-7

 

What pain women endure for shoes

I am taking a liberal guess, but I can confidently say that nearly all women have a pair of shoes that they endure with pain and will not throw out.

I went to the streets to test my theory. These are their stories.

Jess from Belgrave

Designer

“I have sitting shoes, I can’t walk anywhere without holding on to my partner’s hand. He props me up until I find a seat, then I can sit down, looking pretty.”

Other women call their un-walkable footware, their dinner shoes

Jan from Burwood

Hairdresser

Jan has 50 pairs of shoes and 12 Boots, which she rotates.

I asked her if she wore uncomfortable shoes.

“Absolutely that’s why I have sore feet. I just grin and bear it, anything for the look. I want to be tall and slim with long legs and when I get home I whinge”

Lizzi Ablmett from St Kilda

Sales Assistant

“I have 8 or 9 shoes that all hurt and I squeeze my feet into them, every night. I come home with blisters and bunyips. I do it because they look great. Even if they’re the wrong size I don’t care. The problem is my feet, not the shoes.”

Simone from Burwood

Sales Manager and Clothes Stylist

Simone has 41 pairs of shoes.

“I rotate my shoes, if I don’t wear them, I give them away. Since having a baby I no longer wear painful shoes, I need to run around and be able to pick up Alice.”

Bernie from Hallam

Sales Manager and Fashion Coordinator

Bernie leaves shoes at work that she changes periodically, during the day, to regulate the pain.

“I’ll wear painful shoes if they go with the outfit”

Sonia from Watirna

IT Specialist

Sonia has knee issues and is forced to wear sensible shoes however she holds onto her ‘unwearables’.

“I look too gorgeous in them, to throw them out.”

Sophie from Elwood

“I am drawn to the statement and collect them like feet ornaments, yet I wear the comfy one’s everyday. My collection waits for me.

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Gemma from Mont Albert

Journalist; L’Oreal

“ I was a ballet dancer for 18years, I’ve put my feet through so much pain, I can handle any shoe now.”

Dorota from Mt Waverley

Legal Intern

“I have an obsession, all of my friends come to borrow my shoes. People tell me I’m crazy. My uncle, who is a builder made me shelves, for half of my wall, for all my shoes.

Tell me about your favourite.

“ I bought a pair in Poland. If I wear them out at night, I can’t walk the next day.”

Vinita from St Kilda

Journalist

“I can’t wear heels or my foot will twist, I can’t balance but I always want them”

Do you buy them?

“Yes, a lot, I’ve got 13 pairs, but I only wear two.”

What does you partner say about your shoes?

“When I go shopping, my husband will say. ‘Why do you want them, you wont wear them? He thinks I’m just collecting the things”.

Kshipra from Hoppers Crossing

Manager

“I have really high heeled white shoes with pretty straps and I just wore them once. I didn’t take public transport, I got my husband to drive me to the door of the restaurant. When we wanted to walk around the city, I changed into other footwear.”

And do you still have them?

“Yes, its been three years since I bought them but I wont throw them out. I always dust them and put them back, I hope to wear them some day. The hope is there.”

What does your partner say about your shoes?

“ He says, why don’t you give off the ones you don’t’ wear, then buy the new ones? I say, no I’ll wear them some day.”

Kshipra adds;

“At Crown, after the party, I walked out and see these women,  the first thing they do is take off their shoes. And there was one girl, no matter what, she did not want to remove her heals. She was holding to her friend, because she couldn’t stand on her own, yet she refused to remove her shoes.

We were watching her from behind and we really thought she would fall.

Based on these stories, I conclude that Cinderella didn’t loose her shoe, she was kicking them off at the end of the Ball.

On the Clock

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As the MICF circus wraps up, 2 clowns sent it off with a bang.

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The afternoon show at ACMI was the icing on the Festival, after a series of ‘Stand up’ wit and profound observations we discover a new territory. These Guys have nothing to say, it’s what they do that suspends reality and slaps you in the face. Throughout  the performance the unexpected continued to surface from beneath the banal.

Confused? Good , that’s a great start.

You will be bewitched within a Dadaists performance of an office mundane that imploded into the wild and creative instinct of lifes little dramas. Bit by bit they shatter through reality to reveal a seething internal existence with comic twists.

Intrigued? I hope so, it is an intriguing experience.

No matter how sober you think you are, they will pick up your solid piece of reality and twist it until you feel entirely happy. Like an animal can become a chair, a thing can become an animal. They are very clever Consultation Specialists.

Welcome to Ruck’s Leather Interiors starring Gareth Grubb (Trygve Wakenshaw) and Dennis Chang (Bernie Duncan) as Performance Artists.

Bernie Duncan

FullSizeRender-20 Where did you Guys train? MP

“I didn’t do training but Ttygve went to Gaulier, a French Clown School in Paris.”

How did you get into this? MP

“I always made theatre, we started a Company (Theatre Beating) about 14 years ago, and we made stuff we liked”

Audience Responce

“I never dreamed that I would ever see two people entertain me from the time they started right up until the very end. Everything that happened was totally unexpected , it shocked me, it was so funny and you never knew what was coming and everything that came was brilliant.”

The Top Ten

EASTER

For some it’s an annual 4 day Autumn weekend, mass exodus to the coast.

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For others, it is the EXODUS

It’s that Holy time of the year for Jews and Christians, Passover and  Resurrection rituals reminding the faithful of a power stronger than death. Revolutionary leaders such as Martin Luther King and Gandhi have drawn from these ancient beliefs to alter the fate of the future. The original set of Commandments were the moral compass for the refugees that were escaping slavery and dreaming of a better place.

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Moslems a branch of Abraham, Commandments: 1/47:19  2/14:35  3/2:24  4/62:9  5/17:23 6/5:32  7/17:32 8/5:38  9/2:283  10 20:131

Although Jews, Moslems and Christians are keen to point out their differences, the ‘top ten’ applies to them all.

1. CREATOR
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.”

2. NO IDOLS
“You shall not recognise other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.”

3. RESPECT
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.”

4. SATURDAY
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant, your animal or your stranger within your gates.”

5. PARENTS
“Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”

6. KILLING
“You shall not murder.”

7. CHEATING
“You shall not commit adultery.”

8 THEFT
“You shall not steal.”

9. SLANDER
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

10. ENVY 
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools” Matin Luther King

For Christians there was an add on.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

“The true measure of any society is how it treats it’s most vulnerable members” Gandhi

http://www.antislavery.org.au

Comic Maverick and Ideas Man

This Charming Man, the very affable Matt Stewart draws in a full house as he gives a ‘Dry’ dose of ‘Very Dry’ at The Chinese Museum in Chinatown. He has taken his routine out of The Fringe and into the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, for a fresh round of laughs.

Getting to the venue is half the adventure, up the street hustle of Chinatown and into the historic site that sets the tone for the nights event. Stewart is unassuming, able to ‘break your guard’ whist never pouncing..

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The key to his art is his unflinching delivery as he stares into the bright lights that veil the audience. He promises to give ‘A pretty Good Show ‘ It’s most likely one of the top ‘Pretty Good Shows’ on the circuit.

Even though Matt’s not your mate, he could be. With comic cool he creates a friendly rapport as he spins absurd Aussie tales and butters it with wacky wisdom. He is edgy with a blunt delivery. ,

As a Caped Crusader, Stewarts superpower is to engage, indulge and transfix.

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‘Pretty Dry’ : CHINESE MUSEUM Mar 30- Apr 23 8.30pm

3 Mates & a glass of wine at MICF

The MICF Show is in town and Three Course Comedy is the show-bag of comic treats. Each night 3 Comedians take the stage to give you a sample size dish of their material. It’s a great way to be exposed to a range of comic styles, with a line up that changes each night.

MP went to the very ambient Fort Delta Gallery  in Howey Place to be amused by Tim Hewitt, Adam Knox and Michael Shafer

Tim Hewitt warms up the Crowd, as first up in ‘Three Course’ line-up.

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Hewitt is soaking in the City culture of MICF after doing the ‘hard yards’ in the parochial wilderness of Pokies Den’s and Greyhounds. The comics life may be rich in experience but it may not afford holidays to remote islands with Supermodels. There are compromises.

Hewitt has a personal warmth that endears the crowd, his suburban tales ‘touch a nerve’ and there are outbursts of laughter throughout the room.

With two comedians to follow, the routine manoeuvres speedily through his visual landscapes.

Also performing ‘Comedy Zone’ on the MICF circuit.

‘Knoxie’ is next

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Knox brings a mix of cultural anomalies to his performance wrapping his clever wit around some pearls of insight. He wavers between action, concern and an offhand remarks. He establishes an instant rapport with the audience before entering his comfort zone, once there, he opens up to the deeper issues that concern him, like a mate does.

Knox is also a part of Chimp Cop Forever

Michael Shafer

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Shafer breaks away from his sellout solo performance Jewis-ish to join his mates in this 3 course round-up. His routine is a bite sized, sped up sample of what audiences can expect to hear at the full show. Shafer continues to polish his work with diligent effort, comedy is not a vacation it’s his vocation.

Shafer manages to lead the course through the choppy waves of perception and throws out a line to the women in the audience, those that may be floundering in the male shallows.

Shafar on fire in Jewish-ish

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL review

Michael Shafar held his own at the momentous Trades Hall, that scrubbed up nicely, awash in neon for the MICF 2017.

Shafar is an eclectic blend of cultural experiences that have shaped and unshaped him. He is sorta Jewish, sorta Aussie,sorta cool, sorta nerd, sorta serious but definitely funny. His shows are selling out because the word is out, Shafar ‘nailed it’ this year.

Shafar examines his Jew-ish-ness with perplexed wonder. His grandfather was a Holocaust survivor and its more the ‘religousness’ than the faith that is up for review. He has a wealth of material to draw from that keeps the audience in stiches through out the performance. The crowd loved him and there was a reluctance for the show to end

MICHAEL SHAFAR is Jewish-ish at TRADES HALL Mar 30-Apr 23 8.30pm (no Wed & 7.30 on Sun)

An interview with Michael Shafar

“I used to encounter a lot of anti-Semitism when I was playing football for my Jewish school. I played from the ages of 12-16 and it was interesting and sad to encounter kids making anti-Semitic comments. I’m interested in whether those kids actually understood what they were saying, or if they were just repeating taunts that they had heard from their surroundings.”

How do you feel about your performance this year?

So far I’ve been really happy with the shows. I’ve changed up a lot of the content since I last performed it in Perth and have also changed the overall structure to make the theme about being culturally Jewish a lot stronger. I think it’s definitely working better now.

What type of reaction have you experienced from Jewish-ish?

So far the reactions have been great. A lot of people have messaged me to let me know they enjoyed the show. It’s interesting to me how different people tweet different jokes to me from the show, so it’s nice that there are a lot of different jokes in there that people remember and relate to.

What has been your most profound experience? MP

“The Comedians I met in the US were young, emerging comics who taught me a lot about work ethic. In the US, comedians are often gigging 15 times per week, which is why their development is accelerated. I tried to absorb that work ethic as much as possible so I try to gig as much as possible around Melbourne.”

Do Comedians support each other?

“Whenever there is a controversy about something that a comedian has said or done, comedians tend to help each other through it.”

Is MICF different for you this year?

It’s different because it’s my first solo show, so it’s definitely a lot busier than any other year. I also need to manage my time a bit better than previous years, making sure I still get enough sleep, eat well and exercise (which I have failed to do for the first few nights, so hopefully I get more disciplined!)

Contemporary, Alive & Faster

The Australian Ballet presents new original work from current Choreographers that explore dance within our contemporary setting. The three acts are Faster,Squander and Glory and Infra.

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There are no tutu’s , all are stripped down, very physical performances with strong male leads and a sense of urgency.

” I love the story telling and its ability for anyone to create their own interpretation and take away a unique experience.” Kevin Ho

INFRA

The richness and pain of life takes place behind closed doors in our most intimate spaces. The drama of being unfolds, between the gaps of daily life. The ‘must do’s’ have no time for the intimate condition. The ‘must do’, is the daily travel to the daily toil. The other stuff is the real us.

English Choreographer Wayne Mc Gregor of the The Royal Ballet, explores the intimate in contrast to the business of life. As rich and deep as our lives are or are not, we dwell within a larger context . Those that fall out of the ‘infra’-structure, fall alone.

The ballet explores social and political content in dance, yet it is deeply sensual. There is a tribal call away from the world  into the instinct. The male soloist that stands in for that call, is memorable in its power.

SQUANDER AND GLORY

Both Australia and Melbourne can be glad to boast of a choreographer as creative and insightful as Tim Harbour. Like INFRA, Harbour seems to be exploring the complexity of intimacy and power. Kevin Ho’s structure appears like a sculpture but looms as much more. The dancers sway to the cult of obedience as though the monument dominates them.

“The negative spaces that surround me…an instinct to carve out those shapes” Harbour

Visually every aspect of the work is sculptural, even the music seems to be in the act of carving. Every muscle in the dancers bodies seems to have been used to create texture, using light and shadow to enhance the effect.

FASTER

Faster opens the triple bill, created in 2012, the year of the London Olympic Games, choreographer David Bintley recreates the drama.The Games are the ultimate statement of giving up everything to be first. To place it last rewinds us to how we got there. Faster, Greater and Better? How much  personal ambition does it take to be a winner.

The dancers within Bintley’s work interchange into human and non-human parts. They may  be a spinning disc or an abstraction of an ego. It explores the outer and inner world of the athlete, the frustration and self-abasement to the harmony of the work coming together within a united self.

This Triple Bill offers contemporary Ballet lovers, a physical. emotional and creative journey. They are raw and sensual Ballet’s that allow the dancers to explore new physical boundaries of space and movement.

Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre Mar 17-27

Sydney Opera House, Joan Sutherland Theatre Apr 7-26

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Ballet Coaching

Jane Moore’s Ballet Academy

Full & Part-time Coaching 0457 13 13 20 http://www.janemooreballet.com.au

Photo’s and article by April Forward.

Annie Goldson, ‘Everywhere and Anywhere’

Acclaimed New Zealand Documentary Director, Annie Goldson was in Melbourne to launch her new (secret project) film. Goldson has a strong formidable countenance and she needs it, many of her subjects are capable of murder or the victims of the culpable hand. She needs to know when to back off.

ACMI hosted the Australian International Documentary Conference, which brought in talent from all over the globe. Goldson was doing a spot of shopping when we caught up.

“Its nice to have some time off and be wandering around Melbourne” Goldson

Goldson began her career as a Journalist and has ‘inched her way’ into filmmaking. She tackles the hard facts behind the news stream and goes into the bog, looking for the truth. As a political observer she finds her stories ‘everywhere’, she is curious and like Alice in a complex Wonderland, has to adapt quickly. We may wonder why the terrorists are so irate, she takes her team and her camera and asks them. She is a historians torch into the unknown.

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He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan

He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan explores New Zealand’s involvement in the Afghanistan war that lasted longer than WW1 and WW2 combined. ‘Did we stay to long?’ the film asks. Can lessons be learned to prevent such long-term engagements for the sake of alliance.

Brother Number One was a challenging work as it was necessary to create a present from the past events of the Cambodian Genocide under Pol Pot. New Zealander Ron Hamill, the films source, explains how his carefree adventurous brother Kerry ,sailed into a nightmare.

“An innocent man brought to his knees and killed in the prime of his life” Ron Hamill

Goldson records Hamill’s emotional pain as he addresses the torture and death of his sibling at the War Crimes Tribunal.

The mass Genocide that murdered 2,000,000  ( a 1/4 of the population) was led by a ‘charismatic and smiling’ leader Pol Pot who was indifferent to the torture of babies. In 1975. he led the Kamor Rouge into Nu Pen and in 72 hours he had cleared the city of its inhabitants and sent them to work in labour camps, to grow rice that he would export as the population died of hunger, overwork or beating.

“Documentaries are always a challenge.” Goldson

Her films are intense political dramas that set the stage and cast its light into the ‘heart of darkness.’ Her other well-known films that she Directed are; Punitive Damage and An Island Calling 

by April Forward

All photo’s courtesy of Annie Goldson film extracts.

The play that created a storm

‘It’s foul weather in us all, good soul’

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Melbourne Sky

Ironically, it is a storm that opens the tale of The Tempest, but here on the banks of the Maribyrnong River it is a brewing storm that ends it. Melbourne’s fickle weather has once again cast its cold spell on an outdoor event. It has ‘undid’, subverted and prevented the ambition of this ‘goodly’ play. The stunning performance that was on Friday and Saturday was ‘naught’ on Sunday.

What could have been is; Prospero, performed by Brendon Ewing, dark with revenge and drawing his past into the currents of his macabre island home, seeking familiar company with unkindly aims, that give way to kindness sway. This tale untold, due to weather, it had to fold, so the cast did the next best thing, they sang.

 

Sly Rat Theatre Co.’s artistic directors Alan Chambers and Andy Harmsen have created a unique vision for The Tempest, inspired by science-fiction classics. The Pipework’s Natural Museum is a beautiful outdoor space, rich in atmosphere and a perfect setting for a summer picnic, weather permitting.

 

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“It’s a Rock and Roll version of Shakespeare, it’s very loud and very big” Director Andy Harmsen

Within the warm hub of the group, a buzz with laughter, singing and the smell of burnt sausage, it is easy to forget that the cancellation of a show could be disappointing, they are taking it so well. It’s a chance to catch up with some of the actors and chat about their role’s, the few that aren’t belting out a tune.

First up is Todd Levi

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“We like to push the boundaries but still tell a great story.. it’s Shakespeare, how he would like it done today…Its bawdy, its real and it is entertainment first and foremost. Prospero has been marooned on a magical island, betrayed by his sister and he’s been there for 12 years. He spies the evildoers sailing by and raises a tempest, a storm that shipwrecks them on the island where he prepares to take his revenge. It’s the search for redemption the final words of the play are; ‘As you from crimes would pardon’d be, let you indulgence set me free’

What made you choose this venue? MP

 “It’s a magical place, it’s a place where the community comes and we played here last year to over 2000 people … most of them had not seen live theatre before, let alone Shakespeare, and playing to an audience like that and seeing them fall in love with it”

Did you factor in the weather? MP

“You don’t expect to have nine shows of good weather every-time, hopefully this is our one and only cancellation.”

Next up is Tara Hauton 

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“Steph and I play the clowns, technically it’s the Court Jester but Andy and Alan have re-invented it to be two women who have been to the races all day long and have arrived at the play. We exist outside the world of the play and that’s where the comedy of the role happens…we are very drunk.

and Ty Holdsworth

 

It’s a play about weather, most Melbournians can relate to that.

 

Fri,Sat & Sunday nights at 6.30 until March 5

Pipework’s Natural Museum Park on the banks of the Maribrynong River

 

 

by April Forward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give up your Health

At the Launch of Teeth & Tongue’s new Album ‘Give up your Health’.

‘Lead singer Jess Cornelius, an urban soul vocalist in the genre of Patti Smith, has a smooth rich voice that rides through intriguing electronic arrangements.’ MP

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‘Give Up on Your Health’ had its genesis in one rogue song. ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ that was originally recorded as an experimental track with a driving, arpeggiated synth sound, drawing on ’70s electronica. The label liked it so much they wanted a full album to go with it. So on the heels of a breakup, Cornelius retired to remote Iceland on a three-month Nes Artist Residency, which produced the heartbreaking ‘Small Towns’.

“We’ve got unavoidable contact. There’s always email and phone. I went as far away as I thought I could. You’re dying in the heat, I’m dying in the cold” – Small Towns

The rest of the album was written in Melbourne, where Cornelius brought the material to the band: guitarist Marc Regueiro-McKelvie, bassist Damian Sullivan and drummer James Harvey.

“I wanted to make an energetic dance-pop record, but with substance,the kind you’d put on when you’re driving down the highway, forgetting all the stressful stuff.” Cornelius

Alannah Woods our music reporter went to Remote Studios to review the album and interviewed the lead singer Jess Cornelius.

Your songs are quite different from each other, where do you get your inspiration? AW

“It’s usually stuff that’s going on ..a process of working out why I am feeling things”

Do you write the music? AW

“Sometimes;  I’ll bring a song to the band, just the lyrics, maybe a guitar bar, the structure and the melody, then sometimes the guys will write their own arrangements or I’ll write parts for them .. it’s a mixture. They definitely write, we just work it out.”

Who inspires you musically? AW 

“It changes so much … Lou Reed has always been a big one, songwriters like Nina Simone..”

Tell us about your albums? AW

“I’ve done 4 Albums, the first was just me but I got other people to play on it.For this one the four of us, not the keyboard player, have been together for a few years, we did the 3rd album together..it’s been a bit like adding people along the way”

So it was your original idea?

“Yeah I started out as a soloist.”

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The Verdict

‘What I love is that she takes every part of her life and turns it into a song, it doesn’t necessarily have to be depressing, there’s a genuine depth. Jess has a great sound that could be compared to jazz, very soulful ..” Alannah Woods

Tamworth Star

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Australia is a large country and each year Tamworth becomes the heartbeat of the Country Music scene. 2016 ARIA winner, Sara Storer took the Female Artist of the Year award and her composistion ‘Amazing Night’ won the ‘Best Bush Ballad’ honor at the festival.

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“Sara has a unique way of seeing and expressing her observations of love and life in the bush. So she is a songwriter that will be remembered beyond her lifetime.”

John Williamson

This is quite an acclaim, coming from one of Australia’s Country Music Giants.

Storer’s craft is spun from her personal experiences and local insights. She has a 4am routine to keep ahead of the busy demands of her large family. Her local accent, the unique twang of our region is apparent in her work as she sings about the Australian life.

‘I could sit here all night, fall asleep in this chair.The fire beside me keeps the Dingos away.And its sure nice to be with you around this burning red gum, that’s what a campfire does, it takes my worries away’ (Lyrics from Amazing Night)

At the heart of every urban dweller is the distinct belief that ‘Waltzing Matilda’ is the countries informal National Anthem and this is a paradox of the Nations identity. There is a little bit of ‘country’ in all of us.

Storer is currently on tour promoting her new album Silos.

 

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The Prince of tennis wins the Australian Open

The AUSTRALIAN OPEN 

Fairytale Ending to this years Open

Federer beats Nadal in 5 seesaw sets

Federer came out strong in the first set, brimming with confidence, hitting precision shots and slamming  Nadals backhand. Nadals survival instinct was provoked and he nailed the second set as Roger flounded. This was the blueprint of the game.

Federer excelled when he was successful and Rafael rose when he was being beaten. Federers game fall apart on the defensive, however he served some beauties that switched him on again. On the home run Federer was on fire.

6-4  5-6  6-1  3-6  6-3

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How it unfolded in the Summer of 2017 

It’s on ! A Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal Mens Final.

Looking back at the 2009 Final when the younger Federer and Nadal met at the Australian Open final it was a colossal game that went to 5 sets, with Nadal the victor.

Can Federer break Nadal’s survival mindset.

Womens Final

With hand on heart, Venus states proudly ; “That’s my little sister…your win has always been my win ”

Serena Williams beat her sister convincingly in 2 sets. Venus held back her tears as she watched her younger sibling and rival take the limelight and hold up the AO trophy.

Nadal in the final!


Rafa Nadal’s win over Girgor Dimitrov was a battle of wills. Both showed up to a fierce combat with Dimitrov determined to win and Nadal determined not to lose. With a sliver of greater determination Nadal grasped the victory and collapsed in sheer exhaustion. Wearily they embraced each other in recognition of the others ability.

6-3 5-7 7-6 6-7 6-4

Venus upsets Coco’s run


Both players are in disbelief, Coco Vandeweghe is shocked to have lost and Venus Williams is elated to be in the finals.

Federer overcomes Wawrinka


7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3

Stan Wawrinka broke his racket over his leg in frustration as Roger Federer glided into the third set with ease. It seemed as though he hurt his leg in the feat and took some time off the court for treatment. Federer waited.

The ‘time out’ worked in Wawrinkas favour and he went on to win the 3rd and 4th sets as Federer broke his rhythm and played a string of wild shots. This time Federer needed a break and took some time out for off the court care.

Federer came back to the court re-focused and stole back the momentum to win in 5 sets.

The ‘Old Guard’ emerges on top

Rafael Nadal has a battery that just wont give up. He goes to work each day with sheer will and determination against some formidable competition. If Nadal has been rowing hard upstream to make it to the final, Roger Federer has been sailing on a strong wind in his favour.

Serena Williams is swinging ‘all the way’, who can stop her? Maybe her older sister.

Women’s and men’s Top seeds toppled.

Both top seeds have been defeated before the Quarter finals. Angelique Kerber had a convincing loss against Coco Vanderweghe in 3 sets whist Andy Murry battled it out in 4 sets with Misha Zverev, ranked 50. 7-5. 5-7, 6-2, 6-4

Istomin defeats Djokovic

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The King is out of the tournament, Novak Djokovic is beaten after a major upset, losing to 117th ranked Denis Istomin. The match was short of 5 hours, a matinee that turned into the a 7.30 game.

“Mum you did a good job” Isomin thanks his coach.

Seppi defeats Kyrgios

The passionate dual between Andreas Seppi and Nick Kyrgios eclipsed expectations as the cocky Aussie fell under the disdain of Italy’s champion.Its was the male version of last years Women’s final were intimidation was brought down by sheer determination.

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Nick Kyrgios

The epic story unfolded in 5 rounds which lasted over 3 hours, a story of physical brute , unsettled emotions and mental will.

To the merit of Kyrgios he is self coached and attempts to have a balanced life within the dictatorship of the tennis world. He tends to live in the moment, without being answerable. The press had a field day of speculation, picking at his fallen remains, as the Australian simmered and honoured his opponents game.

 

 

 

by April Forward

Beyond the Pale

Australia Day tribute:

“It’s always been about sharing stories, identity loss and grief, determination , imagination , self belief, cultural integrity, hope and justice, reliance , cultural pride, and more than anything it’s about my people’s survival of spirit.” Hill

Noongar woman, Sandra Hill was a stolen Aboriginal child that was forced into foster care at the age of seven by the Australian Government due to the Assimilation Policy that was still active in 1958. Four children were removed from their mother’s house, they included her self , her two sisters and a brother. They were the 3rd generation of children removed from this family line.

‘In 1994 Hill  was employed as the Aboriginal Community Cultural Officer. During this period she applied for, and was awarded, a Creative Development Fellowship from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. This afforded her the time to carry out research relating to her life experiences as a member of the Stolen Generations’ (extract from Design & Art Australia on-line)

Hill’s work is held in many private collections and is also represented in Major Art Galleries throughout Australia, currently her mixed media work “Beyond the Pale’ is on display at the NGV Ian Potter Gallery at Federation Square in the Australian Art Exhibition. She explores domestic labor as part of the ‘Assimilation Project’.

In the past, Domestic colleges were set up to train poor white girls and ‘half-caste’ Aboriginal children to attend to the needs of the wealthy.

‘In the early issues of Home Beautiful there was a feeling of nostalgia for the passing of an age in which almost everyone in the middle and upper classes could afford to keep a live-in maid. Even at the turn of the century , architects and designers were discussing the ‘servant problem’ and trying to come up with ways to help women face a future without servants’ The Australian Home Beautiful, from Hills Hoist to High Rise.

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NGV

 

 

ref: page 73, Household Help: The Servant Problem. The Australian Home Beautiful  from Hills Hoist to High Rise  Hardie Grant Books Oliver J.

Citizen Kerr sacked an Australian Government on 11/11

The weight of Australian history fell heavy on the shoulders of Governor General John Kerr, when he sacked an Australian Prime Minister in 1975. A Constitutional crisis upset the fate of the Country.

A young optimistic Australia wanted an end to the Vietnam war, The Whitlam Government ended it. Australians wanted access to education and health, so they got it.Women wanted equality so the amendments were made. Immigrants wanted rights so they had them and the Aboriginals wanted to be recognised as people and not fauna and so they were.

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Giving Australians rights to be Australian

“Migrants have given much to Australia; Australia has given to little in return” Gough Whitlam

For conservative Australia it was happening a bit too fast and the ‘Old Guard’ clung to the past and their status. Sir Kerr had a lot of pressure from many influences. A book ,’The Falcon and the Snowman’; claimed American interference. As the Queens representative, she had to  have been at the party. Malcolm Frazer of the Liberal Party was made caretaker, even though the people voted Labor, so they had to have been there. Whitlam stopped the ‘White only policy’, so that excludes a lot. One thing is for sure, once Kerr did the deed, they turned their back on him.

It took a few decades to close the gates that Whitlam opened. War is back, Education is expensive,  Medicare is getting the chop. Women are losing ground and immigration has become a taboo subject. ‘This didn’t happen overnight’, it couldn’t, the 70’s and 80’s Generations were the heirs to the Whitlam Legacy. Cate Blanchett’s speech at Gough’s funeral summed up the gratitude.

Cate Blanchetts Speech

Public  feed back

” Gough will never be forgotten for introducing Medicare in Australia” Melissa- USU

Seemed like a lot of money at the time, he must have been a visionary regarding the Arts” Meridith Farmer

“Gough was a man of his word.” Joanie – Administration

“His influence was significant,my brother is  Magistrate thanks to education” Kerry Teacher

” They wouldn’t have tried to sell it when he was alive, they waited a year” Sophie – Artist

” I never said I’m immortal …I do believe in correct language. I’m Eternal, not immortal’ quoting  Whitlam , Robbie -Business Consultant

The seasons of David Hockney

Current

Hockney is both artist and philosopher and does not leave ‘Art for Arts-sake’,. He has a dilemma and a relationship with the camera. It’s an interesting journey. Hockney wants to break free from the ‘window to the world’ and look upon life with fresh eyes but memory draws him back into the abyss of ‘what if’. It’s this challenge that makes his work exciting and current.

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Hockney was an early explorer of new technology when others were still reckoning with it. The perplex of the eye informing Art or the camera has etched itself into his work. The inner debate of Hockney is explored in his art and educates the viewer. He is an intellectual and art is his vehicle

“The camera can’t get the beauty of this ……it can’t compete with painting” Hockney

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Hockney challenges the limitations of the camera but continues to return to it. He has a union to technology that he cannot divorce himself from and that’s fine. As Hockney searches for the truth and is willing to film it; we benefit.

Hockney knew that 14th Century artists were using the ancient Camera Obscure,  a technique that reproduced a slide show via light and darkness onto a canvas. He devoted a few years documenting it and producing evidence.

Maybe in the early years, Hockney was criticised for letting the camera inform him and he aimed to provide its legitimate history within the Renaissance . He ended up proving and providing something more important, it works either way.

The pool and boys journey in LA begins as an eye and brush experience.

‘Though there was no photography used in the swimming pool paintings, because the camera “freezes” the water, which was not the effect he was after, he did continue to use it as n aide-memoire’ Christopher Simon Skykes

Hockney could capture the movement and effect of pool water with his eye but needed the camera for the Splash!

When Hockney returns to the English countryside to capture the seasons, he faces extreme weather and does not photograph the landscape. He forsakes a cosy studio for art of plein-air. Back indoors however he views the photographs of his work and aims to create a cinematic version within a jigsaw. The camera is back. The final twist is that the weather weathered work informs the photograph.

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Take the journey and roll out the green carpet for David Hockney at NGV International.

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NGV International  Nov 11- Mar 13

 

Melbourne Tourist tips

For warm weather the best time to come to Melbourne is between November and April. The winters may not be as harsh as Europe or Canada but Australia is not built for cold weather, it is a beach culture. Houses are poorly insulated and the southerly winds will cut through a thin coat. Melbournians wear layers because random weather changes are expected.

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Summer, long weekends and Easter

When the sun is out the locals are basking. There is a mass exodus to the coast in January, Easter and Public Holidays, if your planning an Ocean Road tour during these times book early. Bayside beaches fill up and most Tourists head for St Kilda but South Melbourne and Brighton Beaches are more relaxing.

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Inner city Melbournians, get up early on Saturdays and have breakfast together in Cafes, the best places fill up quickly. On a hot afternoon, the South Melbourne market has  great outdoor seating under a large golden canopy, enjoy Mediterranean cuisine and a glass of wine. Expect to eat dishes from all over the world, each new flood of settlers has brought their food culture with them and each gets its day in the spotlight. Currently everything is ‘infused’ with something Asian.

If the weather turns foul, which means the ‘cool’ (freezing) change came early, head to the NGV Gallery at Federation Square and take in some Australian Art. The City is proud of its Artists but Sport is given most sponsorship. The Art is world-class but under promoted.

The Docklands is a relatively new development with ‘state of the art’ architecture, just behind the Southern Cross Station on Spencer St. It has a futuristic opulence , a skating rink and the Southern Star.

Trains and trams are the main form of transport and very well mapped, it’s easy to follow.The MYKI card works for locals but is not visitor friendly as you have to buy it to get around. Transport inspectors can be a bit intimidating so it’s important to get one. Currently the City has all night transport on Friday and Saturday nights.

Great places for dinner are Smith, Gertrude and Brunswick Streets in Fitzroy. It’s a fabulous block of ambitious ambiance. A historical area where hustlers and artists have had ‘their day’. but currently it is urban cool.

Melbourne has great theatre but if you want to catch a local act for under $30, after dinner there are some quaint venues; The Butterfly Club, La Mama, The Owl and Cat and The Meatworks, (just to name a few) are close to town and have their own character.

Bars are numerous and many are tucked into the lane network that are the life beat of the town, most often decorated with great Street Art. Roof top bars are great on hot nights but most places have outdoor heating when it’s not great.

The highlight of Summer is the Australian Open and the best place to watch it is at Federation Square in a sun-chair. Despite Australian pride of designer beer and class wine most public places are dry. On New Years Eve drinking is banned on public Bayside beaches so cancel the beach party.

Melbourne was once called the ‘Garden State’ as we like our trees. When its too hot for the beach there are great Botanical gardens and the Ripponlea Estate offers shade and a cafe. The changeable weather has created a fashion consious culture and there are plenty of shopping strips and malls to cater for discerning tastes or a bargin.

Summer essentials are thongs and light coat. We all talk about the weather; we complain when it’s hot and when it’s cold. It is so unpredictable it is treated with suspicion.

A typical conversation.

“Its going to be hot on Thursday”

“I’ll believe it when I see it”

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black is a psychological thriller with a mystery at the heart of it. It takes the audience on an imaginative tour, where their own thoughts interplay with the drama before them.

“they saw things that didn’t happen in the show” Justin Stephens, Director.

Stephens is drawing upon 25 years of theatre experience to present this production with two key actors, Chris McLean and Kieran Tracey, that are ‘on top of their game.’The Woman in Black” is a horror novella written in 1983 by Susan Hill. The play has startled audiences around the world.

Don’t expect to be spoon-fed, its a subtle work with confounding possibilities. Flawless acting, clever direction and trick lighting; engage the minds of the playgoer. The ‘not seeing’ creates the atmospheric conditions of strangeness.

“Creating a vision of actors on a journey” Stephens.

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Ironically, Stephen’s acting career began in an effort to combat an early speech problem. Many successful artists have grown from adversity into major success stories;such as Warhol,Beethoven, Einstein and Dali, just to name a few.

“The power of theatre and how it can transform” Stephens

The drama explores tragedy, the coping and non-coping elements, of the human experience. All those memories that haunt and prevent us from a full recovery, are confronted in a dire straits situation, where he/we must face our fears.

“Even the most rational minds can play tricks in the dark” from James Watkins 2012 film version.

The Review

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A menacing and sinister fog welcomes the audience into a Gothic drama that explores the space between life and death.  It’s a well written play,  beautifully executed by the actors with atmospheric effects that conjure an unsettling mood. There is a lavish opulence of poetry and theatrics in thick layers. It is theatre at its best, it is a work of Art.

Australia’s patchy history

1800-1950

It’s fascinating to imagine that female convicts on ships to Australia, were sewing beautiful quilts. They were leaving heavily populated cobble streets and embarking on a tour into the wild unknown.It was a place where currency was rum, women were few and some unthinkable dark terrors took place.The unfree made free and the free made unfree.

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The Rajah Quilt

This quilt was created by the women on board the Rajah in 1841, they were taught by  Elizabeth Fry, a Quaker reformer.

‘The Australian quilting tradition developed in response to a unique set of factors that sets it apart from other quilting traditions internationally.’ NGV

There was the odd sailor that picked up a needle and thread and made his own quilt.

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unknown artist

This example is a work of Art, an intricate geometric design, with a contemporary feel. The beauty of the quilt is that it is also functional. The time poured over the work creates a meditative element that transfers an emotional or spiritual quality to the work.

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During WW1 and WW2, ‘quilts were a means of rallying support’.

To this day, some churches still create quilts to place over the unwell. The quilt can also serve as an historical piece, recording the members of a congregation, club or school.

Some stitched a bit of wisdom to guide the next generation.

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The Westbury Quilt  1900-03

The charming Westbury quilt was created by a Tasmanian family, it was intended to be a raffle prize. Its a mix of British domestic influence and Australiana.

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Mariann Gibson Crazy Quilt 1891

Others competed to be the ‘craziest’ of the ‘crazy quilt’ fashion, that was the sewing movement at a time, when European Art was shaking off the shackles of the past. The British settlers had no cultural roots in Australia, they could push the boundaries of traditional Arts.

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The Goodnight Quilt by Mary Jane Hannaford

 

Some caught the eye of the galleries to be immortalised. Mothers often sewed quilts for their children or were given to them by a loving friend or family member. Mary Jane Hannford’s ‘Goodnight Quilt’ was made for her 11 year old grandson.

‘The subject matter of Hannafords quilt includes patriotism, religious faith, the love of Australian wildlife and the marking of key family events’

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Nursery Quilt Artist unknown

Some works were sewed roughly, not for beauty or art but for warmth. The gathering of discarded clothes, recycled into a rug. The perfect art for Depression and War when materials are few and patience is limited.

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Wagga

‘real rag bag waggas, hessian bags or patchwork-covered army blankets, but still rich in the memories embedded in their cloth.’ Annette Gero

It’s a pictoral exploration into our past, through fabric. Mostly, but not exclusively a womens history. Sewing groups were also social and community acts. It’s an engaging exhibition.

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Inserts from NGV
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until Nov 6

Captain Australia

Melbourne Fringe 2016

Matt Stewart is ‘DRY’ at the Courthouse.

In the small ‘Attic’ of the Courthouse Hotel, Stewart warms up the crowd with off-beat humour and cultural observations.

He quickly builds a strong rapport with the audience. The jokes are uniquely Australian and as the room laughed loudly throughout the performance; a couple of overseas visitors looked on perplexed. His humour  is based on shared experiences that create a ‘party’ experience, as everybody ‘is in’ on the joke.

Stewart’s ‘lay-back’ demeanour and monotone delivery puts the crowd at ease, as his eyes search out his next sidekick. He opens the floor and allows a degree of improv, exacting sharp timing as he tosses a clever slip of irony back into the fold.

No Aussie performance can ignore the ‘heart of darkness’ of our vast continent and he does touch of some uncomfortable satire which is inserted between playful wit. He is a genuine comic, the type that other comedians would go to watch.

You will laugh so hard that your face will ache.

 

“I like him in general; his tone, the dryness, the way he comes across…his delivery” Mike Barnes Comedian*

 

Matt Stewart ; 2014 Raw Comedy Winner            At the Courthouse Hotel, Nth Melb

Sept 26 -Oct 2

Review by A Forward

*Mike Barnes; Comedian and Manager of The Tickle Pit (Melbourne Fringe) @ Fancy Hank’s  

Coppelia in St Kilda

Coppelia may be as ‘pretty as a picture’ but she has no soul, to live she will need to suck the life out of Franz. Swanilda is his true love, but her passion startles the young man who would prefer his ideal. Fortunately she is persistent.

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It’s a dance off. Swanilda can out dance her peers and Franz is more talented than his, it’s a ‘match made in Heaven’ but fate has a turn. Before the two amazing movers are joined, (which could lead to a standing ovation) evil raises his ugly head in the guise of a mad magician.

It’s a three-part play, with a haunting centre. Some toys can be very intimidating, some boys can be very threatening and some girls can be very curious. It makes great drama, within a comic text. It was the ballet that saved itself.

‘ the plot reads like a modern horror movie, Saint-Leon’s production was a clever commentary on the dangers of infatuation. When the ballet finally opened in Paris in May 1870 it seemed. with its freshness and vitality, as if the art had been reborn in France.Judith Steeh

It was the ballet revival that kept the flame alight in Europe, until the Ballet Russes set it ablaze. Essentially it was designed to excel the ballerina for the delight of its male patrons (like Degas) but was modernised by Ogilvie. The male parts that were performed by ballerinas, were handed over to men and choreographed into the leaps and athleticism, that it is today. It is beautiful ballet with amazing dancing.

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Dimity Azoury as Swanilda & Jarryd Madden as Franz at Saturday Matinee

‘We are delighted to bring back this production, which has long been considered a jewel of The Australian Ballet’s repertoire,’ David McAllister ,Artistic Director

The Palais adds ambience of this period piece, it was first performed on its stage in 1962. The charm of another era resonates through the Saturday matinée, the wood paneling, marble columns, leather seats and ‘cash only’ bars and kiosks. It’s beautiful to walk out its doors and believe the world has not changed on the St Kilda Esplanade.

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Take the journey into enchantment.

 

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Sept 23- Oct 1