Tag Archives: Melbourne

City Oasis

RIPPONLEA GARDENS

The Ripponlea Estate was named after the wife of a local politician Sir Frederick Thomas Sargood. It provided a social setting for his influential guests and bountiful garden for his nine children yet despite the opulent setting that he placed himself within, he supported the factory worker by shortening their day and imposing wage awards.

In the pleasure garden the Sargood era is evoked by the staging of a range of performing arts events including opera, theatre, chamber music and outdoor activities. Culture Victoria

Today within the urban tangle of the traffic riddled roads that engulf the Elsternwick area there is a sanctuary where you can withdraw from the chaos and stroll down the paths of a botanical paradise.  The garden explores the traditions of European landscaping with areas of French aristocratic order, Italian features and the avant-guard bend toward naturalism that softened the rigidity of control.

Sargood worked with his head gardener Adam Anderson to create a space rich with imported plants, an orchid and vegetable produce. William Sangster a landscape designer, that would create the Victorian Gardens, added his vision to the project, which included sweeping areas of lawn, a lake and an entry path lined with Oaks.

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The fashion of the garden that was inspired by the movements of the time and morphed with each new owner is a gem of landscape history that has survived, despite the encroaching suburban sprawl and government acquisitions. What separates it from other public areas is that it was designed to be private and therefore there is an intimacy and charm that is unique.

The predominate aspect at the lake is a small bridge across the water, underlie with lily ponds, brush grass, towering vegetation and flowers it is as picturesque as Monet’s garden. There is also a cave under the waterfall, a small pergola on the waters edge and meandering paths , it re-creates the romantic inclinations of the Pre-Raphaelite movement that were blossoming in England during the 1880’s.

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In 1910, Benjamin Nathan who established Maples, the furniture stores, took over the property, he introduced more native plants into the area, displaying a discernment  to the Australian environment that his predecessors had ignored. When he died, his daughter Louisa (Lulu) took over in the 30’s.

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Art-Deco hedonism that was in full swing, when Lulu took control of the property and brought in some modern appliances and ideals. Featuring a tennis court, swimming pool, boats and a stable of horses on the grounds, the parties of young heiresses would not have been lacking friends.

The grounds attract an assortment of birdlife and the duck society is in full force, providing endless entertainment, there is a resident kookaburra and in its ‘hey-day’ peacocks graced the lawns. People come to the property sporadically and blend into the environment, it invites the quiet visitor.

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Currently the property is in the safe arm of the National Trust with the park open to the public for a small entry fee, the pool side party room is available for hire and hosts local weddings.There is a tea-room with an open fire on cold days and a small nursery to buy some of the specimen’s offshoot’s, including the apple trees. It’s the go-to place for escaping the city drone and being an heiress (heir) for the day.

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Melbourne Tourist tips

Waking up on the Summer morning ,sipping coffee as the birds dart in and out of the garden, is bliss, even if the rest of the day will be spent in an office.

For warm weather the best time to come to Melbourne is between November and April. Australia is not built for cold weather, it is a beach culture, we endure July in houses that are poorly insulated. During Winter, the southerly winds off the South Pole shred through thin walls and coats, but in Summer it’s a cool change that swings a scorching heat into an icy gail. 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. 

Whiteley, Sydney ArtStar and Baldessin.

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“What it is to be human ……..Art really did matter, not to escape, but fundamentally to reflect and improve society.”   S. Grishin

Sydney heavy-weight, art star Brett Whitely is ‘put in the ring’ with an obscure Melbourne, printmaker and sculptor George Baldessin at the Ian Potter, Federation Square Gallery. The shared show is ‘Parallel Visions’, however apart from sharing a generation and meeting Francis Bacon, there is very little to link them. A fairer state rival for the brash Sydney-sider, may have been the dark and menacing Peter Booth. Despite the weak link it is an excellent exhibition and for Whitely fans, the collection of his work spanning his wanderings with line and continents, is intriguing and includes the English Christie series; the American Dream and hometown Bondi and the Harbour.

The exhibition resurrects the career of Baldessin that was cut short when the artist died young in a car accident. The prints are the highlight of his work and invite the viewer to linger over the subtle details. The NGV reminds locals of an artist that could have fallen into obscurity, his work remains relevant in our generation embracing the inward, awkward Melbournian disposition.

Whiteley’ bold and confident work reads like a visual autobiography, tracing the influences and mood of the time. The Christie murders reek of Bacon’s violet influence and remains as some of his strongest work in form and colour. The American Dream that  creates a (hotel) room within a room, is scarred with a haphazard spray of lipstick red, not typical of his earlier paintings. Although the area is cluttered with detail,  there is a startling emptiness in the work, that may have been why the Americans rejected it; maybe it struck to close into the New York bone.

When Whitely returns to Australia he is crushed, dispirited and convicted and in need of a BEX to sooth his aching head. Lazing on the beach and staring out into the harbour restores the man and the artist, bringing forth some of his most recognisable work such as ‘Evening coming in on Sydney Harbour’ 1975. Whitely travelled far and wide, to come home with fresh eyes.

 

 

by April Forward

 

Now Showing

Until Jan 28

Curator Sasha Grishin

Bay Life

The rain held off, on Saturday night, as Ormond Point hosted a free outdoor filming, of the bays unknown marine diversity.

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The lights -out, Earth Hour night may have been overshadowed by the Grand Prix and AFL annual kick-off. From the vantage point of the vista, the City never slept and kept its lights on.

Ride on Cinema’ generated a film using pedal-power, a documentary that explained the complex marine-life that lives within our humble Port Philip Bay. Elwood’s symbol of the Seahorse drew from the local under-water life that is populated with the species. Unbeknown to the bathers that have enjoyed the shores this Summer, there are 3 species of Dolphins that call the bay their home

Within the Bay are schools of fish, lazy seals that rest on man-made platforms, sting rays and penguins. Sea-dragons camouflaged as seaweed, suck up shrimp as they pass and thousands of crabs climb over one another, growing out of shells and creating new ones, leaving a trail of skeletons.

“For some its best to hunt alone ..and the best way to get a meal is to hide from it”

Star-gazers bury themselves in the sand and with eyes that float like balloons on strings, watch hungrily for their victims, the razor sharp teeth on top of their head, resemble a bear trap. Large Octopus grab Sharks as they pass by and their miniature counterpart, the Blue Ring kind, kill their prey with venom.

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The Cold waters of the South Pole and the warm waters of our Continent create a habitat that breeds unique marine-life. Protecting and exploring this quiet world is a Melbournian privilege.

Save DeGraves

As developers mow down the remnant of urban culture and bring the suburbs into the urban heartland, the  locals are a tad P.O. Uprooting cottages for flats that look like offices,  speeding down narrow streets where children play and destroying a treasured a metro arcade is ultimately changing Melbourne.

 

Easing through the morning at the DeGraves underpass starts the day off on a ‘good foot’, a coffee, a bit of art and a relaxed vibe. Removing this space from the Urban Art Culture would be like removing the goal posts from the MCG.

The Art Deco architecture of Campbell Arcade embraces Melbourne in1955, the salmon pink tiles, black granite columns capture a by-gone period where few examples remain. The display cabinets along the subway wall host local artists and most often a busker, serenades the office troops, as they pass.

Every morning commuters submerge under the station through Campbell Arcade and surface into DeGraves. What a great way to start the day.

 

Early morning busker

 

 

 

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

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

 

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.”

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 of the dancers bodies cuts into a cubist 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,

 

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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.

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            

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

Why Degas mattered

The terrors of recent France and the Edgar Degas exhibition in Melbourne, may seem to have nothing in common, but look again.

“Have we loss the supremacy on the field of Fine Arts as we have lost it on the field of battle? Are our Artists like our Generals the victims of a treacherous illusion of seeing themselves invincible?” Ross King

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Petite Danseuse de quatorze ans ou Grande Danseuse habille ; once in NGV permanent collection in 70s-80s

This was the general critical response to the 1872 Exhibition held at the Salon;  the heartbeat that informed the public of what was regarded as Art.The committee that held tight to conservative principles had got it wrong. The times were changing.

The French had loss a war to the Germans and the terms of defeat were so disagreeable to the French that there was Civil war on the streets. Scorched buildings, street executions and dead bodies scarred the city. The public no longer wanted Art or Artists that celebrated Napoleon Wars.

Manet the mentor of the Impressionist who had been made ridiculous by the Salon, it’s critics and the public, for most of his career, was suddenly the ‘toast of the town’. The Socialists were imprisoned and shot after the riots at Montmarte, however the tide had turned. People wanted artists that told their stories, not those of the Ruling Class and its Generals.

“Suddenly , as if in reaction against the grim drabness and horrors of the Siege and the Commune, the Impressionists burst forth into a new,passionate, glorious blaze of colour, redolent with the love of simple, ordinary existence.” Alistair Horne

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detail of The Bellelli Family 1860

The Salon was losing its hold and the cafes where rogue artists congregated were taking hold as the places which informed Artists.It is in this environment that Degas and the Impressionists went forth and re-created new ‘ways of seeing’.

“Drawing is not what one sees but what others are made to see” Degas

Manets tireless battle with the Art Establishment that would have worn down most; forged a path for Modern Art.

“Of Manet’s circle the closest to him in age, intellect and temperament was Edgar Degas,whom Manet first met in 1853, the year of his first rejection from the Salon.” Denis Thomas

Degas purchased a camera on a trip to America and it informed his work, he chose to paint unconventional angles. The Modern Era needed a new voice.

 

 

by April Forward

 

Banner photo by Degas

Alister Horne/ The Fall of Paris

Ross King / The Judgement of Paris

Denis Thomas/ The Impressionists

 

I did it my way

Simon Taylor does a ‘bunch of cool stuff’ at the Butterfly Club on a crisp winters night. His CV sums up the order of things.

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  • Born
  • 5 years old: Elvis impersonator    
  • 12 years old: break dancer
  • 18 years old: rapper
  • 19 years old: poet
  • 20 years old: magician
  • 21 years old: improviser
  • 22 years old: comedian
  • 27 years old: singer
  • Present: all of the above

No-one can look so sorted in a suit without a stylist to flat lay his wardrobe.

“A lot of my craft as an entertainer came from doing shows at The Butterfly Club. It’s where I learned to connect with an audience. It’s where I learned to present myself as a showman. It’s where I learned to be grateful to the people who helped make the show possible. It’s where I learned to be humble. It’s also where I discovered that I look AMAZING in a suit.”

He is a gentleman comedian who can pull ‘a’ Dove out of thin air. A warmth emanates throughout the performance, a romantic with an edge.

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What are your thoughts on the medium of comedy, is it to carry a deeper exploration of society or do you prefer the wacky? MP

“Neither. I just like to induce the chemicals in people’s brains that make them feel happy.”

This is what Simon does. In a cynical world he is not; so much.

Simon is a ‘stand-up’ that takes the audience into the intimacy of his daily life. Simon is a singer with a great voice. Simon is a very clever magician. Simon is a poet hoping to evoke. I don’t think Simon can rap or breakdance as it wasn’t in the show, but Simon said he could.

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Contrasts

Rapid urban development cast’s new shadows on the streets of old St Kilda, yet shreds of its artistic culture remain.

106 Barkley Street has been Tamar Dolev’s studio for 8 years, she uses ‘found’ objects to create. Each surface and shape is carefully considered before being morphed into the voice of the quietly spoken Artist.

The works are bursting with wild vitality, shes uses colour like an electric force, there is a vibrant sense of movement and emotion similar to that of Aboriginal Artist HU Wedge.

 

Dolev also enjoys the effects of shadows.

“Whatever wall it goes on, the piece changes. if it’s a blue or black wall, it adds and evolves by the shadows it makes.”

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Self Portrait 2015

Self Portrait 2015 is full of holes, it is a chameleon blending into its environment. It is partly her and partly the surroundings, that dictate its nature.

 

 

‘Billy’s Adventure’ 2015, is a long narrow work that invites the eye to travel through the composition as a narrative. The concept of an art piece outside the ‘eye of a camera’ explores our natural visage, a technique familiar to Chinese scrolls.

Dolev’s journeys are captured in her haunting silent photography of the place outside.

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Both of her parents are Architects and her fascination with buildings seeps into her art. She is currently pre-occupied with her sculptures of dwellings made from bay-side spillage.

 

Artists Studio Gallery / 106 Barkly St, St Kilda; next to Mirka Mora lane.

Opening Event Aug 6 3-5pm

 Aug 13, 14 and 20th

 

A Suspicious Mind

Class Act theatre updates an ancient play, The Winters Tale, by dressing the actors within a modern context. The audience are informed of the rank and occupation of the players through chiffon gowns,well cut suits and the Louis Vuitton luggage of the privileged class. The Mariner and shepherds are more roughly attired.

Katherine Innes role as Hermoine morphs her lines into this century with an Aussie twang and everyday gestures, which translates the material with natural ease. The strong cast dig into the tragedy, of a leader who has fallen victim to his own mind. The repercussions of his suspicions, spiels  the leading class into the task of damage control.It takes fate to heal the wounds and bring back order.

MP spoke to The Designer, Jaz Wickson and The Director , Stephen Lee before the show.

Jaz Wickson     

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Jaz Wickson Designer

“The show has wonderful feminist undertones. The three main women are Paulina (Angelique Malcom) the wise woman; Hermione (Katharinne Innes) who is the mother figure and goes through a terrible time,losing her daughter, her son,and then her own life; and there is Perdita (Ivy Latimer). There are many men but the women are stars.”

“With this production we’ve tried to keep it timeless. Think fairytale today, an Australian Fairytale. We have a very Australian Bohemia when we go there, with all of the accents.Design wise,its very ‘man from snowy river’ and the Court are dressed like they’re at a wedding, as this doesn’t change much.

With the set; Northcote Town Hall is an interesting space, its not a black box theatre, it has a hardwood floor so we integrated it.  We used chiffon drapes, that the actors walk in and out of, we’re not hiding the space but rather enhancing it.For the centre piece, it’s a tree, with changes of season.”

How did you get involved with the program? MP

“I’ve been a designer for a few years now, I work with Class Act theatre, they have just moved their base from Perth to Melbourne, I do the costumes and set.”

Is it a traditional Shakespeare script?

“Yes, Our Director Steven Lee has directed over 30 Shakespeare plays.”

Stephen Lee

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Stephen Lee Director

“This is probably my 35th Shakespeare play”

Where does that passion come from? MP

“When I was 18, I saw my first Shakespeare play and I was so captivated, it was nothing like I had done at school.”

What play was that? MP

“That was King Lear, it was with Donald Sinden, an actor people don’t know anymore. It was such a magical experience and I was transported. That was 40 odd years ago. I’ve probably directed a couple of hundred productions.”

What’s the shape of theatre in Australia? MP

“Theatre around the world is thin, it’s been overtaken by so many other forms of entertainment. Cinema is still hanging in there but television, video and the internet ….”

Why should people go to theatre? MP

“All these other forms of entertainment may be fine, but there is no immediacy like a direct performance for you. …That night is performed just for you and it will never be the same on any other night.

It’s a special one-off thing just for that audience. It’s incredible, you’re  joining with the actors , sharing in a unique experience.”

Tell me about Winters Tale. MP

” It’s about two Kings and one King starts to suspect the other  of having an affair with his wife. It’s totally ungrounded as they have grown up together, since they were kids. Suddenly he believes he is being cheated on.

He tries to bring down the other King, that fails, then he tries to put his wife on trial for adultery… It gets blacker and blacker and blacker and in the second half, the time and place switches into a mood of redemption and reconciliation. It becomes funny, heart-warming and it has one of the most moving endings, of any Shakespeare play.”

How does this relate to modern times? MP

” We wear different clothes and talk slightly differently but we are still driven by the same things and ideas, feeling jealous or insecure, not trusting other people is the same now as it was four Centuries ago.”

 

 

 

 

 

Photography & review by A Forward

Flesh Eating Tiger

Flesh Eating Tiger by Amy Tofte

with brilliant performances by Amy Gubana and Marcus Molneux.

“I hate this f-king play”the actor roars; chaotic in self hate and desire. Its a vicious cycle, a play within a play.

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“I love you” she pleads, imagining her only reflection is through his eyes.

The stench of sweat and loves final battle breaks out in front of the audience that stare like children, watching the horror of substance fueled passion. Despite the abstract fury of the torn lovers, the play is built on a tight structure and examines the cult of alcoholism.

It is a brutal contemporary play, with a brilliant script and prize acting, the direction has an expanding boundary, webbed together with invisible threads.

Its not serious.

Its just physical.

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I can end it whenever I want.

WRONG!

“I want out!”

He is addicted to alcohol, and she is addicted to rejection.They want to be abused. They don’t want surface beauty, they want to wrestle the beast beneath.

“I heard about stupid people like this I didn’t know, I would be one.”

Love without a boundary, is life without rest.

This drama explores complex emotional themes that are part of the contemporary fabric of human life. It explores desire and it’s not pretty.

 

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The Owl and the Pussycat is the go to place for  serious artistic exploration.

imageThe Director Gabrielle Savrone, explains her involvement with the production.

“Flesh eating tiger is a bit of a beast, it’s an abstract art piece. I’m an Abstract painter so I see the play like that. There’s the words,the actors and the design…the concept is how things bleed between life and art. You create what you live and its a part of who you are.

She’s addicted to him and he’s addicted to alcohol.Its a tangled mess. What we are watching is their relationship, the play that they are creating about their relationship within a play. It’s quite fun.Essentially it’s a love story, a tragedy.”

How did you get involved in the project? MP 

“I met Amy (Tofte)at a conference in Alaska three years ago,we were room buddies. I went to watch her play reading, it was this and I fell in love with it. When I took over the theatre, nearly two years ago,  this was the first play we put on.”Savrone

Actor Braydon Lewtas extends himself to assist in the Direction of the production.

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Assistant Director Braydon Lewtas

“The Artistic Director, Thomas Doyle cast me in the two previous plays that were shown at the theatre; Paper and Boys Club. I always wanted to be a Director, so I expressed that to the owner of the theatre, Gabrielle”Lewtas

“I’d like to write and direct and put on my own play in the future.”

The small bohemian venue is a hub of creativity, the friendly barman is Doyle, the Artistic Director and struggling play writer. He wrote the script for Paper which took a stab at modern media and corrupt journalists. His play Riot went to The Last Frontier Conference in Alaska.

“I like provocative material, work that provokes people and is also entertaining. I wrote my first play when I was eight. I thought I wanted to be an actor but then I realised that playwriter’s have all the power. ” Doyle

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Artistic Director Braydon Lewtas

 Amy Tofte Playwriter of Flesh Eating Tiger

Amy was recently recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting. Her plays have been semi-finalists for the nuVoices Festival (Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte), Kitchen Dog Theatre’s New Works Festival, The Source Festival and The Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship. Flesh Eating Tiger premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and in Melbourne in 2015. Tiger was remounted at the Hollywood Fringe where it was named “Best of Fringe” and nominated for Best Play. Tofte is a founding member of the play development company Fierce Backbone in LA and is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild.

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Contemporary plays at

The Owl and the Pussycat

Swan St.  Richmond

 

Review & photography by April Forward

 

 

 

 

Trains, Planes & Automobiles, getting to the Grand Final

‘Welcome to Melbourne’

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The West have had a ‘hell of a time’ getting here.

Airfares have skyrocketed to the point that it is cheaper to go to Europe from Perth, than to Melbourne.Word on the street is that one of the airlines held back ticket sales for 2 weeks untill the final outcome was decided and then, the price hike. What to do?

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There is talk that many booked to go to New Zealand, because it was cheaper, got off at Melbourne and did not return to the flight.

Some flew via Bali and Singapore,they had a mini break and then arrived in Melbourne. It was cheaper than flying direct.

There are those that flew via Adelaide and Sydney, but the airlines caught on. Prices went up.

The rest drove. The Nullarbor Plain, not an interesting landscape, for 2 days it is as flat as a dead liner (and still another day to go).

Its a long way to come, to watch the West Coast Eagles lose bitterly to Hawthorns, Hawks.