Monday, March 29, 2010

ANFSCD: Assembledge

This image was used to advertise a Creative Workshop last year for Recycled Jewellery. It is an 'assembledge' of items both relevant and not that tie together in colour and overall significance. Anyway the workshop was a success = although we did not use motherboards we did use the soy-sauce fishy bottles. It just goes to show that one person's rubbish can be a greenie's treasure and a nice little fundraiser too.

As for Mr. Edward Cullen. I think the less said: the better!

The Pitchfork Disney by Philip Ridley

The Pitchfork Disney by Philip Ridley
The Guild Theatre
Presented and peformed by: ThInc

Theatre at its best makes you think. It makes your mind reassess the world that you are a part of both inside and outside the theatre. The Pitchfork Disney is one such play. There is a wonderful absurdist craft to the writing but with this production it was the performances and the direction that really lifted the show and dumped it down the audience's throat.

Integral to the success and the experience of this piece of theatre was the set. (At the preview show there was no program organised so I am not sure who designed the space - but whoever did, congratulations!) It was intimate and forced the audience to become trapped as part of the twisted environment created by Presley and Hayley.

A strength in the direction of this production was to highlight the constant ambiguity of the script. Justin Nott and Danielle Asciak made a very clever decision not to judge the twins and ground them in a particular reality but left their reality constantly open to interpretation. Are they mad, certainly. But are they mad within a contemporary/ Dystopic future/Post-apocolyptic/ Nightmare world? Previous productions (according to online reviews) have positioned the characters in the very real London Eastside in a crummy flat. This may well be suggested in the script but it is much more theatrically interesting to not take this option, especially as the only snippets of the outside world we experience are filtered through the characters on stage.

This ambiguity increased the tension as the play progressed. It added another layer to the words of the script. For it seemed that it was not a conincidence that Cosmo Disney and Pitchfork Cavalier invade the home of a boy who dreams of the murdering Pitchfork Disney. It seems that it might be destiny, a realisation of the nightmare and that Presely might be living out aspects of the dream. Or maybe the entire thing was is part of a bigger nightmare, of chocolate, dreams, cockroaches, sleeping pills, biscuits, memory and 'medicine.'

At this point, I feel that the actors need all be congratualted. In a small cast, there is no room for anyone to be carried, and indeed no one was. I want to especially mention Chris de Pasquale as Presley completely nailing his dream monologue. It was incredible and to held on to our morbidly-fascinated attention for the entire length. WOW.

I see an awful lot of theatre and this is the most phenomenolgical experience I have ever had in a show. I experienced real horror when Hayley was violated but was at the same time forced into the curious position of not being able to look away. The aftermath of that event really was heart-thumping, even as I am writing this - my heart-rate has increased. There is a power to live theatre that cannot be underestimated. The writing and language in this work is beautiful and haunting but sometimes the humanity of the performers can be equally important.

We watch as Hayley relives the horrors of outside; we watch as Cosmo crunches cockroaches; we watch as Pitchfork stumbles as he stands on the chair; we watch Presely as he realises that he could not protect his sister and can not protect himself; and we experience The Pitchfork Disney.

LTRHDS - the Exhibhition of the English Alphabet 2010

Question: WHERE IS THE E?

26 Artists and 26 Letters? 26 Artists and 25 Letters, possibly 24 Letters, or 23 (but I like Robins).

I love Art. I love Artists. I love 'Modern Art'; 'Post-Modern Art' and normally anything than illicits the magical capital A at the begining of ART. Yet, this exhibhition annoyed me. Here is the reason: if you recieve a brief to create a Letter Head for a Letter - that is the brief. You do not churn out some obscure reference as an in-joke.

I have no problem in principle to someone who splurts out black paint, layered and dripped on a black paint background and labels it Art. Good for Them! BUT when it is clearly stated that this someone was commissioned to produce the Letter E and splurts out said "black paint, layered and dripped on a black paint background and labels it Art" it pisses me off. Yes, I was able to use it as a mirror as the reflection in the glass was wonderful due to the dark background but where was the E? Hmmmm?!

abcd E fghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz

It defeated the entire purpose of the exhibhition. Be quirky, be ironic, be funny, be cute, be whatever you like but when your 'brilliant idea' undermines the work hung beside you which was created by people WITH THE SAME BRIEF! (Insert insults from various Monty Python involving hamsters).

If you want interesting and worthwhile - see Letter S, and U. Anything but boring. Still make you think and not undermining anything. Honestly, the E made me so cross, this entire post has basically ignored the real life wonder of seeing a Graeme Base original. Love him, love his books, love his art and love his A.

Art should not be made just to Annoy, it should also be made to Admire.

Check out website - the things are travelling.
http://www.ltrhds.com/

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I like art galleries.

We are staying in Paris and have been to Disneyland and all the way up the hill to the Big White Church. The name Louvre sounds like loo, but inside there are women with secrets and men made out of fruit and books. He would be nice to read. We move on through arches and parks to another room. Where I can sit in the middle and gaze round at Waterlilies: Tired feet.


This is another Old Poem (2008) and was an attempt at Prose Poetry, a difficult form to write and only really works if you capture a voice. This is semi-successful, I think at getting into the mind of me aged 5. As I read it though. I want to change it. Perhaps a better approach would be to write it as a performance piece. Stay tuned for a potential re-write!

ANFSCD: Why Barthes should have been Vegetarian

During a first year Theatre Studies Class we were inducted into Roland Barthes theories through his writings on Steak and Chips: “Steak is a part of the same sanguine mythology as wine” … “to eat steak rare therefore represents both a nature and a morality.” During the subsequent class discussion (which was heavily in favour of the above sentiments) there was a gap in the flow of conversation, into which I slipped
“I’m vegetarian. I’ve never eaten steak.”
A boy across the room replied:
“You haven’t lived.”
I gave him the finger, but this is what I should have said.

The reason my mother became vegetarian in the 70s was political. It revolved around the fact that resource-wise it was far more productive to farm legumes and other crops than to participate in animal husbandry. The politics may have shifted since then but the essential principle remains the same and is even more pertinent considering the challenges we are facing with Climate Change. In times of increasing awareness on creating a sustainable lifestyle, veganism, vegetarianism, or at least minimising meat dietary content is a key element.

Raising animals to slaughter requires a large amount of grazing pasture, but land wastage is further increased by the grain needed to feed such quantities of animals. According to a 1997 United States Department of Agriculture Report 80% of the total agricultural land in the United States is used for the animal husbandry industry. Reinforcing this unsustainable practice is the fact that it takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat. Reclaiming most of the land, grain and other crops used currently for feeding farmed animals would provide a more sustainable food future for the world.

Water efficiency as well as land efficiency holds compelling arguments for reducing global meat consumption. Water is arguably our most precious recourse and the use of water in farming animals is unsustainable. It takes 5,000 galleons of water to produce one pound of meat - the equivalent weight of wheat-crop requires 25 galleons. Indeed it has been argued it has been argued by John Robbins that it is possible that you save more water by not eating a pound of meat, than not showering for an entire year!

The inefficiencies of meat production are unsustainable but equally disquieting is the pollution and energy consumption of the industry. According to a 2006 United Nations report the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined. Considering this, it is unsurprising that the Live Earth campaign lists going vegetarian/vegan as the “single most effective thing you can do to reduce your Carbon Footprint.” The high concentration of animal farming is also significantly contributes to Methane and Nitrous Oxide pollution, both greenhouse gases. With this all in perspective it is an undeniably inefficient way of farming.

16 pounds of grain + 5,000 galleons of water = a one pound steak, a steak that according to Barthes may be “the heart of meat.” Yet perhaps the true “heart of meat” should come from minimising its consumption - for the heart of our planet. Now that’s living.

Check out:
http://www.goveg.com/
http://www.goveg.com/environment.asp

And Now For Something Completely Different postings are somewhat off topic to the general vibe of this blog - but nevertheless I think are interesting and important issues that should be discussed/aired etc. This article was originally published in the Swipe Media 2009 Test Edition 'Faragopoly'. Besides considering it mentions Theatre Studies AND Roland Barthes it proves that it is connected. Sort of.

A Round Tuit


I am a champion procrastinator, not something to be all that proud of but one always feels that one will get around to it eventually so...

We have had two plates like this since I was small, they are really rather clever little Tuits that are round hence A Round Tuit. (Cheesy Grin!) This one recently was smashed and was thrown away but not before some photos to preserve our memory!

What I really love in this image is the figure/ground contrast and also the ability of the brain to 'see' a complete and cohesive shape despite it being all broken. Have a read and decipher the text, maybe you'll need to get a Tuit for yourself!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ophelia

When I was little I had a subscription to a series of kids magazines from the United States. It started with Ladybird then Spider then Cricket and then Circada. By far the most memorable were the Spider mags because they had fantastic little comics starring various bugs on the bottom of the page. There was always an adventure and always something to learn. Anyways the Praying Mantis was called Ophelia, mothered all the rest and was lovely. So I really rather like the Praying Mantis (despite her reputation) and this little Ophelia was a fine specimin - not camera shy at all!

Shaped by Books: Cocaine Blues

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood was my my introduction to the mystery genre. It was my trapdoor to a wonderful extended world of reading. Having been rather scarred from an close-encounter-of-the-crime-genre-kind with Ben Eton's Past Mortem (disgustingly violent but seductive in keeping you reading) I had sworn off crime, mystery, thriller and all the associated genre.

Cocaine Blues completely changed my reading habits. It takes a REALLY good book to have that much influence - it helped immensly that there were others in the series to carry on with the stories. Phryne Fisher is one of my favourite characters. She is small, fiesty, has great hair, loads of lovers, wonderful dresses, a big heart, a little gun, eats wonderful food, loves cocktails and solves mysteries with a keen sense of justice. All the books that she is involved in are great fun and are just on the right side of fluffy - because they DO have substance and they ARE well written. Cozy mysteries are sub-genre that has become a fave and Kerry Greenwood is the Queen. I have since read some Agatha Christie; delved into Stieg Larsson and came up again breathing and relishing reading the content that I so love to watch on the telly.

I want to be Phryne when I grow up.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shaped by Books: Each Peach Pear Plum

"Each Peach Pear Plum
I spy Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb in the Cupboard
I spy Mother Hubbard
Mother Hubbard in the cellar
I spy Cinderella
Cinderalla on the stairs
I spy the Three Bears
Three Bears out hunting
I spy Baby Bunting
Baby Bunting fast asleep
I spy Bo-Peep
Bo-Peep on the hill
I spy Jack and Jill
Jack and Jillin the ditch
I spy the Wicked Witch
Wicked Witch o'er the wood
I spy Robin Hood
Robin Hood in his den
I spy the Bears again
Three Bears still hunting
They spy Baby Bunting
Baby Bunting safe and dry
I spy plum pie
Plum pie in the sun
I spy everyone!"

(Completely typed from memory and sung/recited along with the tapping!)

Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlbergh is the only book I know off by heart, it is the only book worth knowing off by heart and is a must read for any littlies you know. Wonderful heart, wonderful words, wonderful rhythm and rhyme and wonderful pictures. Read it, learn it, recite it. Love it.

See also their other books which are also fantastic.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Reading as of Now:

I've just finished The Lost Mother by Anne Summers. Interesting topic, interesting themes, interesting painting: written however in a very un-interesting way. Journalistic style is not inherently a bad form - it's just when read over a book length work rather than an article it becomes dry, dreary and repetative. I very rarely skip any pages or even skim sections of books that I read, but I found myself doing just that.

Perhaps a decision to either focus on the memoir part of it or the investigative journo part might have made a stronger work - rather than a rather clunky blend of the two? Don't know. Hmmmm... also it would have been nicer to have more pictures. Describing paintings - even in detail is not the same as seeing even a grayscale reproduction. For what should have been a visual book as it was focused around Art and Painting - The Lost Mother had difficulty visually representing anything much more than the author's difficulty with the research - holed up in the State Library. As such it was a little self indulgent and doesn't quite live up to the hype and publicity it recieved. Well, the ideas and story do - just not the actual book.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Shaped by Books: Lady Chatterly's Lover

Lady Chatterly's Lover by DH Lawrence it has - to be fair - a bit of a reputation. That it was the subject of a public censorship trial certainly adds to the mystique that surrounds the book. I actually read extracts of the trial transcripts of both the Prosecution and the Defence before I read the book itself. And well, it just goes to show how sensationalised the issue of 'rude' language can become that when I finally picked up the book I had the impression that the entire thing would be full of swearing and Mr. DH was a potty-mouth. (Having already established from reading some of his short stories that he didn't really like women all that much and wrote about them rather nastily at times - it was shaping up to be a book that I wanted to hate).

It wasn't. I didn't. I suprised myself with how much I loved this book. It was wonderfully romantic, well written and very enjoyable to read. It is indeed Literature with a capital L and created a beautiful and sympathetic portrait of the lovers. So this book challenged my expectations and its own reputation. Do read the trial notes; do read all the debate but don't judge unless you have read the book itself.

Crucifixion

The Mother, the Mistress
The Mistress, the Mother

At a memorial service
For those lost to time
Two women mourn
The Man

It begins to rain
She opens the only umbrella
Closer they huddle
Over his grave

And in an instant
It’s of no importance
That he never brought her home



(This was written in 2009, again for performance in response to the Expressionist Play - 'Crucifixtion'. It fitted into the performance as a reflective poem - looking back at the carnage and simply tells a personal story. Long pause before the last line = poignancy. Hopefully!).

Reading as of Now:

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - book # 3 in the Steig Larsson Milenium Triology = fantastic read. To be devoured very quickly in one delicious serving but savoured too - for it is the last of the series. My sense of justice loved the courtroom demolishing of that evil-nasty-psychologist. Very good, very considered but still tensly and tightly written. Read the series. The hype is worth it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reading as of Now:

There is something wonderful about the genre of 'Teen Fiction'. Whilst there is indeed a lot of crap out there, some authors just get it. Melina Marchetta is one such author. Wonderful books, that have such depth to them, despite the target-audience and to cap it off are beautifully written. Piper's Son is the sequel to Saving Francesa. It is fantastic and any work that manages to incorporate emails into a narrative and keep it all moving along in a smooth way is very, very, very skilled writing. It makes you cry, it makes you laugh and it makes you want to know and love these people. Read it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Awakening

When the world shakes
And the walls they crumble
When the system cracks,
Splinters: fragments apart
Riding voices can be heard
On the cold, cold wind

Yet amongst the shards of ruin
As She awakens, in fright
He cradles
Her closer
As if shielding her sight


(This one is from 2009 and was written in response to the Expressionist play 'Awakening.' It was also one of several which had to be performed. EEK! It is harder than it seems to perform poetry - especially something you have written. Even in character. Anyways: read it in a whisper and assume darkness and a little bar of side lighting. When compared to things that I wrote in 2008 I think I may be learning some restraint).

Old Poems

In desperation for some content, I have resorted to re-visiting some old poems. If they are from before, I always mention the time and context. Sometimes you read these things and think along the lines of 'Oh my gosh, did I really write something that dreadful' and there is a temptation to completely re-work something again. So far I am resisting - but am taking the humility to heart on one level and reassuring myself on another that it is natural one improves the more one writes!

Spring

soft songs of Crowded House dreaming
filter through this tracing paper screen,
as a wind blusters
in evacuated streets
on a rollercoaster of leaves

it is autumn. it is spring.

when Kew Garden awakes
crocus lawns sprawl
under Henry Moore’s watchful forms
that free-flow,
gliding through the feminine sub-conscious

it is spring. it is autumn.

so we fall asleep, hiding
catching daylight saved through enforced darkness
(and there are whispered conversations
of waking to sunshine in England)

it is autumn. it is spring. it is autumn. it is spring
it is spring. it is autumn. it is spring. it is autumn.

it is April.


(Again from 2008 Class. A weather poem, no less)

A Doctor's Sonnet

On the one hand the travelling gets tough
Inside out, upside down, I don’t know where
Whether back or front of time, it’s rough
Our space, e-space, no space – we go, and dare!
Tracking lost paths and forgotten highway
Through endless terrain, not so new to me
I miss being home, can’t bear one more day
Of what can seem like floating aimlessly.
On the other hand, you are fantastic!
I can’t get enough of this wonder life
Since you rescued me from hands of plastic
I will endure any harangues of strife

So we redefine human laws it’s true
We two, that’s Rose, and he’s the Doctor… Who?


(An exercise - also from 2008. I actually sort of really love this in some ways and in others not so much. We had to write a sonnet that dealt with completely juxtaposing content. Traditional and structured in form and the opposite in what was being written about. In this case Dr. Who. Giggles! Not sure if it works, but hey, it's sort of fun.)

Ode to Tea

Brewed with skilled intent
Now suffused with tradition
Sip and then delight

Fortnum and Mason
Aromatic tea
From the highest of orders

Inhale and savour
The refreshing citrus notes
Of Earl Grey Classic


(Written for Poetry Class 2008 - I think mix and mashed Haiku)

Framed Love

I need to write a love poem
Of songs and dance and light
For two people I know too well
It is impossible to write

Yet beneath the flood of Bibles,
Sweets and eighteen packs of raisins;
In between the plastic bags
Squirreled for unforseen occasions

He has framed her every piece
Of art not yet bestowed
And it is perhaps through this action
That love can be best showed

(Written for a Poetry class 2008 - for my Grandparents)

Friday, March 5, 2010

21 Books - 25 Books - Attempt # 1

This list is by no means comprehensive - as noted in the additions tacked on at the bottom. But here goes:

1. Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
(Anyone who grew up alongside Harry Potter and his friends can understand the excitment. Completely immersive. I waiting for a letter...)
2. Matilda by Roald Dahl
(The best story ever about a little girl who loved books)
3. The Island by Athol Fugard
(Post-colonial protest play-writing at it's absolute best. Powerful writing, powerful theatre)
4. Untold Stories by Alan Bennett
(A wonderful insight into the life of a favourite writer)
5. The History Boys by Alan Bennet
(A favourite play for the wit, the boys, the truth, the words)
6. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinely
(Great fantasty, beautifully written, wonderful world)
7. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
(Don't judge a book by an ugly cover. Laugh until you cry and learn at the same time!)
8. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
(Best/most complete and wonderful ending... ever.)
9. Each, Peach, Pear, Plum by Janet and Alan Allbergh
(The only book I know off by heart)
10. Mothertongue by Bill Bryson
(If you speak English and write English it is a good thing to understand English. Love Bryson's accessibilty)
11. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
(Utterly gorgeous in every way. So is Mr. Darcy!)
12. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
(First insight into how an enthusiastic teacher can transform the reading/understanding of a book. Post-colonial reading = worrying. But there we go!)
13. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
(Brillian historical fiction - again great ending)
14. The Scarlett Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
(ooooh: adventure, romance, mystery!)
15. Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
(My introduction to the mystery genre. Completely changed my reading habits. Haven't looked back back - neither has Phryne!)
16. The Protector of the Small Quartet by Tamora Pierce
(Taught such wonderful lessons about sticking up to bullies and being true to yourself. Perfect teen read)
17. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransom
(Better than the famous five, wonderful adventure, food and writing. I don't even like sailing!)
18. The Faraway Tree Series by Enid Blyton
(Escapist: such imagination)
19. Lady Chatterly's Lover by DH Lawrence
(Read after reading the trial transcripts. Surprising! Who'd have thought that the swearing and 'smut' was necessary and completely romantic)
20. Everything is Illuminated by Johnothan Safran Foer
(Writing about WWII is difficult. This brings family and personal journeys into a whole new genre. As for the writing: wow!)
21. Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
(How you should write short stories)

... had to extend to the full 25!

22. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack
(For the children who were born after the Holocaust. For Everyone.)
23. Journey to Bright Water by Janine Burke
(Coming of age. Local and real with just a sparkle of magic)
24. Animalia by Grahame Base
(Pictures? Art! Alphabets! Aardvarks!)
25. Women of Troy by Euripedes
(A true Epic Tragedy, apply to all war - Classical or otherwise)

Others Shortlisted: Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta, The Willow Tree and Olive by Trini Savvides; Ex Libris by Anne Fadmiman; A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

Bibliomemoir:

Bibliomemior is such an interesting field - writing or defining or giving meaning to a life through reading. Outside of a Dog by Rik Gekoski was the second I have read. The first was Ex Libris by Anne Fineman. Both are wonderful books for 'bibliophiles' - people who love books and reading.

Anyways inspired in someway by the idea that there can be a list of books that can shape a life, I am going to attempt such a list. 25 is the limit imposed by Mr. Gekoski but I shall attempt one of 21 - as a guideline (a series should count as one you see!)

As somebody who is 21 - what are the books that make me who I am?

Anyways, they will be coming in no particular order.