Monday, May 31, 2010

Photos in the Sculpture Park

These hotos were taken by me at a Sculpture Park down on the Peninsula (name to be added when looked up!). Anyways, the point is, Marble Sculpture is simply glorious - the pose is so evocotive in its real-ness. You can just imagine she is picking at a calous on her foot! But... if you walk around the rough marble is all that you see. It's marvelous what your brain fills in when you see just a torso. Classical/neo-classical sculpture I think always captures the imagination - it's why we still love David. They are just incredibly beautifully realised
This was way back in early 2009 sometime. Can't remember when, I do remember thinking how awesome it was that a Sculpture in such an environment was the stimulus for further Art - ie. photography. I might well, dig into finding more from that day. It was very rewarding
Top photo: straight on.
Middle photo: info plaque - go check out the artist
Bottom photo: because of the poisiton of this piece - in a quite small courtyard next to the main building, there was an incredible reflection and light thing happening. Anyways, I think this may be my favourite photo of the day. Dappled sun and all. Oh, and not sure if you can tell from photos as much, but it was an impressive size and took 5 years to complete. That is what I call Art for Arts sake!

ANFSCD: Eurovision

I just want to announce the fact that I love Eurovision. I think it is awesome, fantastic and amazing!! I greatly enjoy watching it on the telly, and even not being able to vote matters little. I get so worked up and involved in it that the refrains of


echo around my lounge room. And you know the best part, it worked. After sitting on a measly 3 points for ages they finished on 18 points ahead of the wooden-spooners UK on 10. Everybody made double figures and this was a good thing! Spread the Love Europe. Share the Moment.
(To clarify, I actually didn't think Belarus 3+2 with Butterfly were very good but, come on! 3 points!)

My favourites were:
  • Greece (Opa! Energy and really awful hair)
  • Serbia (The most amazing hair you have ever seen in your life - and as for the cheekbones!)
  • Albania (good song, not-so-good shoulderpads, but they can be excused because of the disco balls!)
  • Belgium (although more bling, nice song, but not very Eurovision!)
  • Germany (ok, I admit, it's grown on me, the beginning is v. Beyonce but I think it works. Good on her!)
  • Lithuania (completely robbed in not making the final, sparkley shorts and all!)

Trends of the show included:

  • The Colour Blue (fiddles, shoes, lights, dresses etc)
  • Scarfs (see Russia!)
  • Wings (see Malta and the seagul and Butterflies for Belarus)

Weirdest things:

  • Fake instuments - Lithuania (forgiven, it was FABULOUS)
  • The Hair - Serbia (Forgiven, it was HILARIOUS)
  • Adam and Eve, apples etc - Poland (Unforgivable - yes, far to complicated for 3 mins and didn't work at all!)
  • Duelling Pianos - Armena (ok.)
  • Seagulls - Malta (Hmmmm, lovely dancing but really, it didn't fit in and was strange!!)

Things I am over generally:

  • Back up singers being, boring and sort of tacked on as an addition. Use the space!
  • Power Ballads - I WANT TO DANCE! It is Eurovision, after all.

I think that is all. I am sharing the moment with you in presenting Lithuania - Eastern European Funk by InCulto

Friday, May 21, 2010

ANFSCD - Swimming in UK Politics

I don't normally fill this blog with Youtube-ness but this segment of Mock the Week is great. This one especially is a favourite. The chappy in the orange shirt has become my hero - see 2.30. It send me into complete hysterics. Enjoy!

As it seems to be a bit off-centre, feel free to follow the link below.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

This Little Monkey!

A while back I was asked to provide animal illustrations for a friend's magazine. This little monkey did not make that publication as the article was cut. Next chapter involved the second edition of Greenzine (zine put out by Melbourne University Greens on Campus Club) where all the other animals got used, except Mr. Monkey. Then, again, third time lucky there was no room in the next ed. of Greenzine so he remained languishing in a folder on my desktop. Which is pity as he is such a cute little thing. There should be more space for little monkeys in publishing. Power to the little monkeys.

All the way and all of that!

The pose was adapted from a pair of shoes owned by my mother - which the little monkeys are all over!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Movies - First Quarter 2010

Movies that I have seen so far this year:
  • Avatar - at the National Media Museum in Bradford (UK) on IMAX in 3D - won me over!
  • The Princess and the Frog - go Disney!
  • Micmacs - directed by Amelie's Director = wonderful
  • The Girl With a Dragon Tatoo - pretty good, although a lot was left out
  • The Habit of Art (NT Live series at cinema Nova) - fabulous. But what do you expect? when you mix theatre and film it is bound to be good!

I really love going to the cinema, it is incredibly exciting and incredibly involving. I try and see as much as possible. Don't think that I have left anything off this list... we'll see!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Reading as of Now: The Stone Diaries

I am glad I had to read this for Uni, there are times when persevering with a book has its rewards! The Stone Diaries was remarkable and Carole Shields deserves a higher posthumous-critical-acclaim for her body of work. I am looking forward to reading more of her writing!

Daisy (the main character) is a 'ordinary woman' who as her life is revealed is actually very special and unique - I think this story/ biography of a twentieth century woman and her family was incredibly moving, incredibly written and deserved the Pulitzer Prize that it received. I especially enjoyed the 'Work' chapter where Carole Shields demonstrates how using letters as a writing tool can be effective and wonderfully written - not clunky and formulaic as it so often can be.

So keep on reading - it's more than worth it!

The Blue Room

The Blue Room (David Hare)
Guild Theater
April 2010

Coming out of The Blue Room, I had the most embarrassing moment of the evening: when making small talk to a Theatre Academic I incoherently muddled something about it not being as political as I expected. Cue the obligatory “Not Political?!” question that sat much more awkwardly in space than any of the play. This review is as much an attempt to puzzle out my own reaction as to praise the quality of the performance. Because of course, The Blue Room is inherently political – it’s just the politics at times did not speak to me as they perhaps should.

The Blue Room was adapted by David Hare from some Arthur Schnitzler dialogues written at the turn of the twentieth century dealing with the sexual relationships between various couples. Hare wrote a two-person show that explored sexual encounters between men and women in contemporary society. For this production the director took the unusual step of ten actors fulfilling the ten roles.

The large cast of this production was incredibly talented. Ensemble casts are difficult to manage, but this one was excellent and using them to form the structure of the play gave a beautiful symmetry to the performance. Each realisation reflected a great deal of character work and was realised on stage with flair. It was a pleasure to become absorbed into their encounters. But perhaps we could have become too captivated in their humanity for a broader political critique?

In her director notes Sara-Tabitha Catchpole writes of her interest in approaching the work from a “feminist methodology.” It was certainly a commentary on the politics of the body between the sexes. Yet, at times it was as if the particular character traits and circumstance could explain away the encounter. We became too involved in each of the crafted characters and their distilled situation to the extent that seeing the entire play as a feminist commentary was could be undermined.

In seeing each character as a separate identity, it allowed us to become perhaps too endearing towards the Student, too sympathetic for the Au Pair, too dismissive of the Model, because the fact that they are one and the same was not visually there a constant reminder. Double casting characters is a theatrical convention that de-familiarises what is on stage to highlight a political agenda. I feel that in the strength of character acting there was an ‘Everywoman and Everyman’ dynamic that was missing. Casting the same actress as a The Girl, The Au Pair, The Married Woman, The Model, and The Actress really would have slammed home with a sting the roles that the women are positioned into by the men. Then again the audience would then have missed out on such a variety of impressive performances! Beware the annoying reviewer with a theatre studies degree who is arguing with herself because however you produce this work the body-politic informs the performance and that dynamic did come across strongly.

Now, to return to the quality of this show and how impressed I was: not only with the actors but with the experience as a Theatrical Event. (Yes, it deserves the capitalisation). It was a constantly, surprising the audience into laughter or poignant reflection. At one point as The Playwright sings a song to impress The Model the entire cast joined in for the chorus and it was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced in the theatre. Absolutely wonderful singing and it served as the one point to me where these characters were all connected. I had goose bumps and shivers and it was completely unexpected.

Back to politics, I just want to quickly touch on what I think was the root of my embarrassing moment. This production claimed a political aesthetic with its impressive sets and tricolour vigour. As somebody whose parents survived Thatcherism; still holds British citizenship; is attuned to British politics and was raised on the Alternative Comedy that bit into Conservatism with such sharp teeth in the 80s: I really wanted this piece to say something about Modern England. I am not convinced that it did that. London 1998? Wherever this play was set it would be political, and it most certainly was, but an aesthetic is not just a backdrop to the action of the play. It should inform the action of the play. I wanted Thatcher, I wanted Major, I wanted Blair and I wanted Brown. I think that this is what I reacted against this with my justifiably poorly-received remarks after the show!

“There are two types of woman” the politician states to his wife, and as a feminist I stand alongside Sara-Tabitha Catchpole’s production when I say – bullshit. There are no “types of woman” – only the categories and labels and that men construct to justify their sexual relationships. This is fully apparent in The Blue Room. So to the ‘crazy angry socialist alternative girl’ I say “up yours” and to the director of this remarkable show I say “Looking forward to reading your thesis!”