Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Oh Mercy- Jack Daniel's Barrel House

Currently located along the Crown Riverwalk is the pop-up Jack Daniel's Barrel House, which sort of looks like a barn/dive bar and has Australian music acts playing for free each night. It's not exactly the venue you'd expect to see Oh Mercy live, but Alex was scheduled to play tonight so Mary, David, Ebony and I headed down to check out his set.

Alex started solo on electric guitar with "Sandy" and "My Man." We got a bit of a shout out as he said it was good to see some familiar faces in the crowd. During his 45 minute set he was also joined by Grace on piano for some songs. We were treated to the new tracks "Hot Topic," "Restless Woman" and "Auto Bellissimo" off his upcoming album due out in February 2018 (Mary's hoping for a release on my birthday). Tracks off of his last album When We Talk About Love included "Iron Cross," "Can't You Hear My Body (Calling Out To You)" and "Lady Eucalyptus," which was when some guys in the crowd decided to scull their Jack Daniel's drinks to Alex's great amusement. It was a very hot day in Melbourne and the venue was really bringing that Southern feel as more and more moths started flying around the stage lights as the set progressed.

There was a lovely cover of Leonard Cohen's "One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong," and he finished the evening with the current single "National Park" (complete with the opening guitar riff of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" at the end). It was an amusing show and Alex joked he was living out his rock star fantasy by playing at the venue.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Eddie Rayner's ENZO: The Songs Of Split Enz

It's been over 20 years since those first ENZSO shows where the songs of Split Enz were played by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Eddie Rayner returned tonight to Melbourne's Hamer Hall with ENZO: The Songs of Split Enz. This time there was a smaller 14-piece band including strings and brass, with Eddie on keyboards and piano, Michael Barker (ex-Split Enz and John Butler Trio) on drums and Brett Adams (longtime Tim Finn collaborator) on electric guitar. Performing each of the songs were guest vocalists Rima Te Wiata (Hunt For The Wilderpeople), Rikki Morris and Phil Madsen.

Eddie came out for the first half of the show in his Noel and Sally Crombie designed white suit. He started the evening with the instrumental track "Albert of India." Each of the vocalists took turns singing songs from across the back catalogue of Split Enz, ranging from the later Neil Finn tracks "The Devil You Know" and "I Walk Away" to the more theatrical early Enz songs such as "Stranger Than Fiction" and "Time For A Change."

After the intermission, Eddie emerged in his black House of Crombie suit. They kicked off with "Matinee Iydll (129)" and "Stuff and Nonsense," which Eddie said was buried on the Frenzy album because radio didn't play ballads in the 1970s. Rima Te Wiata added a lot of theatricality to her performances throughout the night. It was Phil Madsen though, who was my favorite vocalist due to his amazing voice and phenomenal versions of "I Hope I Never" and "Edible Flowers," which came out of the last Enz jam sessions in 1999 and was subsequently released on the Finn Brothers album Everyone Is Here. Some of the other highlights for me were hearing "Voices," "Give It A Whirl" and "Strait Old Line," complete with a fantastic spoon solo by Michael Barker.

For the encore all three vocalists performed the songs together. They began with the instrumental "Pioneer" which segued into "Six Months In A Leaky Boat," and then finished the evening with "My Mistake." Overall it was good to hear some different interpretations of Split Enz songs, although I did miss having the Finns singing them as it bordered on karaoke at some points throughout the night.

Melbourne Night Noodle Markets 2017

The Melbourne Night Noodle Markets are on again from 9-26 November at Birrarung Marr. Sally and I headed down there after work to try out a few different savoury and sweet stalls. Thankfully it was a decent evening weather wise and there were quite a few places to choose from across the three terrace areas.

For starters we checked out Dum & Dumpling with its booth in an old school bus. We shared the vegetable and shitake mushroom dumplings, which were in translucent wrappers and tasted great.


Next we went to one of my favorite lunch spots, Wonderbao. We got the 3 gua baos for $20 which contained the Roast Pork with pickled cucumber, spring onion and hoisin sauce; Korean Chicken with sweet 'n' spicy sauce, pickled daikon and roasted sesame; and Panko Eggplant with kimchi, lettuce, spring onion and chili lime mayo. Each of them tasted amazing.


After digesting a bit we headed to the Gelato Messina stand for a bit of dessert. They always do special creations each year just for the Night Noodle Markets. First we had the O-No-Giri which contained green tea gelato and pistachio mousse dipped in rice bubbles and white chocolate. Next we ate I Think I'm Turning Sesame which was made up of black sesame gelato, condensed milk coffee jelly, miso crunch, banana miso bread, and vanilla cream and coffee powder. Both of them were really good and had lots of different textures.


Finally we tried the Dancing Dragon dish from Waffleland, which was a fresh baked waffle drizzled with melted chocolate and dusted with icing sugar, along with some ice cream and strawberries. The waffle on the stick was a bit thin, which was disappointing.


Overall we did pretty well with the dishes we chose to eat. This year's Night Noodle Markets are cashless, so be sure you have your bank card with you so you can buy food.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Marlon Williams- Vampire Again Tour

Marlon Williams has spent a lot of this year touring around the world. Tonight was the first of his three sold out shows back in Melbourne at Howler to celebrate the single "Vampire Again" and showcase songs from his upcoming album. Opening the evening was Archer, who played a set of his country/folk songs both solo on acoustic guitar and accompanied by a guy on accordion. Archer was quite the character and has a deep singing voice.

Marlon Williams was joined by his band The Yarra Benders and the majority of the set featured songs off his new album Make Way For Love, which is due to be released in February 2018. The tracks demonstrated the diversification of his sound from his country and bluegrass roots. There were some beautiful ballads such as the new single "Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore" and "The Fire Of Love" alongside more rockier songs like "Party Boy" and "Vampire Again." The standout of the new tracks for me was "Arahura" as you could hear a pin drop in the venue during the song.

We got a couple of old favorites with "I'm Lost Without You" and "Dark Child," along with a cover of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy." Marlon's voice was beautiful throughout the night (especially with his falsetto) and there were some lovely harmonies with the band. For the encore Marlon played another new track "Love Is A Terrible Thing" on keys and then the band rejoined him on stage for a corker of a finale with their cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ "Portrait Of A Man." I can't wait for this new album to be released and to get to see Marlon play live again in Melbourne in May 2018.

Here's the hilarious video for "Vampire Again"

Saturday, November 04, 2017

The House Of Dior: Seventy Years Of Haute Couture

The latest fashion exhibition at the NGV is The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture. It features over 140 garments that have been produced by Dior's seven different designers between 1947 to 2017 and tells the history of this formidable fashion house through the theming of designs to demonstrate the evolution of the House of Dior.

There are so many beautiful gowns that are a part of this exhibition. The layout of the rooms allows you to get close up views of most of the pieces so you can see the detailed construction techniques that have gone in to creating them. It was interesting to see the fashion shows that many of these garments featured in, although some of the John Galliano shows were really cringeworthy due to the cultural appropriation in some of those collections.

Here is a sample of some of my favorite pieces that were on display.








The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture is on at the NGV until 7 November 2017.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Wild 2 Free Benefit

Wild2Free is an Australian animal sanctuary that rehabilitates native animals (mainly kangaroos). Last year shortly after opening a fire burned down the house on the property, so tonight's sold out benefit concert at The Croxton featuring Area-7 and The Living End was to help raise funds for Rae Harvey (longtime manager of The Living End) to rebuild.

I will admit that I completely missed the years when ska/punk band Area-7 were popular in Australia in the late-1990s and early-2000s. Danny and Ruth did give me a bit of a primer on their songs in the car ahead of the gig. They played an energetic set, managed to auction off a signed poster for $500, and finished things off with a cover of The Angels' "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?"

The Living End opened their set with "Save The Day," which was a bit of a hint that the set list was going to dive deep into their back catalogue for the hometown crowd. The first few releases featured throughout the set with "End Of The World," "Roll On," "Monday," "From Here On In" and "All Torn Down." They even played their eight minute opus "The Room" off Modern Artillery, which I think I've only heard live once before.

The whole show was a bit of a sing along throughout, although Chris thought the crowd's efforts on "White Noise" were a bit weak. The slower tracks "With Enemies Like That" and "Keep On Running" off their latest album Shift provided a bit of a breather, but the crowd surfing really kicked off towards the end of the set with "How Do We Know?" "Prisoner Of Society" and the encore tracks "Uncle Harry" and "Second Solution." It was great to see The Living End play in a smaller venue than normal and contribute to a benefit for such a good cause.

Here's the video for "Staring Down The Barrel"

Friday, October 27, 2017

C.W. Stoneking- Solo Tour

C.W. Stoneking is currently doing a solo tour around the country, and tonight was the second of his two sold out shows at Howler. Opening the evening was William Crighton, who also played a solo set of songs off his debut album, which features stories centered around Australian experiences.

C.W. Stoneking came out onto the stage not in his traditional white but wearing an indigo button down shirt, jeans and a brown wide-brimmed fedora. He sat down on a raised platform on the stage and began the evening with "How Long." The set featured many songs off his latest release Gon' Boogaloo, including "On A Desert Isle," "The Zombie" (where we were encouraged to sing along), "The Thing I Done" and "Get On The Floor." C.W.'s banter in between songs was quite entertaining and covered a wide range of topics such as asparagus, rubik's cubes and trying to sell the guitar he was playing. He also dealt quite well with a woman who shouted for him to take off his clothes, saying that he could undress himself as he was wearing his big boy pants.

One of the great things about this show was hearing some older tracks, especially those from his first album which don't get played live that often. Highlights were "Jungle Lullaby," "Talking Lion Blues," "Jailhouse Blues" and an audience request for "The Love Me Or Die" off of Jungle Blues, and the King Hokum tracks "Dodo Blues," "Goin The Country," "Way Out In The World" and "Handyman Blues." We also got treated to a cover of William Brown's "Ragged And Dirty." To finish the night he played "We Gon' Boogaloo," which sent everyone out on a high note. It's always wonderful to get to see C.W. live, especially in a more intimate setting.

Here's C.W. doing a live version of "On A Desert Isle"

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai is one of the best known Japanese artists from the Edo period with his renowned woodblock prints and paintings. The Hokusai exhibition currently on at the NGV International brings together 176 works from across his seventy-year career, including works from seven of his major series. The level of detail and use of color in these pieces was quite beautiful and intricate.

There were many pieces from Hokusai's best known series Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji from 1830-1834 on display, which depicted Mt Fuji in scenes from different locations and seasons. Included in the exhibition is his most famous piece from this series The great wave off Kanagawa.




Another beautiful series was A Tour to the Waterfalls in Various Provinces from 1832, which was the first series on the theme of waterfalls published in Japan.


The series Remarkable Views of Bridges in Various Provinces from 1834 gives you a sense of the movement of people either going about their everyday activities or travelling across the countryside.



I also really liked his prints of birds and flowers due to the color and beauty of the pieces.



The Hokusai exhibition has been extended and is on until 22 October 2017 at the NGV International.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Oh Mercy- National Park Tour

It's been a year since Oh Mercy last played a show in Melbourne, and tonight they were back at the nightclub Hugs & Kisses in support of the new single "National Park." Opening the evening was James Moloney & the Mad Dog Harrisons with James doing a solo set on acoustic guitar which included a cover of Tom Petty And The Heartbreaker's "Refugee." Next up was the band Ern Malley, who played a fantastic set with their 1970s rock/alt-country vibe. I was quite impressed and will be keeping an eye out for them in the future.

The latest incarnation of the Oh Mercy live band includes all guys this time (the first time there hasn't been a female member in the mix). The hour long set showcased some of the new songs which will appear on the new album due to be released in early 2018. The highlights for me were "Hideous Place" (standout track of the night), the driving rhythm of "Hot Topic," the excellent "National Park" and the slow ballad "Auto Bellissimo," which Alex joked he wants to go viral in Italy (and also led to him singing a snippet of the La Porchetta commercial jingle). Alex had quite a few funny moments throughout the night, whether it was puns, praising Jesus and making a Hillsong reference, comparing a song to a jeep commercial, or doing a shout out to Cameron Daddo and SmoothFM.

We were treated to some Burt Bacharach with a cover of "This Guy's In Love With You" and a few lines of "Walk On By." Older Oh Mercy songs in the set were "My Man" and "Deep Heat" off the Deep Heat album, and the When We Talk About Love tracks "Can't You Hear My Body (Calling Out To You)," "Lady Eucalyptus" solo and "Sandy," which closed out the night. I ran into Alex on the way into the venue, and Mary and I had a brief chat with him after the show and he was as gracious as always. It will be great when the new album is finally released (especially since it's been done for a while).

Here's the video for "National Park" (shot in Castlemaine):

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Dan Sultan- Killer Tour

Last night Danny, Ruth and I headed to the newly renovated Forum Melbourne to see Dan Sultan play in support of his latest album Killer. We arrived as William Crighton took the stage, opening his set by singing a capella without a microphone. He and his band played a strong set of songs off his debut album, which tell fantastic stories that are based around the Australian countryside.

Dan's band came out on stage first before he joined them, pumping up the crowd as he launched into "Magnetic." The majority of the set featured songs off Killer, with the highlights being "Hold It Together," "Drover," "Reaction" and the current single "Kingdom." The addition of two female back-up singers really added a soulful sound to all the songs, and Dan's voice sounded the best I have ever heard it live.

There were also tracks from Dan's previous albums played throughout the set, including "Kimberley Calling," "The Same Man" and "Under Your Skin" off Blackbird, and "Your Love Is Like A Song" off his first album Homemade Biscuits. For the encore Dan came out and did a lovely solo version of "Dirty Ground" before the band rejoined him for the classic "Old Fitzroy" to finish off the night. If you get a chance to catch Dan live on this tour make sure you go see him because he is in fine form.

Here's the video for one of my faves "Hold It Together"

Thursday, August 31, 2017

MWF- Janet Mock: Visability and Voice

MWF
I first heard writer and transgender activist Janet Mock on the podcast Politically Re-Active so was excited when it was announced she would be coming to speak at the Melbourne Writers Festival. It was a packed house at Deakin Edge in Fed Square as Janet took to the stage to give a speech and presentation about her life, including growing up as a trans women of color in Hawaii, and moving to New York City in her twenties and working as a magazine editor before going public about being transgender. She paid tribute to the trans activists that have come before her and spoke about the importance of having an intersectional and inclusive movement that fights for the rights of everyone.

Benjamin Law then led a short Q&A before inviting the audience to ask questions. It was lovely to see how important Janet was to those in the LGBTIQ community that came to see her tonight. It was also interesting to hear her take on the marriage equality vote here and how it compares to the current situation in the US around transgender bathroom and military bans. Janet spoke about the fact that a lot of people felt their work was done with the US Supreme Court ruling, which has allowed conservatives to target other groups, including trans people. She urged everyone to continue the fight for social justice until everyone shared the same rights and privileges.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

People Of Letters


The literary salon Women Of Letters holds events each month in Melbourne at The Thornbury Theatre to celebrate the lost art of letter-writing with people from different fields. Occasionally they invite men along to participate in either Men Of Letters or like this afternoon, People Of Letters events. Hosted by Angie Hart, today we had pairs of people (friends, siblings, partners) who wrote and read letters to each other.

The afternoon started with comedian Joel Creasey and television and radio personality Chrissie Swan talking about their friendship, where we learned the phrase "bitch cheese." Next up were the most moving letters of the afternoon from co-directors of Chapter Music and life partners Guy Blackman and Ben O'Connor, who talked about their lives together and love for each other. Then we heard from life long friends musician Clare Bowditch and actress Defah Dattner, who have been there for each other through many key life stages.

After an intermission the next three pairs took to the stage. Siblings and writers Benjamin Law and Michelle Law spoke about growing up together and what they meant to each other. Former WA Senator and Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens Scott Ludlam and his friend and Communications Advisor David Paris talked about life in politics and wishing they had looked into Scott's citizenship before he first took office nearly ten years ago. The final pairing was musician Paulie Stewart and his mentee, rapper Fablice Manirakiza (aka FLYBZ) who was a former child soldier in Burundi and refugee who arrived in Australia in 2007. They ended the event by getting everyone up out of their seats to dance along as Fablice rapped a song. Overall it was a moving and inspiring afternoon about the importance of relationships and bonds between people.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

MIFF- Step and City Of Ghosts

MIFF
Today was the last day of the MIFF and my final two films of this year's festival. I began my afternoon with the documentary Step about the girls representing the Lethal Ladies step team from the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. The film focuses on three of the girls as they go through their senior year of high school and try not only to win the state level step competition but also get into college. It's a fantastic film that honestly shows the struggles the girls and their families face, along with the great support provided by school staff and their step coach to help the girls to succeed.

MIFF
Next I watched the documentary City Of Ghosts about the Syrian citizen journalists from the website Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (R.B.S.S.) who documented the atrocities of ISIS' occupation of their city. Risking their lives to show the world what is happening in their homeland, this group of men fight against ISIS not with guns but by transmitting the truth and facts to counteract the ISIS propaganda machine. The men end up in exile in Turkey and Germany, but still work with informants inside Syria to get stories of the war and realities of life under ISIS out to the public. It's a difficult film to watch, but one that is really important for everyone to see.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Kimbra- Audio Electric

The Supersense Festival is on at the Arts Centre Melbourne this weekend, and tonight Kimbra performed at the Playhouse, doing her show Audio Electric for the first time in Australia. Kimbra came out onto the stage wearing a neon yellow dress that glowed under the lights along with some black lace up platform boots. Joined by musicians Spencer Zahn and Timon Martin, this unique audio-visual performance featured mainly new songs along with some amazing 3D computer animations projected onto the screen at the back of the stage. The new material was more electronic and beats focused, with Kimbra's voice sounding as strong as ever.

Kimbra was so excited to be back in Melbourne for the first time in years and was very appreciative of the love from the sold out crowd. Besides the new songs, we were also treated to reworked versions of older tracks throughout the hour long set with "Settle Down" and "Two Way Street" off the album Vows as well as The Golden Echo's "Love In High Places" and a beautiful rendition of "As You Are." To finish off the night she played the recent single "Sweet Relief." Despite some technical glitches at the start the show was an immersive experience and I look forward to the release of her new album.

Here's the video for "Sweet Relief"

Saturday, August 12, 2017

MIFF- Something Quite Peculiar, Westwind and Mountain

MIFF
On Wednesday night I attended two more MIFF documentaries. The first was Something Quite Peculiar: The Life and Times of Steve Kilbey. The film focuses on Steve's 40+ years in the music industry, mainly as the lead singer of The Church. While the film covers the history of the band, it focuses more on the present day and doesn't use much archival footage. It also uses their greatest known song "Under The Milky Way" as a character throughout the film. It's an interesting device which I don't think quite works. Steve Kilbey himself is quite honest about his past and present and needing to continue to tour in The Church for money. One of the funniest lines in the film is when he admits that in the 1980s he autographed a bunch of albums as Neil Finn. After the screening we had a Q&A with both Director Mike Brook and Steve Kilbey. A few members of the audience voiced their concern that Steve was a bit harsh on the Gold Afternoon Fix album (which I really like), but Steve feels it was The Church paint-by numbers. It's not your typical documentary, but was still interesting to watch.

MIFF
My second film on Wednesday night was the world premiere of the film Westwind: Djalu's Legacy. We had a Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy and short musical performance by some of the key people in the film before it started. Filmed over eight years it tells the story of Yolngu elder and master Yidaki (didgeridoo) player Djalu Gurruwiwi. As the keeper of his people's Songlines and culture, he is desperate to pass them on to his son Larry, who is not quite ready to take on the responsibility. As Djalu allows outsiders to come and learn about culture and the Yidaki from him, he develops an unlikely friendship with Wally De Backer (aka Gotye), who manages to help bridge the musical gap between Djalu and his son. The film culminates with their performance together at WOMADelaide. After the screening we got to hear from Producer Kate Pappas, Director Ben Strunin and Djalu and Larry Gurruwiwi in the Q&A session.

MIFF
Today I got to see the breathtaking film Mountain, which was a collaborative project between Director Jennifer Peedom, Artistic Director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra Richard Tognetti, and author Robert Macfarlane. Exploring the increasing human fascination with mountains, footage was primarily sourced from that shot by Jennifer Peedom and cinematographer Renan Ozturk, along with other Go-Pro and drone material from high adventure athletes. The score by Tognetti includes original pieces as well as ones from classical composers, and the film is narrated by actor Willem Dafoe. Being able to see this film on a massive screen was fantastic, and some of the shots of people climbing up sheer wall faces or skiing down from the tops of mountains is nerve wracking. There was a Q&A after the screening with Director Jennifer Peedom where she described the process of putting this film together and collaborating with the others.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

MIFF- The Song Keepers and Ingrid Goes West

MIFF
I began this evening of MIFF films with the documentary The Song Keepers about the Central Australian Aboriginal Women's Choir. These women (and two men) from remote towns in the Northern Territory come together to sing 14th-century Lutheran hymns that were brought over by German missionaries. The really special thing is that they sing them in language. The film focuses on their 2015 tour of Germany with their choirmaster Morris Stuart. It's a lovely film that tells the story of the choir members and how they have kept their culture alive. After the screening we were incredibly lucky to have the choir there to sing a few songs and then do a Q&A.

MIFF
My next film was the American dark comedy Ingrid Goes West. It stars Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid Thorburn, a troubled social media addict who becomes infatuated with Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), an Insta-star and social media influencer. Ingrid moves to Los Angeles and manages to insinuate herself into Taylor's life. This movie is like the Instagram version of Single White Female, and is a biting commentary on the truth behind those living a #blessed life on social media.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

MIFF- Faces Places and The Go-Betweens: Right Here

MIFF
Today's Melbourne International Film Festival films were both documentaries. I began my afternoon with the French film Faces Places, which featured the pairing of French New Wave artist Agnes Varda with the much younger street artist JR. The film follows them as they drive around rural France in a mobile photo lab van photographing people and doing large scale paste ups of images both past and present. They meet some interesting people along the way and hear about their personal stories and the history of the villages they visit. The pair also develops a sweet relationship and rapport with each other, and bring together their artistic talents to create some amazing large scale pieces. I absolutely loved this film and cannot recommended it highly enough.

MIFF
Next I saw The Go-Betweens: Right Here, a film that chronicles the life and times of the Brisbane band and the relationship between its founders Robert Forster and Grant McLennan. The film is organised chronologically from the mid-1970s to mid-2000s, and intersperses archival photos, audio and video footage with present day interviews with each band member as well as the people around them in the scene at the time. I really liked the device used by Director Kriv Stenders of having a rural Queensland property as the base where each band member came and went from the house to document their time in the band as they experienced it. There were many turbulent times, including line-up changes, their break-up in 1989 and Grant's untimely passing of a heart attack in 2006, which is where the film ends. We were fortunate to have both Kriv Stenders and Robert Forster do a Q&A after the screening, in which Robert joked that he felt he came across too serious and would be more funny in a future film. It's a very well done documentary done by someone who intimately knew the band and its importance to Australian musical history.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

MIFF- The House Of Z, Pecking Order and Patti Cake$

MIFF
It's that time of year again with the start of the Melbourne International Film Festival this week. On Friday night I went to see my first MIFF film, the documentary The House Of Z on the American fashion designer Zac Posen. It covered his childhood growing up in an artistic family in NYC, and the rise of his fashion label with his mother and sister working by his side. As his popularity grew he got funding support from Sean Combs ("the hip-hop years"), but his celebrity and the GFC ultimately led to the downfall of the label and his relationships with family members. Zac then started over from scratch, assembling a new team and going back to his atelier roots to re-energise his creativity. With interviews from all the key players in Zac's life and fashion label, it's an interesting insight into what can happen when you gain success at such an early age.

MIFF
Tonight I started my evening with the New Zealand documentary Pecking Order about the members of the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club. It covered not only the internal (and generational) politics of the club, but also everyone's preparations for the annual National Show, which was like the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for chickens. There were some amazing characters in the film, and we were fortunate enough to have Director Slavko Martinov introduce the film and do a Q&A after the screening, where he spilled some of the secrets of the bird show circuit.

MIFF
My other film for the night was the drama/comedy Patti Cake$, which featured Aussie actress Danielle Macdonald as Patricia Dombrowski, an aspiring rapper from New Jersey. With her friend Hareesh by her side, they strive to make their dreams come true while facing down the doubters both within the community and her own family (her mother is brilliantly played by comedian Bridget Everett). Once Patti and Hareesh encounter the African-American anarchist Basterd they form an unlikely musical union under the name PBNJ and record a demo in the hopes of breaking into the music business. It's a great film about not giving up on your dreams and being resilient in the face of adversity.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Gertrude Street Projection Festival 2017

It's the tenth anniversary of the Gertrude Street Projection Festival, which has grown over the years to become a key cultural event in Melbourne each winter. Once again there were a wide variety of different projections displayed on the facades and alleyways along Gertrude Street.

Of the smaller wall projections I really liked Peter Waples-Crowe with Megan Evans piece Squatters & Savages which showed colonial occupation from both perspectives. Riza Manalo's Visitor III demonstrated the fluidity of physical movement, while Glynn Urquhart's Future Flesh Forms explored the interactions of technology and living tissue through 3D animation.

Gertrude Street Projection Festival

Gertrude Street Projection Festival

Gertrude Street Projection Festival

Once again this year the Atherton Gardens had different installations on display. Some of my favorites were Anne Truong and Dave Anderson's Light Cycles, Annie Edney's Moon Ball, Toggles Alternate Power Generator with its moving mobile and Prativa Thamang's Fall Into The Skies.

Gertrude Street Projection Festival

It took a week to get working, but there were also large scale projections on the Atherton Towers, this year on the Atherton Gardens side of the building. Susan Maco Forrester and Jody Haines' piece Future is Now! explored the voyages of ancestors and identity.

Gertrude Street Projection Festival

Other large scale building projections along Gertrude Street included Ash Coates' Mycolinguistics (Rubico-Sterolosis or Oneness) on the Gertrude Hotel and Amanda Morgan's If they build a wall, we can scale it on the Builders Arms.

Gertrude Street Projection Festival

Gertrude Street Projection Festival

Skunk Control had another amazing window display this year with Three / Four, which shows the now constantly lit warning sirens as we head to the end.

Gertrude Street Projection Festival

The Gertrude Street Projection Festival is on until Sunday, 30 July 2017.
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