Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March On Melbourne

Today was the first day of The Resistance with the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States (you cannot know how much it pains me to type that). This afternoon nearly 6,000 people gathered at the State Library for the Women's March on Melbourne, one of many sister marches around the world in solidarity with tomorrow's massive Women's March on Washington. It was a pretty big turn out to not only oppose the Trump presidency, but also fight against misogyny, bigotry and hatred.

There were a number of speakers, including a couple of representatives from Democrats Abroad. The highlight of the afternoon though was writer and Guardian Australia columnist Van Badham, who gave an impassioned speech that motivated everyone. I loved her line, "If you are a feminist and you are not a member of a union, you are not doing feminism properly."

Once the speeches concluded everyone hit the streets to march to Parliament House (not sure why we didn't head down St Kilda Road to the US Consulate). There were some great signs in the crowd and a few chants, but it was a bit subdued on the walk, which may have been because of the tragic events on Bourke Street yesterday. It was good to get some honks of support from cars driving by along the march route, but things kind of fizzled once we reached the steps of Parliament House as the sound system wasn't working. However, it was still a great event and I was glad I could participate and demonstrate my resistance to Trump while living outside of the US.

Of course, today is only the beginning, and it will be important to keep the momentum going. So what can you do?
  1. Continue the protest of the Women's March by joining their campaign for 10 Actions for the first 100 Days.
  2. Follow progressive voices in the media like Robert Reich, Van Jones, Shaun King, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Michael Moore, who will keep you up to date on the truth of what is happening and any calls to action to stop Trump and the Republican Congress.
  3. Read Indivisible, which was written by former congressional staffers and is a how to guide on ways to engage and influence your representatives in Congress and resist the Trump agenda.
  4. Get involved at the local, state and/or national level by contacting your local representatives to let them know what you think - both positive and negative.
  5. Support organisations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood that are fighting for people's rights.
  6. Continue to protest, stay active and resist!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

White Cloud: Tim Finn

Tonight Fran, Lara and I headed to the intimate Fairfax Studio at the Arts Centre Melbourne to see the second of three performances this weekend for White Cloud: Tim Finn. This one hour and 15 minutes performance was written by Tim Finn and New Zealand playwright Ken Duncum. It focused on family, identity and home through the telling of generational stories using a mix of spoken word, music and song. Tim, who moved between acoustic guitar, piano and ukulele, was accompanied by long time collaborator Brett Adams on electric guitar. Video artist Sue Healey compiled the projected visuals for the performance out of home movies from the Finn and Healey family archives.

Written as a series of impressions, the narrative jumps around between families and different eras of life in New Zealand for its white settlers (Pakeha) and their interactions with native Maori people. Most of the music is original to the show, but there were glimpses of Tim's Split Enz back catalogue with the opening verse of "Haul Away," the piano intro to "Remember When" and a bit of the chorus to "I Hope I Never" played on the piano in the swing style of his mother. The song "White Cloud, Black Shadow" joined all the bits together as it was played in four parts throughout the performance.

The show is thought provoking as it calls upon the stories of ancestors through journals, letters and memoirs. It gets you thinking about your own family history and where home resides when you are an immigrant. The most touching part of the performance for me was the section about Tim's mother Mary, with it's recorded bits of dialogue from a journal she wrote about her life as she was dying of cancer. We were lucky to be at the show where Tim did a Q&A afterwards, and he spoke about the fact that he feels her presence each time he performs the show. It was good to hear his thoughts and explanations about things as it made parts of the show clearer since it isn't written as a traditional narrative. If you have the opportunity I would definitely recommend checking out White Cloud.
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