Monday, January 30, 2006

Big Day Out 2006

Tired and hungover after late-night drinks at Control with houseguest (couch-guest?) Martin, best mate, down from Sydney. Several lines of speed later out the door intent on seeing Sleater Kinney at 2.30. Pushing through crowds. Sleaty Kinney taut, tight, excellent. VIP tent: everybody looking for pills, too paranoid about sniffer dogs to have brought their own. Saw no dogs. Purchased ridiculously expensive cans of UDL and am subsequently broke. TZU doing art-hop. M.I.A. a powerhouse of sass. Disappointed by the Go! Team. Iggy Pop urging the crowd to climb up on stage and dance with him. Mayhem. Heat. Sweat. Miso soup. Shirtless boys aplenty. Discombobulated. Evening breeze. Coming down now. Brain fog.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hey, I got a new piece in The Age...

...about Brokeback Mountain and Hollywood homophobia, which you can check out here if you haven't already seen it. Hopefully this will be the first of many arts features in The Age to come!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Al Fresco Sex, Midsumma and Me

Fuck, it's been far to long since I actually wrote something for this blog, as opposed to just cutting and pasting in an article I'd written previously. Well, not that long I guess, but a week and a half is a long time in blogland. Time for an update.

Oh, and if my mum is reading this post, or my sister, or for that matter any of my friends (or even total strangers) who would prefer not to know the sordid details of my sex life, you should stop reading now.

No really, I mean it.

So, to quickly recap on what I've been up to of late:

For starters, I'm still hosting Summer Breakfast on RRR but finishing on Friday, and very much looking forward to not having to get up at 4am any more! Thanks heaps to all my special guest co-hosts: Dr Andi, alicia sometimes, Denise Hylands, Holly C and MJ; it's been a real pleasure working with you all.

Last Wednesday I went to a media preview of Man In Black, James Mangold's new biopic about musician Johnny Cash staring Joaqin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. While the performances were strong, I thought it suffered the standard biopic flaw of feeling too episodic, as a result of cramming too much of the guy's life into its 136 minutes. I give it three and a half lines of speed out of five.

Thursday night my friend Mike (who took off for London on Saturday - have fun, mate!) took me to see Antony and the Johnsons. The support band, Coco Rosie, were truly fucking sublime, and for the first 15-20 minutes of the main gig I almost thought that they were going to be the highlight. Then Antony warmed up, and the whole auditorium started singing a two-part harmony for one particular song, and the night became almost transcendent.

The opening night of Melbourne's gay and lesbian cultural festival Midsumma was on on Friday, so I went to score free drinks in the VIQ (very important queers, LOL) area for an hour or so, taking my girlfriend Kelly as my plus one. Four wines later I fucked off to my mate Glen's birthday dinner at Peko Peko, a friendly Japanese cafe on Smith Street Fitzroy. More wine, good food, friendly people. Glen's mum, who seems to have taken a real shine to me, flirted with me (and vice versa) for half the night. Dont be embarassed Glen, it wasn't like she tried to tounge-kiss me or anything!

After I left the party I had to head back into Midsumma to meet up with a friend, so I could set him up with my dealer. Shame I don't get a commission...

Cutting through the Fitzroy Gardens on my way into town, I ran into a particularly attractive (ie tall, dark and blokey) young Italian guy who I'd seen hanging around the edges of the Midsumma festivities when I left earlier. He had the same attitude, posture and expression I've seen before on dudes hanging around the streets outside gay bars previously, ie wanting to go inside but too nervous to do so.

Being a friendly sort, and pissed enough to chat to a total stranger, I engaged him in conversation, and after talking for a bit we...oh alright then, yes, I bluntly propositioned him, and conversation was minimal. Happy?

We ended up having a particularly excellent shag in the bushes in the middle of the park. Ah, sex under the stars, the wind in your pubic hair, it's hard to beat. It was one of those excellent casual roots where instead of wanting to do your jeans up and leave straight away, we stayed snuggling for a little while afterwards. I tried talking him into round two, preferably back at my place, but he said he had to catch the train back to his girlfriend's place, although he did give me his e-mail address (he hasn't answered though - probably got the guilts once he sobered up).

Once again, I seem to have unwittingly helped someone sort out his confusion about his sexuality, at least temporarily. I should start charging for my services.

Saturday night the devillishly deviant Ms.Fits had invited me to a group party at the Retreat Hotel in Brunswick. The last time I was there was when I'd been invited to do a spoken word performance as part of a fundraiser for the anarchist bookshop Barricade, about eight or nine years ago. I think I shocked some of the anarchists with the piece I read, which included the line 'his arse-lips kiss my fingertip before I work it inside him.'

Anyway, about an hour before I left for the party I remembered the pill that had been sitting in the fridge since NYE. I took it. Half an hour later I decided to walk to the party as a consequence of suddenly feeling delightfully energetic and at one with the world. On a night when it was still about 30 degrees. Fuck! By the time I got there - sweating like a chairman of the Australian Wheat Board in front of the current inquiry, but feeling no pain - I was in a fucking excellent mood!

Spent half the night chatting with Glenny G from RRR's Best of the Brat and his girlfriend Rachel; Glenn has asked me to take him into a fuck-club, ahem I mean a sex on premises venue, such as Club 80 or Wet On Wellington, so that he can find out what they're like and talk about them on air one night. I've agreed, and have promised not to push him into the darkened grope-maze and run off laughing evilly. Stay tuned for that particular post!

Shortly after I left, several hours later, I decided to walk past Princes Park to see how they were going setting the place up for Sunday's Big Day Out. Still shitloads to do by the looks of it, although it was difficult to tell at night. As I walked, a car of yobs drove past me and shouted something I couldn't catch due to having my iPod turned way up. Perhaps they were criticising my dancing style? I was, after all, skipping, dancing and hopping along the footpath in my own unique style, although what I was listening to, I can't quite recall. Then they hurled a couple of eggs at me. Both missed, probably due to the afore-mentioned skipping and dancing. It felt like the universe was on my side.

Now it's Wednesday, and I've got all of $3.80 to last me until late tomorrow night, when I get paid after Q + A, and the only food in the house is one tomato, three eggs and half a load of bread; and I'm already sick of scrambled eggs from living off those supplies for the couple of days prior. Hmm, I wonder which of my friends I can prevail upon to shout me lunch and dinner for the next day or so?

Edit: 9.21pm - I just got an e-mail from Friday Al-Fresco boy. Hopefully we're hooking up again in another few days. Excellent; more sex with a hung young Adonis (or rather, his Italian equivalent, cos I think Adonis was Greek, but I could well be and often am, wrong.). Hopefully this time in my bed - or on the couch, or the floor, or the kitchen table - instead of the park. Damn mosquitos.

Tomato sandwich for dinner. Stomach still growling. Scraped together enough change from behind the couch and my bedroom floor to buy two stubbies of Mercury Dry, and settling in to read 16 short stories that I have to judge for Midsumma before tomorrow. Ah, life is grand.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Big Gay Out

Richard gears up for some homo rock action at Midsumma festival.

Part of this year’s Midsumma Festival, The Big Gay Out: Homorock 3 is a welcome alternative to another year of dance parties, gay bars and obligatory pop idol crushes, as the crowds who have flocked to the live music series since its inception clearly indicate.

"We were really surprised by the number of people who turned up to the first homorock gig to be honest," says Hope Collins, from rock band Meebar, one of the organisers of the event. "The first show was pretty much sold out and we’ve had packed houses ever since."

The gigs are a much-needed antidote to the sometimes-homogenous gay and lesbian scene, Collins believes.

"If you come into the scene and you’re kind of different, then it can be difficult. I’ve known people who have come out and within a few weeks have got their heads shaved, are growing their armpit hair and are only wearing comfortable shoes," she laughs wryly, "just to feel like they fit into some sort of community. Another young friend of mine who’s just started going out on the scene has said ‘Oh my god I have to be thin if I’m going to be a gay man!’ There’s still that sort of thing going on which I think is kind of sad, but yeah, hopefully that’s changing."

Homorock events have been so successful that Meebar have even staged a similar night in Sydney.

"It was received really well. It’s like, especially up there, the gay scene is pigeonholed into the one kind of scene, so when we did something different it really brought a mixed crowd of people along, who were just so excited that there was somewhere else to go apart from a dance club."

Although agreeing that the community presents a much more diverse face than it did ten years ago, Hope Collins believes that we still have some way to go.

"I think we do need to look at broadening things, and having different representations. I think that’s happening, it’s something that we’re doing a lot more of as a community, but I think that if you’re someone who’s young and just first going out on the scene, it does seem to have a sort of stereotype."
While Meebar don’t see themselves and their fellow homorock bands as leading the charge, they certainly see themselves as reflective of the changes that have occurred over the past decade.

"I don’t know if we’re championing it or are just a part of it," Collins says thoughtfully, "but I certainly think we’re reflective of a more diverse community. I think the general public still see us as stereotypes, unfortunately. In day to day life I’d like to be able to say to someone, ‘I’m a lesbian’ and have them accept that, instead of having them say, ‘Oh my god really? I would never have guessed’ as if that’s a compliment. It’s like, ‘Oh wow thanks, I’m so glad I fit in with your image of homosexuality.’"

The Big Gay Out (Homo Rock 3): Friday January 27, The Rob Roy Hotel, Fitzroy.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Weekends are good things...

...for procrastinating in.

Until I started this stint of breakfast radio on the Arrrr's, I was happily unemployed, living a six-month stint of the life of leisure, during which time weekends lost their spice a little. When every day is a "sleep in til you damn well feel like it" sort of day, there's little to differentiate weekends from weekdays - apart from the fact that it's easier to talk your friends into going out and getting smashed with you on weekends, seeing as they don't have to work the next day.

Now that I'm back in the world of working five days a week (albeit only temporarily) I'm loving my weekends, although dagnabbit, they just aren't long enough.

This weekend I was supposed to:

  • Do the laundry
  • Do the dishes
  • Go to the gym
  • See at least one film (I'm catching up, you see)
  • Write up an interview for MCV
  • Write up a DVD review for Beat
  • Read through a stack of media releases from people wanting coverage for their shows on RRR
  • Go out and get laid
  • Read a little
  • Work on a short story idea I had last week.
  • And go to the Barbara Kruger exhibition at ACCA.

Instead, with only half of Sunday left, so far this weekend I've managed to:

  • Get drunk on a bottle of wine on Friday night while watching A Very Long Engagement and had a good cry over the film's sweet if overly-complex romanticism (a good cry is a good thing, in my book, but feel free to disagree).
  • Read the Saturday Age - quite an undertaking given the size of the damn thing.
  • Go to the gym with Andrew and Darren, followed by a healthy lunch at the Vegi Bar (ok, so I can cross one thing off my list!).
  • Come home afterwards, had one glass of chardy, and decided to have a nap at 5pm on Saturday.
  • Woke up 16 hours later, at 9am Sunday!
  • Read the Sunday Age.

Now, in an attempt to put off dull things like housework and laundry, I'm blogging. Dear me (he says, channeling the spirit of his mother), where has the weekend gone?!

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Hatchet is Six Feet Under

The strangest - and most sublime - thing happened while I was DJ'ing at Q + A last night. My ex-boyfriend Mark, with whom I parted in 2000 under particularly messy circumstances* that resulted in him telling me he never wanted to see me again, showed up out of the blue!

One minute I'm DJ'ing and gazing out over the crowd, the next minute his grinning face, hair bleached an unconvincing but strangely suitable blonde, pops up over the edge of the DJ booth and says hello.

To cut a long story short, we ended up chatting for almost an hour as the night progressed, and although we didn't discuss our break-up, or any of the events associated with it, I feel that we've had some sort of rapprochement. It seems like an altogether excellent way to start the year to me!

* Said messy circumstances involved me sleeping with my ex's new boyfriend. Yes, I know, it was a bad, bad thing to do, but I assure you that it wasn't deliberate. It was one of those stupid, 'drunken boys in the same bed' together things, where you realise that, A) You haven't slept with anyone for several months, and B) There's this warm body in bed next to you that's sporting a particularly impressive hard-on. It just happened, ok? No need to lecture me about it; I already know it was one of the stupidest decisions I've made in my life...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Of course!

I know why I'm so mopey - it's blindingly obvious! I just need to get laid! Clearly, a good root will help me get over this period of angst and sadness I am currently going through. Who needs emotional intimacy when you can have its tawdry, meaningless replacement, an anonymous fuck?!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Latest and favourite photo

Ennis hugging Jack in a scene from Brokeback Mountain.

I haven't been this obsessed about a film for years.

Maybe it's because it resonates so strongly with my own, on-going case of unrequited love. Maybe it's because it's such a remarkable union of adept and minimal script-writing, luscious cinematography, superb acting and faultless direction.

Either way, Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain creeps into my thoughts on almost a daily basis, and most times that it does, it brings tears to my eyes when I recall key scenes or lines...

As Jake Gyllenhaal's character Jack Twist says in the film, "That old Brokeback got us good."

Here's a review of the film from one of my favourite bloggers, Towleroad.

If you haven't seen the film's trailer yet, go here.

And you can watch a copy of the Logo special about the film over here (Logo is the gay cable channel in the USA).

Proper posts will resume once I finish presenting Summer Breakfast, which as much as I'm loving it, is totally fucking with my life, my brain, my sleep pattern, and my schedule.

After this week I've only got two weeks to go, which as much as I'm enjoying the stint, is definitely a good thing. I almost stepped in front of a car the other day because I was half asleep, and little things like my ability to type and write are suffering too...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

But Seriously...

Pop music meets classical concert in a premiere event at this year’s Midsumma Festival, reports Richard Watts.

Scandal'us. Scott Cain. Paulini. Bardot. Is it any wonder that pop music is getting a bad name, when manufactured idols come and go faster than your last one night stand did? In this world of disposable pop, it’s nice to be reminded that a great song and a popular song aren’t mutually exclusive concepts.

Seriously is a new production by writer, director and performer David Knox, who gave us the 2002 Midsumma hit, Kylie the Musical. For his latest show, Knox has taken the songs of iconic pop duo The Pet Shop Boys and stripped them back to their bare essentials, to reveal what the show’s musical director Dean Lotherington calls ‘intelligent pop.’

“They set about writing music that’s going to last, you know?” he says of the song-writing team whose hits include ‘It’s A Sin’, ‘Always On My Mind’ and ‘Absolutely Fabulous’.

Lotherington, a composer and accompanist who has worked with the likes of Paul Capsis and Julian Clary, heard his first Pet Shop Boys song back in 1985.

“It would have been ‘West End Girls’, their first hit, easily. I used to dance at Mandate to it when I was still in high school,” he laughs. “I was never a diehard Pet Shop Boys fan, but I’ve always been absolutely aware of them. And because they speak volumes about relationships, and we’ve all been in relationships that have either been bursting at the seams with love and bliss, or been falling apart at the seams, there’s always one of their songs that’s like ‘Oh, that reminds me of that time in my life.’”

“In a way, for the last twenty years the Pet Shop Boys have always been there, you know?” he says emphatically. “David Knox coined a phrase about them for this particular production; he says that, ‘This is the soundtrack for our lives.’”

It was two and a half years ago that Knox first put the idea of Seriously to Lotherington.

“I thought ‘Gee, it could just work, what David was suggesting,’ which was to strip back all that electronic stuff and show off the lyrics and the irony and the blackness, all of those clever things they write about.”

The resulting production, which will premiere at Chapel off Chapel on January 25, employs a grand piano and a string quartet to reinvent the songs of Tennant and Lowe, and the vocal talents of Batchelor Girl’s Tania Doko, as well as David Gould, Paul Ross (who recently concluded a two-year stint performing in the smash hit Mamma Mia!), Maria Mercedes and Anthony Constanzo, the production’s youngest performer.

Constanzo says that rehearsing for the show has given him a new appreciation of the Pet Shop Boys.

“A lot of the music in the show is less well known, and that always grabs me, because I’ve only ever known the hits. My favourite song of theirs now is one from the show called ‘Miracles.’ It’s got such colourful and descriptive lyrics; they’re incredibly hopeful, too, but they’re set against music which is a little bit darker, and that kind of juxtaposition has always attracted me.”

The performance will focus the audience’s attention on the Pet Shop Boys melodies and lyrics, or as Dean Lotherington puts it, “Their insight into what’s going on in the world right now; their take on the human heart and the human condition. It’s worth its weight in gold really. There’s no Stock, Aitken and Waterman about them.”

Seriously at Chapel off Chapel, Prahran Jan 25 – Feb 12.
Bookings on 8290 7000.

2005 Arts Top Ten

1. Mysterious Skin: Director Gregg Araki outgrew his ‘enfant terrible of queer cinema’ pigeonhole with this devastating, poetic nightmare of a movie.

2. Sigur Ros live at Hamer Hall.

3. The Laramie Project: Presented by The Act-O-Matic 3000, this play about the 1998 murder of gay youth Matthew Shepard was simply staged yet utterly devastating.

4. Page 8: Indigenous performer and composer David Page brought the house down with this autobiographical show at the reinvigorated Malthouse Theatre.

5. Basic Training: Khalil Ashanti’s one-man show at this year’s Melbourne Fringe made me laugh, cry, and rejoice in the human condition.

6. Little Black Bastard: Another one-man show, this time at Midsumma Festival, another indigenous performer; another night I left the theatre with tears in my eyes and joy in my heart.

7. Stay Young: A marvellous exhibition exploring masculine beauty at the Centre for Contemporary Photography by local artist Lyndal Walker.

8. At Swim, Two Boys: The smash hit of the Dublin Fringe Festival, this Welsh production of Jamie O’Neill’s marvellous novel gave me a new appreciation of physical theatre.

9. Everything Is Invisible: Magic realism and an aquatic circus live on stage at the Melbourne Fringe.

10. The Colony: Nick Mangan’s solo exhibition in September at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces.