Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Who is that handsome devil?

That's me, on the left, with the lovely Michelle Bennett from 3RRR in the middle, and a friend of her's on the right who's name I can't recall beside her. The pic was taken by a photographer from Beat at the opening of the 3rd Melbourne Stencil Festival a couple of weeks ago.

32 queer films to see before you die (or turn)

Can you tell that I didn't have a lot to do at work today...?

This is obviously only a partial and unfinished list, and it's very US and UK-centric at present. I intend to expand on and update it in the coming days and weeks, and will also add links as time permits.

I should also add that these films are not presented in any special order, only as they came to me, as I trawled through my memory and a couple of handy websites.

I invite you all, oh my loyal bloggers/readers, to contribute your own films in the comments section, below. There's plenty that I've missed.

Happy viewing!

Updated: Monday 5th June

1. Brokeback
Mountain dir. Ang Lee, USA, 2005

This film surely needs no introduction. A poignant, subtle and evocative film about two young farmhands in the American midwest, it explores their uneasy attraction towards one another; the ramifications that relationship has; and its impact on one another, and their families, as it plays out over the following decades.

There have already been a plethora of articles written about this film, including my own piece in The Age. My favourite was written by Daniel Mendelsohn and appeared in the New York Review of Books:

"The real achievement of Brokeback Mountain is not that it tells a universal love story that happens to have gay characters in it, but that it tells a distinctively gay story that happens to be so well told that any feeling person can be moved by it. If you insist, as so many have, that the story of Jack and Ennis is OK to watch and sympathize with because they're not really homosexual—that they're more like the heart of America than like "gay people"—you're pushing them back into the closet whose narrow and suffocating confines Ang Lee and his collaborators have so beautifully and harrowingly exposed."

2. The Celluloid Closet dir. Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman, USA, 1995

If you see no other film on this list, see this one. It says so much about the depiction of queers in Hollywood throughout the 20th Century, and does so with wit and style.
Narrated by Lily Tomlin (who broke a promise to the film-makers to come out after the film was released), this acclaimed documentary takes its name from Vito Russo's groundbreaking book of the same name - which itself is also highly recommended. The filmmakers examine the subtext of more than 100 Hollywood movies -- including Spartacus, Rope and Thelma and Louise - and chart the cinematic journey of lesbian and gay characters. Film clips are paired with director, producer and actor interviews featuring, among others, Gore Vidal, Tom Hanks and Whoopi Goldberg.

3. Beautiful Thing dir. Hettic MacDonald, UK, 1996
A self-described 'urban fairytale', this charming, albeit slight film beautifully evokes adolescent love and the confusion of coming out, and does so within a working class milleu. It's adapted by author Jonathan Harvey (who appears in a cameo in a pivotal scene at a gay pub) from his original stage play, which the author has described as an antidote to those stories in which working class gay boys invariably end up either as prostitutes or dead.

Steve (Scott Neal, who went on to play the young gay copper PC Luke Ashton on The Bill) is a knock-about lad from a London housing estate who is regularly knocked around by his alcoholic father and abusive brother. He lives next door to Jaimie (Glen Berry), more sensitive and far less sporty, who lives with his tough-minded yet compassionate mum, Sandra (a fantastic performance by Linda Henry), a pub manager. The other major characters are the boys' young black neighbour, the Mama Cass-obsessed Leah (Tameka Empson) and Sandra's hippyish, middle-class boyfriend Tony (Ben Daniels). As the two boys gradually find themselves drawn together despite their differences, other dramas play out around them among the supporting cast. All the characters are well-drawn, and the film provides humour as well as romance in equal measure.

Definitely a tear-jerker, Beautiful Thing is also an ideal date movie for young queers, or indeed for anyone wanting the recapture those heady days of first love.

4. The Rocky Horror Picture Show dir Jim Sharman, UK/USA, 1975
This notorious horror parody - a fast-paced potpourri of camp, sci-fi and rock 'n' roll, among other things -- tracks the exploits of naïve couple Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (a young Susan Sarandon) after they stumble across the lair ("some kind of hunting lodge for rich weirdos") of transexual Transylvanian alien Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), and are each seduced by him. Transgressive, pan-sexual, playful and fantastic.

Well, I don't like a man with too many muscles.
Frank-N-Furter: I didn't make him for you!

5. Go Fish dir. Rose Troche, USA, 1994

One of my favourite lesbian films, and indeed, one of my favourite films from the 'New Queer Cinema' of the 90's. Low budget but made with passion, it's a witty, playful, adventurous exploration of life in Dykeworld in all its aspects, from tea-drinking to discovering what happens when a lesbian sleeps with a man.

As US critic Roger Ebert observes,
"One of the differences between men and women, according to conventional wisdom, is that women socialize more; they like to talk and share and gossip, while men tend to be more result-oriented in their speech. That may explain why Go Fish, a movie about lesbians that is largely concerned with dating, sex and romance, has so much talk in it. The male equivalent, gay or straight, would probably have more sex scenes and less dialogue."

Wordy? Yes. Also endearing, wryly observed, and with a lo-fi charm and honesty that can't be beat.

6. Torch Song Trilogy dir. Paul Bogart, USA, 1988

Written by and starring the gravel-voiced Harvey Fernstein, and based on his play of the same name, this ground-breaking film was one of the first films of the late 80's to present an honest and direct queer voice. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, it's an intimate and intense look at a gay man's search for love, at a time when gay = AIDS in most people's minds.

Fernstein beautifully embodies the character of Arnold, the drag queen who uses sarcasm as a defense mechanism; Brian Kerwin plays Ed, the bisexual who is unsure of his love for Arnold, with depth and warmth; Matthew Broderick is delightful as the young gay man whose love for Arnold is cruelly snatched away; and Anne Bancroft is suitable over the top as Arnold's larger than life Jewish mother. It's a tear-jerker, it's a side-splitter, and it's adorable.

7. Bound dir. Andy & Larry Wachowski, USA, 1996

Another fantastic lesbian film, this time a thriller, and directed by the Wachowski brothers before The Matrix made them a household name. The plot is elegantly simple: Corky (Gina Gershon), a tough female ex con and her lover Violet (Jennifer Tilly) concoct a scheme to steal millions of stashed mob money and pin the blame on Violet's crooked boyfriend, the unpleasant Caeser (Joe Pantoliano).

As US critic James Berardinelli says, "Bound is among the best film noir entries of the decade; from beginning to end, it's solidly entertaining ... From the opening moments, ripe with sexual tension, to the closing shot, Bound offers an edge-of-the-seat experience."

Trust me, you have to see this film.

8. Caravaggio dir. Derek Jarman, UK, 1986

One of my favourite queer artists of all time, the outspoken Derek Jarman is responsible for a number of films, not all of them - such as the homoerotic historial epic Sebastiane for example, whose dialogue is all in Latin - easy to watch. Caravaggio is perhaps his most accessible film. One of several biopics Jarman made, it deals with the life and loves of the acclaimed Renaissance painter, whose treatment of light and shade is still influential to this day.

The film has been described by UK newspaper
The Guardian as possessing "a genuine, haunting power ...
Jarman's finest movie, a compelling biography of the painter that remains thoroughly lucid while refusing to compromise Jarman's cinematic artfulness."

The film literally re-creates the painter's aesthetic, his use of
chiaroscuro, through precise lighting and composition, as it tells the story of Caravaggio's attraction to the handsome, dangerous Ranuccio (Sean Bean, perhaps best known as the doomed Boromir in The Lord of the Rings). The artist (played by Nigel Terry, King Arthur in Excalibur) falls into a complex menage a'trois with Ranuccio, who soon models for him, as well as Ranuccio's girlfriend Lena (the luminous Tilda Swinton, one of Jarman's regular stars).

Told mostly in flashback, this is a richly-textured, highly aesthetic approach to film-making, and a lushly rewarding experience for viewers who appreciate Jarman's avant-guarde approach to narrative and cinema.

Derek Jarman: "The heterosexual world is always complaining that homosexuals were obsessed with sex and they can't understand it. But they would understand it if their sex lives were outlawed and unspeakable. If gay people aren't obsessed with sex, there's something wrong with them." (The Guardian, 1986)

9. When Night is Falling dir. Patricia Rozema, Canada, 1995

A sensual, tender lesbian romance, about Camille (Pascale Bussieres) a repressed professor in a Protestant theological college in Toronto who slowly begins to fall in love with Petra (Rachael Crawford), a circus performer, after they accidentally take each other's washing home with them from the laundromat. Thinking about it, why hasn't this film been shown on a double bill with My Beautiful Laundrette?

The film "is a struggle -- not only between heterosexuality and homosexuality, but between obligation and fulfillment, convention and experiment," says The San Francisco Chronicle; "a romantic fairy tale, really: about confronting our fears, seen and unseen, and making that journey, over enormous barriers and unseen terrain, to our essential selves."

It makes me cry tears of joy every time I see it.

10. Querelle dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, West Germany/France, 1982

This is the final film made by the German auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder before he died of a massive overdose. Fassbinder was a rebel whose life and art were studies in contradiction. Openly gay, he married twice; one of his wives acted in his films and the other served as his editor. His prodigious cinematic output (the majority of which can be characterized as highly intelligent social melodramas) was matched by a wild, self-destructive libertinism that earned him a reputation as the enfant terrible of the New German Cinema (as well as its central figure, to paraphrase the IMDB).

The film is based on the novel Querelle of Brest by French writer Jean Genet, and stars Brad Davis as the titular, bisexual character, a navy sailor.

By no means easy to watch, Querelle is a dark, surreal and highly stylised film, featuring stunning cinematography and a beautiful production design. Some find the deliberate tone and pacing that Fassbinder employs in this film cold, over-ambitious and even alienating. For me, it's a fascinating film, difficult, but never less than striking.

Fassbinder deliberately keeps us distant from the dramas that unfold on the screen - savage lusts and brutal murders - as if daring us to hunger for the things society tells us we should neither want nor need. It's a complex, ambiguous film. Watch it if you dare.

11. My Beautiful Laundrette dir. Stephen Frears, UK, 1985

Far more accessible than Querelle, yet equally provocative in its own way, is Stephen Frears' My Beautiful Laundrette, a savage indictment of Thatcher's Britain and capitalism. Written by Hanif Kureishi, My Beautiful Laundrette is the story of Omar (Gordon Warnecke), a young Pakistani man caring for his intellectual, demanding, alcoholic father in Thatcherite London. Escape comes in two forms: his uncle Nasser's business interests (not all of them legal) ... and the handsome Johnny (Daniel Day Lewis), an old school friend turned National Front member.

Originally shot in six weeks, on a low budget for British television station Channel 4, My Beautiful Laundrette was so well received by critics at the Edinburgh Film Festival that it was internationally distributed for cinema on 35mm. It was heralded as one of Britain's most commercially and critically successful films of 1986, and earned Kureishi an Oscar nomination for best screenplay.

To quote the British Film Institute, "My Beautiful Laundrette was ground-breaking in its bold exploration of issues of sexuality, race, class and generational difference. It also sparked controversy, particularly within the Asian community, which was disgusted by its perceived degrading representation of Pakistanis. At a New York demonstration by the Pakistan Action Committee, banners called the film 'the product of a vile and perverted mind'.

Much of the outrage was targeted at the homosexual affair between Omar and Johnny, whch develops from a genuine mutual fondness through the buzz of sexual experimentation, before hinting, at the end, at something deeper. On the way, it survives several obstacles, including Johnny's racist connections and Omar's resentment."

The sexual tension between Omar and Johnny burns up the screen, the critique of Thatcher-era race/class divisions is superb, and the direction is crisp and striking.

12. La Ley del Deseo (Law of Desire) dir. Pedro Almodovar, Spain, 1987

Call me shallow, but how can any film in which a hot, young Antonio Banderas (pictured above) gets his gear off AND has sex with another man not be on a list of the best of queer cinema?

Seriously though, Law of Desire is directed by the fabulous Pedro Almodovar, and while it may not have the emotional intensity of his recent, more mature works such as Talk to Her, All About My Mother, and Bad Education, it has humour, passion and intensity aplenty.

It also stars the never less than wonderful Carmen Maura, and has a plot that's part melodrama, part romance, part comedy and part murder mystery.

If you haven't seen any of Pedro Almodovar's earlier films, this is a great place to start. Then go on to check out Labyrinth of Passion and What Have I Done To Deserve This? by which time his latest film, Volver, the hit of this year's Cannes Film Festival, should have hit Australian shores!

13. Edward II dir. Derek Jarman, UK, 1991

Another Jarman film, this time based on the play by Shakespeare's contemporary, Christopher Marlowe, the man who once said "all they that love not tobacco and boys be fools." In Jarman's hands, this play about the relationship between England's King Edward II (Steven Waddington) and his lover Piers Gaveston (Andrew Tiernan) is given a distinctly modern spin. One of the best example of this is when Edward's troops are defending his throne from traitors led by the rebellious nobleman, Mortimer (Nigel Terry): Jarman portrays the loyal soldiers as AIDS activists under attack by riot police.

As Joe Brown wrote in The Washington Post, "
It's a stylishly austere adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's rarely performed play about newly crowned King Edward, assassinated by a conspiracy of his spurned queen, court and clergy, who were all enraged by Edward's open devotion to his male lover Gaveston. Jarman keeps the Shakespearean-era speech and setting, but finds striking ways to make distinct 20th-century parallels about sex and power, homophobia and gay activism."

Jarman regular
Tilda Swinton won the best actress award at the 1992 Venice Film Festival for her role as Edward's jealous wife, Queen Isabella of Spain, and deservedly so: she does a wonderful job of vamping up the screen, and competing with Gaveston for her husband's affections.

There's an insightful essay here about Jarman's post-modern aesthetic in this film. If you'd like to learn more about the real Edward II, Wikipedia is always a good place to start (especially if you've always wondered if the king's murder, shown in the film as having a red-hot poker inserted "
into his secret parts (ie his anus) so that it burned the inner portions beyond the intestines" to quote Sir Thomas More, is factual.)

Edward II: I here create thee Lord High Chamberlain, Chief Secretary to the State and me, Earl of Cornwall, King and Lord of Man.
Piers Gaveston: My Lord, these titles far exceed my worth.
Edward II: Thy worth sweet friend is far above my gifts. And therefore to equal it, receive my heart.

14. Les Sauvages Roseaux (Wild Reeds) dir. André Téchiné, France, 1994

Rebel Without A Cause, dir. Nicholas Ray, USA, 1955

16. Edge of Seventeen, dir. David Moreton, USA, 1998

17. Sunday Bloody Sunday, dir. John Schlesinger, UK, 1971

Totally F***ed Up, dir Gregg Araki, USA, 1993

19. Ma Vie En Rose (My Life In Pink) dir. Alain Berliner, France, 1997

20. Swoon, dir. Tom Kalin, USA, 1993

21. Rope, dir Alfred Hitchcock, USA, 1948

22. Parting Glances, dir. Bill Sherwood, USA, 1986

23. The Hunger, dir. Tony Scott, UK, 1983

24. Fucking Amal (Show Me Love) dir. Lukas Moodysson, Sweden/Denmark, 1998

25. The Boys in the Band, dir William Friedken, USA, 1970

26. Victim, dir. Basil Dearden, UK, 1961

27. Maurice, dir James Ivory, UK, 1987

28. Wilde, dir. Brian Gilbert, UK/Germany/Japan, 1997

29. Priest, dir. Antonia Bird, UK, 1994

30. Different For Girls, dir. Richard Spence, UK/France, 1998

31. Presque rien (Come undone) dir. Sebastian Lifshitz, France/Belgium, 2000

32. Poison
dir. Todd Haynes, USA, 1991

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Community Cup Part One

Come and watch the teams - I'm playing for the Megahertz again this year - fellow bloggers welcomed as barrackers!

Holy homosexuals, Batman!

Fifty years after she first appeared in comics, the character of Batwoman is set to return – as a lesbian.

Crime-fighter Kathy Kane will re-appear in July, in the new series 52, whose first issue was published this month by US company DC Comics.

The character, who originally appeared in 1956, became Batman's ally in his fight against evil but was always in his shadow.

The new Batwoman is described by the New York Times as a “lesbian socialite by night and a crime fighter by later in the night.”

Ironically, it is believed the character of Batwoman was originally introduced to the DC Universe in order to stifle the rumours of Batman and Robin's homosexual relationship.

I've linked to the NYT article, which is a detailed look at new representations of cultural and sexual diversity in comics, but you need to be a member to read it: membership's free though, folks.

Now, all we need is for Batman and Robin to finally come out!

Monday, May 29, 2006

George Michael and the Anti-Christ

Just home from seeing a preview of the remake of classic fright-fest The Omen. Am utter waste of celluloid. No frights, no chemistry between the actors, uninspired cinematography, bland direction by John Moore, and an almost exact re-write by David Seltzer of his original screenplay. Give it a miss, folks, it was laborious and tedious.

Leaving the cinema, my friend Cerise and I went out to a Japanese restaurant on Swanston Street for a quick bite. No sooner had we ordered than the waitress asked hesitantly, in broken English, if I knew the name of the song currently being played on the in-house PA. It was George Michael singing 'Careless Whispers.'

The fact that I knew that was far scarier than the film I'd just suffered through!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Rock me, Dr Zaius!

Nothing to see here, ladies and gentlemen. Move along please, move along.

You have to read that line aloud in your best English copper's voice for it to work, really. And no, it has nothing to do with the title of this post. This is what happens when you start writing the first thing that comes into your head...

It's been a relatively quiet week for me, for once, discounting a job interview on Tuesday, and Friday night, which went from being a quiet night on the couch to a night of sheer decadence, following a phonecall from a mate, Christos. I was going to stay in. Instead, the night involved the consumption of wine, attending an exhibition opening, speed, Vietnamese food, a taxi ride, more speed, dog patting, a Siamese cat, the Laird, more friends, cocaine, cider, conversations about blogs, late night walks, another bar, fond and drunken farewells, the Peel, yet more speed, and being turned down by a cute piece of trade who I'd offered a drink to (silly boy doesn't know what he missed). What fun!


Saturday was, understandably, rather quiet as a consequence of the previous night's debauchery.

The weekend's highlight was watching the original 1968 film The Planet of the Apes last night, which I had't seen since I was a child in the 1970's. I know as a kid I used to love the TV series (the original series, not the animated series) and I have fond, if vague memories of watching the first film, and Beneath the Planet of the Apes, on TV several decades ago.

The film holds up well, especially its presentation of racial and social issues beneath the veneer of science fiction. The make-up, too, is quite amazing for its time. While the shock ending has lost its punch due to over-exposure, Heston's line at the mid-point of the film "Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!" is still resonant and delightful. Definitely a film to enjoy.

Oh, and before I forget, go and see Kage Physical Theatre's latest production at the Malthouse, Headlock. It's a virtually flawless, deeply moving piece of theatre, where performance, set, sound design and lighting combine perfectly. It closes next weekend so hurry!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Huge hugs for Martin

My best friend Martin moved to Sydney last year with his boyfriend, who, I discovered today, is unwell. Huge hugs for you Martin, and fervent hopes for a swift and full recovery for your bf. I feel so utterly helpless down here, 1000 km away. Don't hesitate to call if you need me to come up: I'll be there the same day.

love always,

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Goldfish Memory

I first saw this contemporary queer Irish rom-com that deals with the gamut of adult sexuality, straight, gay, lesbian and bisexual, at the opening night of the 14th Melbourne Queer Film Festival back in 2004. I just finished re-watching it 15 minutes ago.

Written and directed by Liz Gill, it's a patchwork exploration of the loves and lives of a disparate group of Dubliners, including committment-phobic, gay, bike courier Red (a puckish Keith McErlean); his best friend Angie (Flora Montgomery), a lesbian TV journalist; and the philandering, straight, university letch and lecturer Tom (Sean Campion) whose schtick ensnares many a young student, including - albeit briefly - the fiesty, unfettered, bisexual Clara (Fiona O'Shaughnessy).

At only 85 minutes long, Goldfish Memory too often races through its complex and constantly rearranging set pieces of love and lust, resulting in a series of sketches rather than fully developed scenes, but its energy and enthusiasm can't be faulted, while its characters, despite sometimes being thinly drawn, are unfailingly endearing.

To summarise, Goldfish Memory may not be the best queer film in the world, but it's certainly better than endless coming out films; and its warm regard for all of its characters, not just the central gay, lesbian and bisexual characters, but the peripheral cast as well, ensures that it never outstays its welcome. Despite a touch of blandness (everyone is just a little too nice), it manages to be engaging and uplifting. It also made me miss Dublin, which I've only visited once (see my blog entries for September 2005) but which I definitely want to see again!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

No gay Head!

No, this isn't a post about me and oral sex: get your minds out of the sewers, and back to the gutters where they belong, you naughty, naughty children.

According to the Tasmanian newspaper The Mercury, a new US series about a gay rockstar and his entourage called Him and Us, that was set to star English actor Anthony Head (Giles from Buffy) as lead character Max Flash has been cancelled.


The series would also have featured former Sex And The City star Kim Cattrall, with Mick Jagger reported to have been lined up to make recurring appearances. The pilot's Executive Producer was Elton John, who also contributed the theme song for the show.

Oh well. There better be a damn good reason the network didn't pick it up - sounds like a fun idea for a series to me!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Melbourne Fringe Registrations Open

2006 Melbourne Fringe Festival

For 19 spring days and nights, Melbourne will burst with creativity and excitement as the 2006 Melbourne Fringe Festival hatches from a winter cocoon for our 24th year.

The Melbourne Fringe Festival combines public art en masse as independently produced events in performance, circus, comedy, cabaret, music, dance / movement, visual arts and beyond transform the city's cultural landscape with three weeks of the most contemporary arts in Australia.

Registrations for the 2006 Melbourne Fringe Festival
OPEN on 29 MAY 2006.

Melbourne Fringe invites artists to be part of the annual celebration that knows no creative boundaries.

For the full Festival facts, registration details and artists' information forums visit, call the Melbourne Fringe office on 03 8412 8788, or visit our offices at 25 Easey Street, Collingwood between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Artist Registrations CLOSE at 5pm on 16 JUNE 2006.
See you at the st[art]ing line!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Quick Update

It's been quite a hectic week, now I think about it...

Monday: worked at 3RRR on a grant application. Fringe Board meeting postponed so had a rare, quiet night at home and was in bed by 10pm.

Tuesday: media preview of X Men III: The Final Stand in the morning (significantly less character development that the first two films, much less satisfying dramatically, several scenes where events clearly only happened so that they could be resolved in as flashy a manner as possible). Worked at MCV in the afternoon. Tuesday night dropped into Martin Tighe's Ronald Ryan exhibition at Hogan Gallery on Smith Street; I'd hoped to interview him on my show this week, but the Breakfasters beat me to it, curse them! ;-) It's a good exhibition - mixed media, a distinct sense of humanity and pathos, and Tighe's trademarked three-dimentional canvases.

Wednesday: At MCV again, today working on a cover story about Geelong cops apparently confessing to entrapping men at local beats. Thereafter I was supposed to go to A) the media preview of the film Separate Lies, B) the 50th anniversary production of the play Look Back In Anger at the Terminus Hotel, C) an Express Media Management Committee meeting, and D) the opening of Jon Cattapan's mid-career retrospective exhibition at the Ian Potter Museum of Contemporary Art. I got to C & D, but only by virtue of skipping out on the ManComm meeting early. Cattapan's exhibtion was too crowded, so I have to try and get back to check it out before he's a guest on my show on Thursday.

Thursday: Another Smartarts on 3RRR. Napped in the afternoon. Thursday night dropped in at the Centre for Contemporary Photography to check out Simon Obarzanek's 80/137 Faces, a series of B & W portraits of adolescents caught in that awkward, beautiful moment between childhood and adulthood. Lovely work, and he'll also be on the show this week. Then it was off to Q + A, for co-dj Helen's last night for six weeks while she heads off for a holiday in Greece. Have fun, babe!

Friday: Went out to RRR to record a to-camera interview with Jacqui Stewart from the GLBT community radio station JOY Melbourne, who's making a doco about the Sex Pistols and their impact on people. She also interviewed Tony Biggs, who I'm sure had much more to say on the subject than me - I was too young to be aware of the band when they first exploded on the UK music scene! Friday night I caught up with a dear friend and occasional collaborator and performance partner Lisa Greenaway (editor of the arts website The Program) and we had our abortive evening at Bell Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which I wrote about in an earlier post.

Thereafter I went to a housewarming party thrown by Damien Hodgkinson, the General Manager of Melbourne Fringe. He used to work at Bell Shakespeare, and rather awkwardly, Bell's publicist and several staff members of the company, including John Bell's personal assistant turned up at the party about an hour after I arrived. They naturally went "You walked out!" and I had to explain my reasons for doing so... which basically came down to "John needs to become a figurehead and hand over all directiorial duties to other people so that the company can stop feeling so tired and predictable." Given that this country lacks a strong critical culture, I'm glad I didn't back out and make excuses for walking out - it was a crap show, and they should know my reasons for thinking so! Dropped in at a very-busy Control HQ for a couple of drinks on the way home.

Saturday: Quiet day. Hungover. Saturday night I went on another date - my third - with a 20-something student named JM (I'm gonna try and maintain some anonymity for him as this blog is about me and my life, not his). It was our third date, and I think this proto-relationship might be going somewhere, though we're taking it slowly (partially because I don't want to break his heart by rushing into things, partially cos I don't want to break mine, given the trauma of my last relationship's spectacularly messy end).

For our date, we went out to see Kage Physical Theatre's superb, deeply moving production Headlock at the Malthouse Theatre, and afterwards out to the Town Hall Hotel in North Melbourne to see a band that one of his housemate is in, The K Road Queens (named after a street in NZ where the hookers hang out, apparently). Stoner rock, good dynamics, trio - guitar, guitar and drums, no bass, and good fun - all expat Kiwis. Then, instead of going to The Living End's after-party, we came back to mine, had a cup of tea and a chat, and then had a gentle pash before JM went home. Yes, I'll write about him more when I work out what the hell is going on!

Sunday: I had a terrible night's sleep last night - lots to think about, including Fringe business, JM, and a job interview I have tomorrow morning for the position of Artistic Director at Next Wave Festival. Right now I should be working on the 10-minute oral presentation I have to give at the interview about my artistic goals and visions for the festival - instead I'm procrastinating wildly - I've read blogs, answered e-mails, and been to the Union Hotel down the road for a lazy Sunday lunch and a couple of drinks. Now, I have no excuses left - although maybe a nap is in order - and then tonight is Ms. Sam's Eurovision party at the Spanish Club...

Monday Edit: The interview is actually on Tuesday morning, not today, which of course I only realised after I'd got up at 6.30am to go over my notes, showered, shaved and put on my rarely-worn suit. Luckily I double-checked the details in my diary before I headed out the door!

Saturday, May 20, 2006


[Force Entertainment]

This intelligent, well-crafted and understated British drama is a masterful addition to the Dogme school of film-making, a movement founded in Copenhagen in 1995 and dedicated to creating a ‘pure’ cinema, as opposed to the Hollywood-style cinema of empty spectacle that dominates theatres world-wide. Dogme directors swear to uphold a ‘Vow of Chastity’, whose rules include shooting only on location, hand-held camera-work, no soundtracks save for where such music occurs naturally on location, and an avoidance of superficial action such as murders and gunfights. The movement’s best-known directors include Lars von Trier and Harmony Korine, while its films include Lone Scherfig's Italian For Beginners and The Idiots.

Jan Dunn’s Gypo (a pejorative British term originally used to belittle Gipsies, now also employed to describe refugees in the U.K.) is Britain’s first Dogme film. It screened earlier this year at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival to great acclaim, and has won awards at the Frameline San Francisco Film Festival, and the British Independent Film Festival.

Starring Pauline McLynn, Paul McGann, Rula Lenska and Chloë Sirene, Gypo tells the story of a struggling working class British working class family living in Margate, England, but does so from three very different points of view. A triptych of tales comprises the central drama, each segment seen through the eyes of one of the three main characters: Helen (McLynn), an unhappy housewife who feels increasingly confined by her loveless marriage; Paul (McGann), her racist, blue-collar husband; and Tasha (Sirene) a school-friend of Helen’s daughter, who lives in a caravan park with her elderly mother (Lenska). Tasha is a refugee from Eastern Europe, and her arrival slowly brings to the surface all the tensions in Paul and Helen’s marriage, while the threatening presence of her own husband threatens to destroy the tentative relationship that is blooming between the two women before it can truly begin.

The beauty of this simple, stark and gritty film lies in the way that each of its segments presents a subtly different depiction of the unfolding story. Helen, seen through her own eyes, is patient and put upon, whereas in Paul’s central segment of the film, she is depicted as shrewish and nagging. While some may find the film’s naturalistic pace slow, its actors are universally strong, their characters well-rounded, and the drama, although it stretches credibility as the film moves towards its climax, is realistically presented.

Like the cinema of Ken Loach, the largely improvised Gypo presents an all-too-believable portrait of the lives of everyday people told with conviction and restraint. The digital transfer is crisp, with the film shown in full-screen aspect. A navigable chapter menu is the DVD’s only extras.


Friday, May 19, 2006

And they get funding for this!

I've just come home from the opening night of Bell Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. To say I was underwhelmed is a serious understatement. To say I was frustrated, bored, and insulted by John Bell's latest production is closer to the mark.

It's rare that I walk out of a play. I did so tonight, and I've had no qualms in doing so.

Having never seen a live production of Romeo and Juliet I hoped for a production of this play that evoked adolescent dreams, the instant passion of true love's aching desire, and a sense of tragedy.

I got none of this.

Instead, I saw a play that was over-directed, stagy, artificial and contrived. Ham-fisted and forced attempts at humour littered the production. Painfully obvious attempts to modernise the production were dropped in without reason. The poetry of the text was suffocated beneath mechanical and trite staging.

Case in point: the feud between the Capulets and Montagues was presented as antagonism between wogs and skips, but was done so in order to seem relevent without following through in any significant way.

Case in point: Mercutio, a character who can steal the show, was simply forced and annoying, while his death, which can be truly heartbreaking, was rushed and fumbled.

Both I, and my girlfriend Lisa found the production utterly frustrating.

Unless Bell can drastically change his style, which has become hackneyed, hidebound and predictable, the Bell Shakespeare Company will continue to post losses, such as its $400,000 loss last year, and continue to lose its audiences. Shakespeare can be passionate and relevent, but it sadly appears that, in John Bell's hands at present, it is neither.

This week's show...

Yesterday's guests on SmartArts were:


Thomas Jones – SEND THE UNSENT project

As Thomas describes it, he is "compiling a book comprising of letters people have written but never sent for whatever reason."

It reminds me of the Post Secret project, but in letter form instead of postcards. Letters written by people to ex-lovers, dead parents, fan's idols, the driver of the car who killed your child; a gamut of emotional experiences in written form, reprinted for you to read: insights into other people's emotional states that might let you know that you're not the only person to experience such powerful feelings.

A large percentage of proceeds from the book will be going to the Beyond Blue Foundation.

I think it sounds like a great project. If you'd like to submit your letters, you can contact Thomas via - drop him a line and tell him I sent you!


3rd annual Melbourne Stencil Festival

I caught up with Festival Director, JD Mittmann and visiting guest stencil artist Logan Hicks, (USA).

Date: Thursday 18th May to Monday 22nd May 2006
Opening hours: From 10am til late
Venue: Rose St Artists Market, Rose Street, Fitzroy
More info:


Joan Nestle – ART OF DIFFERENCE @ Gasworks

Artistic directors, artists, and arts managers from around the world and across Australia are converging at Gasworks Arts Park in May for the Art of Difference international conference which focuses on disability and the arts. It includes discussion of the visual arts, performing arts, music, comedy, dance, writing and multimedia.

Key speakers include Kristy Edmunds, Artistic Director of Melbourne International Arts Festival,; Julie McNamara, Director of the London Disability Arts Forum; writer/historian and social activist Joan Nestle (USA); and comedian Philip Patston (New Zealand).

Dates: May 18 to 20
Venue: Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham St, Albert Park (Melways 2J H7).
Further info: Ph 8606 4200 or


Sarah Anderson, Sudan Emergency Appeal Photographic Auction Assosiation Inc.

The Sudan Emergency Appeal Photographic Auction Association Incorporated (SEAPAA) which is a not-for-profit organisation.

They're holding a photography exhibition/auction extravaganza in the Atrium @ Federation Square, Melbourne (Mel Ref. Map.2F, G5 ) on Wednesday 31st May @ 6:30pm with all profits going to World Vision's Sudan Crisis Appeal .

Tickets to the gala auction night are $50.00 and include food, beverages, live folk, Sudanese music and speakers. Speakers include Tim Costello (CEO World Vision), Hugh Evans (Young Australian of the Year 2004), Naomi Cass (Director, CCP) and Jerry Galea (Photographer).

A free public exhibition of the works will run in the Atrium at Federation Square from the 30th of May to the 9th of June.


Visual artist Stuart Ringholt was my next guest - he came in to talk, not about his art, but about his new self-published non-fiction book Hashish Psychosis - What it's like to be mentally ill and recover. The book is available at places like Polyester Books, Brunswick Street Bookstore and Readings Carlton. Check it out!


Stewart Morritt, the Artistic Director of Petty Traffickers Theatre Company, came into to talk about their latest production – GINGER MICK AT GALLIPOLLI, based on the poems of C.J. Dennis.

Petty Taffikers has committed itself to unique theatrical adaptations of Australia's classic literary heritage both in metropolitan Melbourne and regionally, since its inception in 1997. Since then, sell-out metropolitan seasons, State Festival premieres and major tours across Victoria have underlined this intent. Critics have universally praised their work.

Their 'raison d'etre" is to revitalise interest in Australia's cultural and literary heritage through both metropolitan and regional productions of work by Aussie luminaries such as Lawson and CJ Dennis. Through being true to the language, whilst contemporising elements such as
the music, they are making sure that new generations are introduced to such national icons as The Sentimental Bloke and Ginger Mick.

GINGER MICK records the transformation of a man from down and out no-hoper
to a leader of men through the alchemy of war. It is also a portrayal of the varied human perspectives of war, written in a heightened fashion and presenting the loss, the death, the grief, as well as the need for soldiers.

This archetypal Aussie character became something of a national figure in Australia during WW1. At the time when Ginger Mick was written, the nation was only 14 years old. It was written as reports back from the trenches were being printed in the Melbourne papers. The welcome that the men in service gave Ginger through the medium of the small "Edition for the Trenches" equalled that accorded the 'Bloke'. "'Look at this', said a Victorian soldier returning from the war. "It has been through the hands of every member of my crowd.' He passed over a copy of Ginger Mick. It was broken-backed, dog-eared, and heavily stained with the mud of the Somme, but all its pages were still in tact. Dennis autographed that battered war relic, very cordially."' [Alec Chisolm]

When: May 23 - June 11, Tues – Sat @7.30pm; Sun @5pm
Where: Fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane Melbourne
Tickets: $27 full & $23 conc. Bookings (03) 9662 9966


Lastly Cerise Howard joined us for our fortnightly screen culture segment which at last has a name: A FISTFUL OF CELLULOID. (Cue the music of Ennio Morricone!)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Random Strangeness

On Saturday morning I dreamed I had captured Dick Cheney and tied him to a chair located on the rear veranda of a house in Northcote I've never seen before. I was planning to kill him, except that I was overcome with guilt/remorse/oh the humanity of it all, and chucked the AK47 I was carrying into a strangely flooded Merri Creek. I wonder what this means?

On Sunday afternoon I went to see the film Kokoda, in which I saw someone splattered with Angus Sampson's brain, a scene I found slightly disturbing, as I know Angus through Triple R, and really didn't need to see what the inside of his head looks like...

Catching a tram home on Friday, heading up Collins Street towards Parliament, I had a sudden flashback to a wet, windy, rainy night in 1990, when I was working at the Victorian AIDS Council, and had walked into the city, my greatcoat flapping like wings behind me, to see a Comedy Festival show. The wild weather exhilarated me and I laughed with my face tilted up into the rain; the streets were deserted; and it felt so good to be alive.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Thou Shalt Not!

  • DEUTERONOMY 22:13-21
    If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.
    If a married person has sex with someone else's husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.
  • MARK 10:1-12
    Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.
  • LEVITICUS 18:19
    The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman's period. If they disobey, both shall be executed.
  • MARK 12:18-27
    If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.
  • DEUTERONOMY 25:11-12
    If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy's genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her.
  • EZEKIEL 16:48-49 tell us: "This is the sin of Sodom; she and her suburbs had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not help or encourage the poor and needy. They were arrogant and this was abominable in God's eyes." Hmm, no reference to poo-jabbing there...

And you thought it was just us poofters that God hates?!

On the other hand...

  • Leviticus 18:6 reads: "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. It is an abomination."
  • Leviticus 20:13: "A man who sleeps with another man is an abomination and should be executed."

"Leviticus also includes prohibitions against round haircuts, tattoos, working on the Sabbath, wearing garments of mixed fabrics, eating pork or shellfish, getting your fortune told, and even playing with the skin of a pig. (There goes football!)"

For the full text from which these quotes are taken, go here:-

What the Bible Says - And Doesn't Say - About Homosexuality

It's a bit religious, but what the hey...

Chained Men

A new production by Kage Physical Theatre explores masculinity through the language of dance, says Richard Watts.

MELBOURNE’S KAGE PHYSICAL Theatre Company is renowned for a style of dance theatre that is rich and raw in its physicality and its humour.

Headlock, their latest production, appears to be moving into grimmer territory. The piece explores the complex physicality and sensitivities of masculinity, and is set over the first 24 hours of a young man’s prison term.

“We really wanted it to be a story about family connection,” director and Kage co-founder Kate Denborough explains. “Gradually the original cast of five whittled down to a cast of three, and became three brothers. The production is told, or seen through the eyes of the middle brother.”

The original concept for Headlock was “an exploration of the physicality of Greco-Roman and pro- wrestling,” Denborough says.

“Because of that we were working with an all male cast right from the start, and then also we had various storylines, and we were trying to work out which would evolve into the strongest. It was originally about a father and a son, and it has come a long way over the last couple of years, into a condensed and focused story about a young man and his relationship with his brothers, and the sense of connection he feels in an isolated social setting.”

The production’s origins lie partially in an experience Denborough had as a teenager, writing to an American prisoner on death row.

“I revisited all the letters I’d received from the inmate and I suppose that, in a way, having recently had a son myself, the whole idea of this invisible armour that adolescent males seem to put on to protect themselves emotionally, or just to survive, was an incredibly interesting subject matter that I wanted to explore. And I wanted that exploration to be in a physical sense, because male energy is so often incredibly physical.”

Consequently, given Denborough’s background in dance (which includes an Outstanding Achievement Award for Independent Dance at the 2004 Australian Dance Awards) the piece explores its themes through the performances of Luke Hockley, Byron Perry and Gerard Van Dyck, as they blur the lines between dancing and wrestling.

“It felt like an incredibly relevant and potent subject matter for physical performers, or dancers and actors, to explore this really, really rich energetic sense of what male adolescence really bubbles down to,” she explains.

Despite Headlock being about a young man in jail and his relationship with his brothers, Denborough denies that the production should be considered an exploration of a damaged or wounded masculinity.

“It’s about looking at the issues of gender and masculinity in a very modern sense, particularly through young men being incarcerated. All the statistics about young men in prison are really frightening. I’m not interested in excusing criminal behaviour, but in trying to understand, having some sense of empathy into those cycles of violence that young men experience, in order to have a different perspective.”

Working solely with men, rather than with a mixed gender cast with this storyline was of specific interest to Denborough on this production.

Equally important, she explains, was the concept of exploring an adolescent voice without recourse to text.

“It’s the ultimate challenge of a performance style that calls itself dance theatre or physical theatre, any of those non-traditional drama styles.”

Headlock runs from May 18 to June 3 at the Malthouse Theatre. Bookings on 9685 5111.

This article originally appeared in MCV #279, Friday 12th May 2006.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Spread the word, not the virus

A new grassroots campaign to combat HIV infection has been launched in Melbourne, reports RICHARD WATTS.

“Rising levels of HIV in the gay community threaten us individually and as a group,” says Paul Kidd, the editor of Positive Living, in a widely diseminated e-mail. “I don’t want us to be subject to increased levels of government interference in our sexual lives, criminalisation of unprotected sex or restrictions on sex venues. That’s why I’ve joined Rug Up for Winter.”

Rug Up for Winter is a new grassroots campaign that urges gay men to take the initiative in combating the rising tide of HIV infections, instead of assuming that such actions are the responsibility of AIDS Councils and similar organisations. Based around the use of such technology as SMS, e-mail and a website, the campaign aims to sign up 10,000 gay Australians to a simple, three-step plan to combat HIV infection.

The idea for Rug Up for Winter grew out of a discussion Kidd had with his friends about the rising rates of HIV infection recorded in Australia last year.

“We’re all Melbournians, so we were particularly concerned by the recently announced rise here in Victoria,” he explains.

According to official figures, HIV infection rates in Victoria jumped 28% last year, the highest level recorded in the state since 1991. Based on those statistics, five to six Victorians, most of them gay men, become infected with HIV each week.

“We were talking about how we as a community might respond to that, and what the implications might be if rises of that kind continue,” Kidd says.

Rug Up for Winter was the result of the group’s discussions. The campaign, which was launched last week, urges gay men to use condoms for casual anal sex for the three months between July 1 and September 30; to get a sexual health check up between those dates; and to sign up six friends or sexual partners to join the campaign.

“Rug Up is about what one person can do to make a difference, especially if people unite in taking action,” Kidd says. “What we understand from the experts that we’ve talked to since we came up with this idea was that if enough people sign up for Rug Up, that it has the potential to have a substantial impact on the amount of STI’s in our community, and if that occurs, it’s likely to have a strong impact on the amount of HIV infections.”

At the time of writing, the campaign, which has been running for one week, has already gained over 200 members without any media coverage or publicity.

“The idea is that we ask our friends to join; they ask their friends and so on,” Kidd says. “The initial response has been fantastic. The number of guys who’ve visited the site and signed up has exceeded our expectations, and the AIDS community, the AIDS Councils and people living with AIDS from around the country are all supporting what we’re doing.”

Kidd hastens to explain that the decision by himself and his friends to launch a personal campaign to address the rising levels of HIV infection should not be seen as an indictment of the current Federal Government’s strategies for dealing with the AIDS crisis, nor a covert criticism of organisations like the Victorian AIDS Council.

“This isn’t meant to be an indictment of anybody or anything. What this is about is recognising the key to our success in combating HIV since the very early days of the epidemic has been grassroots community action. It’s been ordinary gay men who’ve been prepared to stand up and do what they can do. Whenever HIV infections increase in our community, it affects us as a community. We think that there’s an opportunity for all of us this year to say we’re going to take a stand.”

Kidd believes that while the campaign is, on the face of it, about getting individuals to practise safe sex and have themselves tested for STI’s, it’s also about empowering people, and increasing the level of dialogue that goes on in the community about HIV.

“We’re taking people’s existing friendship networks and turning them into a force for change,” he says.

Rug Up for Winter:

This article originally appeared in MCV #279 on Friday 12th May.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

SmartArts: This Week's Guests Were...

Ganesha goes to town, Jacinta Ryan, gouache on paper.

Lili Wilkinson from the Centre for Youth Literature was the first guest of the day. She joined us to chat about

‘Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.’
- Groucho Marx

Australia now has its first website for teenagers to share their enjoyment of books and reading., developed by the Centre for Youth Literature, State Library of Victoria, is a world first that provides a forum for teenagers to talk about books and promotes young adult literature...

Director Gregory Pakis joined us to chat about a charity screening of his feature film The Garth Method (82MIN). Proceeds go to Amnesty International.

SAT MAY 13th 5:30pm
SUN MAY 14th 6:30pm
The Old Colonial Inn, 127 Brunswick St Fitzroy (near Gertrude St), VICTORIA

SYNOPSIS: In 2001 unemployed actor Garth Petridis was imprisoned for one of the most unusual crimes in Australian history. Desperate for success he kidnapped members of the public and forced them to perform in a bizarre movie intended to make Garth a household name. A film about fighting the odds and never giving up!

Gideon James - Independent Program Producer at Melbourne Fringe - spoke about a series of free upcoming public forus for independent artists wishing to learn more about registering for the 2006 Melbourne Fringe Festival 27 September – 15 October.

Fringe Information Nights With sessions in the north and the south, there’s no excuse to miss this one. Come and meet the Melbourne Fringe team, venue managers and fellow artists. Find out all you need to know to get your 2006 Melbourne Fringe Festival registration across the starting line.

Full details about the Northside and Southside information nights, and the forums (which cover such important information as producing your show, finding funding, marketing and publicity) can be found over here.

Gerard Van Dyck (performer) and Kate Denborough (director) are the co-founders of Kage Physical Theatre, and were in the studio discussing dance, adolescent emotions, and life in prison. They were discussing the latest Kage production, Headlock.
Season Details: The Merlyn Theatre, The Malthouse, 113 Sturt Street Southbank 3006
Opening: Friday 19 May 7.30pm
Season: Thursday 18 May – Sunday 28 May
Bookings: Malthouse Theatre 9685 5111
Tickets: $18 - $45 + booking fee

With Luke Hockley, Byron Perry, Gerard Van Dyck

Text - David Denborough
Set and Lighting Design - Ben Cobham & Andrew Livingston (Blue Bottle)
Composer - Byron Scullin

Synopsis: Situated between the realms of dance and theatre movement, Headlock is an explosive story about three brothers played by Byron Perry (Love Me), Gerard Van Dyck (The Collapsible Man) and Luke Hockley (Bal Moderne) over the first 24 hours of a prison sentence. It is full of vigor and energy, and is a stunning visual act staged on a wresting ring – and not for the faint hearted. It traverses the complex terrain of brute physicality and intense sensitivity of young masculinity. One witnesses glimpses of memory, bravado, sorrow, humour, remorse and fear in this exciting work put on by Kage and Malthouse Theatre.

Sally Morrigan from

Sally says: “I am a listener of RRR and a huge supporter of Melbourne's creative scene. As a result I have spent a long time putting together a website that promotes and sells Melbourne handmade arts and crafts. The website is - which is launching "officially" next week, and I would love an opportunity to talk about it and the booming local art and craft scene on your show.”


Artists Janita Ryan and Camilla Tadich came in to discuss their work, narrative in art, and how it felt coming straight out of art school to be selected by a private gallery for its annual exhibition of young/emerging artists.

The exhibition is Exploration6, and is on at the privately-owned Flinders Lane Gallery. Examples of the artists' work can be found right here.

Exploration6 @ Flinders Lane Gallery - May 2nd - May 20th 2006
TEL: + 61 3 9654 3332 FAX: + 61 3 9650 8508
Opening Hours TUES-FRI 11AM TO 6PM & SAT 11AM TO 4PM or by appointment


Finally, our fortnightly visual arts review segment Art Attack with Jeff Khan and Alex Martinas Rowe once again filling in for Tai Snaith, who rejoins us in two week's time.

If you'd like to know what bands I played on the show today, head on over to the 3RRR website, and check out the 'On Air' section to see this week's playlist; I can't be arsed typing it out twice!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I adore autumn

Walking to work in Richmond this morning through the Fitzroy Gardens: gold and umber leaves bright against the emerald grass and the steel-blue clouds; the air crisp, not so much biting as gently nibbling at my ears.

Tonight: walking into the city for an exhibition opening at the National Gallery at Federation Square. Detouring to kill half an hour through Birrarung Marr; 'marr' meaning the north bank of the river, 'birrarung' meaning 'place of mists'.

Occasional cyclists whizzing past in the gloaming; gravel scrunching deliciously beneath their wheels.

The last gold of sunset glowing on the light towers of the MCG. Courting couples hugging each other for warmth and affection perched on benches overlooking the river. Deborah Halpern's sculpture Angel transplanted from the moat of the NGVI in St Kilda Road to the Yarra bank, gazing out over the river with wondering Cubist eyes.

Walking through the Federation Bells as they ring and roll and chime their fractured, entrancing, echoing tunes.

Drinking champagne and nibbling sushi at the opening of Halpern's Angel exhibition, which traces the evolution of her playful, baroque and inviting aesthetic.

Walking home in the rain, laughing as people race past on slippery footpaths as if speed will somehow keep them dry.

I love Melbourne in the autumn.

Monday, May 08, 2006

$30,000 award for playwrights!

The R.E. Ross Trust Playwrights’ Script Development Awards 2006 are now open for entry. Over four years the R.E. Ross Trust Script Development Awards have fostered Victoria’s theatre industry by providing support to Victorian-based writers for the development of their play scripts.

The total annual prize money is $30,000 with applicants eligible to apply for a minimum of $3,000 and maximum of $10,000 per year. One of the award winners will also be selected to participate in the creative development program of the 2007 National Playwrights’ Conference.

2004 winner Anthony Crowley believes the award brought his work to an international audience. ‘If not for the support of the R.E Ross Trust, the script of Shadow Passion would not have reached a suitable level of development to take to New York. The award allowed me to explore visual and thematic issues that facilitated a very productive reading at New Dramatists,’ he said.

To be eligible to enter applicants must be must be eighteen years of age or over and reside in Victoria. Only one script per playwright will be accepted. The submitted scripts must not have been previously produced or have already had workshop development. Works of multiple authorship may be entered however works may not be entered in the name of a committee.

The 2006 prizewinners will be announced at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards presentation to be held on September 4.

The Awards are an initiative of The R.E. Ross Trust and are administered by the State Library of Victoria.

The closing date for entries is 26 May 2006
Entry forms and guidelines are available on the State Library of Victoria website at:

Entry and other information: Barry Scott (03) 8664 7277 or email

Want to work at Melbourne Fringe?

Melbourne Fringe is seeking applications for a Production Manager to work between May and October 2006.

The Production Manager will deliver the North Melbourne Festival Hub venues for the 2006 Melbourne Fringe Festival, manage production staff and budgets. The Production Manager will also support Producers and staff with technical advice across all Melbourne Fringe events.

The link to the full PD on our website is below.

Deadline for applications is 6pm Friday 19 May.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Ohmygodhaveyou heard...?

I've decided to start spreading some interesting rumours about myself, seeing as nobody else seems to be up to the job. Here's a couple of creative but utterly untrue tidbits to get you going:

  • Last year I was involved in a passionate but destructive relationship with a Collingwood footballer.
  • Last month I secretly started dating a woman, but am totally in the closet about the relationship in case word gets out and my artfag reputation is ruined.
  • I own every album Kylie has ever released, and all her singles, but I pretend to loathe her music in order to maintain my streetcred.
  • Several years ago, while working at Dream nightclub, I responded to a question by two cops doing a walk-through by saying, "I'm sorry officer, I can't understand a word you said; I don't speak fascist."
  • I am a card-carrying member of the Liberal Party.
Anyone else care to spread some juicy rumours about me? I've been far too boring of late to get up to much that's gossip-worthy!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mean people do, indeed, suck

Running to catch a tram in the city this afternoon, I see a woman of 55 or so being shoved out the door into the street, followed by an abuse-screaming junkie harridan, scrawny arms flailing, who then swings several punches at the other woman's face. When I try and intervene her fat thug of a boyfriend shoves me backwards. Both then reboard the tram spitting curses, and depart.

I, meanwhile, am left to comfort the older woman, who turns out to be a poet I vaguely know through the Melbourne spoken word scene. She's crying, and crouched on the road trying to pick up her scattered belongings. Her lips are crimson with her own blood.

Luckily she was more shaken than hurt, although I stayed with her until her boyfriend could drive in from Brunswick and pick her up, just to make sure she was going to be okay.

Apparently the blue started because she asked the junkie's boyfriend to move over and stop taking up the entire seat.

Karma, you junkie mole. I hope the next time you stagger onto a road while nodding off, you get run over - not fatally, but a few broken bones would be well deserved, I suspect!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I've been drinking a new bottle of French absinthe that I purchased a few days ago. So far its made me spruik wildly outside the Town Hall while profering free copies of The Pun, lounge decadently while listening to approximately 15 new release albums and CD's that I'm considering playing on my RRR show tomorrow, and it's given me some really, really intersting dreams (involving superheroes, South-East Asian mammals they have psychic connections to, and lizards).

Oh yeah, and a hangover.

Mmmmmm, absinthe.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Watching Sigur Rós

I'm sure many of you already know and love the Icelandic band Sigur Rós, but if by some wild chance you aren't familiar with them, here are a couple of opportunities to correct your sins...

The delightful clip for 'Hoppípolla' from their most recent album, 2005's Takk...

The clip for 'Glósóli', also from Takk...

The video for 'Untitled #1' (aka 'Vaka') from the album ( )

The absolutely enchanting clip for 'Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása' from Agætis Byrjun. This one makes me cry.

And finally, the clip for 'Svefn-g-Englar', also from Agætis Byrjun. This one makes me cry too.