Saturday, January 23, 2010

Film, theatre, visual art and belated updates

Oh dear. I've been, not exactly avoiding blogging lately, but it does feel a bit like work sometimes, given that I spend half my days sitting in front of the computer writing about arts-related subjects. So, consider this a catch-up post to cover some of what I've been doing and thinking about since the start of the new year.

Hopefully I'll post more regularly in the coming months. I certainly don't intend to kill this blog off - it's too much fun, especially when I read back on what I was doing a few years ago (A can of coke and a line of speed for breakfast? Really? What was I thinking?).

Anyway, here's a brief update on what I've been seeing, contemplating and doing in the first few weeks of this year.

I caught a preview of The Road, the new film by Australian director John Hillcoat, a couple of weeks ago, and was very impressed. There's a full review over at Arts Hub, so allow me to quote myself for a moment:

'A scene in which the Man is poised to kill the Boy before turning their gun upon himself perfectly captures the drama, terror and tenderness of these character’s desperate, scrabbling lives. But rather than putting his audience through the emotional wringer, Hillcoat has crafted a stark and subdued film which relies on suggestion rather than extravagant special effects to present its almost minimalist vision of the end of the world.'

I liked the film a lot. It opens nationally next week, Thurs Jan 28.

Over at Citysearch I've written a review of the new MTC production, The Drowsy Chaperone, which I enjoyed much more than I expected to:

'As with many musicals, the actual plot is slight - Broadway starlet Janet Van De Graaff (Christie Whelan) wants to quit show business and marry Robert Martin (Alex Rathgeber), while her producer Feldzieg (Shane Jacobson), urged on by a pair of mobsters disguised as pun-slinging pastry chefs (Grant Piro and Karlis Zaid), tries to sabotage proceedings. The real fun lies in the framing of this deliberately slight story, with Rush's obsessive show queen constantly interrupting, pausing and annotating the production in order to pass judgement on its racial stereotyping, clich├ęs and less successful moments.'

I've also previewed the hard-hitting film Precious, which I described on Facebook as 'soul-scouring' (look for a detailed review coming soon) and earlier in the month I had the pleasure of attending the opening night of Daniel Kitson's wonderful 66a Church Road at The Arts Centre a wry, sad, humourous and wonderful exploration of nostalgia, memory and the concept of home.

On Thursday night, before seeing The Drowsy Chaperone, I also had the pleasure of attending the opening night of the new Ron Muek exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in St Kilda Road. Wow. What awe-inspiring, beautiful, grotesque and wonderful work. These incredibly realistic larger-than-life, and small-than-life sized sculptures (one of which is pictured above) are quite simply amazing, and I highly recommend you check the show out.

Let's see, what else? Well, I cried during The End of Time Part Two, David Tennant and Russell T. Davies' swansong to Doctor Who.

Not like that's a surprise.

I mean, I love the show; and I'm a big sook who cries at the drop of a hat, so it really was to be expected that I'd be blubbering over the climax to the Tennant era. But yeah, it really got to me. Especially the Tenth Doctor's final line before he regenerated into Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor (who I am very much looking forward to seeing in action. Geronimo!).

Should I talk about Christmas? It was very quiet - after a three hour broadcast on 3RRR between 9am - midday, I came home and spent the day with a very dear friend, The Irishman, who was back visiting Australia for six weeks, and who has since returned home.

Having worked through the whole unrequited love thing for The Irishman a few years ago, it was nice to just hang out as mates together, drink serious amounts of alcohol and eat lots of seafood on Christmas Day. No presents, no bullshit. No offence to my family, but it was actually one of the best Christmases I've had in years. Fun, relaxed, entertaining, zero stress and good company. What's not to like?

Well, now that I'm onto the personal stuff, I may as well as well contine in this vein for just a moment.

On the plus side, while 2009 was a pretty miserable year in a lot of ways (three friends died within a couple of months of each other) on a more positive note I finally managed to kick my speed habit of seven years last year - a very good thing, since at one point I was spending $300 dollars a week on amphetamines.

The flip side of that, however, is that since I'm now eating again, I've lost my speed-induced svelteness and have piled on the kilos over the last 12 months.

Part of this is due to the fact that I'm drinking far too much - probably about the same amount I was drinking while I was a speed freak, but back then I was barely eating and I was going for long walks in the middle of the night, since sleep was definitely not on the agenda. Now, post speed, the weight's caught up with me.

So, the ambition for 2010 is to lose weight by exercising more, eating more balanced meals and drinking much less. I'm seriously thinking of giving up the grog altogether, at least for a month or two. We'll see how I go. Addressing one vice per year seems like an achieveable goal to me. Would you agree?


eccles said...

One vice a year is a very good idea.

made in melbourne said...

One vice per year is a huge achievement! I would guess I probably add a vice per year rather than drop one if I average it out.

Meanwhile, I was so impressed that I managed to arrange to see Kitson's show two days before I was supposed to give birth. So impressed that I managed to get the time wrong (it's an early show on a Sunday) and was busy having drinks with Steve in the city rather than sitting in the audience at the correct time. I went to collect tickets and found the show done and dusted. Much sadness all round. First of his Australian shows I've missed, ever.