Thu, Feb 23, Venue 505
Dragon & Mi-Sex: Two of NZ’s greatest rock bands, Dragon and Mi-Sex are set to co-headline a special show tomorrow night. With both bands known for their brilliant and energetic live performances, fans new and old alike will not be disappointed with this exciting double-header.
Fri, Feb 24, The Bridge Hotel
Oxtravaganza: A huge community event celebrating the wonder and vibrancy of Oxford Street takes over this weekend. Oxtravaganza looks to re-engage the public with local businesses through special events inside and outside stores and venues, free stuff, performances, food, drink and basically loads of fun and frivolity. Performing on the day are Ben Fink, the Magda Szubanskis and Vashti. Broadcasting live will be Bondi Beach Radio and Gay Pop Radio.
Sat, Feb 25, Oxford St – Various Venues
Katy Steele: Katy and her band will be bringing a rhythm-filled set with a slick, modern set-up showcasing her breath-taking new album across the country, stopping in in Sydney this weekend.
Sat, Feb 25, Newtown Social Club
Moreland & Arbuckle: Washed in hard-hitting Southern soul, Moreland & Arbuckle electrify raw Delta and Mississippi Hill country blues with an unrelenting punk-rock energy. Their raucous performances have become legendary, leading to packed venues across the US and Europe. Live, the intensity and wild abandon just pours out of this uncompromising three-piece.
Sat, Feb 25, The Basement
Joanna Weinberg: The Piano Diaries is the story of Joanna’s life written on the piano, instead of in a diary. It is is an intensely personal account of a life drenched in music and art, love and disappointment, escape, migration, joy, despair… and an indomitable belief in the power of music!
Sun, Feb 26, Camelot Lounge
Bondi Hardware Relaunch: Returning this week with the same warm and laid back vibes it’s famed for, but with a fresh new look. Hardware will still display plenty of elements from its rustic roots, but with a lighter boho and industrial feel. There’s also an exciting new menu, which includes re-visiting and re-working some of the venue’s most popular dishes.
Tue, Feb 28, Bondi Hardware
Daniil Trifonov: This exciting 25-year-old has taken the musical world by storm ever since his astounding prize-winning performance at the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2011. Sydney audiences will have the chance to hear this extraordinary, once-in-a-generation musician make his Australian debut when he performs Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 1 this week.
Wed, Mar 1, Sydney Opera House]]>
In a disturbing new documentary, director Rosie Jones reveals the dark secrets and bizarre rituals that took place at a secluded forest property at Lake Eildon (two hours from Melbourne). Beginning the narrative in 1987 when police and journalists finally started investigating rumours they had heard for years, Jones gathers news reports, footage filmed by the sect itself, and interviews with former sect children to slowly unfold this horrifying story.
In spite of the abundance of source material, the film feels like it has only broken the skin of the story and Anne Hamilton-Byrne remains an enigma. Or perhaps this is as much as we’ll ever know. (RB)
BY RITA BRATOVICH]]>
Using actual extracts from Hansard Parliamentary transcripts, news items and social media comments, Nicol has created a theatre piece that allows the young actors to present the views of politicians, media, the general public and their peers in a way that reflects their own message.
Themed around diversity and acceptance, the material used by Nicol and the cast includes comments and document excerpts relating to the Safe Schools program and the All Of Us resource. The application of this material is inventive and theatrical. Some is directly recited; some re-enacted; some has been formulated into a soap opera.
“We’ve also got something like a game show, ‘Spot The Fake News’ which we try and get audience members involved in. They get to try and choose – out of all the headlines that have happened around Safe Schools – which ones are real [and] which ones are fake,” laughed Nicol.
Though they use humour, Nicol and the cast are very aware of the seriousness of their message. Two of the five actors directly identify with the LGBTIQ community, while the other three are strong supporters. One member has personally suffered bullying and public humiliation.
The material may touch some raw nerves, so an advisory notice has been included on the tickets and at the front of the theatre. It was previously performed at Ashfield Council Chambers and there was no adverse feedback of any kind. Parents and teachers have approved, even though “some of the material is very graphic and explicit and even horrific” Nicol explained.
This season has been included in the Mardi Gras Festival program and supported by the Australian Theatre for Young People who are providing the performance space. (RB)
Mar 1–3, 7pm + Fri at 1pm. Australian Theatre for Young People, Pier 4/5 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay. $25. Tickets & info: www.atyp.com.au
BY RITA BRATOVICH]]>
”I would be hard pressed to pick a festival highlight. There was a Comedy Festival built into the Mardi Gras festival 26 years ago but no one really knows why it stopped. So this is the first Comedy Festival in a very long time,” said Managing Director of Frontier Comedy, Andrew Taylor, who’s produced the Festival.
The Mardi Gras Comedy Gala opens the festival at The Enmore Theatre and it is the jewel in the crown. If you want to come along and sit down and see a broad range of top shelf Australian, American, Irish and English comedians then the Gala’s the thing for you. It has the biggest range of people from all different sexual orientations and genders. The hilarious Bob Downe will be co-hosting with hugely popular breakfast radio host Em Rusciano (2DayFM).
Then the following night two of the most exciting international comedians perform: drag queens Panti Bliss and Dixi Longate.
“If you want an award winning show, then probably Panti Bliss’ High Heels in Low Places is the show you should see. There’s been a feature film documentary [The Queen of Ireland] made about her campaign for marriage equality in Ireland,” Taylor explained. Bliss also had a critically acclaimed, super successful season at Edinburgh Fringe last year.
America’s most famous Tupperware lady, Dixi Longate, has an amazing show, Dixie’s Tupperware Party. It’s got a lot of pathos in it, it’s very funny and it’s a character driven show.
Other highlights include Bridget Everett‘s (Inside Amy Schumer) solo show Pound It at Max Watts. She’s been called the best performer in New York.
Rounding things out, local stand-ups Joel Creasey and Rhys Nicholson are hosting their very own GAYmes Night at the Seymour Centre where they’ll force a bevy of celebrities and gay icons to battle each other live on stage in a series of outrageously naughty games. (MS)
Mardi Gras Comedy Gala: Feb 28, 7.30pm. Enmore Theatre. $92.
Panti Bliss – High Heels In Low Places: Mar 1, 9.15pm. Enmore Theatre. $56.70.
Dixi Longate – Dixie’s Tupperware Party: Mar 1, 7pm. Factory Theatre. $56.
Bridget Everett – Pound It: Mar 2, 8pm. Max Watt’s. $52.
Joel Creasey & Rhys Nicholson’s GAYmes Night: Mar 3, 7.30pm. York Theatre, The Seymour Centre. $39.90.
Tickets & info for all events: www.mardigras.com.au]]>
The opening third of the album comes out with compelling, innovative beat production layered with captivating storytelling. Unfortunately though this momentum cannot be maintained as the record rapidly descends into the same old Aussie hip-hop we’ve all heard before.
This isn’t to say that the final two thirds are trash, there are still occasional highlights such as ‘After Dark ft. Hayley Mary’ or ‘Tell Him He’s Dreaming ft. Kai’, they simply aren’t as innovative as the opening 20-odd minutes.
Had this record been released as a tight six or seven track EP the impact on the world could have been greater. (JA)
Summer in Sydney may be drawing to a close, but not without one last celebration of life and love (and one last … Read more]]>
Summer in Sydney may be drawing to a close, but not without one last celebration of life and love (and one last communal baring of skin). Mardi Gras is the queer community’s festive season. In a cultural program spanning just over two weeks, members of the LGBTIQ community participate in theatre, visual art, comedy, film, music, discussions, workshops, parties, sports… and end it all with what could be the biggest, sparkliest conga line anywhere in the world.
Evolving from a political protest, the Mardi Gras Festival continues to reflect current social issues while maintaining a mood of joy and revelry. The theme for this year, “Creating Equality” was predetermined by the mixed, sometimes hostile political climate of the last year or so. Yet it’s not about agenda thrashing. Creative Director of Mardi Gras, Greg Clarke explains:
“We look for ways we can weave that theme throughout all our events…it is a community organisation and it is a platform for the LGBTIQ community to do what they want to do.”
Mardi Gras is ultimately about freedom of expression and creativity.
“There’s always a new generation and new people in the community coming up with these great new ideas, ” said Clarke.
Josh Feeney, who worked with the team at Milestone Creative to design the look for this year’s festival said:
“There’s no right way to be an LGBT person and there’s no one way to seek equality.”
Feeney’s photographic project, Bare Naked Truth (a response to the Orlando shooting) was the foundation for the portraits used on the letters of the “EQUALITY” logo.
The uniqueness and diversity in the community is reflected in its art. The festival program is a melange of styles and subject matter, from tender and poignant, to audacious and sexy, to stark and confronting. And it is fearless.
Theatre group, The Sibils Collective, recently successful with The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged, has revisited the Bard, freely adapting Twelfth Night into a bawdy, twisted, irreverent comic play set in a pornography studio: 12 Inch Night.
“Shakespeare lends itself very well to gender bending and queer interpretations,” remarked publicist Bina Bhattacharya. “He made stuff that was political and topical but also very silly and funny and appealed to a lot of audiences.”
12 Inch Night is cheeky and risqué. Its ironic humour (the porn studio makes erotic adaptations of Shakespeare works) is in the spirit of Shakespeare’s own comedies. Those unfamiliar with Shakespeare won’t feel left out, though – there are plenty of other pop culture references including Game Of Thrones and Grindr.
The play ignores boundaries of conservatism and cultural etiquette. As Bhattacharya explained:
“The whole purpose of Mardi Gras is to create a celebration of people who often politically feel like they’re on the back foot or they have to apologise for who they are – and this is the least apologetic thing you’ll ever see!”
In the same vein, Body Map, a cabaret-style, adults-only show written and performed by Glitta Supernova, is impervious to constraint. With unabashed candour, Glitta reveals her charm, her wit and most of her body in this unconventional and enthralling piece of theatre.
She describes her show as “a challenge to the external life we are consuming and the internal life we are silencing. Biographic warts and all storytelling in a cabaret hybrid format of performance art and queer theatre.”
Glitta’s work is edgy and perhaps a little esoteric, so something like the Mardi Gras Festival offers rare and valuable stage space that might not be as easy to get in the mainstream arena. That said, Glitta believes things may be changing:
“I have found that there is a place for queers, freaks and ‘difference’ outside our culture, the world has caught up and is open, hungry for absurd, colourful and camp performance.”
The Festival also features more traditional theatre as well as independent and community works. Live performance highlights include Trevor Ashley’s acclaimed tribute to Shirley Bassey, Diamonds Are For Trevor; and Melinda Schneider’s Doris Day tribute Melinda Does Doris.
The Art Gallery of NSW has some Mardi Gras events including Adman: Warhol Before Pop and the Queer Thinking talks series.
There are also various photography exhibitions in smaller galleries around Sydney. Tourists can enjoy walking tours, bus tours and cruises.
Main events include the indigenous Koori Gras, the ever popular Pool Party at Ivy, Laneway, the Mardi Gras Comedy Festival, the Mardi Gras Party – and of course, the world famous Parade.
This year more than 12,000 people will participate in the Mardi Gras Parade, walking/dancing/riding/shimmying up Oxford Street and along Flinders Street to finish at Moore Park.
If it follows tradition, Dykes On Bikes will precede the parade to warm up the crowd.
First Nations people together with the original 1978 Mardi Gras marchers will then lead the parade. The signature float will be comprised of oversized letters on wheels, spelling out EQUALITY. It will be accompanied by 60 participants from LGBTIQ communities that were part of the My People My Tribe project.
Community themed floats include Australian Marriage Equality, Farmers Coming Out for the Environment, Keep Sydney Open, Socialist Alliance and the Uniting Church LGBTIQ Network – who are marching to draw attention to the plight of LGBTIQ refugees.
There will of course be plenty of sequins, glitter and colour – and undoubtedly some surprises. (RB)
MARDI GRAS FESTIVAL
Feb 17–Mar 5. Info: www.mardigras.org.au
CITY HUB’S TOP PICKS:
12 Inch Night
Feb 28–Mar 2, 7pm. E3 Theatre, 107 Projects, 107 Redfern St, Redfern. $15-$20. Tickets & info: www.mardigras.org.au
Feb 24 & 25, 8:30pm. Giant Dwarf Theatre, 199 Cleveland St, Redfern. $30-$35. Tickets & info: www.giantdwarf.com.au
Mardi Gras Parade
Mar 4, 7pm. Oxford St and Flinders St, Sydney. Free. Info: www.mardigras.org.au
Local Latin heartthrob Carlos Velazquez, aka C Major (The Voice 2014 finalist), is delighted to be performing and MCing on the mainstage. He told the City Hub he is excited to be doing his part in continuing “the love for the Latin culture” and “keeping multicultural Australia alive”.
The world-class live music lineup includes acclaimed dance and musical entertainment group Rhythm Brazil and the legendary 12-piece afro-Cuban powerhouse that is El Orqueston lead by well respected local Bondi bassist Tina Harris. Family is a large part of the festival just as it is a large part of Latin American culture, so there’ll be an abundance of activities for all ages including face painting, dance classes and the hugely popular under 18’s disco.
Before he hits the mainstage, Carlos looks forward to turning up early to soak up the vibrant atmosphere and visit the Pavilion Bar along with all the food stalls selling genuine Latin American cuisine including Brazilian meats, paella, chorizo buns and plenty of beans and rice.
According to Carlos, the “love and passion” behind the Latin American Festival genuinely makes it more than “just another festival”. He has nothing but praise for the massive community effort that goes into making the festival happen, the longest running and “last festival of its kind” in Sydney. “Everyone is giving 100%… When there isn’t the passionate people behind these events, they die off,” he said. (AM)
Feb 26, 12-8pm. Bondi Pavilion, Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bondi Beach. $20-$25, children under 12 free. Tickets & info: www.bondibeachradio.com.au
Electric Guest connect with their instruments, they create and they instill their creations with their easygoing approach. Listeners … Read more]]>
Electric Guest connect with their instruments, they create and they instill their creations with their easygoing approach. Listeners will imbibe the resultant feels.
In each song they will find something different, something rolling through closed eyes is followed closely by introspective travels. Moving past markers signifying depth, the listener falls directly after the artists. A slight tension ticks before the listener like a metronome, constant, relentless, boring a tiny hole into their captive heart. Mellowing out here and letting go there, ramping up and getting weird, there is much to listen for.
Amongst the sounds, the playful melodies and the writhing beats, lies the honest heart of the album, pulsing rhythmic and tantalisingly slow.
Listeners ought to stretch out their arms and their minds and give this album a good listen. (SP)
Ice Cube plays Strickland, a stone-faced, humourless teacher with anger management issues who challenges tattle-tale Andy (Charlie Day) to an after school fist fight. The plot then revolves around Andy’s desperate attempts to avoid the fight.
Not a brilliant plot but it could have worked if the writing wasn’t so lazy. Day zooms into high gear early and stays there. Ice Cube has as much nuance as a maths equation. Christina Hendricks is a vampy French teacher with absurd and unexplained motives. Jillian Bell is a distastefully sex-obsessed guidance counsellor, too depraved even for dark humour.
The film reaches its nadir when Andy’s daughter sings an atrociously inappropriate rap song during a school talent competition, in which she puts down her arch rival.
There actually are some good laughs, but they feel like lucky one-liners.
Mostly, it’s just wrong. (RB)
BY RITA BRATOVICH]]>
Russia could not exist without Ukraine’s harvest, so Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, unmercifully stripped the farmers of their land, valuables and most of their harvests. The official party lie announced to the outside world was ‘No famine – just a food shortage’.
Told for the first time in feature film history, the story surrounds Yuri (Max Irons), a newlywed living in a simplistic village whose passion was to become an artist. Stripped of his self-expression and individualism, his transition from freedom to enemy of the state is detailed, as he transforms from painter to warrior.
This story of love, honour, rebellion and resilience performed by a cast of predominantly rising stars, perfectly captures the terror and atrocities committed which led to the depersonalisation and forced starvation of an estimated 10 million innocent people.
This powerful film which details one of the lesser known dark chapters in history resonates the importance of freedom and is sure to capture the attention of movie-goers. (MMo)