The title is 12 months old and Dalton says it’s frightening to see how much the world has changed in that time. He understands the frustration of people who feel nothing they have tried has changed their circumstances – and lack of education and disempowerment are factors – but feels there are better ways to deal with problems in a civilised society than to resort to violence.
‘Freg’ himself is an agitprop performer whose alter-ego Twiggy Palmcock provokes in a Sacha Baron Cohen manner; he was onstage at the Liberal Party celebrations on election night and has pursued interviews with Tony Abbott and Clive Palmer.
Because of the nature of the play, this aspect of Freg may be fraught in future but due to his open and whimsical nature, it seems unlikely the playwright is currently on an ASIO person-of-interest list. He says if he gets arrested when he returns from South America he intends to blame James. (MMu)
Oct 12-26, Old 505 Theatre, 342 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills, $18-28, venue505.com
BY MICHAEL MUIR]]>
“There are seven scenes throughout the hundred years going right up to 2005 and there’s seven life-changing milestones in the life of the family and their farm,” says Jeremy Waters, who portrays protagonist William Harrison.
The epic tale written by Richard Bean, the celebrated writer of One Man, Two Guvnors, infuses quirky humour and a deep understanding of family and human nature. Although the family faces hardship throughout the years, Harvest reveals the ironic and dry humour of the characters.
“It incorporates comedy largely through the world view of the characters,” says Waters, “You see the working life of this family on the farm but it’s infused with a really nice sense of ridiculousness, some of the situations are pretty crazy.”
The humanity, humour and storytelling have mass appeal to the audience and who doesn’t love an underdog story? (CT)
Oct 7-Nov 8, New Theatre, 542 King St, Newtown, $17-32, newtheatre.org.au
BY CIARAN TOBIN]]>
“We’re so stoked to be home, we’ve been on the road for so long in the US where we played 55 shows in roughly 100 days and had only five days where we could genuinely do nothing. So it’s really exciting to be playing some of the venues we know and started out in,” says singer Chris Whitehall.
Whilst overseas, the band recorded the album with world famous producer Tony Hoffa, who has previously worked with The Kooks, Foster The People, and Beck. The collaboration with Hoffa was unexpected, says Whitehall; “We didn’t actually think we could get him on board, so when he said yes we were in shock, because it meant we would be working with someone we idolised and who had produced some of our favourite albums.”
Clearly the collaboration was fruitful, as the album has already received very positive feedback – it debuted at number five on the iTunes alternative charts.
Whitehall describes the emotions of getting such high praise by saying, “You never know how it will be received so when it was at [number] five we were beside ourselves, we had no idea it would get that high from the beginning.”
The Griswolds were also asked to perform live on the world famous radio station KROQ, joining the likes of Coldplay, The Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend.
“Just to get added onto their playlist was a big thing in itself when that happened, so we got a bunch of champagne to have a bit of a party. Then to be asked to play live was amazing, to think that now on the wall of performers signatures is the little old Griswolds, alongside other huge acts, is crazy,” he says.
The Griswolds are set to tour the country for a solid month, bringing their renowned sound which combines super fun catchy beats that are irresistible to dance to with deep, dark poignant lyrics.
“The live show is the ultimate experience, it’s our moment to finally let go after all the hard work, have some drinks, and go crazy up close and personal with all of our fans,” says Whitehall. (JA)
Oct 11, Metro Theatre, 624 George St, Sydney, $17.33+b.f, metrotheatre.com.au]]>
From its Montreal origins, the Just For Laughs (JFL) collective now hosts comedy festivals in Toronto, Chicago and Sydney. While JFL showcases some of the biggest stars of the international comedy circuit, JFL Chief Operations Officer Bruce Hills believes that the Australian comedy scene is ripe with homegrown talent.
He says, “When I first started coming to Australia in the late ‘80s, if I was lucky I could find five acts that were strong enough to perform with the best in the world at JFL Montreal. Today, I could come back to Montreal with a few dozen and I’m sure they would shine in front of all the Hollywood big-shots that attend the festival looking for the next comedy superstar.”
Mr Hills continues, “I believe that the current comedy situation worldwide has never been more vibrant. We are discovering fantastic comics on a regular basis that I think will be the big stars of tomorrow – comedy is in a very good place.”
However, while comedy-at-large might be thriving, there is a certain breed of comedian that appears to be on the industry’s endangered species list – the female comic. Of course, female comedians are not on the brink of extinction – indeed, some fiercely funny women inhabit the Australian comedy scene. But it must be said that they form a conspicuous minority.
That gender disparity did not go unnoticed when JFL made a preliminary program announcement in July, naming five headlining male comedians. Festival fans criticised JFL for a perceived absence of female comics but those concerns were allayed by a subsequent announcement, confirming Hannah Gadsby’s inclusion in the program.
Mr Hills says, “In the current line-up, we have seven women. It’s very important to us at Just For Laughs to have a gender-balanced line-up.”
As it stands, the JFL program features seven women and 30 men. Of the seven headlining acts, Hannah Gadsby is the sole female. This imbalance does not necessarily reflect gender bias in programming. Truth be told, there are a lot more men than women in the industry so it’s likely that, on most bills, male comics will outnumber their female counterparts.
Australia’s largest comedy management firm, Token looks after some of the biggest names in Australian comedy, including Adam Hills and Judith Lucy. Their artist roster reveals a telling gender disparity – only two in seven of their comics are women.
This underrepresentation of women in stand-up mirrors a broader media trend evidenced on the silver screen. Last week, a new study entitled Gender Bias Without Borders found that women are significantly underrepresented onscreen. Of 5,799 speaking or named characters in 120 international films, only 31 per cent were female. The ratio of men to women in film has remained largely unchanged since 1946.
This marginalisation of female voices raises some important questions. Why are our screens and stages male-dominated? Is it difficult for audiences to identify with a strong female point-of-view?
After all, the stand-up comedian is imbued with a degree of authority. When a comic takes the stage, they become the centre of attention and, by extension, the most powerful person in the room. Armed with a microphone and illuminated by a spotlight, the comic has a persuasive platform for their ideas and opinions.
Known for her story-based stand-up, Fiona O’Loughlin is one strong, outspoken, female comic from the JFL line-up who says that audiences don’t seem to mind her taking charge.
She says, “Comedy is not an old boys’ club. Male comics might be the majority – but it’s changing all the time. Men may have more runs on the board, but it’s not a sexist environment. When I started my career Greg Fleet and Lawrence Mooney welcomed me with open arms.”
“My gender has helped as much as it has hindered. Really, once you find your way in, there’s so much work for women. If anything, I think it’s harder for urban, white, male comics – because there’s so many of them.”
Ms O’Loughlin continues, “Comedy is so alive – it’s so intoxicating. I am seeing so many clever, funny girls on the comedy circuits. They are coming through the ranks – they’ve obviously swum upstream to a point, but they are turning that struggle into great stand-up.
“It’s a hard game to break into, but what I love about stand-up is that there’s no Board of Directors telling you that you can’t come in. If you consistently go to the open mics, consistently learn, consistently get laughs – if you do that, there’s nothing stopping you… as long as you are actually funny. And there is a wonderful sense of camaraderie between comics. It’s not competitive – you run your own race,” says Ms O’Loughlin. (CC)
Just for Laughs, Oct 14-19, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Pt, $39-124.90+bf, sydneyoperahouse.com]]>
Marrickville Council has elected Independent councillor Mark Gardiner to be their new mayor for 2015.
Independents Mark Gardiner and Morris Hanna were … Read more]]>
Marrickville Council has elected Independent councillor Mark Gardiner to be their new mayor for 2015.
Independents Mark Gardiner and Morris Hanna were elected mayor and deputy mayor respectively.
Competing with Greens councillor Sylvie Ellsmore for the top job, Cr Gardiner won the votes of all councillors except the 4 Greens councillors.
A number of Marrickville Greens councillors expressed their concern that the “conservative Independent” council leaders would not reflect the demographic of Marrickville.
“We have one of the most progressive areas in Australia in terms of the residents,” she said.
Greens councillor Max Philips said: “Something like 70 percent of voters actually vote for Labor or the Greens.”
“That is reflected in the fact that we have 4 Green and 4* Labor councillors at the moment, but also what we know about people’s attitudes to general issues,” said Cr Ellsmore.
However, Mayor Gardiner has denied allegations of a “conservative takeover” of Marrickville Council.
“Despite what the Greens are saying, I am not a nasty conservative who doesn’t represent the area,” said Mayor Gardiner.
“I think I’ve always regarded myself as a conservative economically but quite progressive on social issues.”
It was only on the previous Friday, four days before the mayoral election, that Mayor Gardiner announced he was becoming an independent local politician.
Prior to his announcement, he had been a Liberal councillor for two years. Mayor Gardiner’s decision to dissociate himself from the party was made after he grew uncomfortable with the idea that the public saw the Liberal Party’s actions as synonymous with his own.
“There was a perception that because I was a member of the Liberal Party, I agreed with all the things that the party was doing, both at a State Government and Federal Government level, and I do not,” he said.
While Mayor Gardiner says it was remiss of him not to have announced it earlier, he says his position was quite well known.
“I announced it last Friday but it actually happened much earlier. My council colleagues were aware of it.”
“I resigned from the local branch in about April this year and my membership with the party actually expired on June 30. I did not renew it.”
Cr Ellsmore says his new status as Independent is somewhat ambiguous, and is unsure of whether this means he will be voting any differently on council matters.
A major area of focus of Mayor Gardiner’s vision for his term in council is the prompt construction of the new Marrickville library to be developed on Marrickville’s old hospital site.
“That land has been owned by council for twenty years and it needs to be built. The [current] Marrickville library is deplorable in its conditions.”
“It’s a woefully inadequate community resource and it needs to be replaced. That’s a very firm goal of mine,” said Mayor Gardiner.
While all Marrickville councillors agree that the new library must be built, decisions regarding its development are a topic of contention within council.
“We think development should be sustainable. It needs to be done in the right way,” said Cr Ellsmore.
“We think we should use public money for it. I don’t think you should privatise things. The conservatives, on the other hand, are pro-development.”
*There are now only three Labor councillors. Sadly, Cr Emanuel Tsardoulias passed away earlier this year.]]>
Construction has begun on a new military facility at Randwick Barracks.
The development of an Air Warship Defence (AWD) and Landing Helicopter … Read more]]>
Construction has begun on a new military facility at Randwick Barracks.
The development of an Air Warship Defence (AWD) and Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) Ship Sustainment has reopened fierce debates between Randwick Council, the Department of Defence and local residents about the proper use of the site that go back 15 years.
The Randwick facility is one of three sites that will cater to the new class of warship, named the Hobart Class, that is being introduced into the Navy in 2016.
Randwick Barracks will handle the bulk of taining for the new vessels whilst maintenance of the ships and parts will take place at Garden Island and HMAS Watson.
The facility will be comprised of a series of 2 storey buildings which will contain classrooms, systems simulators and a lecture theatre.
The proposed works sit within Commonwealth owned land and Randwick City Council told City Hub that this significantly reduces their powers in the development of the site.
The use of the site for these means stands in contrast to what the council has had planned for the site since it was rezoned for residential use in 2003.
In 2004, Randwick Council told the Standing Parliamentary Committee for Public Works that “the timely completion of the public infrastructure works, such as the community facility, the Randwick Environmental Park, the local parks and public domain improvements are not only essential statutory requirements, but are also but are also imperative for the overall success of the redevelopment for meeting the needs of incoming residents to the site”.
But in 2013 the Department of Defence took a Special Provision and rezoned the land again for “special use”. The Department of Defence already had plans in the works for this new facility at this time.
Randwick City Council decried the Department of Defence for their handling of the land which council had always seen as a significant access point to the environmental park.
“At best the Department of Defences’ approach to this site has been ad-hoc, piece meal, and has lacked strategic vision. This has created a climate of uncertainty for the surrounding residents.”
“The change from earlier plans has also impacted the surrounding residents’ access to the community and recreational facilities [in the park]. The earlier masterplan for the site proposed a number of access points for the surrounding community to access the community facilities.”
The Department of Defence is still yet to reconcile this issue.
While residents have not taken issue to the design or role of the facility, its construction has once again raised fears concerning the asbestos contamination levels in the land and a potential health hazard.
“We know there is asbestos there, but we don’t have a clue what they’re doing about it,” said local resident Therese McArdle, who lives directly behind the site.
The Department of Defence has enlisted a dedicated asbestos management company and post daily air-quality reports from a number of locations on the site, none of which have measured over one thousandth of one percent so far.]]>
In an attempt to end a year-long deadlock … Read more]]>
In an attempt to end a year-long deadlock between Leichhardt Council and the centre’s administrators SV Partners, Co.As.It announced they would raise their bid to $2.8 million, making them the highest bidder.
Since the Cultural Centre went into receivership in late 2013, Leichhardt Council has been leading a push for the property to be sold to Co.As.It in order to ensure the centre services the Italian community in Leichhardt and remains in the hands of a not-for-profit organisation.
SV Partners has continually disputed this based on the fact that Co.As.It were the lowest bidder for the property. In an attempt to end the ongoing dispute, Co.As.It decided to become the highest bidder.
This development was announced at a community meeting organised by Co.As.It on Monday, September 22 at Leichhardt Town Hall, which quickly became a very heated and impassioned argument between the parties.
At the meeting, then Mayor Darcy Byrne gave a speech encouraging the immediate sale of the property to Co.As.It.
Co.As.It General Manager Thomas Camporeale also urged the community to support a sale to Co.As.It in light of the new bid.
“We call on the Administrator to listen to the community, do the right thing and put an end to this disgraceful waste of money, withdraw his injunction and sell to us immediately. This can be done and should be done,” said Mr Camporeale.
The attendees then passed a motion to urge Stephen Hathway, Executive Director of SV Partners to sell to Co.As.It.
Mr Hathway announced he was unable to do so pending court hearings on the matter. He was booed during his speech and walked out of the meeting.
“We have been trying to ensure all creditors get paid back and to achieve the best outcome for the community at the same time,” Mr Hathway told City Hub.
“My job is to get the maximum price. I need to extract the highest possible price so the creditors get their money back.”
Mr Hathway said he was not convinced the new bid from Co.As.It would impact the final outcome of the dispute.
“One party has increased its bid, but that is not to say other parties will not increase their bids,” he said.
Mr Hathway also said he understands the other parties are in fact planning on submitting higher bids to beat Co.As.It’s $2.8 million.
Mr Camporeale expressed his concern that Mr Hathway was not taking the community concern over the sale seriously.
“I was very disappointed that Mr Hathway didn’t truly understand the community’s genuine concerns and outrage about how the sale has been handled,” he said following Monday’s meeting.
Dean Carey, Creative Director of the Actors Centre Australia and current lessee of the Cultural Centre, also indicated he did not believe Co.As.It’s new bid would be particularly consequential.
Mr Carey said supports the alternative reported by City Hub on September 11: that SV Partners re-capitalise the Cultural Centre by bailing out its original owners.
The outcome of the dispute will not be known until Leichhardt Council and SV Partners settle a legal dispute expected to be heard in court in early November.]]>
The terraces … Read more]]>
The terraces are among the last remaining single-storey Georgian cottages left in Sydney and have significant historic value to the Pyrmont community.
The properties are currently occupied by Culture At Work, a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates engagement with the arts in the Pyrmont community. The artist-led initiative connects artists with scientists to provide residencies for local artists and workshops and activities for the community.
Culture At Work founder and CEO Sheryl Ryan was recently informed the terraces had been placed on the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) divestment list, meaning their future was uncertain.
“We are not really sure what is going on. Our lease expires in July of 2015; when we tried to obtain a new lease, we were told we could not,” Ms Ryan said.
“At this stage we have been unable to get an extension on our lease, so we have had to start looking for somewhere else.”
Ms Ryan has not been given any further information about the future of Culture At Work or the Scott Street terraces. She believes the decision to divest the terraces is part of the NSW Government’s broader plan to develop the Western Harbour Super Precinct, particularly Barangaroo and Pyrmont.
Jean Stuart, president of the Pyrmont Community Group, said it is vital that Culture At Work are able to remain in the Scott Street terraces in order to provide a much-needed service to the local Pyrmont community.
“Culture At Work has proved to be very successful,” she said.
“We are getting more and more children in the area, if you look at the census figures. So we really do need to have these specialised activity centres for the children of Pyrmont to attend.”
“We also have a lot of retired people in Pyrmont and these services are important for them also. “
Ms Stuart said it was vital that SHFA recognise the significance of both the terraces and the organisation to the Pyrmont community.
“It would be such a pity to lose it.”
The terraces have been threatened by the harbour authority once before, when it was known as City West Development Corporation.
In the early 1990s, City West planned to demolish the terraces when it took over authority of the harbour foreshore. Ms Stuart was among those community members who campaigned for their preservation in this instance also.
“The community fought for the preservation of the terraces when they were going to be demolished,” she said.
“We had a public meeting and it was decided City West would keep the terraces. It was also decided they would be made into an artist’s studio and an artist’s residence.”
The space has been dedicated to providing a creative space for the Pyrmont community ever since.
The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority did not respond to questions about the future of Culture At Work or of the Scott Street terraces.
A spokesperson for Minister for Plannig Pru Goward also did not respond to specific questions regarding the terraces, but said the management of the harbour foreshore is under review.
“As part of the development of a new vision for the Harbour, a review of SHFA’s operations is currently underway and an announcement will be made in due course.”]]>
An early planning proposal in Waverley has caused controversy among residents and sparked a debate about the threat of overdevelopment in the … Read more]]>
An early planning proposal in Waverley has caused controversy among residents and sparked a debate about the threat of overdevelopment in the eastern suburbs.
The Easts Group recently launched a planning proposal to redevelop and rezone the Waverley Bowling Club into a $100 million residential and commercial centre.
The proposed development includes plans for two ten storey residential towers, a licensed club, function centre, gym, administrative offices, childcare centre and swimming pool.
Council is not expected to make a final decision on the proposal until next year, however community outrage at the proposal has already begun.
Waverley resident Leigh Dryden, an active advocate against Easts’ proposal said Easts did not buy the location with the community’s best interest in mind.
“The community is outraged. This is not a group of old people saying no to development but a collection of the old, young and established families simply saying ‘not on our doorstep’,” she said.
“The streets surrounding the club are already under stress from what you would consider to be normal urban use.”
Paul Pearce, a former mayor of Waverley and former labor member for Coogee said it is important that residents act early in opposing the rezoning of the Waverley bowling club.
“It is important to stop it at council level first; if council rejects the proposal, then that will at least set the local position very clearly,” Mr Pearce said.
Mr Pearce said if council rejects the proposal, Easts would likely approach the state department of planning instead.
Ms Dryden said the community had been aware for some time that the site would be developed, with a previous attempt to develop the site in 2001.
“Easts have acted without our regard and consultation. This proposal is designed to test the strength and morale of the local community.”
“We have been keeping a close eye on this development proposal for quite sometime, we all knew that it would come again one day but not in this sort of magnitude and size.”
Waverley Mayor Sally Betts said it will be a long process but it was council’s intention to notify residents in the surrounding area that the Planning Proposal had been received.
“This planning proposal has only just been lodged at council and has not been assessed by council officers at all.”
The rezoning proposal presents many challenges to the area, which have been felt across Sydney as areas are hit by large developments.
Ms Dryden said the community is already suffering from compounding traffic, parking and pollution issues.
“Imagine the added pressure that 420 car spaces would cause let alone the foot print the additional apartments would cause in what is a single home residential community.”
Mr Pearce said the mayor has created a pro-development atmosphere and now council has to deal with the consequences of this.
“The developers seem to think it is okay to go for broke.”
“We know that the Mayor Betts is in favour of this proposal as she sees no issue in its development,” Ms Dryden said.
Mayor Betts said that without having examined the Easts proposal at all, it is good to see that the bowling facility and rink is being retained and the childcare and learn to swim facilities are included, all of which are greatly needed in Waverley.
“Initially council officers will refer the planning proposal to other departments for comment and then have discussions with the Applicant should any additional information of modifications be suggested.”
“I do not envisage that a report will come to council until sometime in the New Year.”
Ms Dryden said the Liberal members on council had been very silent about the development, which showed the community their “true colours”.
“We are concerned that Waverley Council will wash their hands of this and defer to a higher authority,” she said.
“We as rate payers will ensure that if this is the case that these same people will be voted out of office at the next council elections. They were voted in to represent and protect our interests – that is clearly not happening right now.”
“It would appear that we are all united in stopping such an out of place overdevelopment from taking place.”]]>
Tensions over Newtown’s Hat Factory continued into the auction room earlier this month.
Following the contentious eviction of squatters … Read more]]>
Tensions over Newtown’s Hat Factory continued into the auction room earlier this month.
Following the contentious eviction of squatters earlier this year, the abandoned warehouse at Wilson St Newtown known as the Hat Factory was sold at auction for $1.725 million.
On the weekend of the factory’s sale, Cooley Auctions headquarters in Double Bay was graffitied and its locks were super glued shut.
Statements such as “Evict the rich” were spray painted on the windows of Cooley Auctions.
On the same day as the auction of the Hat Factory, several public housing properties in Millers Point were also auctioned off.
Ben Hall, a former squatter at the Hat Factory said he did not know if the events were linked but understands the community’s frustration over the auctions.
“This used to be a working class area. Just because you have money, why do you have the right to force people out of their homes?”
In response to the sale, various posters have appeared at the Hat Factory, both defending the previous squatters and attacking them.
One poster criticised “local freeloaders” of throwing a “major dummy spit” because their “free ride” was over.
Mr Hall was unaware of these posters but said: “Any of those people who are annoyed about the squatters at the Hat Factory are the same type of people complaining about those in Wentworth Park: People who have money and think they have the right to everything money can buy.”
“Loads of rich upper class people moved to the area and they are not all sympathetic with having a squat nearby.”
Mr Hall said the Hat Factory incident was not unique and that this kind of action was happening across Sydney, with social demographics changing and typically working class areas transforming.
By Emily Contador-Kelsall]]>