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Archive for May, 2011

The Graveyard Train gig review @ ANU Bar

The sharpened edges of the black, flat-brimmed Stetson hat glistened menacingly from the dark recesses of the bitterly cold, largely empty ANU Bar. Something important was going down, of that much I was certain. But what? Cowering as I was in a fit of shame and fright in the farthest, safest corner of this glorified university shed, closer inspection of the Stetson or, indeed, its owner, was proving impossible. The edges of the Stetson glistened with urgency but mercifully, perhaps, I could see little else. All the while the questions lingered, like memories of sweet love lost. Who was this demon? Why had it come? Or indeed, why had I? In the icy darkness little was being revealed and even less was making sense. Even in the gloom of this horrific bleak nothingness though I searched valiantly for clues, an eager young pro bono Wordsmith (though I hate U2) conquering his fears. I eyed the shadowy figure in a panicked grasp for clarity but I saw nothing, nothing at all. Perhaps it was for the best. The likely tell-tale stains of the bloody refuse of the prior slain remained hidden; submerged in darkness along with the violent history of its anonymous owner. I, along with the other frightened stragglers joining me in the dumbstruck audience, could do nothing but wait.

Mercifully, the sound signalling the beginning, as it were, of the end, came suddenly; a ukulele began to strum and a chain, heeding the call of its jauntily plucked Master, began to rattle alongside in a foreboding, unified rhythm. Above it all, the Stetson suddenly began a slow tilt towards the heavens above, the shadowy figure underneath seemingly positioning itself for some manner of stern address. It moved with slow and deliberate assurance, seeming confident of its authority among the few lost, desperate souls gathered in this funereal pit of visible breath and shivering trepidation. As the Stetson lifted, an untraceable light illuminated the form atop which it sat. I gasped deeply as the eyes appeared; piercing and alive, tinged with sadness. I was soon after clinging desperately to a stranger alongside as the face of a being weathered but composed, solemn but unbowed, loomed into view.  It was the face of a story teller, a messenger: a Man who had seen it all. An immortal.


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Sydney Writers Festival 2011

The 2011 Sydney Writers’ Festival proudly presents some of the world’s finest poets, novelists and authors of literary nonfiction, including 2010 Man Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson; Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours and By Nightfall, Michael Cunningham; the acclaimed David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet) and Aminatta Forna (The Memory of Love), as well as internationally renowned Australians Peter Robb, Kim Scott, Markus Zusak, Sonya Hartnett and John Tranter.’ Read more here.

It promises to be a powerful and engaging lineup. Catch one of the many events, the festival is running now & finishes on the 22nd May 2011.

DON’T TEMPT ME – debut from Sarah McKenzie

She has performed regularly with her mentor James Morrison, sung backing vocals for Michael Buble, and now, on the eve of headlining appearances at both the Stonnington and Melbourne International Jazz Festivals, Sarah McKenzie is releasing her first solo album. Produced by Chong Lim, the album entitled Don’t Tempt Me marks a crucial milestone in the rapidly-developing career of the Bendigo-born, Melbourne-raised, Perth-educated McKenzie, whom critics around the country have identified as a once-in-a-generation talent.

At 23 years of age, the pianist, vocalist and composer is a graduate of the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts where Hugh Jackman, Marcus Graham, Lisa McCune and many other leading Australian musical and theatre performers also trained.  While in Perth she completed a Bachelor of Jazz (Composition) degree, won the Jack Bendat Scholarship, the Hawaiian Award for ‘Most Outstanding Jazz Graduate’ and the Perth Jazz Societies Award for leading the ‘Most Outstanding Group of the Year for 2008’.

Now based back in Melbourne, her rise through the ranks of the Australian music scene has been spectacular, aided by frequent appearances at venues like Bennett’s Lane, The Paris Cat, and at major festivals. Her musical pedigree is impeccable, having been mentored by legends like Graeme Lyall, Jamie Oehlers, and especially James Morrison, whose Scholarship she won after six consecutive years of involvement in Morrison’s Generations in Jazz talent development programme, where she performed alongside him at major concert venues including The Basement in Sydney, The Stonnington Jazz Festival and The Stones of the Yarra Valley.

“Sarah McKenzie is a musical marvel. She sings with the kind of phrasing that only a true jazz singer can come up with while her groove of the piano is the stuff that makes people want to play jazz. Don’t miss a chance to hear this lady perform live!” James Morrison. Don’t Tempt Me contains extraordinary takes on classic pop, blues and jazz tunes, from the barnstorming first single You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To, through a smouldering rendition of the classic Summertime and onto a unique bossanova take on Elvis’ Love Me Tender which sounds as if it’s come straight from the soundtrack of an uber cool bar scene from TV show Hawaii Five-0.

Sarah McKenzie’s debut album ‘Don’t Tempt Me’ is now available.

Music Video Mash Up 2011

The call is out for bands and filmmakers in the 2011 Music Video Mash Up – a yearly competition that pairs up and coming musicians and directors across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.  Following on from a huge inaugural year last year, The Music Video Mash Up filmmaking competition is back for 2011- and with the addition of Sydney and Melbourne to the competition,  bigger and better than ever.

There’s a stack of info @ www.mvmu.com.au and below but in short: MVMU is a time-based music video making competition. It’s simple:

•    Bands and filmmakers register (for their respective city – Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane)
•    They are then paired up randomly and given just THREE days (Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend (June 10-13, 2011)) to create, shoot, edit and submit a music video.
•    Bands – all you need is a recorded original song (no covers)
•    Filmmakers – all you need is a camera and a crew

There are stacks of prizes to be won including the winning clip playing on Video Hits, PLUS a representative from the winning band and filmmakers will be flown to the Video Hits set to be interviewed on air!  All entries are also showcased at a special premiere at Palace cinemas in their respective cities.

CAPTURED – Graduate Photography Exhibition at TAFE NSW

Graduates from TAFE NSW – Sydney Institute will showcase their creativity through photography at their first ever exhibition held as part of the 120th year celebrations of TAFE NSW – Sydney Institute and in conjunction with Head On Photo Festival.

Captured will showcase the works of graduates who are working all over the world in advertising, marketing, the arts, fashion and media. With each image you will enter their world and witness it through their eyes. So come and see their point of view, Captured forever in print.

What: CAPTURED – Graduate Photography Exhibition
When: Now until the 15th May 2011 – Mon-Sun 10am-4pm
Where: TAFE Ultimo Gallery
Address: Harris St, Ultimo (between Thomas St and Mary Ann St), Sydney
Cost: Free

COMIC-ISH project online

COMIC-ISH is a new online comic-boutique, which offers varied ‘comic-ish’ projects with loads of quirky characters and not-so-traditional serial comic strips and comic nibbles.

Behind COMIC-ISH are two Melbourne based graphic designers (and couple) Igal and Sari Hodirker, who created COMIC-ISH out of passion to the illustrated word. “We wanted a place, for us and our readers, to have fun and a bit of a laugh. Basically it is a place for us to be creative, write our minds, doodle and scribble, do the Hokey Pokey and turn around. That’s what it’s all about.”

Amongst the different comics you can find Maximilian – a Russian anti-hero dude with bizarre superpowers and his cat Koshka, Dr. Rex a specialist who gives really bad advice, and Franz and Ganz – two angry dolls who are busy complaining about the world.

Come and have a look www.comic-ish.com

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